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he saw,” says,
“ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein ; for the time is at hand !”
John v. 39.
“ Search the Scriptures.”
An attempt to prove the authenticity of the Scriptures, or to show, that the different parts were written by the persons whose names they bear, is unnecessary, because we are perfectly assured in our belief, that they have descended to us from the Jews, into whose hands they were delivered, in an incorrupt form; and that they were "given
given by the inspiration of God, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” we are certified by historical evidences. Thus assured of the verity of the word
of God, we shall divide our present discourse under the three following heads : --Doctrines, precepts, and promises.
1. If the Scriptures be they which testify of God; if they show us what is good, and what the Lord doth require of us; if they set before us the way of life, and the way of death ; they must be profitable for doctrine. Here we mean those doctrines, by which man can obtain salvation; and the principal is that, by which we learn our exact state and duty towards the Deity. This doctrine in particular must therefore be examined ; although we are aware that even upon this point, there is a diversity of opinion.
The consideration of the actual condition, in which man stands with respect to his Maker, must naturally be a subject of interest, and consequently should demand the closest attention. Not that we are now attempting to introduce any thing new, for the present subject has been repeatedly brought before your notice; indeed, wherein consists the benefit or the orthodoxy of a discourse, unless man be continually reminded of that woeful fall, which took place in the person of Adam, and of the redemption, which was effected by the
mercy of Jesus Christ ? The doctrine, or rather the knowledge of man's condition and his redemption, can only be obtained from the Scriptures; how necessary then, if it be only for the sake of obtaining a clear knowledge of these facts, is it, “to search the Scriptures !” From them we learn the awful disobedience of our forefather in Paradise, the tremendous punishment which instantly ensued, and the entailment of that punishment upon all his descendants. And were the Scriptures even silent upon this point, the nature which we derive from Adam, is too keenly felt by every son, for him to deny or even to doubt the effect, which it produces. Sin, misery, and death are the three consequences, which have dominion over our nature, each working at the very root of the constitution, until the body (may be at times by a slow but sure process) returns to the earth, from whence it was taken. We require no authentic document to prove this fact. The consequence of the sins, which we commit, too often meets in our weak tenements with direful punishment. And the misery which preys upon us with a desolating power, which makes the soul faint, and the whole heart sick, too evidently causes us to feel our sad and fallen condition. And if we go to the grave, we require no Scriptures to tell us, that we too shortly must follow the remains of those, whom we have buried in tears and regret. We say that we require no Scripture to prove that, which is of every day occurrence. But we do require the Scriptures to explain the cause of these woes, and to disclose the remedy, the only remedy, by which they can be healed. And it is solely by searching the Scriptures that these things can be found out. In the very first chapter of Genesis, we read that “ God created man in his own image, after his likeness; in the image of God created he him.” We read also, that “God made man upright?," and that in conse