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itself entitled to the blessings of redemption, it will be impossible to restrain the tongue from praising the almighty God and Redeemer of the world. The reardeemed soul can no more forbear to praise its Redeemer, than the body can forbear to breathe, so long as there is any life in it.
You may remember, that I set out at first with a general plan of the whole Psalm, and I need not here repeat it. You have heard each part explained, and have been shewn how each tends to carry on the general plan. You have seen how regular and beautiful it is altogether; how important the subject, how strong and striking the arguments. It is indeed a masterly painting of our lost estate by sin, which is here represented in various lights, the more forcibly to affect us, that finding our distress, and being disposed to cry out for deliverance, we may be the more thankful to the Redeemer, when he comes and brings us free and full redemption. For this end the holy Spirit inspired the Psalm, and for the same good purpose we have been considering it. God grant we may not have considered it in vain. It is a very weighty and solemn scripture, and contains the most powerful motives, which infinite wisdom itself could propose, both to convince us of our misery without a Redeemer, and also of our happiness in him, and these most powerful motives ought certainly to produce the greatest effects, they ought to fill our hearts with gratitude, and to raise us to the highest pitch of thankfulness; but if we have no better dispositions to be thankful to our blessed Redeemer, than we have had before we heard these motives, there must be some very bad cause in our own hearts: what it is I will endeavour to find out by applying myself,
First, To them who disbelieve the state of the case as it is laid down in this Psalm. The subject is thanksgiving. The motives used to excite in us a thankful temper are taken from the distressed estate of mankind by nature, and from their perfect recovery by grace. And no man can be unthankful, who has seen himself in this lost condition, out of which he was brought by the free grace and mercy of the Redeemer. Such a person I say cannot be unthankful: because while he retains the sense of his former misery, and of his present happiness, his mind is always in a thankful temper, and he must lose this sense, before he can be indisposed to give thanks and praise to his redeeming God. This is the clear and plain state of the case. And the holy Spirit supposes, that the proper consideration of it would be sufficient to inspire us all with thankfulness; for when he comes to sum up the argument, he says, “ whoso is wise,” whosoever has the true wisdom, 6 will observe these things,” will observe the great points treated of in this divine composition, and will endeavour to understand them in a practical way, by applying what he knows of them to the state of his own soul. And whenever he is thus wise, and has this right understanding, then he will be full of thanks and praise to the God of his salvation. Now there are men among us, who disbelieve all this, who deny the lost and fallen estate of mankind, and who talk of, I know not what, fancied dignity and rectitude in poor sinful worms; and although they see the whole face of the earth covered with sin, yet they will not allow that man is sinful. And thus they deny the very evidence of their senses, when it makes against infidelity, and are therefore greater enthusiasts, than mistaken religion ever did produce. A poor creature, who believes without evidence, is indeed an enthusiast.; but the infidel, who disbelieves against evidence, is got to the very top of enthusiasm. All deists are rank enthusiasts, and of the worst kind : because they can refuse to believe their own senses, when they give evidence for Christianity. If there be any of them in this place, I must call upon them to observe those things, which are recorded in this Psalm. Consider, why you disbelieve them. What reason, what motive have you ? If you would submit to the authority of scripture, it has determined, that we are altogether corrupt and abominable, and that there communion with the Father of spirits, who is to the soul what the sun is to the body, it then deprived him of all spiritual discernment, and without the light of revelation he is unable to discover those objects, which can only be spiritually discerned. He is blind and ignorant in the things of God, and obstinate too in his ignorance. He is in the dark, and he loves darkness ; and being a slave to the prince of the powers of darkness, he is taught to hate the light; and he hates it with a perfect hatred. He flies from it, lest his works should be manifest, and their horrid deformity should fill him with shame and painful conviction. While he is in this condition, and every man is in it by nature, the eyes of his understanding have no more perception of any spiritual object, than his bodily eyes would have of material objects, if there was no light to enlighten them. The organ of sight would remain, but then, without light, it would be of no more use than if it was quite destroyed. The scripture has given us a melancholy account of this spiritual darkness and blindness, and represents it to be so far above the power of nature to remove, that it was one principal end of Christ's coming from heaven to preach recovery of sight to the blind. And to enable him to recover it, the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon him without measure: for it required the power of an almighty Spirit to cure the obstinate blindness of a sinful world, who loved darkness rather than light. Read the first chapter of the Romans, and you will there find, what horrid deeds of darkness were, and always will be the fruits of nature, when left to its own fancied light. The apostle does not scruple to declare of the refined taste of this polite classical people, “that they were become vain in To their imaginations, and their foolish heart was dark“ened.” The imagination of their finest poets—even Virgil's imagination, St. Paul being judge, was vain. And Tully with his great parts, with his vast reading, and all his attainments, had a foolish heart, St. Paul being judge, and in the things of God was exceeding
fighting against God, and how then can they succeed, who oppose his covenant, confirmed by his revealed will, and established by his miraculous works? So long as this scripture stands upon record, it will overthrow all their attempts to lay any other foundation. Will the metaphysician think of laying his reason and the light of nature? It is written, Jesus Christ is the foundation, and there is no other. Will the moralist think of laying a system of ethics, and the religion of nature ? Jesus Christ is the foundation, and there is no other. Will the Arian, Socinian, and other infidels think of being justified without the merits of the God-man ? Jesus Christ is the foundation, and there is no other. In short, every doctrine and duty stands established upon him. He is the foundation of all : “ for other foundation can no man lay, than that is “ laid, which is Jesus Christ.” · The scope and design of the words thus in part opened and explained, offer to our consideration the following truths: · First, Jesus Christ is the foundation of all saving knowledge. · Secondly, He is the foundation of all acceptance with God the Father.
Thirdly, He is the foundation of all holy obedience. And,
Fourthly, He is the foundation of all present and eternal happiness. And may the Spirit of the Lord Jesus direct our hearts to make a right use of this scripture under the First Particular, which was to prove, That he is the foundation of all saving knowledge,
By saving knowledge. I understand all the knowledge which respects the salvation of sinners. And man, in his fallen state, neither has any of this knowledge, nor can he attain it by any means in his own power. His reasoning faculties in their highest refinement could never have discovered to him, how he might be pardoned: for when sin cut him off from all
dark. And this was true of the rest of the heathen
But why need I multiply texts in defence of a truth, for which scripture speaks so plain, and matter of fact speaks for itself. It is an undoubted truth, that there was no saving knowledge in the heathen world. We therefore call it heathen, because it wanted this Chris. tian knowledge. What discoveries did the classical ages of Greece and Rome make in the doctrines of sale vation ? Rather, what had they not done to obliterate the scope and intent of the ceremonies, which God had instituted to keep up the knowledge of these doctrines ? The very traces of them were so entirely lost, that