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tate your brethren of Judea. Inftead of reading and expounding the Scriptures to teach your people in divine knowledge, you put them off only with a few felect paffages, and a fhort difcourse on some particular text. You load them with Creeds, Articles, and Canons, as the Jewish Priests did the people in their time; but you are fparing of the Scriptures, as if they would poifon them.
Those who are firft in the fashion for taste and learning, fay, your Sermons are good, well digefted, and finely composed, I have no objection to your compofitions, my Lords, but a few of the plain purposes of a paragraph of Scripture would be far more edifying to your people. To read a large paf fage, and fhew the scope and use thereof, would be of infinitely more fervice than all the laboured harangues of human eloquence. While you neglect to expound
pound the Scriptures, you take away the key of knowledge, which opens a door to a right understanding of the principles of the kingdom of heaven. I do not mean that human explanations of the word of God fhould pass for first principles, but they may help people to enquire, if the things are fo, and may anfwer a very good purpofe. Your Reverences preach but feldom, but would you expound Scripture, you might be excused all your other labours. A Sermon on fome particular occafion we hear of now and then; but these difcourfes are fo interlarded with particular attachments, and the dignity of your order, that they can do very little good to poor miferable finners. This is an idea you ought to confider, seeing you have your own guilt as other men, and ftand in need of mercy like the reft of the guilty race of Adam. I fhall fay nothing of Original Sin, which has been so often difputed; you, Gentlemen, have as much actual tranfgreffion
tranfgreffion as will require an abundance of mercy. The idea of mercy is not so very visible in your public performances; there is far too much of the High Priest in them to make them agreeable to the wretched, miferable, blind, and naked. You will eafily perceive he is a finner that preaches to you, and perhaps your Lordships will think none of the leaft of them. It is a bad character, to be fure; but a finner, worth ten thousand a year, is greater than one who is worth very little. Your brethren the Pharifees had a great averfion at finners, but they loved fin, and practifed it to a great extent themselves. They reproached Jefus Chrift for receiving finners, and eating with them. This was cruel and unmerciful; for though they were not difpofed to do good to the miferable themselves, it was the highest barbarity to envy them happiness from the hands of others.
4. The chief and capital method which the Jewish Priests used to take away the key of knowledge from the people was the impofing of articles of their own compofing upon them, and making them pass for the true meaning of the law; by this means they placed a padlock upon the Scriptures, left the common people fhould find out the fecrets of the Priests.There is fomething in the nature of man which inclines him to pursue after knowledge. When our Saviour came and taught the plain meaning of the law and the Prophets, the multitudes appeared enamoured with his doctrine, they flocked after him, and gladly heard him. They perceived a visible difference between the plain Scripture doctrine which he taught them, and the abftrufe and equivocal jargon of the Doctors. The Chief Priefts were alarmed to fee a nonfubfcriber make fo free with the articles of the Church: they raised the cry against Jefus
Jefus, and proclaimed the Church was in danger; If we let this man alone, all men will believe on him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation. They perceived the danger of a free inquiry into Scripture truths, and fuffering a teacher to pafs unpunifhed, who discovered all the fecret deceits of their craft. If once fuch a generous fyftem as that which our Saviour proposed was received, it would open a door to the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and then the exclufive privileges of the Priests and Lawyers would be at an end. There would then be no occafion for the Temple, the place and nursery of Priests and Pharifees. This fhews that the Priests difcovered the intention of our Saviour's doctrine and miracles, and excogitated as good a scheme as human wifdom could devife to guard against their influence. Caiphas was no fool when he faid, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, and