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that they were taught by the ancient Fathers, · or delivered down by Memory. And they dea creed in the Council of Trent, 200 Years ago, that such Traditions were to be received with the same Respect, as holy Writ. But let Us rest on surer Ground : build on the Foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ kimself being the chief Corner Stone *; and on all Occasions appeal to the Law and to the Testimony : for if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them'.
* Eph. ij. 20.
1 If, viii. 20.
S E R MON IV.
2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God:
and is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteoufnefs : that the Man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good Works,
TN discoursing on these Words, I have already
I. That Scripture is of Divine Authority: II. That it completely answers every Purpose of Religion.
And therefore I now proceed to the next Head, proposed in the Beginning, which is
III. That we ought to read and study it diligently.
This Duty follows with the clearest Evidence, from its Inspiration and Usefulness. For if we G 3
may neglect what was written under so peculiar a Direction of God, for our Guidance to eternal Happiness, to what can we possibly ever be bound to attend? And yet I fear the Consciences of many, if not most of us, can too easily inform us, how little we regard, how seldom we look into, these Books. We exclaim against it perhaps as the wickedest Tyranny in the Church of Rome, that it prohibits them to be read without Licence. But do we ourselves make much more Use of our Bibles in the Midst of the fullest Liberty, than if they continued to be tocked up from us? Do we not spend a very small Share of our Time, of our Leisure Time, in looking into Them, compared with what is wasted in the idlest Occupations and Amusemenţs ? The Hours, which we allot to reading, do we not more commonly, and with far more Pleasure, employ them on any other Sort of Reading, the most insignificant, the most corrupting and pernicious, than on this ? Are there not Multitudes, who can hardly name the Time, when, even on the Lord's Day itself, they read a Chapter, with the serious Intention of improving their Souls? Nay, the few, (and very few Į doubt they are at present,) who think of Religion in earnest, do they not usually apply ço
Other Books chiefly for Instruction in it, and Audy the sacred Volumes far less, than the Compositions of fallible Men?
These are Facts as notorious, as they are lamentable. And therefore I shall
1. Consider, in order to remove, the Causes, from which so wonderful a Contempt of God's Word hath arisen.
2. Produce his Commands for paying it a very different Regard.
3. Shew, what Evils follow from disobeying these Commands.
1. I Mall consider the Causes, from which this wonderful Contempt of God's Word hath arisen.
Now the more general Causes doubtless are, the original Corruption of our Nature, indifposing us to every Thing good; (against which, if we value our Interests in a future Life, we ought to watch continually:) and our consequent Acts and Habits of Sin, which we very absurdly suffer to drive us from the Scripture, that we may be easy in them, instead of having Recourse to the Scripture, which would excite us to an effe&tual Reformation of them. Another very extensive Cause is the wrong Education of our Youth. They are very little taught, in Com