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$7. The books of the New Testament, translated from the Greek, and comprising the Christian Revelation, are twenty-seven :
$8. The books of which the Apocrypha is composed, being of doubtful authority, are not to be referred to as a standard of doctrine ; but are to be considered only as instructive lessons of human origin. Such are,
The Idol Bel, and the
Epistle of Jeremiah The Prayer of Manasses
The Song of the Three | J. Maccabees
| The Story of Susanna 1
$ 9. The Truth and Divinity of the Canonical Books of Holy Scripture, are confirmed by sufficient testimony: which testimony is to be found in the character and credit of the authors to whom the books are severally attributed;- in the nature of the facts, and tendency of the doctrines, which form the subject of them ;-in the signs and tokens of Divine Authority, the working of Miracles, and the accomplishment of Prophecy ;- in the wonderful preservation of the Scriptures ;-in the effects and success of the Mosaic and Christian Dispensations ;- in the evidence of the Jews, to whom the Oracles of God were committed ;-in the consent of Christians, ever since the promulgation of the Gospel, who have testified their belief, and
sealed it with their blood ;-and lastly, in the concurrence and admissions of profane writers and enemies of the Church of God.
§ 10. Those things which are necessary to salvation, are clearly revealed in Holy Writ. Although many passages may be difficult of interpretation, on account of the mysterious nature of the subject, of the languages in which they were written being ill-understood, or of the manners and customs to which they allude being now unknown, yet we are not to suppose that the Holy Ghost, from whose inspiration they proceeded, would veil in obscurity any essential points of doctrine or of practice, in that Law by which we are to be judged at the last day. What. ever, therefore, is not distinctly declared in Scrip. ture, or fairly to be deduced from it, ought not to be required as an Article of Faith.
$ 11. It is necessary for all men to read the Scriptures, because all are interested in believing and observing what is written, to lead them to eternal life ; and because it is expressly commanded by God that they should do so. But since the Holy Spirit can alone enlighten the mind, and prepare the heart of man, to receive the Word of God with profit, the reading of the Scriptures should be accompanied with earnest prayer for the Divine Blessing, with a teachable and humble disposition, and with a sincere desire that the testimonies of the Lord may give “understanding unto the simple.”
$ 12. Scripture is every where conformable with itself, and cannot involve a contradiction; it is, therefore,
so to be, interpreted, as that no one passage shall · contradict another; and the sense of what appears obscure, is to be sought in parts which are more clear and evident. That interpretation of Scripture is, consequently, to be considered genuine, which is drawn from Scripture itself (according to the · Analogy of Faith,' as it is called); which agrees with the tenour of Revelation; and which tends to the Glory of God, and the Salvation of Mankind. The meaning of Scripture is to be taken in the plain sense in which it is declared in the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.
John iv. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. Deut. vi. 13. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him. Matt. iv. 10. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Rom. ii. 14, 15. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves : which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one another. Rom. i. 19, 20. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them ; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead: so that they are without excuse. Rom. xii. 1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. .
Ps. xix. 1, 2, 3. The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament sheweth his handy-work. Day unta day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth know.. ledge. 1 Cor. ii. 14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Rom. xv. 14. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10, 11, 12. But, as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit : for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Ps. cxix. 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Rom. i. 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Matt. xi. 27. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Deut. xxix. 29. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
SECTION IV. Heb. i. 1, 2. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. Isa. lix. 21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed,