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with God, v. 9. and whom he plainly distinguishes from the body of the Church, viz. them that are called both Jews and Greeks, ch. 1. v. 25. by speaking of himself, Apollos, &c. in the first Person, and of the body of the Church, in the fecond Perfon, faying, For ye fee your calling, brethren, &c. ch. 1. v. 3, 26. When I came to you, ch. 2. v. 1. I was with you, v. 3. I have fed you. ch. 3. v. 2. Ye are yet carnal, v. 3. Who then is Paul, and whe is Apollos, but Ministers by whom ye believed, v. 5. For we are labourers together with God: ye are Gods husbandry, ye are Gods building, v. 9. And ac cordingly, when he faies, God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit, he means only himself, Apollos, &c. who were immediately infpired Perfons: fo that tho' the Revelation here spoken of were an immediate Revelation only; yet it will not follow, that the whole Corinthian Church enjoyed it.
But, fay they, the Apostle declares, that we have received the Spirit which is of God, v. 12. that is, we have received Information from, or the Revelation of, the Spirit. And fince the Revelation the Apostle received was immediate, therefore, there being no difference in the Expreffion, they did all receive immediate Revelation from the Spirit; and if they received immediate Revelation, then all true Chriflians, even in thefe days do receive the fame. But I answer, that St. Paul in that place, as I have already fhewn, fpeaks not of the whole Church of Corinth, but only of himfelf, Apollos, &c. their infpired Guides, who received the truth immediately from Gods mouth. And accordingly it follows, which things alfo we Speak, v. 13. But who were the fpeakers? Why, St. Paul, Apollos, &c. And whom did they
53 Speak to? Why, to the Corinthian Church. Wherefore those of whom the Apoftle there faies, that they had received the Spirit of God, are thofe who fpake the things of God; and confequently not the whole Church of Corinth, who were not the speakers, but the hearers of the things of God.
Nay, this Text does rather prove, that a faving Chriftian Faith may be built upon bare mediate Revelation, than that God has refolved, and fo difposed Matters, that it fhall be always built upon immediate Revelation. For he that receives, and Spiritually difcerns, the things of God, is a Spiritual Man, and has a Christian Faith. Now to what end did St. Paul, Apollos, &c. fpeak the things of God, v. 13? Was it not, that Men might receive and fpiritually difcern the things fpoken by them? If fo, then a Man may build a Chriftian Faith upon the Apoftles fpeaking the things of God, which is moft certainly nothing more than a bare mediate Revelation of them. And if a Chriftian Faith in general may be fo built, then a faving Chriftian Faith may be fo built alfo; there being no difference, as to the manner of that Revelation upon which 'tis built, between a Chriftian" Faith in general, and a saving Chriftian Faith in particular. But to proceed,
The only remaining difficulty is in the 14th. and 15th. verses, wherein the Apostle faies, that the Natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness unto him; neither can be know them, because they are Spiritually difcerned. But he that is spiritual, judgeth all things,
Now 'tis very true, that if the Spiritual Man in this place, who spiritually difcerns the things of
of the Spirit of God, be fuch a Perfon only as enjoys the benefit of the Spirit's immediate Revelation; and by the advantage of immediate Revelation, difcerns and knows the Truths of the Gofpel: then fuch, a Perfon as does not enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation, and for want of it cannot difcern or know the Truths of the Gospel, is the Natural Man here fpoken of. Now the Natural Man here fpoken of, or he that cannot difcern or know the Truths of the Gospel, cannot have any Chriftian Faith at all; because the Truths of the Gospel are the Objects of a Chriftian Faith. And if he that does not enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation, or the Natural Man here fpoken of, cannot have any Chriftian Faith at all; then God has certainly refolved, and fo difpofed Matters, that a faving Chriftian Faith fhall be always built upon immediate Revelation.
But, on the other fide, if the Spiritual Man in this place, who fpiritually difcerns the things of the Spirit of God, be not such a Perfon only as enjoys the benefit of immediate Revelation; then the fe Words will by no means prove, that God has refolved, and fo difpofed Matters, that a faving Chriftian Faith fhall be always built upon immediate Revelation. Because, tho' fuch a Spiritual Man as is here spoken of, may enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation (his admitting the Spirit's Revelation as fufficient proof, being that which denominates him a Spiritual Man; whether the Spirits Revelation which he admits, be mediate or immediate) I fay, tho' fuch a Spiritnal Man as is here fpoken of, may enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation; yet his being a Spiritual Man does not prove, fuppofe, or imply, that he does enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelati
on; because he may be a Spiritual Man without the Enjoyment of it. The whole Force therefore of this Argument depends upon the determination of this fingle queftion, Whether the Spiritual Man here fpoken of, be fuch a perfon only as enjoys the benefit of immediate Revelation, or no.
And this queftion has, in my Opinion, been fairly determined already. For I have fhewn, that the Spiritual Man here fpoken of, is one who admits of the Spirit's Revelation, whether mediate or immediate, as fufficient proof of a doctrine, And confequently, 'tis poffible for a Perfon to be the Spiritual Man here fpoken of, altho' he do not enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation.
If it be objected, that the Spiritual Man does elsewhere fignify fuch a Perfon as enjoys the benefit of immediate Revelation, and therefore it muft be fo interpreted in this place; I anfwer, that the Spiritual Man does indeed fometimes fignify fuch a Perfon as enjoyes the benefit of immediate Revelation; but yet it does not follow, that it must be fo interpreted in this place. For there are in the Holy Scriptures very different Senfes of this Phrafe; and that Senfe of it, which fuits one Text, does not fuit another. And accordingly, tho' it does fometimes fignify fuch a Perfon as enjoys the benefit of immediate Revelation, yet it does not follow that it must fo fignify here; not only becaufe no reason can be affigned, why that fignification rather than another, ought to be admitted here, but also because I have already fhewn, that the Context requires a very different fignification of it,
But farther, 'tis very obfervable, that whene ver the Spiritual Man does fignify fuch a Perfon as enjoys the benefit of immediate Revelation, it E 4
then denotes not every true Chriftian in general, but fome particular true Chriftians only, whofe peculiar priviledge it is to be Spiritual Men in this fenfe, that is, to enjoy the benefit of immediate Revelation. This will appear very plainly, if we confider that the only Texts, wherein it can be pretended, that the Phrafe is fo ufed, are 1 Cor. 12. 1. and I Cor. 14. 37.
In the former of thefe Texts, according to our Tranflation, the Apostle faies, Now concerning Spiritual gifts, Brethren, I would not have you ignorant. But I had rather tranflate wei daпxar, concerning Spiritual men. Because the Apoftle begins in this, and continues in the two following Chapters, to treat of Spiritual Men, exhorting them to mutual Love and Peace, and to the right ufe of thofe Gifts which the Holy Ghoft had beftowed upon them; and in the Conclufion of his Discourse concerning them, he delivers the latter of thefe Texts, faying, If any man think himself to be a prophet or (s) Spiritual, let him acknowledge, that the things that I write unto you, are the Commandments of the Lord, that is, the Commandments of the Lord to thofe Spiritual Men, of whom, and their refpective duties, he treats in thefe Chapters. Now 'tis manifeft, that 'tis the very fame Word which is used in both thefe Texts; and that it cannot but be understood of, and applied to, Men, and not Gifts, in the latter of them. And how reafonable is it then to interpret it after the fame manner in the former of them; fince in the one he is moft certainly beginning that very Difcourfe, which in the other he is concluding? Befides, the Spiritual Men feem to be the main fubject of his Difcourfe in these three whole Chapters. 'Tis reafonable therefore to fuppofe, that when he folemnly