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the Scriptures surpasses that of all other writings; the instructions respecting God and Christ, angels and men, time and eternity. which thev contain. are such as none but God could teach; their harmony is complete, though written by about thirty different persons, and at as many different times, and during a period of more than 1500 years, and without any previous concert; their moral purity, or holy requisitions of love to God and man are perfect, and according to godliness, and such as they never would have been, were they the natural productions of depraved men. The writings of Socrates and Plato, Cicero and Sencca, are mean compared with the Bible. Hence we conclude, that the Scriptures are not the work of men uninspired, but of men taught of the Holy Ghost. (g)
accused him of many things; but he answered nothing. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand and the other on his left. And now when the even was come (because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.-Matt. xxiv. 1, 2. And Jesus went out and departed from the temple; and his disciples came to him, for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down.-This prediction was exactly and literally fulfilled within forty years after it was uttered. Jerusalem was destroyed, and her beautiful and magnificent temple was razed to the ground, and the plough made to pass through where it stood.-Jer. xxviii. 9. The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.
(g) Gen. i. 3. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.-Matt. xxii. 37-40. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all
5. The effects of the Sacred Scriptures have been glorious and happy. The religion of the Bible has converted Atheists and Deists, Pagan philosophers and idolaters, Jewish infidels, and Christian moralists. It has instructed the wise and the foolish, raised up the bowed down, solaced the mournful, reclaimed multitudes from vice and immoralities, and prepared them for heaven. And, were it universally believed and practised, paradise would be restored on earth. Surely, then, this religion must have come from God. (h) 6. The writers of the Bible were holy men, and, consequently, would never have written what they did not know to be true. It is also absurd to suppose that wicked men would have written the Bible, for it condemns them in all their vicious inclinations and practices. Hence we infer that the Bible was divinely inspired. (i) 7. The Christian religion is opposed by the lusts and corrupt passions of men. Against it have been combined wit, learning, and the sword. In the three first centuries of the Christian church, there were ten violent persecutions against Christianity. But it continues and spreads by a secret influence, which must be ascribed to the agency of Almighty God. The very existence of Christianity, after so much opposition as it has received, is an evidence that it was given by the inspiration of the Ho
the law and the prophets.-Psahn xii. 6. The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
(h) Psalm xix. 7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.-1 Cor. i. 21. For after that in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.-Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.-Acts ii. 41. Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized; and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
(i) 2 Pet. i. 21. 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.
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 Protestant maxim should ever be embraced and maintained. (k)
(j) 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 mighty 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 take 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. (1)
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)
(1) 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) 1s. xxxv. 8. And an highway shall be there, and a way,
Q. 20. Is it of importance what a man 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 himself 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. (o)
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.
(n) 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.-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 10, 11. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed; for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (0) Ex. xx. 7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy