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happens to be mysterious and unintelligible ;for, on that principle, what is there that you should refuse? And yet this is the only principle urged by some in the case before us.
When any doctrine is proposed to your belief, your first business and care should be, to ascertain whether it be really taught in scripture. If, on a careful examination, you find it so; then, whether it be intelligible throughout, or connected with mystery, you are bound implicitly to receive it, as the truth of God. If, after a careful examination, you find it otherwise, then, however intelligible or unintelligible it may be, you are equally bound in duty to repudiate and reject it, as the foul invention of man.
It is in this way, and on these principles, I wish you to treat the several doctrinal views which have been proposed to you in the progress of this investigation. I have stated to you, that, after a serious scrutiny, the contending doctrines of Socinus and Athanasius, appear to me equally unfounded in scripture. But it is not for me to sit in judgment on those who entertain either of them :-" to their own master, they stand or fall.” Regarding them both, however, as errors of great importance, I feel a sincere desire that you should be free from them,
I need not, I think, repeat it, that I do not foolishly expect any of you to adopt, or to reject any doctrine, because I have done so. I
claim no attention to any opinion, considered as mine. But I do call for your submission to the authority of divine revelation. I call upon you to " search the scriptures :"_and to search them without reference to the opinion of man :-search them as the proper and sufficient standard of the Christian faith :-search them with humble and teachable minds :-search them with earnest prayer for the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. They are the only infallible guide. They contain all things essential to the care of your spiritual interests. They are “ profitable for doctrine.” They make wise unto salvation.” They give understanding to the simple. In a word, they. have the living God for their author :-they have the salvation of souls for their object :-they have truth, without any mixture of error, for their contents. A few inaccuracies may have crept into our translation of the scriptures, but they seem to be of comparatively trifling importance. And when you consider the changes, and the hands through which they have come-it should be regarded as nothing less than a standing miracle, that the scriptures of truth have been handed down in such purity, through so many generations, to our own time. Receive them cordially, my beloved brethren, as the sole rule of your faith and practice; and fearlessly and resolutely turn away from the doctrines and commandments of men. The allegiance you owe to your “one Master,"
absolutely requires this of you. “ Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free; and be not entangled with any yoke of human bondage.” He is your only lawgiver and judge in those matters which concern your eternal salvation. You will not be justified in regarding the greatest authority upon earth, in opposition to, or in the neglect of, what he has expressly taught. And whilst it should be regarded as our first duty to follow him alone, it ought to be our highest comfort to recollect, that to him alone are we, in the end, to render our account, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed.
It may be, that a difference of opinion on the subject of the dignity and office of Christ may still, to a certain extent, prevail among us—it would be nothing less than miraculous, were it not so. This, possibly, has always been the case among a people who claim and exercise the right of judging for themselves. This probably will, more or less, continue to be the case. But so long as there is, and can be, no attempt to bind each other's conscience, I see nothing in such a difference that should interrupt the kindest Christian feeling, or the most sacred Christian fellowship. We are all, I trust, heartily agreed on most points of gospel doctrine : our differences, when there are any, I hope, relate to comparatively few. Those on which we are fully agreed,
I take to be the main and essential things :—the few on which we may partially differ, I take to be comparatively unimportant. But the spirit of Christian forbearance, love, and charity, we are taught to regard as of more importance than them all. It will be proper for us to follow up the subjects we have been upon, by an attentive consideration of the true standard of Christian faith, and the scripture terms of Christian communion. These are both subjects of high interest and importance to the disciples of Christ; and I purpose, therefore, God willing, to address you on the first of these subjects, on the next Lord's day. In the mean time, may God endųe us all with the spirit of truth, and peace, and love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
i stening we THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE AS A RULE
2 TIMOTHY, iii. 16. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is pro
fitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
HAVING been induced by circumstances, with which you are all acquainted, to lay before you at some length, in several late discourses, what I take to be the scripture doctrine of the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, with some other doctrines closely connected therewith ; I naturally felt anxious to rest my views on the only foundation that is fit to support them—the solid ground of the Christian revelation. There is