« AnteriorContinuar »
To the. First, it ought to be only necesary to obferve, that as the Elect cannot fail of Salvation, nor be deceived by any false Prophets, or Interpreters of Scripture ; or in whatever Sense, they understand the word Prophet : They ought to be easy and unconcerned above all other Believers, for no false Do&trine can make void the eternal Decrees of Almighty God. ---And as for the Univerfality of the Redemption ; if it be an unTruth, it can no Way be their Loss. The Number of the Elect can neither be leffened or increased, according to their own Prinçiples and Opinions. Therefore, if they would act consistently, they ought to be neutral, or rather unmoved at any Kind of Doctrines taught in the World. They have a Right to fit quiet and happy under their own Vine and Fig-tree, because they must be saved by the pre-determined Council of that God, wbom no Power can refift or frustrate his Will.---Secondly, in Respect to the rational Divines : They have no just Title to this proud Distinction. For they, who never understood or explained the physical Ground of Redemption, cannot be called rational : This character belongs only to the mystical
Writers, or the Spiritualizers of the Law and Gospel. The first may inculcate the moral Precepts of the Scripture, and the (a) Word of Exhortation: They are useful against falfe Pretences to divine Illumination, and in their Line and Sphere may teach the relative Duties enjoined by the Gospel. But they have by no Means the Gift of Prophefying, and of fulfilling the Part of (b) Prophets, Apostles, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, wbö are always necesary for the several Classes of Babes, young Men and Elders in Christ, to divide the Word of Truth according to their Growth in the Knowledge of Jesus, their Lord. And it has been too much their vain and bold Attempt to measure Revelation and divine Things by their own Reason, as if it was equal to the Heighth and Depth of all Truth. Hence these Rdtionalists, like the Men of Babel, disperse different Ways, and make use of different Tongues. Arminius, Episcopius and Curcellæus take one Road; Socinus and the Fratres Poloni another; which Luther and Calvin had done before : While the spiritual
(a) Rom, xü. 8.
(b) Eph. iv. II.
66 The re
Writers have one Lip and Tongue of inter* preting, never contradicting the Ground of a real Regeneration which proceeds from the Gift of a new Seed from Christ, or as an (c) excellent Writer expresses it, « implanted Image of God is only a Seed
fown which must grow up to Maturity and « Perfection by Stages, until it arrive at * the full Stature of a Man in Christ.” This is the one only Root, and good Works are the Fruit of this Seed incorruptible, and begotten into Man by the secret Power of Christ.---True Reason then is true Divinity; and true Divinity is true Philojophy. For both the Law and the Gospel, have di physical and moral Part: The physical onze is the Power of Regeneration by a (d) new Seed engrafted, or breathed into us by Chrift: The moral Ground is the gradual Purification of the Will and Affections. Yet, certainly the Tree may as well grow
without any Roct, as Man can be renewed after the moral Image of God and Christ, unless the Seed of the Word, that is, Jesus Christ,
(c) The Hon. Archibald Campbell in his Essay on the Eucharist, at the End of his middle State, p. 315. (d) James i. 21. ' I. Pet. i. 23. John iii. 6.
be re-implanted into our eartben Vessels.---The rational Divines tben are at most only moral Writers; the spiritual Divines are better. Moralists and Philosophers at the same Time, and claim a just Title to Rationalists, because they explain the inner Ground and Rear Jan of Redemption by the Blood of Christ, and by his Spirit. Now, the Objections ta the Doctrine will arise from these following Heads. First, from the few Witnesses and Teachers of the spiritual Sense, and the Rarity of its being preached.---There have been (c) Witnesses sufficient in every Age, but like the Prophets under the Law, they have been out-Voiced by the Multitude of falfe Ones. It is, however, a mean Pretence to measure Truth of any Kind by Number. Popery would then excel Protestantism : $ The Doctrines of Mahomet and Heathen
ism would be fuperior to both the other : " For, (f) a great Faction is
Per“ fons, yet but one Party; and that is but
(e) See a long Catalogue of these Writers in La Theologie Germanique, the Book so much admired by that great Man, Luther. (1) Dr. Whichcot's Aphorism, 504. Vid, Irhovii Palingenesia Veterum, p. 507,
one Opinion: Such'a Faction is but one * Man in Point of Judgment.
Spirited Man is in this Particular, equal et to a whole Faction." Would not this be allowed against the Voices and Votes of Millions of Papists and Mahometans, though their Doctrines had been universally maina tained for Ages? Was 'not the fingle Testimony of that great Servant of God, Luther, fuperior to Myriads of Opponents? And would not one plain, unlearned Man or Woman speaking for the Gospel, be preferable to innumerable Mouths proclaiming it a Falsehood. Secondly, the Difficulty of underftanding the spiritual Sense is another 06jection. There is none in the Understanding, but there is a great one to bring the Heart to believe it. Let the Difficulty be ever so great, we must answer in the Words of Chrift, and of his Apostles, at least to the Preachers of the Gospel,
Gospel, (g) * Masters in Israel, and know ye not these " Things ?" Again, does not the Apostle say,
(h) He that usith Milk, is unskilful in "ibe Word of Righteousness, för be is a
(g) John iii. 16.
(h) I. Cor. ij. 2.