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is very evident the people could not have made those answers when they ought, if the minister had prayed in a language entirely strange to them.
Enough has been advanced at this time, to convince all people of the great necessity and benefit of prayer in general, and especially of public or cominon prayer. Nor can any one avoid feeing from what has been observed, on the impropriety and absurdity of speaking to a congregation in a language they do not understand, how much we are indebted to Almighty God, by whose good providence we enjoy the great blessing of a reformation from that church, wherein such an unreasonable, and unprofitable practice was, and is still conItantly employed; which offereth public prayer in a tongue unknown to any but the priest; and it is to be feared, not always completely by himself. Most humble and hearty praise is therefore due to God, for all his gracious blessings bestowed upon us, his unworthy servants; and among which none can be greater, than the happy means afforded in our praying to him in words of sober truth, and fcriptural form; of magnifying his holy name with one accord; and so worshipping him every time we meet together, that we may safely and profitably say, Amen, (of so, good Lord, let it be) to all we alk or pray for, in the name of Jesus Christ, thy only Son our Lord. To whom, &c.
N. B. The remaining part of this Homily is omitted, as containing nothing materially new; but only a further vindication of the same subject by repeating much the same arguments, and illurtrating them with other texts of scripture.
An instrutive Exhortation to such as have been prejudiced
against particular Passages of Holy Scripture.
PART THE FIRST.
2 Peter iii. latter part of the 16th verse.
They which are unlearned and unstable, wrest these, as they do also the other
scriptures, to their own deAtruction.
F all the means appointed by Almighty God
for the instruction and improvement of his creatures, the Holy Scriptures supply the most valuable method of forwarding the eternal welfare of mankind. But even these have been occasionally excepted to, by the thoughtless and the wicked. The purport of this discourse is to set forth their true value, to point out some common objections of weak and worldly men, and to clear some particular passages from any hurtful meaning. In truth, the great benefit the Holy Scriptures are calculated to convey to us, must be confessed by all who hear or read them, with a suitable disposition for that holy study. As they are the words of inspiration, so do they speak to the spirit ; and that comfört which these treasures of wisdom communicate to
the pious soul, as it surpasses all carnal conception, neither is it to be expressed by human language. But the blessed fountain is open for all to taste ; and they who are athirst for living water, are invited to repair to this unadulterated source of subftantial delight and confolation.
Now as nothing can be more certain, than that the scriptures direct to the surest way of bringing us to the saving knowledge of God, and the truth, as it is in Jesus Christ our Lord; it is consequently the interest of our bitter enemy, to endeavour all he can, to remove so powerful an engine against the furtherance of his kingdom. And well knowing the virtue of these divine treasures, to qualify us for a better inheritance, by securing us from the mischief of his devices, he is in nothing more induftrious, than in his endeavours to deprive us of such powerful assistance, or at least to corrupt the channel from whence our remedy and strength proceed.
To this end he has always been busy to stir up in the minds of cruel tyrants and oppressors, and such as have no fear of God before their eyes, a desire to assist his hatred towards God and man, by opposing the progress of the everlasting truth communicated in God's most holy word. And availing himself of the power and false pretensions of finful men, he hath often effected the destruction of the records of sacred knowledge, in many places and at different times ; pretending with Nanderous falsehood, that hurtful errors and a dangerous thirst of liberty, were the only effects of such indulgence; and that thereby the peace and order of good government were endangered.
Now we who are blessed in the poffeffion of the oracles of truth, can readily contradiet this falsehood; and safely affirm, that the knowledge of God and ourselves, is so far from yielding any encouragement to do wrong, that it is the surest and only
method to curb all licentious liberty, and to subdue the principles of disorder, and every turbulent aifection of the mind. And here it is difficult to decide which is moit' evident, the falsehood or subtlety of the deceiver : since, if the general study, of scripture inclined to inflame the minds of men, and produce more mischief in the world, as Satan is the father of wickedness, it would be manifestly to the advancement of his kingdom, to preserve; inftead of crushing, so choice an instrument for his own purpose. But the contrary being the truth, so the direct way of acquiring the wholesome knowledge of all that is good, is by humble diligence to hear and read the sacred volume ; for as all 'scripture is given by the inspiration of God, so no chrittian can expect to obtain a purer acquaintance with his Maker and himself, in any other writings than those most graciously designed by the Almighty Parent of all things, for this very ends for the scripture (as St. Peter observes, 2 Ep. i. 20, 21.) is not of any private interpretation, for the prophesy came not in old time, by the will of mon; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
. And it is this fpirit of truth, who (as our bleffed Savior speaks) John xvi. 13. will guide us into all truth, and New us things to come...
Whosoever, therefore, doth not partake of the influence of this guide, let his virtuous pretences be ever so fair, let his human learning be ever so deep, or his love of truth ever. so ardent į nay, however he may be respected among men, as a sincere and steady favorer of it, he must inevitably fall Thort in the discovery of it, unless he applies to the spirit of truth to direct him. Let us only inquire then, what is it that seems to all reasonable nen, as the most desirable means of preserving us from all error, but a true description of an upright, life; that is, such a blameless character as may be approved by God himself. Now such a one, the holy. Vol. II. D