Page images
[ocr errors]

mediate Revelation. And what then? Will it follow, that God does the same to all persons, which he did to St. Paul? Can it be said, that God has given the gift of Tongues to every Man, because St. Paul enjoyed it? If this be the true sense of that phrase, it imports a special privilege granted to St. Paul ( as it was in those times to many others also ) which is by no means common to all ChriStians in these daies, any more than those other extraordinary favors, which were in the Primitive times very frequent.

But the truth on't is, the words cv iuoi ought to be rendred, not in me, but to me; as the same Apostle uses the phrase, 1 Cor. 14.11. he that speakezh shall be a Barbarian cu feod (not in me, but) ta me. And accordingly here, it pleased God to ren veal his Son, that is, to make him known to the A poftle, that he might preach him among the Heathen.

30. We are told, that there is one faith, Ephes, 4. 5. that is, say they, there is one Faith both under the Law, and under the Gospel. And if fo; then our Faith is now built upon immediate Revelation vouchsafed to every particular Believer, because the Faith of those that lived under the Law was fo built.

Now in answer to this I shall not determine, whether it may be proved from this or any other Text, that our Faith under the Gospel is properly the fame with theirs under the Law; bui'l say, thar supposing it to be never so properly the fame, yet it will not follow, that if theirs was built upon immediate Revelation vouchsafed to every particular Believer, ours must be so built also, For a different Manner of receiving that Evidence which is the Foundation of Faith, does not make a diffe


[ocr errors]

rent Faith. For I may believe that upon mediate Evidence, which another believes upon immediate Evidence. St. Paul, for instance, believed that our Savior was the Christ, because our Savior him, self told him fo: but I believe the fame Truth, be. cause St. Paul aflures me he received it from Chrift. The fame might be applied to other Truths of the Gospel. Wherefore St. Paul's Faith and mine are the same, because of our agreement in the belief of the same Truths; altho' the Evidence upon which our Faith is built, be different, viz. the one immediate, and the other mediate. 'Tis true, God's uttering the Truth is the reason both of St. Paul's believing, and of mine : but we were convinced, that God did utter it, by different methods, viz. the one by his own personal experience, and the other by the Testimony of him who had that personal experience. Wherefore, altho' it were granted, that every person under the Law did enjoy immediate Revelation, and that his Faith was built upon it; yet it will not follow from thence, that the Faith of us under the Gospel, because it is supposed to be the same, is also built upon immediate Revelation youchsafed to each Be. liever.

I must add, that what our Adversaries think fo manifest a Truth, viz, that every person under the Law did enjoy immediate Revelation, is a great mistake ; of which I shall speak in my Answer to the next Objection.

31, 'Tis pretended that immediate Revelation was the ancient way of God's teaching Mankind his Will; and that if immediate Revelation be ceafed under the Gospel, then the dispensation of the Gospel, is less glorious than that of the Law, under which immediate Revelation was


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

ye God himself, And how then is, Gospel Dispen

youchsafed to Mankind. But I answer, that immediate Revelation never was the privilege of all Persons. For until the Coming of Christ Men were taught God's Will by some few Prophets and inspired Persons. Mr. Barclay himself (a) tels us, that of old ( viz. before the times of the Gospel). the People depended upon the Priests for the knowledge of God. They were therefore taught by such Persons, as had the uncommon privilege of immediate Revelation vouchsafed to them. And thus we are now taught under the Gospel. For Christians in all Ages did and do enjoy those Holy Books, which were dictated by sation less glorious, than that of the Law? The same method of teaching is used under both. The only difference is, that those inspired Persons who do now teach us, are none of them living. But certainly the Writings of any Person Instructed by immediate Revelation, are as glorious a method of teaching when he is dead, as his teaching by word of mouth was while he was living. But whatever becomes of this matter, the main difference between the glory of the Law, and that of the Gospel, may be discerned by comparing the promises made to Man under both. And if these be duly considered, the Gospel dispenfation is much more glorious than that of the Law.. was, or than it could have been, even tho'

every Person under the Law had enjoy'd immediate Revelation, and that the famme privilege had never been vouchsafed to any one Person besides the Apostles, under the Gospel.

If it be faid, that God gave the Jewish Na

(a) Apol. prop. 2. p. 286.

tion his good Spirit to instruct them, Neh. 9. 20. and consequently he vouchsafed to teach every one of them by immediate Revelation; I answer, that God gave his Spirit to the Jewish Prophets to instruct the People; so that he taught them by mediate Revelation. For that Spirit wherewith he instructed them, was the same wherewith he testifyed against them; and that was the Spirit in the Prophets. For Nehemiah faies in the zoth Verse of the fame Chapter, Thou teftifyedest against them by thy Spirit in the Prophets.

32. 'Tis said, that no Man can know his fpiritual Estate, viz. whether he shall be happy in the Next World or no, without immediate Re. velation, that is, unless God declare it unto him by immediate Revelation. And from hence our Adversaries conclude, that there is a necessity of immediate Revelation. But first they ought to have proved, that a Man hall not be happy hereafter, unless he be assured of it before-hand. Such an assurance is indeed very comfortable; but certainly 'tis no condition of Salvation. But farther, a 'Man may know his spiritual Estate without immediate Revelation. For it may be discerned by comparing his Life and Actions with the Rules delivered in Holy Scripture. If he find upon Examination, that he is an Obedient Child of God, he may securely depend upon his being in God's favour: but if he find himself a Rebel, he must expect vengeance. And he that reads God's Laws, may as well determine, whether be be a dutiful Child of God, or a Rebel against him; as he that reads the Laws of the Land can: tell whether or no he be an Obedient Subject.

33. 'Tis objected, that the Scripturcs do not contain all truths, as they are applicable to par


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ticulars and individuals; and consequently there is a necessity of immediate Revelation to supply the defect of the Scriptures. But can our Ad. versaries shew, either that God is obliged to give us, or that our necessities do require, an immediate Revelation of the Will of God upon every particular and individual occasion General Rules are delivered in Scripture; and there is no need of immediate Revelation, but only of good sense and an honest heart, to apply them in all Cases.

34. We are told, that all parties, when they are prest, do ultimately recur to immediate Revelation, and that this is a proof of the Necessity of it. We are told so, I confess; and this is not the only falshood which we have been told. The bare denyat of this assertion is an abundant confutation of it. Nor need we any other or better proof of the contrary, than the writings of numberless Persons of the Established Church of Engo land, who utterly disclaim immediate Revelation, and do never recur to it in the greatest difficulties.

'Tis true, Mr. Barclay (6) faies, Ask both or either of them (viz. either Socinians or Protestants, and doubtless the Members of our Established Church are Protestants) Why they trust the Scriptures, and take them to be their Rule; their answer is, because we have in them the Mind of God delivered nnto us by those, to whom those things were inwardly, immediately, and objectively revealed by the Spirit of God; and not because this or that Man wrote them, but because the Spirit of God dictated them. But this is foreign to the purpofe, and an impertinent proof of a gross untruth, For granting that

(b) Apol. prope 2. Po 294 •


« PreviousContinue »