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speak in an intelligible manner. What with divers miracles and gifts of the certainty does it impart to them! They Holy Ghost, according to his own will." are not the doubtful deductions of human O, brethren, let us look at our rights reason-of gigantic intellect of enlarged and immunities, thus distinguished-thus stores of erudition. No: they are a re- ' revealed ;” and if you have a spark of velation from God. It is to this cause we intellect—if you have any ability to intrace the failure of all other hypotheses, vestigate if you are at all capable of however splendid; they failed, because comparing things that differ; then will they wanted the essential character of a you cheerfully, gladly, willingly, give revelation from God. What grandeur, the palm to your religious immunities. too, does this imprint on our rights ! We have heard much of “the rights They have features of simplicity, it is of man;" a great deal has been said and true, but of dignity also. They are the written on the rights of people and the word of God God speaking to men! rights of princes : but, without denying God himself, bringing the charter of our that these rights have their importance privileges in his own hand! God, pro- an importance which should never be claiming his will concerning us, from the taken from them—there are no rights excellent glory! And from the moment which concern us as immortal creatures that God caused his voice first to vibrate -as men destined to live for ever-as on the ears of man-in all the promises those which are made known to us by he has made-in all the predictions which divine revelation. These are the rights his prophets uttered, in the voice of the to which the text refers; those rights harbinger of the great Messiah-in the which have been revealed by such a voice of Christ himself when he sojourned grand apparatus of means, and all .of on our earth, and in the voice of all his which are characterized by so much granapostles and preachers we have proof deur, simplicity, importance, and authat all our privileges are characterized thority. I say again, if we are capable by all that is great_by all that is digni- of comparing the various objects that are fied. Nay, what authority is imparted to presented to our minds, we shall rejoice them by this circumstance! The reve- to hear that “the secret things belong lation of God! Yes; this was what all unto the Lord our God: but the things the hypotheses which have been made which are revealed belong unto us." And known to men wanted namely, authority. we will endeavour to ascertain, But our privileges are revealed, and they Secondly, THE VALIDITY OF OUR CLAIMS bear the stamp and seal of the King of TO THESE IMMUNITIES. kings and Lord of lords. They are all They “ belong unto us;" so it is said marked as announcements to man of the in the text. But what is the ground of will of the everlasting God. Wherever our claim to the things that are revealed ? we turn, “ Thus saith the Lord” vibrates It cannot be natural to us, considering us on our ears; and we fall down and adore, abstractedly, as men. It is true, indeed, while it is said, “ Therefore we ought to that there began to be a system of revegive the more earnest heed to the things lation and communication from the first, which we have heard, lest at any time we to sinless and innocent man. But the should let them slip. For if the word things which are revealed to us contain spoken by angels was steadfast, and every much, certainly, which was not adapted transgression and disobedience received a to man in his first state. This revelation just recompense of reward, how shall we could not belong to man, then, as he was escape, if we neglect so great salvation ? created. And though we are sinners, and which at the first began to be spoken by this rovelation is made to us as sinners ; the Lord"-the Lord incarnate! and after still, the fact of our sinfulness could give its authority had been thus established, us no claim to such a revelation; no claim “ was confirmed unto us by them that to a revealed God—to a revealed Saviour heard him; God also bearing them wit- - to a revealed heavento a revealed ima tiesa, both with signs and wonders, and mortality. No; we can support ne elain,
either natural or meritorious. How then point. Nor is there any reason for supare these things ours ? Simply—simply posing that its blessings will extend to because of the sovereign will of God. the brute creation ; though good men have That will has been employed in reference entertained such an idea. All these things to us. Guided by infinite wisdom, are ours, because “ the word which was prompted by infinite love, its determina- with God, and which was God, was made tions have issued in the birth of a Saviour, flesh, and dwelt among us; so that we and, through him, in the repurchase of beheld his glory, the glory as of the only our former inheritance. It was given to begotten of the Father, full of grace and us by God himself: first, in promise; then truth.” in the oath by which he confirmed that But, besides this, we have other and promise ; ultimately, in the gift of Christ: collateral grounds of claim.
In proof and this gift of Christ himself was the that the things that are revealed belong pledge that all which God had promised unto us, I would appeal, should be ours. God “spared not his 1. To their astonishing adaptation to our own Son, but delivered him up for us circumstances. There is, in this respect, all," and will therefore, “with him, a striking connexion between the mercy freely give us all things.”
.” We take our announced, and the state of human beings. stand here, then ; we have a right to these Take a summary of revealed truth, and things because God has bestowed them bear it to human beings wherever you on us, in covenant—by his mercy-by find them; let but the light beam upon free donation. Looking on the world in their minds, let but the truth be revealed its hell-deserving condition, while travel to them, and it finds something in the ling on to damnation, he entered into heart, and conscience, and understanding, gracious covenant with Christ, and all the which responds to it; something which world; “ for there is one God, and one forms a collateral argument that the things mediator between God and man, the man revealed belong to them. This is not Christ Jesus: who gave himself a ran- theory, but fact. Wherever the gospel som for all, to be testified in due time.” is borne, on whatever wind of heaven, Jesus Christ was not merely the fountain there we find darkness chased by lightof revelation, but the head : by his volun- guilt met by its Saviour-uncertainty tary sacrifice of himself in our behalf, he done away by the life which it brings to acquired a right for us; so revelation and light—all incompetency met by the power all its blessings became ours.
of the gospel-and those who listen to Now, among all the creatures God has it raised to the level of intelligent and formed, whether residing in heaven, or redeemed men. We appeal further, the inhabitants of planets discovered or 2. To the legitimated means of their unknown, where shall we find a people transmission. God has not left the truths that can lay claim to these things equally of revelation to themselves, to make their with ourselves ? He by whom they were own way, and subdue the world to obedibought, is “ bone of our bone, and flesh ence. Men may talk of the force of truth, of our flesh," the Son of God and the Son and say that it is great, and must ultiof man. Christ is ours, and the ihings mately prevail; yet truth, in order to its which reveal him are ours; the sun is final triumph, has to contend with all the ours, and all the rays of that sun are ours; corruptions of the human heart. God has the fountain is ours, and all its streams not left the truth to find its way, without are ours; “ Emanuel, God with us,” is making provision for its communication ours; and hence all else is ours also. to the beings for whom it was designed;
Revelation itself does not warrant any and all the means which he has employed other beings to lay claim to its truths, cast a light upon the fact that they belong but us. There is no intimation that it to us. Where the truth effects the conwas designed for a superior race of beings, version of an individual, that individual but rather on the contrary; though men makes the change known to another; a have often speculated curiously upon this church is formed; the members of that
church are removed in various directions; defenced city a ruin;" the truth which and thus God causes his truth to make its emanated from God has been preserved, way throughout the whole earth. Again : and has shone brighter and brighter. The God has not left his truth to float on the stream which, at the first, bubbled up at stream of tradition, liable to be injured or the foot of the eternal throne, has rolled impaired; but has given it the tangibility, silently on, increasing in majesty as it shall I say?-the certainty, the palpable- passed along, gathering strength from the ness, of a written revelation. God has very means employed to obstruct its caused his will to be recorded in a writ- course; now gliding unseen through subten form, and so handed down from man terraneous channels—then proceeding, to man. What shall I say of a standing softly and slowly, like the waters of ministry, to explain and enforce these Shiloah—and anon bursting forth like an various truths in the hearing of men from American cataract, and rolling on with a time to time? What shall I say to the mighty rapidity, bearing down before it injunction given to parents to teach these each opposing barrier ; declaring to the things to their children; “that the gene- astonished children of men, that while rations to come may know them, who “all flesh is grass, and all the glory of shall arise and declare them to their chil- man as the flower of grass, the word of dren; that they may set their hope in the Lord endureth for ever.” While men God, and not forget the works of God, have stood upon its brink, and been combut keep his commandments.” Look at pelled to exclaim, “We have seen an end the nature of these divinely instituted of all perfection !" it still flows on, fermeans, and say, if you have not proofs tilizing and blessing all its banks. “The that the things which are revealed belong word of the Lord by the gospel is still to man. I refer you,
preached,” furnishing a miraculous proof 3. To the wonderful preservation of these that “ the things which are revealed bethings. How wonderfully has God taken long unto us. And what if I conduct care to preserve his truth pure and un-you, in further proof of this point, adulterated, notwithstanding the preva 4. To the influence of these things upon lence of error—the tyranny of passion, the nature of man. I often think on what and the cruelty of persecution. Think of would have been the state of the world, the numerous foes that have been raised if these things had not been revealed. against the truth-pagans, who have 0, brethren, our living in the light of this aimed to destroy it, and papists, who have truth makes it as familiar to us as our monopolized it. Think of popes and of A, B, C; and tends to make us forget the devils-of some who have held fast the condition of those who are destitute of it. key of knowledge, and others who have o, what a region approximating to that corrupted it according to their own fan- of hell—what a wilderness of sorrow and cies. · What do we see, but God himself of wo-would this nation have been, if holding the charter of our liberties in his God had never illuminated it with his own hands, and causing even the fire of revelation ! This may be inferred from persecution to induce us to retain our the state of those who have but a portion grasp of his revelation more firmly. of this truth, in comparison with that of What has not died away? Nations and those who are altogether destitute of it. empires have been overthrown-the Look at the influence of the things that thrones of princes have been undermined ; are revealed on the intellectual—the polithey have fallen, and great has been the tical—the domestic—the religious relafall. Philosophers and their systems tions in which men stand. have vanished away. The world has On the intellectual condition of men. been one continued scene of change, The things that are revealed have enlarged alteration, and destruction : but the word the sphere of knowledge. Religion has of God has remained the same. While expanded the intellect, even where it has whole nations have passed away; while not changed the heart. It has a tendency “ the city has become a heap, and to refine, where it does not save. I will
not undertake to say what have been its with singing unto Zion, and everlasting effects on science, and literature, and the joy upon his head. liberal arts; but it is enough to offend one, “ The things that are revealed!" Who to see the votaries of intellect and litera- can thus trace their influence, (and this is ture strutting in peacock dignity, when it a mere sketch,) and not see in all this a could be clearly proved that all the know- strong, clear, satisfying proof that God ledge which they possess is derived from designed all these things for us? and not the things that are revealed. They have say with pleasure and gratitude, “the stolen fire from the altar of God, and have secret things belong unto the Lord our astonished others, while they have never God: but the things which are revealed been ingenuous enough to confess the belong unto us and to our children for theft. They have paraded in pomp before ever ?” their fellow mortals, forgetting that the My brethren, if these be our rights, and fairest feathers which they have ever if our claims can be so supported, should worn have been those plucked from the we not next ask, how does it become us to bird of paradise. But for this, they would use these rights? We are certainly not to have had nothing—they would have been hold them in ignorance of their nature: nothing. If God had not spoken from we are not to suppose that they are given heaven, and revealed his will to men, merely to distinguish us from those by they would still have been in gross intel- whom we are surrounded. They are lectual darkness.
surely given to us to promote our indivi. What shall I say of its political influ- dual benefit. If this revelation be sealed ence? What has not revelation done for with the broad seal of heaven, and prethe establishment of genuine liberty ! sented to us in an intelligible form, how From the mountain of revelation, the ought we to aim at knowing the things it sweetest breezes of freedom have been contains; that what it reveals may be wafted. The tree of liberty, beneath enjoyed on the one hand, and obeyed on whose ample shadow we have lived, and the other! We are to search these divino by whose fairest fruit we have been fed, oracles, till their force is felt on our hearts, was sown by God himself in his revela- and their import treasured up in our recoltion; and it owes its elevation and gran- lection. Highly, greatly as God has disdeur entirely to the truth which he has tinguished us by these rights, this will made known.
only issue in our aggravated wo, if we Think of its influence on the domestic should be found walking in the ways of relation. And all that is sweet in the darkness. Let us not be hearers of the name of home; all that is connected with truth only-let us not be content with the names of father, child, husband, wife, looking at the “perfect law of liberty," master, servant; all that is considered and admiring it merely; let us look and desirable to meet with in our intercourse admire, but let us also continue therein;" with men, in our communion with each that we may not be forgetful hearers, but other; is derived from the things which doers of the work." God has so graciously made known to Again : If these be our rights, and if
they belong to our children, and to our Look upon the religious state of man. children's children, what care should we O God! who but thyself can tell what has take to transmit them without corruption to been the influence of thy truth upon the the succeeding generation. We often read mind of man? It has poured a flood of of the enthusiastic ardour of those who light upon the darkness of the understand have advocated our rights who have not ing—it has given patience in affliction, merely thundered in the senate, but have and satisfaction in disappointment—it has shed their blood on the scaffold; and afforded direction in perplexity, and sup- while we have seen these martyrs in the port in feebleness—it has revealed that cause of civil liberty, and martyrs in the heaven, where the Christian shall rest cause of Christ, thus fearlessly and freely from his labours, when he shall return yielding up their lives, how have we
admired, nay, almost envied, the men who shalt bind them for a sign upon thine were able to manifest such zeal and pa- hand; and they shall be as frontlets betriotism! But why did they act thus ?
-tween thine eyes; and thou shalt write that we, and those who came after us, them upon the posts of thy house, and on might enjoy those liberties which they thy gates.” Thus giving the greatest esteemed more valuable than liberty or publicity to them, that the generation to life; and shall not we transmit them to come might know them, and seek after our children, and to those that may come God, and love him and serve him with all after us, “that they also may set their their hearts. And while we understand hope in God, and keep his command- these things, and find them to be all our ments ?"
joy and all our desire, let us be glad that This is your work. It is for an insti- there are so many advocates of these tution which is designed to carry these truths of God. We live in a day in which purposes into effect, that he who ad- much opposition is made to pure and undresses you has now to plead. An in- defiled religion : but as the truth has outcompetent pleader he confesses himself; lived all the efforts of the prince of darkbut one who feels that something like the ness, and gathered strength from the very whole energy of zeal should be thrown opposition which has been made to it, it into his subject, while he has to plead the shall still be so to the end of time. It rights of children. You are called to take has defied all the sophistries of Hume, care of the children of the poor-some of and the eloquence of Gibbon, and the them your neighbours and some not in vituperations of Voltaire, and the inuenorder that you may give them a portion of does of Rousseau, and the blasphemy of education. A great deal has been said Paine; and when all their names shall about education—a great deal has been have been written in the dust, or appear said loosely, a great deal foolishly, about on the roll of history as awful instances it. Education may be, and in some cases of depraved intellect and perverted talent is, a great evil: but a Christian education —the TRUTH shall stand unsullied and —and this is your work—is that by uninjured before God. And while all that which you may serve your generation, the malignant heart of the infidel prompts your country, your God. In no other him to, shall have failed of its effect, and way can you turn education to a good died away, the truth shall give its sufaccount, but by teaching them the truth frages for the welfare of men to the very of God.
ends of the earth: Christians shall say, We speak to you in language sound- " Come ye, and let us walk in the light ing from the throne of heaven-in lan- of the Lord; for the mountain of the house guage addressed to you through the me- of the Lord shall be established in the dium of the Jewish lawgiver, surrounded top of the mountains, and shall be exalted by the congregated thousands of Israel. above the hills, and people shall flow “ Hear, O Israel! the words which I unto it; and they shall beat their swords command thee this day shall be in thine into ploughshares, and their spears into heart.” This is to be our first care; and pruning-hooks.". 6 thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy May God further, by your means, and children; and shalt talk of them when by the united means of all Christians, thou sittest in thine house, and when thou this glorious consummation, and fulfil walkest by the way, and when thou liest the truth of the text in your experience.
wn, and when thou sest up: and thou | Amen.