« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
univerfally 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 confequences thefe men have fought, both contrary to the naked import of the words, and to all common fenfe and reafon, to cover fome of their erroneous principles.
A fhort examination of fome of the Scripture-proofs alledged by the Divines at Westminster, to prove divers articles in their Confeffion of Faith, and Catechism.
IT is not in the leaft my defign in this chapter, to offer fo large an examination of any of their articles, as might be done, nor yet of fo many as are very obvious; but only of two or three, to give the reader a tafte of them, for example's fake, whereby, as ex ungue leonem, he may judge of most of all the reft, if he will be at the pains narrowly to look over and examine them.
I fhall begin with the first chapter, Sect. 1. where they affert 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 mightest 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 has 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 be answered, and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Yesus 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 shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou ferve. Ifa.
viii. 19, 20. And when they shall fay unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar fpirits, and unto wizards, that peep and that mutter: Should not a people feek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law, and to the tefiimony, 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 fhould be fo befide themselves, as to imagine thefe teftimonies do in the least prove their affertion; or that others, that do not take things merely upon trust, would be fo 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 Chrift's outward abode For many were never written. John xxi. 25. And there are also many other things which Jefus did, the which, if they fhould be written every one, I fuppofe, that even the world itfelf could not contain the books that should be written. John xx. 30. And many other figns truly did Jefus in the prefence of his dif ciples, which are not written in this book. Though Chrift made ufe of divers fcriptures against Satan, and Isaiah directed people to the law, and to the teftimony; who will be fo mad as to fay, that it naturally follows, from thence, that God has now committed
his will wholly to writing? Such a confequence is no more deducible from these fcrip. tures, than if I fhould argue thus: The divines of Westminster have afferted many things without ground, therefore they had ground for nothing they faid. Nay, it follows not by far fo naturally, feeing after the. writing of all these paffages, by them cited, according to their own judgment, there were divers fcriptures written; fo 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; fo it is moft irrational and unwarrantable for any to draw such a strange and strained confequence from their words.
For the fecond, That the former ways are now ceafed, they alledge, 2 Tim. iii. 15. where Paul writes to Timothy, faying, That from a child, he (Timothy) had known the holy fcriptures, which were able to make him wife unto falvation through faith, which is in Chrift Fefus. And Heb. i. 1, 2. God, who at fundry times, and in divers manners, fpake in times paft 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 alfo he made the worlds. 2 Pet. i. 19. We have also a more fure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take beed, as unto a light that fhineth in a dark
place, until the day dawn, and the day-far arife in your hearts.
Which prove the matter as little as the former: if Paul had intended by that to Timothy, what thofe divines would have, would not they have made the apostle speak a manifeft untruth, feeing they themfelves acknowledge, that John's revelation was written long after? So that these former ways were not then ceafed. As for that of Peter, it is to beg the thing in question, to fay, it is intended of the fcripture; and though it were, it proves not the cafe at all. That of the Hebrews is fo far from afferting the matter they would have it, that it may 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 fpeaks only to us by the fcriptures, remains yet unproved: and for the apostle to have there afferted it, had been falfe: feeing the revelations, which he and others afterwards had, were inward, and fo fuch were not ceafed. And if we may truft the fame apoftle better than these men, he tells us, That fo foon as Chrift was revealed in him, he went ftraight and obeyed. And the fame apoftle tells us, That except Chrift be in us, we are reprobates; furely he is not dumb in us, feeing he fays, He will dwell in us, and walk in