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all thefe, and much more which might be alledged, puts the Minds even of the Learned into infinite Doubts, Scruples, and inextricable Difficulties.
I shall not return an Anfwer to what is objected against the Scriptures in these paffages, because I have already referr'd my Reader to thofe Books which treat of the Canon of Scripture, and the integrity of our prefent Copies. Besides, I obferve,
Secondly, that our Adverfaries themselves do at other times effectually answer this Objection, by granting, not only that the Scriptures, viz. that Canon which we receive, were written by infpiration; but also that they (x) give a TRUE and FAITHFUL Teftimony, and that (y) the Errors which may be fuppofed by the injury of Times to have flipt in, are not fuch, but that there is a SUFFICIENT CLEAR Teftimony left to ALL the Effentials of the Chriftian Faith, and that (~) they are a CLEAR and PERFECT Copy, as to ALL Effentials and Neceffaries of Chriftian Religion. And if fo, then what need was there of fuch hideous Declamations concerning the obfcurity, imperfection, and uncertainty of the Scriptures? How our Adverfaries can reconcile thefe Quotations, will appear upon Trial: but for my part, as I think that fome of 'em are grofs Abufes of the Holy Scriptures, fo I think others are a full Vindication of them.
(x) Ibid. p. 295. (y) Ibid. p. 305. (x) Quakerism confirmed, fect. 1. p. 603,
Of the Judge of Controverfies, and an infallible judgment in things necessary to Salvation.
"O what has been faid concerning the Rule of Faith, I fhall annex a few words concerning the Judge of Controverfies; and an infallible judgment in things necessary to Salvation.
Mr. Penn (a) faies, that an infallible judgment in things neceflary to Salvation is both poffible and requifite; and that God communicates it by his Spirit to the fouls of Men. Now whether, and in what sense, and by what means, an infallible judgment in things necessary to Salvation is poffible, I need not inquire. But whether it be requifite or neceffary, I think it advifable briefly to confider.
'Tis certain, that he whofe judgment is infallible concerning thofe things which are neceffary to Salvation, is an infallible Judge of those Controverfies which arife about them. And 'tis granted on all hands, that God is an infallible Judge of those Controverfies which arife about Matters neceffary to Salvation; because his judgment concerning thofe Matters cannot but be infallible. 'Tis granted alfo, that the Spirit is an infallible Judge of thofe Controverfies which arife about Matters neceffary to Salvation; because the Spi-. rit is God. Nor do our Adverfaries affert, that there is any other infallible Judge of thofe Con troverfies, befides the Spirit and the Scriptures,
(a) Chriftian Quaker, part 1. append, p. 159,
And confequently they do not affert, that Man is an infallible Judge of those Controverfies, nay, they do rather affert the contrary. For Mr. Barclay (b) faies, We look upon them (viz. the Scriptures) as the only fit outward Judge of Controversies among Chriftians. Now if Man be a Judge of Controverfies, he must be an outward Judge. And if the Scriptures be the only fit outward Judge of them; then Man cannot be an infallible Judge of them. Because if he be an infallible Judge, he is a fit Judge. And fince, If he be a Judge at all, he must be an outward one; therefore, if he be an infallible Judge, he must be an outward fit Judge. And if he be an outward fit Judge, then the Scriptures are not the only outward fit Judge of Controverfies.
But then, tho' our Adverfaries do not affirm, that Man is an infallible Judge of Controverfies concerning Matters neceffary to Salvation; yet they affirm, that he may and must have an infallible Judgment in things neceffary to Salvation, and that God communicates it by his Spirit to him. Now I have fhewn, that God does not in these daies communicate any thing to us by the immediate Revelation of his Spirit; and confequently that the Spirit does in thefe daies communicate nothing to us otherwife than by the mediate Revelation of the Scriptures. And if fo; then God does not communicate to Man an infallible Judg ment concerning thofe Controverfies which arife about Matters neceffary to Saivation, unlefs he does it by the Scriptures.
(6) Apol. prop. 3. P. 305.
Now Mr. Barclay declares, that God does not by the Scriptures communicate to Man an infallible Judgment concerning thofe Controverfies, which arife about Matters neceffary to Salvation. This appears from his own words, which follow. In Short (faies (c) he) the Matter is easily driven into this narrow compass. We believe, either because of an outward, or inward Teftimony; that is, be caufe it is outwardly delivered to us, or inwardly revealed to us. For my part, I think the Papifts do wifely in pleading for Infallibility; for certainly the true Church never was nor can be without it: and the Proteftants do honeftly in not claiming it; because they are fenfible they want it. I should therefore defire the one to prove, that, they are infallible; and advife the other to believe, they may, and feek after it. But I am fure, neither the one is, nor the other cannot without immediate Divine Revelation. In this paffage, what Mr. Barclay calls Infallibility, is moft plainly the fame with what Mr. Penn calls an Infallible Fudgment. And when Mr. Barclay al ferts the Neceffity of Infallibility, he does the fame as Mr. Penn, who afferts that an infallible Judgment in things neceffary to Salvation is requifite. For, faies Mr. (d) Barclay, The afferting of Infalli bility in the Church of Chrift, is not the Error of the Church of Rome; but the pretending to it, when they have it not, and placing it where they should not. Now 'tis plain from Mr. Barclay, that Man can not in his opinion have any Infallibility, or infallible Judgment in things neceffary to Salvation, without immediate Revelation. And confequently, he cannot have it by the Scriptures.
(c) of the Poffibility and Neceffity of inward immed. Revet. adyertif. p. 893. (a) Ibid.
Now I fhall not inquire, as I have already faid, whether, and in what fenfe, and by what means, a Man may have an infallible Judgment in things neceffary to Salvation. 'Tis fufficient to observe, that I have proved that he has it not at all, unless from the Scriptures; and that our Adverfaries do declare that he cannot have it from thence: and confequently they must deny Man's having any Infallibility, or infallible Judgment concerning Matters neceffary to Salvation. And if fo; then certainly fuch an infallible Judgment is not requifite or neceffary. Becaufe God has not given Men any other means of attaining it, befides the Holy Scriptures; which our Adverfaries affirm to be infufficient for that purpose.
I know they talk much of the Spirit's deciding Controverfies, and explaining the Senfe of thofe Scriptures, about the Interpretation of which they difagree, not only with us of the Established Church, but also with other Chriftians. 'Twere eafy to expofe what they fay upon thefe Heads : but I forbear. Becaufe, fince I have confuted their pretences to immediate Revelation, and proved that the Scriptures are the only Divine Revelations which we enjoy; 'tis plain, that the Spirit does not decide Controverfies otherwife than by the Scriptures. Nor does he explain the Scriptures themselves, otherwife than by bleffing Men's endevors to attain the true meaning of them by fuch helps as he has afforded, viz. by confulting the Original, comparing Texts, &c. with a teachable and upright Mind.
I mult add, that Mr. Barclay faies, as has been already obferved, that the Scriptures are the only fit outward Judge of Controverfies. This expreffion I take to be very improper. For the Scriptures