THE Divine Autority AND USEFULNESS OF THE Holy Scripture ASSERTED IN A SERMON On the 2 Timothy 3. 15.

By R. ALLESTREE D. D. and Chaplain in Ordinary to his Majesty.

OXFORD At the THEATER. 1673.

2. Tim. 3. 15.‘And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, throughx faith which is in Christ Iesus.’

THE words are part of St. Pauls reason­ing, by which he presseth Timothy to hold fast the truth he had receiv'd, and not let evil men, seducers, work him out of what he had bin taught: urging to this end both the authority of the Teacher, himself, who had secur'd the truth of his doctrine by infallible evidence; and be­yond that, as if that were a more effectual enforce­ment, pressing him with his own education in the Scriptures; how he had bin nurst up in that faith, suckt the Religion with his milk, that it was grown the very habit of his mind, that which would strengthen him into a perfect man in Christ, and [Page 2] make him wise unto salvation if he did continue in the faith and practise of it; which he proves in the remaining verses of the Chapter.

In the words read there are three things obser­vable.

1. Here is a state suppos'd, Salvation; and put too as of such concernment, that attaining it is lookt upon as wisdom; wise unto salvation.

Now since true wisdom must express it self both in the end that it proposeth, and the means it chooseth for that end to be pursued with and at­tain'd by, and take care both these have all condi­tions that can justify the undertaking, and secure the prudence of it, and this wisdom to salvation therefore must suppose both these; in order to them both we have here

2. That which with all divine advantage does propose this end, and alsox does prescribe most perfect means for the attaining it; and that is Holy Scripture through faith which is in Christ Iesus. Thou hast known the holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Iesus. Holy Scripture probably of the Old Testament; for there was hardly any other Timo­thy could know from a child, scarce any other be­ing [Page 3] written then. The faith of that then through the faith which is in Christ Iesus, that is, together with the faith of all things necessary to be known concerning Christ, is meant. Now since St. Iohn, after the view of all that the other three Evangelists had wrote concerning Christ, adding his story al­so says, that ChristJohn 20. 30, 31. did and spoke more then what is written, yet affirms most positively that those things were written that we might believe that Iesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing might have life through his name; and so enough is written for that faith which is in Jesus that is necessary to eter­nal life: therefore the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament, together with the faith of what is writ­ten in the New, is that which St. Paul affirms is able to make us wise unto salvation.

3. Here is the advantage Timothy had above o­thers as to Faith in these, and consequently the far greater obligation to continue in it. He had known them from a child. And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scripture, &c.

The first thing that does offer it self to our con­sideration is the state suppos'd, Salvation. But because my Text supposes it, I shall do so too, nor shall think it needful to prove here, that there is [Page 4] such a state, nor consequently that all those are stupid, who propose not to themselves this ever­lasting safety for their main end, and by strict care in the duties of Religion and Gods service aime at it: for if that state be granted, nay if it be but possible, it must be granted that there can be no security but in doing so, nor consequently any wisdom without being wise thus unto salvation.

But then if this were granted, that the wisest thing man could propose to himself, were by strict care in all the duties of Religion to design Gods honor and his own salvation; still, as to the o­ther part of prudence which consists in the choice of means, we are to seek for that Religion we are to pursue this end by and attain it; since there are so many and so opposite Reli­gions in the word, that 'tis not easier to recon­cile them, then to make peace betwixt enemies and contradictions. And it alwaies was so; for ex­cepting that mankind agree'd still in the notion of the necessity of Religion, that all had apprehen­sions of invisible powers above us, and differ'd not much in the rules of Justice and Morality, in other things there was no nearness. Almost from the beginning there was more variety of Gods then [Page 5] Nations, I had almost said then Worshippers. Beasts were their Sacrifices and their Deities, and there­fore the votaries were certainly no better. Vices also were their worships; things which their Ci­ties and their Camps would not endure, found Sanctuary in their Temples; and the actions which were whipt in the Judgment-hall, were their pie­ty in the holy places. And tho some wise men among them found good reason to decry this, yet they knew not what to take up in the stead. I need not add the present differences of the world, even that call'd Christian too, great part of which as heretofore they seal'd their faith with their own blood, now seal it in the blood of all that differ from them; and by their persecutions hope to me­rit Heaven more, then those did hope to gain it by their Martyrdoms. But these I need not add to make up this into a demonstration, that it is impos­sible for lapsed men, so far as they are left to them­selves, and have no other guide to follow but their reason, to find out what they are to believe of God, and how to serve him, and save themselves. TheHil. l. 1. de Tri­nit. p. 53, 54. Clemens Al. Strom. 6. p. 675. [...] Fathers and [...]. Vid. Iustin. Mart. ad Diog­netu [...] p. 499. A­thanas. ad Se­rapionem [...]om. 1. p. 191. 194. edit. Par. 1672. Philosophers too▪ conclude that we can learn from none but God, what we must un­derstandx of God; who must be known only as he [Page 6] himself is pleas'd to revele himself. His worship also, how he will be serv'd, and what observances he does require, or will admit, since it depends on his own good plesure, therefore without his di­rections 'tis in vain to hope to please him with our Religious service whatever it be, and by conse­quence impossible without his guidance and as­sistance to acquire the end of all our Service and Religion, the salvation of our souls. So that how wise soever he be who does propose this blessed end to himself, if yet withall he be not some way from the Lord instructed by what means he must pur­sue that end, and do not make choice of, and use those means, it is impossible he can be wise unto salvation. Now for this St. Paul assures us most expresly, here we may be furnished: For he saies, The Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto sal­vation, through faith which is in Christ Iesus. And he does assert this on the very ground we mention'd, for they are [...] inspir'd by God; they come from him. All which must be made out in the next place.

That those Holy Scriptures which St. Paul first mentions, those of the Old Testament were so, and did contain sufficient revelation both of God, and [Page 7] of the way of worship of the Jews, that Nation did so perfectly believe, that neither Sufferings nor Miracles could perswade the contrary; neither the Roman persecuters that destroy'd their worship, nor the Son of God that chang'd it, could yet take them off from Moses and his Scriptures. Now that this Moses led that Nation out of Egypt with an high hand, and made himself their Prince and Law-giver, multitudes ofIustin. ex Tro­go. l. 36. Diod. Sicul. l. 1. Stra­bo l. 16. Plinius 30. Tacitus Hist. 5. Ioseph. contra Apionem men­tions many o­thers. forreign Histories of the first times, and the best account assure us: whose relations we cannot question as deriv'd from them­selves, because they hated Jews beyond all possi­bility of such compliance. But theExod. 7, 8, 9, 10. Chapters. Scriptures also tell us, how in Egypt by strange wonders, (such as their Magicians could not imitate nor bear, who tho they had permission to do some, it was that so they might appear to be outdon the more mi­raculously, themselves confessing Gods hand in those prodigies) Moses wrought on the Egyptians to give leave the people should depart: and how when yet notwithstanding that leave given they were pursu'd, he made way for them through the Exod. 14. 21.Sea by Miracles, which was a rampart and defence to them, a ruine to their enemies: How they were Exod. 16. 15. Deut. 8. 24.fed for forty years with Manna raining down from [Page 8] Heaven in the wilderness: and that they might depend on Providence for their daily provision, when he forbad them to take care or gather for the morrow, whatsoe're their greediness or want of faith provided, strait bredExod. 16. 20. worms and stank, ex­cept that on the Sabbath eve, to keep off such cares from the day of their Religion, they gather'd dou­ble whichExod. 16. 24. corrupted not: How when they muti­ned for flesh, would have variety, Paradise in the desert, such great plenty ofNum. 11. 19, 20. 31, 32. Quailes flew to them as fed the whole Nation till their very lust was sur­fetted; and they had no more will then hunger to them: How Moses Rod did strike a living stream, a River that suffic'd that people and their cattle out of aNum. 20. 8. 11. Rock: How in the midst of lightning and thunder God himself promulgated his LawExod. 20. to the whole Nation audibly at once: How his glorious presence shew'd it self in all necessities upon the Ark, in which the Tables of the Law were laid up: How the waters of the riverJosh. 3. 16. Iordan fled from that Ark both waies, flow'd upwards to give passage to the people into Canaan: How the walls ofJosh. 6. 20. Ie­richó without any other battery, any other force but that the Ark was there, fell down before it.

But to name no more, If these be true; that [Page 9] power by which these were wrought, was great enough to give that Law, require obedience to it, and reward it, and to punish all transgression ac­cording to the tenor of these Scriptures: that is▪ it was God; and he that wrote those Scriptures must have had communication with, and bin in­spir'd from, God to write them. But,

2. Whether they were true or no according as they are recorded in those Scriptures, that whole people from the greatest almost to the least must know; because they are recorded as all don, not only in the presence of them all, but as the ob­jects and the entertainments of their senses, every one; so that if they were forg'd, not one of the whole Nation could be ignorant of it. And then,

3. If they knew them forg'd all; thatNum. 2. 32. Num. 11. 21. 600000 men, besides their wives and families, should en­dure this Moses, having brought them forth only into a wilderness, there to lay such a heavy Law, and so severe a yoke upon them, with such penal­ties annext to every least transgression, and adjure them to observe it on the account of all those pro­digies that had bin wrought among them, and upbraid them with stiffneckedness, rebellion, and appeal to their own senses for the truth of all this, [Page 10] and record all to posterity in this Scripture, cause all to be read before them; and that they should bear all this from him they knew so impudent a de­ceiver, and conveigh that Scripture and the faith of it to their posterity, ground their so strict, so chargeable Religion on that book, which they were certain had no word of truth in it: this sure tran­scends belief and possibility.

'Tis certain therefore, since the Jews of that age did perform the services requir'd, and in per­forming them according as that book directs, did teach their children the great works that God had don in their sight, therefore they believ'd those Mi­racles and Scriptures. And since it was impossible that they should be deceiv'd; if they believ'd them, they were true: and their posterity receiv'd from them the faith of this, and so deriv'd it on, that neither Gods dread judgments, nor mans cruelty can yet shake it. Now had they not bin don, and on that account conveigh'd; when ever they were broacht, and that book first appear'd, the men of that age must needs know their Fathers never had perform'd such services, had such a book read to them constantly, nor told them of such Miracles that had bin wrought: and therefore 'twas im­possible [Page 11] that they could have believ'd it had bin so from Moses, if it had bin true that it had first be­gun to be taught in their own time, or in theirs with whom they liv'd. And this discourse must be of force concerning every age, if we ascend until we come to that of Moses wherein all was effected. Yet besides this, they had also that perpetual Mira­cle in the High Priest's Pectoral, the Oracle of Vrim and Thummim, that did keep alive their faith and strengthen it: and they had Prophets constantly foretelling, as from God, things that were somtimes suddenly to come to pass, and somtimes not till many ages after, the event of which depended of­ten on the will of those that would not of some hundred years be born; others on Gods own im­mediat will and hand: and therefore none but God could look into, foretel, and bring to pass all those events. Now such were Ieremies predictions of the taking of Ierusalem, and the captivity of the people, and the express number ofJer. 25. 11. 12 years it would continue; Esays namingIsa 44. 26. 21. 28. & 45. 1. Cyrus, who was to release it, near two hundred years e're he was born; All Daniels prophecies, particularly that most eminent one of theDan. 9. 24. &c. Messiah this Christ Iesus, of whose Scri­ptures we are next to speak.

[Page 12] That that Iesus, whom Cornelius Tacitus the heathen historian in the fifteenth book of his Annals, calls Christiani dogmatis auto­rem, theTac. An. l. 15. Author of the Christian Doctrine, did work Miracles, and prophesy, bothVid. Raim. Martin. pug. fid. p. 2. c. 8. Jews and learnedCelsus apud Orig. l. 2. Iulian. Cyril. contra ipsum 6. Origen. contra Cel. l. 2. c. 69. Heathens do confess. But these Books tell us, when he first began to preach, he publicly cast out a Devil in the Synagogue on the Sabbath day; and at even, when the whole City was assembled, he heal'd all their sick, and cast out many Devils, which confest before all, that he was the Son of Mat. 8. Mar. 1. Luc. 4. God. Then he cast out a Legion of such mischievous malign Spirits, as having got li­cense, drove two thousand Swine headlong into the Sea & choakt them, which was known to the whole Country of theMat. 8. Mar. 5. Luc. 8. Gadarens▪ Before the Pharisees and Doctors, that came out of all the Cities both of Galilee, and Iewry, and Ierusalem, and so great a crowd as forc'd them to unroof the house to come to him, he freed one from hisMat. 9. Mar. 2. Luc. 5. palsy and his sins. A multitude was witness of the death ofMar. 5. Luc. 8. Iairus's daughter, and bewailing her laught him to scorn that undertook to raise her, yet he call'd her into life. And on a feast day in the Temple, before all [Page 13] the people, he recover'd one that had lain lame John 5.eight and thirty years: and when a widows son was carried to his funeral, and all the City follow'd him, he only toucht the bier, and bid himLuc. 7. live. With two fishes and five loaves he fedMat. 14. Mar. 6. Luc. 9. Joh. 6. 5000 men besides women and children, and with what they left they fill'd twelve baskets, when one basket car­ried all before they ate; so that they were con­vinc'd, he was that Prophet that was to come into the world: and with seven loaves he fill'dMat. 15. Mar. 8. 4000 afterwards and seven baskets. He comman­ded a dumb spirit out of him that had binMat. 17. Mar. 9. Luc. 9. Luna­tic, vext with a Devil from his infancy, before the people and the Scribes, whom his Disciples could not cast out. And whenJohn 11. Lazarus had bin dead four daies, and buried till he stank, yet at his call, altho bound hand and foot with grave cloaths, he came forth, all the multitude beholding. From so many more I chose out these, because they are re­ported don before the people, and the Scribes, and Pharisees, and Doctors. I might name hisMat. 24. Mar. 13. Luc. 21. Prophe­cies of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the pro­pagation and continuance of his Religion; even of the womans box ofMat. 26. Mar. 14. John 12. Spikenard, which event hath [Page 14] made notorious to the world. But his death was so even at the present: when if the rending of theMat. 27. Mar. 15. Luc. 23. John. 19. veil of the temple was apparent Miracle to all Jerusalem, the suns prodigious Eclips, when it was impossible by nature he should be eclips'd (it being then full moon,) was so to the whole Hemisphere. It serves the use I am to make of this, that 'tis here recorded, but withall Heathen d Phlegon apud O­rig: contra Cels. l 2. p. 80. Euseb. ad Olym. 202 ann. 4 Philop. & Georg. Syncel. Thallus apud A­frican. vid. Seal. animad. ad Euseb. Chron. p. 186. ad ann. 2044. Etiam vide Just. Mart. p. 76. & p. 84. & Tertull. A­pol. c. 21. & de isto terrae mot [...] agere Tacitum & Plin. l. 2. c. 84. scribit Oros. Hi­storians and Chronologers bear witness to it: for when they relate that in the 4th year of the 202 Olympiad, the year that is assign'd to Christ's death, there was such a great Eclipse as never had bin, day at noon turn'd into night, the stars appearing, and earthquakes as far as Bythynia, since 'tis apparent by the motions of the Heavens and the calculations of Astronomy, there could be none such then according to the course of nature, it must be this the Gospel speaks of. But beyond all this, 'tis registred here, that according as he had foretold, he rais'd himself from death theMat. 281 Mar. 16. Luc. 29. John. 24. 3d day; yea and many bodies of the Saints that had bin buried, long it may be some of them, he rais'd with him. That notwithstanding all the art and treachery of the Cheif Priests to conceal it, yet that very day he appear'dMar. 16. 9. First to Mary Magd­dalen, [Page 15] Luc. 24. 5.2dly the Women, 3dly V. 33. Peter, 4thly to them that went toV. 13. Emans, last of all on that day to the ElevenV. 36. 37. 41. except Thomas, being seen and handled by and eating with them; 6thly eight daies after to the same eleven withJohn 20. 24. Thomas; 7thly at the sea ofJohn 21. Galilee appearing in a miracle of fishes; 8thly to all his Disciples andMat. 28. 16. Mar. 15. 6. 500 Brethren more in Galilee, then to James,1 Cor. 15. 7. then to all his Apo­stles, promising them theLuc. 24. 49. Act. 1. 4. 5. Holy Ghost; and last­ly all of them beholding heAct. 1 9. Luc. 24. 51. ascended into Hea­ven, and ten daies after as he promised sent theAct. 2. 6. 7. 8. Ho­ly Ghost upon them in the shape of fiery tongues, so as that they spoke all Languages immediatly, to the amazement of the Jews of every Nation un­der Heaven to which they were scatter'd, that the Miracle might spread as far.

Now if all this be true, he that did these must have communication with a power above all that we account the powers of Nature; such an one most certainly as can perform whatsoever he in this book promises, inflict what e're he threatens; such as is divine. And since he wrought all these, on purpose to evince he came commission'd from that divine power, brought these Miracles as seals of that commission, that we might believe him, ther­fore [Page 16] whatsoever he delivers must be embrac't by us, as we hope for those blessed rewards that he proposeth, and on pain of those eternal torments if we do not; of both which it is not possible to doubt if these accounts be true.

2dly Since the most and greatest of these must be don but once; he could not be incarnated, and born, and live, and preach, and dye, and rise again, and go to Heaven every day, of every age, in every place, to convince every man by his own senses; to all those that did not see the matter of fact, there­fore faith of all these must be made by witnesses. And

3dly If we can be sure the witnesses that do as­sert a fact understand it exactly, if the things be palpable, and they must certainly know whether they were really don or no; and if we can be sure too, that they are sincere, will not affirm that which they do not know, and do not lye, their testimony of it must be most infallible: because it is impossible such witnesses can be deceiv'd, or will deceive.

4thly The witnesses in this case, the Apostles and the 70 Disciples (for I'le name no more) must needs know most perfectly: For they not only saw [Page 17] the Miracles, but wereLuc. 1. 14. instruments and parties in some of them; sent to cure diseases, cast out Devils, and knew whether all this were in earnest. And most certainly they saw (as all the Jews did too) Christ crucified, his heart peirc't with a spear, and his body buried; and whether they did see him risen, handle him, and eat with him they knew. And if they might mistake in his Ascen­sion, yet the fiery tongues, if such did light on them, they must needs see; and whether they them­selves, who spoke no Languages, could then speak Tongues, it cannot be but they must know. In these there is no possibility they could err, unless they did it wilfully: but then 'tis as impossible that they could do it willfully, if they were sincere and honest, such as would not lye.

Now that they were such, I might urge their simplicity and openness, without disguise, not covering their own errors; men who seem'd to live as well as preach against all artifice, and to have no design on any thing but the amendment and salvation of mankind. For he that can sup­pose it possible that they were otherwise, men of art and finess, that they contriv'd the story, must needs know; First, that such would not seal [Page 18] their falsehood with their blood; design no recom­pense to all their travels but contemt, and hatred, persecutions, prisons, whippings, wounds and death, to be the scum and the off­scouring the world; lay out their lives against their conscience to preach that Iesus, who did only call them out to be a1 Cor. 4. 9. spectacle to all the world, just such as Malefactors when expos'd to fight with, and to be devour'd of wild beasts. Their suffer­ings are too known to stay upon: St Pauls own catalogue of his for five whole verses 2 Cor. 11. is such, that to sustain them only for this end, to put a cheat on mankind; count a so labori­ous, vext, torn, miserable life and an in­famous death gain, so the fable might be beleiv'd: to think they could do this, is sure as great a madness as to do it. But yet I will suppose that possible; that those who wove the fable pleas'd themselves so infinitely with the expectations of im­posing on mankind, as that those hopes could make misery and death it self look lovely to them. But

Then 2dly that all and every of them should be of that mind, that amongst so many that bare witness of Christs Miracles and resurrection not a man should discover the cheat; that when their [Page 19] persecutors did with arts of torment as it were examin them upon the rack, they should work not one single confession out of them; that no ones courage should be broke, nor have a qualm so far as to acknowledg how it was, disclose the plot, lay open the confederacy, the whole myste­ry and the contrivance of it: When of twelve Disciples one was so false to betray his Masters person at a vile rate, yet that all of them, and many more, in a feign'd story of his Miracles should be so true to one another, that no engin of mans cruelty ever could screw out the secret, not one should betray the forgery and be a Iu­das where he ought to be: no not that Iudas, whose concern it was, whose treason to his Master had bin justified had he bin an impo­stor: yet that he should stir no least suspici­on of it, but should burst, choakt with his grief because he had betray'd innocent blood: This, if he knew it had all bin imposture, must be most stupendous.

But yet we will give them this too, that vain­glorious hopes of drawing in the world to fol­low them, might make all of them obstinate in secresy against all attemts of cruelty; or if some [Page 20] weak brethren did perchance discover, we may not have heard of it. But

For them 3dly to begin their preaching at Ieru­salem is yet more strange. To hope to draw men into a perswasion, and to bottom that perswa­sion upon Miracles, and a resurrection don a­mongst them there, where if discovery were made it must be made, and where it could not but be made if there were fraud. For to relate and write those works with every circumstance of persons, place, and time, where they not on­ly could examin every circumstance, but where they rather then their lives would find them false, if nothing else would, this must needs discover it. They preach them to the face of the whole multitude and of the Pharisees, and tell them they were don before their eyes, somtimes 500 and somtimes 5000 being by and the cheif Preists and Pharisees and Doctors: so that 'twas most impos­sible they should not know if they were true or false, as sure as there was never a Jew in all the Land, but knew whether there were a darkness over all the land when Christ was crucified. Now if these were forg'd to hope to draw Iews out of their Religion with apparent forgeries, which [Page 21] they knew such, speaks these Apostles men so far from art to manage a design of changing the Religion of the world, that they were mad be­yond recovery and president.

But let us give them that too. Yet tis certain 4thly that the Jews, if any such were wrought on by them, must be much more stupid to believe them upon the account of such things don in all the country, in their Cities, and the Temple, be­fore all the Nation, when they could not choose but know they were not don, if they were not don, but were fain'd all. For what ever might be motive to Christs followers and his Apostles, with the certain danger of their lives to forge the cheat, what possible temtation could there be so great to incline Iewes, the most stiffnecked people, the most stubborn in Religion in the world, to embrace a faith which nothing but the Cross and shame and misery attended, and which they must know false too? Had they so great lust to dye, as for that to bid farewel to their Moses, their Religion and their Law? It is impossible had they not known the truth of those things, that in waters of affliction, in Jerusalem, ipsis perse­cutionum fontibus, in that fountain, that springhead [Page 22] of persecutions, as the Fathers call it, they would ever have bin baptiz'd into Christ.

Yet suddenly in one day at one sermon of St Peter we read near 3000 were baptiz'd. Act. 2. at another strait 5000 Act. 4. and such begin­nings, such sums are requir'd to make good what the Governor of Palestine [...]. S [...]idas in vo [...]e [...]. Tiberianus tells the Em­peror, that he was not sufficient to put to death all those that confest themselves Christians. All which must needs have either bin convinc't those things were true, or else as well against their conscience as against the powers, thus embrac't that faith and death together.

Neither was this a first surprize of Christianity, as it had seiz'd mens minds at unawares; for it went on conquering till the world came into it, receiving the Religion with the loss of all that was dear to them in this world. For in one age from Christs death, what with the Apostles sermons, mi­racles, and a Whence Euseb. says. l. 2. Ecc. hist. c. 14. they at Rome not think­ing it enough to have heard the gospel once [...], not being contented with the preaching of the heavenly doctrine while it was but an unwritten doctrine, earnestly entreat St Mark, that he would leave in writing with them a monument of that doctrine which had bin delivered to them by preaching. Nor did they give over till they had prevail'd; which when St Peter knew by revelation of the H. G. [...] being extremly pleas'd with that desire and their earnestness in it, He approv'd, it and appointed it to be read in their assembly. writings also to confirm and keep men in the truth, and to conveigh it better to posterity, [Page 23] and their disciples after them, who went forth Euseb. l. 3. c. 37.delivering those writings, preaching on, and doing wonders also, very many Nations are recor­ded by Historians as converted almost wholly. And the truth of it is evident, since nothing but almost whole Nations, nor yet they but as buoy'd up by the wonders and the graces of Gods spirit, ever could be able to endure, or be sufficient to employ the Swords, the Flames, the Lions, and the other numberless tortures which the Iews and Nero and Domitian, and above all Trajan in that first age rag'd with, till they made their Cities, vil­lages and provinces so desolate, that the Proconsul Pliny, being frighted with the multitude of mur­der'd Christians, did advise with him about re­laxing his edicts, as he himselfl. 10. epist. 97. assures us.

It was the same the next age, when the power of MiraclesIust. Mart. dial▪ cum Tryph. Iu­daeo p. 247. 302 311. Iren. l. 2. c. 56. 57. yet liv'd, and those which Christ himself wrought were scarce all dead, (someExcerpt. ex Quadrat. Apolog. ad Hadrian. a­pud Eus. l. 4. c. 3. liv'd till near that time, who rose up with him at his resurrection;) when theseIust. Mart. A­pol. 2. p. 98. books, (writ by the will of God to be the pillar and foundation of mens faith in after ages, as saithIren. l. 3. c, 1. [...] Irenaeus in that age,) were also read in the assemblies weekly; when not only those that did assemble were byIust. Mar. A­pol. 2. Eccl. Smyrnens. apud Euseb. l. 4. c. 15. Ecclesiarum Vi­ennen. & Lug. dun. comment. de passione Mar­tyr. suorum a­pud Euseb. l. 5. c. 1. & Niceph. l. 3. & 4. Ha­drian [Page 24] martyr'd, but they put men to their oaths, to find out whether they were Christians, that they might massacre them.

And in the 3d, it was the like, when Miracles they say were notOrig cont. Cel. l. 2. p. 62. & p. 80. Tertul. A­pol c. 23. yet ceast, yet sure the greatest was the constancy of Christians in adhering to this book & patience in suffering for it. For they report the Niceph. l. 5. c. 29.sands on the sea shore almost as easy to be num­bred as the Martyrs of that age; what byV. Euseb. l. 6. & 7. [...]erè integros. de Sev. Sparti­an. & Tertul. de Decio S. Cypr. Valeri­an, Decius, Maximinus and Severus, but especially byEuseb. l. 8. c. 2. c. 6. Niceph. l. 7. c. 6. Euseb. l. 8. c. 11. &c. 9. Sulp. Sev. l. 2. Oros. l. 7. c. 25. Ignatii Patr. Antioch. literas. apud Scalig. de emend. temp. l. 5. p. 496. Spond. ad annum 302 n. 4. Dioclesian, who put so many men to death for not delivering up their Bibles to be burnt, and re­fusing to Sacrifice to his Gods, as if he meant to have depopulated the whole earth. And this is as notorious as that men do now profess that they are Christians, and that these are holy Scriptures. Therefore I shall need to go no further.

Now among so many myriads who on the ac­count of all these Miracles (whate're they were) suffer'd themselves to be converted to the faith of Christ, and then as if they car'd for nothing but Religion and their Bibles, for them bore the loss of goods, and life it self, and engag'd their posterity to do so also; that not one of these should know whether indeed any such miracles were [Page 25] wrought, if any were restor'd to life or no: (for if they knew, then they were true:) and that among so numberless a crow'd of teachers, who by assuming to speak languages, raise the dead, work signs, drew in those Myriads to Religion and the stake, and went before them, gave them an example both in faith and death; that not one of all those should believe either the Miracles or himself that did them: for if any one that did them did believe them, since he knew who did them, they must needs be certain: but not one of them to know it, sure is such a thing as neither could be don nor be imagin'd.

He therefore that requires strict evidence in things of faith which cannot bear it, he that calls for Mathematical demonstration, nor will believe on easier terms, yet is so credulous and so unwa­ry, that he can believe so many things which by the nature and the disposition of mankind I have de­monstrated not possible, which yet must be true, unless these scriptures be from God: 'tis plain he does not seek for certainty, but for a pretence of not believing; would fain have his Infidelity and Atheism look more excusable, and is not fit to be disputed with but to be exploded.

[Page 26] But if these scriptures be from God, then what­soever they affirm (with modesty I may conclude) is true. And therfore when St Luke Acts. 1. 1. de­clares his former treatise contain'd all that Iesus be­gan both to do and teach until the day in which he was taken up: since Christ before he did ascend taught every thing that was requir'd to be believ'd and don in order to salvation, and more too; ther­fore if his Gospel did contain all that he taught, and did, since it did not contain all abso­lutly, it must needs mean it contained all that was necessary, or it must mean nothing. And since the same St Luke in the beginning of that Gospel does affirm he wrot it,Luc. 1. 4. that Theophilus might know the certainty of those things wherein he had bin instru­cted; Tis plain he avers that the certain know­ledg of all those things wherein the having bin instructed made Theophilus a Christian, might be had out of that Gospel: and when St Paul says here, that the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Ie­sus, and St John in his 20 chap. v. 31. that tho he had not wrot all the things that Iesus did, yet those that he had wrot were written, that we might believe that Iesus was the Christ the son of God, and that be­lieving [Page 27] we might have life through his name; Tis e­vident the Scriptures say that what was written was sufficient to work that belief which was suf­ficient to life and salvation, as far as the credend [...] do concur to it. And when St Paul in that verse that succeeds my text, in most express particular words sets down the usefullness of Scripture in each several duty of a man of God, or preacher of the Gospel, both for Doctrine of faith, for reproof or correction of manners, and instruction unto righ­teousness, and tells you Gods express end in in­spiring it, and consequently its ability when so inspir'd was, that the man of God might be made per­fect, throughly furnisht unto every good work that be­longs to his whole office; tis most certain that what is sufficient for that office to instruct, reprove, correct and teach in, must needs be sufficient to believe and practise in for all men: i. e. what my text affirms, they are able to make us wise unto salvation.

I might call in Tradition universal to bear wit­ness to this truth for holy Scriptures, if having once demonstrated that they are Gods word, when that does affirm it, and bears witness to it, there were need of any other. And this I dare [Page 28] boldly say, that if the Scripture did say as expres­ly, that the Pope had a supremacy or soveragni­ty over the whole Church, or that he or the Ro­man Church were infallible; their definition, or the living voice of their present Church, a most sure rule of Faith, as it does say Scripture is able to make us wise unto salvation, those Articles would suffer no dispute, it would be blasphemy or sacriledg to limit or explain them by distincti­ons, when those sayings of the perfectness of Scriptures are forc't to bear many. Then we should have no complaints of the obscurity of those books; if those articles were either in the Greek or Hebrew, they would never say the Bible were not fit to be a Rule of Faith, because the Language were unknown to the unlearned, and they could not be infallibly secure of the Trans­lation; were they there they would account them sure enough, who think them plain enough al­ready there, and that we must believe them be­cause, Thou art Peter, Feed my sheep, and Tell the Church, are there.

And for him that shall affirm, all necessaries that must make us wise unto falvation are not in the Scripture, 'tis impossible to give a rational ac­count [Page 29] how it should come to pass that some are there, the rest are not.

It must be either on design, or else by chance. Now 1. That God should design, when very ma­ny things that were not necessary were to be writ­ten, that the main and fundamental ones should be omitted: and when of the necessaries most he did design for Scripture, then He should not suffer the Apostles to write the remainder of them: and yet what he would not suffer them to write, design'd that the Trent Fathers (who I hope have perfected the Catalogue) should write all: of these since 'tis not possible to give a reason, 'tis not therfore rational to affirm it was upon design. But

2. If he shall say it only happen'd so by chance, he does affront both Scriptures, and Gods Ho­ly Spirit, who, as they affirm, inspir'd them for this very end, to bring men to the faith and to sal­vation. But there is no place for chance in those things that are don in order to an end, by the design, impulse and motion of the infinit wisdom of Gods holy Spirit. He certainly does most un­worthily reproch his Maker, who can think it possible, that what he did design expressly and on [Page 30] that account alone to attain such an end by (name­ly that men should believe and be sav'd) and in­spire it for that purpose, should yet fail, not be sufficient for that purpose. And sure if it be suffi­cient it contains all necessaries, otherwise it were deficient in the main; yea so clearly also, as that they, for whose salvation they are intended, may with use of such methods, as are obvious and agreed upon by all men, understand them: for otherwise they could not be sufficient: if men could not be in­structed by them in things necessary both to faith and life, they could not make them wise unto salvation.

I must confess the Scripture labors under a great prejudice against this doctrine, from the different senses and interpretations that are made of it, e­ven in the most fundamental points, by them that grant it is the word of God; when yet all use the same means to find out the meaning, and no doubt they seek sincerely after it. But yet I think it evident this happens not from the obscurity of Scripture, since it is not only in the most express texts; but also if you should suppose the doctrins were as plain set down there as words can express them, yet there are such principles assum'd into the faith of different sects, as must oblige them [Page 31] to interpret diversly the same plain words. I am not so vain as to imagin that no places are obscure in Scripture, and I know that learned men have arts by obscure places to confound the plainest, just as the Philosopher did motion. Neither am I so perverse and singular not to think that univer­sal practise and profession of the Church does much assure and confirm explications of Scri­ptures, whether obscure or plain. But this I say, that the diversities of explication come, as I now said, from the diversity of principles or rather pre­judices, and that this only is the cause of it I thus demonstrate.

First in the Socinian, who interprets all those Scriptures, which the Catholic world hath still apply'd to the Divinity and satisfaction of Christ, that I name no more points, otherwise then the Church did alway; and I affirm he does it, not be­cause he thinks the words do favor his interpre­tation, but because his principle requires it; name­ly this, To admit nothing into his faith but what agrees with that which he counts reason, which in a Socinians faith is judg of all points in the last resort. And I mean reason upon natural princi­ples, and thus I prove it. Socinus speaking of [Page 32] Christ's satisfaction, says the word is not in Scri­pture, Ego quidem e­tiamsi non semel sed saepe id in sacris monimen­tis scriptum ex­taret, non ideir­co tamen ita rem prorsus se hub [...] ­re crederem. So­cin. de Iesu Chr. Servatore parte 3 c. 6 ope­rum tom. 2. p. 204.yet if it were there very often I would not believe it, because it does not consist with right reason, that is with the arguments that he had brought against it drawn from human principles. And therefore he there adds; those things which 'tis apparent cannot be, (i. e. that appear such to him who judges by the principles of natural reason, which yet cannot judg of supernatural and infinite beings,) tho the Holy Scripture does ex­presly say they are, yet must not be admitted; & idcirco sacra verba in alium sensum quam ipsa sonant per inusitatos etiam tropos quando (que) explicantur: aud for this reason we make use of even unusual tropes, strain'd figures to explain the words of Holy writ to other senses then the words themselves import. And so he therfore serves that great variety of words by which the Scripture does express Christs suffering for our sins, in our stead, as our sacri­fice; against the universal notions of those words, not only which the Church of Christ, but which the Jew's and which the heathen world had of them. And when his reason told him that Christ could not be God one with his Father, that he was so far from having any being from eternity, as [Page 33] that he was not at all, till he had a being from the Blessed Virgin; Therfore when the Scripture saies directlyJohn 10. 30. I and the Father are one, he must strain it to this meaning, are of one mind, we agree in one: altho St Iohn avert that, byJoh. 5. 7. The Father the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. 8. the Spirit, and the Water and the Blood, and these three agree in one. distinguishing those two expressly. Yea worse, when to prove that Christ had a being e're the world was made, we urge from the first Chap. to theHeb. 1. 10. 11. 12. Hebr. what St Paul produces from thePsal. 102. 25. 26. 27. Psalms, and does ap­ply to him most particularly. Thou Lord in the beginning hast lai'd the foundation of the earth, and the Heavens are the works of thine hands; they shall pe­rish, but thou remainest, and they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. They explain it thus: that God by Christ will at last destroy these Hea­vens, and this Earth, and change them, accor­ding to that saying in the Psalms; which altho the Apostle produce at length, as it stood there, both concerning the Creation and destruction of the world, yet he intended only to apply this last to Christ. And tho he say as well of the same Lord, Thou Lord in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thine hands, [Page 34] as, thou shalt change them; yet he meant no more but that this change God would effect by Christ. It is not possible that the text can give any the least countenance to this interpretation. The dif­ferent explication of this Scripture does not come from the obscurity of any words in it; for in the Psalm they and we understand the same words in the same sense exactly: therefore that we differ here, is not from any thing in the words quo­ted, but is wholly from the Principle. And we may not wonder, for the plain sense will not sute with their Hypothesis.

There are no other that are instanc'd in as dif­fering from us in points of faith but the Ro­manists. I know not whether they account those differences to be in things necessary to salvation. The reasonable­ness of this sup­position might be demonstrated if there were any need of it.If that be true that they allow (for what cause they know best,) some that are reconcil'd to their Church to communicate with ours, that is, join in our worship, and by doing so own the profes­sion of our faith in distinction to that of others, or at least espouse the scandal of the owning it; Then one would think they must account that there is nothing in our worship don that is unlawful, nor omitted that is necessary, nor any thing Hereti­cal [Page 35] profest, at least that there's no scandal in the owning that profession. For if there were, they did allow them only to profess and act gross sin, which certainly they would not do. So that poor Protestants when they are pleas'd to give leave may be no Heretics, and therfore there is nothing of it self in that profession faulty. But yet on the o­ther side since we see they call us Heretics, and when they have no power over us, damn us to Hell fires, and when they have had power, damn'd us to the fire and fagot also; sure they think the diffe­rences to be in things necessary. But yet the ac­count is easy, how not the obscurity of Scripture, but a Principle or prejudice does cause this. For We are bound in conscience to grant they believe their own Principles. Now 'tis a Principle with them, that their Church cannot erre, and therfore that their present faith and consequent depending practise was their faith and practise alwaies. That it may appear so, they must seek for countenance from Scripture: and if any thing there seem to thwart their faith or practise, they must smooth and disguise it, that it may look friendly. And 'tis most certain if the Scripture should be never so express against them, whilst they think it is not [Page 36] possible that they can err, they cannot think it possible Scripture can mean what it pretends to speak. Twere easy to make instances. As first for invocation of the Saints departed, which with them is a point of faith,L. 1. de Sanct. Beatit. c. 17. Bellar. and Cochleus produce that of the Psalms, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. Psalm. 121. 1. and altho the text directs that looking up ex­pressly to the Lord that made heaven and earth. v. 2. and tho it be a Principle with them, that on those everlasting hills there were no Saints in Davids time that could be invocated, they were all in lim­bo then they say; yet as I said, they would have countenance from Scripture, and for want of better they are therefore forc'd to interpret those words, I will lift up mine eys unto the Hills, thus, I will invocate the Saints. Now will any say 'tis the obscurity of this Scripture that does hinder Prote­stants from seeing the bright evidence of this ar­gument, and not rather that it is the weak founda­tion of this practice that does make the Romanists seek to build it on those mountains? So among those several texts which in the 2d Nicen general Coun­cil are produc't for adoration of the images of Christ and of the Saints, and are expounded to [Page 27] evince it, none is plainer then that which I pro­duced now from Bellarmin. I shall give one or two examples from the Psalms:Psal. 27. 8. Thy face Lord will I seek: Psal. 4. 6. and, Lord lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us: and again,Psal. 45. 12. the rich among the people shall entreat thy face: therefore David thought the picture of Christ was to be ador'd. It is their ownConcil tom. 18. p. 295. conclusion from these texts, And they have no better for it. Yet they saw the doctrine in these so apparently, as that with great opposition to great Councils, and more blood shed I think then yet ever any doctrine hath bin setled with, it was impos'd. Yea more, the first experiment of the Popes power over Soveraign Princes was on the account of this same doctrine: when for op­posing Image-worship Gregory the 2d excommunica­ted the Greek Emperour. PopeSigen. de reg­no Ital. ad an­num 712. l. 3. p. 94. Constantine for the same cause indeed had 14 years before don so to Philippicus, but he did not go much further, where­as Gregory absolv'd the Emperors subjects in the Ro­man Dutchy from their Allegiance; commanded them not to pay him any tribute, nor in any wise obey him; whereupon theySigen. de regno. Ital. ad annum. 726. l. 3. p. 103. kill'd their Governors, andLeonis impe­perium respue­runt, ac solen­ni sacramento se Pontificis vitam statum (que) in perpetuum defensuros, atque ejus in omnibus rebus autori­tati obtemperaturos jurarunt. Ita Roma Romanus (que) ducatus à Graecis ad Romanum Pontificem pervenit. Sigon. de Regno Ital. ad annum 727. l 3. p. 105. swore [Page 38] obedience to the Pope. And this was the begin­ning of St Peters patrimony, and it was thus gotten by this doctrine, which they saw so cleerly in these Scriptures; when they cannot see the con­trary in those plain words, Thou shalt not make to thy self any whether Graven image or idol it matters not, since it follows, nor the likeness of any thing which is in heaven above, &c. nor in those where God takes care expresly that himself be not wor­ship't by an image Deut. 4. 15. and then judg if 'tis obscurity or plainness that makes them see or not see doctrines in the Scripture: rather if it be not meerly the necessity of prejudice. So again we differ in the meaning of the 14th chap. of the 1. Cor. where we think St Paul asserts and argues, yea and chides against all service in an unknown tongue in the public assemblies, saying all must be don there so as it may be1 Cor. 1. 5. 12. 19. 20. understood, and to edification. But that which is perform'd there in an unknown tongue does notV. 6. 14. 16. 17. edify says he there: yet to justify this practice they must make it have a different meaning, which no Fathers counte­nance, but whichBasil. Mag. in reg. brevior. in­terrog. 278. Tom. 2. p. 641. Theodor. & Cecumen. in locum &c. and the commentary under St Ambrose's name makes these who in the Church of Corinth would use an unknown tongue in their sacred offices, (against whom St Paul directs his speech, and takes occasion for that which he saies in this chap.) converted Hebrew's; who would it should seem perform the service or at least some parts of it in the Christian Assemblies, as they had bin don of old in the Synagogues, in the Hebrew tongue, which the Corinthians under­stood not, against which St. Paul disputes. several expound as we do, yea [Page 39] and diverse of their own do so too, and particu­larly their Pope Iohn 8th in his 247th Epistle writing expresly on that Subject.Conc. tom. 24. p. 287. Once more, so their half communion, that it may be reconcil'd with that express commandMat. 26. 27. Drink yee all of it: and this do, obliges them to find another meaning: drink ye all must be directed to them only as A­postles; and do this must signify consecrate the Elements, altho St Paul apply it most directly to the drinking,1 Cor. 11. 25. and the drinking to his lay Co­rinthians. Nor dare they say in truth it means the other, for St Paul when he does say do this, did not intend to make his Lay Corinthians male and female allYet the Counc. of Trent Sess. 22. c. 9. can. 2. pro­nounces Anathe­ma to all those that shall say these words do this, quoting them also in the margin out of this place 1 Cor, 11 did not con­stitute preists, and ordain that they should offer the body and blood of Christ. Edit Col. Agrip. anno 1261. priests, and give them power to consecrate. The words are plain, ther's nothing in the text obscure that makes us differ; but the practise had by little & little grown upon them, till it became Universal, and so grew into their faith: and then since they believe they cannot erre, they must expound Christ's words so as they may not contradict their practise; because that would overthrow their Principle.

But the Church that builds upon no Principle but Gods word, can have no temtation to pervert or strain it, since what ever does appear to be the [Page 40] meaning of it, that their Principle must needs en­gage them to believe. And therfore if it say This is my body, we believe it; if it saies too after conse­cration it is1 Cor. 11. 27. bread, we believe that also: and be­cause it therfore says 'tis both, we so believe it one that it may be the other: which since both say it is impossible that it can be substantially, neither hath God in express words told us which it is substantially; therfore seeing when he calls it body, he is instituting his Sacrament, there's all reason in the world he should mean Sacramental­ly; since 'tis the most proper meaning: and by consequence 'tis bread substantially, as all waies of judging in the world assure us. Here's no stress on Scripture, as there is no Principle to serve; when as the other makes us differ, not in Scri­pture only, even where 'tis plainest; but tradi­tion too. For the most express and evident say­ings of the primitive Fathers are on every head of difference, as much the matter of contention as the texts of Scripture are; as it were easy to de­monstrate if that were my business. So that it is meer deceit to lay our quarrels to defects in Gods word, and particularly to its obscurity, which a man would think were evident enough from [Page 41] this that Children knew it. The last thing I am to speak to.

And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise un­to salvation through faith which is in Christ Ie­sus.

I cannot pass this, that it is St Chrysostomes ob­servation, that Timothy was nurst up in the Scri­ptures from his childhood. Yea and since his Fa­ther was an Heathen, he must have bin taught them by his Grandmother Loïs, and his Mother Eunice, whose faith St Paul speaks of 2 Tim. 1. 5. Chil­dren therfore then, and Women, and they sure are Laics, read the Bible. Yea and since they knew it, they must read it in a language which they understood: and we know where that is unlaw­ful now. If we consider the first prohibition that appear'd in that Church with Synodical autority against such mens having any Bibles in their own tongue, we shall find it was immediately upon the preaching of the Waldenses, one of whose doctrines it was,Vsser. de Chris. Eccle. success. c. 6. §. 17. that the Scripture was the rule to judg of faith by: so that whatsoever was not consonant to that must be refus'd. This they preach't in France and over Europe in the latter end of thec. 8. §. 1. 12 Cen­tury: [Page 42] and that Council which forbad their hav­ing of the Bible, we find lately put forth by the frierSpicileg. tom. 2. p. 624. D. Achery as held at Tholouse in the begin­ning of the 13th Century. It seems they apprehen­ded then their doctrines hardly would abide that touchstone: And they therfore had no surer, more compendious way for its security then to prevent such trial, taking care men should not know what was or what was not in Scripture. And it is not possible for me to give account why in their ca­techising they leave out all that part of the com­mandments, Thou shalt not make to thy self any graven image, &c. but this only, that they dare not let the laity compare their doctrine and their practice with that Scripture. But tho it is possible they might conceive some danger if the whole Scri­pture should be expos'd, yet in those portions which the Church it self chose out for her own of­fices, the little lessons, and Epistles, and Gospels, those sure one would think were safe: no, not their Psalter, Breviary, nor their Hours of the Blessed Virgin must they have translated in their own tongue; as thatcap. 4. Council did determin. And truly when the Roman Missal was turn'd lately into French, and had bin allow'd to be so by the general Assem­bly [Page 43] of the Clergy in the yearOrdonnance de Messieurs les Vicaire, Gene­reux de Mon­seigneur l'Emi­minentissime Cardinal de Retz Archeves­que de Paris, which is in the 137th page of the Extrait du Frecez verbal de l'Assemblee general du Cler­ge de France, te­nuë à Paris en l'année 1660. 1650. and when it was don it had the usual approbation of the Do­ctors and some Bishops, and then was printed at Paris with the license of the Vicars general of their Archbishop. Yet another general assembly of the Clergy the year 1660, whereat there were p. 128 of that extrait.36 Bishops, upon pain ofIbid. p. 128. & p. 139. excommunication forbid any one to read it, and condemn not on­ly that present traduction, but the thing in general asp. 130. poysonous, in an Encyclical Epistle to all the Prelates of the Kingdom: and inp. 141. le: enfans de nostre mere ont pris les ar­mes contre neus, ils la vent at­taquer jusques dans le Sanctuai­re, des Mysteres de son Espoux pour les prosti­tuer. another they say of him that did translate it, and the vicars ge­neral that did defend him in it, that by doing so they did take armes against the Church, attaquing their own Mother (namely by that version) at the Altar, in that sanctuary, that closet of her spouses my­steries to prostitute them: and inp. 132. another Epi­stle they beseech his Holiness Pope Alexander 7th to damn it not in France alone but the whole Church; which he then did by hisp. 147 and the same bull is printed in the Index of prohi­bited books set out by the com­mand of Alex. 7. at Rome 1664. p. 382. Bull, for ever inter dicting that or any other version of that book,h for­bidding [Page 44] all to read or keep it on severest paines; commanding any one that had it to deliver it im­mediately to the Inquisitor or Ordinary that it might be burnt forthwith. Now thus (what­ever it be otherwise) the mass is certainly a sa­crifice when 'tis made a burnt offering to ap­pease his holiness's indignation: when that ve­ry Memorial of Christs passion again suffers, and their sacred offices are martyr'd. To see the dif­ference of times; 'twas heretofore a Pagan Dio­clesian, a strange prodigy of cruelty, who by his edict did command all Christians to deliver up their Bibles or their bodies to be burnt: 'Twas here his Holiness, Christs Vicar, who by his Bull or­ders all to give up theirs, that is all of it that they will allow them, and their praiers also, that they may be forthwith burnt, or themselves to be excommunicated, that is their souls to be de­voted to eternal flames. And whereas then those only that did give theirs up were excommuni­cate, all Christians shun'd them as they would the plague; and multitudes, whole regions ra­ther gave themselves up to the fire to preserve their Bibles: now those only that have none, or that deliver up theirs, are the true obedient sons of [Page 45] that Church, and the thorough Catholics. I know men plead great danger in that book: it is repre­sented as the source of monstrous doctrines and rebellions. I will not say these men are bold that take upon them to be wiser then Allmighty God, and to see dangers he foresaw not, and to pre­vent them by such methods as thwart his ap­pointments; but I will say that those who talk thus certainly despise their hearers; as if we knew not Heresies were hatcht by those that understood the Bible untranslated: and as if we never heard there were rebellions among them that were forbid to read the Bible. For if there were a Covenant a­mong them that had it in their own tongue, so there was an Holy League amongst those men that were deni'd it. While those that had the guidance of the subjects conscience were themselves subject to a forreign power, as all Priests of that com­munion are, How many Kings and Emperors have there bin that did keep the Scriptures from their people, but yet could not keep their people from sedition, nor themselves from ruine by it? In fine when God himself for his own people caus'd his Scripture to be written in their own tongue, to be weekly read in public to, and day and night [Page 46] in private by the people; and when the Apostles by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost indited Scri­pture for the world, they did it in the language that was then most vulgar to the world: what God and the Holy Spirit thus appointed as the fit­test means for the Salvation of the world, to de­fine not expedient, as the Holy Fathers of Trent did, looks like blasphemy against God and the Ho­ly Spirit. But blasphemies of this kind are not to be wonder'd at from that kind of men, that call the Scripture a dumb Pigh. 3. de hier. Ecc. judg, Eccius. a black Gospel, incken Di­vinity, Pigh. de hier. l. 1. c. 2. fol. 8. written not that they should be the rule of our faith and Religion, but that they should be regu­lated by, submitted to our faith; Idem Pigh. that the autority of the Church hath given canonical autority to Scri­ptures, and those the chief, which otherwise they had not neither from themselves nor from their authors; And that if the Scriptures were not sustain'd by the autority of the Church they would be of no more value then Aesops Vid. Chemn. examen de S. Can. p. 47. fables. Peres. de tra­dit. par. 1. assert. 3. And lastly, that the people are per­mitted to read the bible was the invention of the De­vil.

But to leave the controversy and speak to the advantages which may be had from early institu­tion in the Scripture; 'tis so evident that I need [Page 47] not observe how 'tis for want of principles imprest and wrought into the mind in Childhood, that our youth is so licencious. And 'tis not possible it can be otherwise, when they have nothing to op­pose to constitution, when tis growing, and to all the temtations both of objects and example; no strict sense of duty planted in them, no such notions as would make resistance to the risings of their inclination, and seducements of ill com­pany: and they therefore follow and indulge to all of them. And in Gods name why do parents give their Children up to God in their first infan­cy, deliver him so early a possession of them? as if they would have Religion to take seizure on them strait, as if by their baptizing them so soon, they meant to consecrate their whole lives to Gods service, make them his as soon as they were theirs, as if they had bin given them meerly for Gods u­ses? And they therfore enter them into a vow of Religion almost as soon as they have them: why all this? if accordingly they do not season and prepare them as they shall grow capable. Why when they are but newly born their children, do they take care they shall be regenerate and born again Gods children? if they do not furnish them [Page 48] with necessaries, educate them into all the qua­lities and hopes that appertain to the condition of Gods children, as well as they do to that of their own. That parent which not only, like some delicate ones refuses her own breasts to her own infant, but provides no other to sustain it; that does only wash her babe from i'ts first blood and uncleanness to expose it the more handsom prey to wolves and tigers in the desert, is more savage then those tigers:Lam. 4. 3. even the sea monsters draw out the breasts, they give suck to their young ones, saith lamenting Ieremy, but he adds the daughter of my people is cruel like the Ostrich in the wilder­ness, Iob. 39. 14. which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and for­getteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them, shee is hardned against her young ones: such are they who when their children are so born again to God, yet as they shall wax capable provide not that which St Peter calls the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby: 1 Pet. 2. 2. but from their being washt so in the la­ver of regeneration, take no more care, but ex­pose them forthwith to such lusts and conversati­ons, as are much more wild and savage then those beasts in the comparison; to which they cannot [Page 49] choose but be a prey. They strive indeed, they say, to educate them into men betimes, that is, make them conversible and bold: and since for that they must engage them into frequent company, where they see and hear mens follies, that I say no worse; by that means they come to have their understand­ings stor'd with nothing but the Modes, and sins of conversation; fill'd with froth and puddle; men betimes only thus, as they have forwarded their inclinations to, and got an early understand­ing and experience of, those vices, which one would think men only could be equal for. But by this means the mind, that only part that makes us be men, is not only not improv'd, but dwarft. They do not only still continue children in their understanding, as to any thing that's real and solid; but the hopes of reason are destroy'd in them, and its growth kill'd, by turniug all its nurish­ment to feed the beast part; and the Christian is quite starv'd. There needs no other cause be gi­ven for the most part, why so many men have no Religion, own being Libertines, and profess vice; for want of education they have nothing in them that does check this, for they had no principles of a Religion instil'd into them. And if at any time [Page 50] it comes to pass that they think it is their inte­rest to take upon them the profession of some Re­ligion, they therfore, since they have no Princi­ples nor rules to judg by, are most apt to choose to profess that Religion, which is like to be most gentle to the courses they have steer'd, and are engag'd in. Now that men hope to find such an one, (whether by its constitution I shall not en­quire but,) by i'ts practice is but too appaernt. Ac­cordingly when they go over to it, they carry with them, and preserve in it the vices of their no Re­ligion; and by consequence they went not over seriously for Religion: and are therfore so much worse now then when they own'd no Religion, that they do their wickednesses with certainty of easy absolution, and so hopes of salvation; and by this are likely to be made twofold more chil­dren of Hell then before: and let them triumph in such conquests. Ther's nothing in the world that contributes so much to this as mens being not acquainted early with, instructed in, those divine rules and obligations to piety and virtue, which this book the Bible does afford. If men had bin season'd first with the knowledg and the sense of duty, with the comforts that are in it, with the [Page 51] apprehensions of great blessings that attend it; and the mischiefs that are consequent, indeed essenti­al to impiety and vice here; and their minds were furnisht with examples of both, which this book abounds with; and their hearts too rais'd with expectations of far greater blessedness in a life here­after, and with the belief that both that blessed­ness and life shall have no end: and were made sensible also of strange dreadful torments that a­wait the breach of duty, which shall also last for ever: If these impressions I say, did prevent all o­ther, and take up the mind, and had in them the stamp and character of God, and so there were a reverence and awe of him wrought in them, and they lookt upon him as concern'd in all this; how it was his word that said; and these sentiments were grown into the very habit of their mind; as it would not be easy to corrupt or soften such, so 'twould be much more difficult to shake them, since their faith is founded on the rock of ages. Besides the Holy Scriptures carry in them such an obligation of adhering to them, and to them alone, since they are sufficient to make us wise unto salvation, and are Gods word, that men would not be apt to exchange them for Legends, pious forgeries, for things that can make [Page 52] good no certain title from the Lord: for let them shew an equal derivation of it, bring it down through all the ages ae we have don the Scriptures title to him. Otherwise it justly may provoke Gods exclamation in the ProphetJer. 2. 13. ‘Jeremy: Be asto­nisht O ye Heavens, and be horribly afraid, be yee very desolate; saith the Lord, for my people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hew'd them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water:’ cisterns therfore that may leave them in a state to want a drop of water, when their tongue shall be horribly tormented: whereas he that drinks that living water which Christ gives, his Joh. 4. 14. compard with c. 6. 34. word, shall never thirst, but it shall be a well of water in him springing up to everlasting life.

FINIS.

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