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ed not many of those things before mentioned; could that give reasonable meu round to conclude, therefore the Divine wisdom or light was insufficient; or that the Divine wisdom or · light was not then, and should not in other ages become the rule and guide of the children of men ? Yet such false consequences lave been the corner stone and foundation of our opposers' building against us; and no reasonable man, I think, will attempt to clear it from being a sandy one.

OF THE JUDGE OF CONTROVERSY. I shall explain what I mean by these terms.

A judge is one that has not only power to determine, but discerning to do it rightly.

Controversy is a debate between two parties about the truth or falsehood of any proposition to be determined by that judge.

From whence I am led to assert, that the judge of controversy must be certain and unerring.

And though this may seem strange to some, it is nevertheless true in itself. For if the judge be fallible, he may indeed silence the contending parties by his authority, but not the controversy by a certain judgment, since he may as well determine falsely as truly. So that controversy can never be rightly determined by a fallible judge, therefore he is no true judge of controversy. Indeed it is absurd, and a contradiction in itself, to think otherwise ; since he that is uncertain, can never give a certain decision. And if not a certain one, then nove to the purpose. Nor ought any person, no otherwise judged, that is persuaded of the truth of his cause, to let fall his belief upon so doubtful a determination; since he moves not only without conviction, but against conviction : and which is worse, he is not ascertained of the truth of wbat he is required to submit to. Therefore of all people they are most condemnable, who, notwithstanding they keep so great a stir about religion, and sometimes use coercive means to compass their designed uniformity, acknowledge to us, they are not certain of their own faith.

Since then the judge must be unerring, it will be worth our while to consider, where this infallible judge is to be found. There is none good but God," said God himself, when manifested in the flesh; that is originally, or as of himself. So truly there is none infallible but God, as of himself. Yet as the supreme good is conmunicated to man according to measure ; so, (as well says bishop Latimer,) is there infallibility, certainty, or assurance of the truth of things, given to man according to capacity.- Book of Martyrs, vol. 3. p. 475. Otherwise men would be obliged to believe and obey, and that upon damnation, those things concerning which there can be no certainty, whether they be true or false.

“Emmanuel, God with men,” as he is their rule, so their judge. He is the law.giver, and therefore the best interpreter of any point that may concern his own law, Ard men are so far certain, or infallible, as they are subject to his voice, light, or spirit in them, and no farther; for, humanum est errare, man is errable. Nor can any thing rescue him out of error, or preserve him from the infections of it, but the sound and certain judgment that God, by the light of his spirit, gives to him.

Obj. But is not the scripture the judge of controversy?

Answer. How can that be, since the question most times arises about the meaning of scripture? Is there any place tells us, without all interpretation, whether the Socinian or Trini. tarian be in the right, in their differing apprehensions of the three that bear record, &c. Also the Homousian and Arian, about Christ's divinity. Or the Papists or Protestants about transubstantiation ? If then things are left undefined and undetermined, I mean literally and expressly, in the seripture ; and that the question arises about the sense of words, doth the scripture determine which of those interpreters hits the mark? As this is not reasonable to think, so must it be acknowledged, that if interpretation decide the matter in controversy, then not the scripture, but the interpreter must be the judge.

Now this interpreter must either interpret by his own mere wisdom or spirit, called by the apostle, (1 Cor. ii. 11.) “ the spirit of a man,” who by weighing the text, consulting the intent of the writer, comparing places together, gives the judgment which the scripture does not give of itself; or, from the Spirit of God, which gives understanding, as Job xxxii. 8, and as the same apostle saith, in the same place,“ searcheth the deep things of God." If the first, then a fallible ; if the last, then an infallible judge.

I would fain know, whether it was the scripture or the Holy Ghost that presided among the apostles, when they were come together, (Acts xv.) when they said : “ It seemeth good to the Holy Ghost and to us,” &c. If the Holy Ghost, then pray give us a plain scripture to prove we are to bave another judge now. If that cannot be done, then we must have the same, and consequently an infallible judge, viz. “ The Spirit of l'ruth, which leads christians into all truth,” and is given of God, by Christ, for that very end.

Obj. It is granted that the Spirit is infallible. But how shall I know that any man determines a thing by this Spirit, and does not rather obtrude his own sense upon us, under that specious pretence.

Answer. By the same Spirit. As well said Gualt. Cradock, « The way to know whether the Spirit be in us is its own evi

dence, and that is the way to know it in others too. And the man that hath the Spirit, may know the Spirit in another.There is,” saith he, “ a kind of sagacity in the saints to this purpose.”—G. Crad. Divine Drops, p. 210. Which is also true in the judgment of abundance of Protestant writers. For as they held that no man could know the scriptures but by the same Spirit which indicted them ; no consequently that the same Spirit only could assure him of the truth of the said interpretation. And Peter Martyr, as before quoted, tells us, • The Holy Ghost is the arbiter or judge.” Also Dr. J. Owen saith: “That the Holy Ghost is the only authentic interpreter of the seripture." And if the only authentic, then the only and infallible judge. Then the judge of the mind or meaning of scripture, is both an only and infallible judge. But to wave this. Does not the very same objection lie against the sense of scripture, since one says, this is the sense, and another that? To know God's mind, men must come to God's Spirit, else diffi- ; eulties of that sort are insuperable.

In short, it were greatly to be wished that all men would hold themselves unconcerned, in disputing about what they have not received an assurance of from the Holy Spirit ; since they beat but the air, and obtain no solid satisfaction, neither can they upon any other bottom. God never prostrates his secrets to minds disobedient to what they do already know.Let all practice what they assuredly know to be their duty, and be sparing in their search after nice and unknown matters. Weighty and seasonable was, and is, the apostle's saying: “ Nevertheless, whereunto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule.” Phil. iii. 16. Where he both limits us to the present knowledge communicated to us, and exhorts us to live up to that; and if any thing be farther necessary for us, “ God in due time will reveal it by his Spirit,” that only gives to know, discern, and judge of the things that are of God.

Obj. But how will this determine the controversy, and allay the fury of debates that are on foot in the world ?

Answer. Nothing like it, if a man adhere to it; and if he does not, there is no way left but the wrath that is to be revealed. But most persuasions are agreed about the absolute necessaries in religion, from that light and witness God has placed in man's conscience, viz. that God is; that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him ; that the way of God is a way of purity, patience, meekness, &c. without which no man can see the Lord. 'Nay, they accord in some considerable matters superadded, as some of them speak, to wit, that God was manifested extraordinarily in the flesh; that he gave his life for the world ; that such as believe and obey his grace in their hearts, receive remission of sins, and life everlasting. Now I say, since

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these things men generally consent to, let them live up to them, and forbear wanton scrutinies after things or notions that gen. der to strife and contention, and leave not mankind better, but rather worse than they found them, and the world would be soon rid of controversy. Holy living, and not disputing, would be the business of mankind. What more excellent judgment can be given, than that men quit their contentions about notions and opinions, and betake themselves to the practice of that good which God hath already shown to them; as spake both the prophet Micah, vi. 8, and the apostle Paul, Rom. i. 19.And if any thing be revealed to one more than another, let the rest judge in the Spirit, or be silent till God manifest more to them, in order to right judgment.

It is good to “ try all things." But we must have something to try them by; and what ought that to be, but the Spirit that searcheth, and the anointing that teaches all things," (1 John ii. 20, 27,) which is truth itself. Here mankind will live in love, having at least natural affections, (now lost by the barbarity of some of their cruel religions, or heats for their opinions,) and a judgment of things will be made, not from the rash, partial, short-sighted, and froward mind of man, but that Eternal Light and Spirit that never erred: which, however disgustful to some Protestants in this age, was no false doctrine in the account of John Philpot and bishop Latimer, two great founders of the reformation in England.

The first, in his answer to the bishop of Chichester, reproving his confidence about true faith in Christ : “ These heretics," said he, " take upon them to be sure of all things they stand in.” “ Let him doubt," saith John Philpot, “ of his faith that listeth; God give me always to believe that I am sure of true faith and favour in Christ.”—B. Martyrs, vol. 3.

p. 577.

The second, in his answer to sir Edward Baynton, objecting the uncertainty of man in what he calls truth, thus recorded by J. Fox in his book of Martyrs, vol. 3, page 457: “Your friends deny not but that certain truths are communicated to us according to capacity. But as to my presumption and arrogancy, either I am certain or uncertain that it is truth' that I preach. If it be truth, why may not I say so ? If I be uncertain, why dare I be so bold as to preach it? And if your friends be preachers themselves, after their sermon I pray you ask them, whether they be certain and sure they preach the truth or not? and send me word what they say, that I may learn to speak after them. If they say they be sure, you know what follows. If they say they be not sure, when shall you be sure, that have so doubtful and unsure teachers.”

Let not Protestants, for slame, judge us for owning a doctrine

that is confessed to, and confirmed by some of the wortbiest of their own ancestors, viz. that an unerring, certain, or infallible judgment in things necessary to salvation, is both possible and requisite, and that God communicates it by his Spirit, to the souls of men.


To conclude. Emmanuel, a word suited not only to that appearance, but the whole dispensation of the gospel, imports God nigh to, or with men. “ The tabernacle of God is with men : he will dwell in them, and walk in them :" Rev. xxi. 3, 7.-" They shall be all taught of me, and in righteousness shall they be established.” Isa. liv. 13.-That is, by the spirit of his Son. And this admits not of any book, or literal rule or judge, to come between that indwelling spirit of light, life, and wisdom from God, and the soul, as its rule of faith and practice.

And because it is the unutterable goodness of God to people in these latter days, as the sum of scripture prophecy, thus to make known himself ; we are incessant in our cries to them, that they will turn their minds inward, (now abroad, and taking up their rest in the externals of religion, that they may hear his heavenly voice and knocks, and let him in and be taught of him to know and do his will, that they may come to be experienced and expert in the school of Christ. For never man spake and taught, as he livingly speaks and teaches in the consciences of those who diligently hear him, and are willing to be taught of him the knowledge of his ways. The priest was outward, but he is now inward; the law outward, but it is now inward. And now he is no inore “ a Jew that is one outwardly, nor that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom. ii. 28, 29.- Which is so far from less. ening the authority of the scriptures of truth, that unless this be man's rule and judge in the reading and believing of them, he can never understand them rightly, or keep their sayings faithfully. And indeed, as before I have expressed, I cannot but say, that man, whilst unregenerated, setting his wit and wisdom to fathom and comprehend the intention of the Holy Ghost in many of those writings, hath occasioned that confusion, darkness, and perplexed controversy, that now so lamentably pesters the world. In which state, for all the external imitations of the ancients in some temporary and figurative parts of worship, I

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