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nothing at all on the subject of moral and religious truth, beyond what God has revealed. I am so deeply convinced of this, that I can sit by and smile at the fancies of these men; and especially when they fancy they have found out DEMONSTRATIONS. Why there are Demonstrators, who will carry the world before them; till another man rises, who demonstrates the very opposite, and then, of course, the world follows him!
We are mere mites creeping on the earth, and oftentimes conceited mites too. If any Superior Being will condescend to visit us and teach us, something may be known. “ Has God spoken to man?” This is the most important question that can be asked. All Ministers should examine this matter to the foundation. Many are culpably negligent herein. But, when this has been done, let there be no more questionings and surmises. My son is not, perhaps, convinced that I am entitled to be his teacher. Let us try. If he finds that he knows more than I do-well: if he finds that he knows nothing, and submits- I am not to renew this conviction in his mind every time he chuses to require me to do so. If any
honest and benevolent nan felt scruples in his breast concerning Revelation, he would hide them there; and would not move wretched men from the only support, which they can have in this world. I am thoroughly convinced of the want of real integrity and benevolence in all Infidels. And I am as thoroughly convinced of the want of real belief of the Scriptures, in most of those who profess to believe them. 1, JA
Metaphysicians can unsettle things, but they can erect nothing. They can pull down a church, but they cannot build a hovel. The Hutchinsonians have said the best things about the Meta. physicians. I am no Hutchinsonian; yet I see that they have data, and that there is something worth proving in what they assert.
PRINCIPLE is to be distinguished from PREJUDICE. The man, who should endeavour to weaken my · belief of the truth of the Bible, and of the fair
deduction from it of the leading doctrines of Religion, under the notion of their being prejudices, should be regarded by me as an assassin. He stabs me in my dearest hopes : he robs me of my solid happiness: and he has no equivalent to offer.
This species of evidence of the truth and value of Scripture is within the reach of all men. It is my strongest. It assures me as fully as .a voice could from heaven, that my principles are not prejudices. I see in the Bible my heart and the world painted to the life; and I see just that provision made, which is competent to the highest ends and effects on this heart and this world.
The Bible resembles an extensive and highly cultivated garden, where there is a vast variety and profusion of fruits and flowers: some of which are more essential or more splendid than others; but there is not a blade suffered to grow in it, which has not its use and beauty in the system. Salvation for sinners, is the grand Truth presented every where, and in all points of light; but the pure in heart sees a thousand traits of the Divine Character, of himself, and of the world, some striking and bold, others cast as it were into the shade, and designed to be searched for and examined-some direct, others by way of intimation or inference.
He, who reads the Scriptures only in the translation, is but meanly prepared as a public teacher. The habit of reading the Scriptures in the original throws a new light and sense over numberless passages. The original has, indeed, been obtruded so frequently, and sometimes so absurdly, on the hearers, that their confidence in the translation has been shaken. The judicious line of conduct herein, is—To think with the wise, and talk with the vulgar--to attain, as far as possible and by all means, the true sense and force of every passage; and, wherever that differs from the received translation, work it in imperceptibly, 'that the hearers
may be instructed while they receive no prejudice against that form in which they enjoy the Scriptures.
No man will preach the Gospel so FREELY as the Scriptures preach it, unless he will submit to talk like an Antinomian, in the estimation of a great body of Christians; nor will any man preach it so PRACTICALLY as the Scriptures, unless he will submit to be called, by as large a body, an Arminian. Many think that they find a middle path: which is, in fact, neither one thing nor another; since it is not the incomprehensible, but grand plan of the Bible. It is somewhat of human contrivance. It savours of human poverty and littleness.
Were the Scriptures required to supply a direct answer to every question which even a sincere enquirer might ask, it would be impracticable. They form, even now, a large volume. The method of instruction adopted in them is, therefore, this :-The rule is given: the doctrine is stated : examples are brought forward-cases in point, which illustrate the rule and the doctrine: and this is found sufficient for every upright and humble mind.
The simple and unprejudiced study of the Bible is the death of religious extravagance. Many read it under a particular bias of mind. They read books, written by others under the same views. Their preaching and conversation run in the same channel. If they could awaken themselves from this state, and come to read the whole Scripture for every thing which they could find there, they would start as from a dreamamazed at the humble, meek, forbearing, holy, heavenly character of the simple religion of the Scriptures, to which, in a greater or less degree, their eyes had been blinded.
The right way of interpreting Scripture, is, to take it as we find it, without any attempt to force it into any particular system. Whatever may be fairly inferred from Scripture, we need not fear to insist on. Many passages speak the language of what is called Calvinism, and that in almost the strongest terms : I would not have a man clip and curtail these passages, to bring them down to some system : let him go with them in their free and full sense; for, otherwise, if he do not absolutely pervert them, he will attenuate their energy. But, let him look at as many more, which speak the language of Arminianism, and let him go all the way with these also. God has been pleased thus to state and to leave the thing;