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SERMON XIX.

DESCRIPTION AND BLESSEDNESS OF GOD'S

PEOPLE.

ROMANS, viii. 28. And we know that all things

work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the Called according to his purpose.

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SERMON XX.

MOTIVES TO DILIGENCE AND EARNESTNESS IN

RELIGION.

HEBREWS, iv. 11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that Rest.

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SERMON 1.

ON THE EFFICACY OF THE WORD OF GOD, AND

ON THE WAY OF RECEIVING IT.

1 THESSALONIANS, ii. 13.

For this cause also thank we God without

ceasing, because when ye received the Word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the Word of Men, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

While those, who preach the Gospel, are answerable for the trust committed to them; those who hear it are not less answerable for the use which they make of this great privilege. While ministers are solemnly charged to “ take heed unto their doctrine;" the people are not less solemnly warned to " take heed how they hear." In truth, the Word of God is not to be trified with. It is either " the savour of

life unto life;" or “ the savour of death unto death.” It must make us better; or it will leave us worse. If it does not raise us to heaven, it will sink us into deeper condemnation. Feeling then how greatly we are concerned in this matter, let us pro- pose to ourselves the example of those Thessalonians, of whom St. Paul, in the text, speaks with so much satisfaction and comfort. He tells them that he “ thanked God on their account, without ceasing :" and why ? “Because” (he adds) “ when ye received the Word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the Word of Men, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in

you that believe.” He recollected that serious attention, with which they had listened to the preaching of the Word of God, that ready submission, which they had yielded to its doctrines, and that exemplary obedience to its precepts, by which they had showed its power on their hearts; and the recollection of these things, furnished him with a constant source of thankfulness and consolation under his many afflictions. Would God! that all who hear his Word, would receive it in the same manner as these Thessalonians did : that they would « receive it not as the Word of Men, but (as it is in

truth) the Word of God which effectually worketh in them that believe !" . With the view of stirring us up to follow this example, as well as of farther explaining the subject, let us consider two things here suggested to us ;

I. The description given of the Word.

II. The manner in which it ought to be received.

I. The Description here given of the Word may be considered,

First, as to its author : whose word it is. It is not, says the apostle, the word of men. Men are employed as instruments for making known the word; but it is not their own word which they make known. The doctrines, which they teach, are “ not cunningly devised fables" of human invention. The word is the Word of God. It contains his message to mankind; reveals his will, and discovers his counsels, so far as he thinks fit to discover them. It is, says St. Paul, in the text,in truth the Word of God." Such was the word which he preached to the Thessalonians; as he calls it in another part of his Epistle, “the Gospel of God."* It had been revealed to him, as he tells the Galatians, by God himself. “ I certify

* Chap. ii. 2.

Christ.” *

you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus

Such was the Word preached by all the Apostles of Christ. It was in the strictest sense, “ the Word of God.” They were under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost : “ who taught them all things, and brought all things to their remembrance, whatsoever Christ had said unto them.” So that according to his own declaration to them; “ It was not they that spake, but the Spirit of their Father which spake in them.'t. Such also is the written word contained in the Bible. It is, “in truth the Word of God.” Men were employed to write it, but they wrote under the especial direction and guidance of the Holy Ghost. By his power they were kept from error.

* All Scripture is given by inspiration of God : and “ prophecy came not in old time by the will of mañ ; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” I So that the written word is as certainly the Word of God as that preached by the Apostles themselves; and God as di. rectly speaks to us in the Bible, as he spake * Gal. i. 11, 12.

+ Matt. x. 20, * 2 Tim, iji. 16,- 2 Peter, i. 21,

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