« ZurückWeiter »
universally received and believed by the people of Britain and Ireland, but also containeth upon the matter, the faith of the French churches, and of most others, both in the Netherlands, and elsewhere ; that it may appear what wild consequences these men have fought, both contrary to the naked import of the words, and to all common fense and reason, to cover some of their erroneous principles.
A short examination of some of the Scrip
ture-proofs alledged by the Divines at Westminster, to prove divers articles in their Coafesli n of Faith, and Catechism.
IT is not in the least my design in this chapter, to offer so large an examination of any of their articles, as might be done, nor yet of so many as are very obvious; but only of two or three, to give the reader a taste of them, for example's sake, whereby, as ex ungue leonem, he may judge of most of all the rest, if he will be at the pains nar. rowly to look over and examine them.
I shall begin with the first chapter, Sect. 1. where they assert two things : first,
That God has committed his-will now wholly to writing. Secondly, That the former ways of God's revealing his will, as by immediate revelation, are now ceased. The scriptures they bring to prove this, are first, Prov. xxii. 19, 20, 21. That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known unto thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge ? That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth, that thou mightesi answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee. Luke i. 3, 4. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee, in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certointy of these things wherein thou hasi been instructed. Rom. xv. 4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope. Mat. iv. 4. 7. 10. - But he answered, and said, Ii is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou Malt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou ferve. Isa. viii. 19, 20. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards, that peep and that mutter : Should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law, and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
But is it not matter of admiration, that men should be so beside themselves, as to imagine these testimonies do in the least prove their assertion; or that others, that do not take things merely upon trust, would be so foolish as to believe them? For, though God made known, and wrote excellent things to Solomon; though Luke wrote unto Theophilus, an account of divers transactions of Christ's outward abode; For many were never written. John xxi. 25. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose, that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. John xx. 30. And many other figns truly did Jesus in the presence of his dif ciples, which are not written in this book. Though Christ made use of divers scriptures againit Satan, and Ifaiah directed people to the law, and to the testimony; who will be so mad as to say, that it naturally follows, from thence, that God has now committed
his will wholly to writing? Such a consequence is no more deducible from these scrip, tures, than if I should argue thus: The divines of Westminster have asserted many things without ground, therefore they had ground for nothing they said. Nay, it follows not by far so naturally, seeing after the writing of all these passages, by them cited, according to their own judgment, there were divers scriptures written; so that as it had been false for them to affert, that God had then committed his counsel wholly to writing, which indeed was not true; so it is most irrational and unwarrantable for
any to draw such a strange and strained consequence from their words.
For the second, That the former ways are now ceased, they alledge, 2 Tim. iii. 15. where Paul writes to Timothy, saying, That from a child, be (Timothy) had known the holy scriptures, wbich were able to make him wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. And Heb. i. 1, 2. God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, Spake in times past, unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days Spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also be made the worlds. 2 Pet. i. 19. We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto yć do well that
take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark
place, un:il the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.
Which prove the matter as little as the former: if Paul had intended by that to Timothy, what those divines would have, would not they have made the apostle speak a manifest untruth, seeing they themselves acknowledge, that John's revelation was written long after? So that these former ways were not then ceased. As for that of Peter, it is to beg the thing in question, to fay, it is intended of the scripture ; and though it were, it proves not the case at all. That of the Hebrews is so far from asserting the matter they would have it, that it
be very aptly brought to prove the quite contrary. For God indeed speaks to us now by his Son; but to infer from thence, that the Son speaks only to us by the scriptures, remains yet unproved : and for the apostle to have there asserted it, had been false: seeing the revelations, which he and others afterwards had, were inward, and so fuch were not ceased. And if we may trust the same apostle better than these men, he tells us, That fo foon as Christ was revealed in him, he went straigbt and obeyed. And the same apostle tells us, That except Chrif be in us, we are reprobates ; surely he is not dumb in us, seeing he says, He will dwell in us, and walk in