Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση
[blocks in formation]

PRE FACE.

THE God of glory hath not left himself without a witness; all his works do, after their manner declare his glory. Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shali tell thee : Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee ; and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoneth not in all these, that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this ? Job xii. 7, 8, 9. Moreover it hath pleased him to instamp upon the consciences of men, such deep impressions of his being and glory, that all the powers and subtilty of hell, shall never be able to eradicate them : Though, alas! through a custom of sin, and especially against much light and conviction, the consciences of many are debauched in these dregs of time, to an obliterating of these impressions, which otherwise would have been strong and vivid. The principles of moral equity carry such an evidence in their nature, and are also accompanied with so much of binding force upon the conscience, that their obligation on rational creatures hath a most resplendent clearness, and fills the little world with such a strength, and efficacy of truth, as far surpasseth the plainest theoretical principles. That one maxim, Matth. vii. 12. Luke vi. 3. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them ; that one max

pass others) was matter of so much wonder to some of the most polite Heathens, that they knew not well how to express their sense of the truth and gloX

Cam, I say,

say, (to

x9.2

ry of it; they thought it worthy to be engraven with letters of gold, upon the frontispieces of their most magnificent structures; an agreeable and speaking evidence of its having been imprinted in some measure upon their hearts. Nevertheless, all these, though sweet, strong, and convincing notices of a Deity, do yet evanish as faint glimmerings, when compared to that stamp of divine authority, which our great and alone Lawgiver has deeply imprinted upon the scriptures of truth, Psal. xix. 7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, &c. I enter not upon this large theme, which great men have treated to excellent purpose ; I only represent very shortly, that the stupendous account we have in these scripture, of moral equity in its full compass, comprised even in ten words, that wonderful account, I say, proclaimeth its Author with so much of convincing evidence, and such strains of glory, as I cannot possibly clothe with words. The greatest men among the Heathen nations, have given the highest accounts of their accomplishments by framing laws; but besides the passing weakness of their performances, when viewed in a true light, the choicest of them all have a great deal of iniquity inlaid with them: But all here shineth with the glory of a Deity. Every duty is plainly contained within these small boundaries, and all concerns thereof in heart and way, are set down so punctually, and so fully cleared in the exposition which the Lawgiver himself has given of his own laws, that nothing is wanting. Here also are all the mysteries of iniquity in the heart so clearly and fully detected, these evils also pursued to their most latent sources, and to the grand spring of them all, viz. the corruption of our nature, and in so very few words, with so much of shining evidence and power, that no judicious and sober person can deny that the finger of God is there, unless he offer the most daring violence to his own conscience. And what shall I say of the glorious contrivance of salvation, through the LORD JESUS our only Redeemer ? Should I touch at the ground work thereof in the eternal counsel of the adorable Trinity, and the several dis

plays of it, until at length the complete purchase was made in the fulness of time; and if I should but glance at the several strokes of omnipotent power, and rich mercy through Christ, by which the purchased salvation is effectually applied to every elect person, I would enter upon a field froin which I could not quickly or easily get off. All that I adventure to say is, that the discoveries of a Deity in each step thereof, are so relucent and full of glory, that the being of the material light under a meridian sun, without the interposition of a cloud, may as well be denied, as these great truths can be disowned. Beyond all manner of doubt, they contain matter of much higher, and more glorious evidence, upon the minds of all those whose eyes the god of this world hath not blinded, (2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. John i. 5. Deut. xxix. 4.) Yet ah! mid-day clearness is midnight darkness to those who have not eyes. But not to insist : If we add to all these, the full history of the heart of man, in the depths of wickedness, contained in that great abyss, together with the several eruptions thereof, both open and violent, as also subtile and covered, together with all the engines of temptations for setting it to work, and keeping it still busy ; if

, I say, the perfect account of these things which is given in the word, be seriously pondered, who can escape the conviction, that He, and He only who formed the Spirit within him, could have given such a display. From all this, I would bewail, were it possible, with tears of blood, the blasphemous wickedness of those, who, from the grossest darkness and ignorance, oppose, malign, and deride such great and high things. But it is enough ; wisdow is justified of all her children, Matth. xi, 19. The worthy and now glorified author of this work, had a plentiful measure, beyond many, of the surest and sweetest knowledge of these matters : his soul, (may I so express it) was cast into the blessed mould of gospel truth. Who is a teacher like unto God! Sure an enlightening work, by his word and Spirit upon the soul, filleth it with evidence of a more excellent nature, and attended with a penetrancy quite of another kind, than any mathematical demonstration can amount to. In this case, the soul (2 Cor.

r

jü, 3.) is an epistle of Jesus Christ, wherein these great truths are written by himself, in characters which the united force and subtilties of hell shall be so far from deleting, that their strongest efforts shall render the impressions still deeper, and more vivid. No mathematical demonstration can vie with this : forasmuch as the authority of the God of truth, that conveys his own testimony into the heart with a strong hand, has a glory and evidence peculiar to itself. And though well known to those who enjoy it, yet of a beauty great and mysterious, such as the tongues of men and angels could not suffice to describe. T'he empty cavils of that execrable herd of blasphemous Atheists, or Deists, as they would be called, amount to a very small and contemptible account, seeing the most subtle of them, fall very far short of the objections which unclean spirits propose, and urge in a way of temptation, against persons exercised to godliness, which yet the Father of lights dispelleth mercifully from time to time, and maketh these dark shades to evanish, as the Sun of righteousness ariseth upon the soul with a glory and evidence still upon the ascendant, Mal. iv, 2. Prov. iv, 18. Hos. vi, 3. Nevertheless, the learned and godly author hath encountered these silly creatures at their own weapons, both offensively and defensively, and to such excellent purpose, as needeth not my poor testimony. He hath searched into the very bottom of what they allege. With great and unwearied diligence did he read their writings carefully from the very first springs, and hath represented fairly their empty cavils, in all the shades of strength they can be alleged to have, and has refuted them plainly and copiously. On which, and the like accounts, I hope the work will be, through the divine blessing, of great use in the churches of Christ.

JAMES HOG.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »