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IV. "That you keep your mind always open to evidence. -That you labour to banish from your breaft all prejudice, prepoffeffion, and party-zeal. That you ftudy to live in peace and love with all your fellow-chriftians; and that you steddily affert for yourself, and freely allow to others, the unalienable rights of judgment and confcience,"

Is it poffible to adjust the terms between a tutor and his pupils more equitably? But it must here be observed, that Dr. TAYLOR ever meant, the liberty he claimed for himself, and allowed to others, fhould be directed by a serious frame of mind, and a real defire to promote practical religion. The inlarged view he had of divine things penetrated his own heart, and had a manifeft influence over his practice. He laboured to explain and vindicate the doctrines of Revelation for this reafon, that he might moft effectually ferve the cause of vital Religion.

It were to be wifhed, that thofe who are students for the miniftry, who choose to confult his writings, may imbibe the fame fpirit of genuine piety. This will be a never-failing fource of weight and credit; and without it, other qualifications will be infufficient for religious improvement,

The Doctor's whole life being devoted to an impartial ftudy of the Scriptures, not by way of fpeculation and amusement, but for the most valuable purposes to himself and others, it is no wonder to find him fo earneftly recommending them to the ferious attention of Chriftians, This is the important fubject of thofe chapters, which immediately follow the Scheme of SCRIPTURE-DIVINITY,

The Editor fubmits the whole (as the Author would have done) to the candor of every intelligent Reader; defiring that what is here advan ced, may be regarded no further than fhall appear conformable to truth and Scripture, in fubferviency to the beft intereft of Mankind.


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SHRISTIAN Theology, or Divinity, is the Science, which, from Revelation, teacheth the knowledge of God, namely, his nature and perfections, his relations to us, his ways and difpenfations, his will with respect to our actions, and his purposes with refpect to our being; in order to form in our minds right principles, for our direction and comfort, and in our conversation right practice for fecuring his favour and bleffing.

In natural religion we take our proofs from the natures of things as perceived, confidered, and compared by the human mind; but now we advance upon the authority and fenfe of writings and books; I mean, thé Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Teftaments, acknowledged by the whole Chriftian world as a true revelation from God, and as the ftandard of faith and doctrine.

That God would revele to us, by fuch ways as he in his wisdom judgeth moft proper, fuch things as are needful for us to know and to do, for the improvement and happiness of our nature, is perfectly agreeable to his wisdom and Goodness, who is our Father, and delighteth in our well-being; and is also perfectly fuitable to our circumstances, as mankind are ignorant and weak, and very liable to error and deception. It is confonant to the nature of things, that a father should inftruct his child; and that perfons of knowledge and learning fhould teach the ignorant. How much more that God, whofe understanding is infinite, and without whom we can know nothing at all, should teach and inftruct us all?

And that his inftructions fhould be configned to writing is alfo very fit and proper; as this, in fact, is the fureft method of preferving them

CH. I, in the world. Tradition from one generation to another is no fafe conveyance. The experiment hath been fufficiently tried in the ages before the food; wherein, though tradition was then greatly favoured by the longevity of mankind, yet we find, that both the Religion of Nature and traditionary Revelation were both fo far loft, that in the space of 1656 years, the earth was filled with violence for all flesh had corrupted his way upon earth. Gen vi. 11, 12. And both would have been entirely loft, had not God in an extraordinary manner interpofed. Likewise after the flood, notwithstanding any tradition from Noah, idolatry foon overfpread the nations, and rendered it expedient for God, to devife a new conftitution, to prevent a fecond univerfal corruption and apoftacy, And fo falfe and faithlefs is Tradition, that for many ages in the Jewish nation, and for many ages under the Gofpel, Tradition was, and ftill is, fo far opposed to Revelation, as to obfcure and difparage it, and make the commandment of God therein of no effect. Infomuch, that had not a written Revelation by Divine Providence been introduced into the world, and preferved in it, true Religion would have been banished out of it.

The benefit of Revelation is very great, but then it must be faithfully ufed; otherwise it will be turned against itself, and made the patron of Falfehood and Delufion. Which, in fact, hath been the cafe. Men, either weak or wicked, have perverted the Scriptures, and reduced them to a fubferviency to either their lufts, or preconceived opinions. The latter was remarkably the cafe in the firft ages of Chriftianity. When any of the Philofophers were converted to the Chriftian Profeffion, they generally brought along with them the fchemes and notions of the particular fects, to which they were attached; thofe influenced their minds in the tudy of the Scriptures, and inclined them to wreft the Scriptures into a confiftency with their preconceived opinions. Hence it is, that many notions, inconfiftent with the word of God, and with each other, have been handed down to us from the earliest times under the facred character of found Chriftian Doctrine. And in our own times, we find men pleading the authority of Scripture for a variety of oppofite and contradictory fentiments, which therefore cannot all of them be founded upon Scrip


For the Holy Scriptures, being a Revelation from God, the most perfect and invariable ftandard of Truth, though written by different perfons, living in remote ages, during the fpace of about 1500 years, from Mofes to Fahn, who wrote the Revelation; yet, being a Revelation from God, must be perfectly confiftent in all their parts and principles, views and fentiments, expreft in uniformity of language. For if the language were multiform and various, the sense would neceffarily be obfcure, and the understanding confounded, and fo the ends of Revelation would be defeated. And if, notwithstanding the great changes in cuftoms, difpofitions, interefts, and religious fentiments, which muft, and actually did, happen in fo long a tract of time, we do find, that one confiftent scheme, in one confiftent uniform language, is carried on in all the writings, which compose the Scriptures, we may ftrongly conclude, that they are a Revelation from God; not the produce of human wisdom, which could never in ages fo remote, and for the greatest part fo illiterate, have com

bined to carry on a regular, uniform scheme of religious principles and fentiments, in the fame language or modes of expreffion; but the infpiration or dictates of one Spirit, the Spirit of God. Hence it follows,

I. That in explaining the Scriptures, confiftency of fense and principles ought to be fupported in all the feveral parts thereof; and that, if any part be fo interpreted as to clash with any other, we may be fure fuch interpretation cannot be juftified. Nor can it otherwise be rectified, than by faithfully comparing Scripture with Scripture, and bringing what may seem to be obfcure into a confiftency with what is plain and evident.

II. The fenfe of Scripture can no otherwife be understood, than by understanding the force and import of Scriptural language. And the force and import of Scriptural language can be fettled in no method more authentic, than by collating the feveral paffages in which any phrafe or expreffion occurs. Thus, in every view, Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture.

III. Figurative expreffions fhould be carefully diftinguished from those that are literal; and vice versa. The oriental, and confequently, the Scriptural tropes and figures of speech, are very bold, and different from the European.

IV. Single fentences are not to be detached from the places where they ftand, but to be taken in Connection with the whole discourse. The occafion, coherence, and connection of the writing, the argument that is carrying on, the fcope and intent of the paragraph, are to be carefully attended to..

V. We should always interpret Scripture in a fenfe confiftent with the laws of natural religion; or with the known perfections of God, and the notions of right and wrong, good and evil, which are discoverable in the works of creation, and in the prefent conftitution of things.. The language of Nature is moft certainly the language of God, the fole author of Nature. And however the Divine Wisdom may diversify, the circumstances of fupernatural Revelation, yet the law of Nature, as it is founded in the unchangeable Natures of things, must be the bafis and ground work of every conftitution of religion, which God had erected. Whence it follows, that the ftudy and knowledge of natural Religion is a neceffary introduction to the study and right understanding of Revelation. And we may further conclude that fupernatural Revelation, in all its parts and principles, as it certainly is, fo it always fhould be, interpreted and underftood in perfect harmony with natural Religion, or the dictates of Reason.

But mistake me not; I do not mean, that the law or religion of Nature is commensurate to Revelation; or, that nothing is to be admitted in Revelation, but what is discoverable by the light of Nature, or by human Reason. So far from that, that the whole of Revelation, properly fo called, could never have been difcovered by human Reason. And therefore in matters of pure Revelation, it is a very falfe and fallacious way to begin firft with what our Reafon may dictate and discover. Because our Reason unaffisted by Revelation, in such cases, can difcover


nothing at all. For instance, the confequences of Adam's tranfgreffion upon his posterity; the covenant made with Abraham; the nature and miffion of the Son of God; the grant of bleffings, and of eternal life by him. Concerning those things, we could have known nothing at all, had not God reveled them to us. And in fuch matters of pure Revelation, the first thing we have to do, is to enquire, not what human Rea fon can discover, but what God has difcovered, and declared in Scripture. But at the fame time it is true, that God hath discovered nothing in Scripture inconfiftent with what he has difcovered in the nature of things expofed to the view of all mankind. And therefore, if we understand any thing in reveled Religion, in a fenfe contradictory to natural religion, or to the known perfections of God, and the common notions of good and evil, which he hath written upon all our hearts, we may be fure we are in an error, and mistake the fenfe of Revelation.

I. He who would effectually ftudy the word of God, ought, above all things, to be deeply fenfible of the infinite value of true knowledge and wisdom; and how abfolutely neceflary it is to his eternal happiness, to cultivate and improve his intellectual powers, in the use of all those means, which God hath put into his hands. The Scriptures are given us, not for amusement, or meer fpeculation, in perufing the curious remains of antiquity, the language, manners, and Theology of fome celebrated ancients; but they are all, from begining to end, pointed directly at our hearts and lives, to make us wife unto falvation. There we find every rule of the most confummate wifdom, and every principle of truth and comfort; and the whole is defigned to refine our nature into its proper excellence, to guide us into the paths of purity, peace, and righteousness; to make us happy in ourfelves, and a bleffing to all about us, and finally to qualify us for the full enjoyment of God for


But if we are cold and indifferent to any attainments in true wisdom; if we choose to dream, or jeft and trifle away the important season of life, defpifing the glorious advantages we enjoy, while we eagerly purfue the low and tranfitory things of this world, in neglect of ourselves, of God, and immortality, of all that is truly great and good and excellent, we fhall receive little or no advantage from any explications of the Holy Scriptures. We fhall not value or relish them, we can have no ground to expect the divine bleffing to affift our ftudies, but have reafon to fear we fhall be left to ourfelves, to wander from God, from truth, and life, in deplorable ignorance and folly. Attend, therefore, to the voice of Divine Wisdom, Prov. ii. 1, &c. My fon, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee, [lay them up as a treasure in thy heart] fo that thou incline thine car unto wisdom, and apply thine heart unto understanding; yea, if thou crieft after knowledge, and lifteft up thy voice for understanding [as we do for thofe things, which we most of all defire, and most of all stand in need of] If thou feekest her as filver, and fearcheft for her, as for hid treasures: [as covetous men feek money, and ranfack the whole world for the treasures, in which they delight. If thus you value, and ftudy to advance the improvement of your minds in knowledge and wisdom] Then shalt thou understand the


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