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THE HOLY BIBLE.
Section I. Shewing what Religion is, and how the knowledge of it is to be obtained.
Under the name of Religion is comprehended all that worship and service which is due from men to God: whatever we ought or are bound to do in obedience to him; whatever he will reward us for doing, or punish us for not doing.
In order, therefore, to worship and serve God as we ought to do, we must first believe that he is; that he hath given us laws and commandments to keep; that he is a rewarder, of them who diligently seek him, and of such as do according to all that he hath commanded them: and that he taketh vengeance on them that obey him not. And for the better understanding the nature and extent of our duty, in all respects, together with the grounds and reasons of our obligations; it behoves us in the next place to inform ourselves as truly and particularly as we can, who the Lord is whom we are to serve; what attributes and perfections belong to him, and what works he hath wrought; asaIso,|whatmanner of beings we ourselves are, who are commanded to serve him; what capacities and inclinations we have; what state and condition we are in, and in what relation we stand to God.
After which it will be necessary for us to inquire, how and in what manner
God is to be worshipped, and what those laws and ordinances are, which he hath commanded us to observe.
And then, for our greater encouragement to serve God, in all such things as we shall find to be enjoined us, and to persevere in our obedienceto him; it is requisite for us to know what happiness God hat h prepared for them who love and obey him, and what misery he hath provided for such as transgress his commandments. How great, how certain, and of what continuance, both the joy and the terror of the Lord are.
Sect. it. The Necessity of Searching the Scriptures.
These are the things in which every man is concerned to be well instructed; and the truest and shortest way of attaining such knowledge as this, is, by searching the Scrjptitres:
For they are they which testify of God; which shews us what is good, and what the Lord doth require of us; which set before US the wau of life, and the way of death; an J which, teach us what we must do to be saved from the wrath to come, and to inherit eternal life.
The way of man is not now in himself: it is not in man that walkctlt to direct his steps. Though we can by nature da many things contained in the law of God; and though we can in many cases, even of ourselves, judge what is right, our conscience bearing witness to what is good or evil, by excusing, or else accusing us accordingly; yet we are not a sufficient law unto ourselves. Notwithstanding therefore the (aw written in our hearts, we shall never come to the full knowledge of that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, which is to direct us in this life, but by his word which he hath in due time manifested to us: from whence we may be fully instructed in all things which belong unto our peace, and salvation, even the salvation of our souls.
And if any man sin (as in many things we offend all), there is no other way of being assured that we shall not all perish, but from the Scriptures; which acquaint us, that we have an advocate with the Father: and give us an account in what manner, and upon what'terms God is pleased to reconcile us to himself*
Sbct. Hi. Of the Scriptures, the written word of God, the word of truth; their authority, use, end, and excellency.—Heb. i. 1. xi. 3, 4. Prov. xxiii. 93.
What nation so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law which I set before you this day?—Deut. iv. 8. Ps. cxix. 138. 172.
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way; when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house, and upon thy gates, that your days may be multiplied, &c—Deut. xi. 18—21. vi. 6—8.
Thou shalt read the law before all Israel in their hearing, &c. that they
* See Bishop Gastrell's Institutes.
may hear, that they may learn and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: and that their children, who have not known, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord, &c.—Deut. xxxi. 11—13. xvii. 18—20. Josh. i. 3.
When Josiah heard it read, he rent his clothes.—2 Kings xxii...l 1, &c. Ezra ix. 4.
I have esteemed (hid, or laid up) the words of his mouth, more than my necessary food (or appointed portion).—Job xxiii. 12.
The word of the Lord is tried (or refined).—Ps. xviii. 30. xii. 6.
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, &c. the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether: more to be desired than fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned, &c.—Ps. xix. 7—11. xciii. 5. cxix. 72. 105. 2 Sam.xxii. 31.
Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.—Ps. xl. 7.
He established a testimony in Ja-. cob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know, the children who should be born, should arise and declare to their children, that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments, and might not be as their fathers, &c.—Ps. lxxviii. 5—8.
Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the Most High; therefore he brought down their heart, &c.— Ps. cvii. 11, 12. Luke vii. 30.
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed according to thy word. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee: thy word hath quickened me, &c. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou causedst me to hope. I will speak of thy testimonies before kings: Unless thy law had been my delight I had perished in my affliction. Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies, Sec. I have more understanding than all my teachers; for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, &c. How sweet are thy words to my taste! thy word is a lamp to my feet, &c. I hope in thy word: the entrance of thy word giveth light, it giveth understanding to the simple.—Ps. cxix. 9. 11.46. 49, 50. 92. 96. 98—100. 103. 105. 114. 130.
Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord; when they hear the words of thy mouth.—Ps. cxxxviii. 2. 4.
He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel: He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments,they have not known them.—Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20. Deut. iv. 8.
Whoso despiseth the word, shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment, shall be rewarded (or in peace).—Prov. xiii. 13.
Every word of God is pure, &c.— Prov. xxx. 5.
To the law, and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light (or morning) in them.—Isa. viii. 20.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bringeth good tidings, who publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation: that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth!—Isa. lii. 7.
As the rain cometh, &c. so shall my word be which goeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper
in the thing whereto I sent it.
Iv. 10, 11.
To this man will I look, to him who is poor, &c. and trembleth at my word, &c. Hear the word of the Lord, ye who tremble at his word,&c. he shall, &c.—Isa. lxvi. 2. 5.
Behold, the word of the Lord is to them a reproach; they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord, &c.—Jer. vi. 10, 11.
The wise men are ashamed, &c. Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord: and what wisdom is in them? —Jer. viii. 9. Luke vii. 30.
The prophet who hath a dream, let him tell a dream; aud he who hath my word, lethim speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer, which breaketh. the rock in pieces?—Jer. xxiii.28,29.
I will shew thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth.—Dan. x. 21.
Because Ephraim hath made many altars, &c. I have written to him the great things of my law: but they were counted as a strange thing.— Hos. viii. 11, 12. Ps. cxix. 129.
Behold, &c. I will send a famine, &c. not of bread, &c. but of hearing the words of the Lord, and they shall wander from sea to sea, &c. to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.—Amos viii. 11, 12.
Do not my words do good to him who walketh uprightly?—Micahii. 7.
Christ (when the devil tempted him) said to him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, &c. It is written again, Thou shalt, Sec.— Matt. iv. 4. 7. 10.
Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock, &c.—Matt.vii.24. Luke vi. 47, 48.
When the Pharisees contended, Christ said unto them, Have ye not read what David did when he was an hungered? &c. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath day? &c—Matt. xii. 2, 3. 5. \\i. 16.
Have ye not read, that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female? &c. What God hath joined together, let not man, &c.—Matt. xix. 4—6.
And he said, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den, &c. Did ye never read in the Scriptures, That the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?—Matt. xxi. 13.16.42. Luke xx. 17.
Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am, &c.—Matt. xxii. 31, 32. Luke xx. 37, 38.
• All ye shall be offended, &c. For it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray? &c. But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? But all this was done, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.— Matt. xxvi. 31. 53, 54. 56. Luke xix. 46. xxii. 37, 38.
Jesus said, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, &c.—Mark xii. 24.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. —Markxiii. 31. Lukexvi. 17. John X. 35.
They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.—Luke xvi. 29.31.
When Jesus taught his disciples he said, O fools, and slow of heart t. believe all that the prophets have spoken. And beginning at Moses, &c. he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning himself. All things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Mo
ses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms,concerningme. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures; and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, &c—Luke xxiv. 25. 27. 44—46. x. 25—27.
Ye have not his word abiding in you, for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me: but if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words ?—John v. 38, 39. 46, 47. ii. 22. vii. 52.
Christ said. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every man therefore who hath heard and hath learned of the Father, &c.—John vi.45. vii. 38.42.
The word that I have spoken, the. same shall judge him in the last day, &c—John xii. 48—50.
I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, &c. that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word.—John xvii. 8. 12. 20. Matt. x. 14, 15.
These things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, ye might have life.—John xx. 31.
This Scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spoke before, &c—Acts i. 16. 20.
When the apostles preached, they proved their doctrine by the Scriptures; but this is that which was spoken by the prophet, &c. And David, &c.—Acts ii. iii. iv. v, vii, xvii. 2,3.
It is not reason we should leave the word of God, and serve tables, &c.—Acts vi. 2. 4.7. xiii. 7.
Samaria had received the word of God, yet had not received the Holy Ghost. The Eunuch reading the Scripture, had Philip sent to him to convert him by it.—Acts viii. 14—16. 29, &c. Luke viii. 11.
Call for Simon, who shall tell thee words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.—Acts xi. 13, 14. x. 6.33.
Sergius Paulus desired to hear the word of God, &c. Almost the whole city came together to hear the word of'God, &c—Acts xiii. 7. 44—46. six. 20.
These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.—Acts xvii. 11.
Apollos, &c. mighty in the Scriptures, &c. mightily convinced the Jews and that publicly: shewing by the Scriptures, that Jesus was Christ. —Acts xviii. 24, 25. 28. xvii./2, 3. Paul said, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler, &c.—Acts xxiii. 5.
After the way they call heresy, so worship I, &c. believing all things which are written in the law, and the prophets.—Acts xxiv. 14. John ii. 22.
Saying none other things than those, which the prophets and Moses did say should come.—Acts xxvi. 22. There came many to Paul, &c. to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God; persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning, &c.—Acts xxviii. 23. Which he had promised, &c. by his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, &c. The gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation, &c.— Rom. i. 2. 16, &c.
What advantage? &c. Much: because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. By the law is the knowledge of sin.—Rom. iii. 1, 2.20.
Ye have obeyed that form of doctrine which was delivered you.— Rom. vi. 17.
I had not known sin, but by the law, &c. Except the law had said, Thou, &c.—Rom. vii. 7.
For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him,shall not be ashamed. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.—Rom. x. 11.17.
It is written, The reproaches, &c. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we, through patience, and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.—Rom. xv. 3, 4.
The mystery, which was kept secret since the world began; but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, &c. made known, &c.—Rom. xvi. 25, 26. Ephes. v. 13. iii. 5, 6.
The preaching of the cross, is to them who perish, foolishness, &c. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, &c.—1 Cor. i. 18, 19.
Which things we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things, &c.—I Cor. ii. 13. fi.
When the apostle had mentioned many things which Israel did, Sj-c. he saith, Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. —1 Cor. x. 11. Rom. iv. 23, 24.
Ye keep the ordinances (or traditions) as I delivered them to you.— 1 Cor. xi. 2.
I declare unto you the gospel which I preach, &c. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory, &c. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.—1 Cor. xv. I