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WEIGHTY CASES ARE RESOLVED, TRUTHS CONFIRMED, AND
DIFFICULT TEXTS ILLUSTRATED AND EXPLAINED.
BY JOHN LOCKE, Esq.
CAREFULLY REVISED AND IMPROVED, MANY ERRORS IN FORMER EDITIONS
BY WILLIAM DODD, LL. D.
PREBENDARY OF BRECON, AND CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO HIS MAJESTY.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness.—2 Tim. iii. 16.
A NEW EDITION,
AND 7. 8. BAYNES AND CO., EDINBURGH.
MR. LOCKE'S PREFACE.
As the lively Oracles, the Holy Scriptures, are confessedly an immense blessing, and inexhaustible treasure, which the divine wisdom and bounty have adapted to all the purposes of a holy life, directing us to a cure for every disease of the soul, considered both in a moral and theological sense; the displaying the Authority, Use, and Excellency of them, must have a direct tendency not only to excite our curiosity, but to animate our desire and impatience to be thoroughly acquainted with the contents of them. These therefore resemble the “ Leaves of the Tree of life, which were appointed for the healing of the nations," Rev. xxii. 2. and discover that pure fountain, opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness. But a sketch or essay on this subject must necessarily exceed the bounds of a preface; nor are there wanting great variety of valuable treatises to exercise the attention of those who shall, with application, pursue this argument. However, we may affirm of the Holy Scriptures, what St. Paul attributes to his own preaching (Acts xx. 27.), that in them is declared all the counsel of God's will; viz. that instruction in faith, and that regulation in practice, which“ is able to make us wise unto salvation, and thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Tim. iii. 15. 17. And indeed the perfection, the fulness, the comprehension of the Holy Scriptures, is truly astonishing. The knowledge most mysterious and profound, is there exhibited to us : the truths most useful and necessary, are there unfolded to us : the precepts most pure and perfective of mankind (of which the great sectataries of nature, in their four thousand years' improvement, gave us little besides blunders and blotted paper), are there recommended, nay, and demonstrated too, as they are exemplified in the conduct of all those who have had the common understanding, and the grace to be governed by their directions: so that the Sciolists and Empirics, who have sifted their sufficiency, and, in contradiction to St. Paul (1 Cor. i. 25.) say, “ The foolishness of man is wiser than God,” are of all creatures the most ridiculous. But the great antipathy which a thoughtless tribe among us (for simple apprehension is a very metaphysical kind of thinking) professes against the Scriptures, is best accounted for from hence, because they make us acquainted with ourselves, and teach us sundry unfashionable duties, which they are determined never to copy after ; and therefore, as it happens in too many other cases, the Scriptures being against them, they are against the Scriptures. They will not wash in Jordan ! But since the address and expostulation proceeded from the mouth of heathens, it may have the greater weight: (2 Kings v. 13.) “ If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean?”. Apollos, the eloquent Jew, was mighty in the Scriptures, knowing only the baptism of John (Acts xviii. 24, 25.) But these men reject the counsel of God against themselves ; being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. So that those who disguise or disesteem the Holy Scriptures, may be listed under some of these denominations, the proud, heady, highminded, superficial boasters; the low, carnal, indolent, heavy sensualists; the confident, malicious, raging, wicked hearts of unbelief. Heb. iii. 12.
Should the following collection be of force to correct or remove any of the forementioned evils, and render the study of the Scriptures less intricate, by gleaning together, as it were into one bundle, the substance of what lies separately, and at a distance in the sacred pages, the Author would not think his labour of love misplaced : and he is encouraged by the concurrence of some learned and judicious divines to hope for some success; and that, by the blessing of God, it may have a singular tendency to the enlightening of some, and establishing of others in divine truths, when uno intituitu, they see the Scriptures, upon which they are built, and to enable them with ease to confute gainsayers. For here the several texts of Holy Scripture, which lie scattered in the book of God, are collected together, generally in the order as they lie in the Bible: and where any subject is mentioned in the general head, there, for the most part, is to be found all that relates to that matter, immediately following, under particular, heads, or subdivisions ; to the end that the whole may be presented in one view together : at least, there are references to some other head, where it is placed more properly.
And here note, that not only the passages directly to the subject
are inserted, but also such which are any ways argumentative, or enforcing (whether by examples, the equity of the things, the nature of God, his approbation, promises, or threatening), or any way illustrating or expounding of it, by whatsoever terms they are expressed: whereof a little use of this treatise will soon give full evidence.
But, to prevent prejudices and mistakes, and give some light into the way and method the Author hath taken, he proposeth these two
I. To prevent prejudice. Do not make a judgment from reading one or two texts at the beginning of any head : for, possibly, they may not at the first sight appear so pertinent to the matter as others do which follow; they may be only argumentative, and not positive: for the Author so placed them on purpose, that they might run in order as they lie in the Bible, that the Reader might go to any text of either Testament, without turning backward and forward; and thence it happens sometimes, that Scriptures least to the purpose first occur to view.
Likewise, pass not sentence upon any text under any head, as impertinent to the subject there, until it be seriously weighed: for possibly in so doing, thou mayest discern something in that Scripture which thou never didst observe before, nor mightest have taken notice of, bad not the head or subject there turned thy thoughts upon it.
And then, the Author doubteth not, but that the composure itself, when judiciously considered, will prevent another censure, viz. That it is a needless work, as having been done already by others : this being a performance of another nature than any yet extant, and will be more serviceable in sundry views. For, notwithstanding any other helps, the finding out of apt Scriptures for illustrating or confirming any truth which may be upon our thoughts, has ever been, and still is, a difficult and laborious work; and thence men ofttimes use Scriptures, either not apt, according to the intent of the Holy Ghost; or such, the genuine sense of which is doubted.
And as for the use of concordances herein, each man's memory must record the Scriptures: for they must first occur to his thoughts, then his judgment must fix upon some word therein, under which the text is placed ; and it is possible not to hit the right term under which it is; and ofttimes look a long time ere he comes to it, because of the multitude of words there used; and haply miss it at last too,