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John 14. 26. and again, John 16.13. When the Spirit of Truth is come, He fall guide you into al Truth. Now this Promise our Saviour did most assuredly make good, and these Holy Men Writing by this Divine Aslistance, to this very end and purpose, to reveal the whole Mind of God; how can it be suppos’d, without Blasphemy againft the Holy Ghost, that they fell short of what by His Inspiration they undertook, that they left a lame and imperfect Rule of Faith and Manners to be supply'd and patch'd up with Human, Uncertain, Unwritten Traditions? If all the Gospel of Christ, the whole Covenant between God and Man, were not written; God would have cer tainly ordered to whom we should have recourse for that part of it which was not written; which seeing he has not done, it is reasonable to conclude that he has left no part of it Unwritten. Why do's every One of the Four Evangelists entitle His Book the Gospel, if any necessary or Efsential Part of the Gospel were left out of it? Did the Holy Penmen Omit any thing out of Ignorance, as not knowing it to be necessary? Or did they, knowing it to be so, wilfully and enviously detain it from us? Or did they negligently or carelessly content themselves with doing so great a Work, as they had taken in hand, by halfs? Did they Purposely or Unwittingly, by Design or by Accident drop and spill by the way part of their Commiffion? If none of these things can be objected against them without manifeftly Blaspheming, as I said before, the Holy Ghost, by whose Motion and Assistance they Wrote; it muft be concluded that in their Writings is fully comprehended all and every thing Necessary to Salvation. These things, says St John of his own Gospel, are written that we might Believe that Jesus is the Chrift; and that Believing ye might have Life through His Name. And since all Scripture is given by Infpiration from God, and is profitable for DoErine, for Reproof, for Corre&ion, for Inftru&tion in Righteousness, that the Man of God may be Perfe&, throughly furnisi'd unto all Good Works; St Paul says no more than the undoubted Truth, when he tells Timothy, that the Scriptures are able to make him Wife to Salvation. 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17.
The Holy Scripture being thus abundantly Sufficient, We are from them alone to receive all Rules of Life, and by them alone to examine all points of Doctrine. Neither can Any thing whatsoever, which is not expressly in these Books contain'd, or by direct Consequence naturally from them deduc'd, be impos'd by any Man, or Company of Men, as an Article of Faith or Law of
Manners, without the greatest, most unwarrantable, and most intolerable Usurpation over the Consciences of their Fellow. Christians; as well as the highest Indignity to, and Derogation from, the Gospel of Christ. What therefore must be said of that Church, that has not only apparently done so; but that in a General Council, as they are pleas'd to call it, has determin'd Unwritten Traditions to be of equal Authority, and to be receiv'd with like Veneration as the Written Word of God? Is not that of Solomon worth their Consideration? Add thou not unto His Words, left he reprove thee, and thou be found a Lyar, thy Forgeries and Impoftures being laid open and expos'd to all the World. Should not that Curse of the Apostle affright their Souls? (Gal. 1. 8.) Tho We, or an Angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be Accursed. Or ought not that dreadful Denuntiation, with which St John concludes his Revelation, terrify 'em from this facrilegioufs Boldness? If Any Man shall add unto the Words of this Book, God shall add unto him the Plagues that are written in this Book, (Rev. 22. 18.)
II. I come now to the other Character of Holy Scripture; namely its Clearness and Perspicuity, plainly taught in my Text, and
visible in this, that it Makes Wise the Simple.
And indeed to what purpose had it been, that in these Holy Books all things necesfary both to Faith and Obedience were contain’d, if they were so Obscure to Us, that we could be never the Wiser for them? How absurdly, as well as impiously, must they think of that Holy Spirit, that dictated these Writings for the Use of the Church in all Ages, who accuse them of being Dark, and not to be Understood? What an Imputation of Folly would it be in a Lawgiver to pen his Laws in such a Phrase and Style, as his People could not understand? and what horrible Iniquity to punish them for not acting according to a Command, which they were not able to know the Meaning and Purpose of? Far be it from Us to conceive such an Unworthy Opinion of God Himself and his Holy Word. No; the Word of God, in all things necessary, is plain and open to the meanest Capacity. Hear what Moses says of His Law, (and St Paul applys the very fame words to his Gospel, the word of Faith which he preach'd, Rom. 10. 6.) This Commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in Heaven, that thou should it say, Who shall go up for us to Heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Neither is it be
yond the Sea, that thou should st say, who fall go over the Sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may bear it and do it? But the Word is very Nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in tby heart, that thou may st do it. (Deut. 30.11--14.) Again, These words that I command thee this day shall be in thy heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy Children, and sbalt talk of them when thou fittest in thy house, and when thou walkest in the way, and when thou lyeft down, and when thou riseft up. (Deut. 6.7&c.) So plain did he think his Sense deliver'd in the Law, that it was to be their dayly and familiar Discourse, at home and abroad, in all places, in all poftures, and upon all occafions; So plain, that instead of running in search of any Iạfallible Expositor, every Father might instruct his Son in it, and every Mother her Daughter. The same Clearness did Holy David acknowledge, when he says in the very next Verse to that of my Text, The Commandment of the Lord is pure, en. lightning the Eyes: and elsewhere, Thy Word is a Lamp unto my Feet, and a Light unto my Path; and his son Solomon agrees exactly with his Father, The Commandment is a Lamp, and the Law is Light, (Prov.6.23.)
In like manner we find St John in many places ftyling, sometimes our Saviow himself, and sometimes his Gospel, Light, a Light tbat joind in Darkness, the true Light that