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ly Ghost. Its origin then is divine. (j) 8. The light of nature, so far as it extends, perfectly coincides with the revelation of the Bible. The analogy between these two sources of instruction proves them to be from the same Author. And as God is the Author of the light of nature, so he must be of the Bible.
Such is the evidence in favor of the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures. How plain, various, abundant, and conclusive! And all who have been inwardly taught by the Spirit, feel that it is so. The Bible must be the word of God.
Q. 15. Is the Bible a complete and infallible rule of faith and practice?
A. It is. Nothing is to be added or subtracted. Every thing necessary to be believed or practised in religion is here taught with Divine perfection, infallibility, and authority. All controversies in religion, decrees of councils, opinions of ancient and modern writers, the preaching of the gospel, and the sentiments of ministers and people, are to be tested by the Bible. This is the supreme judge in all matters of religion. There can be no appeal from Scripture to reason, for this would be to exalt man above God. This grand Protestart maxim should ever be embraced and maintained. (k)
(1) Acts ii. 47. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.—2 Cor. x. 4. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighity through God to the pulling down of strong holds.
(k) Rev. xxii. 18, 19. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.—Is. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.-Gal. i. 8. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.-2 Pet. i. 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye tako heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
Q. 16. Should the Old Testament, under the gospel dispensation, be received as a guide in matters of faith and practice, as well as the New ?
A. Those parts of it, which express the will of God in reference to moral duties, and which contain peculiarly gospel instruction, as also the devotional and prophetical parts of it, are always to be received in this light.
But what is peculiar to the Mosaic or Jewish ritual, is not obligatory upon Christians, as this was abrogated upon the introduction of Christianity—though useful to show and illustrate human redemption and sanctification. Both the Old and New Testaments teach the same great religious truths -the same God, the same Saviour, the same plan of mercy, the same repentance and faith, and the same future state of retribution. (I)
Q. 17. Ought the Scriptures to be possessed by all people ?
A. They ought. The conduct of the Papists in withholding the Bible from the laity, and permitting the clergy only to possess it, is highly to be reprobated.
Q. 18. Of what use is human reason in reference to the Scriptures ?
A. Its use is to ascertain whether the Bible is the word of God, and also what are its contents, or what is its true meaning.
Q. 19. Are all things in the Scriptures alike plain, and easy to be understood ?
A. They are not. But the grand and essential truths of the Bible are so clearly taught that the sincere and diligent inquirer will not fail to discover them. They are sufficiently plain and intelligible to all capacities, whether they relate to faith or practice. (m)
(l) Rom. iii. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid ; yea, we establish the law.—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 righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
(m) Is. xxxv. 8. And an highway shall be there, and a way,
Q. 20. Is it of importance what a inan believes in religion ?
A. It is of great importance. Our hearts and lives are much influenced by our faith. Besides, a man may be very sincere in a great error, perhaps a fatal one.
Paul once sincerely opposed Christ and His cause, but for this very conduct, he calls liimself a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious. His sincerity did not make him right, nor excuse him for being wrong. He was still in the broad road to destruction. (n)
Q. 21. In what manner should the language of Scripture be used in conversation and writing ?
A. It should always be used with reverence and sobriety ; and should never be quoted in a profane manner; nor accommodated to trifling subjects. It is highly improper to use the words Lord, God, Christ, faith, heaven, hell, damn, damnation, vow, curse, and similar expressions, or words of like import, in a light and trivial way. It is not only unpolite and vulgar, but profane, and highly displeasing to God. (0)
and it shall be called, The way of holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those, the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.- John vii. 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself. in) John viii. 24. I said therefore unto you,
ye shall die in your sins; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.-Acts xxvi. 9. I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.—1 Tim. 1. 13. Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious; but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.-Prov. xvi. 25. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.-2 Pet. ii. 1, 2. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction : And many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.—2 John 20, 11. If weit cvilic any unió juü, and c! this deciring, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is nartaker of his evil deeds'
10) Ex. xx. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy * Unity in God seems to be a mode of existence, rather than a perfection of His nature, though it has generally been considered a perfection.
Q. 22. How should the Bible be regarded and treated ?
A. It should be valued above all price ; embraced firmly, meekly, and in its purity ; perused and studied with reverence and gratitude, diligence and attention, faith and prayer, and carefully reduced to practice. To estimate lightly, to neglect, and thus to abuse the Bible, is to treat the messages of Heaven with contempt, to slight offered mercy, and to trifle with the interests of the soul and the solemnities of eternity. (P)
CHAPTER III. Character of God, natural and moral, as Revealed in
the Sacred Scriptures. Q. 1.
What perfections, natural and moral, does God possess ?
A. God, who is a pure spirit, that is, an immaterial being, possesses self-existence, eternity, immutability, omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, independence, unity,* goodness, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth. God in vain ; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
(P) Ps. xix. 8, 10. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.-John viii
. 24. I said therefore' unto you, that ye shall die in your sins ; for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.-- John v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.Matt. xxii. 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.
† Wisdom, when applied to God, is frequently used as a natural perfection, and then consists merely of His omniscience; or it means His devising the most effectual methods for the accomplishment of his ends.
Q. 2. What is meant by the natural and what by the moral perfections of God ?
A. By His natural perfections are meant those which do not involve moral character; and by His moral perfections are meant those which give character to Him as a moral being.
3. What are the natural perfections of God ? omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence, independence, and unity.
Q. 4. What are the moral perfections of God?
A. They are goodness, wisdom, holiness, justice, mercy, and truth.
Q. 5. What is meant by the self-existence of God? and how is it proved?
A. By His self-existence is meant, that He exists not by any extrinsic, relative, or accidental cause, but exists in and of Himself. There is no reason or ground of His existence out of Himself.—That God is self-existent is evident from the fact, that He is the Author of all things, and that He Himself could not be created by any other being, but must be uncaused and eternal; and from the fact, that in Scripture, He is styled “Jehovah,” • I Am,' who is, who was, and who is to come.' These terms imply selfexistence. (a)
Q. 6. What is meant by the eternity of God ? and how is it proved ?
A. By His eternity is meant His existence without beginning or end. There never was a time when He did not exist, and there never will be a time when He will not exist.- That God possesses this perfection, is manifest from His self-existence, and
(a) Ps. Ixxxiii. 18. That man may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth. -Exod. iji. 14. And God said unto Moses, I Am that I Am. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.--Rev. i. 4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia ; Grace be unto you,
from him which is, and which was, and which is to come ; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.