« PoprzedniaDalej »
to believe the Scripture, without any recourse unto, or re--
ments pleaded by others to prove the divine authority of the Scripture, their proper place, and force; so where I differ in the explication of any thing belonging unto this subject from the conceptions of other men I have candidly examined such opinions, and the arguments wherewith they are confirmed, without straining the words, caviling at the expressions, or reflections on the persons of any of the authors of them. And whereas I have myself been otherwise dealt withal by many, and know not how foon: I may be so again, I do hereby free the persons of such humours and inclinations from all fear of any reply from me, or the least notice of what they shall be pleased to write or say. Such kind of writings are of the same confideration with me, as those multiplied false reports which some have raised concerning me, the most of them so ridiculous and foolish, so alien from my principles, practice, and course of life, as I cannot but wonder how any persons pretending to gravity and fobriety, are not sensible how their credulity and inclinations are abused in the hearing and repetition of them. The occafion of this discourse is tiiat which in the last place I shall acquaint the reader withal. About three years since I published a book about the difpensation and operations of the Spirit of God. That book was one part only of what I designed on that subjeci., The consideration of the work of the Holy Spirit, as the Ipirit of illumination, of supplication, of consolation, and as the immediate author of all spiritual offices, and gifts extraordinary and ordinary, is designed unto the second part of it. Hereof this ensuing discourse is concerning one part of his work, as a spirit of illumination, which upon the earnest requests of some acquainted with the nature and substance of it, I have suffered to come out by itself, that it might be of the more common use, and more easily obtained,
Mar, 11 1677.
To fill up this page, let the Editor here present you with a few Rules whereby to try the truth of the BIBLE's claim to Divinity, and which, fo far as external evidence is concerned, have hitherto been found completely decisive in favour thereof.
1. That the actions performed by Moses and the Prophets, by JESUS Christ and his Apostles, and the doctrines by them delivered, be of such a rature, as the eyes that saw them, and the ears that heard them, be judges of them.
II. That those actions done, and dorines delivered, be fo public, that every description of men, may be witneffes.
III. That some fignificant monumenits be instituted, and commemorative actions done, declarative of the rectitude of those actions, and commemorative of the truth and goodness of the doctrines delivered.
IV. THAT those instituted monuments, and commemorative actions, do commence from the time those doctrines were delivered, and actions performed by Moses and the Prophets, and by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
V. That those fame instituted monuments, and commemorative actions, have been regularly and without variation observed, from the time those actions were done, and doctrines delivered, unto the present time.
There is nothing ambiguous nor doubtful in these Rules. By the actions performed by Moses and the Prophets, by Jesus Christ and his Apostles; may be understood those singular actions they publicly performed in the presence of many thousands. More than fix hundred thousand were witnesses to Moses' dividing the Red Sea ; and Joshua and the Priests' dividing Jordan. They saw what they did, and heard what they faid; and all Jerusalem, and inhabitants of Judea, saw the miracles Christ wrought, and hcard his public fermons, and acknowledged that notable miracles were wrought by Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
By the significant monuments instituted, and commemorative actions done, declarative of the truth and goodness of the doctrines delivered, mentioned in the three last Rules; may be understood the Sacraments of circumcision and the pasfover, under the Mofaic economy; and baptism and the Lord's Supper, under the Christian dispensation.
The two first of these Rules, above-mentioned, make it impossible, that the records of the Oldor New Testaments, could be impositions on mankind, their eyes, and ears, being witnesses to the contrary. And the three last equally secure us against all deceit, or imposture: for those institutions, and 2 lions, detect all falsehood, or impostures of men. Danger of error or mistake, could not take place at first, and while those significant monuments, and commemorative actions, have been regularly kept up, and most scrupulously adhered to, from generation to generation, to this day, we cannot be mistaken. It remains, therefore, indisputably true, that these doctrines possess all the truth and goodness they ever did; and we can be no more deceived on this head, than those who first heard them, or saw his great wonders pera formed in their presence.
What then would common sense have more, or should reason further demand, to give fatisfaction to the human heart, about the truth and goodness of the Holy Scriptures? And how is it poßible to get clear of the moral certainty these Rules convey to the mind of man.
* See Leslie's Easy method arith the Drifts, and Stavely's Appeal to Light.
REASON OF FAITH;
THE GROUNDS WHEREON THE SCRIPTURE IS BELIEVED TO BE THE WORD OF GOD WITH FAITH DIVINE AND SUPERNATURAL.
The Subječt stated. - Preliminary Remarks. THE principal design of that discourse, whereof the en
suing Treatise is a part, is to declare the work of the Holy Ghost in the illumination of the minds of men. For this work is particularly and eminently ascribed unto him; or the efficacy of the grace of God by him dispensed, Eph. i. 17, 18. Heb. vi. 4. Luke ii. 32. Acts xiii. 47. chap. xxiv. 45. chap. xxvi. 18. 2 Cor. iv. 4. i Pet. ii. 9. The objective cause and outward means of it, are the subjects at present designed unto consideration. And it will issue in these two enquiries.
1. On what Grounds, or for what Reason, we do be
lieve the Scripture to be the Word of God with Faith Divine and Supernatural, as it is required of üs in a way of duty.
2. How or by what means we may come to understand For by illumination in general, as it denotes an effect wrought in the minds of men, I understand that supernatural knowledge that any man hath, or may have of the mind and will of God, as revealed unto him by supernatural means, for the law of his faith, life, and obedience. And this so far as it is comprised in the first of these enquiries, is that, whose declaration we at present design, reserving the latter unto a distinct discourse by itself also. Unto the former some things may be premised.
aright the Mind of God in the Scripture, or the Revelations that are made unto us of his Mind and Will therein.
First, Supernatural Revelation is the only objective cause and means of Supernatural Illumination. These things are commensurate. There is a natural knowledge of supernatural things, and that both theoretical, and practical, Rom. i. 19. chap. ii. 14, 15. And there may be a supernatural knowledge of natural things, 1 Kings iv. 31, 32, 33, 34. Exod. xxxi. 3, 4, 5, 6. But unto this supernatural illumination, it is required, both that its object be things only supernaturally revealed, or as supernaturally revealed, 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10. And that it be wrought in us by a supernatural efficiency, or the immediate efficacy of the Spirit of God, Ephef. i. 17, 18, 19. 2 Cor. iv. 6. This David prays for, Psal. cxix. 18. « Reveal, or uncover mine eyes, bring light and spiri" tual understanding into my mind, that I may behold (ανακεχαλλυμενω προσππσ,
open face, or as in the “ , with a revealed, or uncover" ed face, the veil being taken away, 2 Cor. iii. 18.) « wondrous things out of thy law." The light he prayed for within, did merely respect the doctrine of the law without. This the apostle fully declares; Heb. i. 1, 2. The various fupernatural revelations that God hath made of himself, his mind and will from first to last, are the fole and adequate object of fupernatural illumination.
Secondly, This Divine external Revelation, was originally by various ways, (which we have elsewhere declared) giveņ unto sundry persons immediately, partly for their own instruction and guidance in the knowledge of God.
,באפא גליהא Syriack •