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glory which should follow from it, both to himself and his church, are all recorded with amazing exactness. So fully did the goodly fellowship of the prophets speak on these things, that when the apostles were sent to preach Christ, and convert the world, their sole qualification for the arduous work, in point of knowledge, was to understand what was spoken concerning Christ, in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.
This scripture doctrine exposes several mistakes in religion.
The New Testament, many tell us, is all that Christians need to study....or at least ought to regard much more than the old. For what reason? Are they not so joined together by divine authority, that he who doth not with equal reverence receive both, can receive neither as the oracles of God? Are they not both the dictates of Jehovah...." profitable for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ?" The New Testament continually appeals to the Old. This Jesus and his apostles urged in all their disputes with the Jews, to prove that he was the Christ. Those therefore who would lop off from the canon of christian scriptures, the writings of Moses and the prophets, or insinuate they are of little use to us now, either have no good in
tentions, or know not what they do. Negleet these writings, and where will you find God described with such pomp of majesty and selfevident marks that he is drawing his own character? Where, those high claims to un.. controlable dominion over the universe, as his own absolute property and creation, repeated with such emphasis ? Where the doctrine of a particular providence so abundantly exemplified ? or Jehovah's love of righteousness, and hatred of iniquity, marked in such a variety of affecting narratives, and at the same time his condescending friendship for his servants, under all their infirmities, so invari. ably manifested? Where 'will you find the true character, and glory of Christ, expressed in so many charming descriptions of his
person, his power, and the blessings of his government ? Several of these interesting subjects are sparingly treated on in the New Tes. tament, because the prophets had insisted upon them before at large. The business of the evangelists was to prove, by the history of the life of Jesus, that he was the Messiah. The business of the apostles, to bear witness of his resurrection, and teach the doctrines which the ancient scriptures contained; which they were able to do, after our Saviour had opened their understanding, and expounded
unto them the things concerning himself. But wherever the New Testament was recei. ved, immediately the ancient oracles, able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus, were received also, and christians were commanded to study them. Thus St. Paul affirms; that the churh of God is built “ upon the prophets and apostles; Jesus Christ himself being the chief cor. ner-stone,” Eph. ii. 20. St Peter stirs them up to be mindful of the words, which before were spoken by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of the apostles of the Lord and Saviour, 2 Pet. iii. 2. Is any preference to the New, above the Old Testament, given in these passages? No, it is a crafty device in those who undermine the oracles of God, to degrade one part of them, under pretence of greater reverence for the other, in order that they may reduce into a very small compass what is allowed to be a testimony absolutely decisive.... that so false doctrine may the more easily escape undiscovered. A device, which of late years has proceeded to such a length, that we are now told, the epistles are not to be regarded, as of equal authority, with the four gospels; any more than the Old Testament to be put upon a level with the New. In plain English, the gospels only are given
by inspiration of God. Those who are practised upon to believe this, will find much less difficulty in getting rid of the gospels too, at a convenient time, than in proving one small part of scripture is the revelation of God.... the far greater, only the private opinion of fal
Hold fast, therefore, the faith once delivered to the saints, that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Contend earnestly from love to his name, your fellow creatures, and the truth, that "God spake by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world be. gan”....that it is at our peril to despise those. writings, or fåncy their use to the church in any degree superseded by the publication of the new scriptures.
ON THE MISTAKE IN PREACHING MORALS PRIN
THE doctrine before us, exposes the mistake of substituting lectures on morality and virtue, instead of discourses on the Horn of Salvation. For though morality and virtue are truly venerable, and of absolute necessity, yet when inculcated without reference to Christ, as their root, support, and sole cause
of acceptance with God, they deceive and in jure extremely....because in this way we are led to conceive ourselves virtuous, without those deplorable defects and pollutions, which in fact are chargeable on the best. We are led to imagine human excellence sufficient.... the sure and only passport to heaven. And this delusion must prejudice us bitterly against several capital parts of scripture, which pour contempt upon all expectations of divine favour, founded on our own obedience..... Hence we shall deny, or wrest those divine sayings, in which Christ takes upon himself the whole glory of saving the children of men. And after we are infatuated with the idea of our own excellera virtue, one article of the christian creed will grow odious, then another....till we shall conclude in the end, that it is much more rational to be infidels, than christians. For the self-made idol of deists, is a pleasing object to a proud, corrupt mind....allows of human merit and boasting....but the God of the bible requires us to approach him with shame and confusion of face for our defilement and offences.
An unguarded recommendation of the excellency of moral virtue, to the neglect of the power and grace of Christ, has contributed to bring on the present increase of deism, and