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CHURCH OF ENGLAND
SUPERSTITION AND SCHISM:
THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF CHRIST,
ON SUNDAY THE FOURTH DAY OF OCTOBER, 1835,
THIRD CENTENARY OF THE REFORMATION.
REV. RICHARD PARKINSON, M. A.
FELLOW OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE.
Revelation xxii. 18, 19. FOR I TESTIFY UNTO EVERY MAN THAT HEARETH THE WORDS OF
THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK, IF ANY MAN SHALL ADD UNTO THESE THINGS, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK : AND IF ANY MAN SHALL TAKE AWAY FROM THE WORDS OF THE BOOK OF THIS PROPHECY, GOD SHALL TAKE AWAY HIS PART OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE, AND OUT OF THE HOLY CITY, AND FROM THE THINGS WHICH ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK.
This is the last precept ever issued by the Holy Spirit for the guidance and instruction of mankind. That Divine Influence, which had been with the inspired prophets ever since the world began, guiding them into all truth, and preserving them from all error;—gradually unfolding the Almighty's will through the ritual and ceremonial system of Moses, the clearer and more spiritual revelations of the prophets, and the full developement of the scheme of man’s redemption in the Gospels and Epistles—that Divine Influence, having enabled the most aged of the Apostles, St. John, to record in prophetic language the trials and triumphs of the Church throughout all future ages, closes his remarkable prophecy with the solemn denunciation which has just been re
cited—a denunciation which none can doubt is equally applicable to every other book of scripture as to that with which the Apostle has joined it. If no man may add to or diminish from the last revelation of God's will, neither may he mutilate the first without peril of his salvation--if he may not pervert prophecy, neither may he change precept. We have, in fact, in the solemn close of this last book of the New Testament, the seal of the Almighty himself, that the scriptures, and the scriptures alone, contain a complete and all-sufficient rule-a rule that no man may in any wise alter-both of faith and practice.
It might have been supposed, that this passage would have itself sufficed to deter man from engrafting his own devices on the word of God; but man's nature is always the same-in proportion to its very weakness and folly, still disposed to rely on its own wisdom and strength. When the Almighty had revealed his will to his people Israel by the hand of Moses, he gave a sanction to his law by solemnly declaring, “ Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it”*-and yet, in defiance of this precept, we know that, in our Saviour's time, they had absolutely made the word of God of none effect by their traditions ;t and as it was
* Deuteronomy, iv. 2. † Matthew, xv. 6.