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multitudes from vice and immoralities, and prepared them for Heaven. And, were it universally believed and practised, paradise would be restored on earth.(5)
6. The writers of the Bible were holy men, and consequently, would never have written what is not true. And, let it be added, bad men would never have written the Bible, for it condemns them in all their vicious inclinations and practices. Hence we infer that the Bible was divinely inspired.(TM)
7. The Christian religion is opposed by the corrupt lusts and 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. Its origin is then divine. (1)
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 favour of the inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures. How explicit and abundant! The Bible must be the word of God.
(g) Ps. 19.7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 1 Cor. 1.21. 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. 15.4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Acts 2. 41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
(h) 2 Peter 1. 21. For the prophesy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
(i) Acts 2. 47. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Q. 14. 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 the perfection, infallibility, and authority of Heaven.(j)
Q. 15. Are all controversies in religion, decrees of councils, opinions of ancient and modern writers, and the doctrines of private men, to be tested by the Bible?
A. They are. 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.(5)
Q. 16. Should the Old Testament, under the gospel dispensation, be received as a guide in faith and practice, as well as the New?
A. Those parts of it, which express the will of God in reference to moral duties, 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 dispensation is not obligatory upon Christians, as this dispensation was abrogated upon the introduction of Christianity. The Old and the New Testament both, teach the same great
(i) Rev. 22, 18, 19. For I testify unto every man, that heareth the words of the prophesy 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 prophesy, 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.
(k) Isa. 8. 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. 1. 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 Peter 1. 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.
religious truths—the same God, the same plan of mercy, the same Saviour, the same repentance and faith, and the same future state of retribution.(")
Q. 17. Of what use is human reason in reference to the Scriptures?
A. Its only use is to ascertain whether the Bible is the word of God, and also what are its contents, or what is its true meaning. When this is done, the office of reason is done. Q. 18.
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 most clearly taught, and most easily discerned. They are sufficiently plain and intelligible to all capacities.(m)
Q. 19. Is it of consequence what a man be- . lieves in religion, provided he is sincere in his faith?
A. It is all important. Our hearts and our lives are much affected by our faith. Besides a man may be very sincere in a great error, perhaps a fatal one. St. 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 excuse him. He was still in the broad road to destruction."
(1) 2.Tim. 3. 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
(m) Isa. 35. 8. And an high way shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the way faring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
(n) John 8. 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 26. 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. 16. 25. There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. 2 Pet. 2. 1, 2. But there were false proph
Q. 20. 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 and wicked manner; nor accommodated to trifling subjects. It is highly improper to use the words hell, Lord, God, faith, 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 it is profane, and highly displeasing to God.)
Q. 21. How should the Bible be regarded and treated?
A. It should be valued above all price; embraced firmly, meekly, and in its purity; perused with reverence and gratitude, diligence and attention, faith and prayer; and reduced to practice in daily deportment. To estimate lightly, to neglect, and thus to abuse the Bible, is highly criminal, for it is to treat the messages of Heaven with contempt, to slight offered mercy, and to trifle with the interests of the soul and the solemnities of eternity:P)
ets 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. 20.7. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, that taketh his name in vain.
(p:) Ps. 19, 8, 10. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb. Eph. 2. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." John 8. 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. John 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me. Matt. 22. 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.