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REV. JOHN MACLAURIN,
LATE ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF GLASGOW.
AN INTRODUCTORY ESSAY,
REV. JOHN BROWN,
PRINTED FOR WILLIAM COLLINS;
W. F. WAKEMAN, AND WM. CURRY, JUN. & co. DUBLIN ;
SIMPKIN & MARSHALL; BALDWIN & CRADOCK;
AND HURST, CHANCE, & co. LONDON.
It is impossible to read the New Testament, with even a moderate degree of attention, without, being strock with the infinite importance which it attaches to an accurate and extensive knowledge of the peculiar principles which it contains. " This is life eternal,” says Jesus Christ, “ that they might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he bath sent." “I count all things but loss," says the apostle Paul, “ for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” 66 The truth as it is in Jesus,” is uniformly represented as the grand instrument by which the moral miracles of the new creation are performed. It is through this truth, known and believed, that men obtain a personal interest in all the blessings of the Christian salvation. It is thus that man's deranged spiritual relations are adjusted, and his depraved spiritual character transformed. It is thus that the condemned criminal is restored to the favour of the righteous moral Governor of the world--the spiritual madmay brought to a sound mind, and made wise unto salvation and the slave of sin introduced into "the glorious
liberty of the sons of God.” Divine influence is always held forth as the cause, and divine truth as the means of these blissful changes. Man becomes good and happy whenever he knows and believes this truth; and he becomes better and happier, just as his knowledge 'grows in accuracy and extent, and his faith ripens into full assurance.
To a Christian, then, few questions can possess a deeper interest, than- What is the best method of conducting our inquiries into Christian truth? How are we most likely to “grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ ?” How are we to attain to " the riches of the full assurance of understanding ?”
It cannot be too deeply impressed on the Christian mind, that the Bible is the great depository of saving knowledge that here, here alone, wisdom is to be found, and that this is the place of understanding. Both the truth and its evidence are to be found in the Bible. Here the mind of God is unfolded ; and our great object should be, to have his mind made ours, by this statement of it being understood and believed. It is much to be regretted, that even truly pious persons seem, in many instances, but little aware of the importance of the direct study of the Scriptures, as the principal means of acquiring more extended, and accurate, and influential views of divine truth. They read the Scriptures, indeed, for that is an exercise to which no truly pious man can be a stranger; but they read them almost solely and directly for experimental and practical purposes. They seem to forget that Scripture must first be
profitable for doctrine,” in order to its being “ profitable for reproof, and correction, and instruction in