« הקודםהמשך »
Few confiders the way that leads to Happiness.
15 difficult ; you must have a Guide in it, you &c. Were you have gwo Points of high must have a Lamp and a Light in it, else, Concernment, The Authority of the Scripyou cannot but go wrong.
tures, and their Utility. Their Authority, The principles of Reason within us for they are given by Divine Infpiration : are too dark and dim, they will never Their Utility, for they are profitable for lead us through the Pits and Snares in the Doctrine, &c. and can make us perfeet, Way: These indeed shined brightly in and well furnished to every good work. Adam, that he needed no Light without
The Authority of it is in a peculiar Way him, no Voice about him ; but Sin hath divine, of Him, and through Him are extinguished it much, and there remains all Things: All Writings of Men, accordnothing but some little Spunk, or Sparkle, ing to the Truth of the Scriptures, have under the Ashes of much Corruption, fome Divinity in them, in as much as they that is but infufficient in it self
, and is often have of Truth, which is a divine Thing : more blinded and darkned by Lufts.
So Yet the Holy Scriptures are by way of that if it were never so much refined, as Excellency attributed to God, for they are it was in many Heathens, yet it is but the immediately inspired of God: Therefore blind leading the blind, ant both muft Peter faith, that the Scriptures came not fall into the Ditch. Our End is high and in old Time by the will of Man, but boly Divine, To'glorifie God and to enjoy Men Spake as they were moved by the
Him, therefore our Reason caligat ad Holy Ghost, 2 Pet. i. 21. God by his Suprema ; it can no more stedfastly be. Spirit, as it were, acted the part of the hold thàt glorious End, and move to Soul, in the Prophets and Apoftles; and wards it, than our weak Eyes can behold they did no more but utter what the Spirit the Sun: Our Eyes can look downward conceived : The Holy Ghoft inspired the upon the Earth, but not upward to the Matter and the Words, and they were but Heavens. So we have some Remnant of Tongues and Pens to speak and write it Reason in us that hath some petty and unto the People; there needed no Debate, poor Ability for Matters of little Moment, no Search in their own Minds, for the as the Things of this Life: But if once we | Truth, no Inquisition for Light, but Light look upward to the Glory of God, or e-thined upon their Souls so brightly, fo conternal Happiness, our Eyes are dazled, vincingly, that it puts it beyond all Questiour Reason confounded, we cannot fted-on, that it was the Mind and Voice of God. fastly behold that, Epb. iv. 18. 2 Cor. You need not ask, How they did know that ii. 13, 14.
their Dreams or Visions were indeed from Therefore the Lord hath been pleased the Lord? And that they did not frame to give us che Scriptures, which may be a any Imagination in their own Hearts, and Lamp unto our Feet, and a Guide unto taught it for his Word, as many did ? I. our Way, whereunto we shall do well say, you need no more.ask that, than ask, to take beed, as unto a Candle or a How fall a Man see Light, or know the Light tbat lines in a dark Place, till Sun-fhine ? Light makes itself manifeft, and ibe Day dawn, 2 Pet. i. 6. These are all other Things ; it's seen by its own able to make us wife unto Salvation. Brightness : Even fo che holy Men of God, Let us hear what Paul speaks to Timotby, needed not any Mark or Sign to know the 2 Tim. ii. 16. All Scripture is given, Spirit's Voice, his Revelation needed not
the Light of any other Thing, it was Light | Humility is here? What humble and home. it self, I would certainly over-power the ly Glory and Majefty alfo? He is moft
Soul and Mind, and leave no place of high, and yet none so lowly. What exDoubting : God who cannot be deceived, cellent Consent and Harmony of many and can deceive no Man, hath delivered Writers in such diftant Times? Wonder us this Doctrine. 0, with what Rever- at it! All speak one Thing, to one Purpose, ence shall we receive it, as if we heard the to bring Men to God, to abase all Glory, Lord from Heaven fpeak. If you ask, and exalt him alone. Must it not be one How you shall be persoàded that the Scrip- Spirit that hath quickned all these, and sures are the Word of God, his very breathes in them all this one heavenly Mind opened to Men and made legible ? Song, of Glory to God on High, and Truly, there are some things cannot be Good-will towards Men. Other Writers well proved, not because they are doubt. will reason these Things with you to confull, but because they are clear of them- vince you, and perswade you, and many selves, and beyond all Doubt and Exception. think them more profound and deep for Principles of Arts must not be proved, but that Reafon, and do despise the Baleness supposed, till you find by Trial and Experi of the Scriptures : But to them whore Eyes ence afterward that they were indeed really are opened, the Majesty and Authority of true. There are no Question, such Cha- God commanding and asserting and testifying racters of Divinity, and Majesty, imprin to them, is more convincing, from its own ted in the very Scriptures themselves, that bare Affertion, than all Humane Reafon. whosoever hath the Eyes of his Under Although there be much Lighi in the standing opened, though he run he may Scriptures to guide Men's Way to God's read them, and find God in them. What Glory and their own Happiness, yet cerMajesty is in the very Simplicity and Plain- tainly it will all be to small Purpose, if the ness of the Scriptures? They do not la. Eyes of our Understanding be darkned and bour to please Mens Ears, and adorn the blinded. If you shall surround a Man with Matter, with the curious Garments of Day-light, except he open his Eyes he can. Words, and Phrases; but represent the very not fee. The Scriptures are a clear Sun Matter it self to the Sout, as that which of Life, and Righteousness; but the blind in itself is worthy of all Acceptation, Soul compaffed with that Light is nothing and needs no humane Eloquence to com.
the wiser, but thinks the Lamp of the mend it. Painting doth spoil native Bead Word lines not, because it sees not, it ty, external Ornaments would disfigure hath its own Dungeon within it; therefore some things, that are of themselves pro- the Spirit of God must open the Eyes of portioned and lovely, therefore the Lord the Blind, and enlighten the Eyes of the chooses a plain and simple Stile, which is Understanding, that a Soul may fee wonderFoolishness to the World; but in these ful Things in God's Law, Psal. cxix. 5, 8. swaddling Cloaths of the Scriptures, and job 1. s. The Light may shine in the this poor Cottage, the Child Jefus, the Lord Darkness, but the Darkness cannot comof Heaven and Earth, is contained. There prehend it. I wonder not that the most is a Jewel of the mysterious - Wisdom of Part of Men can see no Beauty, no MajeGod, and Man's eternàl Blessedness in this fty, no Excellency in the holy Scriptures Mineral : What glorious and astonishing to allure them, because they are natural
and have not the Spirit of God, and so, kind. Many Titles are given to humane cannot know these Things, for they are Writings, some are called accurate, some spiritually discerned, 2 Cor. ii. 14, Gc.fubtile, some ingenious and quick, some Therefore as the Inspiration of God did profound and deep, some plain, fome conceive this Writing at first, and preach- learned: But call them what they please, ed this Doctrine unto the World; lo there the Scriptures may vindicate to itself these can no Soul understand ir, or profit by it, wo Titles as its own Prerogative, Holy. but by the Inspiration of the Almighty Ve- and profitable. The best Speaker in the rily ibere is a Spirit in Man, and the World in many Words cannot want Sin,the Inspiration of the Almighty gives bim best Writer hath fome Dross and Refuse ; Understanding, faith Job. When the but here, all is holy, all is profitable: Many Spirit comes into the Soul to engrave the Books are to no Purpose, but to feed and, Characters of that Law and Truth into inflame Mens Lufts, many serve for no. the Heart, which were once engraven on thing but to spend and drive over the Tables of Stone, and not written with Pen Time, without Thought; moft Part are and lak, then the Spirit of Christ Jesus good for gothing, but to burden and overwrites over and transcribes the Doctrine of weary the World, to put them in a Fancy the Gospel, on fleshly Tables of the Heart, of Knowledge which they have not; draws the Lineaments of that Faith, and many serve for this only to nourilh Mens Love, preached in the Word upon the Curiosity and vain Imaginations, and ConSoul; then the Soul is the Epistle of Christ, tentions, about Words and Notions ; but written not with Ink and Pen but with the here is a Book profitable, all profitable. Spirit of the living God, 2 Cor. iii. 3. If you do not yet profit by it, you can And then the Soul is manifestly declared have no Pleasure in it, tis only ordained for to be such, when that which is impresled Soul's profiting, not for pleasing your Fan. on the Heart, is expressed in the outward cy, not for matter of curious Speculation, Man in walking, that it may be read of not for Contention, and Strife about the In all Men. Now the Soul having thus re. terpretation of it. Many Books have noceived the Image of the Scriptures on it, thing in them, but specious Titles to comunderstands the Spirit's Voice in them, and mend them; they do nothing less than what sees the Truth and Divinity of them. The they promise, they have a large and fair En. Eye muft receive fome Species and Like-try which leads only into a poor Cottage; nefs of the Object before it see it, it must but the Scriptures have no hyperbolick and be made like to the Object ere it can be superlative Styles to allure Men, they hold hold it: Intelligens in actu fit ipsum out a plain and common Gate and Entry intelligibile : So the Soul must have some which will undoubtedly lead to a pleasant Inspiration of the Holy Ghost, before it Palace ; others & prodeffe volunt de can believe with the Heart the inspired le&tare, but these certainly, & prodeffe Scriptures.
volunt & pollunt, they both can profit you Now for the Uulicy and Profit of the and will profit you. I wish that Souls would Scriptures, who can speak of it, according read the Scriptures as profitable Scriptures, to its Worth? Some Things may be over with Intention to profit. "If you do no commended, nay, all. Things, but this read with such a purpose, you read not the One, God speaking in his Word to Man. Scriptures of God, they become as another
Book unto you.
But what are they pro- lis, indeed, most pleasant, to a right and fitable for? For Doctrine, and a Divine ordered taste. You know, the Distemper Doctrine. A Doctrine of Life and Hap of the Eye, or the perverting of the Taite, piness: "Tis the great Promise of the New will mil-represent pleasant Things, and Covenant, You shall be all taugbt of God, sweet Things to the Senses, and make the Scriptures can make a Man learned them appear ill favoured and bitter : Bus and wile, learned to Salvation. It is Foolish-I say to a discerning Spirit, there is noness to the World, but the World thing fo sweet, fo comely. I bave seen through Wisdom know not God. Alas! an End of all Perfection, but none of what do they then know? Is there any be- thy Law! Thy Word is sweeter to me fides God? And is there any Knowledge than the Honey, or tbe Honey-comb. If belides the Knowledge of God? You have a Soul be pre-possessed with the Love of a poor petty Wisdom among you, to gathe World, and the Lufts of the World, ther Riches and manage your Business : it cannot favour and taste to them; thai Others have a poor imaginary Wisdom vitious Quality, in the Mind, will make that they call Learning; and generally the pleasant Gospel unpleasant: I piped People think, to pray to God is but a Paper- unto you, and you have not - danced. skill, a little Book-craft ; they think the But however, the Scriptures are then mon Knowledge of God is nothing else but to profitable, when they are leaft pleasant to icarn to read the Bible. Alas! mistake our Corruptions; and therefore, it is an not, it is another thing to know God : absolute and intire Piece, Et prod lle to The Doctrine of Jesus Chrift written on lunt & delectare. Omne tulit punctum, the Heart, is a deep profound Learning, qui miscuit utile dulci. There are tharp and the poor, simple, and rudest People Reproofs, and fad Corrections of his holy may by the Spirit's teaching become wifer Law, which must make way for the pleathan their Ancients, than their Ministers : fant and sweet Gospel : There is a Re. Q : 'tis an excellent point of Learning, to proof of Life, a wounding before healing, know how to be saved. What is it, I pray that wboso refuse them, difpise their own you, to know the Course of the Heavens ? Soul, but the Ear that beareth them abid. to number the Cebs, and the Stars in etb among the wise, Prov. xv. 31.
Wo them? to measure their Circumference, unto that Soul that Correction, or Reproof, to reckon their Motions, and yet not to or Threatning is grievous unto, He sball know Himn that fits on the Circle of theni, die, ver. 10. He is brutish, Pro. xii. 1. and not know how to inhabite and dwell | There is a Generation of Men, that can there? If you would seek unto God, and endure to hear nothing but Gospel-profeek Eyes opened to behold the Mystery of mises, that cry out against all repròving of the Word, you would become wiser than Sins, and preaching of God's Wrath against your Paftors, you would learn from the uobelieving Sinners, as legal, and medling Spirit to pray better, you would find the with other Mens Matters, especially if they way to Heaven better than they can reach reprove the Sins of Rulers, their publick you, or walk in it.
State-enormities: As if the whole Word of Then it is profitable for Reproof and God were not profitable ; as if Reproofs Correction : It contains no Doctrine very were not as wholsome as Consolations ; pleasant to Meas natural Humours; but it as if Threatnings did not contribute to
The Spirit necesary for understanding the Word. 19 make Men flee from the Wrath to come worse, if not diabolical. Let others be into a City of Refuge. Let such Persons wise to their own Destruction ; let them read their own Character out of wise So- establish their own Imaginations for the lomon, Correction is grievous to them | Word of God, and Rule of their Faith, that forsake the Way. Reprove a wise but hold you fast what you have received, Man, and be will love thee, and be will and contend earnestly for it ; add nothing, be yet wiser, Pro. ix. 9. If we were and diminish nothing ; let this Lamp shine Pleafers of Men, then were we not the till the Day dawn, vill the Morning of ille Servaats of Jesus Chrift ; let us strive to Resurrection, and walk ye in the Light of it, profit Men, but not to please them : Peace, and do not kindle any other Sparkles, else ye Peace, which Mens own Hearts fancy, Mall ly down in the Grave in Sorrow, and would please them, but it were better for rise in Sorrow : Take the Word of God them to be awakened out of that Dream, as the only Rule, and the perfect Rule, a by Reproof, by Correction ; and he that Rule for all your A&tions, Civil, Naturwill do lo, shall find more Favour of bim all, and Religious, for all must be done to afterward, than be that flatteretb bim his Glory, and his Werd teacheth how to fitb bis Tongue, Pro. 2xviii
. 23. Well attain to that End. Let not your Imaginatithen, let this be established in your Hearts ons, let not others Example, let not the as the Foundation of all true Religion, Preaching of Men, let not the Conclusions That the Scriptures are the Word of the and Acts of Assemblies, be your Rule, eternal God, and that they contain a per. but in as far as you find them agreeing with fect and exact Rule both of glorifying the perfect Rule of God's holy Word: All God, and of the way to enjoy Him ; other Rules are regule regulatæ; they are they can make you perfect to every good but like Publications and Intimations of the Work. I shall say no more on this, but Rule it self. Ordinances of Assemblies are beseech you, as you love your own Souls, but like the Herald-promulgation of the be acquainting your felves with them. King's Statute and law ; if it vary in any You will hear, in these Days, of Men thing from his Intention, 'tis not valid pretending to more divine and spiritual and binding. I beseeckettu, take the ScripDiscoveries, and Revelations, than the cures for the Rule of your walking, or elle Scriptures contain: But, my Brethren, you will wander ; the Scripture is Regula shefe can make you wise to Salvation, these regulans, a ruling Rule. If you be not can make you perfect to every good acquainted with it, you must follow the Work: Then, what needs more?: All Opinions, or Examples of other Men, and that is belide Salvation, and beyond Per- what if they lead you unto Destruction ? fection, count it fuperfluous and vain, if uot
Joh. v. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them, &c. Eph. ii, 20. And
are built upon the Foundation of the Propbets and Apoples.
thorn without, and the Light of the without Eyes, though in never so clear Eyes within ; for neither can we see in a Sun-fhine : So there is absolute Need, Darkness without fome Lamp, though we for the guiding of our' Feet in the dar