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The Price of Truth.

The Price of Truth.

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Published by glennpease

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Published by: glennpease on Dec 17, 2012
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03/26/2014

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The Price of Truth.
BY REV. JAMES SAURINProverbs xxiii. 23.Buy the Truth.What is truth? John xviii. 38. This questionPilate formerly put to Jesus Christ, and there aretwo thino!;s, my brethren, in the scripture account of this circumstance very surprizing. It seems strangethat Jesus Christ should not answer Pilate's ques-tion ; and it seems equally strange that Pilate shouldnot repeat the question till he procured an answerfrom Jesus Christ. One principal design of the Sonof God, in becoming incarnate, was to dissipate theclouds with which the enemy of mankind had ob-scured the truth; to free it from the numberless er-rors, with which the spirit of falsehood had adulter-ated it among the miserable posterity of Adam ; andto make the fluctuating conjectures of reason sub-side to the demonstrative evidence of revelation.Jesus Christ himself had just before said to this endrvas 1 born, and for this cause came I into the worldsthat 1 shi'Uld hear witness unto the truth, ver. 37. yeiyhere is a man lying in the dismal night of paganism;a man born in darkncsSy having no hope, and be-TOL. II, 42'^ The Price of Truth.ing without God in the world, Eph. v. 8. and ii. 12.here is a man, who, from the bottom of that abyss inwhich he lies, implores the rays of that light whichlighteth every man that cometh into the world, John i.9. and asks Jesus Christ, What is truth ? and JesusChrist refuseth to assist his inquiry, he doth not evencondescend to answer this wise and interestingquestion. Is not this very astonishing ? Is not thisa kind of miracle ?But, if Jesus Christ's silence be surprizing, is itnot equally astonishing that Pilate should not re-peat the question, and endeavour to persuade JesusChrist to give him an answer. A man, who haddiscovered the true grounds of the hatred of theJews; a man, who knew that the virtues of the illus-trious convict had occasioned their accusations a-gainst him; a man, who could not be ignorant of the fame of his miracles; a man, who was obliged,as it were, to become the apologist of the supposedculprit before him, and to use this plea, I find inhim no fault at all; which condemned the pleader,while it justified him for whose sake the plea was
 
made; this man only glances at an opportunity of knowing the truth He asks. What is truth 1 But itdoes not much signify to him, whether Jesus Christanswer tlie question or not. Is not this very aston-ishing ? Is not this also a kind of miracle ?My brethren, one of these wonders is the causeof the other, and, if you consider them in connection,your astonishment will cease. On the one hand,Jesus Christ did not answer Pilate's question, be-cause he saw plainly, that his iniquitous judge hadThe Price of Truth. 27not such an ardent love of truth, such a spirit of dis-interestedness and vehement zeal, as truth deserved.On the other, Pilate, who perhaps mi^ht have likedwell enough to have known truth, if a siniple wishcould have obtained it, gave up the desire at thefirst silence of Jesus Christ. He did not think truthdeserved to be inquired after twice.The conduct of Jesus Christ to Pilate, and theconduct of Pilate to Jesus Christ, is repeated everyday. Our assiduity at church, our attention to thevoice of the servants of God, our attachment to thesacred books in which truth is deposited ; all thesedispositions, and all these steps in our conduct, are,in a manner, so many repetitions of Pilate's question.What is truth ? What is moral truth ? What is thedoctrinal truth of a future state, of judgment, of heaven, of hell ? But how often, content with theputting of these questions, do we refuse that assidu-ous application of mind, that close attention of thought, which the answers to our questions wouldrequire ? Hew often are we in pain, lest the light of the truth, that is shining around us, should force usto discover some objects, of which we choose to beignorant. Jesus Christ, therefore, often leaves usto wander in our own miserable dark conjectures.Hence so many prejudices, hence so many errone-ous opinions of religion and morality, hence so ma-ny dangerous delusions, which we cherish, evenw^hile they divert our attention from the great end,to which we ought to direct all our thoughts, design.?,and views.28 The Price of Truth.I would fain shew you the road to truth to-day,my brethren ; open to you the path that leads to it;and by motives taken from the grand advantagesthat attend the knowledge of it, animate you to walk in it.
 
I. We will examine what it costs to know truth,IL What truth is worth.Our text is, buy the truth j and the title of our ser-mon shall be the Christian's Logic. Doubtless, thegreatest design that an immortal mind can revolve,is that of knowing truth one's self: and the design,which is next to the former in importance, andwhich surpasseth it in difficulty, is that of impartingit to others. But if a love of truth ; if a desire of imparting it to a people, whom I bear always on myheart; if ardent prayers to the God of truth; if these dispositions can obtain the knowledge of truth,and the power of imparting it, we may venture toLope, that we shall not preach in vain. May Godhimself crown our hopes with success!I. We are to enquire for the road that leads totruth ; or, to use the ideas of our text, we are to tellyou what it costs to know truth.Before we enter on this enquiry, it is necessaryto determine what we mean by truth. If there bean equivocal word in the world, either in regard tohuman sciences, or in regard to religion, it is thisword truth. But, not to enter into a metaphysicaldissertation on the different ideas that are affixed tothe term, we will content ourselves with indicatingthe ideas which we affix to it here.The Price of Truth, 29Truth ought not to be considered here as subsist-ing in a subject, independently on the reflections of an intelligence that considers it. I do not affirmthat there is not a truth in every object which sub-sists, whether we attend to it or not : but I say, thatin these phrases, to search truth, to love truth, to huytruihy the term is relative, and expresseth a harmonybetween the object and the mind that considers it,a conformity between the object and the idea wehave of it. To search after truth, is to endeavour toobtain adequate ideas of the object of our reflec-tions ; and to huy truth, is to make all the sacrificeswhich are necessary for the obtaining of such ideasas are proportional to the objects of which our no-tions are the images. By truth, then, we mean, anagreement between an object and our idea of it.But we may extend our meditation a little farther.The term truth, taken in the sense we have now giv-en it, is one of those abstract terms, the precisemeaning of Avhich can never be ascertained, with-out determining the object to which it is attribu-

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