« PreviousContinue »
be: the one is fpiritual, and the other too carnal for any such thing Or are they insufficient, because they converse with men through these exterior things, suited to that weak state? Or cell me if the most confiderable part of scripture be any more than the declared knowledge and experience of such as were come to a more improved state in the teachings of that light and spirit; which is therefore given forth, that others loitering behind might be stirred up, and the more prevailed with to follow them, as they had followed the Lord in the light of his spirit? Certainly, it can never be that scripture should impeach the light of insufficiency, when that very scripture is but the mind and teachings of the divine light in others, declared or recorded. Does the declaration jar with, or make weak, that from whence it came? Or because of God's condescension for a time to external mediums, shall they turn the light and spirit out of the office of rule and judge? Or is it to lay down instituted religion, as some ignorantly talk, to press after that which was before, and ends those temporary things? The law outward, as a rule, was but as Moses, till the Son came. " The servant abideth not in the house for ever.” The written law held its place but till the inward arose in more glory and brightness; or rather, till people became more capable of being turned to it, and living with and in it. « In those days” faith the Lord, " I will as write my law in their hearts,n" &c. They who say otherwise, of scripture, do pervert and abuse it; for there is nothing more clearly laid down in it, from beginning to end, than the rule and reign of the fpi. rit. « My kingdom,” said Christ, « is not of this « world.°" Again, “ The kingdom of God is withes in. I will write my law in their hearts, and place *** my fear in their inward parts. All thy children « shall be taught of the Lord, and in righteousness « shall they be established. I will pour out of my
A La, liv, 13.
• John xviii. 36.
es spirit on all Aerh. The grace of God that brings " salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching, 9" &c.
Obj. But if the law engraven and delivered to Mofes, was a rule to the Jews, why would not the law delivered by Christ, and written by the apostles, be the rule to Christians ?
Answ. Christ left nothing in writing for the rule of faith and practice that we hear of; and it is not to be thought that he was less faithful in his house than Moses: and doubtless, had he intended the rule of his followers to have been a written rule, he would have left it upon record with all punctuality: this must be believed, and that done, on pain of eternal death. Nor did his followers write in the method of a rule, as the law was written; nor did they so call or recommend what they writ.
But this leads me to my eighth reason why the scriptures cannot be the rule under the New covenant, &c. for admitting the law written by Moses were the rule (a rule, I grant it was) to the Jew outward, yet Christ, the spiritual leader of a spiritual Israel, writeth his Spiritual law in the heart; as Moses, the outward Israel's leader, writ the law upon tables of stone, This was God's promise, and the privilege and blessing of the new covenant, that as the outward Jew had an outward law for a direEtory, the inward Few should have an inward law for his directory: and as the outward Jew had an outward priest, at whose mouth he ought to seek the law; so the Jew inward, and circumcision in fpirit, has an inward and spiritual High Priest, whose lips preserve knowledge; at whose mouth he is to receive the law of life. And this is his rule, even he who is the Ruler of his people Ifrael, who reigneth in righteousness, and of whose heavenly government there shall be no end. The
Joel ii. 28. , 9 Tit. ii. 11, 12. Mal. ü. 7. Heb. vii. 24,
25, 26, 27. Isa. ix, 6, 7, Vol. I.
king, ruler, judge, law-giver, high priest, law, rule, temple, are all spiritual; so the scriptures inform us; « My kingdom,” said Chrift, “is not of this world.” Again, « The kingdom of God is within. I will « write my law in their hearts, and place my fear in “ their inward parts. They shall be all taught of “ me; and in righteousness shall they be established. " The tabernacle of God is with man; he will dwell “ with them. I will pour out my spirit upon all “ flesh. The grace of God hath appeared unto all “ men, teaching, &c. A measure of the spirit is “ given to all men to profit withal. The inspiration « of the Almighty giveth understanding. Whatso« ever may be known of God is manifest within, “ Walk in the spirit. If ye walk in the light, &c. " Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. And " there needed neither fun nor moon to shine ; for the
glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb was the « light thereof. As many as walk according to this « rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the " Israel of God,5" &c. (b) What rule ? Not that of the old legal creation, which then passed away; but the rule of the Kasyn xrious or new creation, as it may be
• Luke xvii. 20, 21. Heb. viii. 10. Rev. xxi. 3. Joel ü. 28.
Tit. ii. 11, 12. Job xxxii. 8. Rom. i. 19. Gal. v, 16. 1 John i. 7. Ifa. ii. 5. Rev. xxi. 23. Gal. vi. 15, 16.
(b) Galat. vi. 16. za revóve tŚtw, in this rule ; as it is trans. lated, Phil. iii. 16. which was spoken of the measure of attainment: and Grotius faith in the manuscript, rule is not; so it must be understood, “ let us walk in the same attainment ;" as also in 2 Cor. x. 13. 15. in which three places that word is only found : See Erasmus, Vatablus, Zegerus, Cameron, Jac. Capellus and Grotius, on those places, none whereof can be drawn to the scriptures. Zegerus interprets this place of Gal, vi. 16. thus, they that have « followed this form of life, or rule of the new creature, having e turned away from the invalid ceremonies of the law, peace, &c. Drasius explains it from chap. v. 6. the new creation. • Faith • which worketh by love.' Grotius faith, • rule here is a way made ! as to a rule that is plainly right; such is that way of the new • creation, which was foretold, Isa. xlii. 9. and fignifies the fate of
the new man,' of which Paul speaks, Col. iii. 10. Eph, ii, 15. Rom. vi. 4.
rendered, rendered, and as Drusius also doth interpret it; which is the way of life Isaiah spoke of; as an highway there « shall be, and it shall be called the way of holiness; " the unclean shall not pass over it, and wayfaring 5 men, though fools, shall not err therein: there « 'hall be no lion there, nor ravenous beast to go " thereon, but the redeemed shall walk there :” which way, teacher, guide, rule, light, fpirit, and holy unction, that directs and keeps in Iteady paths of truth, is CHRIST JESUS our Lord.
Obj. But do you not turn the scriptures off, for an uncertain and unserviceable writing, and as good as rejext and deny them altogether?
Answ. Some indeed, to render us odious to all Protestants, have said as much in our names, as the confequence of our principles; but not without great injustice to us.
The scriptures are uncertain upon their foundation, but not upon ours. Doth our manifesting their faith concerning the scriptures to be grounded upon their own imaginations, or human traditions, make void the scriptures, or render them uncertain ? By no means; for we would have them received upon the spirit's testimony and evidence, which gave them forth. And though we cannot allow them to be the rule of faith and life, under the dispensation of the gospel, which is power and life itself; yet are they to be reverently read, believed, and fulfilled, under the gospel. For notwithstanding the law written upon stone was not Paul's rule, after the Son of God was revealed in him; yet the Son of God taught Paul to fulfil the righteousness declared by that law. If it be to deny and reject (as some have enviously said of us) yea, to vilify the scripture, because we cannot allow it to be the rule, &c. Paul then may be said to deny, rejeet, and vilify the written law, at what time the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus became his rule. There is a great difference between asserting that the Gg 2
spirit is the rule, and casting away and vilifying of fcripture. And indeed it is but an old fetch of the devil's, to pretend honour to the letter, that he might the more unsuspectedly oppose the bringing in of the dispensation of the spirit; which the letter itself teftifies of and to. They that come to be led of the spirit, arrive at the end for which the scripture was given forth : the apostle John did as good as say the same thing, when he told them to whom he wrote, " that the anointing which they had received, and « abode in them, would lead them into all truth; and " that they needed not that any man should teach " them:" to deny this to have been the saints teacher, is to deny as plain a proposition as is in the whole scripture: and that one age of Christianity should have one rule, and another age another rule; that age the Spirit, and this but the letter, is more than any man can prove. Yet, did John's so writing to the believers invalidate the scripture, or vilify his own epistle? I would think none could talk so idly. How then doth our exalting the light and spirit of Christ, which fulfils the scriptures (by bringing such as are led by it to enjoy the good things therein declared) reject and vilify the scriptures ? Does our living up to them, by an higher rule, make us deny and reprobate them? Erasmus and Grotius think them then to be most valued, when men are witnesses of their truth in themselves : see them on 2 Pet. i. 19, 20. I do acknowledge they contain an account of several heavenly prophecies, godly reproofs, instructions and examples, that ought to be obeyed, and followed.
Obj. If so, then how are they.not a rule of faith and life?
Answ. A rule, and the rule, are two things. By the rule of faith and practice, I understand, the living, spiritual, immediate, omnipresent, discovering, ordering, Spirit of God: and by a rule, I apprehend some instrument, by and through which this great and