Imatges de pàgina
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humility and reverence will be the Interpreter's best security. They will teach him, on the one hand, to “ receive with meek“ ness the engrafted Word,” thankfully imbibing the Spirit as well as the Letter of its instructions. They will teach him, on the other hand, to beware of any attempts to become wise above that which is written, or of searching after new and unauthorized interpretations.

They will admonish him not to 6 forsake the foun“ tain of living waters," nor to “ hew “ him out cisterns, broken cisterns, which “ can hold no water';” but to “ draw " waters out of the wells of Salvation 8." unadulterated by any admixture of human invention. And, “ blessed are they who “ thus hunger and thirst after righteous“ ness; for they shall be filled "."

e James i. 21.
8 Isa. xii. 3.

f Jer. ii. 13.
h Matth. v. 6.

SERMON

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Which is the Church of the living God, the

pillar and ground of the Truth. UPON a general review of the history of Revealed Religion, every intelligent observer máy perceive, that it has not been left to human wisdom only to provide the means of communicating and perpetuating its blessings to mankind. Human instrumentality has been employed ; but under the control of special laws and ordinances from above. Human learning has been made necessary for a right knowledge of its instructions; but in subserviency to the rule of Faith. Human authority has been ordained to administer its laws, and to dispense its privileges; but with no power to alter one tittle of its charter. The Wisdom which foresees and plans every thing from

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the beginning, and the Power which carries on and accomplishes whatever that Wisdom had devised, have clearly manifested a Divine superintendence of the whole: while the agency of man has been no less conspicuous in those various circumstances and events, which, without any miraculous interpositions of the Almighty, have contributed to its extension and completion.

In the words of the text the Apostle adverts to one special instance, in which this joint cooperation of divine and human powers is eminently conspicuous; the Institution of the CHURCH for the preservation of the Christian Faith:-“the Church " of the living God, the pillar and ground " of the Truth.”

Some difficulties have been raised respecting the precise meaning of these terms; difficulties created rather, perhaps, by the views of interpreters to their own particular systems, than by any ambiguity or obscurity in the text itself. Papists have endeavoured to ground upon this passage of Scripture an argument for the infallibility of the Church : to overthrow which, some would apply it, not to the visible Church known by its authorized governors and pastors, but to the invisible, known only to God, and consisting exclusively of those pure and faithful members of Christ who shall finally be made partakers of his everlasting kingdom. Others regard it as a personal exhortation to Timothy to shew himself “ a pillar of the Truth” in the house, or Church of God. Others, again, (not without some perplexity in the grammatical construction) refer these expressions to “ the mystery of godliness” described by the Apostle in the subsequent verse.

But the more obvious application of the text to the universal Church, administered under an external and visible form of

government, best accords with the context, and is liable to no solid objections. The words immediately follow a series of instructions to Timothy, how he in the office of a Bishop, and others in the inferior orders of the ministry, were to conduct themselves in the house of God; " which,"

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