« AnteriorContinuar »
every Thing, and we know little} that others perhaps now, and we ourselves after farther Inquiry, may fee very distinctly what at present we see not at all; and, (which alone may suffice to our Satisfaction) that whatever else may be dark or doubtful, or seem exceptionable, there is abundantly enough, clearly and indisputably written, to answer the End of all; that we may believe, that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing wt may have Life through his Name'.
* John xx. 31,
2 Tim. Ui. 16, 17.
./f// Scripture is given by Inspiration os God; and is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness: that the Man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good Workt.
I."TN my preceding Discourse I proved to I you the Divine Authority of Scripture; and now go on, as was proposed, to shew II. Its complete Usefulness. This the Apostle hath expressed by saying, it is profitable for Doctrine, or teaching religious Truths; for Reproof, or Confutation of the opposite Notions and Practices; for Correction, that is, Amendment of those, whom it reproves ; for Instruction in Righteousness, that is, leading
good good Persons on to still higher Degrees of Perfection.
Had the Writers of it been left to themselves, yet being worthy Men, and well informed of what they wrote, it would have been extremely useful. But as they were superintended by the Spirit of God, it must be unspeakably more so: in particular, because we may with absolute Security rely on it in all Points. Whatever it teaches, we may safely learn; and it teaches the whole of Christianity; the Historical Facts, .the Articles of Faith, the Rules of Life, the Promises, the Threatenings, the Exhortations, the Examples. From Scripture chiefly, and almost solely, we come to know, that God is infinitely perfect, and made the World; that Man is sallen and redeemed; that he hath eternal Happiness or Misery set before him; and what the Means are of procuring the one, and avoiding the other. For Reason could discover but little of these Things, and did discover much less: and Tradition is unable to convey .any Thing sar down with Certainty. In this narrow Compass lies the Proof, and it is a complete Proof, of the Benefits that we may receive from holy Writ. However it hath graciously condescended to invite Us to partake of them, by specifying t!hem more distinctly. I shall only mentioti a few of those, which are enumerated in one Psalm, the 119th. You will judge from thence of the rest. Wherewithal Jhall a young Man cleanse his Way? Even by ruling himself after thy Word'. Thy Words have I hid -within niy Heart, that I might not jin agaihst theeb. Thy Testimonies are my 'Delight and my Counsellors V So shall I have wherewith to aiifwir him, that reproachesb me: for I trust in thy Word4. I will walk at Liberty, for I seek thy Commandments '. Thy Statutes have been my Songs in the House of my Pilgrimage*. The Law of thy Mouth is dearer unto me, than Thousands of Gold and Silver^. If my Delight had not been in. thy Law, I siiould have perished in my Trouble*. Through thy Commandment I gef Understanding: therefore I bate all evitWaysl. Thy Word is a Lamp unto my Feet, and a Light unto my Paths*. Thy Testimonies have I claimed as mine Heritage for ever: and why? they are the very Joy of my Heart1. Great Peace have they, which love thy Law, and nothing jhall offend themm.
* v. 9. * v. 11. c v. 24. d v. 42. ev. 4j.
f v. 54. « v. 72. h v. 92. S r. 104. k v. 105.
*r. in. "V.'165.
These These and many other Advantages, which the inspired Writings ascribe to themselves, are also in Reason to be expected from them; the Authors had experienced them; all pious Men have experienced them since; every one, that will, may at this Hour. And therefore I shall enlarge no farther at present on the direct Eyidence of them; but proceed to answer the Objections of those, who are hindered by unjust Preposseflions from trying them: who% cither contest the Usefulness of Scripture, in order to overturn its Authority; or, which is wonderfully inconsistent, think veryvlowly- of the former, while they acknowledge the latter. For I fear many entertain injurious Opinions of the Word of God, without daring to own it, even to themselves: which ipfluence them powerfully, though secretly, first to read, then to esteem it, less and less; then to indulge a Life unsuitable to it, and perhaps in the last Place to reject it entirely. These ensnaring Sentiments therefore I shall plainly bring forth into your View without Disguise, and confute them; that you may have Answers ready to the bad Suggestions of other Men, or your own Minds.