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SERMON 1.

IMPORTANCE OF SCRIPTURE KNOWLEDGE.

Luke 1. 4.

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein

thou hast been instructed.

THREE observations naturally arise from these words : that there are some things in which all real converts have been instructed ; that the certain knowledge of these things may yet be wanting, and is to be obtained ; and that this certainty of knowledge is very desirable.

Obs. I.—That there are some things in which all real converts are instructed by reading, meditation, the teachings of men, but especially by the Spirit of God; and they are such things as these :

1. The nature of God, and his infinite and adorable perfections; his excellent majesty, inflexible justice, unspotted purity, boundless mercy, inviolable faithfulness, and truth; what he is in himself, and what he is to his people. “He hath given us,” saith the Apostle, “an understanding to know him that is true” (1 John v. 20); by which is meant, not a speculative knowledge, which the devils have in a much greater degree of perfection than we, but that which lies in the practical judgment, and directs and governs the

SERMON I.

IMPORTANCE OF SCRIPTURE KNOWLEDGE.

LUKE 1. 4.

That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein

thou hast been instructed.

Three observations naturally arise from these words : that there are some things in which all real converts have been instructed ; that the certain knowledge of these things may yet be wanting, and is to be obtained ; and that this certainty of knowledge is very desirable.

Obs. I.—That there are some things in which all real converts are instructed by reading, meditation, the teachings of men, but especially by the Spirit of God; and they are such things as these :

1. The nature of God, and his infinite and adorable perfections; his excellent majesty, inflexible justice, unspotted purity, boundless mercy, inviolable faithfulness, and truth; what he is in himself, and what he is to his people. “He hath given us," saith the Apostle, “an understanding to know him that is true” (1 John v. 20); by which is meant, not a speculative knowledge, which the devils have in a much greater degree of perfection than we, but that which lies in the practical judgment, and directs and governs the will and atlections: thus, (Jer. xxiv. 7,) “I will give them a beart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart."

2. The original corruption and depravity of mankind. Of this the heathens had some obscure notions : it is expressly revealed in the word, and every real penitent has been convinced of it by his own unhappy experience. He sees that his faculties are debased, his boasted excellencies vanished, the lineaments of the Divine image obliterated, and his glory laid in the dust; groaning under a burden of guilt, and sensible of his inward pollution, he puts his mouth in the dust, and cries out, with the broken-hearted publican, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!"

3. The vanity of all sublunary objects, and their utter insufliciency to satisfy the cravings of an immortal, or yield relief to a distressed, soul. They see that we are made for nobler purposes than merely to amuse the fancy, or gratify the senses; and that to be "cumbered about many things,' whilst the “ one thing needful” is neglected, is an instance of the most preposterous folly. In a word, they now see that the creatures are deceitful brooks and broken cisterns, which will ever disappoint their hopes, whilst God is the only living fountain from which their wants can be supplied.

+. The extent and spirituality of the Divine law, and consequently the utter impossibility of obtaining salvation by the works of it. They can now say with David, “We have seen an end of all perfection;" are convinced that we have it not; despair of obtaining it in this world, for “thy commandment is exceeding broad." Their towering hopes and lofty imaginations are now levelled with the dust; and though they retain the highest regard to the law as a rule of walk and conversation, yet they have no expectation from it, nor do they place any contidence in it, as a covenant of works; thes, " ,

through the law, are dead to the law," and their grand principles of action are changed.

ģ. That there is salvation in no other but the Lord Jesus

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