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of Christ, and shall experimentally find by his improvement in Spiritual Knowledge and Underftanding, That God giveth Grace to the Humble. The fame God, that refifteth the Proud, that fo confounds the Wisdom of the World, that they who are puff'd up with that conceit, profefsing themselves to be Wife, become Fools. It was Pride was the Reafon why the Scribes and Pharisees, tho'otherwise of the best Skill in Scripture, were blinded in the most necessary and material Point of Salvation, tho' most plainly fet down in Scripture. For what in the whole Law and the Prophets is so plainly set down as many of the Teftimonies concerning the the Meffias, all visibly Centring in Chrift? Yet They were scatter'd in the proud Imaginations of their Hearts and in their stead were set up the Humble and Meek. Illiterate and Simple, but lowly and Meek Spirited Men were rais’d up to be Infallible Teachers of the Gentiles. And is it not Pride chat makes the Divinity of the fame Chrift, which thofe Pharisees oppos'd, be at this Day alfo deny'd by those great pretenders, who having set up their Own Natural Reason for the only Rule of their belief, will allow nothing fit to be believ'd, or worthy to be known, which their piercing facultys cannot Comprehend? Is not Socinus a deplorable Inftance of what averfeness to Truth
. : this
this Pride of Understanding may, by its Natural Efficiency, and God's juft Judgment, bring a Man to when in express words he tells us, speaking of the Satisfaction of Christ, As for me, if it were not only once, but Often: times to be met with in Holy Scripture, yet would I not therefore believe it. And is not Smalcius, his Disciple, juft fuch another (xoxuâ inbeamos carei coo) who cells us in as plain Words: That He would not believe the Incarnation, tho be fould meet with it in expreß terms in the Bible? God keep all of Us from such Blasphemies! which I should not so much as have namd were it not more feasonable than I could with, when these and the like fpread every Day among us, and diffuse themselves without Checkor Controll. Let us therefore take the greater heed, and laying afide all Pride and Conceit of our own Wisdom, if We defire to Understand the Word of God, Refign up our Selves Enpirely to the dictates and guidance of it. Entirely, I say, in Our Underftanding as well as oor Will; acknowledging ever God's equal and undoubted Right over both those Facultys: and that therefore, as we are Lyd to obey the Commandments of God, thọ Twith Repugnacy to our Will; fo we puft own ourselves under an Equal Obligation to believe the Word of God, tho' with Reluctancy to our Underftanding. Let us not
in Reading Scripture argue Thus loosely and wildly, This seems contradictory, to Reason, and therefore cannot be the Word of God; but rather moft Conclufively Thus, This is the Word of God and therefore capnot be against Reason. Let us, as St Paul advises, cast down all Imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself againft the Knora ledge of God, and bring into Captivity every thought to the Obedience of Christ. 16
zly. A Second Qualification is a Sincere and Hearty Love of Truth, which who ever brings with him to the Stndy of Scri pture, that great Store-house of it, cannot choose but find what he seeks. I love them that love me, says Wisdom, and he that seeks me early sball find me. He that has This Love in a Measure any way proportionable to that of David, who expresses so often bis Longing Desire to it, his Delight in it'y his Preferring it to the most precious things to thousands of Gold and Silver, and to the moft sweet, to Honey and to the Honey.comb, will use all Diligence, will think no Pains too great, nor leave any Means untry'd, to'acquire it. He will omit no outward Helps and Allistances, he will labour to inform himself rightly of the Sense of the Primitive Church, express d in ancient Creeds, Confessions, Councils, Writings of the Fathers; he will make use
of those Lights, which in these later times God has rais d up in his Church; he will apply all his Stock of Reading, all his Skill in Arts and Sciences and Languages, all his "Knowledge in Profane Authors, to the Study of this One Book, which he judges, of all that were ever writ, to be only worth the understanding. But if he have not these Advantages of Learning, he will be never the less diligent in studying the Holy Books themselves, carefully comparing Scripture with Scripture, which is ever its own best Expositor, and bringing Light to the darker Places from those that are more clear. But further; This Love of Truth do's imply also a Love of nothing but Truth; and he who comes thus prepard, has no Prejudices to bribe his Judgment, no preconceiv'd Opinions to gratify at the Expence of Truth, no Perswafion that he is not willing to lay down upon
the Conviction of the contrary. He studys not Scripture for Contention or Oftentation, to maintain a Cause, or hold an Argument, with a Design to wrest it to One side, or to bring it over to a Party which he has espous'd. But having One only Aim, which is to search after Truth diligently, and embrace it as heartily, when found, this is infallibly the Highway to it. We may be sure, that the God of Truth will not suffer fuch honeft Endeavours to be in vain; but
will lead a devout Soul thus enclin'd, if not into all Truth, yet into as much of it as shall be sufficient for his Everlasting Happiness; and preserve him, if not from all Error, 'yet from all that shall be hurtful or dangerous to his Salvation.
3dly. A Third Qualification for the Reading of Scripture, so as to improve in the true and saving Knowledge of it, is an Uniform and Universal Obedience to all the Precepts contain'd in it.
Practice is certainly the best way to the Knowledge of any Doctrine; being actually exercis'd and daily conversant in the Duties of the Gospel will give a Màn a surer and more satisfactory Notion and Feeling of the Excellence and Wisdom of it, than the most elaborate Expositions and Commentaries of the moft able Divines. He that hath this Principle of Obedience within opens willingly and readily his Soul to all that he reads; for it speaks to his Heart, and every thing in the Gospel fits the Temper of his Mind. But besides this natural Tendency, there are thro' the whole Scripture many clear and Positive Promises of Heavenly Knowledge, and further Degrees also of the fame Knowledge, and an Encrease of it to a due and sincere Practife of what we already know. The Secrets of the