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FAITH AND PRACTICE
Of Religion and the Holy Scriptus.
RELIGION is the Worship and Service of the Deity.
$ 2. Natural Religion is the Worship and Service of God, according to the light of Nature, or the exercise of Reason. Rerealed Religion is the Worship and Service of God, according to the declaration of His Will.
$ 3. Man is enabled by the light of Nature, to apprehend the Existence and certain of the Attributes of the Deity; but it is only by the help of Revelation, that he can come to the full and salutary knowledge of the divine perfections, and of his own interest in their operation; of the mutual relation which subsists between the Creator and the creature ; and of that rule of life, by obedience to which he is to shew his gratitude and submission to God, and to seek his VOL 1.
happiness in this world, as well as his salvation in a future state.
$ 4. The Will of God, as it has been revealed at various times, and by different means, since the Creation of the World, is contained in those books, which together form (what is commonly called) the Bible or Holy Scriptures. From this written Word, which derives its authority, not from man's judgment, but from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and which God has been graciously pleased to record by the inspired pen of Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles, for the establishment and preservation of His Church, we obtain a perfect and sufficient Rule of Faith and Practice ;-the knowledge of every thing which is necessary to make us wise unto salvation. The Canon of Scripture being completed, we are not to expect any further such extraordinary Revelations, as were given before and during the delivery of the written Word.
§ 5. The Canonical Books of the Bible (divided into the Old Testament, or the Law and the Prophets ; and the New Testament, or the Gospel) are those, of the authority and inspiration of which there is no doubt.
$ 6. The Old Testament, written originally in the Hebrew language, and containing the Mosaic and Pro. phetical Revelations, consists of the following thirtynine books:
Moses, or 5 houks of
$7. The books of the New Testament, translated from the Greek, and comprising the Christian Revelation, are twenty-seven: Matthew
Epistle to the Ro- Epistle of James
14 Epistles of St. Paul
$8. The books of which the Apocrypha is composed, being of doubtful authority, are not to be referred to as a standard of doctrine; but are to be considered only as instructive lessons of human origin. Such are,
The Idol Bel, and the
$ 9. The Truth and Divinity of the Canonical Books of Holy Scripture, are confirmed by sufficient testimony: which testimony is to be found—in the character and credit of the authors to whom the books are severally attributed;- :-in the nature of the facts, and tendency of the doctrines, which form the subject of them ;-in the signs and tokens of Divine Authority, the working of Miracles, and the accomplishment of Prophecy ;- in the wonderful preservation of the Scriptures ;-in the effects and success of the Mosaic and Christian Dispensations;- in the evidence of the Jews, to whom the Oracles of God were committed ;-in the consent of Christians, ever since the promulgation of the Gospel, who have testified their belief, and
sealed it with their blood ;-and lastly, in the concurrence and admissions of profane writers and enemies of the Church of God.
§ 10. Those things which are necessary to salvation, are clearly revealed in Holy Writ. Although many passages may be difficult of interpretation, on account of the mysterious nature of the subject, of the languages in which they were written being ill-understood, or of the manners and customs to which they allude being now unknown, yet we are not to suppose that the Holy Ghost, from whose inspiration they proceeded, would veil in obscurity any essential points of doctrine or of practice, in that Law by which we are to be judged at the last day. Whatever, therefore, is not distinctly declared in Scripture, or fairly to be deduced from it, ought not to be required as an Article of Faith.
$ 11. It is necessary for all men to read the Scriptures, because all are interested in believing and observing what is written, to lead them to eternal life ; and because it is expressly commanded by God that they should do so. But since the Holy Spirit can alone enlighten the mind, and prepare the heart of man, to receive the Word of God with profit, the reading of the Scriptures should be accompanied with earnest prayer for the Divine Blessing, with a teachable and humble disposition, and with a sincere desire that the testimonies of the Lord may give “understanding unto the simple."
$ 12. Scripture is every where conformable with itself, and cannot involve a contradiction; it is, therefore, so to be interpreted, as that no one passage shall contradict another; and the sense of what appears