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the ntmoft degree of evidence that words are capable of, yet they are expreffed that an honeft impartial mind cannot well mifs the fenfe of them.

158 Had all points of doctrine been fo minutely explained, as to fhut out the poffibility of any mistaken meaning, the Bible would have been too volumnious in bulk, and too fubtle in its nature for common ufe. 158 The difputes concerning the meaning of feveral of the most important texts, no argument again't the clearnefs of them.

159

They that reject revelation on account of its obfcurity, must reject natural religion, nay atheifm itfelf, on the fame

account.

160

2. The obscurity of feveral paffages in fcripture does not prove the neceffity of an infallible Judge to determine the meaning of them, becaufe none of those points that are obfcure, are neceffary to be determined.

162

3.

Lefs reasonable ftill, to make fome dark paffages in fcripture, a pretence of locking it up all at once from the generality of Christians. 163 Upon

d 2

Upon the fame grounds the people in the Remifh church are denied the liberty of reading (cripture, they might have been debarred the privilege of our Saviour's convertation while he lived on earth. 163

4. The ill ufe of the doctrine of the text being removed, the moft proper use we can make of it, is, to form in ourfelves deep humility, and lowlinefs of mind, when we perufe the facred oracles. 165

SERMON X!.

On the fame Text.

The latter part of the text explained, in which the apoftle mentions the ill impreffions which the difficult parts of fcripture made on the minds of weak Chriftians. 167

To ftate the juft bounds, and vindicate the reasonablenefs of St. Peter's affertion, it is to be confidered,

1. That to wreft the fcripture, doth not in ftrictnefs of fpeech fignify to mifunderland it through weaknefs and ignorance, but wilfully to per

vert it, to make it fall in with our corrupt opinions and prejudices. 169 2. That the paffages fo perverted, were fuch as were hard to be understood, and therefore not neceffary to be understood. And farther, were fuch as did not treat of points indifferent, but of the greatest

170

moment.

170

171

3. That this forced interpretation of obfcure paffages, was in oppofition to other plain evident ones. Those that wreft fcripture, with all these aggravating circumftances, may juttly be faid to wreft them to their deftruction.

172

From the fcriptures being turned to ill purposes in the apoftles days, we learn, not to wonder if they were fo in aftertimes. 173 And if fuch unexceptionable interpreters of their own writings could not fecure thein from mifreprefentation, the great expediency of an infallible judge is not fo clear as is pretended. From St. Peter's affertion we learn, that we ought to bring with us a right intention of mind, when we read the holy fcriptures.

174

174 And

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