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are ours; and shall remain for ever the light unto salvation of Christian brethren, even as Acts ii. 39. many as the Lord our God shall call.
Whereon our individual confidence may rest, in writings thus generally characterized, will be the next subject of our thoughts.
2 TIMOTHY iii. 16, 17.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is pro
fitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
WE have arrived at the consideration of Scripture, “ as a rule and law of life adequate to the “ wishes and the wants of the individual be6 liever.”
In taking the words of the text as an introduction to this subject, it is not necessary to perplex the question by entering into any critical niceties. It will be sufficient to repeat what was assumed concerning the two immediately preceding verses in the opening Lecture; namely, Cf. Lect. i. that they cannot reasonably be understood otherwise than of the whole volume of canonical Scrip- Cf. Hooker, ture, as it is now presented to ourselves; and lity, book'i. that, in their most important application, every individual Christian has certainly a share in them. Whatever difference might arise from setting forth their peculiar application to“ teach
ers,” is, comparatively, of little consequence.
One remark may be added, concerning the verses of the text, with reference to the general argument of the foregoing Lectures; viz. that, however understood, they justify the weight therein attached to the Scriptures of the “Old" Testament, as essentially connected with the “ New.” And this confirmation is most valuable. For though the “ New Testament without the « Old” might possess a much more popular attraction, as a code of morals only; it would not be (as we contend it is) so profitable for doctrine. And thus losing its foundation, where it rests in the very depth of the individual conscience, its consequent peculiar power of satisfying to the full the existing necessities of man would decay and fall.
Now, in proceeding to the inquiry before us, there is a preliminary point which I would desire, at all hazards, to state (or recapitulate) distinctly. It relates to the true posture of every question concerning God's goodness, in respect of his dispensations to man, among persons living in the light, and called to the obedience of an acknowledged revelation from heaven. • This question is, unhappily, too often mistaken. We are apt to treat it as an abstract question; whereas it is, really, a practical one. In other words, we are too ready to venture on the more abstract and hypothetical discussion of it, before we have been thoroughly convinced in
our own hearts, by practical experiment, that God is good. Hence we are ensnared frequently to travel beyond our record. We speculate, as it were, for the “Jews;" we speculate for the “ heathen.” And sometimes it is to be feared) compassion betrays us into shades of “infide“ lity;” and oftener, a needless exaggeration of our own blessings excludes the comprehensive yearnings of " charity.” Sometimes we are unjust to God; sometimes to man. I apprehend, that our true business, rather, is (at least in the first instance) to speculate neither for the one nor for the other, (as was suggested in the last Lect. vi. Lecture;) but to observe and estimate for ourselves. He that has given us our portion, also gave them theirs. If he is good and just to us, he was good and just to them. We shall be tried, neither in the balance of the “ Jews," nor in that of the “heathen;" the word which CHRIST John xii. hath spoken, the same shall judge us in the last day. This view of the “divine goodness” is of primary importance in considering “the fulness “ of holy Scripture to satisfy the wants and con“ dition of an individual ;” because it strikes, in the outset, at the very root of all rebellious, or timorous, or peevish discontent, grounded on the condition of other people. He that complains, and refuses to be satisfied, when he himself has no wrong to be redressed, may receive his answer from our Saviour's párable; I do thee no Matt. xx.