ŇYe shall know them by their fruits; do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? So every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits shall ye know them.Ó  Matthew 7:16-20.

 

 

ŇYe shall know them by their fruits; do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?Ó  Matthew 7:16.

 

This verse, and those which follow to the 21st, contain the third point which Christ layeth down concerning false prophets; namely, the means whereby we may discern and judge of them. And herein He observeth this order: First, He gives us a notable rule to direct us in judging of false prophets, Ye shall know them by their fruits. Secondly, He explains the same rule by a similitude drawn from trees: Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

 

 

I.

For the rule, that we may understand it the better, we are to search what is meant by the fruits of false prophets. A false prophet must be considered two ways: First, as he is a man taking upon him the name and profession of Christ, for so false prophets use to do; and secondly, as he is a false prophet. In both these respects he hath his fruits.

 

1. As he is a man taking upon him the profession of ChristŐs religion, he may bring forth many outward duties of external obedience unto the moral law; but these fruits are not here meant; for a false prophet may dissemble much and go far in the outward duties of religion, so as he cannot be discerned by his general profession or by the works of his civil conversation.

 

2. There be other fruits which come from him as he is a false prophet, and by them must he be discerned. These therefore are to be considered. Now we shall know them the better by searching out the fruits of a true prophet, as he is a man of God appointed to teach the people.

 

The fruits of a true prophet be principally three:

 

(1) He teacheth and preacheth in the name of God, by virtue of calling from God, and otherwise dares not presume to teach. (Rom. 10:15), How shall he teach unless he be sent. And the author to the Hebrews saith, Christ took not the honour of being the High Priest and prophet of the church to Himself, but was called thereto by His Father (Heb. 5:4,5). And this stands with reason, for every true prophet and teacher stands in GodŐs room, and is GodŐs ambassador to deliver His will to His people; which thing none can do, but he whom God calleth and sendeth for that purpose. Yet the calling of prophets and teachers by God is diverse. Some are called by voice from God immediately, as were Abraham, Moses and Samuel; and all the apostles in the New Testament by the immediate voice of Christ; for Paul was called by the voice of Christ from heaven (Acts 9:4-6). Again, others have their calling from God by the special message of some angel, or some men. Thus was Aaron called by Moses; Elisha by Elijah; and Philip by an angel to preach to the eunuch (Acts 8:26). Thirdly, others be called by the instinct and motion of GodŐs Spirit; so (Acts 8) Philip was by ordinary calling a deacon, but by extraordinary instinct he became an evangelist and a preacher of the gospel, for the building of GodŐs church. These three kinds of calling men into the ministry were extraordinary, and are now ceased, and not to be looked for; neither are they now to be regarded which say they are thus called at this day. A fourth way whereby God now calleth prophets and teachers into His church, is by His church; for God hath given to particular churches, a particular ministerial power and service, whereby they may design a place unto the teacher, and also make manifest that God hath called him. Now this authority is but ministerial, to design and manifest whom God hath called, for the principal calling is from God; for (Acts 20:28) the elders of the church at Ephesus are said to be made overseers by the Holy Ghost; whenas they were designed thereto by men. And by one of these four ways are all true prophets and teachers called.

 

Here some may demand, what kind of calling had they, who were the first restorers of true religion unto us in this our age, for they were by profession either popish priests or school-doctors. I answer: their calling was partly ordinary, and partly extraordinary; for in the ministry of a prophet there be two things: his office, and the using or exercise of his office. Our first ministers that restored the truth unto us, had but an ordinary office, being either readers in schools, or public preachers; also they had their outward calling thereto from the church of Rome; so as if there be any part of good calling in that church, then was their calling good; which may serve to stop the mouths of all papists that carp at our church, as though our ministers had no calling. But for the using of their office, they were extraordinarily raised and stirred up to do that which they did, in regard of the manifold abuses wherewith the ministry of the church was generally corrupted in their time; for God gave unto them grace and knowledge to discern, to teach, and to maintain the right and true use of the ministry. And that they were thus extraordinarily stirred up by God, may appear by the extraordinary gifts and graces wherewith they were endued; for God that hath always a care over His church, when he saw the same so fearfully corrupted by Antichrist, did stir up these men to reform the same; and besides these singular gifts of knowledge and wisdom, He gave them extraordinary graces of true piety, whereby they were enabled to seal and confirm with their own blood, the truth of that doctrine which they did profess and teach, which was an evident argument they were called of God.

 

Now opposite to this, we must make the first note of a false prophet; namely, to come on his own head, and to preach not being sent. And by this mark are false prophets noted (Jer. 14:14), I have not sent them, neither did I command themÉ. yet they prophesy in my name. And no less do these words of Christ import, when He saith here, they come unto you, that is, of themselves, without a calling from God, though they pretend a calling, which is one of their cloaks. And therefore (Jude 4) they are said to creep into the church; as also (Acts 20:29), grievous wolves shall enter in among you, without calling from God, or from the church.

 

(2) Here, some may ask, how shall we judge of such, and know that they have no calling? Answer: For this purpose, I add a second note of a true prophet, which is the most  principal, and it standeth in the right and wholesome handling of the Scriptures of God. This is the proper fruit of a true prophet (1 Cor. 14:3), He that prophesies, speaketh unto menŐs edification, exhortation and comfort; and (2 Tim. 2:15), Shew thyself a good workman, by dividing the Word of God aright; and (2 Tim. 3:16,17), The Scripture used in teaching, convincing, correcting, and instructing unto righteousness, serves to make a man fit to every good works of a prophet. Now this wholesome handling of the Word stands in two things: in a right interpretation and opening of the true sense of Scripture, and in a due and sound collection of wholesome doctrine from the same, for the edifying of the church both in sound judgment and in Christian life.

 

On the contrary, the second fruit of a false prophet is to deliver and maintain corrupt doctrine, contrary to the wholesome doctrine of holy Scripture. And by this principally he is to be known for a false prophet that intrudeth himself. For the better conceiving of this note we must know that in the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, there are two things principally to be considered: the scope, and the parts thereof. The scope of all their doctrine tends to maintain Christ Jesus God and man, the alone perfect Saviour of the church. And indeed, he which teacheth any doctrine tending to overthrow Christ, either in regard of His natures, or of His offices, the same is a false prophet, (1 John 4:3), Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus is come in the flesh, is not of God. The parts of prophetical and apostolic doctrine, are the commandments of the law and the promises of the gospel, and he which overturns either directly, or by just consequence, any commandment of the law or article of faith, must needs be a false prophet; so that a false prophet must be tried by the analogy of faith, comprised in the articles of the ApostlesŐ Creed and in the Decalogue, which contains the sum of all the doctrine of the prophets and apostles; and he which goeth against them, is a false prophet.

 

(3) The third fruit of a true prophet is noted by our Saviour Christ; namely, in his ministry to seek GodŐs glory. Where also He noteth out a false prophet, who in teaching and preaching seeketh not GodŐs glory, but his own. The same note doth Paul give (Phil. 3:19), calling them earthly minded, seeking their own honour, wealth and glory, and not the things of God; and (Rom. 16:14), They serve not the Lord, but their own bellies.

 

Thus we see the notes of a false prophet, among which the second is the principal whereby he is to be tried; as we may see plainly (Deut. 13:1-4), If a false prophet come, and work a true sign, yet he must die, if by his false doctrine he seek to withdraw GodŐs people from the true God. So when the Jews asked Christ, by what authority He did those things; that is, what warrant and calling He had to do as He did; He answers them by another question touching JohnŐs ministry; thereby shewing that that which He did was warranted by the testimony of John; and JohnŐs testimony was true, because his calling was from God; and his calling He justifies, because his doctrine (signified by his baptism) was from God. So (Gal. 1:8), He which teacheth otherwise than they had learned out of the prophets from the apostles, let him be accursed, though he were an angel from heaven. And thus much for the meaning of this rule.

 

The Uses.

1. From this rule we have to answer the papists, and all popish persons, who used to plead in defence of their religion, after this sort: If our religion be false, shew us the time when it was corrupted, the man that corrupted it, and the manner how it was corrupted; for once we had the pure religion. We might answer them by the like, that a man might say as well of a ship that is sunk on the sea, that it is not sunk, because no man can tell where, and when, and by what means it took water. But yet further we have here to answer that though we knew not when that religion was corrupted, and by whom, yet seeing their teachers and people have in them, and among them, the necessary fruits of antichristian prophets and people, we can thereby assure ourselves they are corrupt. And though we cannot see the shadow of the sun move, yet we may perceive that it doth move. Now by their fruits it is clear they are corrupt; for they reverse the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, both in the commandments of the law, and in the articles of faith. First, they disannul the first commandment, by making to themselves other gods beside the true God; for they pray unto saints, and therein acknowledge a divine property in them, and also give unto them the honour due to God alone, and so set up unto themselves the creature in the room of the Creator. The second they reverse by worshipping God Himself, and dead men, in images, and Christ Himself in the crucifix; yea, in a piece of bread, wherein they match the greatest idolatry among the heathen. And the best learned among them teach that the rood, the cross and crucifix, are to be worshipped with the same worship wherewith Christ Himself is worshipped. In the sixth commandment touching murder, they condemn the killing one of another; but yet if a priest come from the pope, and kill a Protestant prince, the LordŐs anointed king or queen, that is not only no sin, but a most notable, rare and memorable work. Against the seventh commandment they maintain the vow of single life necessary in their religious orders, whereby, as also by their sins, they cause all filthiness and abomination to abound among them. And for the tenth commandment, they say that concupiscence after baptism is no sin properly. In the articles of faith they overturn those that concern Christ, making Him no Saviour, but a divine instrument whereby we save ourselves; for they make menŐs good works done by GodŐs grace, after the first justification, truly and properly meritorious, and fully worthy of everlasting life. And His offices they have parted from Him; His kingly and prophetical offices, between Him and the pope; and His priesthood between Him and every popish priest, as we have shewed before; so that by these fruits, we plainly see their apostasy; which is enough, though we know not when and by whom it came.

 

2. Here also we have to answer such among ourselves as renounce our church as being no true church of Christ, because, say they, we do want true ministers, and have not a right ministry among us. But hence we answer that we have the true church of God, and our ministers be the true ministers of God. For proof hereof, our ministers have the outward calling of the Church of England. They say indeed, our calling is nought, because they have no power from God to call, in whose hands it is. But to omit that question for this time, sufficient approbation of our ministry may be had from the fruits of our ministers, as they are ministers; for to leave the fruits of their lives as insufficient means to judge them by, our ministers teach, through GodŐs blessing, the true and wholesome doctrine of the prophets and apostles, and are allotted and called hereto by the governors of the church, and accepted of their people, whose obedience to the faith is the seal of their ministry; and this is sufficient to confirm the calling of our ministers. If it had not, Christ would not have said, Ye shall know them by their fruits.

 

3. Whereas Christ saith, Ye shall know them, speaking to all His hearers, He takes it for granted that every believer may be able to judge of false prophets; and therefore everyone in the church of God ought to labour for so much knowledge whereby he may be able to know a teacher by his fruits and doctrine. This then sheweth that everyone ought to know the sum of true religion, comprised in the Article of Faith and in the commandments of the law, both for their true meaning, and right and profitable use unto themselves; which thing I note, because I know many deceive themselves herein, thinking that God will excuse them for their want of knowledge, because they are not book-learned. But let us consider, we have everyone this care, to be able to judge of meats which concern our bodies, which be wholesome, and which not; should we not then have much more care of our souls, to be able to discern of doctrines in religion, which be either the poison or salvation of our souls?

 

4. Whereas wholesome doctrine out of Scripture is a note of a true prophet, it teacheth us that we may lawfully use the ministry of these men, whose lives and conversations be evil and offensive, if so be their doctrine be sound and good. The disciples of our Saviour Christ must not do according to the ways of the Scribes and Pharisees, but yet they must hear them when they sit in MosesŐ chair (Matt. 23:1-3); that is, when they teach MosesŐ doctrine. And Paul is glad when Christ is truly preached, though it be not in sincerity of affection, but of envy (Phil. 1:18). When the disciples saw a man that was not called by any special calling to follow Christ as themselves were, and cast out devils in the name of Christ, they thought it intolerable, and therefore forbade him (Luke 9:49,50); but Christ said, Forbid him not, for he that is not against us, is with us. And the like may be said of them that preach wholesome doctrine, though their lives be still offensive; for in doctrine they be with Christ, and so far forth must be approved. Again, consider that the virtue and efficacy of the Word and sacraments administered by men, is not from the minister, but from God. A letter is not the worse because it is brought by a dishonest and unfaithful carrier. Neither doth the evil conscience of the minister defile the good conscience of the honest hearer, and worthy receiver. This must be remembered, because many take offence at the life of the minister, so as they will not hear his doctrine, if his conversation be scandalous.

 

5. In that a prophet is to be known by his fruits, and the main fruit of a true prophet stands in the good handling of GodŐs Word for the edification and salvation of his hearers; hence the children of the prophets, and those that are set apart for the ministry of the Word are taught that they must make this the main and principal end of all their studies: to be able to bring forth the fruits of a true prophet; that is, to interpret aright the Word of God, and thence to gather out wholesome doctrines and uses for the edification of GodŐs people. And for the enforcing of this duty let us consider, first, that it is GodŐs commandment so to do (1 Cor. 14:1), Seek for spiritual gifts, but specially to prophesy. Again, the greatest skill of a prophet stands in the true expounding and right dividing of Scripture, so as it may become food for menŐs souls (2 Tim. 2:15), Shew thyself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, in dividing the Word of truth aright. And lastly, this true fruit of a minister serves to build up ChristŐs kingdom, to beat down the kingdom of sin, and to feed the souls of men with the food of everlasting life. It will be said, this course is good among the common people; but this is not the learning which is required in the handling of the Word in the schools of the prophets. I answer, It is the greatest learning that can be in a minister to be able thus to divide the Word of God aright. It goes beyond the gift of tongues and miracles (1 Cor. 14:1,2). I deny not but that it is a part of learning used of the learned, to take a text of Scripture and to make an ecclesiastical discourse upon the same. But yet the work of a prophet stands rather in expounding Scripture by Scripture, and in dividing the same aright; giving thereout wholesome doctrine for the edifying of the people of God that hear. In former times when the study of Scripture was neglected, men betook themselves to expound the writings of men, and so prophecy was banished, and all sound knowledge in the truth of God; and hence arose diversity of opinions and multitudes of foolish questions. And so will it be with us, if prophecy fail; for to leave the right handling of Scripture, is the way to bring in all error and barbarism in religion.

 

6. Every minister of the gospel is hereby taught that he ought to be answerable to his calling, walking worthy of the same; for a good minister is known by his good fruits, and therefore he must be faithful in performing all those duties which his calling doth bind him unto. The titles and calling of a minister be high and excellent, but yet they will not commend any man for good, unless he bring forth the fruits of a minister in a faithful discharge of his ministerial duties.

 

7. Lastly, hence we must learn not to take offence thought the minister fails in his life and conversation, yea, though there be contentions in the ministry about matters of doctrine; for these are not the fruits of the ministry which is GodŐs ordinance, but of sinful men who bewray their imperfections in this holy calling.

 

 

II.

Thus much of the rule. Now follows the proof and explication thereof, by a comparison drawn from nature in these words: Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? So every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit (vv.16b-18).

 

The comparison standeth thus: As a tree is known of everyone by his fruit, so is a prophet by his teaching. More particularly, As a good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and cannot bring forth evil fruit; and as an evil tree brings forth evil fruit, and cannot bring forth good fruit; even so, a true prophet teacheth wholesome doctrine, and cannot teach false doctrine; and a false prophet teacheth false doctrine, and cannot teach true doctrine.

 

1. Touching this similitude, first observe in general from the ground of this comparison, that our Saviour Christ here makes two kind of trees: a good tree and an evil tree. By an evil tree, meaning that which in regard of any fruit is as a rotten tree, as is the briar, the thorn and thistle; for though they live and grow, yet they are void of good fruit, and so are called evil. Now here it may be well demanded, whence this difference of trees doth come, for all were good by creation (Gen. 1:31), God saw all that He had made, and lo it was very good. Answer: Whether thorns or thistles were created of God I will not now dispute. It is not certain that they were. But now it is plain there remains this difference among plants: some are good, some are bad; the goodness that is in some comes from GodŐs blessing, but the badness and barrenness of others comes from the curse of God upon the earth, and upon all creatures for the sin of our first parents, as we may see (Gen. 3:17,18), The earth is cursed for thy sakeÉ. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee. And by this we may see the grievousness of our mother-sin; it hath made the earth barren and cursed, and many a goodly plant to become fruitless and unprofitable. And therefore when we behold these things in the world, we must take occasion hereof to consider our own sin, and blame ourselves and not the creatures, for they were cursed for our sakes.

 

2. Now more particularly: This comparison is here specially applied unto prophets. But if we compare this place with St. Luke (Luke 6:44,45), we shall see the Holy Ghost there restraineth not this saying to the prophets alone, but enlargeth the same unto other men, saying, A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil. Now by comparing these together, we may see that this comparison reacheth both unto prophets and to all other men. From whence, we may gather these instructions:

 

What we are to conceive and think of a man that is not regenerate. We are all by nature branches of the wild olive, and therefore as a thorn cannot bring forth a grape, nor a thistle figs; no more can a man unregenerate bring forth a good work. And this we may more plainly conceive, if we consider a little the works of man. They may all be reduced to three heads: some are evil, as works forbidden of God; some are things indifferent, being neither forbidden nor commanded; and some are good works, as outward duties of the moral law. Now for evil works, they cannot possibly be good in any man. For works indifferent, as eating, drinking, buying, selling etc., they are sins, not in themselves, but in him that useth them being out of Christ. And for outward duties of the moral law, as civil justice, liberality, and such like, they are good works in themselves, because God requireth them, but yet in the unregenerate they are sins: To the pure, all things are pure; but to them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure (Tit. 1:15); and, Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). It will be said that liberality, chastity etc., be the good gifts of God. Answer: That is true, and they be good works as they are given and commanded of God. But as they are received and used of the natural man, they are sins; for he fails from the right use of those actions; both for the beginning of them (for they proceed not in him from a pure heart, a good conscience and faith unfeigned) and also in the end; for he doth them not for the glory of God simply, but withal he aims at his own praise and reputation, or some such sinister respect.

 

The use of this doctrine is:

 

(1) That it teacheth us to consider and acknowledge the greatness of our original sin. Our natural corruption is most grievous and fearful; it makes us to sin in whatsoever things we do, though in themselves they be things indifferent, or else good works.

 

(2) This overthrows the conceit of popish writers which teach that God gives to all men a universal common grace, or help sufficient, by which they may be saved if they will. And for them which want the means of the Word of God, they say that if they use that common grace of nature well, God will give them further grace whereby they may come to salvation. But here we see a natural man having a good gift of God cannot of himself use it well; the best things that he doth, though they be good in themselves, yet they be sins in him.

 

(3) Here also we may see what a miserable case we are in while we remain unregenerate; for we can do nothing but sin. We be like to thorns and thistles, which either bring forth no fruit, or else bad fruit. And therefore we must labour to become new plants in ChristŐs orchard, being ingrafted into Him by faith, and made new creatures by regeneration, having believing hearts and good consciences, that so we may bring forth good fruits unto the praise and glory of God.

 

(4) We may hence learn a general rule touching righteous man; namely, that a man must first be truly justified and sanctified before he can do a good work. First, a tree must have the sap and nature of a good tree, and then it brings forth good fruits, and not before. And this overturns a point of natural and popish religion, that a man may be justified and saved by his good works. But that which follows cannot be a cause of that which went before. The fruit cannot make the tree to be good; but only declare and manifest that it is good; from whence it comes that the fruit is good. And so good works they proceed from justification. They say justification is twofold: one, whereby a man of an evil man is made a good man; the second, whereby of a good man one is made better. The first they say is of works, but the second justification is of grace. Answer: But this is false; for the fruit makes not the tree a better tree, but if the tree increase in goodness, it proceeds from some other cause, not from the fruit thereof.

 

 

ŇEvery tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits shall ye know them.Ó  (vv.19-20).

 

These words contain a conclusion gathered from the former similitude, which is here also continued; wherein is set down a grievous threatening of eternal damnation, the deserved punishment of all false prophets. As if Christ had said, Look as in an orchard every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire to be burnt; so in the church of God the false prophets shall not always be reputed for a true prophet, but at the length shall be discovered, put off from the church, and condemned. Answerable to this is the saying of our Saviour Christ, Every branch which beareth not fruit in me is taken away, cast forth, and withereth, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they burn (John 15:6). And St Peter saith, Their damnation sleepeth not (2 Pet. 2:3).

 

The Use.

1. This serves to comfort GodŐs children in regard of false prophets; for though GodŐs church be troubled with them for a time, yet it shall not always be so; for the time will come wherein they must be cast out, and receive their due and deserved destruction. And this especially must be remembered, to stay and comfort our hearts in regard of the popish religion, which doth most of all molest and trouble us; first, because it is natural, and so readily embraced; secondly, many among us do much affect it; and thirdly, it is maintained by mighty monarchs. But yet for all that it must down, for it is a plant which God never set nor planted (Matt. 15:13), and the chief upholders of it shall be destroyed.

 

2. This teacheth us to eschew and shun false teachers; and therefore doth Christ add this exhortation (Matt. 15:14), Let them alone, they are the blind leaders of the blind; and (Rev. 18:4), Come out of her (that is, spiritual Babylon which is Rome) my people, for if you partake with her in her sins, ye shall suffer of her punishments.

 

3. The words of this threatening being further applied unto all men (as they are in St Luke), do teach us that it is not sufficient for us to abstain from committing gross sins, and to do no man harm, but beside eschewing evil, we must do good. In the last judgment, the sentence of condemnation shall be pronounced against the wicked, not for robbing the poor, but for not relieving of them, and for not visiting and clothing them (Matt. 25: 42,45). Which doth notably confute that vain opinion of many ignorant people, who think that if they live an innocent and harmless life, God will hold them excused and save them; but the tree that brings not forth good fruit must be burnt.

 

Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them (v.20).

Here Christ repeats again the rule He delivered in the 16th verse, which shews that it is a special rule to be observed of us all; for there is no idle word in Scripture, neither anything repeated in vain. The meaning thereof we have heard, and the means whereby a false prophet may be discovered, with the uses thereof; among which we shewed that every true believer in GodŐs church may be able to discover a false prophet, whereto these three caveats must be added:

 

(1) The party that would discover a false prophet must humble himself before God, and have an heart in some sort emptied of all pride and self-love; for the Lord will teach the humble His ways (Psa. 25:9); yea, He doth exalt the humble and meek (Luke 1:52); and in all things the humbled heart is preserved with the Lord.

 

(2) The party humbled must yield himself to obey the will of God. If any man do my FatherŐs will, he shall know of my doctrine whether it be of God (John 7:17). And David professeth of himself that he was wiser than his teachers, and understood more than the ancients, because he kept GodŐs commandments (Psa. 119:99,100).

 

(3) He must pray unto the Lord, and ask wisdom in faith and in humility, And the Lord will give it unto him, (Jam. 1:5), If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth liberally. Yet some will say, it is an hard matter to discern a false prophet. I answer, we have ordinarily this capacity, when we read or hear read the last will and testament of our ancestors, we are able to conceive and judge of the meaning thereof. Well, our Lord Jesus hath left with us His will and testament in the holy Scriptures; which concerning moral duties, and matters of faith necessary to salvation, is so plain, that it may be understood of the simplest, else Christ would never have sent the Jews to the Scriptures for the certain knowledge of the Messiah. Which notably discovers the fraudulent dealing of the Romish teachers, who in matters of controversy in religion, send us for resolution to the church, calling it the stay and pillar whereto we must lean in all doubts of doctrines. The church I grant is to be reverenced, but yet we must not build our faith upon the doctrine of men. Our Saviour Christ sent the Jews unto the Scriptures; and hereby the Bereans tried PaulŐs doctrine, and are commended. And indeed, though men be never so unlearned, yet if they come in humility to search the Scripture, and in obedience unto God, praying for knowledge, they may be able by GodŐs Word to discern of false teachers.