Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

fon, that the said extraordinary Works are such Assurances, or that That is their Intent and Design. For the posibility of God's alsuring us of the Truth of a Doctrine by extraordinary Works is no Proof, that That is, or must be his Method, in fact, of assuring us of the Truth of any Doctrine, and of communicating his Will to us. That is the Thing to be proved by Reason, and not fupposed; for, if we do not know by Reason, that extraordinary Works are Proofs of a Doctrine coming from God; we cannot know by Reason that extraordinary Works must be God's Method of assuring us of the Truth of a Doctrine. Nothing therefore follows, from the Allowance of this posibility, to his Purpose ; and yet I cannot find that he offers at any farther Proof of his Point, unless what he adds is intended for a Proof, that if God's doing extraordinary Works is not proper to answer this End, he does not see any Thing that can be thought to be so ; which seems à strange Proof; for, what if nothing else can be thought of by him or any one else, proper to answer this End, does it therefore follow, that That is God's Method of revealing his Will? And tho' he cannot see that any other Method can be thought of, whereby God can give Proof of revealing his Will, yet I think others may see one. And indeed all the religious Sects of the World contend, that God not only may have, but has had, a constant Communication with Mankind, by what they call internal Revelation, Experi

ences,

[ocr errors]

ences, and Inspiration ; which is inward Conviction of Mind, and stronger than any traditional Evidence for Miracles can be, or any Evidence of our Senfes for Miracles, which yet, if proved to be done,' we can neither know to be Works of God, nor Proofs of a Doctrine coming from him. And it is surprizing to me, that the reverend Mr. GREEN, who must openly pretend he has had a Call from the Holy Ghost to the Ministry; who, one would think, should be perswaded, that the holy Spirit is the greatest Witness to the Truth of the Christian Religion ; and who is of a Sext that deals in Experiences, and talks much of the Witness, or Testimony, and Operations of the Spirit, should be so little affected with the said Doctrine himself, as to imply, that such Things are not so much as thought of by him, when he is talking to you of the Methods, that God may take of assuring us of the Truth of a Doctrine ; for I dare say he speaks (whatever he thinks) of it, in his Pulpit, and upon other Occasions. But whatever his real Sense may be of InSpiration, or of the Witness, Testimony, and Operation of the Spirit, and of Experiences, I conceive that they may be much better Proofs of God's assuring us of the Truth of a Dietrine, than extraordinary Works; which, when consider'd as they stand in fact, were done in an obscure Corner, (where there were numerous (x) Pretenders to perform such ex_ traordinary Works, ) the Report, and Evit dence whereof, reach'd but a little Way; which do not render the Perfons, who do them, infallible; for (y) Judas, and perhaps fome, who had sometimes wrought Miracles by °Christ's Commission, did afterwards renounce him, and apostatize from the Faith; and their having been used by God as his Instruments and Messengers did not authorize them for ever after to be accounted such, nor was to give them Credit in all they said, or did : which have been reported and testify'd to be done in Behalf of all Religions; fór as Dr. JENKIN observes, (z) there never was any of the false Religions, but it was pretended to have been confirmed by something miraculous; which can be done by Beings inferior to God, and even by evil Beings, or Workers of Iniquitý (who can do such wonderful Works, as would deceive, if possible, the very Elect; That is, all but those, who by being elected must neceffarily persevere in Grace to the End, and cannot possibly fall from Grace, or be deceived into an erroneous Belief,) nay, by SATAN, or the Devil, who can transform himself into an Angel of Light; and which are Proofs only of the Power, but not of the Veracity of 'their Author. In Justification of my afsigning Inspiration, as a way that God, if he pleafes, may take to give Proof of the Truth of a Doctrine's coming from him, give

(x ) Bishop of Litchfield's &c. Defence of Chrift. p. 431.

traordinary

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

me leave to produce fome Authorities in Beco half of my Opinion; all which will be found. either to assert the Method of Inspiration to be a better Method for God to reveal his Will than the Method by Miracles, or extraordinary Works, or to confound the Method by Miras cles, or to assert the Excellency and Reality of Inspiration, as a Method taken by God to reveal his Wili.

I find the following Clauses; (both in the Articles of the Christian Religion, approved and passd by both Houses of Parliament, after Advice had with the Assembly of Divines by Authority of Parliament hitting at Westminster, printed 1648; and in the Declaration of the Faith and Order own'd änd practised in the congregational Churches in England, agreed upon and consented unto by the Elders and Messengers in their Meeting at the Savoy, Oč. 12. 1658.)

“ The Authority of the holy Scripture, for “ which it ought to be believed and obey'd, “ dependeth not upon the Testimony of any Man or Church, but wholly upon God " (who is Truth itself) the Author thereof; "and therefore it is to be received, because “it is the Word of God.”

“We may be moved and induced, by the «« Testimony of the Church, to an high and “ reverend Ésteemn of the holy Scripture. And “ the Heavenliness of the Matter, the Efficacy « of the Doctrine; the Majesty of the Style " the Consent of all the Parts, the Scope of " the whole, (which is, to give all Glory to

[ocr errors]

“God,) the full Discovery it makes of the “ only Way of Man's Salvation, the many “other incomparable Excellencies, and the “ entire Perfection thereof, are Arguments, “ whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself “ to be the Word of God; yet notwithstand“ing, our full Perswasion and Assurance of " the infallible Truth and divine Authority “ thereof is from the Work of the holy Spi“ rit, bearing Witness by and with the Word “ in our Hearts.”

The learned and acute Mr. BAXTER says, '(a) he is much more apprehensive, than heretofore, of the Necessity of well grounding Men in their Religion, and especially of the Witness of the indwelling Spirit; for he more SENSIBLY PERCEIVES, that the SPIRIT is the great Witness of Christ and Christianity to the World.

The renown'd Dr. Owen, a great Divine of the independent Sect, thus treats the Argument for the Truth of Christianity, from Miracles, in his Confiderations upon the. Biblia Polyglotta, as I find him represented by Dr. Walton, the Editor of the Biblia Polyglotta, in the Defence of that Work, against the faid Considerations. Dr. Walton (6) says, " He “ (That is, Dr. Owen) rejects that main Ar“ gument to prove the Scriptures to be from “ God, p. 103, 104, viz. the Miracles “ wrought by Moses and CHRIST, the

(2) Reliquize Baxterianæ, p. 127. fiaerator coufider'd, p. 22.

(6) Walton's Cone

Prophets

« ForrigeFortsæt »