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2 TIMOTHY ïïi. 16, 17. All Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righte
ousness. : That the Man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all goodWorks.
HERE is nothing gives An a Man greater Pleasure, T and inspires him with
19 firmer Constancy in the
e prosecution of any Affair, D o than the assurance of his having laid a true Foundation, and acting upon right Principles ; because this enVOL. I.
ables him to press forwards with Certainty, and makes him entire Master of himself and Circumstances in every part of his Procedure : But such an Assurance as this is particularly serviceable in Sacred Matters; because the infinite Importance of Religion infers the Necessity of the stridest Caution in every step we take ; and Tenders every Degree of Certainty we can arrive at concerning it, as it is more eminently useful, fo likewise more satis, factory.
HERE then we see the wonderful Good. ness of Almighty God, in that He hath so fully and clearly revealed in his Holy Word whatever is to be known and praaised by us, that no one can fatally mistake in the Paths of Righteousness but by his own Default ; no one, except wilfully, need be ignorant or uncertain in the Way that leads to Happiness : But such, on the contrary, is the Perverseness of Mankind, that they frequently neglect and decry this sure, this only, Means of Salvation ; and set up their own Devices in opposition to what the Almighty hath
established for the certain Guidance to bring them to Heaven.
MEN of this Character ; Men who rehst the Truth, Seducers, deceiving, and being deceived, the Apostle is largely animadverting upon in the Chapter of which our Text is a Part, and gives it in charge to Timothy, that he wou'd continue in those things which he had learned and was alfured of, i.e. that he wou'd not fall into the innovating Spirit of those Times, but adhere ftedfastly to that Form of found Words which he had already receiv'd ; those pure and well-establish'd Doctrines which had been delivered to him under Terms of all poslible Assurance. This Charge the Apostle enforces by two Motives, viz. the Manner of his having been instructed; and the Nature of the Instruction he had receiv'd; Continue in those things which thou hast learned and bast been assured of ; knowing of whom thou hast learned them. St. Paul himself had been his Instructor ; and Timothy cou'd not but know him to be a true Apostle of Chrift: Again Timothy had been well-principled from his Youth in Scrip
tural Knowledge; from a Child, faith the Apoftle, thou hast known the Scriptures ; which are able to make thee wise unto Sal vation, through Faith which is in Christ
Yelas. A Departure therefore from the good Instructions which he had so early and, consequently, fointimately imbibed, wou'd in him be much more inexcusable. The Nature of the Instruction he had receiy'd is fully set forth in the Words before us : In order to treat of which more particularly, it may be proper barely to observe,
That as the Holy Scripture is the Foundation of true Religion ; so it always shares the same Fate with it: the same Adversaries set themselves to oppose both; and they always oppose them both in the same manner. The Profane, for instance, who are Enemies to all Religion in general, labour to undermine it, by denying the Divine Authority of the Scriptures ; the Superstitious, who lay so much stress upon the Form of Godliness, as to neglect the Power of it ; and the Enthusiasts, who wou'd fondly, resolve the whole of Re. ligion into Vapour and Imagination, do both of them endeavour to decry the Sufr
ficiency of the Holy Scriptures ; the fof. mer, by teaching for Do&trines the Commandments of Men; the latter, by impos sing their own delusive Dreams for immea diate Revelation from the Almighty.
We cannot therefore do greater service to Religion than by establishing the Holy Scriptures upon that foot of Certainty and Excellency which are required to make them a sufficient Revelation of God's Will to Mankind; and this the Words of the Text will furnish out Matter for, by pointi ing out to us, 1. The Divine Authority of those fa
cred Writings in these Words, AN
They are profitable for Doctrine, for
Etion in Righteousness.
these Words, That the Man of God
B 3 1. THEN