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it otherwise than by immediate Revelation; then where's the necessity of immediate Revelation in order to his receiving it, and having it in himself? 'Tis plain therefore, that the Believer's having in himself this truth, viz. that Jesus is the Son of God; is no proof, that he received it by immediate Revelation.
If it be asked, what is meant by a Believer's having a witness (or a thing that is attested) in himself; } answer, that to receive a witness or a thing that is attested, is in Scripture-phrase to be lieve ir: This is confessed on all hands, and there. fóre I need not prove it. Now to receive a witness or a thing that is attested, and to have it, ones felf, in seem to be phrases of the same importance. And if so, then to have a witness or a thing attested in ones felf, is nothing else but to believe it.
I am sure, the context does very well admit, if not require, this sense of the phrase. For no sooner had the Apostle faid, if we receive, or believe, the Witness of Men, the Witness of God is greater; for this is the Witness of God, which he hath testified of his Son; but he proceeds immediately to fhew, who did, and who did not, receive or believe the Witness of God, saying, He that believeth on (him whom I call) the Son of God (even our Savior Christ) bath the Witness of God (concerning his Son Christ) in himself, that is, believes what God has attested concerning our Savior's being his Son : whereas be that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not, receiveth not, or hath not in himself, the record (reptueiar) testimony or witness, that God gave of his Son.
This interpretation of the Apostles words seems very natural. And if it be admitted, and supposed true ; then it appears, that to receive, to have
in ones felf, and to believe, a witness or thing that is attested or born witness of, are one and the same thing. Nay, I dare appeal to any unprejudiced person, whether the Apoftle does not seem to use these phrases promiscuously; and especially, whether he that hath the Witness in himself in theformer part of the Verse, be not opposed to him who beleiveth not God, that is, who hath not the Witness in himself, in the next words.
Thus then have I thewn, that this Text can by no means favor the Doctrine of our Adversaries, if the Witness signifies the thing attefted or born witness of by God concerning his Son.
I shall now shew, that this Verse does by no means favor the Doctrine of our Adversaries, even tho' we suppose the Witness to signify, not the thing attested by God concerning his Son, but only his: attestation or bearing witness concerning Him.
For if the Witness signifies Gods attestation or bearing witness concerning his Son; then he that believes on the Son, has in himself Gods atteftation or bearing witness concerning Him. Now God did attest or bear witness concerning his Son, by voices from Heaven, by enabling him and his Disciples to work Miracles, and by raising Himfrom the Dead. Nor do we read in the Holy: Scriptures of any other way, whereby God testifyed of his Son. Wherefore, if the witness lignifies Gods attestation or bearing witness concerning his Son; then he that believes on the Son, must have in himself one or more of these waies of Gods attestation or bearing witnessconcerning Him.
But then, what shall we understand by a Believers having in himself any of these waies of Gods attestation or bearing witness concerning his Son? The Apostle certainly speaks of all Believers in
general. For he faies, he that believeth, that is, every one that believeth in the Son, hath the witness in himself. But how can all Believers, especially in these daies, be said to have in themselves, either God's voices from Heaven, or that Power whereby God enabled Chrift and his Apostles to work Miracles, or our Saviors Personal Resurrection from the Dead ? 'Tis nonsense to say, that every Believer has in himself by immedjate Revelation, either those voices which were uttered near seventeen hundred years ago, or that Power by which Christ and his Apostles did at the fame diftance of time work Miracles, or that Restoration of Life which was made to our Saviors dead Body. And consequently, tho' all Believers have the witness in themselves; and tho! we grant that the witness they have in themselves is Gods attestation or bearing witness concerning Fesus, that he is his Son; yet it will by no means follow from hence, that Gods atteftation or bearing witness concerning our Saviors being his Son, is communicated to Believers by immediate Revelation.
But then, if by the Beleivers having the witness ip himself, we understand his believing the witness or attestation of God; the meaning of the Apoftle is very plain. For every one that believės on the Son, does believe that attestation which God gave concerning him by voices from Heaven, by enabling him and his Disciples to work Mio racles, and by raising him from the Dead. These divine testimonies, I say, which are conveyed to us by mediate Revelation only, are the ground of every. Believers faith; and consequently he receives them, and has them in himself, that is, believes them,
To conclude, one of those acceptations of the word witness, which have been mention'd, must be allowed by our Adverfaries. I am content they should chuse for themselves. But I am persuaded, it appears from what has been faid, that which acceptation soever they prefer, there is not not the leaft shadow of the necessity of immediate Revelation in the text I have been explaining. 17.
St. Paul faies, the Spirit it self beareth pitness with our Spirit, that we are the Children of God, Rom.8. 16. From hence our Adverfaries conclude, that the Holy Ghost assures true Chriftians, that they are Gods Children, by immediate Revelation. But that nothing like this can be proved from these Words, will appear by the following explication of them.
There are two waies of rendring the former part of the Verse. 1. as 'tis rendred in our Bibles, the Spirit it self beareth witness with our Spirit, According to this translation are people agtugía fignifies to bear witness with another. So that there are two Witnesses here supposed, viz. the Spirit ir self and our Spirit; which two Spirits do jointly attest the same truth, viz. that we are the Children of God. 2. The Original may be rendred thus, the Spirit it self testifies unto (or assures) our Spirit, that we are the Children of Godó And then Grupl po ceptu géw fignifies to testify unto or assure. Thus que pagar gáopucy, which every body knows to be the fime with oupplougrugén, lignites, Rev. 22. 18. where St. John faies, que poseeriçõusoy, I teftify unta (or assure ) every Man that heareth, &c. Now when the word is used in this fenle, then one witness only is supposed; and accordingly in this place the Spirit is the only witness; and our Spirit is not it felf a witness, but is testify'd unto,
and assured of, that truth which the Spirit testifies unto it, or assures it of; viz. that we are the Children of God.
Now that Spirit which beareth witness with, or testifies unto our Spirit, that we are the Chil. dren of God, is the Spirit of Adoption mentioned in the foregoing verse. Te have not received, faies the Apostle, the Spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. and then it follows immediately, The Spirit it self (or (e) this very Spirit, or that same Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father) beareth witness with, or testifies unto, our Spirit that we are the Chil. dren of God.
Now this Spirit of adoption does not bear wit. ness with, or testify unto, our Spirit, that we are the Children of God, by an immediate revelation of this truth, that we are the Children of God: but after a different manner as will appear, if we consider what the Spirit of adoption is,
And that may be learnt from the following passage of St. Paul. The Heir, as long as he is a Child, differeth nothing from a Servant, tho'
' be be Lord of all, Gal. 4. 1. But is under Tutors and Governors, until the time appointed of the Father, v. 2. Even so we, when we were Children, were in bondage under the Elements of the World, v. 3. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman, made under the Law, v. 4. to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of Sons, V. g. In which words St. Paul compares the State of the Jews under the Law, and the