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mentioned in the most favourable sense? Or rather, in what book of holy Scripture are not the first peremptorily denied them, and the second absolutely forbidden them?
You see now clearly, by what hath been said, both from reason and Scripture, that there is precisely but one God, and consequently but one object of divine worship; that we must be pagans and polytheists, if we admit any gods besides him; and that we are guilty of idolatry the moment we pray to, or worship any other being whatsoever.
It is easy to conclude, from this double demonstration, what ought to be the practice of you who worship the true God only. You are not so much as to listen to the subtle follies of such as would persuade you to admit other objects of worship, although ever so elevated in nature, and subordinate in office. Let those two sects, who have been the disgrace of Christianity, so opposite in all other things, agree with each other, and with the pagans, in deifying creatures, either by calling them gods, or by impiously praying to them, and putting their trust in them, while they refuse them the name of gods; but let your good sense and piety be shewn in this, that you worship the true God alone 'in spirit and in truth. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but that thou shouldst fear the Lord thy God, and serve him with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind ? God will not accept of thee, nor canst thou live the life of a true Christian, if thine heart is divided,' as Hosea expresses it, between the true God and the false. The Samaritans were not reckoned to the people of God, because while they feared the Lord, they served their own gods;' 2 Kings xvii. 33. Consider what God denounces against those, 'who worship, and swear by the Lord, and yet swear by Malcham;' Zeph. i. 5. Why should you halt between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him ; if another, follow him;' 1 Kings xviii. 21. 'If you do return unto the Lord your God with all your heart, then put away the strange gods;' 1 Sam. vii. 3. Let Dagon fall before the ark of God; for the same heart cannot be a temple to both. You cannot serve two masters.' Well might the son of Sirach say, 'Woe be to the sinner that goeth two ways ;' for he must of necessity miss his end in both. The temple of
the true God, and that of the false, stand directly opposite to each other, so that there is no going to both at once.
But, if you choose the service of the one only living God, it is your business rightly to prepare yourself for that service, that it may be fit for you, as a rational creature, to offer, and for him, as a God of infinite holiness and majesty, to receive. In order to this, first endeavour to know him in his word and works, that you may make a right judgment of the service he requires. And when you do know him, then labour to be like him in justice, in mercy, in purity, and holiness; so Shall you recover his image, which sin had defaced in you, and mutual affection shall flow from this happy conformity of natures. Then weigh in a just balance all those objects of sense, appetite, and passion, that have hitherto estranged your affections; and you will quickly find them nothing, if God is in the other scale. All created things have this of meanness and littleness in them, that they are never great, and this of deformity, that they are never beautiful, but by comparison with somewhat that is less significant, or less excellent. They are beholden for their grandeur to that which is little; and for their beauty, to that which is ugly. The infinite Being only is great, is lovely, in himself, and without comparison.
What is it then withholds your heart from God? Things that are as nothing, from the inmense, the infinite Being ? Things that are foul and vile, from the beautiful, the glorious God? Things that are deceitful and pernicious, from him who is full of truth and goodness; from him to whom sal. vation belongeth;' and who would make you for ever happy, if you could but see that the infinite is greater than the finite? How amazing is it, that this should be difficult to you, who can distinguish between the magnitude of a world, and of a grain of sand, wherein the difference is so minute! Have you reason only for small things, have you judgment and discernment only for little differences; and none for that which is immense ?
But if you really do know God, and are rightly apprized of the infinite difference between him and all things else, let not this knowledge, which ought, above all other sorts of knowledge, to be practical, confine itself in your understanding only. Know him with your heart, give him your
affections as well as your reason; for now that God is master of your judgment, it would be very absurd in you to let any thing else have your love. Such a division of yourself between things above, and things on the earth, would carry you to opposite ends; the one would rivet you to the earth, the other would exalt you to heaven. Since both cannot be done, is it not best to follow reason, and cleave to God? If you choose this upper path, break loose from the world, the deceitful world, and fly to God, the author of your being, and the source of all good. Learn to fear him in his power and justice; learn to admire him in his wisdom, his majesty, his immensity: learn to love him for his bounty, his goodness, his mercy; and then adore him with the united force of all these happy affections and sensations. As he is one, endeavour to worship and serve him with an undivided heart. Let your faith honour him, your works serve him, your tongue bless and praise him.
If you come thus affected and disposed before him, you will not come poor nor empty-handed. Your heart, fear not, will be a more acceptable sacrifice than thousands of rams, or ten thousands of rivers of oil. But take care that faith purge it, that repentance cut it in sunder, and that piety prepare and lay it on the altar. There let it burn in the flames of hallowed love; and God will receive it as a sweetsmelling savour, as an offering more precious than ten thousand worlds.
Before you are satisfied of God's unity, and other attributes, all your disputes and inquiries about him are in themselves speculative. But conviction hath no sooner put an end to these speculations, than you ought seriously to consider, for what purpose you made this most important point the subject of your examination. It was not merely an effect of curiosity; it was not surely that you might talk better, and parade it with more appearance of knowledge, in this religious fundamental, than other men.
If vanity must be indulged, hath it not a lower field of shells, pebbles, and butterflies, to expatiate in ? God, I must insist, is too sacred, too awful; a subject for curious speculations, and a conceited ostentation of knowledge. It was, it must have been, with nobler views, that you sought for satisfaction in so weighty a matter. It was, no doubt, with an earnest desire to know who it is that gave you being, and all the comforts of that being, that you might love him, and by your services attach his love to you. This was a wise end, and well becoming the faculties God hath bestowed on you. But if
you have at length attained to it, your wisdom can now no otherwise be justified, but by reducing this attainment to practice; that you may feel in your own heart the conscious pleasures arising from a life spent in the love and fear of God; and that all who know you ‘may see your light;' and being edified by it, may glorify your Father which is in heaven.'
May God of his infinite goodness, so enlighten your mind, and so work on your heart, as to produce this happy effect, through Christ Jesus our Saviour. Amen.
OBJECTIONS TO THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST
St. John v. 22, 23.
The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. Having, in the former Discourse, proved, that there is but one God, I intend, with his assistance, to prove in this, and the following, that Jesus Christ is that only one God. In this, I shall endeavour to remove the most material objections to his divinity, wherewith its opposers arm themselves from holy Scripture, that, in the next, the proofs thereof drawn from thence, being freed from these obstructions, may come with their full force.
The Son, or Christ, as my text assures us, is to judge the whole moral wo·ld at the last day. Now, none but the all-knowing Being, who searcheth the heart,' is able to judge the actions, the words, the very thoughts, of all intel
ligent creatures. None but he, whose judgments are true and righteous altogether, whose righteousness is like the great mountains, and whose judgments are a great deep,' is qualified to perform this work of justice, on which depend 80 necessarily the virtue and goodness both of angels and men. None but the Almighty hath power sufficient to decide the fate, and fix the eternal rewards or punishments, of all God's accountable creatures. None, therefore, but the Divine Being, is fit to execute this high commission. Doubtless there is a God that judgeth the earth;' for no other is able to do it.
Let it not offend the ears of one who believes in the unity of God, that he should receive a commission; since we acknowledge, that he, to whom this trust is committed, receives the authority, whereby he acts as our judge, from the appointment of the Father, as he does also his essence from the eternal generation; the Father being the fountain of the Godhead, and therefore of the divine authority; and since we likewise acknowledge, that the judge is man as well as God. Whatsoever reference this commission may have to his previous nature, it is declaratively founded on that which he assumed in the womb of the blessed virgin ; for, at ver. 17, he expressly assigns this as the reason of that commission, asserting, that the Father hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.' By thus affixing the idea of his delegation to his human nature, he seems to have pointed out this passage as a key to all other expressions of the like import. He is sent, he is commis. sioned, he is commanded, to do, not his own will, but the will of his father, because he is a Son; peculiarly, indeed, because he is the Son of man.
As he is commissioned to judge, so, in the same manner, was he commissioned to preach, and work miracles. He, being man, had a distinct will of his own; it was, however, not that will, but the will of his father, which he was appointed to execute in all he did : neither was it his human wisdom, by which he taught the world; nor his human power by which he wrought his works; but the divine wisdom and power communicated to him by his Father along with his essence. Therefore, he saith, “I (as a man) can of myself do nothing: as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because