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    ABOUT THE FATHERS

    The testimony of the learned and good of past generations is entitled to confidence only when it is in harmony with the Scriptures. “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.” 1 Peter 4:11. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:128.FT 134.1

    MARTIN LUTHER says:FT 134.2

    “When God’s word is by the fathers expounded, construed and glossed, then, in my judgment, it is even like unto one that straineth milk through a coal sack, which must needs spoil the milk and make it black; even so likewise God’s word of itself issufficiently pure, clean, bright and clear, but through the doctrines, books and writings of the fathers, it is very surely darkened, falsified and spoiled.”FT 134.3

    DR. CLARKE says:FT 134.4

    “We should be cautious how we appeal to heathens, however eminent, in behalf of morality; because much may be collected from them on the other side.FT 134.5

    “In like manner we should take heed how we quote the Fathers in proof of the doctrines of the gospel; because he who knows them best, knows that on many of those subjects, they blow hot and cold.”FT 135.1

    DU PIN says:FT 135.2

    “Criticism is a kind of torch, that lights and conducts us, in the obscure tracts of antiquity, by making us able to distinguish truth from falsehood, history from fable, and antiquity from novelty. ‘Tis by this means, that in our times we have disengaged ourselves from an infinite number of very common errors into which our fathers fell for want of examining things by the rules of true criticism. For it is a surprising thing to consider how many spurious books we find in antiquity; nay, even in the first ages of the church.”FT 135.3

    MR. HINTON says:FT 135.4

    “Indeed, such was the state both of literature and morals, in the fourth and subsequent centuries, that the favorite occupation of the monks of those days, seems to have been first to write the most ridiculous nonsense by way of indicating their literary taste; and then fraudulently to attach to it the name of some eminent father of the first or second century, by way of proving the high state of their moral sensibility.”FT 135.5

    JOHN WESLEY says:FT 135.6

    “In the earliest times there were not wanting well-meaning men, who, not having much reason themselves, imagined that reason was of no use in religion: yea, rather that it was a hindrance to it. And there has not been wanting a succession of men who have believed and asserted the same thing. But never was there a greater number of these in the Christian church, at least in Britain, than at this day.”FT 135.7

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