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become in a manner useless ; and some (it. grieves me to say it) even of those who have undertaken to teach others, want themselves to be taught again this first element of Christianity, that the New Testament can net ver be understood and explained, but by com paring it with the Old.
Of this error and its consequences we have a sad example in the celebrated Dr. Clarke a man, whose talents might have adorned the doctrine of Chris', had not his faith been eaten up by an heathen spirit of imagination and philosophy. He published a book entitled, the Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity; a work of great pains and premeditation. In a short preface he allows the subject to be of the greatest importance in religion-not to be treated of carelessly--but examined by a seria ous study of the WHOLE SCRIPTURE. And to convince the world that this and no other was his own practice, he affirms, in his introduction, p. 17 and prints it in capitals, thai he has collected ALL the texts relating to that matter. Yet his whole collection is finished and shut up without single text froin the Old Testament ! I cannot find that he has even mentioned such a book. « Tne Christian revelation,” says he, p. 1. “is the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.” This he calls, p. 4.-" The books of scripture ;" and again, p. 5. The books of scripture
not only the rule, but the whole and the only rule of truth-the only foundation we have to go upon.” And he proves it thus because no man has since pretended to have any new revelation.” An argument that will prejudice few people in favour of his sincerity. For though there has been no new revelation SINCE the books of the New Testa. ment, as we all confess : does it follow that there was no old revelation BEFORE them? And did this author never read, that the same GOD, who spake in these last days by his Son, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets ?a yet he affects to know nothing at all of the matter. And as to the use he makes of the New Testament, who would expect that a man who has made nothing of one half of God's revelation, should be very nice in his treatment of the other ? In the first place, he has not vouchsafed to follow the apostle's direction of comparing spiritual things with spiritual, thence to collect their true meaning ; but sets down his texts in such an order, as makes them to be all single and independent of one another ; and that gives all possible liberty to the imagination to thrust in what sort of comment it pleases. When he refers to any parallel place (which I think is never done, but on one side of the question the reader is not directed to the text itself, but to the meaning he has fastened upon it. At the beginning of every chapter, he sets down his own opinion at large, as the title of it: and you are to believe, that all the passages of that division do certainly prove it : which if cleared of its comments, and compared with other texts, are found to prove no such thing, but the very contrary. And this he calls the Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity: but if we call it by its true name, it is-Clarke's Doctrine of the Scripture ; that is, of half the Scripture. How it came to pass, that he should thus boldly set down. his own resolutions upon the most profound article of the Christian faith, without consulting all the evidence that relates to it, or rightly examining any part of it : how this came to pass, God is to deterinine, to whom all things are naked and open. All I have to do with him, is to rescue the word of God from such deceitful handling. And I have prevailed with myself to make these few reflections, because I find some modern objectors of a lower class, have used this book in conversation and in print, as the oracle of the party, taking the scripture upon trust as his principles would give him leave to retail it. I know it will be accounted an hard thing, and called invidious, to rake thus into the ashes of a writer who is not alive to answer for himself. And I confess, I am very far from taking any pleasure in it. But iş it not,
a Hebrews i. 1.
much harder, that the ashes of this man should be scattered over the land to breed and inflame the plague of heresy, till the whole head is sick and the heart faint, and the whole body full of putrifying blains and sores? Arianism is now no longer a pestilence that walketh in darkness but that brazens it out against the sun's light, and destroyeth in the noon-day. It is a canker, which if it be encouraged much longer, will certainly eat out the vitals of Christianity in this kingdom : and when the faith is gone, the church in all probability will soon follow after it; for if the holy oil be wasted and spilt the lamp that was made to hold it, will be of no farther use,