« AnteriorContinuar »
sity of immediate Revelation in order to a faving Christian Faith ; every person of ordinary understanding cannot but perceive.
Wherefore 'tis not necessary for me to assign that particular way of teaching, whereby Men are here said to be taught by God. Because if Men may be taught of God otherwise than by immediate Revelation, 'tis plain that this Text will by no means prove what our Adversaries assert. Now God is frequently said in the holy Scriptures to do those things, which he does, not immediately, but by imploying, directing, allisting and blessing second causes. Thus God saies to the Ifraelites, I will drive them (viz. the Canaanites) out from before thee, Exod. 23:30. that is, I will enable thee to drive them out. For in the very next verse he faies, I will deliver the inhabitants of the Land into your hand, and thou shalt drive them out from before thee. Thus also God faies to the fame People, Seven daies shalt thou eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, Exod. 34. 18. tho' this Commandment was one of those Statutes, which God did not deliver immediately to them, but which he had spoken unto them by the hand of Mofes, Lev. 10. 11. Again, God is represented as the giver of health, wealth; (c. when he does not bestow them without the mediation of second causes; but only furnishes Men with opportunities and mcans of getting them, and causes them to succeed in their honest endeavors after them. But instances of this kind are numberless.
Now God does in like manner teach Men, not only when he discovers Truths to them by immediate Revelation, as he taught Mofes the Law ; but also when he uses the Ministry of one Man in teaching another, as he taught the Ifraelites the
Law by Moses; and also by diverse other Methods. For by what Method soever God causes Men to learn a Truth, by that Method does he most certainly teach it them. And accordingly God sometimes teaches by Signs and Wonders; that is, he causes Men to learn a Truth by thofe means. Thus he taught the Jews, that Móses was his Prophet, and our Savior the Christ, by enabling Moses and our Savior to prove their Mission by Miracles, which was God's own Testimony concerning them. Thus also he teaches Men by blessing their endevors to learn. In this sense holy David frequently prays to God to teach him his Statutes : And God has promised, that he will teach the Meek and Humble, viz. by blessing them in the study of his Precepts. Thus also God teaches Men repentance by visiting them with Personal Calamities, by infli&ting Judgments upon others before their Eyes, &c.
Since then the Text faies no more, than that Men shall be taught of God; and we are not particularly inform’d, whether they shall be taught of God by immediate Revelation, or by the mediation of second causes, which is a method of teaching quite different from that of immediate Revelation; therefore our Adversaries can by no means conclude from this Text, that Men shall be taught the Truths of the Gospel by immediate Revelati, on. Because, if they are taught of God by any method whatsoever, the words of the Text are stri&ly true : and our Adversaries must not pretend to determine them to that method which they contend for, without giving (what I am perswaded they will never find, I mean) a good reason for such a determination
I must add, that those Persons who are here faid to be taught of God, are not all such Persons in general as had the opportunity and means of being taught of God vouchsafed to them; but such only as improved the opportunity, and suffered the means to work so effectually upon them, that they heartily embraced the Do&rine, and became obedient to it. For our Savior declares, that All fuch as have heard and learned of the Father, and confequently (as I have already shewn) all such as are here faid to be taught of God, do come unto him, or believe on him, and become his Disciples. Now we know that all the Jews in general, tho they did not become Christ's Disciples, had the fame opportunity and means of being tanght of God, vouchsafed to them, which those who believed on Chrift enjoy. ed. And consequently, all the Jews in general were taught of God, as certainly as those Jews in particular that became Christ's Disciples; if such as had the opportunity and means of being tanght of God vouchsafed to them, be those who are faid ro be taught by God. And yet all the Fews in general cannot be here meant ; because all such as are here faid to be taught of God, did become Christ's Disciples. And therefore those only are here faid to be taught of God, who were not only in God's intention and endevor, but also in the event, actually taught, because they improved the opportunity, and suffered the means to work so effectually upon them, that they heartily embraced the Doctrine, and became obedient to it.
13. St. Paul saies to the Thessalonians, Astouching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you; for ye your selves are tanght of God to love one another, 1 Thesl, 4. 9. From whence our Adversaries ende. vor to prove, as from the Text last explained, that
God taught the Thessalonians to love one another by immediate Revelation. But to this I answer, that God taught the Thessalonians to love one another, not by immediate Revelation, of which there is not the least hint or mention, but by the Ministry of St. Paul, who planted the Gospel amongst them, Aits 17.1. and who faies exprefly, that they had receivedo; him how they ought to walk and to please God, 1 Thess. 4. 1. and that he had Commandments by the Lord Jesus, v. 2. so that the Apostle did without all doubt instruct them in the great duty of brotherly Love, which is the princi. pal part of Christianity, and the most noble and ex. cellent branch of our holy Religion.
If it be obje Eted, that St. Panl having taught them their duty, as has been already proved, it follows, that if their being taught of God was their being taught of God by the Ministry of St. Paul, then they were taught of God their whole duty, and not that particular branch only of brotherly Love : whereas the Apostle makes' a difference by saying, they were taught of God to love one another, and consequently they were not taught of God the other parts of Christianity; I say, if this be objected, I answer, that the reason of St. Paul's expressing himself after this manner, will best appear, if we consider the Circumstances in which ho wrote.
St. Paul came to Thessalonica, and planted the Gospel there, Acts 17. 1. Here he preached only three Weeks. For the place he preached in, was the Synagogue of the Jews, where he reasoned with them Three Sabbath daies, v. 2. This, because he converted many, v. 4. caused an uproar, v. s. so that Śt. Paul and Silas were immediately fent away to Berea, v. 10. and afterwards Timothy came thither to
them, v. 14. But because the malice of the Jews persecuted them also at Berea, v. 13. therefore some brethren Conducted St. Paul to Athens, v. 15. and returned with a command from St. Paul to Silas and Timothy, to come to Athens to him with all Speed, v. 15.
Upon this Message Timothy went to Athens, but Silas notwithstanding staid at Berea. This appears by comparing 1 Theil. 3. 1, 2. and Acts 18 i, s. For 'tis expresly said, that Silas and Timothy came to St. Paul to Corinth, Afts 18.5. whither St. Paul was come, after he left Athens, v. 1. and yet St. Paul faies expresly, that he sent Timothy to Thessalonica from Athens, 1 Theff. 3. 1, 2. Wherefore Timothy did certainly come to St. Paul, whilst he was at Athens, and then return from him to the Disciples at Thero salonica.
And that Silas staid at Berea in the mean while; may fairly be concluded thus. Timothy came from Berea to Athens to St. Paul, as has been already shewn. And when Timothy left St. Paul, the Apostle expresly declares, that he was left at Athens alone, 1 Theff. 3.1. And consequently Silas was not with him at Athens. And the next news we hear of Silas, after we left him at Berea, is, that he came with Timothy to Corinth, and there met St. Paul, Acts 18. 5. and the Text faies, that when he came to Corinth, he came from Macedonia. Where. fore, St. Paul leaving Athens, when Timothy was gone from thence to Thessalonica, came to Corinth, Acts 18. 1. and then Timothy returns from Thessatonica, and coming thro' Berea, (which is another City of Macedonia, and lies in the road to Corinth) there met with Sitas; and fo Silas and Timothy went both together to Corinth to St. Paul,