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morrow sinking to the tomb-how infinitely varied the errors and the prejudices which pervert our researches! how feeble are our most exalted faculties-utterly incompetent to penetrate into the essences of things, and satisfactorily to account for the most simple phenomenon that arrests our attention! Surely it is not for us to raise our feeble understanding against the most high God, to exercise proud and presumptuous doubt on the counsels and will of the Eternal. No; let us hear the word of God with humility; for
2. Its truths are incomprehensible.
It relates to subjects that confound the vision of the most exalted seraph, and into its mysteries angels desire to look. It reveals to the finite understanding of man the nature and perfections of the Godhead. It unfolds to his limited vision the counsels of eternity, and the immeasurable plans of Providence. It directs his view to the stupendous truths of redemption in the incarnation of the Son of God, and points his contemplations to the transcendent destinies of the eternal world. Is it to be expected that subjects so spiritual and sublime should be brought down to the comprehension of human reason? Can the finite mind grasp that infinite essence that pervades all space? Can our feeble faculties bear the dazzling view of those glories before which fades away the splendour of the worlds?
Brethren, let us receive with humility those truths which cherubim and seraphim are unable to comprehend; and let it be our sole object to draw from them those principles and precepts that will make us wise unto salvation.
We should hear the word of God
II. With reverence.
1. For its subjects are of awful importance; 2. It is clothed with divine majesty and power; 3. It is enforced by everlasting sanctions.
We should hear it with reverence
1. For its subjects are of awful importance. They unfold the everlasting destiny of man, and the will and counsels of that Almighty Being who governs, and who will judge the universe, and his eternal plan for the salvation of his fallen creatures. If any subjects should impress us with reverence, surely they are these. As ignorant, dependent, sinful creatures, we stand before our Almighty Maker and Judge; and when he opens to us the volume of his will, when he displays his adorable nature and perfections, when he pronounces the terms on which alone we can escape the sentence of his justice, shall we indulge in thoughtless levity? shall we exercise capricious criticism, or raise the unhallowed scoff! Feeble and unworthy may be the agents, O God, through whom thy truths are proclaimed; but they are thy truths, and thou wilt vindicate their authority in the punishment of the irreverence with which they may be received. Yes; we should hear the truths of God's word with reverence
2. For they are clothed with divine majesty and power.
My brethren, if the throne of the Eternal were now displayed in this temple-did those glories that cast awe into the ranks of angelic spirits, shed here their effulgence-did the voice that once shook the mountain of Sinai, now, in this sanctuary, proclaim the laws and the denunciations of
the Sovereign of the universe-would there be one in this assembly unmoved, one on whom fear would not fall, one whom God's excellency would not make afraid? The voice of Jehovah is heard in this sanctuary; he speaks with majesty and power in the truths of his holy word, which are here with authority proclaimed. And that Almighty Lord who is jealous of his honour, that omniscient Being who cannot be deceived, and who will not be mocked, will not fail to note, and at that day when he sits in judgment, to punish the indifference or irreverence cast upon the truths of his word. Hear them then with reverence
3. For their sanctions are everlasting.
The reverent and obedient hearers of his word God hath promised to crown with everlasting glory -against the thoughtless and presumptuous contemners of it he hath denounced everlasting wo. The truths of his word, then, are armed with the sanctions of eternity; the messages which it còntains will seal our destiny in the unchanging state beyond the grave. Let us then, brethren, when in this holy place we are called to hear the word of God, carry our view forward to that eternal scene on which we must enter; and let us recollect that the truths of God's word which we hear, will there determine our destiny of happiness or wo. Received with penitence and faith, they will restore us to the everlasting favour of God; or if we continue impenitent and unbelieving, will be the means of our condemnation. Considering then the truths of God's word as involving the unchanging destiny of our immortal spirits, let us hear and receive them with submissive reverence. Restraining every vain desire for inferior excellencies, and repressing the
suggestions of a censorious temper, let us be principally solicitous to hear proclaimed, in their affecting dignity, and simplicity, and fidelity, the truths and duties of salvation; and let us reverently receive them as the injunctions of that Almighty Being by whose authority we are bound, to whose justice we are obnoxious, and who is able to save and to destroy.
The same considerations that urge the necessity of our hearing the word of God with humility and reverence, impress the duty also of hearing it
III. With earnest attention.
But this duty may be more particularly enforced from the interesting nature of the truths of salvation.
1. They enlighten us in that knowledge which is, above all other, interesting-the knowledge of God;
2. They provide the means of our deliverance from the dominion and guilt of sin; and,
3. They only console us under the ills of life.
We should hear the truths of salvation with earnest attention; because
1. They only can enlighten us in that knowledge which is, above all other, interesting—the knowledge of God.
The truths of God's word are designed to lead us to the knowledge of his perfections and will; to lay open, as far as is necessary to our duty and our happiness, his counsels and dispensations in the government and redemption of the world; and to display, in all his divine attributes, that infinitely great and good Being, whose favour is life, whose
loving-kindness is better than life.
And shall we bestow our most keen attention on the researches of science, on plans of temporal policy, and on the means of worldly aggrandizement and pleasure, and turn an unwilling or listless ear to the truths that relate to our eternal peace-to the attributes and will of the Being who made and who is to judge us! Ah! the discoveries of science, unless religion guides and sanctifies them, will be extinguished in the darkness of the grave; there will be whelmed the stately structures of wealth, the splendid edifices of pleasure. The truths, and the treasures, and the joys which the word of God discloses, will alone survive the ruins of time, and flourish in enduring perfection. Hear, then, with eager and earnest attention, this sacred word, and it will lead you in the way of peace, and conduct you finally to the fruition of the light of God's countenance in his kingdom above.
Hear the truths of God's word with earnest attention; for
2. They provide the means of our deliverance from the dominion and guilt of sin.
Sinful passions and principles exercise dominion over us; conscience brings before us the deficiencies, the infirmities, the transgressions of our past lives; there is a tribunal where the Almighty Being is to decide our doom, who hath denounced indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish against every soul of man that doeth evil. Should we not anxiously seek for the overtures of mercy, and for the means of redemption? These are held forth in that sacred word which is promulgated in the services of the sanctuary. Let us hear, then, with earnest attention, its interesting truths; for they