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upon the subject. Now I hold in my hand the Confession of Faith of the CHURCH of SCOTLAND, and in it we read thus:
"Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence, do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and of his will which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his Church; and afterwards for the better preserving and propagating the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the Church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing, which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary, those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased. II. Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments, which are these (giving the same list as the Church of England), all which are given by inspiration of God, to be the rule of faith and life. III. The books commonly called Apocrypha, not being of Divine inspiration, are no part of the Canon of the Scriptures, and therefore are of no authority in the Church of God, nor to be any otherwise approved, or made use of, than other human writings."-Westminster Confession of Faith, chap. i. sect. 1, 2, 3.
The Larger and Shorter Catechisms, which I have here, and which are in use in the Church of Scotland, distinctly define the rule of faith in the same manner as does the Confession of Faith, and the 6th Article of the Church of England. I have also the "HARMONY OF THE CONFESSIONS" of the Protestant Churches of Saxony, Wirtemberg, Bohemia, and others, giving the same definition.
Thus I have stated what our rule is-I have given documentary evidence-and be it remembered that it is THE BIBLE ALONE, not with the gratuitous addition "interpreted by each man's private judgment."
Now I shall proceed to establish, so far as I can in the time allotted to me, the authority and sufficiency of this rule. I do not feel myself called upon at this moment to enter into the proofs which we may adduce for the genuineness, authenticity, and inspiration of the Scriptures, became I presume I am arguing with those who believe in all those things. It may happen,. in the course of the discussion, that we shall be compelled to refer to the subject, and then I may be enabled to shew that we can receive the Bible as a divine revelation, independently of the infallible decisions, as they are called, of the Romish Church, or of any other Church. For the present, I shall content myself with this simple remarkThe Bible could not have been the production of bad men, because such men would have made a book more in unison with their own depraved tastes and inclinations; and it could not have been the production of good men, because
the very fact of the forgery would have been inconsistent with their goodness: therefore, as it could not have been the production either of good men or of bad men, it must have come from a source above man, and what other source can that be but GOD HIMSELF?
I proceed now to establish these two observations:— First of all I shall endeavour to prove that the Scripturethe written word, without any addition-contains all things necessary to be believed for salvation, and therefore is a SUFFICIENT rule of faith; and,
Secondly, I shall endeavour to advance a few considerations which, in my judgment, naturally lead to the conclusion that the written word is not only a sufficient rule, but likewise THE ONLY rule of faith.
First of all, then, I shall endeavour to prove, as briefly as possible, that the written word of God contains within it every thing necessary to be believed for salvation, and therefore is A Sufficient rule of faith.
At the present stage of the discussion, as there are several other texts on the same point, I shall refer only to two passages. The first will be found in the 20th chap. of the Gospel of St. John, verses 30 and 31:
Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book."
One would have supposed, if the passage stopped here, that the written word did not contain every thing necessary to be believed for salvation; but, adds the Evangelist,
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name."
Mark here what the Evangelist and the Apostle saysthat those things, which he had written, were written for the very purpose of their believing from them that "Jesus was the Christ;" and the faith which they were thus to possess was a saving faith, because the result was that they were to "have life in his name." Now, I say, that if even this single gospel of John contained within it sufficient truth respecting the way to eternal life-if in it alone is to be found a sufficiency, supposing we had no more, for a rule of faith-it follows, a fortiori, that in the whole written word all necessary truth is to be found.
Another passage to which I shall refer is in the 2nd Epistle to Timothy, 3rd chap. beginning at the 14th
Continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have
been committed to thee; knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and because from thy infancy thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus."
Now, Sir, all we want is to be "instructed unto salvation;" and this, that we all so much require, the Apostle says the Scripture, the written word, is able to effect for us. Mark me, Sir, the Apostle here is speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, because the canon of the New Testament was not at this time completed. To argue, then, as I did on the other text-if the Old Testament Scriptures by themselves were able to make a man wise unto salvation, they were sufficient, for the time being, as a rule of faith—and, a fortiori, the Old Testament, with the New, contains all things necessary to salvation, and, therefore, is sufficient as a rule of faith.
But we proceed to the following verses, the 16th and 17th of the same chapter:
"All Scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.”
Observe here the result of the reception of the truths contained in the Scriptures. By the reception of them the man of God is thus "made perfect, and furnished unto every good work." Mark the strength and the generality of the expression-" he is made perfect and furnished unto every good work;" if, then, the Bible, the written word itself, and even the Old Testament Scriptures, could make the man of God thus "perfect, and furnished unto every good work," I cannot avoid the consequence, that it contains within it every thing necessary to be believed for salvation, and therefore is SUFFICIENT as a rule of faith.
So far for the first observation; and now I think these statements will acquire additional strength from a SECOND OBSERVATION which I said I should endeavour to establish. I said I should produce some considerations derived from the Scriptures which would, in my judgment, lead to the conclusion, that the written word is not merely a sufficient, but is THE ONLY rule of faith.
Here, I beg to observe, that, in strictness, I am not called upon to prove this, because it is in fact proving a negative; and we know that no person in argument is obliged to prove a negative. Sometimes it happens that a negative cannot be actually proved, though it may be perfectly true all the time. The onus rather rests on my friends at the other side to produce an additional rule, besides the written word, and if they can authenticate it
as having come from God, we shall at once yield submission to its declarations, and acknowledge it equally binding as the written word; but, until that be done, we have no right, after having seen the sufficiency of the written word, to receive any other rule of faith. Although, therefore, I am not in strictness bound to attempt any proof upon this subject, yet I shall advance some considerations from Scripture, which naturally lead to the conclusion I have mentioned.
FIRST, let me observe, that THE WRITTEN LAW was the ONLY one which the JEWISH CHURCH had. It is true some maintained traditions, which, be it remembered, were condemned by our Lord; but the only rule the Church really had was the written word. I shall give a few passages on this subject; and the first to which I shall refer, is in the sixth chapter of Deuteronomy, sixth and following verses :---
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart; and thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thine hand, and they shall be and shall move between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them in the entry, and on the doors of thy house."
I beg particular attention to what is here stated. The written word of God was to be the rule of the people themselves to whom this was addressed. 2ndly, It was to be the rule by which they were to guide their children, for they were to teach these words which were written in the law" unto their children." 3rdly, It was not merely the moral law, the Decalogue, that was to be regarded by them, but the whole written law of God, because the chapter begins with the declaration "These are the precepts, and ceremonies, and judgments, which the Lord God commanded that I should teach you, and that you should do them in the land, into which you pass over to possess it; that thou mayest fear the Lord thy God, and keep all his commandments and precepts." ver. 1, 2. And likewise, be it remembered, 4thly, that the law was not to be transmitted orally, but it was to be written: "Thou shalt write them in the entry, and on the doors of thy house." (ver. 9.)
The next passage is found in the 11th of Deuteronomy, 16th and following verses :—
"Beware lest perhaps your heart be deceived, and you depart from the Lord, and serve strange Gods, and adore them: and the Lord being angry shut up heaven, that the rain come not down, nor the earth yield her fruit, and you perish quickly from the excellent land, which the Lord will give you. Lay up
these my words in your hearts and minds, and hang them for a sign on your hands, and place them between your eyes. Teach your children that they meditate on them, when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest on the way, and when thou liest down and risest up. Thou shalt write them upon the posts and doors of thy house that thy days may be multiplied, and the days of thy children, in the land which the Lord swore to thy fathers, that he would give them as long as the heaven hangeth over the earth. For if you
keep the commandments which I command you, and do them, to love the Lord your God, and walk in all his ways, cleaving unto him, the Lord will destroy all those nations before your face, and you shall possess them, which are greater and stronger than you."
Now mark, 1st, a most important thing in the commencement of this passage. Here the Israelites were warned against falling into idolatry; and what was that which was to preserve them from it? Why it was the written word of God, because immediately after the warning contained in the 16th and 17th verses, it follows, Lay up these my words in your hearts and minds your children that they meditate on them, &c.”—Then, 2ndly, there is here repeated, what was said in a former place, that they should teach them to their children, and write them on the doors of their houses. And mark, 3rdly, the blessed consequences and promises connected with adhering, not to the oral, but to the written word:-"That. thy days may be multiplied, and the days of thy children, &c.-For, if you keep the commandments which I command you, and do them, to love the Lord your God, and walk in all his ways, cleaving unto him, the Lord will destroy all those nations before your face," &c. ver. 21-23. Now there is no other rule recognized here but the written law, and that law is said to be able to effect that to which I have referred, and the adherence to it is accompanied with the blessed promises I have mentioned.
Again in Deuteronomy xxxi. 11-13, we read thus:"When all Israel come together, to appear in the sight of the Lord thy God, in the place which the Lord shall choose, thou shalt read the words of this law before all Israel, in their hearing; and the people being all assembled together, both men and women, children and strangers, that are within thy gates: that hearing they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and keep, and fulfil all the words of this law: that their children also, who now are ignorant, may hear, and fear the Lord their God, all the days that they live in the land whither you are going over the Jordan to possess it."
Here, Sir, 1st, there is a reference again to the written law. And was it to be a rule only for a certain body among the Israelites, and not for the whole of the people? Were the whole people to take the dictates of the priests of old, or were they referred to some infallible tribunal beside the written word?---not at all-for, 2ndly, we read in the 11th and 12th verses that this law was to be read "before all