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PRACTICE. 311 universal rule may convey its directions. Such a subordinate, secondary, and declaratory rule, we never said feveral parts of scripture were not : yet we confess the reason of our obedience is not merely because they are there written (for that were legal) but because they are the eternal precepts of the spirit, in mens consciences, there repeated and declared. It is the testi. mony of the spirit, which is the true rule for believing and understanding of the scripture; therefore not the fcripture, but the spirit of truth, must be the rule for our believing and understanding them. Thus held the ancients,

Tertullian faith, · Worldly wisdom the Lord calls foolishness. He hath chosen the foolish things of < the world, to the confounding of philosophy; for « that is the matter of worldly wisdom. A divine in( terpreter of the divine nature and disposings.us

Justin Martyr, in Exposit. Fid. "The interpretation < of the scriptures is to be accommodated to the will r of the doctrine of the fpirit; and not to human rea< fonings.'

Hieron faith, “The scriptures must be opened with < fpiritual expofition.*' 'Epiphanius faith, Only to the children of the Holy Ghost all the scriptures are plain and clear.'

Nor were the most approved Protestants of any sort (who have been so reputed in opposition to Popery) of another mind. It is the substance of the fourth article exhibited against the Lutherans, in the council of Trent, as an erroneous doctrine they held, “That ç to understand the scripture, neither gloss nor com«ment is necessary; but only to have the spirit of a (sheep of Christ's pasture.

Erasmus tells us, "What man sets forth by man's I device, may be received by man's wit; but the

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* Bp. Rob. Sand. de Regul. Conf. Præl. 4ta, Sect. 31. • Ter

tul. de Præfcrip. Herätic. p. 204. Dell. Confut. of Simpí. p. 89, 90. * Hieron. tom. 4. 7. Bp. Jewel. p. 532. Y polano. Hiftor. Counç. Tr. p. 150.

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« thing thing that is set forth by the inspiration of the Holy « Ghost, requireth an interpreter inspired with the « like spirit; and without the inspiration of it, the se• crets of God cannot be known.z

Luther giveth us his mind thus: "The scriptures ( are not to be understood, but by that very i " which they were writ,a'

Peter Martyr, that famous Italian Protestant, teacheth us, "The spirit is the abettor, by which we must I assure ourselves for understanding the scriptures, that r thereby we must discern between Christ's words, r and a stranger's; b' quoting Chrift's words, " My “ Theep know my voice, and several other places of scripture.

Again, "The spirit of God revealeth the truth in the scriptures."

H. Bullinger, decad. 4. ferm. 8. Men fetch the ( understanding of heavenly things, and knowledge ç of the Holy Ghost, from no-where else, but from the same spirit.'

John Bradford answered to the archbishop of York thus: We know the scriptures, as Christ's sheep, by { the same spirit that wrote and spake them; being thereby assured,' &c.

Calvin teacheth thus in his Institutes ; It is necef? fary the same spirit that spake by the mouth of the 6 prophets, should pierce into our hearts, to persuade

us that they faithfully delivered that which was « committed to them of God.

Beza faith, “That the way of understanding pro! phecies, and referring them to the right scope, I must be sought or fetched from the same spirit which

dictated them to the prophets themselves, and more to that purpose.

W. Tindal, called the English apostle by J. Fox, faith, It is impossible to understand in the scripture

* Erasmus on 1 Pet. i. 19. on 1 Cor. ii. Luther, tom. 3. fol.

169. b Peter Martyr Com. loc. p. 1. c. 6. Ibid. p. 2. c. 18. d Book of Martyrs, 3 vol. p. 298, . Calvin. Inftit. lib. I. c. 8, Beza on 2 Pet, i. 19,

a more

o more than a Turk, for any that hath not the law
r of God, writ in the heart, to fulfil it.5"

Bp. Jewel says thus against Harding, " The spirit
5 of God is bound neither to sharpness of wit, nor
sto abundance of learning: filesh and blood is not

able to understand the holy will of God, without
Special revelation. Without this special belp, and

prompting of God's Spirit, the scripture is to the
I reader, be he never so wife and learned, as the vi-
< fion of a sealed book.hr

Dr. Ames, a great father of the Independents, faith
upon occasion of Bellarmin's words, " The anointing

of the Holy Spirit doth teach the faithful to under-
i stand those things which they received of the apof-
rtles; therefore to understand the scriptures in those

things which are necessary to salvation ;!' with more
to that purpose.

Vatablus on Job xxxii. 8. with Drusius, Clarius,
and others, speak to the same effect.

G. Cradock, a famous Independent preacher,
preached, that the scripture is a speechless thing with-
out the spirit.ks

Ch. Goad, an eminent Separate, in his works stiled
B. D. of K. college, in Cambridge, and an Independ-
ent pastor thus taught, There is no knowledge of
? Chrift, nor of the scripture, but by revelation."

Dr. J. Owen, a man of greatest fame among the
present Independents, saith, · The public, authentic,

and infallible interpreter of the holy scriptures, is
he who is the author of them; from the breathing

of whose spirit they derive all their verity, perspi-
* cuity, and authority.m.

So that we fee, upon the judgment of many consi-
derable persons, the scripture is no rule for our be:
; lieving and understanding of itself; and therefore not

* Tindal's Works, p. 319 & 80. Jewel against Harding, p.

532, 534. Dr. Ames against Bellarm. l. 1. c. 6. Thef. 32.
k G. Cradock's Divine Drops, p. 217. 'C. Goad's Refr. Drops,
p. 12. Exercit. 2. 7: 9. against Quak,

the

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the rule of faith and practice concerning the things therein declared.

I will give a short instance in Chrift's words about regeneration. He taught (and strange it was, no doubt, to wise Nicodemus) “ that unless a man be “ born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This is as plain a proposition as can be laid down, and may be credited historically : but what is that to the knowledge and experience of the new birth? That they are never like to be informed of there. Nor can that scripture be my rule in that heavenly travel, respecting the many and wonderful trials and exercises that are to be met with in the way to it; neither can any other writing whatever. This only is the office of that Spirit and Word immortal, by which we are begotten again. What, then, is my rule, to inform, order, strengthen, and lead through the whole operation, but the same spirit? All doctrinal scripture was experienced before written, or they had not been true witnesses who wrote it.

Now that which was their rule, can guide us into the same experiences; nor are they to be rightly known before experienced : “ If any man will do his o will, he shall know of the doctrine,” saith Christ, I read the history of such things: this saves not : neither can the history be the rule leading into the mys, tery. That belongs only to the spirit, that fearcheth out the deep things of God. Consequently the spirit, and not the scripture, is the rule for so believing and living.

Obj. But is not this to make void the Protestants plea against the Papifts, viz. That the scriptures are the rule of faith and practice ?

Answ. No such matter : for the question was not, Whether the spirit of Christ, or the scripture, was the rule; but, Whether the scripture, which is God's tradition, or Popis traditions, were the rule to measure the truth of doctrines and practices by? We grant

that

that particular sçriptures, rightly understood, may measure what is agreeable or disagreeable to them: that is, such doctrines and practices as are contrary to that part of scripture, more particularly relating to our days, are questionable by the scripture; especially since all parties pretend that what they say and do is according to scripture. Yet this concludes not the scripture to be the general and evangelical rule.

Obj. But if God had not revealed those things that are in scripture, by it to us, how could they bave been known by us?

Answ. They were known by the light and spirit of Christ before they were written; for from being written they are called scripture. Therefore it is said, “ that “ the prophets searched diligently what, and what “c manner of time, the spirit of Christ, that was in " them, did signify, when it testified before-band of " the sufferings of Christ."" Nor are they ever the more revealed to the blind and dark mind, because they are written. The mysteries of regeneration are as puzzling to natural wit and earthly wisdom, as before. Therefore well said Epiphanius, · Only to the ( children of the Holy Ghost all the holy scriptures I are plain and easy.' Mens going to hammer out principles, without this infallible guide and rule, hath been the cause of that great confusion that is over mankind about religion to this very day.

Obj. But how else could you have known those prophecies to be true; for that is not matter of witnessing, but foretelling,

Answ, That is an extraordinary revelation, not falling within the ordinary discoveries that are absolutely necessary to man's salvation; by which God thews his power, and faithfulness, that he is God, and can fore

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