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by feeling after him; but he immediately proves the Being of him the only true God, from the Creation and Conservation of all Mankind, and that he is not such an Idol as the Heathens used to Worship, saying, Though he be not far from every one of us; for in (or by) him (that is, through his creating and conserving Power ) we live, and move, and have our being ; as certain also of your own Poets have said, FOR WE ARE HIS OFF. SPRING. Forafmuch then as we are the OffSpring of God, we ought not to think, that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art or man's device, v. 27, 28, 29.
It seems plain, that God's being not far from every one of us imports, that the right understanding and knowledge of his Being may be attained without any great difficulty. For the reason the Apostle gives, why God is not far from every one of us, is because, 1. in (or by) him, that is, through his creating and conserving Power) we live,and move, and have our being; as certain of the Heathen Poets have confessed by saying, that we are his Off-Spring; 2. by our being his Off-spring it appears that he is no Idol. For the Apostle faies, Forasmuch then as we are the Off-spring of God, we ought not to think, that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone graven by art and man's device. Now since the common Argument for proving the Being of the true God, is alledged by the Apostle to prove, that he is not far from every one of us; it seems to follow, that his being not far from every one of us, which is proved thereby, imports (as I have already faid) that the right understanding and knowledge of his Being may be attained without any great difficulty ; the Argument by which 'tis proved being so very obvious,
and drawn from our own Creation and Conserva, tion, which we cannot but be constantly sensia ble of.
And if this interpretation be admitted, it will help our Adversaries as little as the former. For the right understanding and knowledge of the Lord being what they are to seek and feel aster, and the Argument by which they are assured they may attain it being drawn from their own Creation and Conservation ; certainly 'tis absurd to say, 'that they are directed to feel after a pretended Universal Light within. Unless our Adversaries can fhew, either that the pretended Universal Light within is the right understanding and knowledge of God's Nature; or that Man cannot attain a right knowledge and understanding of God's Being, if there be not such an Universal Light within, as they pretend; or that the Apostle's Argument for the proof of the Truth of God's Being will not hold, una less there be such an Universal
Light within to confirm it; or that the proof of the Truth of God's Being is a proof of their pretended Universal
6. They say, that the Word, the Word of the Kingdom, or the Word of God, in the Parable of the Sower, which is mentioned, Matt. 13. Mark 4: and Luke 8. is exprefly called the Seed, which they understand to be their Universal Light within. Now 'ris true, that the Word, the Word of the Kingdom, or the Word of God, is called the seed: but that what is there called the seed, is the same with our Adversaries Universal Light within,
utterly deny; nor is there the least ihadow of an Argument to prove it.
But there is abundant reason to understand it in a quite different sense. For, 1. the Kingdom, or
(which is all one) the Kingdom of God, does in all the New Testament constantly signify, either the time of the Messiah, or the Kingdom of Glory which the Saints shall inherit hereafter, or God's reigning in the hearts of his people, or his coming to destroy Jerusalem. I do by no means assert, that 'tis sometimes taken in all these senses; for perhaps there are just reasons to exclude the twớ fast: but I say, 'tis never used in any other sense besides these ; and that probably 'tis never used in any but the two first. 2. The Word, or the Word of God, never signifies any thing like the pretended light of our Adversaries; but it often signifies the Do&rine or outward preaching of Christ and his Apostles. Of this I shall give a few instances. His Word (that is, his Doctrine outwardly preached)
4:32. 'Tis faid also of Mar. tha, that she sate at our Savior's feet, and beard his Word, that is, what he outwardly preached, Luke 10.39. and they (viz. the Apostles) went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word (outwardly preached by them) with signs following, Mark 16. 20. and the people pressed upon him to hear the Word of God, Luke 5.1. which Word was outwardly preached, or else they need not have pressed upon him to hear it. And, to mention no more places, in that very Chapter, wherein the Parable of the Sower
is recorded, Christ's outward preaching of the DoErd ctrine of the Gospel is calling his speakingabe Word,
Mark 4. 32. and that very Parable of the Sower is part of the Word then spoken by him.
Now the Word of the Kingdom, the Word, and the Word of God, are one and the same thing. For in this very Parable, related by the several Evangelists, the same that is called the Word of the King
dom, Matt. 13.19. is called the Word, Mark 4.14. and the Word of God, Luke 8.11. And accordingly the Word of the Kingdom is the Doctrine of the Kingdom outwardly preached. But of what Kingdom? Is it the Doctrine of that Kingdom of Glo
which the Saints shall inherit hereafter, or of God's reigning in the hearts of his people, or of his coming to destroy Jerusalem? Let any of these be supposed, 'twill do our Adversaries no service. For certainly that Doctrine outwardly preached is far from being what our Adversaries mean by the Universal Light within.
But the truth on't is, this is the Natural interpretation of those Phrases in this Parable. The Kingdom is the time of the Messiah, the Seed is the Word or Doctrine, the preaching of the DoErine is the fowing of the Seed, the Hearers are the ground in which 'tis sown, and the Preacher of the Word or Doctrine is the fower of this Seed. And surely, that Man must have something very peculiar in his eyes, who can perceive the smallest ray of our Adversaries pretended Light in all this.
7. From whát has been said it appears; what is meant by the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls
, James 1.21. For the engrafted Word is the aózgs apspues, that is, the implanted Word, or Word that is fown, viz. the Doctrine of the Gospel outwardly preached; which being received with Meekness, and accompanied with the Divine Blessing, is able to save, or bring to Salvation, the Souls of the Hearers.
8. The Author to the Hebrews faies, that the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twvo-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing afunder of Joul and spirit, and of the joints and mare
row, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature, that is not manifest in his fight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4. 12, 13. This place our Adversaries interpret of their Universal Light within. But let them shew, if they can, that the Word of God does ever bear that sense in all the Bible. I have shewn, that the Doctrine of the Gospel outwardly preached is called the Word of God; and some persons do understand this place of that Word of God, viz. the Doctrine of the Gospel outwardly preached. Others understand it of the second Person in tlie Trinity, the eternal Word which was incarnate; and the Expressions do agree very well to him. I shall not determine, which interpretation is to be preferred; but either of them overthrows that of our Adversaries.
9. Our Savior faies, the Kingdom of God is within you, Luke 17.21. and by the Kingdom of God, in the judgment of our Adversaries, is meant the Universal Light within. 'Twas but a little before, that the Seed of the Kingdom was the Light; and now the Light is the Kingdom it self. But for what reason? Why, because they have a mind to have it fo. For there is not any place of the Bible, where the Kingdom of God denotes any thing like their pretended Universal Light with in.
But ( as I have already observed) the King. dom of God does often signify the time of the Messiah, and 'tis plain that it is so to be understood in this place. For the Context runs thus, And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with obo