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The laft book of the New Testament is called, The Revelation of St. John, from his own declaration in the first verse of it; The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, and which he signified by his angel unto his servant John.-St. John was distinguished by the honourable appellation of the Beloved Disciple; he lay in the bofom of his Lord, and 'froin thence the sacred love of God and man was transfused into his breaft: he was eminently endued with his Master's spirit, and the sublimer mysteries of his universal kingdom were made known to him.
There are several Epistles in this book of Revelation to the churches of Asia, which John had planted, or at least cultivated and improved. The subject of them is very nearly the same, being either a commendation of their faith and virtue, or a reproof for their failings, and an exhortation to repentance and perseverance. But several parts of this book are mysterious and prophetical, and appear to be beyond the reach and comprehension of any human capacity. Many pious and learned men in all ages of the ciiurch, have diligently examined and endeavoured to explain there writings ; but we have reason to believe, that they have "never yet been fully understood by any man.
They seem, however, in general, to del..
cribe the state of the church at that time in which they were written; and the future state of it to the end of the world; the things that were, and the things that Mould be hereafter..
In the conclusion of this wonderful book, with which the canon of scripture closes, our Blessed Lord, in the most awful manner, charges the Apostles to denounce a dreadful sentence of condemnation against any designed alteration of the word of God. If any man mall add unto these things, God jhali adá unto him the plagues that are written in this book : and if any man Mall take away from the words of the book of this Prophecy, God mall take away his part out of the book of life.-You have now the whole revelation of Christ, abundantly fufficient to make you wise unto Salvation. Receive it as a sacred trust, to be preserved inviolate : and never be tempted, by a desire of soothing your own passions, or the passions of others, to add to it, or to take from it. You are now to expect no more interpositions; no further prophecies; no new revelations; for they are needless.
There will be no more sacrifice for sin; no other scheme of salvation; no other offer of mercy. But when our Lord shall come again, He will come in his glorious majelty to judge both the quick and dead, and to give to every man according to his work.And He, who testifieth these things, faith, surely I come quickly. To which gracious assurance the devout heart of the Evangelist immediately replies --and may the heari of every one replyAmen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
of God. Infpiration is á divine influence conveying to the mind such a degree of knowledge, as it could not, at that time, have attained by the usual exercise of its faculties. The Apostles 'and Evangelifts wrote under this facred influence : and Christians in all ages have reverenced their writings, and constantly appealed to them, as the infallible oracles of Gid.
If God sent his Son from Heaven with a divine revelation for the benefit of all inen, would he not take care, that the doctrines He taught, and the facts which confirmed his mission, should be preserved in authentic records? If he intended, that the Scriptures should be a standa d of faith, and a rule of life, for the ins uçti in of all na. tions and all ages, would he not guide the
nds of his penmen, and secure them from
error? --It is certain, that the Apostles received a supernatural assistance in preaching the Gospel; for God himself bore wito ness to them, enabled them in a moment, by the effusion of the Holy Spirit, to speak an amazing variety of languages, and to work all kinds of miracles : and is it reâ. sonable to suppose, that less care would be taken of their writing than of their Speaking?-We have strong reason therefore to conclude, that the Apostles wrote as they were moved by the Floly Ghost; and that the Scripture is not the word of man, but the word of God. And as God is a Being of infinite knowledge, who cannot be de. ceived Hiinself, and of infinite goodness, who will not deceive his creatures, it follows, that his Word, like himself, is Light and Truth, and in it is no falsehood or error at all.
Several disputes have been raised concerning the Nature and Degree of the Inspira. tion of Scripture: but the plain account of the matter seems to be, that in cases which were entirely new to the Apostles, and be yond their understanding, they wrole from the immediate suggestion of the Holy Spișit: and, in cases where they themselves had perfect knowledge, That facred person only fo far" presided over their minds, as to secure them from mistake and error, leaving them to the free use of their own
reason, and to express their thoughts in their own words.
And as all Scripture is given by the InSpiration of God, so is it profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. It is a suffi. cient rule both of faith and practice; a complete measure of what is necessary to be believed or done by us; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, and become wife unto Julvation.
What a satisfaction must it be to have in our hands a book, containing the express will of God concerning us! What a comfort to be safely guided through the mazes of ignorance and darkness, and to have the Word of Truth for a lamp to our feet, and a light to our paths! How thankful Thould we be for it! How careful to direct our thoughts and actions by it! How attentive in perusing those holy Oracles, which offer peace and pardon to the penitent, and bring life and immortality to light!
The Church of Roine debars the common people from reading the Bible: the locks up the Scriptures from them, and takes the key of knowledge out of their hands, insisting, that they have no right to judge for themselves in matters of faith, and ought to submit implicitly to her in
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