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Dr. Colman's SERMON ON GOD's magnifying his WORD.

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The Great GOD has magnified his WORD to the Children of Men. A SERMON Preach'd at the Lecture in BOSTON, April 29. 1742.

By Benjamin Colman, D. D. Wherein his Testimony is humbly given, for the Great and wondrous Work of GOD's Grace manifest in many Parts of the Land, and also against some Things which may dishonour and obstruct it.

1 Pet. iv. 11. If any Man speak, let him speak as the ORACLES of GOD; — that GOD in all things may be glorified through JESUS CHRIST; to whom be Praise and Dominion for ever and ever.

BOSTON: Printed by T. Fleet, for D. HENCHMAN, and Sold at his Shop in Cornhill. 1742.

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The WORD of GOD magni­fied by Him.

PSALM cxxxviii. 2.

—For Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy Name.

THIS is one of David's Psalms of Praise, and it begins magnificently; "I will praise Thee with my whole Heart, before the Gods will I sing Praise unto Thee. Whether we pray to GOD or praise Him, it should be with our whole Heart; with the ut­most Devotion of our Souls, all the Faculties and Powers of them being exerted. An upright and fer­vent Heart in Worship, is the whole Heart.

"Before the Gods will I sing Praise unto thee: Before the Angels say some, whose Presence in the Place of Worship was then represented by the Cherubims over the Mercy Seat, and on the Vail before it. — But we may rather understand the King to mean his Fellow-Princes and Potentates of the Earth, the neighbouring States and Kingdoms round about him; and also the [Page 6]great Assemblies and Congregation of the Nobles and Judges of Israel; of whom we read Psal. 82.1, 6. GOD standeth in the Congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the Gods; I have said ye are Gods, and all of you Children of the MOST HIGH.

WHEN David wrote to Hiram of the Greatness of the GOD of Israel, and when Solomon shew'd the Queen of Sheba how he went up to the House of GOD; then was this Scripture also fulfilled in the very Letter; "before the Gods will I praise Thee.

THE Psalmist goes on, "I will worship toward thy holy Temple, and praise thy Name for thy Loving-kindness and for thy Truth." The Temple was yet to be built, but the Tabernacle or Sanctuary was the same Thing to GOD and his Worshippers; and thither they went at the appointed Times with the Voice of Praise; or if they were at a Distance, they worshipped toward the Place, as Daniel did even when it lay in Ruins. Heaven is the Holy-place where GOD dwells, and thither we direct our Prayers and look up; and CHRIST is our Temple there, and to HIM at the FATHER's right Hand we lift up our Souls, and look by an Eye of Faith, and our spiritual Sa­crifices are acceptable.’

THE Reason of Praise follows, "for thy Loving-kindness and Truth. These are a special Part of his Glory passing before us; "abundant in Goodness and in Truth. — By Truth is meant the Promises that GOD had made and fulfilled to David; in the making and performing of which the Loving-kindness of GOD was glorious; freely made, and all made good; all of Grace, Mercy and Truth, which David resolves never to for­get, but ever to give GOD the Praise of. GOD had promised him the Throne, and had set him on it, and now says he — "Before the Princes will I sing Praise to Thee, for thy Loving-kindness and for thy Truth.

[Page 7] MY Text follows, "For thou hast magnified thy WORD above all thy Name. — GOD's NAME is mag­nificent in every glorious Attribute and Perfection. He has magnified it, and will magnify it again. It is Great above all the Praises of Men and Angels.

IN a particular Manner GOD has magnified his Truth, that blessed and Divine Perfection; and it is exalted infinitely above all that Men can say or think of it: The Name of GOD is in it; it is revealed and magnified to us in his Word: There especially is the Exhibition of his Loving-kindness to the Children of Men. ‘The Mercy of GOD to Mankind, hid in Him from before the Foundation of the World is his Loving-kindness; the Mercy revealed to us in his Word is his Truth.

IN magnificent Manner GOD has made his Name, Himself, known to us ‘in the Works of Creation and Providence; but most of all in his Word: The Wonders of Grace exceed those of Nature; the Dis­coveries by Revelation are much greater than those by Reason.’

I SHALL speak of the Word and Truth of GOD in general; taking in the Doctrines, Precepts, Promises, Threatnings, Prophecies and History of Scripture; all which is written for our Learning, and to make us wise unto Salvation. In all of them together the Word of GOD is magnified.

To magnify a Thing is to make it great, famous, illustrious, and to put high Honour on it. So GOD has magnified the Law and made it honourable. Isai. 42.21. — I shall here say,

I. The Word of GOD is magnificent in it self. As GOD is excellent, so must his Word be. It is the Image and Picture of his Divine Majesty, drawn by his own Pencil; the Brightness of his own Glory as far as it can be shown in Words. Hence CHRIST, the [Page 8]SON, the express Image of the Person of the FATAER, is called — "THE WORD OF GOD.

THE spiritual and moral Glory of GOD's Law is infinite, eternal, ineffable. All the Beauties of Know­ledge, Wisdom, Holiness, Justice, Goodness and Truth shine in it. We behold in it, as in a Glass, the Glory of the LORD. Read the magnificent Things spoken of it by the LORD Himself, Deut. 4. and in the 19, and 119 Psalms.

IT leads us into the true Knowledge of GOD and our selves; and of all our Duty to Him, our selves and our Neighbours; that we may be happy in the Favour and Enjoyment of GOD here and for ever, and in the Love of Men and they in us. It teaches us how to honour, worship and serve GOD with Soul and Body, as becomes his infinite Perfection and Glory; and is also the perfect Rule of Righteousness and Charity to Men, in whatsoever Relation we stand toward them, or in whatsoever Condition we or they are, or may be.— It is the perfect and royal Law of LOVE; that radiant Word wherein Light dwelleth. Whatsoever Things are pure and lovely, every Virtue and every Praise, without any Darkness at all, are written (as with a Sun-beam) in this most blessed Word. Such is the Magnificence of the Holy Word.

IT is the Law of the supreme GOD, perfectly adapted for his Empire over Souls, their Sanctification and eternal Happiness. ‘A Word every Way suited to the Souls of Sinners; a Doctrine of Wisdom adap­ted to their Ignorance; of Power adapted to the obstinate, of Grace and Mercy to the guilty and mise­rable. It commands, promises and threatens with a Divine Majesty and Authority; it instructs with a heavenly Clearness, and it persuades with a Divine Force and Efficacy. * This is the true Grandeur of the holy Word, the Name of GOD graven on it.

[Page 9] II. GOD has magnified it in the Manner and Way wherein He has given it to us. The solemn Enacting, passing and Delivery of the Law puts Grandeur on it. The GOD of Glory appear'd to Moses at the burning Bush, and afterward came down on Sinai with Thou­sands of his Angels, and lastly spake to us by the Mouth of his own Son, the Heir of all Things; who also upon his Ascention pour'd out the HOLY SPIRIT in cloven Tongues of Fire on his Apostles and chosen Witnesses: And thus GOD has magnified his Word to us in the Delivery of it.

1. AT Sinai, from the burning Mountain, He pro­claim'd his fiery Law in Ten Commandments, with Sound of Trumpet, by the Mouth of his mighty An­gels! How awful a Descent of the Great GOD! "Lo, I come to thee in a thick Cloud, that the People may hear when I speak, and believe thee for ever. This oral De­livery of the Law was to magnify it unto the Children of Israel; and it did so; for all the People in the Camp trembled, even MOSES himself exceedingly fear'd and quaked: For the Mount was altogether in a Smoke, which ascended like that of a Furnace, and the whole Mount quaked greatly. It was a Day never to be for­gotten, ever to be kept in Mind by them; Deut. iv. 32, 33. Ask now of the Days that are past, since the Day that GOD created Man upon the Earth, from the one Side of Heaven to the other, — did ever People hear the Voice of GOD speaking out of the midst of Fire, and live! Unto thee it was shewed that thou mightest know that the LORD he is GOD, there is none else beside Him.’

INDEED the Thing is too great to be amplified on or magnified by any Words of Man! It was a kind of Day of Judgment, and they that felt the Terror of it prayed they might never again see or hear the like. The Scripture abounds in the rhetorical and lofty De­scriptions [Page 10]of it; ‘GOD came from Sinai, the HOLY ONE from Mount Seir, with ten thousand of his Saints; they sat down at his Feet, to receive his Words: The Earth shook, even Sinai it self at the Presence of the LORD: His Thunder was in the Heavens, his Lightnings light'ned the World, the Earth trembled and shook, and all the People saw his Glory, worship Him all ye Gods.

2. YET greater Honour GOD has put on his Word in the Days of the Gospel, in speaking to us by the Mouth of his own SON; ‘by whom he made the Worlds (Heb. 1.) who being the Brightness of his Glory, and the express Image of his Person, and up­holding all Things by the Word of his Power, when He had by himself purged our Sins, is sat down on the right Hand of the Majesty on High; being so much better than the Angels, as He hath by Inheritance a more excellent Name than they; for to which of the Angels said GOD at any Time, Thou art my SON, this Day I have begotten thee! But when he bringeth his First-begotten into the World, he saith, ‘Let all the Angels of GOD wor­ship Him.’

THE SON OF GOD took our Nature, to come and publish the FATHER's Will to us: GOD was manifest in Flesh, and Men beheld his Glory, the Glory as of the "Only begotten. The Law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by JESUS CHRIST. This is the Ministration that exceeds in Glory. This Man had more Glory than Moses, who was but the Servant, HE the LORD in his own House. Moses wrote of Him, the Law of Moses led to Him, and was fulfilled in Him. At Sinai GOD promised to raise up this Prophet, as a greater Thing than all that they had seen [Page 11]or heard there. For which is greater, GOD in a Cloud, or on a fiery Mountain, speaking in Thunder; or GOD in our Nature, found in fashion as a Man, and speaking to us Face to Face, with a Man's Mouth? Which is greater, the Word spoken by Angels with the Trump of GOD; or by the Mouth of GOD the Lord of Angels, in the Form of a Servant? He made his An­gels Flames of Fire on Sinai, but to the SON it is said, "Thy Throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever. If then the Ministration of the Law, in the Terrors of Death, was glorious, the Ministration of Life in the Gospel of CHRIST exceeds in Glory.

PASS we then from the burning Mountain, and the quaking Congregation at the Foot of it, to the Mount of Grace whereon JESUS far, and the Multitude around him, divinely aw'd, and delighted by his heavenly Voice: Matth. v. ‘And he opened his Mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven; blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth; blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted, &c. Thus GOD having raised up JESUS, sent him to bless and save us. A spiritual Eye sees more Glory in this Dispensation of Grace than in all the magnificent Ap­pearances on Sinai. A greater than Moses is here. See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh! We owe a greater Reverence to this softer Voice of GOD to us, We are not come to the Mount which burned with Fire, &c. but to Zion, to JESUS the Mediator and to the Blood of sprinkling. Our Eyes behold the Desire of all Nations, and our Ears hear the Voice from the excel­lent Glory. Here all GOD's Glory and Goodness is made to pass before us! and here are no Bounds about the Mount to keep us off, but all the Force of Love, and Charms of Grace to draw us on.

[Page 12] III. GOD has magnified his Word by the Miracles with which He has testified unto it. A Miracle is some manifest supernatural Effect above the Power of known natural Causes, and beside their known Course and Laws; which therefore must be the Doing of the GOD of Nature, upon some great and special End or Reason. Now it has pleased the sovereign and most wise GOD in this Manner often to attest unto the Re­velations of his Mind and Will unto us, and to the Mission of inspired Persons with his Messages in their Mouths. This is properly a Divine Testimony; and doubtless if GOD has given a Revelation to Mankind, it has been attended with such his Testimony. And if the great GOD has testified to his Word by Signs and Wonders, and Works truly divine, we must needs own that he has herein magnified and put great Honour on it. It is as a Sign-manual, the Finger of GOD, his Stamp or Seal put to his Word.

THUS the five Books of Moses are magnified to the Church for ever, ‘in all the Signs which GOD sent him to do in the Land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and all his Servants and in all his Land; and in all that mighty Hand and great Terror also, which he shewed in the Sight of all Israel; who when they saw the Miracles they feared the LORD and believed his Servant. Exod. 4.31.’

To magnify his Word it was that GOD divided ‘the Sea before his People, and made the Waters to stand as an Heap, while they passed thro' as on dry Land: He also clave the Rocks in the Desart, and gave them Drink as out of the great Depths: He rained Flesh upon them as Dust, and feather'd Fowl as the Sand of the Sea.’ The Record of these Things is magnificent to the Church of GOD through all Genera­tions. Psal. 78 and 105.

How was the Word of the LORD again magnified, when Jordan divided before the Ark wherein the Tables [Page 13]of the Law were deposited? And how again when the Walls of Jericho fell, blown down by the Breath of the LORD's Priests, bearing his Ark before the Con­gregation? — GOD magnified his Word when he thunder'd on the Philistines at the Prayer of Samuel, and shut up Heaven and open'd it at the Prayer of Elijah: In what Grandeur did that famous Prophet say to Ahab, "There shall be no Rain for three Years to come, but by the Word of the Lord in my Mouth? And again in what Grandeur sat he on the Hill and said, "If I be a Man of GOD let Fire come down and consume thee and thy Fifty! And yet again, how did the LORD magnify his Word in the Day when he answered Elijah by Fire, and it consumed not only the Sacrifice and the Wood, but even the very Stones of the Altar, and lick'd up the Water that was in the Trench; and the People fell on their Faces and said, "The LORD He is GOD, the LORD He is GOD.

GOD had once magnified his Word in the Mouth of Joshua, before the Armies of Israel and those also of the Aliens, and the Sun stood still in the midst of Heaven, and there was no Day like it: Again he magnified it in like Manner to the Sight and Astonish­ment of all Babylon, in the Day when the Sun went back, and the Idol of Babylon was made to do Homage at the Prayer of the reforming King; and the Idola­ters sent with Reverence to enquire after the Sign. — And when Judah was sent into Babylon for violating the holy Word of their GOD, GOD magnified it there by many astonishing Signs and Miracles; as Daniel's Preservation in the Den of Lions, and his Brethren's in the fiery Furnace; "Of a Truth, said the King of Babylon, your GOD is the GOD of gods, and the KING of Kings. Such is His Word and Law above theirs.

BUT when we look into the holy Gospels, we find the numerous excelling Miracles of our LORD JESUS and the Power which he gave to his Apostles to work [Page 14]the like in his Name; Miracles of Mercy and Com­passion, Benignity and Bounty. * The Jews were con­vinced, tho' not converted, by these mighty Works, "If ye believe not Me, believe the Works. But the Gentiles were made obedient, through the mighty Signs and Wonders, by the Power of the HOLY GHOST; at the Prayer of Faith, Acts 4. 29, 30. And now LORD, grant unto thy Servants that with all Boldness they may speak thy Word, by stretching forth thy Hand to heal; and that Signs and Wonders may be done by the Name of thy holy Child JESUS.

Indeed the two grand Miracles of the Gospel Day, whereby GOD magnified his Word, were the Resur­rection of CHRIST from the Dead, and the cloven Tongues of Light which sat over the Disciples on the Day of Pentecost; and they spake all Languages, and Men of every Nation heard them speak the wondrous Works of GOD in their own Tongue. GOD magnified his Word that Day unto all the Nations of the Earth, and the Event was their Illumination and Conversion. These Miracles which GOD has wrought in Honour of his Word are indeed magnificent Things. — But yet again,

IV. GOD has magnified his Word in the Prophecies and Promises of it, accomplished and fulfilled to his People. This is that particular thing which my Text refers to; GOD had foretold and promised to David his Advancement to the Throne of Israel, when there was no Prospect or Appearance of such an Event; but it was gradually, in wondrous Manner brought about, in Spite of all the Opposition made against it. Yet this was but a little Instance in it self, but in its Conse­quence vast, in the Kingdom of the MESSIAH, the Son of David.

[Page 15] TRUTH and FAITHFULNESS is a transcendent Glory of the DEITY. All the Perfections of GOD are glorified in this. "GOD maintains the Honour of his Word by making it good for ever.

How has the LORD made his Word illustrious, from the Beginning of the Bible to the End of it, in the Fulfilment of that Great Promise of the Messiah, a Saviour, the SEED OF THE WOMAN? The nume­rous Prophecies of the Old Testament fulfilled in the Per­son, Life, Sufferings, Death, Resurrection and King­dom of our LORD JESUS: "HE born of a Virgin to break the Serpent's Head! He the Lamb slain from the Beginning of the World in all the Sacrifices from the Day of Abel! He the Seed of Abraham in whom all the Families of the Earth are blessed! He the Lion of the Tribe of Judah! He the Shiloh at whose Coming the Scepter should depart! He the Son of David, whose Throne is for ever and ever! He the King upon the holy Hill of Sion, to whom GOD has said, ‘Thou art my SON, this Day have I begotten thee; ask of me and I will give thee the Heathen for thy Inheri­tance, and the uttermost Parts of the Earth for thy Possession!’ He IMMANUEL God with us, GOD in our Nature; ‘to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the Government is laid upon his Shoulder.’ He the tender Plant and Root out of a dry Ground! He the Man of Sorrows and acqnainted with Grief! He of whom all the Prophets have spoken!

IN nothing has the LORD more magnified his Word than in this Testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy.

YET are there many other plain and magnificent Prophecies, such as Jacob's blessing his Sons, and Moses blessing the Tribes, the Man of GOD against the Altar at Bethel; those concerning the Captivity and Return of Judah, and of Cyrus their Deliverer by Name; Daniel's Visions of the Monarchies and of the Rise of [Page 16]Antichrist; to all which must be added the Prophecies of CHRIST JESUS our Lord and his Apostles in the New Testament, respecting the Destruction of Jerusa­lem, the Dispersion of the Jews, their Preservation a distinct People among the Nations, the Revelation of the Man of Sin; the Pride, Idolatries, Bloodiness and Abominations of the Papacy; in all which GOD has magnified his Word of Truth. Verily, there has not failed one Word of all that the LORD has spoken, from the Beginning of the Bible to the End of it. — How ought the devout Believer to fall down with Ad­miration and Delight at the Feet of Jesus, and worship the infinite prescient MIND, the faithful GOD who keepeth Truth for ever. "It stands fast for ever and ever, holy and reverend is his Name.

V. GOD has magnified his Law by sending his SON from Heaven in our Nature to obey it, to fulfil the Righteousness therein required, and to bear the Curse for the Transgression of it. For these glorious Ends CHRIST came in the Flesh, and they are the highest Honours that the Holy GOD has done to his holy Word: According to those remarkable Words of the Prophet Isaiah, Chap. 42. ver. 21. "The LORD is well plea­sed for his Righteousness sake, He will magnify the Law and make it honourable."— The SON OF GOD came down from Heaven to satisfy Divine Justice, to make ample Reparation to the Honour and Holiness of GOD, for the infinite Injury down by Man's Sins to his Law and Government, his Crown and Throne; which stand upon his asserting and vindicating the Honour of his Law; which is more dignified in the Obedience and Sufferings of the Son of GOD, than if Man had never sinned, or all Men had for ever suffered.

READ the magnificent and marvellous Thing: Psal. 40. 5, 8. Many O LORD my GOD are thy wonderful Works which thou hast done, and thy Thoughts [Page 17]which are to us ward! (but there is one that exceeds all the rest, and that is this) Sacrifice and Offering thou wouldest not; then I said — lo I come, in the Volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy Will, O my GOD! thy LAW is within my Heart. * The Heart of the FATHER and SON were set on this, the doing Honour to the broken Law, in the Salvation of an Elect Number of sinful Men; in order to which, this was the deep Counsel between them both from the Days of Eter­nity; "That the SON OF GOD should in the Fulness of Time take the Sinner's Nature, and therein fulfil the Righteousness of the Law, and bear the Curse of it, and answer hereby all the Demands of Justice; that the infinitely Holy GOD may be sanctified in Righteous­ness while his Grace is abounding to the chief of Sinners; that He may be just, and yet the Justifier of the Believer in JESUS.’ Rom. 3. 26.

BUT let us more distinctly consider the holy Law magnified, 1. in the active, 2. in the passive Obedience of our LORD JESUS.

First, By being made of a Woman he was necessarily made under the Law, the moral Law; and being of the Seed of Abraham He subjected himself to the Law of Moses then in Force, the Ceremonial Law. It be­hoved him therefore to fulfil all Righteousness, and to present unto GOD a perfect Obedience in our Nature; and an Obedience superior to that of any meer Crea­ture, yea of all Creatures, may be well conceived ne­cessary in Him who was to satisfy for the Transgression of a World of Sinners, and to bring in a Righteousness for the Justification of Sinners, and become the LORD their Righteousness. Jer. 23.6.

IN this the Law was magnified; Isa. 45.24. ‘Sure­ly shall one say, in the LORD have I Righteousness and Strength; even to Him shall Men come, and all [Page 18]that are incensed against him shall be ashamed; in the LORD shall all the Seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. 1 Cor. 1.30. But of Him are ye in CHRIST JESUS, who of GOD is made unto us Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption. Rom. 5.19, 21. For as by one Man's Disobedience many were made Sinners, so by the Obedience of ONE shall many be made righte­ous, that as Sin hath reigned unto Death, even so might Grace reign thro' Righteousness unto eternal Life by JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD.’

THE Eternal Word (says Lanctantius) became the living Law, that the broken Law might have more Glory in his Obedience, than it had suffer'd Dishonour by Man's Transgression. He that gave the Law mag­nify'd it by subjecting Himself to it. GOD magnify'd his Word indeed, when He made his Only-begotten un­der it. Truly the holy Word was magnified in the Life of CHRIST, the glorious Transcript of it, which has set it in a Light dazling to Angels as well as Saints. As feeing the Light is more to us than any Description of it, so is the Exhibition of the Sanctity of GOD's Word in the Obedience of his own SON. In his Face is the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of GOD. He the true Light which enlighteneth the World! he has made other shining Lights in his Church, but is Him­self the Sun of Righteousness that has risen over them with Healing in his Wings. Mal. 4.2.

BUT if the Law be thus magnified by the active Obedience of CHRIST, is it not yet more so, Secondly, in and by his passive Obedience; his Obedience unto Death, the Death of the Cross; the accursed Death! He bore our Sins, he bore the Curse in his own Body on the Tree! — He redeemed us from the Curse of the Law, by being made a Curse for us; as it is written, "He that is hanged is accursed of GOD. *

[Page 19] O sacred Law and glorious Justice! Here is Judg­ment and Righteousness, the Habitation of GOD's Throne. When by the Law no Flesh could be justi­fied, GOD sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful Flesh, and He by making Himself a Sacrifice for Sin, condemned it, that the Righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in those that walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8.3, 4.

To magnify the holy Law, the HOLY ONE OF GOD was number'd with Transgressors; was made a Sin-Offering! The Day and Hour of our LORD's Cru­cifixion was that of the Law's Triumph: It was seen so by Angels, the same Holy Ones who were at Sinai, on the holy Mount, at the Law's Delivery in Fire; and now they saw a fiercer Flame than any that had ever burnt up the Wicked. Now, to the Principalities and Powers in the heavenly Places was shown more of the tremendous Holiness than they had ever seen before. — They had seen a World of Angels cast down from Hea­ven for their Sin, and now they saw a World of Sinners delivered from Hell by Faith in the Blood of a great Propitiation held forth from Heaven! This, with great Reverence, they desire to look into, with cover'd Faces; and cry, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD OF HOSTS, the whole Earth is full of his Glory.

O stupendous and magnificent Thing! estimate the Law of GOD by the Blood of his Son! or illustrate the Matter by a low Comparison, accounted Great among Men. "The noble Roman gave up his two Sons when they had conspir'd against the State; and the People were ready to worship him, as more than a Man: for the Law was visibly more to him, than any Ties of Flesh and Blood. — But our GOD, the supream Lawgiver and Judge, to preserve the Honour of his Government, "spared not his own most holy SON, but deliver'd Him up for us; for such a Sacrifice and such an High-Priest became us; holy, harmless, undefiled, se­parate [Page 20]from Sinners, and made higher than the Heavens. Heb. 7.26. If He would save us, he must die him­self, and satisfy the Law.

VI. GOD has magnified his Word, in that He now governs the World by it, and will judge it hereby in the last Day. This is the natural and essential Honour of the Holy Word, that it is the most wise, holy, per­fect Rule of GOD's Government and Judgment. And here,

1. The natural World has been dreadfully judged for Man's Transgression of the Law of GOD, and shall at last be burnt up in Honour to it.

GOD magnified his Word when he curs'd the Ground for Man's Sin. The whole Creation groans to this Day and travails in Pain under it. The Creation shall suffer, but not the Law. And it will be literally seen in the last Day, that Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but not one tittle of the Law in any wise.

2. THE intellectual moral World are govern'd and judg'd by the glorious Word of GOD. Both the King­dom of Providence and Grace are administred according to it.

First, The Kingdom of Providence: ‘GOD reign­eth over the Heathen, sitting on the Throne of his Holiness; his Eyes behold, his Eye-lids try the Children of Men; from the Place of his Habitation he looketh upon all the Children of Men; He fashi­oneth their Hearts alike, he considereth all their Works; He judges the World with Righteousness and the People with his Truth.’ (See Psalm 33 and 96.) Such is GOD's daily magnifying his Word in the written Promises and Threatnings of it respecting Per­sons and Places: He brings forth his Judgments as the Light through a wicked World; by terrible things in [Page 21]Righteousness he answers the Faith and Prayers of his People, and fulfils the Fears of his and their Ene­mies: He empties the Vials of his Wrath, and is known by the Judgments which he executes; his Word is magnified in 'em all: Psal. 58.11. So that a Man shall say, Verily there is a Reward for the righteous, ve­rily a GOD that judgeth in the Earth.

Secondly, According to his Word is the present Kingdom and Empire of his Grace in and over the Souls of his Elect. This is the spiritual Glory of the Word; little observed but most observably magnified to a care­less World.

ON the one Hand, it is dreadful to think how the Word of GOD is magnified in the Obduration of ob­stinate Sinners, according to that amazing Message which CHRIST put into his Prophet's Mouth when he saw his Glory, Isa. 6.9. ‘Go tell this People, hear ye indeed but understand not, and see ye indeed but perceive not! make the Heart of this People fat, and make their Ears heavy, and shut their Eyes; lest they see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Heart, and convert and be healed.’

BUT on the other Hand, how glorious is it to the divine Word, that it has a Power and Efficacy given it for the Conversion and Salvation of as many as GOD has ordained to Life everlasting! How great is its Glo­ry in their effectual Calling and Sanctification? — So the Rod of Moses was at the same time magnified in the Sight of Pharaoh and all his People, and in the Eyes of the Israel of GOD; in the Destruction of the one and Salvation of the other.

WE read over and over the most magnificent Cele­brations of the divine Law, in its saving Effects on the Souls of Men: ‘The Law of the LORD is perfect, converting the Soul; the Testimonies of the LORD are sure, making wise the Simple; the Statutes of [Page 22]the LORD are right, rejoicing the Heart, the Com­mandment of the LORD is pure, enlightning the Eyes, &c. Rom. 1.16. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of CHRIST, for it is the Power of GOD unto Sal­vation to them that believe. Heb. 4.12. For the Word of GOD is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged Sword, peircing even to the dividing asunder the Soul and Spirit, and is a Discerner of the Thoughts and Intents of the Heart; neither is there any Creature that is not manifest in his Sight, but all Things are naked and open unto the Eyes of HIM with whom we have to do. 2 Cor. 10.5. For the Weapons of our Warfare are not carnal, but mighty through GOD to the pulling down strong-holds; casting down Imaginations and every high Thing that exalteth it self against the Knowledge of GOD, and bringing into Captivity every Thought to the Obedi­ence of CHRIST.’

THIS, this is GOD's magnifying his Word to a spiri­tual Eye, to the best and greatest Purposes, when Sin­ners are convinc'd and pricked to the Heart by it! When the Commandment comes with a divine Light and Power on their Consciences; when Sin by it becomes exceeding sinful; and Moses himself quakes, and the hardy Taylor trembles and cries out, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? — But then the mild Reign and Rule of Grace in the Souls of the Regenerate is yet more magnificent; GOD having put his Law in their Heart, and written it in them, and shed abroad his Love! and they become his Temple and Palace, incomparably be­yond those of Solomon or Herod! O how does the en­lightned Soul magnify the Word, whose Power it has felt, whose Glory it has seen, and calls it honourable? It reverences and delights in it, fears and stands in Awe of it, esteems it concerning all things to be right, and hates every false Way! Because it is very pure, there­fore the Soul loves it, takes it for its Heritage for ever, [Page 23]and makes it its exceeding Joy; is quickned daily and comforted by it, and esteems it as its necessary Food, tastes that it is good. O how the holy Soul magnifies GOD for his Word and gives Him Glory on the Ac­count of it! ‘I will never forget thy Precepts, for by them Thou hast quickned me; I have chosen the Way of Truth, thy Judgments have laid before me; and I will walk at Liberty and seek thy Pre­cepts.’ — This is the Glory that excelleth! for what are Prophecies or Miracles themselves, in Comparison herewith? as the LORD has said, Mat. 7.22. ‘Ma­ny will say to me, Lord, Lord, have we not pro­phesied in thy Name, and in thy Name have cast out Devils, and in thy Name done many wondrous Works; and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work Iniquity.’—The End of the holy Word is the saving Illumination and Conquest of Souls, and in this it is magnified, has its Course and is glorified, and GOD is admired in it for ever and ever. It remains only to say,

3. GOD has magnified his Word above all his Name, for it is the rule of the General and eternal Judgment. Joh. 12.48. The Word that I have spoken, the same shall jndge you in the last Day. What less than this can be the Honour of the Divine Law, and what greater Honour can be done it? By it the Eternal State of Men will be decided? How awful and reverend should this make it? according to it will our final Judgment be.

IN humane Courts of Judicature the Law is the Thing magnified; the Judges reverence and determine by the Law; the Jurors are sworn to go according to it; the People submit their Estate, Liberty and Life to it. What is more venerable, and what more for­midable than the righteous Law, and the impartial Administration of Judgment by it? But if the Deter­mination [Page 24]of Men's temperal Interests, by the Judgment of humane Laws, be so awful and venerable to Men, how much more must the Decision of Men's eternal State, by the Divine Law, magnify that and make it dreadful?

READ how the Apostle speaks of it, Rom. 2.16: In the Day when GOD shall judge the Secrets of Men by JESUS CHRIST, according to my Gospel; for as many as have sinned in the Law shall be judged by the Law. So CHRIST hath clothed the written Word with his own Majesty and Glory, that it may be fearful to us: As the FATHER has committed all Judgment to Him, that all Men should honour the SON even as they honour the FATHER. — "Have I not Power to cru­cify thee? and Power to release thee? said the Judge of old, when he would magnify himself above the Law: But the supream Law-giver must of Right and Neces­sity invest the Law with this Glory, that it has Power to justify and condemn: This Power is given it from on high, and it is herein greatly magnified; as in the Process of the last Judgment, Revel. 20.11, 12. ‘And I saw a great white Throne and Him that sat on it, from whose Face the Earth and Heaven fled away! And I saw the Dead, small and great, stand before GOD, and the Books were opened, and ano­ther Book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged out of those Things which were written in the Books according to their Works; —and Death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire.

THUS our Bible, that now neglected and slighted Book by many, will be open'd by the inthron'd JESUS at the last Day; when he will magnify it by judging the World according to it. This is his final aggran­dizing it; Psal. 76.7, 8. The Earth feared and was still, when GOD arose to Judgment, to save all the Meek of the Earth; surely the Wrath of Man shall praise thee. [Page 25]Psal. 96. ult. Before the LORD, for he cometh, for be cometh to judge the Earth; he shall judge the World with Righteousness, and the People with his Truth.

BUT this for the Proof of the Doctrine, "that the Great GOD has magnified his Word to us, and will magnify it in the highest Manner. — I come now to the Application.

LET us then see to it that we magnify GOD the LORD and his holy Word in our Hearts and Lives, and with our Lips.—We magnify it by believing it, and O could we be strong in Faith, giving Glory to GOD! We magnify it by admiring and loving it, thy Pre­cepts are wonderful, therefore doth my Soul keep them; thy Word is very pure, therefore thy Servant loveth it.’

GOD has magnified his Word that we should fear it, tremble and quake at it; and to this Man will the High and losty One look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite Spirit, and that trembleth at his Word.

GOD has magnified his Word to us to magnify our Sins to us, that by the Commandment they may be ex­ceeding sinful; for how have they vilified that great holy Law which GOD has magnified in the Condemna­tion of them?—We therefore magnify his Word by our repenting in Dust and Ashes; turning from all Sin with holy mourning, godly sorrowing, self-loathing: "O my GOD, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my Fyes unto thee, my GOD.

WE magnify GOD's Word by hoping in it, and by looking for the Mercy of our LORD JESUS CHRIST unto eternal Life according to it; for whose Righteous­ness sake GOD is well pleased, will magnify the Law and make it honourable: I hope in thy Word! I will praise thee, even thy Truth! The faithful GOD which keepeth Covenant and Mercy.

[Page 26] Finally, WE magnify the holy sovereign Word by our Obedience to it, and our religious Observance of all its Institutions and Ordinances: Only obey my voice, has the great and good GOD said to us; and again, Why call ye me LORD, LORD, and do not the Things which I say?—To obey is better than Sacrifice; and to bearken than the Fat of Rams.’

IN short, the whole Result of Faith, Love, Admi­ration, Fear, Repentance, Hope, is Obedience. The Grandeur of the Law lies in its Rule over us, its Com­mand of us: That is, in our sincere, universal, delight­ful, persevering Obedience to it; for Obedience is the Summary of Law and Gospel; it is the Religion, Ho­liness, Blessedness, Magnificence of Heaven: Bless the LORD ye his Angels that excel in Strength, that do his Commandments, hearkning to the Voice of his Word.

WE must magnify the Word of GOD in our Places, by honouring it to one another; as Parents to their Children; Deut. 6.6. ‘These Words shall be in thy Heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy Children, and talk of them when thou sittest in thy House: Housholders to their Families, that the Blessing of Abraham may come on them; Gen. 18.19. "For I know him, that he will command his Houshold after him to keep the Ways of the LORD: Ministers to their Flocks; preach the Word, be instant, in Season and out of Season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, &c. by Manifestation of the Truth, commending your selves to every Man's Conscience in the Sight of GOD: Magistrates to their People, as Ministers of GOD un­to them for good, Terrors unto Evil-doers, and a Praise to them that do well. Finally, all and every one of us in our several Places, as holy Brethren, Partakers of the Heavenly Calling; a chosen Genera­tion, a Kingdom of Priests, a holy Nation, a peculiar People, to shew forth the Praises of Him who hath [Page 27]called us out of Darkness into his marvellous Light.’ And thus GOD magnifies them who magnify his Word, and they are unto Him for a Name, a Praise and Glory.

To conclude, We magnify the Word of GOD by magnifying his Worship, private, secret and public; in a constant reverend Observation thereof, in the most serious and solemn Manner; in our Closets, with our Families, and in the Assemblies from Sabbath to Sabbath, and on Lectures.—In a particular Manner we must magnify the Lord's-Day, the Holy of the LORD and honourable, if we would magnify his Word: for with this the Bible begins and ends, our being in the Spirit on the weekly Sabbath; it is the first Thing in the Old Testament and the last in the New. And the whole inspired Law and Gospel is full of a holy Ministry, the Word Sacraments and Prayer.

WE magnify the LORD JESUS our King, our Law­giver and our Judge, while we assemble to pray in his Name, to sit at his Feet and hear his Word, bring our Seed to his Baptism, and shew forth his Death at his Table.—He has said to us, ‘Blessed is the Man that heareth me, watching daily at my Gates, wait­ing at the Posts of my Doors! And again, ‘I will declare thy Name unto my Brethren, in the midst of the Congregation will I praise thee: And again, Behold I and the Children whom thou hast given me.

AND now, my dear People, the Day (my own and yours) calls upon me to seize the present Opportunity, to leave my dying Counsel and Charge with you, both Ministers and Churches.

AND first to Ministers, — let us (my dear Brethren) magnify our Office, and the Word which we are called to preach, by a due Care as to the Matter and Manner of our Preaching. "If any Man speak (says the Apostle Peter, 1st Epist. 4th Chap. ver. 11.) let him [Page 28]speak AS THE ORACLES OF GOD; in a Manner worthy of these sacred Oracles; beseeming the Dignity, Majesty, Sanctity, Authority, Importance of those Di­vine Oracles. — We are Labourers together with GOD, ye are God's Husbandry and Building; as a wise Master-builder, I (said the blessed Paul) have laid the Founda­tion, and another buildeth thereon; but let every Man take heed how be build; that it be Gold, Silver, precious Stones; not Wood, Hay, Stubble, 1 Cor. 3.9. — My Brethren, we have precious Materials provided for us, and great should be our Care that they be well laid together and cemented; remembring that we are build­ing for GOD and with Him; that by his Power and Help we may both build up our own and our People's Souls on our most holy Faith; a spiritual House to offer up spiritual Sacrifices, acceptable to GOD through our LORD JESUS CHRIST. 1 Pet. 2.5.

WELL Brethren, Did we serve out our Time well in preparatory Studies and Prayers for our entring on this high and holy working with GOD and for Him? And did we accordingly enter on it with a due Solemnity of Soul? with something of Isaiah's Vision of the Divine MAJESTY on his Throne high and lifted up, and his Train filling his Temples; the Seraphims covering their Faces before Him! Isaiah, 6th Chap.

AH how wanting may we have been in this awful Consideration of GOD and his Word, when we gave our selves to Him, and to his People by his Will, to mi­nister unto their Souls, as those that must give an Ac­count? And how have we serv'd those for whom CHRIST died, in the Course of our Ministry? Have we preach'd, not our selves, but CHRIST JESUS THE LORD; and our selves their Servants for JESUS sake? — Has CHRIST, his Doctrine, his holy Law and Life, his perfect Example and glorious Works, his Humi­lity, Meekness and Charity, his Zeal for Truth and Holiness, his servent Devotions and absolute Submis­sions [Page 29]to the Will and Glory of GOD; his ineffable Love to Souls, and Demands from us of a like Love to Him and his Sheep and Lambs? — Has his Obedience unto Death, the Death of the Cross; the Atonement made thereby for the Sins of his Elect, and Satisfaction to the Justice of GOD for the Violation of his sacred Law; and the everlasting Righteousness thereby bro't in for the Redemption, Justification and eternal Salva­tion of believing repenting Sinners; — Have (I say) these peculiar Glories of the Gospel been magnified by us in our Sermons and Administrations in the House of GOD, and in our more private Applications to the Souls of our Flocks? Have we thus behav'd in the Church of the living GOD, which is the Pillar and Ground of Truth, regarding these Truths as the Pillars, Strength and Or­nament of the sacred, spiritual Edifice?

AND now, my dear and honour'd Hearers, I must give in my humble Testimony, and a noble one, on be­half of CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD the Great HEAD of the Church, and of his Grace to you, in the MINI­STRY which in my Times He has set over you, in this and many other Places of our happy and distinguish'd Land; — "that a great Number of them have been such as in their Doctrine and Conversation have been enabled to magnify the Name and Word of our LORD JESUS to you, in their Preparations for the Pulpit, and in their Manner of Address to GOD and you from it; and the present Pastors of the Churches (in a great Number of 'em) if I am able to judge, do not come short of their worthy Predecessors, but are building fair and strong on their Foundation, as wise and faithful Servants; and GOD is owning them greatly before you and blessing their Labours: The Blessing of Levi is with them, the Urim and Thummim, in a happy Mea­sure of Light, Zeal and Sincerity, thro' free and sove­reign Grace; and they do not serve GOD and you with unbeaten Oil, with what costs 'em nothing, but the [Page 30] Lamps burn clear and bright before you. In my Age I sit, hear and admire the labour'd, digested, methodical, enlightning, servent Discourses they bring you; such as they might bring before Kings and Universities, and not be ashamed; and yet all adapted to the poor of the Flock and to the lowest Understandings among you; even to the very Negroes of your Families, many of whom are become intelligent and serious among us. And I humbly trust, that after my Decease CHRIST will be still magnified in his preached Gospel among you; — I mean by the rising Ministry, many of whom appear to me to be coming forth into the Service of the Sanctuary, as with a superior Zeal for the Honour of CHRIST, and to save themselves and those that bear them; so with a Care for proper Furniture by diligent Study, to give Light and Heat together, in their well composed and deliver'd Sermons, which are acceptable and profitable to our Flocks.

AND I earnestly exhort these my younger Brethren, together with the very promising, studious and serious Candidates for the Ministry now in our College, that they emulate the Learning and Labours of the present Pastors of the Churches round about them; and yet more those of the FIRST FATHERS of our Country; who with equal Care and Speed founded our Churches, Schools and Colleges together, and never separated their Bibles and Literature in their Preparations for public Serviceableness, but kept the one in reverend Subjection to the other. — So my SONS, do you study your Bibles first and most, and then use all your Acquisitions of humane Knowledge, and your peculiar natural Gifts and Powers, whether of Reasoning or Oratory, to re­commend and inforce the lively Oracles of GOD to the Understanding and on the Affections of those to whom you may be called to minister. — For if you go off from studied Sermons, you will I fear lose all that the Fathers of these Churches have wrought for us; and [Page 31]will come (unlike them) to this People, with empty Noise of Address to their Passions only, which is not the Way of your Bible, nor of the HOLY SPIRIT who inspir'd it, who by the Understanding enters the Heart, convincing Men of Sin, of Righteousness and Judgment, their lost and perishing State, and Need of a SAVIOUR.

LET me recommend to you Dr. WATTS his hum­ble Attempt for the Revival of Religion; a Book worthy to be read and deeply consider'd by Ministers and Peo­ple; and in a particular Manner by the Candidates for the Evangelical Ministry, before they enter on the Work of Preaching; that in their Composures they may equally remember how much they have to do with the Mind and Understanding, and also with the Hearts and Consciences of their Hearers; and with HIM that made Man's Heart and searches it, and only can reach and change it: Accordingly "methodize, explain, illus­trate, prove, infer upon and apply the Subjects which you undertake, as in the Fear of GOD you truly judge will most magnify the Word you preach, and benefit the Souls of Men. — To which End also I do with like Earnestness recommend to Students and younger Mini­sters (and also to private Christians) a like admirable Book of Dr. WATTS's, of the "Use and Abuse of the Passions in Matters of Religion; as surprisingly calculated for our Instruction and Admonition at this Day.

AND suffer me, my dear People, now I am it may be taking Leave of this Desk, in a particular Manner to intimate to you my Apprehension and Fear of great Dishonour to the Word of GOD, and of Danger to your Souls and those of your Families, and therefore of Ruin to the Churches of New-England, if we give Counte­nance and Encouragement to illiterate and half-learnt Persons to go about exhorting and drawing Hearers by their Shew of Affection to Souls for their spiritual Profit and saving Good, or from their sincere Desire thereof; for it certainly tends in Time to run the Churches into [Page 32] Confusion, and to bring the Ministry of the Word into Contempt. — I must needs therefore repeat my public Caution to you some Months ago, ‘that you would no more run from your own Pastors with such open Disrespect after every new Face or fervent Voice, with far less Furniture for your real spiritual Edifica­tion.’ We may well blush for some who have sat so long, and profited so well, under our Ministry, and yet have no more attained to a true Taste and Judgment. Your Ministers have been and are, from Time to Time, earnestly and powerfully addressing to your Affections and Passions as well as Reason, with a distinct Sound and superiour Light, such as no uncertain Flashes out of Clouds and Darkness may at all compare with.

I close with giving Glory to GOD for the Great and good Work of his Grace, which He has so visibly begun, spread and is carrying on, in every Part almost of our Provinces; which that we may all in our respective Places subserve, under the special Direction, Restraint, Influence and Enlargement of the BLESSED SPIRIT of Truth, Holiness and Love; (WHOM I sincerely and most thankfully desire to adore as "magnifying therein his Word above all his Name) is I hope my single Aim in what I have now said; — and may all the Churches say, AMEN, praise ye the LORD.

FINIS.

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