From John Dryden’s Religio Laici, Preface
I have dwelt longer on this Subject than I intended; and longer than, perhaps, I ought; for having laid down, as my Foundation, that the Scripture is a rule; that in all things needfull to Salvation, it is clear, sufficient, and ordain’d by God Almighty for that purpose, I have left my self no right to interpret obscure places, such as concern the possibility of eternal happiness to Heathens: because whatsoever is obscure is concluded not necessary to be known.
Certainly all true Protestants can join in gladly affirming the first part of Dryden’s statement. The problem then is that it were only too easy to identify any part as obscure, and conclude it unnecessary to be known. But if it is absolutely unnecessary, why is it in Scripture at all? Here is another take on the matter:
G.N.M. Collins, “Knox and the Scottish Reformation” in Puritan Papers, v.2
[Recording a conversation between Knox and Queen Mary]
“Ye interpret the Scriptures in one manner, and other [sic?] interpret in another. Who am I to believe? and who shall judge?” said the Queen.
“Madam,” replied Knox, “ye shall believe God, that plainly speaketh in His Word, and further than that Word teacheth you ye shall believe neither the one nor the other. The Word of God is plain in itself; and if there appears any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrarious to himself, explains the same more clearly in other places.”