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Reflections upon diverfe other Quaker
Think it now proper for me to take notice of another miftake of our Adverfaries. They fuppofe, that holiness of Life is abfolutely neceffary in a Minifter of the Gofpel; fo that if a vicious Man preach the Gofpel, he is not a bad Minifter, but no Minifter thereof. This appears from Mr. Barclay, who (a) faies, we judge the grace of God indifpenfably necessary to the very being of a Minifter, as that without which any can neither be a true, nor lawful, nor good Minifter. And what he means by that Grace, which he faies is indifpenfably neceffary to the very being of a Minifter, appears from thefe Words of his. We understand (faies (b) he) by Grace, as a qualification to a Minifter, not the mere measure of Light, as it is given to reprove and call him to righteousness; but we underStand grace as it hath converted the Soul, and operareth powerfully in it.So we understand not Men fimply, as having grace in them as a feed, which we indeed affirm all have in a measure; but we understand Men that are gracious, leavened by it into the nature thereof, fo as thereby to bring forth those good fruits of a blameless Converfation, and of Fuftice, Holiness, Patience, and Temperance, which the Apoftle requires as necessary in a true Chriftian Bifhop and Minifter. Whereas on the contrary we
(a) Apol. prop. 1o. p. 417.
(b) Ibid. p. 420.
affirm, that tho' all Minifters of the Gospel ought to be endued with holiness of Life, and tho' (c) it appertaineth to the Discipline of the Church, that enquiry be made of evil Minifters, and that they be accufed by thofe that have knowledge of their offences, and finally being found guilty, by just judgment be depofed; yet (d) fometimes the evil have chief Authority in the Miniftration of the Word and Sacraments, nor is holiness of Life indispensably neceffary to the very being of a Minifter, nor does the want thereof make his Commiffion to preach the Gospel void.
Now I might here take occafion to produce feveral proofs of the Truth of our own opinion; but because I ftudy brevity, I fhall confine my felf to the following Argument. If Holiness be indifpenfably neceffary to the very being of a Minifter of the Gofpel, then the indifpenfable neceffity thereof may be proved by fufficient Arguments. Now I fhall fhew, that the indifpenfable neceffity of Holiness in Minifters of the Gospel cannot be proved by any one fufficient Argument, by a particular Examination of what has been faid for that purpose.
First, 'Tis pretended, that Holiness is abfolutely neceffary to make a Man a Member of Christ's Church; and fince none can be a Minifter, who is not a Member, therefore Holiness is indifpenfably required in Minifters. But to this I anfwer, that Holiness is not abfolutely neceffary to make a Man a Member of Chrift's Church, as I have already fhewn; and confequent'y the Foundation of this Argument is overthrown.
(4) Our Churches 26th. Article. (d) Ibid. N 4
Secondly, The Apofile faies, as every Man hath received the gift, even fo Minifter the fame one to another, as good Stewards of the manifold Grace of God, 1 Pet.4. 10. Our Adverfaries do here take it for granted, that the Gift and Grace of God do betoken fanctifying Grace; and from thence they con clude, 1. that he who has not received the Gift of fanctifying Grace, cannot Minifter it, and confequently cannot be a Minifter; 2. that he who has not the fanctifying Grace of God, cannot be a good Steward thereof, and confequently cannot be a Minifter. But I anfwer, that the Gift and Grace of God here mentioned do not fignify fan&tifying Graces, but fome of thofe fpiritual Gifts of Tongues, Miracles, Healing, &c. which were frequently beftowed on the Minifters of the Gofpel in the primitive times, and which they were obliged to make ufe of for the Common good, being good Stewards thereof, and difpenfing or exercifing the fame, as the Needs of the Church required. And 'tis obfervable, that the Phrafes here made ufe of, do imply a variety of Gifts. As every Man hath received the Gift, faith the Apostle, even so Minifter the fame, intimating that every Man had not received the Gift after the fame manner, or in the fame kind; but that every Man was bound to Minifter according as he had received. And the Grace of God, which is the fame with the Gift, is exprefly faid to be (muzín) manifold, of different kinds. Whereas fanctifying Grace is the fame in kind in all perfons, and is never called manifold (that I know of) in all the Bible.
Thirdly, They tell us, that a Bishop must be blamelefs, &c. 1 Tim. 3.2. Tit. 1.6. and what then? Muft not a Civil Magiftrate alfo be blamelcfs, &Ç.? Tis the duty certainly both of Spiritual and Tem
poral Superiors to be holy; but it will not follow from thence, that fuch as are not holy are not indued with Authority either Spiritual or Temporal. This our Adverfaries do grant with refpect to Civil Governors, and by parity of reafon they ought to grant it with refpect to Spiritual ones.
Fourthly, They fay, the Sheep of Christ will not hear the Voice of Strangers, or of fuch as he has not fent. And when they can thew, that wicked Men are the Strangers which our Lord meant, or that wicked Men are not fent by him; then this Argument will deserve a larger answer.
I have thought it neceffary to treat of this Point (tho' briefly) because the Doctrine of our Adverfaries concerning it is of moft dangerous Confequence. For Men must be everlaftingly uncertain and ignorant who are Minifters of God, and whose Miniftry they are obliged to attend; if Holinefs be fo indifpenfably neceffary to the very being of a Minifter, as they pretend. For who can ever fee into the hearts of Men, and difcern the Righteous from the Hypocrite? I know they talk very confidently of a Spirit of Difcerning, by which they can diftinguish the true from the falfe Minifters. But they may as juftly pretend to work Miracles; for their want of it is fo notorious, that I need not prove it. Befides 'twere eafy to demonftrate, that they have no ground from Scripture to lay claim to fuch a Spirit of Difcerning. But this I hall forbear, becaufe I have taken a fhorter (and for that reafon, a better) method. For I have fhewn, that there is no indifpenfable Neceffity of Holiness to the very being of a Minifter; and therefore (whether God does vouchfafe it or no) there is certainly no Neceffity thereof for the Di-. rection of our practice. of ye jpt of disuming
8. As to the manner of the Light's operation in Men, it admits of no difpute. For fince there is no fuch Light, it cannot operate at all. But if our Adverfaries will attribute to the Holy Spirit of God that manner of Operation which they attribute to the Light, I fhall not oppofe them, as far as those who have had the Gofpel outwardly preached to them, are concerned. For whether the Holy Spirit does operate at all in others, I do not declare my Judgment. Now, what manner of Operation our Adverfaries do attribute to the Light, I have fhewn, ch. 10. p. 122. but yet I fhall in this Place beg leave to add the following Words of Mr. Barclay, who (e) faies, I have often had the manner of Gods working in order to Salvation towards all Men illuftrated to my mind by one or two clear Examples, which I fhall here add for the information of others.
The firft is of a Man heavily diseased, to whom I compare Man in his fallen and natural Condition. I Suppofe God, who is the great Phyfician, not only to give this Man Phyfic, after he hath used all the industry he can for his own health by any skill or knowledge he hath of his own (as thofe that fay, if a Man improve his reafon or natural faculties, God will fuperadd Grace; or, as others fay, that he cometh and maketh offer of a remedy to this Man outwardly, leaving it to the liberty of Man's will either to receive it or reject it) but he, even the Lord, this great Phyfician, cometh and poureth the remedy inta his Month, and as it were layeth him in his Bed. Sa that if the fick Man be but paffive, it will neceffarily work the Effect: but if he be stubborn and untoward, and will needs rife up and go forth into the Cold, or eat.
(e) Apol. prop. 5. 6. P. 339, 340.