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some disagreeable doctrine. The advocates of Arminianism, Arianism, Socinianism, and Universalism, have done great violence to scripture, in this way. Their systems of religion are so contrary to the plain and literal sense of the Bible, that they have found themselves under the disagreeable necessity of distorting and disjointing the scriptures, in order to read them into their preconceived and preadopted schemes. But there is not, I believe, any essential or important doctrine of the Bible to be found in such dark or doubtful texts only, as require a great deal of learning and criticism to explain. If any scheme of religious sentiments cannot be discovered and supported by plain and intelligible passages of scripture, there is great reason to suspect the truth of it. If, for instance, no man can determine that all men will be saved, without reading the New

Testament through repeatedly and critically in the original language, there is great reason to doubt whether the doctrine of universal salvation is really contained in the Bible. The most important doctrines of the gospel are so necessarily connected, and so repeatedly and plainly expressed, in different parts of scripture, that all men of common knowledge, and of common honesty, may easily discover them. And every person ought to be very cautious how he adopts any religious sentiments, which seem to contradict the general current of scripture, and which cannot be maintained, without denying, or explaining away, the plain and obvious meaning of many passages in the Bible.

2. If the divine Spirit suggested every word and thought to the holy penmen, then it is not strange that they did not understand their own writings. These the apostle tells us, in our context, they did not understand. “ Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." By this it appears that the prophets did not understand those things which they wrote under the immediate influence and suggestion of the Spirit of Christ. And it is easy to conceive that the sacred writers should be ignorant of many things in their own writings, if they were not left to write according to their own natural and unassisted abilities. They might, by the aid of the Spirit, write precepts, predictions, promises, and threatenings, of whose import they were igno

rant, that would be very intelligible and very useful, in future ages. They wrote not for themselves, but for others; not for present, but future times. And this affords an additional evidence of the plenary inspiration of all the sacred writings.

3. If the Bible was written under the inspiration of suggestion, then it is an infallible rule of faith, and the only standard by which to try our religious sentiments. When we are in doubt about our own religious opinions, or the religious opinions of others, we ought to carry them to the law and to the testimony, and abide the divine decision. Those sentiments which are agreeable to the Bible, are to be received as true; but those which are neither found in the Bible, nor are agreeable to it, are to be rejected as false. There is no other standard of superior authority to which we can appeal. We may not appeal from scripture to reason, if scripture be 'the word of God. But if it be not, then we may, with propriety, appeal from scripture to reason. Accordingly, we find that those who deny the plenary inspiration of the Bible, take the liberty of appealing from scripture to reason. Dr. Priestly, Mr. Lyndsey, and others, when they are pinched with scripture arguments against their Socinian sentiments, appeal from the opinion of the apostles, to the superior authority of reason. They consider the New Testament writers as fallible men, who wrote their own sentiments honestly, but who, being destitute of the inspiration of suggestion, might make mistakes in the most important doctrines of religion. And if it be allowed that the prophets and the apostles did write the prophetical, historical and doctrinal parts of the Bible, without the suggesting influences of the Spirit, then there is no more harm or impropriety in appealing from their writings to reason, than in appealing from the writings of other men to that superior standard. But if what we have endeavored to prove be true, that every

word and sentiment in the Bible was immediately suggested to the sacred penmen by the Holy Ghost, then their writings are, strictly speaking, the word of God; and to appeal from their writings to reason, is the same as to appeal from God to man; which is absurd and criminal in the highest degree.

4. If holy men of old wrote as they were moved by God, then it is reasonable to expect that the Bible should bear clear and strong marks of its divine author. Every human composition bears marks of human imperfection. A divine composition, therefore, will as infallibly bear marks of divine perfection. Accordingly, when we look into the Bible, we find the image and superscription of the Deity on every page. It displays all the perfections of God. We see the power of God in the works of creation, providence and grace, which are ascribed to him. We see the wisdom of God in the great scheme of redemption, which the scriptures reveal. We see the boundless knowledge of God in the prophecies of future events, which could be foreknown and foretold by no other than an omniscient being. We see the holiness of God in the precepts, and prohibitions, and penalties, contained in the Bible. We see the future state of all moral beings clearly described, which none but the Supreme Being could either know or describe. The Bible, in short, contains those things which we stand in the most need of knowing, and which God only could reveal to us. It has, therefore, every internal mark of its divine original and divine authority, which it is reasonable to expect that a divine revelation should bear on the face of it. We might as easily conceive that a number of men should have created a new material and intellectual world, as that they should have devised, composed and propagated such a book as the Bible, in which the character and designs of God are so clearly unfolded, and the final issue of things so clearly and justly revealed. As the Bible claims to be, so it proves itself to be, the word of God. For no other being or beings, could or would have written a book so honorable to God, so dishonorable to men, and so agreeable to the relations which creatures bear to one another, and to their great Creator and supreme Disposer. Those, therefore, who deny the divinity of the scriptures, betray their weakness, as well as wickedness.

5. If the Bible be the immediate revelation of God's mind and will to men, then it is a most precious book. Nothing can be more desirable and more important, than to know the mind and will of our Creator, our Sovereign, and our Supreme Judge. It is comparatively of little moment, whether we know the history of the world, the laws of nature, or the use of arts and sciences. All the books written upon these subjects are lighter than a feather, when put into the balance with the Bible. This book as far surpasses in value all other books, as our eternal interests surpass our temporal. No wonder, therefore, that a man after God's own heart should so highly esteem his word. David says unto God, “O how love I thy law; it is my meditation all the day. How sweet are thy words unto my taste; yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold. The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver!” He gives the reasons of his high estimation of the word of God in the nineteenth Psalm. " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. — The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold; yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb." All who regard the glory of God, and the eternal interests of their own souls, must highly prize the holy scriptures, which have brought life and immortality to light, and which are able to make them wise unto salvation.

6. If the Bible contains the mind and will of God, then all who enjoy it may know in this world what will be their state in the next. It clearly describes both heaven and hell, and the terms upon which we may obtain the one, and escape the other. All penitent, submissive and obedient believers, may find great and precious promises made to persons of their character in the Bible. And all impenitent, rebellious and unbelieving sinners, may find in the same book, great and dreadful threatenings denounced against persons of their character. The condition of every person in a future state will be correspondent with his character in this. Every person, therefore, by comparing his character with the word of God, 'may determine whether he is a child of wrath or an heir of heaven. For, at the last day, the books will be opened, and among other books, the sacred volume of the Bible will be opened, and those who enjoyed it will be judged and treated according to God's promises and threatenings contained in it. This Christ intimated, when he said, “ He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” The words which he spake to his ministers, in his last commission, were these : “ He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” All who will read the Bible impartially, may determine whether they are entitled to the enjoyments of heaven, or stand exposed to the miseries of the damned. If any live and die ignorant of their future condition, it must be owing to their negligence, or their unwillingness to be acquainted with the true state of their minds. But it must be very criminal and dangerous for those who have the sure word of prophecy in their hands, to shut their eyes against the light, and live and die in darkness.

7. If the Bible be indeed the word of God, then it is not strange that it has had such a great influence over the minds of men. No other book in the world has produced such great effects upon mankind as the Bible. Yea, all the books that have ever been published, have never had a thousandth part so much power to convince, persuade and govern the minds of men, as the scriptures of truth. The heathens wrote many books, in which they described the vanity of the world, the deformity of vice, the beauty of virtue, the shortness of life, the certainty of death, and even the fate of departed souls. But their writings never produced any great effect upon the hearts and lives of men. They were considered and treated as destitute of divine authority. But the word of God, contained in the Bible, has been quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword. It has proved the means of awakening, convincing and converting thousands and thousands of mankind from the error of their ways. It has subdued and converted atheists, deists, heathen philosophers, pagan idolaters, Jewish infidels, and the most vicious and abandoned sinners, in all parts of the world where it has been sent. It has made its learned and bitter enemies burn their books which were in contradiction to it. These great and glorious and happy effects which have been produced by the instrumentality of the Bible, are clear and indubitable attestations to its divine original, and sacred authority. It is hard to determine whether it discovered greater folly, or greater malignity, in a late Infidel to say that any man might write as good a book as the Bible. Socrates and Plato, Seneca and Cicero, could not write so good a book. Their writings never converted their readers from idolatry, luxury, or immorality. But the Bible has converted millions and millions from the most absurd principles, and most vicious practices. And we appeal even to infidels themselves, whether They do not approach the Bible with awe, read it with fear, and close it with a painful conviction of its divine authority.

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