Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

7.
"I

of another mistake of our Adversaries. They suppose, that holiness of Life is absolutely necelsary in a Minister of the Gospel ; so that if a vicious Man preach the Gospel, he is not a bad Minister, but no Minister thereof. This appears from Mr. Barclay, who (a) faies, we judge the grace of God indispenfably necessary to the very being of a Minister, as that withont which any can neither be a true, nor lawful, nor good Minister. And what he means by that Grace, which he faies is indispenfably necessary to the very being of a Minister, appears from these Words of his. We understand (saies (6) he) by Grace, as a qualification to a Minister, not the mere measure of Light, as it is given to reprove and call him to righteoujness; but we understand grace as it hath converted the Soul, and operateth powerfully in it.---So we understand not Alen fimply, as having grace in them as a seed, which we indeed affirm all have in a measure; but we understand Men that are gracious, leavened by it into the nature thereof, so as thereby to bring forth those good fruits of a blameless Conversation, and of fisstice, Holiness, Patience, and Temperance, which the Apostle requires as necessary in a true Christian Bibop and Minister. Whereas on the contrary we

[ocr errors]

(a) Apol. prop. 10. p. 417.

(6) Ibid. p.420.

affirmy

affirm, that tho’all Ministers of the Gospel ought to be endued with holiness of Life, and tho' (c) it appertaineth to the Discipline of the Church, that enquiry be made of evil Ministers, and that they be accused by those that have knowledge of their offences, and finally being found guilty, by just judgment be deposed; yet (d) fometimes the evil have chief Anthority in the Ministration of the Word and Sacraments, nor is holiness of Life indispensably necefsary to the very being of a Minister, nor does the want thereof make his Commission to preach the Gospel void.

Now I might here take occasion to produce several proofs of the Truth of our own opinion; but because I study brevity, I shall confine my self to the following Argument. If Holiness be indispensably necessary to the very being of a Minister of the Gospel, then the indispensable necesity thereof may be proved by fufficient Ar. guments. Now I shall shew, that the indispensable necessity of Holiness in Ministers of the Gospel cannot be proved by any one sufficient Argument, by a particular Examination of what has been said for that purpose.

First, 'Tis pretended, that Holiness is absolutely necessary to make a Man a Member of Christ's Church; and since none can be a Minister, who is not a Member, therefore Holiness is indispenfably required in Ministers. But to this I aniwer, that Holiness is not absolutely necessary to make a Man a Member of Christ's Church, as I have al. ready shewn; and consequent'y the Foundation of this Argument is overthrown.

[ocr errors]

(5) Our Churches 26th. Article. (d) Ibid.

NA

Second

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Secondly, The Apofile faies, as every Man hath received the gift, even fo Minister the same one to arother, as good Stewards of the manifold Grace of God, 1 Pet. 4. 10. Our Adversaries do here take it for granted, that the Gift and Grace of God do betoken san&ifying Grace; and from thence they conclude, 1. that he who has not received the Gift of fanctifying Grace, cannot Minister it, and consequently cannot be a Minister; 2. that he who has not the sanctifying Grace of God, cannot be a good Steward thereof, and consequently cannot be a Minister. But I answer, that the Gift and Grace of God here mentioned do not signify fanEtifying Graces, but some of those spiritual Gifts of Tongues, Miracles, Healing, ác. which were frequently bestowed on the Ministers of the Go. spel in the primitive times, and which they were obliged to make use of for the Common good, being good Stewards thereof, and dispensing or exerci. sing the same, as the Needs of the Church required. And 'tis observable, that the Phrases here made use of, do imply a variety of Gifts. As every Man hath received the Gift, faith the Apostle, even lo Minister the same, intimating that every Man had not received the Gift after the same manner, or in the same kind; but that every Man was bound to Minister according as he had received. And the Grace of God, which is the fame with the Gift, is ex. presly said to be (mení2.n) manifold, of different kinds. Whercas fanctifying Grace is the same in kind in all persons, and is never called mani old (tliat I know of) in all the Bible,

Thirdly, They tell us, that a Bisliop must be blamelefs, &c. 1 Tim. 3.2. Tit. 1.6. and what then..? Must not a Civil Magistrate also be blameless, ó ç.? Tis the duty certainly both of Spiritual and Tem

poral

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

poral Superiors to be holy; but it will not follow from thence, that such as are not holy are not

indued with Authority either Spiritual or Temi poral. This our Adversaries do

grant

with respect to Civil Governors, and by parity of reason they ought to grant it with respect to Spiritual ones.

Fourthly, They say, the Sheep of Christ will not hear the Voice of Strangers, or of such as he has not sent. And when they can thew, that wicked Men are the Strangers which our Lord meant, or that wicked Men are not fent by him; then this Argument will deserve a larger answer.

I have thought it necessary to treat of this point (tho'briefly) because the Doctrine of our Adverfaries concerning it is of most dangerous Confequence. For Men must be everlastingly uncertain and ignorant who are Ministers of God, and whose Ministry they are obliged to attend ; if Holinefs be fo indispensably necessary to the very being of

a Minister, as they pretend. For who can ever : fee into the hearts of Men, and discern the Righ

teous from the Hypocrite? I know they talk very confidently of a Spirit of Discerning, by which they can distinguish the true from the false Ministers. But they may as juftly pretend to work Miracles; for their want of it is so notorious, that I need not prove it. Besides 'twere easy to demonftrate, that they have no ground from Scripture to lay claim to such a Spirit of Discerning. But this I shall forbear, becaufe I have taken a shorter (and for that reason, a better) method. For I have Phewn, that there is no indispensable Necessity of Holiness to the very being of a Minister ; and therefore (whether God does vouchsafe it or no) there is certainly no Necessity thereof for the Di. içction of our practice. Te pot op difuming

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

8. As to the manner of the Light's operation in Men, it admits of no dispute. For since there is no such Light, it cannot operate at all. But if our Adversaries willattribute to the Holy Spirit of God that manner of Operation which they attribute to the Light, I shall not oppose them, as far as those who have had the Gospel outwardly preached to them, are concerned. For whether the Holy Spirit does operate at all in others, I do not declare my Judgment. Now, what manner of Operation our Adversaries do attribute to the Light, I have shewn, ch. 10. p. 122. but yet I shall in this Place beg leave to add the following Words of Mr. Barclay, who (e) faies, I have often had the manner of Gods working in order to Salvation towards all Men illustrated to my mind by one or two clear Examples, which I shall bere add for the information of others.

The first is of a Man heavily diseased, to wbom I compare Man in his fallen and natural Condition. I Suppose God, who is the great Physician, not only to give this Man Physic, after he hath used all the ina dustry he can for his own health by any skill or knowledge he hath of his own (as those that say, if a Man improve his reason or natural faculties, God will Superadd Grace; or, as others say, that he cometh and maketh offer of a remedy to this Man outwardly, leaving it to the liberty of Man's will either to receive it or reject it) but he, even the Lord, this great Physician, cometh and pourcth the remedy inia his Month, and as it were layeth him in his Bed. Se that if the fick Man be but paljive, it will necessarily work the Effect: but if he be stubborn and untoward, and will needs rise up and go forth into the Cold, or ear

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

(e) Apol. prop: 5,6. P. 339, 340.

Sucha

« PreviousContinue »