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were left to express themselves after
their own particular manner 142 2i The nature of soine things they deliver
ed was so obscure, tbat the language of men must needs fall short of them.
142 If fome paffages were of uncertain meaning
at that time, there must be more fo to us who live at this distance froin the
age of the apostles.
143 The eastern manner of thinking and speak
in, at the time especially when the spriptures were writ, widely diffcrent from ours, who live in this age, and this quarter of the world.
143 And the particular occafions, upon which
some parts of them were writ, entirely unkown to us.
144 The multiplicity of commentators that
have started all pofsible senles of scripture, have cast a milt over many places of it, which of themselves were plain and clear.
144 III These obfcurities are no reflexion on
the goodness of God, which is not on bliged to do every thing for us that is posible to be done, but only that which
is fitting and fufficient for the end it
designs. Scripture sufficient for the end to which
it was designed, becaufe thro' not equal. ly perspicuous throughout, yet it is in
the main and for the moft pats so. 147 And wherever it is hard to be underftood,
is on thať account not necessary to be underftood.
147 Nor are these obfcurities a reflexion on
the wisdom of God, because they are none of them fo difficult as to be utterly unintelligible.
148 They answer several wisé ends of provi
dence, particularly they ferve to humble
the prefumption and pride of man. 149 To secure the majesty of religion. ibid. To exercife our industry, and engage our attention
150 To be the teft of ingenuous and well difposed minds.
iso To make us long for that bleffed state and
time, when all doubts shall be cleared, and the veil taken off from all myfterics.
९० VOL. II.
S E R M O N X.
On the fame Text.
Reflexions that arise from the preceding
discourse, 1. The folly of those men, who endea
of vour from the obscurity of some parts of fcripture, entirely to destroy theauthority of it.
153 A book designed to open to us fome dis
coveries concerning the divine nature, its effence, and ineffable perfections, were much to be suípected not to be of divine authority, if it had nothing abstruse and difficult.
155 It cannot be said to be an insufficient rule
‘of faith and practice, since it is so far clear as to reach the end it is intended for.
156 The doctrines of the divinity of Christ and
the Holy Ghoft, and the like, tho' not plainly contained in every text of scripture which speaks of them, yet are clearly enough delivered in some text or o-, ther to demand our belief of them.
157 Tho' they may be no where expressed with
the ntmost degree of evidence that words are capable of, yet they are expressed that an honest impartial mind cannot well miss the sense of them.
158 Had all points of doctrine been so minutely
explained, as to shut out the possibility of any mistaken meaning, the Bible would have been too volumnious in bulk, and too subtle in its nature for
coinmon use. The disputes concerning the meaning of
several of the most important texts, no argument again the chearnefs of them.
159 They that reject revelation on account of
its obscurity, muft reject natural religion, nay atheism itself, on the fame account.
160 2. The obscurity of several passages in
scripture does not prove the necessity of an infallible Judge to determine the meaning of them, because none of those points that are obscure, are necessary to be determined.
162 3. Less reasonable still, to make some
dark passages in scripture, a pretence of locking it up all at once from the generality of Christians.
Upon the same grounds the people in the Romi/h church are denied the liberty of reading cripture, they might have been debarred the privilege of our Saviour's converiation while he lived on earth.
163 The ill use of the doctrine of the text being removed, the most proper use we can make of it, is, to form in ourselves deep humility, and lowliness of mind, when we perule the sacred oracles.
On the fame Text.
The latter part of the text explained, in
which the apostle mentions the ill impressions which the difficult parts of scripture made on the minds of weak Chriftians.
167 To state the just bounds, and vindicate
the reasonableness of St. Peter's affertion, it is to be considered, 1. That to wrest the scripture, doth
not in strictness of speech signify to misunderstand it through weaknets and ignorance, but wilfully to per