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Q. 5. Are all men every where under indispensable obligations to believe in the being of God?
A. They are. The evidence which he has afforded them of His existence, by the light of nature, binds them to this duty. Consequently, atheism, or the disbelief of God in any, even in the heathen, is awfully criminal; because it rejects the instructions, and discredits the testimony of God Himself, in the works of His hands. (b)
Q. 6. Are mankind naturally prone to reject the evidence of God's existence?
A. They are; as appears from experience and observation. (c)
Q. 7. Whence does this proneness arise?
A. From the depravity of their hearts. This is the only reason why any in Pagan, Mohamedan, or Christian countries are Atheists. (d)
Q. 8. Is belief in the existence of God an essential doctrine of religion?
A. It is the very first and fundamental principle of all true religion. (e)
Q. 9. Is it important to have just views of God? A. It is highly important: for without them, we
(b) Rom. i. 20, 21. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(c), Rom. i. 28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.-Ps. lxxxii. 5. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness.-Job xxi. 14, 15. Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty that we should serve him, and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him!
(d) Ps. xiv. 1. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.-Ps. x. 4. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance. will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts.
(e) Heb. xi. b. But without faith it is impossivie to please him for be that cometh to God must believe that he is. and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
shall naturally and necessarily be led astray in respect to our religious sentiments and practices. (f)
Q. 10. What duties does the light of nature teach, as incumbent on man?
A. It teaches his duty of loving, obeying, serving, worshipping, and enjoying God; and his moral duties towards his fellow creatures. (g)
Q. 11. Does the light of nature teach that mankind are in a sinful state?
A. It does. When man's conduct is compared with his duty, as made known by the works of creation and providence, conscience points out his transgressions. (g)
1. What is meant by the Sacred Scriptures? A. God's successive written revelations to mankind, or the Holy Bible, containing the books of the Old and New Testaments, given by inspiration of God. (a)
(f) John iv. 24. God is a spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.-Rom. i. 22-25. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools; and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves; who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.-Ps, 1. 21. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself.
(g) Rom, ii. 14, 15. For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.
(a) Heb. i. 1, 2. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.—2 Tím. iii. 16, All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
Q. 2. What books are included in the Old Testament?
A. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Solomon's Song, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
Q. 3. What books are included in the New Testament?
A. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation.
Q. 4. Are the books commonly called the Apocrypha, which are sometimes appended to the Old Testament, divinely inspired? or are they any part of the Sacred Canon?
A. There is no evidence, that they are; but there is much evidence, that they are not. 1. The authors of them do not pretend to be inspired. 2. They neither agree with themselves, nor with the Holy Scriptures. 3. The Jews never acknowledged them to be of Divine authority, as they were written after the days of Malachi, with whom the spirit of prophecy ceased, as they universally believed. 4. They are never quoted by Christ and His apostles. 5. They were never received in the first ages of the Christian church, as canonical Scripture.
Q. 5. How are the books of the Apocrypha to be regarded?
A. Simply as human' writings, containing some truths and facts important to be known.
Q. 6. In what language were the Sacred Scriptures at first written?
A. The Old Testament was principally written in Hebrew, and the New Testament in Greek.
7. What is meant by the Septuagint ? A. The translation of the Old Testament into Greek, as is supposed, by seventy-two interpreters or translators. They are usually called the Seventy, as that is a full or round number.
Q 8. When was the common English version of the Bible made?
A. More than two hundred years ago, in the reign of James I, king of England. Fifty-four of the most learned men of the realm were appointed to this service. Forty-seven only engaged in the work; and, after five or six years' labor, the present translation was published in 1613,
9. Have the Sacred Scriptures been published in any languages besides the Hebrew, Greek, and English?
A. They have in many, both ancient and modern. By the benevolent exertions of the different Bible Societies in the present day, the Scriptures have been translated into more than a hundred and fifty languages and dialects, and been published; and they will, no doubt, through the Divine assistance, be soon translated into all languages under heaven, and be published, and be distributed among all people.
Q. 10. Was it desirable and necessary, that God should make to mankind such a revelation as He has in the Sacred Scriptures?
A. It was, that He might assure them of a future state; that He might set forth, in the most full, clear, and impressive manner, His perfections and their duty; that He might enforce their obedience to Him by the most powerful motives;—and, especially, that He might make known to them the riches of His grace in salvation by Jesus Christ. (b)
(b) 2 Tim. i. 10. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.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.-2 Cor. v. 14, 15.
Q. 11. What is meant by the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures?
A. By it is meant, that the sacred Penmen were moved, directed, and assisted by God what to write, and how to write, and when to write; so that they did write exactly, and in all respects, as they were moved, or borne on, by the Holy Ghost.
Q. 12. How does it appear that the sacred writers were possessed of an inspiration of this nature, sometimes called plenary inspiration?
A. From the fact, that they could not have delivered to the world what they did as a divine revelation, with confidence and safety to themselves, unless they had been conscious of their own inspiration, and they could not have been conscious of their own inspiration, unless they had been thus inspired;—that they could not have written what they did respecting God and Jesus Christ, angels and men, time and eternity, heaven and hell, unless they had been thus inspired; -and that they profess to be thus inspired. (c)
For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. -Heb. xi. 26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.-Luke ii. 10, 11. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
(c) 2 Tim. iii. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God.-2 Pet. i. 20, 21. Knowing this first, that no prophecy is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.-1 Cor. ii. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.-Gal. i. 11, 12. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.Rev. i. 1, 2. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants, things which must shortly come to pass, and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John; who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.