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brought about in succession, and one has been evidently instrumental of another, and the accomplishment of one prediction has been a corroborating evidence of the truth of another. And this chain of evidence in favor of divine revelation is continually lengthening, and becoming more and more forcible and irresistible. There is but one kind of evidence more infallible and conclusive in support of the inspiration of the scriptures, and that is, the evidence of miracles, which were wrought as credentials to the inspired writers. Miracles are a direct testimony of God himself, that he inspired the prophets and apostles to write his predictions of future events. Miracles and predictions are the two fundamental supports of divine revelation. Were all other sources of evidence removed, these are alone sufficient to justify all who read the Bible to believe that it came from God, and could not come from any other being in the universe.
5. It appears from what has been said, that the criminality of unbelief has been continually increasing from Adam to this day. Though Adam was a believer in divine revelation, yet it seems that Cain was not. Though the patriarchs were believers, yet the great mass of mankind were unbelievers, from Cain to Abraham. Though some of the seed of Abraham were believers till the coming of Christ, yet the rest of the world, and most of Abraham's descendants were unbelievers. Though there have been many individuals since Christ's day, who have been believers, yet the great majority of mankind still remain unbelievers. And the present unbelievers are, all others, the most inexcusable and criminal for their speculative and experimental unbelief. For they are acquainted with the predictions recorded in the Bible, many of which have been signally fulfilled, and are now visibly fulfilling. A full blaze of light has been shining in their eyes all their days, which they have obstinately resisted. And there is nothing that aggravates so fast, and so much, as resisting the light of truth. Our Saviour says, “ This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” He said of the Jews, “ If I had not come, and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now they have both seen and hated, both me and my father.” And again he said, “ Wo unto thee Chorazin! wo unto thee Bethsaida! for if the mighty works which have been done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and
Sidon, at the day of judgment, than for you.” Infidelity in Europe and America, is, of all others, the most aggravated sin, and will draw after it the most aggravated condemnation. The bare knowledge of the Bible, whether it be obtained by preaching, or by reading, will either save the believer, or condemn and destroy the unbeliever. All under the gospel are in the most favorable, and yet the most dangerous circumstances. They are shut up to the faith, and must either believe and be saved, or disbelieve and be damned. And how long God will allow them to live in this interesting state of trial, they know not. Their duty is plain, urgent, and infinitely important.
6. It appears from the nature and design of prophecy, that God will finally have the glory of all his works. For by his predictions, and the accomplishment of them, it will appear that his heart and hand had been concerned in bringing about not only all the events that had been predicted, but all other events, which were inseparably connected with predicted events. It will finally appear that God had as constantly and universally governed all events in the moral world, as in the natural world. So that all the holiness and happiness which had been produced by the creation, the government, and redemption of the world, must be primarily and supremely ascribed to the power, the wisdom, and the goodness of God. Besides, the accomplishment of divine predictions will clearly discover, not only the heart and hand of God in all events, but the heart and hand of every man, and of every intelligent creature, in what they had done, as instruments of fulfilling divine predictions. After Christ was glorified, his disciples remembered the prophecy that had been fulfilled, and their own free and voluntary conduct in fulfilling it. And this will be the result of all divine predictions after they are accomplished. When all the predictions contained in the Bible shall have been fulfilled, they will show to the whole intelligent universe what concern God had, and what concern his creatures had, in bringing about all the holiness and happiness of heaven. And it is of infinite importance that the character and conduct of man, and of all other intelligent beings, should be fully unfolded. For both the conduct of God and of his creatures will finally contribute to the supreme glory of God. It was no diminution of Solomon's glory, that he built the temple by the instrumentality of his own servants. And so it will be no diminution of the glory of God, that he has employed the agency of his creatures to accomplish his wise and holy designs. Hence it follows that God will, by the accomplishment of his predictions, promote his own glory, and the good of the universe, to the highest degree.
7. It appears from the design of prophecy, that it will throw the weight of the whole intelligent universe in favor of the friends, and in opposition to the enemies of God. Every event which ever has taken place, or ever will take place, will promote the happiness of the righteous, and the final misery of the unrighteous. Every person in the world stands inseparably connected with all holy and unholy beings, and must feel the weight of their influence, in his favor or against him. Individuals have always felt the influence of public favors, and public evils, in this world, and this will be the case in the world to come. The final state of the holy will sensibly and eternally affect the state of the unholy, and the final state of the unholy will eternally affect the state of the holy. This being true, it is the most serious and important question that every person can put to himself, whether he is holy or unholy. When all God's predictions are fulfilled, it will fix all mankind in an unchangeable state of holiness and happiness, or in an unchangeable state of unholiness, unhappiness and misery. Divine predictions now hang over the world, containing vials of mercy, and vials of wrath; and how soon their contents will be poured upon the world, we know not; but when they are, we shall feel them either in time or eternity.
TRUE KNOWLEDGE THE FOUNDATION OF TRUE LOVE.
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and
in all judgment. - PHILIPPIAN9, i. 9.
Philippi was a chief city in Macedonia, whither Paul was called to preach the gospel by a vision, in which “there stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us.” Paul obeyed this heavenly vision, and went to Philippi, where he preached the gospel, and converted Lydia, the Jailer and others, whom he formed into a Christian church. Though the members of this church were few in number, yet they sustained a most excellent character; and the apostle wrote this epistle to them, not so much to reprove them, as to commend them for their growth in knowledge and every Christian grace. He addresses them in language of high approbation and esteem. “ Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, for your fel- . lowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my bonds and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all, in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray,
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. There can be no doubt but these Philippian christians both knew and loved God. And what was true of them is equally true of all other real christians, which warrants us to say,
That the true love which christians exercise towards God, is founded in the true knowledge of God. I shall,
I. Consider what we are to understand by christians' having the true knowledge of God;
II. Show how they gain the true knowledge of God; and,
III. Show that their love to God is founded in their true knowledge of God.
I. Let us consider what we are to understand by christians' having the true knowledge of God. It is readily conceded that this cannot mean that christians have a full and comprehensive knowledge of God. For none by searching can find out God; none can find out the Almighty unto perfection. No created beings ever have had, or ever can have a full and comprehensive knowledge of their uncreated, self existent, independent, almighty, and infinite Creator.
Neither men nor angels are capable of acquiring, or even of receiving a full and comprehensive knowledge of God. Nor can we conceive it to be possible, for God to make beings capable of having a full and comprehensive knowledge of himself
. For none but a Deity can comprehend a Deity. It is not to be supposed, therefore, that christians ever had, or ever can have a full and comprehensive knowledge of God. But there may be a true knowledge of God, which is not a full and comprehensive knowledge of him. The difference between a perfect knowledge of God and a true knowledge of God is very plain and intelligible. A perfect knowledge of God implies a knowledge of all things which are true concerning God; but a true knowl. edge of God implies the knowledge of some things only which are true concerning God. Though men do not know every thing that is true in respect to any created object, yet they know something that is true in respect to some created objects. Though men do not know every thing that is true in respect to matter or mind, yet they know something that is true in respect to both matter and mind. And what they do know that is true, in respect to either matter or mind, is as real and true knowledge, as if they knew every thing concerning these objects. So what christians know that is true concerning God, is as true knowledge, as if they knew every thing concerning God. They know that it is true that God is self existent, or that he exists of himself, without any external cause of his existence; though they do not know the ground of his self existence. They know that God is eternal, or never had a beginning of existence; though they do not know the ground of his eternal existence. They know that God is omnipotent, or that he has almighty power; though they do not know the ground of his almighty power. They know that he is omniscient, or that he knows