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5. We may infer that God requires Men to read his other Books of the Holy Scripture, and to hear them publickly read, and to keep those Things which are contained in them: And likewise, chat it is incumbent on the Ministers of Christ publickly to read them ; especially those Parts of the Holy Scriptures, which contain the Doctrines, the Promises and Threatnings, the Statutes, the Ordinances, and the Laws of God; the Predictions recorded in his Word, and the Hiftories of the Righteous, and the Wicked, and of God's Dealings with them.
And the Blessedness spoken of should be a Motive prevailing both with Ministers and People, conscientiously to perform the Duty now mentioned.
We should always remember that there is one Lawgiver, who is able to save, and to destroy. (James iv. 12.) We should always endeavour to know the revealed Will of our gracious God, and faithfully act according to it.
Should not a People seek unto their God ? it is said, Isa. viii. 19. and in ver. 20. To the Law, and to the Testimony ; if they speak not (i. e. do not teach) according to this Word, it is because there is no Light, or Truch, in them.
It appears to me most evident, that the right and true Answer to the Question considered, is this, viz.
Answer: That the publick Reading the Holy Scriptures in the Bjsemblies of Christians every (Sabbath, or) Lord's Day, is an Ordinance of divine Appointment, and Part of that Worship which God requires from his people.
It is hence manifest, that the Disuse of this Ordinance, is a taking away from the Things, which the Lord hath commanded; and is a Trans5
gression of those Laws which were mentioned in the Introduction of this Letter,
Happy will it be, if all the Societies of Chriftians of every Denomination shall examine by the sacred Scriptures, their religious Customs in the Worship of God; of the great God, jealous of his own Authority and Glory; and if they shall lay aside every Usage, which is an Addition to the Things which the Lord hath commanded, and shall set up the Use of every Ordinance of God, which has hitherto been neglected.
The Consequence, the glorious Consequence, will be an endearing Coalition of the different Sects of Christians, and a bleffed Reformation among the professed Disciples of the holy Jesus. Then will Idolatry and Superftition cease among Chriftians, then the Worship of God will be more pure, and intire, more agreeable to his revealed Will, and free from Additions, to, and Diminutions from his Ordinances, which he has strictly forbidden, and which he greatly abhors; and therefore it will be more pleasing to him, and more comfortable and profitable to those who fincerely worship him.
O gracious God, by the Influence of thy holy Spirit on the Minds of Christians of every Denomination, do thou bring such a Reformation to pass! Do thou convince all Men of the Excellency and Value of thy Word! Oh, that they could truly say unto thee, The Law of thy Mouth is better to me than Tbousands of Gold and Silver! (Pfal. cxix. 72.) LORD excite them both to read and hear it! Open their Understanding, that they may understand it, and help them by thy Grace duly to improve it! Ameh.
2 Tim. iii. 15. The Holy Scriptures; which are able to make thee wife unto Salvation, through Faith, which is in Christ Jesus.
A pious Poet well expressed himself to the
gracious Author of our Bible, in the following Lines, viz.
Let all the Heathen Writers join
To form one perfect Book ;
How mean their Writings look!
Could shew one Sin forgiven;
Watts's Psalms, p. 318.
Psal. cvii. 8. Ob that men would praise the Lord for his Goodness, and for bis wonderful Works to the Children of Men! Amen.
CONCLUSION. This, and the preceeding Letters, are addressed unto all Men, because all Men are most nearly concerned in the Contents of them; and because all who shall believe the. Words of the LORD cited in them will have Peace, Comfort, and Honour in this World; they will have that Honour which cometh from God only, the Honour of being his true Servants, his beloved Children, and his Heirs ; and they will have inexpressible Felicities, and Glories in that endless World to which we are going. And at the Day of Judgment they will receive the Reward of the Inheritance, they will be put into the Possession of a Kingdom and a 'Crown, which Christ has purchased, and in his Gospel promised, to all his sincere Disciples, who shall reign in Life by him. Rom. v. 17.