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light is gone, so those places of the earth must needs be dark, and without the saving knowledge of God, that want the scriptures. Thus the Apostle tells the Ephesians, that, before they were visited with the light of the gospel, they were “ without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world." Eph. ii. 12.
2. That where the scriptures are not known, there can be no saving faith. For, says the Apostle, Rom. x. 14, 15, 17. “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good ihings! So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
3. That there is nothing we are bound to believe as a part of faith but what the scripture teaches, be who they will that propose it, and whatever they may pretend fot their warrant. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,' Isa, viii. 20. No inan must be our master in these things: For one is our master, even Christ," Matth. xxiii. 10. He is Lord of our faith, and we are bound to believe whatever he has revealed in his word.
Secondly, As to obedience, it is that duty which God requires of man. It is that duty and obedience which man owes to God, to his will and laws, in respect of God's universal supremacy and sovereign authority over man ; and which he should render to him out of love and gratitude. The scriptures are the holy oracle from whence we are to learn our duty, Psal. xix. 11. • By them is thy servant warned,' says David. The Bible is the light we are to take heed to, that we may know how to steer our course, and order the several steps of our life. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path,' says the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 105. From whence we may infer.
1. That there can be no sufficient knowledge of the duty which we owe to God without the scriptures. Though the light of nature does in some measure shew our duty to God, VOL. I.
yet it is too dim to take up the will of God sufficiently in order to salvation.
2. That there can be no right obedience yielded to God without them. Men that walk in the dark must needs stumble ; and the works that are wrought in the dark will never abide the light; for there is no working rightly by guess in this matter. All proper obedience to God must be learned from the scriptures.
3. That there is no point of duty that we are called to, but what the scripture teaches, Isa. viii. 20. forecited. Men must neither make duties to themselves, or others, but what God has made duty. The law of God is exceeding broad, and reaches the whole conversation of man, outward and inward, Psal. xix. and man is bound to conform himself to it alone as the rule of his duty.
Thirdly, As to the connection of these two, faith and obedience are joined together, because there is no true faith but what is followed with obedience, and no true obedience but what flows from faith. Faith is the loadstone of obedience, and obedience the touchstone of faith, as appears from Jam. ii. passim. They that want faith cannot be holy; and they that have true faith, their faith will work by love. Hence we may see,
1. That faith is the foundation of duty or obedience, and not obedience or duty the 'foundation of faith, Tit. iii.8. and that the things to be believed are placed before the things to be practised, in order to distinguish between the order of things in the covenant of grace, and what they were under the covenant of works. Under the latter, doing, or perfect obedience to the law, was the foundation of the promised privilege of life ; but under the former, the promise is to be believed, and the promised life is to be freely received: and thereupon follows the believer's obedience to the law, out of gratitude and love for the mercy received. This appears from the order laid down by God himself in delivering the moral law from mount Sinai. He lays the foundation of faith, first of all, in these words, I
am the Lord thy God,' &c. which is the sum and substance of the covenant of grace; and then follows the law of the ten commandments, which is as it were grafted upon this declaration of sovereign grace and love, Exod. xx. 2, -18. And let it be remembered, that the Apostle Paul calls gospel-obedience the obedience of faith as springing from and founded upon faith. And if we examine the order of doctrine laid down in all his epistles, we shall find, that he first propounds the doctrine of faith, or what man is to believe, and upon that foundation inculcates the duties that are to be practised.
2. That all works without faith are dead, and so cannot please God. For whatsoever is not of faith is sin ; and without or separate from Christ we can do nothing. Faith is the principle of all holy and acceptable obedience.
3. That those who inculcate moral duties without discovering the necessity of regeneration, and union with Christ, as the source of all true obedience, are foolish builders ; they lay their foundation on the sand, and the superstructure they raise will soon be overturned ; and they pervert the gospel of Christ. Such would do well to consider what the Apostle says, Gal. i. 9. If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.'
II. I proceed now to consider the manner of the scripture's teaching
1. The scripture teaches some things expressly in so many words; as, · Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,' &c. Other things it teaches by good and necessary consequence; as, that infants are to be baptized. Now, whatever can be proved by just and necessary consequence from sacred writ, is all one, as to the binding power on mens consciences, as if it were taught there in so many words, whether it be in points of faith or obedience.
2. The scriptures teach but externally. It is the Spirit that teaches internally. The scriptures externally reveal what we are to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man; but the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the scriptures, for several reasons which I mentioned in the former discourse, and shall not now repeat.
III. I come now to consider the sense of the scripture.
1. The sense of the scripture is but one, and not manifold. There may be several parts of that one sense subordinate one to another; as some prophecies have a respect to the deliverance from Babylon, the spi. ritual by Christ, and the eternal in heaven; and some passages have one thing that is typical of another : yet these are but one full sense, only that may be of two sorts; one is simple, and another compound. Some scriptures have only a simple sense, containing a declaration of one thing only; and that is either proper or figurative. A proper sense is that which arises from the words taken properly, and the figurative from the words taken figura. tively. Some have a simple proper sense, as, God is a Spirit, God created the heavens and the earth;' which are to be understood according to the propriety of the words. Some have a simple figurative sense; as, 'I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh away,' &c. These have but one simple sense ; but then it is the figurative, and is not to be understood according to the propriety of the words, as if Christ were a tree, &c. Thus you see what the simple sense is. The compound or mixed sense is found wherein one thing is held forth as a type of the other; and so it consists of two parts, the one respecting the type, the other the antitype ; which are not two senses, but two parts of that one and entire sense intended by the Holy Ghost : e. g. Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, that those who were stung by the fiery serpents might look to it and be healed. The full sense of which is, ' As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilder- . ness, that, &c. even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Here is a literal and mystical sense, which make up one full sense betwixt them. Those scriptures that have this compound sense, are sometimes fulfilled properly (or literally, as it is taken in opposition to figuratively) in the type and antitype both; as Hos. xi. 1. + I have called my Son out of Egypt,' which was literally true both of Israel and Christ. Sometimes figuratively in the type, and properly in the antitype, as Psal. Ixix. 21. They gave me vinegar to drink. Sometimes properly in the type, and figuratively in the antitype, as Psal. ii. 9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.' Compare 2 Sam. xii. 31. Sometimes figuratively in both, as Psal. xli. 9. • Yea mine own familiar friend-hath lifted up his heel against me; which is ineant of Ahitophel and Judas. Now the sense of the scripture must be but one, and not manifold, that is, quite different and no wise subordinate one to another, because of the unity of truth, and because of the perspicuity of the scripture.
2. Where there is a question about the true sense of scripture, it must be found out what it is by searching other places that speak more clearly, the scripture itself being the infallible rule of interpreting of scripture. Now that it is so, appears from the following arguments.
(1.) The Holy Spirit gives this as a rule, 2 Pet. i. 20. 21. After the apostle had called the Christians to take heed to the scripture, he gives them this rule for understanding it,
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretration, tes ideas e-piluseos, of our own exposition. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.' As it came; so it is to be expounded: but it came not by the will of man ; therefore we are not to rest on men for the sense of it, but holy men speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and so never erring; therefore we are to look to the dica tates of the same Spirit in other places.
(2.) There are several approved examples of this, comparing one scripture with another, to find out the meaning of the Holy Ghost; as Acts xv. 15. And to this agree the words of the prophet,' &c. The Bereans are commended for this, Acts xvii. 11. Yea, Christ himself makes use of this to shew the true sense of the scripture against the devil, Matth. iv. 6. Cast thyself down, (said that wicked spirit): for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee,' &c. Ver. 7. “It is written again, (says Christ), Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And thus our Lord makes out the true sense of that scripture, that it is to be understood only with respect to them who do not cast themselves on a tempting of God. Some more will occur concerning this point under the next head.
This then is the great, chief, and infallible rule of interpretation of scripture, to compare one passage with another. Other things may be added as helps and means in order ta the finding out the true sense.