« PreviousContinue »
monstration, as the subject admits of, that the Bible is the word of God.
I would now, in conclusion, observe that a serious mind is the grand requisite for obtaining satisfaction in an inquiry of this nature. If the reader sincerely desires to be preserved from mistake, and directed into the way of truth; let him give the Bible itself an impartial and diligent investigation. Let him act according to the dictates of his conscience without reserve, while he waits for fuller information. Let him use his understanding, and not be determined by his passions and prejudices. Let him ask himself whether he be as willing to be convinced that the Bible is true, as the contrary? And, if he be conscious that he is not, let him honestly inquire after the cause of this prejudice : for, if pride or love of forbidden objects bias his mind, an impartial verdict cannot be expected. Let no man who would know the will of God pay the least regard to wit, ridicule, eloquent declamation, or virulent abuse : these suit corrupt nature, but they always tend to obscure the truth, or perplex and mislead the mind. Finally, as the belief of a God is taken for granted by all parties; and as God must, in all senses, be the Fountain of knowledge and wisdom; let every inquirer beg of him to strengthen and assist his judgment, to keep his mind unbiassed, to enable him to distinguish truth from error, and to guide him in the path of everlasting felicity!
AN IMPARTIAL STATEMENT
OF THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE
IN RESPECT OF
AND THE DUTIES OF SUBJECTS.
HE THAT ANSWERETH A MATTER BEFORE HE HEARETH IT, IT IS FOLLY AND SHAME UNTO HIM.
PROV. xviii. 13.
VULGUS EX VERITATE PAUCA, EX OPINIONE MULTA ÆSTIMAT.
(FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1792.)
PROPOSITIONS CONCERNING CIVIL GOVERNMENT AS
THE ORDINANCE OF GOD.
I. It is the evident doctrine of scripture that government is the appointment of God, to be a restraint on man's selfishness, and to preserve a measure of order in the world notwithstanding human depravity. Rulers are therefore called “God's ministers for good to those that do well,” and“ revengers, to execute wrath on evil doers.” -So that government, as it subsists among men, is in fact both a consequence and a demonstration of our fallen state ; and the inconveniences resulting from the abuse of it should be patiently endured, because we are sinners. The controversies concerning the origin of government, as the “or“ dinance of man,” though important in politics, are in this respect of no consequence : for God as the author of our rational nature, and the supreme ruler of the world, is the fountain of all subordinate authority; by whatever second causes he hath