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tient Writers: But this, only as a Means to assist and clear up their own Understanding, not to over-rule it; as a Means to afford them Light to see what Christ has taught them, not to prejudice them with supposing that Christ has taught any thing, which, after the strictest inquiry and most careful examination, they cannot find to be delivered in his Do&trine.
If in all things absolutely necessary to be believed and practised in order to Salvation, the Revelation of Christ was not in it self so clear, as that every sincere person, using the best Helps and Affistances he can meer with, could sufficiently understand it; it would follow, that God had not at all made sufficient provision for the Salvation of men. For the Doctrine of Christ and his Apostles being the only Foundation we have to go upon, and no man since pretending to have had any new Revelation; 'tis evident there can never possibly be any Authority upon Earth, sufficient to oblige any man to receive any thing as of divine Revelation, which it cannot make appear to that Mans own Understanding (sincerely studying and inquiring after the Truth,) to be included in That Revelation. For if any man can by any exter
nal Authority be bound to believe any thing to be the Doctrine of Christ, which at the same time his best Understanding necessitates him to believe is not that Doctrine ; he is unavoidably under the Absurdity of
being obliged to obey Two contrary Masters, and to follow Two ins consistent Rules at once. The only Rule of Faith therefore to every Christian, is the Doctrine of Christ ; and That DoArine, as applied to him by his own Understanding. In which matter, to preserve his Understanding from erring, he is obliged indeed, at his utmost peril, to lay aside all Vice and all Prejudice, and to make use of the best Assistances he can procure : But after he has done all that can be done, he must of necessity at last understand with his own Understanding, and believe with his own, not anothers, Faith. For ( whatever has sometimes been absurdly pretended to the contrary,) 'tis evidently as impossible in Nature, that in these things any one person should submit himself to another, as that one man should fee or taste, should live or breathe for another.
Wherefore in every Inquiry, Doubt, Question or Controversy concerning Religion, every man that is sollicitous to avoid erring, is obliged to have recourse
(according to the best of his Capacity) to the Rule itself, to the original Revelation. Using (as is before said) all the Helps and Allistances he can obtain; But still taking care to use them, only as Helps and Allistances; not confounding and blending them with the Rule itself.
Where That Rule is to be found by every sincere Christian, is very
evident. Whatever our Lord himself taught, (because his Miracles proved his divine Authority,) was infallibly True, and to Us (in matters of Religion) the Rule Truth. Whatever his Apostles preached, (because they were inspired by the same Spirit, and proved their Commislion by the like Testimony of Miracles,) was likewise a part of the Rule of Truth. Whatever the Apostles wrote, (because they wrote under the Direction of the same Spirit by which they preached, ) was in like manner a part of the Rule of Truth. Now in the Books of Scripture is.conveyed down to us the Sum of what our Saviour taught, and of what the Apostles preached and wrote: And were there as good evidence, by any certain means of Tradition whatsoever, of any other things taught by Christ or his Apostles, as there is for those delivered down to us in these Writings; it could not be
denied but that such Tradition would be of the same Authority, and in every refpect as much a part of the Rule of Truth, as the Scripture itself. But since there is no such Tradition (and indeed in the nature of things there can be no such Tradition) at this distance of Time; therefore the Books of Scripture are to Us Now not only the Řule, but the whole and the Only Rule of Truth in matters of Religion. This Notion is
Non enim per a. well expressed by, lios dispositionem faIrenæus: We have lutis noftræ cognonot (faith he) been vimus, quàm per eos taught the Method per quos Evangeliof our Salvation by um pervenit ad nos: any Others, than by Quod quidem Tung Those from whom the præconiaverunt;poGospel it self was de- iteà verò
Dei volivered to us: Which luntatem in Scripthe Apostles, at first, turis nobis tradidepreached; and af- runt, fundamentum terwards, by the & columnam fidei Will of God, deli- noftræ futurum. Nec vered down to us in enim fas eft dicere, Writing, that it quoniam antè præmight be the Foun- dicaverunt quàm dation and Pillar perfectam haberent of our Faith. And agnitionem ; ficut it is impious to ima- quidam audent di
gine, that they prea- cere, gloriantes e ched before they had mendatores se effe Perfect Knowledge Apostolorum. Poftof what they were ea enim quàm surreto deliver; as fome, xit Dominus nofter who boast themselves a mortuis, & induto be Amnenders of ti sunt supervenienthe Apostles do- te Spiritu sancto virctrine, have pre- tutem ex alto, de fumed to affirm. For omnibus adimpleti after our Lord was sunt, & habuerunt risen from the dead, perfectam agnitioand they were in- nem;  exierunt dued by the Holy in fines terræ, ea Ghost with Power quæ a Deo nobis bofrom on high; they na sunt evangelizanwere Fully instruct- tes, & cæleftem paed, and had Perfect cem hominibus anKnowledge in all nunciantes; qui quithings; and went dem & omnes pariforth into the ends of ter & singuli eorum, the World, declaring habentes Evangelithe good things which um Dei. Ità Mata God hath provided thæus----Scripturam for us, and preaching edidit Evangelii , Peace from Heaven &c. Lib.3.cap. I. unto Men; having All and Each of them the Gospel of God. Thus Matthew set forth the Gospel in Writing, &c.
Nevertheless, though the Whole Scripture is the Rule of Truth; and whatever