Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Wits will argue, that the Spirit himself is a Rule of Faith, because he attefts the Truth of what is contained in a Rule of Faith.

Thus then have I shewn, that neither the Light within, nor the Spirit, is or can be a Rule of Faith. And if neither of 'em can be a Rule of Faith; then 'tis plain, that neither of 'em can be, either the primary and adequate, or the General Rule of Faith. And fince there is no other Rule of Faith, whether primary or fecondary, adequate or not adequate, general or particular, pretended by our Adverfaries themfelves, befides the Spirit, the Light, and the Scriptures; therefore fince I have fhewn, that neither the Spirit nor the Light can be a Rule of Faith, they must confefs that the Scriptures are the only Rule of Faith.

Secondly, the Scriptures are the only Rule of Faith, because they alone do contain all thofe Revelations which God is pleafed to vouchsafe Mankind. For whatfoever Truths God might vouchfafe to the Apoftles and other infpired Perfons in the Primitive times, besides thofe contained in the Scriptures; yet we know no revealed Truths but what the Scriptures acquaint us with. For I have fhewn, that God has not promifed us the enjoy ment of immediate Revelations, nor have we any reafon to expect them, nor have we befides the Scriptures any Books written by infpired Writers. And therefore, fince what God has revealed is a Rule of Faith, nor can any thing be a Rule of Faith but what God has revealed; 'tis plain, that the Scriptures, which contain all that God has revealed to us, are our only Rule of Faith.

If it be faid, that what God did immediately reveal, was a Rule of Faith to the Apoftles and other infpired Perfons in the Primitive times; and

сове

confequently it must be fo to us now, or else our Rule of Faith differs from theirs; I anfwer, 1. that that which we have not, can't be a Rule of Faith to us; and therefore fince we have not immediate Revelations, 'tis plain that God's immediate Revelations to us can't be a Rule of Faith to us. 2. that what God did immediately reveal, not only was a Rule of Faith to the Apostles and other infpired Perfons in the Primitive times, but is alfo a Rule of Faith to us. Because the fame things are revealed to us, tho' not immediately. Nor were they a Rule to them, because they were revealed immediately, but because they were revealed. For what is revealed, whether mediately or immediately, is the Rule of Faith. And therefore we who have a mediate Revelation of what they knew by immediate Revelation, have the fame Rule of Faith with them, tho' it was not delivered to us after the fame manner as to them. For to them the Revelation was I immediate; to us it is mediate: but what God has revealed is the Rule, and the felf-fame Rule, to both.

If perchance it should be objected, that the Scriptures do not deferve the Name of a Rule of Faith, because they are not themselves what God has revealed, but only a Declaration or Copy thereof; I answer, 1. that those Adverfaries whom I am at prefent dealing with, do grant that the Scriptures are a Rule of Faith, and confequently deferve that Name. And particularly they do therefore account them a Rule of Faith, because they are (n) a true and faithful Declaration or Copy of what God has revealed. 2. to others I fay, that the Scriptures are as properly a Rule of Faith, as the

(n) See Mr. Barclay's Apol. prop. 3. P. 295, 296.

Statute

Statute-book is the Law of the Land, that is, a Declaration or Copy thereof. And fince we have no other way of attaining the Knowledge of what God has revealed, but by having recourse to the Scriptures; therefore the Scriptures are our only Rule of Faith, that is, they alone do convey and exhibit to us what God requires of us by Revelation to believe and practice.

II. I fhall prove that the Scripture are an adequate Rule of Faith. By adequate (I fuppofe) our Adverfaries mean complete. And confequently, when they fay, the Scriptures are not an adequate Rule of Faith, they mean, that they are not a complete Rule thereof; that is, they do not contain all fuch things as a Chriftian ought to know, nor can they direct him in all cafes that may happen. Whereas I fhall fhew, that the Scriptures are a complete Rule of Faith, that they do contain all fuch things as a Chriftian ought to know, and do direct him in all cafes whatfoever. Only, to prevent miftakes, I defire the Reader to obferve, that I do by no means fay or believe, that every particular cafe that may happen is exprefly mentioned in Scripture, and that particular directions are therein given concerning it. For what I assert is only this, that we have fuch general Rules in Scripture, as may be applied to all Cafes that may happen, and by the Application of which a Man may be fo fully directed, as to act alwaies fecurely, that is, without hazarding his Eternal Salvation.

And this is fufficiently plain from what has been already faid. For fince I have fhewn, that the Scriptures are the only Rule of Faith, they are certainly a complete one. Unless we can imagin, that the only Rule which God has given us to walk by, is fo defective, as not to contain all fuch things as

we

we ought to know, and not to give fuch directions as may enable us to act without hazarding ourSalvation.

But farther, how dare we to say, that the Scriptures are not a complete Rule of Faith, unless we can prove it? Wherefore we challenge our Adversaries to name wherein they are a defective Rule of Faith. Let them fhew us any one thing which a Christian ought to know, which is not contained in the Scriptures: or let them fhew us any one Cafe, in which by the Application of the general Rules of Scripture a Man may not know how to act without hazarding his Salvation.

If they pretend, that the Scriptures will not inform a Chriftian, whether he be in a State of Salvation, or no, which notwithstanding he ought to know; I answer, that a Man's knowing himfelf to be in a State of Salvation, tho' it be comfortable, yet is not neceffary to Salvation. For will our Adverfaries dare to fay, that no Man can be faved, but he who knows before-hand, that he fhall be faved? However, a Man may know the State of his Soul by examining his Life and Actions by the Rule of the Scriptures, as has been already faid, ch. 9. p. 105.

If they pretend alfo, that the Scriptures do not inform us, that they are a Rule of Faith, which notwithstanding a Chriftian ought to know; I anfwer, that (whether the Scriptures do declare themselves to be a Rule of Faith, or no; yet) 'tis plain, that our admitting the Scriptures for a Rule of Faith, fuppofes our being convinced, that they contain what God has revealed. And 'tis fufficient to denominate them a complete Rule of Faith, if when they are allowed to contain divine Revelations, they do fully inftruct us in fuch things. as are neceffary to Salvation. But farther, the

Scriptures do inform us, that they are a Rule of Faith. For they inform us that they were writ ten by divine Infpiration, and confequently do contain divine Revelations; and confequently that they are a Rule of Faith.

But I need no better Argument to prove that the Scriptures are a complete Rule of Faith, than the Confeffion of our Adverfaries themselves. Mr. Barclay (0) faies, that the Scriptures do contain a full and ample Account of all the Chief Principles of the Doctrine of Chrift, and that they (p) give a full and ample Teftimony to all the Principal Doctrines of the Chriftian Faith. And left you should imagin, that the Scriptures do not in his opinion contain all the Doctrines of Chriftianity, but only the chief or principal ones, I defire you to obferve this following paffage in Defence of thofe Expreffions which I have juft now quoted. Next (faies (9) he) be carps at my faying, the Chief Doctrines of Christianity, asking where we may find the whole Doctrines of the Chriftian Faith? I answer freely; in the Scriptures. And let him prove, if he can, this to be any Contradiction; Seeing my faying the Chief Doctrines of Chriftianity is indefinite, excluding none. And therefore most base and abominable is that ye he makes of me in the last part of this Paragraph, where he faith, I fay, that the Scripture only beareth Teftimony to fome of them, to wit, of the Chief Heads of Chriftianity; which I dare him to prove ever to have been faid or written by me. Again, Mr. Barclay (r) faies, We diftinguish betwixt a Revelation of a new GoSpel and new Doctrines, and a new Revelation of the good old Gospel and Doctrines. The last we plead for;

(0) Ibid. p. 295. (p) Ibid. p. 308. (9) Apol. Vindic. fect. 4. P. 751. (r) Apol. prop. 3. p. 308.

but

« AnteriorContinuar »