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by one of these writers, “ Peter spake then according to the conceptions of the Jews; and the prophets may have delivered the offspring of their own brains as divine revelations."
Mr. Blackwall says, concerning these men, of the followers of these worthy interpreters of the gospel, and champions of Christianity, speak worse, if they can, of the ambiguous oracles of the father of lies.” The Rev. R. Wardlaw says, “From the views of inspiration, which these writers entertain, we are prepared to hear-for it is mournfully consistent—one of them charging the sacred penman with using language, even on the most important subjects,” to which they themselves probably annexed no very distinct ideas; "and another accusing the author of the admirable epistle to the Hebrews with, “ far fetched analogies and inconclusive reasonings.” Citations of of this kind might be multiplied; but sufficient has been said, to show the spirit of our Anti-Trinitarian opponents, and their manner of treating the Holy Scriptures.
If it should be said, however, that the faults of some writers ought not to be charged to the Anti-Trinitarians in general ; I answer, let but one of all their writers be produced, who has expressly avowed his belief in the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and I will acknowledge the propriety of the remark. The statements that have been made, are proper samples of the community at large, as far as I have been able to extend my observations.
My authorities, for what I have said, are, Dr. Fuller, and the Rev. R. Wardlaw-gentlemen, deservedly esteemed in the Christian world, and whose character, as writers; for information, piety and truth, stand far above impeachment. Unlimited reliance, therefore, may be placed on the accuracy of what has been advanced, as the sayings of Anti-Trinitarian authors. In Fuller's Letters, and
THE ONLY STANDARD OF TRUTH.
Wardlaw's Sermons, the books and pages are expressly mentioned. My statements, however, will not be disputed; for the thing, could not be done with success.
In the view of what has been said, it amounts to very little with our opponents, whether 1 John 5. 7, is a genuine text, or a forgery ; for they deny the inspiration of the whole Book of God; and, therefore, if that passage were proved to have been written by St. John, all that they would have to do, would be to suppose that he had not given sufficient attention to the subject-was not properly informed respecting that doctrine, and that his reasoning is inconclusive. This observation will apply to every passage that they contest, as being either inserted or mistranslated. With such conceptions of the Scriptures, it must be expected that, they will dispute their authority without any fear, whenever they perceive them to be in opposition to their preconceived and darling system.
The opposition which is made in this town, to the doctrines that I have been defending, is very great.
The youth are exposed to the contagion. They behold the controversy ; but the want of years and experience, incapacitate them, in a great measure, to understand its merits. No doubt, they have supposed, that each of the contending parties were equally willing to abide by the decision of the Bible, in our translation; and, therefore, I feel myself under indispensible obligation to give them suitable information on the subject. Supposing that I should, through a false delicacy, decline the painful task, and they be left to embrace that destructive scheme; how should I answer it to God! How should I dare to meet them in the world of Spirits! Would this excuse me there, that some of my hearers disliked to hear controversy ? No; a cringing, dependent mind, is infinitely unsuitable for a gospel minister. If I know my own heart, it is not for victory nor for party
that I have been contending; but for truth-the glory of God, and the souls of men. 66 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
The last clause of this passage will be the foundation of the next Sermon. Like Timothy may we “know the Scriptures; which are able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus.” AMEN. .
ISAIAH VIII. 20.
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not accor
ding to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Two discourses have been delivered from this passage. In the first, it was shown, that the Scriptures are the only standard of faith and practice. In the second, the various ways were pointed out, in which our Anti-Trinitarian
opponents refuse to speak according to this word.
In conformity with the general arrangement, it remains,
III. To show, the reasons of their resorting to other grounds of decision. When the text was written, it appears that some were disposed to advise the Israelites to forsake God to renounce his word as the only standard of truth, and to have recourse to other sources of religious information. In opposition to these pernicious instructions, the prophet said, “Should not a people seek unto their God? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”
It is, surely, a sinful darkness, that causes people to depart from the light of divine truth. It is a manifestation that they have never been born of the Spirit-never conformed to the moral image of God. Men of great minds
and extensive science, are as deeply involved in moral darkness before regeneration, as the weak and illiterate part of mankind. Through the pride of carnal reasoning, they go astray, and reject the counsel of God. The simple truths of the Gospel were accounted, by the learned Greeks, “ foolishness.” They could see no consistency in salvation by grace, and through faith in a crucified Savior. It was exceedingly offensive to them, to be told, that they were such sinners as to deserve eternal damnation ; that they needed sovereign mercy; and that they could not see the kingdom of God, without experiencing a change of heart. Scientific refinement, and conformity to a system of ethics, were the grounds of their reliance for acceptance with God. Hence, St. Paul
Hence, St. Paul says, “ The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”
In all ages and nations, among all descriptions of men, “ the preaching of the cross is, to them that perish, foolishness.” “ The carnal mind is enmity against God;"" direct hostility to every essential doctrine of Scripture. Those people who are disposed to resist the idea of their being totally depraved anterior to regeneration, give the strongest testimony they possibly can, that this is in fact their own situation. No lively and well-informed Christian will ever dispute the entire depravity of man by nature. St. Paul says to a church, of whose members he entertained a high esteem, “Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord : walk as children of light.” Eph. 5. 8. In the discussion of the present head, it may, 1. Be proper to observe, that those who refuse to speak