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never fail to render them more acceptable; for we read, that the power of Christ took effect on those only who had faith to be healed, There is not a want of man, nor any occasion in life, on which the miracles of Christ will not supply us with the finest matter of devotion, and in some such form as the following, with which I shall conclude.
“ ( Son of David, thou great physician of souls, who didst once exercise thy power in “ the land of Judea, and wentest about doing
good; thou art still with us; and hast pro“ mised so to be unto the end of the world. “ Have mercy upon us under all the weak
nesses of our nature, and succour us under all
oppression from evil men or evil spirits : de“ liver us from the bonds of our sins, and give
light to us when we sit in darkness : open our eyes, that we may see the things which
belong to our peace: give us an ear to hear “ and understand thy word ; and a tongue to "praise and confess thee before men: give
strength to our feeble hands, that they may “ be lifted up to thy name, and let our knees “ be flexible and ready at their devotions : “ cleanse us from our secret faults, as well as
our outward offences : feed our souls with “the bread of life, and let us hunger and thirst, that thou mayest satisfy us. Be mind“ ful of us, O Lord, in our distresses, when
we are tossed about upon the waves of this « troublesome world : and in all our dangers “ of soul and body, stretch out, to save and “ defend us, that right hand which raised up
thy disciple sinking in the mighty waters. “ In all things let our faith be toward thee, " and then shall thy power and mercy be “ toward us for deliverance and salvation." Amen.
THE USES AND EFFECTS OF THE SYMBOLICAL STYLE
OF THE SCRIPTURE.
Now it hath been shewn what the figurative language of the holy scripture is, by an induction of particulars; we may proceed to speak with more confidence concerning the uses and good effects of it. We now stand as it were upon an hill, up to which our inquiry hath conducted us, thence to survey the fruitfulness of the holy land. We have seen that the law, in its sacrifices and services, had a shadow of good things to come; that its history is an allegory; that God used similitudes by his
prophets; that Christ spake in parables; that the apostles preached the wisdom of God in a mystery; in a word, that the whole dispensation of God towards man, is by signs, shadows, and figures, of visible things. The law of Moses, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Gospels, and Epistles, and most of all the Revelation of St. John, use and teach this figurative language: and, therefore, in the use and interpretation of it must consist the wisdom of those who are taught of God. Here is the mind that hath wisdom, saith St. John, the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. Where the word wisdom is applied to this science of decyphering the figurative expressions in the language of the Revelation. So at the end of the 107th Psalm, wherein the salvation of man's soul is set forth under all the forms of deliverance from bodily dangers, it is added, Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord. Whatever the form and manner may be after which the divine wisdom is communicated, it must be the best: and such we shall find it, when we inquire how the improvement of man's mind is promoted, and all the purposes of God's revelation answered by the use of this symbolical or figurative style of speaking from the images of things.
1. This method is necessary to assist the mind in its conceptions, and supply the natural defect in our understandings. Being men, invested with an earthly body, which hath a sense of nothing but material things, we cannot see truth and reason, in themselves, as spirits do: these things are of a different nature from our sight; and therefore we are obliged to conceive them as they are reflected
to us in the glass of the visible forms, and sensible qualities, of outward things.
It is the excellence of this mode of speaking, that it is not confined to the people of any particular nation or language; but applies itself equally to all the nations of the earth, and is universal. It was not intended for the Hebrew or the Egyptian, the Jew or the Greek, but for man; for that being who is composed of a reasonable soul, and a fleshly body; and therefore it obtains equally under the Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian Dispensation ; and is of common benefit to all ages and all places. Words are changeable ; language has been confounded ; and men in different parts of the world are unintelligible to one another as barbarians; but the visible works of nature are not subject to any such confusion; they speak to us now the same sense as they spoke to Adam in paradise; when he was the pupil of heaven, and their language will last as long as the world shall remain, without being corrupted.
Thus, for example, if we take the word God, we have a sound which gives us no idea ; and if we trace it through all the languages of the world, we find nothing but arbitrary sounds, with great variety of dialect and ac