« PoprzedniaDalej »
testified by his faithful Apostles. And yet it is there faid: “ This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.” And << which faith, except every man do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." Can this be justified? And does not the bishop's argument, just cited, oblige me to add, though unwillingly: May it not deserve to be considered by every sober and serious christian, who folemnly recites that creed; on whom these anathemas may fall, if God should treat men according to strict justice?
But I forbear enlarging, For I have been desirous, if possible, not to say any thing offensive. Therefore I do not indulge myself in grievous complaints, and severe reprehensions of such things, as by many have been thought to be wrong.
But, if I might be perınitted to do it, I would take notice of one thing, because it has a connection with the subject of this Postscript.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
Doubtless this is said by many very frequently, and with great devotion. But can it be faid truly ? Does not that deserve consideration ? Is there any such doxology in the New Testament? If not, how can it be faid, to have been in the beginning? Are not the books of the New Testament the most ancient,
and the inost authentic christian writings in all the world ? It matters not much to inquire, when this doxology was first used, or how long it has been in use, if it is not in the New Testament. And whether it is there or not, may be known by those who are pleased to read it with care: as all may, in protestant countries, where the Bible lies open to be seen and read by all men.
I would therefore, after many others, recommend a diligent study of the scriptures, and the making use of all proper means for gaining the true sense of them. If we had the knowlege of the christian religion, as contained in the scriptures, the advantages would be great and manifold. Jesus would be unspeakably amiable: and the gospel would appear to be a pearl of great price : christians would be no longer wavering and unsettled, but would be firmly established in a faith, that is throughout reasonable and excellent, and well attested to be of divine original. As our Lord says to the woman of Samaria, John iv. 14. Whosoever drinketh of the water that I fall give him, jhall never thirst. He will be fully satisfied. He will desire no other instruction concerning the right way of worshipping and serving God, or obtaining true happiness. But the water that I shall give him, jhall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life.
If we would sincerely ítudy, heartily embrace, and openly profess, the christian doctrine in its purity,
and would diligently recommend it to others, upon the ground of that evidence with which God hath clothed it, we should gain upon deiss and infidels of ali forts. For a religion, reasonable and excellent in all its principles, promulged by a teacher of unspotted character, with a commission from heaven, confirmed by many mighty works, which could be performed by God only, has an evidence, which cannot be easily withstood, and gainfayed. But no authority can recommend falsehood and absurdity to rational beings, who think and confider. Every one therefore, who loves the Lord Jesus in fincerity, must be willing to reform abuses and corruptions, which have been introduced into the chriftian profession, and are matter of offence to heathens and infidels.
When the religion professed by christians shall be in all things agreeable to the scriptures, the only standard of religious truth; the advantages, just mentioned, are very likely : as also divers others, which may be readily apprehended by every one. For then the papal power and tyranny, which for many ages has been a heavy weight upon christendom, will sink, and fall to the ground: Impositions upon conscience, which underminc religion at the very foundation, and prevail at present to a great degree in almost all christian countries, will be abolished. The consequence of which will be, that true piety and virtue will be more general in all ranks and
orders of men. The great diversity of opinions, and fierce contentions among christians, which are now so great an offence and scandal to bystanders, will cease: christians will live in harmony, and will love one another, as brethren. And the church of Christ will be the joy and the praise of the whole earth,
As an unbiassed and disinterested love and pursuit of truth are of great importance, and would mightily conduce to the good ends and purposes which are so desirable ; I cannot but with, that we did all of us less mind our own things, the things of our own worldly wealth and credit, our own church and party, and more the things of Jesus Christ. To whom be glory and dominion now and ever. Amen.
END OF THE FIRST POSTSCRIPT.
Remarks upon the Third Part of the late
Bishop of Clocher's Vindication of the Histories of the Old and New Testament*.
* When I was preparing these Remarks in March laft 1758, we received the tidings of the death of the Right Reverend Dr. Robert Clayton, Lord Bishop of Cloghir, who departed this life the preceding month : which gave me much concern upon divers accounts. In particular I was in hopes, that these Remarks such as they are, might be perused by his Lordship. I could wish likewise, that Mr. Whifton were still living. But they are both removed out of this world, as I likewise shall be in a short time. And certainly, it behoves us all to improve diligently the season of life, whilst it lasts, and to serve God and