THE INTEREST OF REASON in RELIGION; WITH THE IMPORT & USE OF Scripture-Metaphors; AND The Nature of the Union Betwixt CHRIST & BELIEVERS; (With Reflections on several Late Writings, especially Mr. Sherlocks Discourse concerning the Knowledg of Jesus Christ, &c.) Modestly enquired into and stated.

By Robert Ferguson.

Nisi homini Deus placuerit, Deus non erit, homo jam Deo propitius esse debebit:

Tertull. Apol. cap. 5.

London Printed for Dorman Newman at the Kings Arms in the Poultrey; and at the Ship and Anchor, at the Bridg-foot on Southwark-side, 1675.

TO THOMAS PAPILLON, Esquire.

SIR,

IT cost me no long deliberati­on, to whom I should di­rect these Discourses, the Obligations I am under to you and your Family, rendring them yours by the Title of a just debt. The Interest you have in me by an Entail of peculiar kindnesses, gives you a right to my Studies & the Fruits of them. The declining the Imputation of Ingratitude is [Page] my plea for prefixing your Name to these Papers. And though the concerning you in their behalf may seem an Injury, yet not to have done it (my condition in the world allowing me to make no better returns) would have been a Crime. You must either be more wary, and have a greater fore-sight in dispensing your Fa­vours, or else you must be content to forgive such offences as your self have made the results and effects of Duty. So that were there any indecency in this Ad­dress, yet the Laws of Gratitude do supersede those of Congruity. But indeed this Dedication is as much yours by the Rules of Pro­portion, as by the Measures of Justice. For as you have few Ri­vals with respect of the Qualifica­tions [Page] required in an active Life, (which I forbear to make any discovery of, being that which every one observes, and which all your Modesty cannot conceal) so you are endowed with a capa­city adapted to the highest con­templations. Nor is the knowledg of Aristotle's Moods and Figures, together with such Technical Terms as Affectation & Design, rather than necessity and useful­ness have introduced, needful to render a person a fit judge of what is solid and Rational. I more dread being arraigned at the Tri­bunal of brisk Reason, assisted by Faith and the Spirit of Life in the New Birth, than being combated even by your Philosophick Hero's with their Artificial Premises and formal Ergo's. Your accomplish­ments [Page] are not the less commenda­ble because you owe them entire­ly to your self, the Idea's of your Mind, and the Exercise of your own Faculties; and not to the Drs. Chair, and an Apprentice­ship under University Readers. Though I pay as high a venerati­on to Academick Learning as any man doth, and judg Philosophy instead of being Prejudicial to Religion, to be very useful both to promote Faith and Obedience in our selves, and to defend the Mysteries of Christianity against the rude assaults of petulant Ad­versaries; yet as things are com­monly managed, I must needs say that it hath often proved a very great Nuisance. 'Tis through the encumbring our Minds with in­significant Terms and idle Phan­tasms, [Page] & the deflouring our Virgin Intellects by absurd Dogm's, that too many, instead of commencing either solid Scholars, or being prepared to be good and humble Christians, come abroad into the World, either Disputations Whiflers, or sworn Enemies to E­vangelical Grace. Sir, as I know but few that owe their Religion more to a Rational choyce than you do; so there are also few that have distincter Notions of the Reasons why we are not able adequately to conceive the Myste­ries of it, and of the Reasons why we are, nevertheless, to believe them. And if true Eloquence be to speak pertinently, and to pro­portion words to things, 'tis na­tural to you; nor need you ad­dress to the most esteemed Ma­sters [Page] of it, to learn either how to arrange a Discourse in the best Method, or to adapt the Senti­ments and Words by which you express them, to the Subject of which you Treat. And as you are furnished with more than an ordinary prudence of knowing when to be silent, and with a Fa­culty to be so when it is better to hold ones peace than to speak; so by obliging your self to say no­thing but what you think, there is a Grace as well as commanding­ness accompanies what you say, and you find others favourable to what you aim at, through their be­ing possest that you are byassed by no design, but meerly influenced by Love to Truth and Justice. Sir, there is one thing more which I must not omit, as having main­ly [Page] contributed to the Inscription of these sheets to you, namely, that while such as pretend to be more sagacious than others, or who have a mind to put in a claim to no vulgar discretion, pitch upon this as the Medium to support their title to both, that they dare deride the Mysteries of Faith, or profess them­selves Scepticks in the Essential Doctrines of the Gospel, or, which is as bad as any of the former, be­tray their profession by an unsui­table Life; you have learned to unite Obedience to Orthodoxie, & to espouse the precepts of the Gos­pel with the same zeal that you do the Articles of the Creed. The Opinions here arraigned lye as cross to your belief as they do to mine, nor do I impose upon you the patronage of any thing that [Page] thwarts your perswasion, only I submit to your Judgment whe­ther I have duely encountred them, and how well I have defended the Truths which they undermine. Nor shall I subjoyn any more, save that I am as much as I can, though not so much as I ought,

SIR, Your most faithful and Humble Servant, Robert Ferguson.

TO THE READER.

HE that hath enrolled himself under the Banner of Truth, needs not make any Apology for his coming into the Field, when the Cause in whose defence and service he is listed, calls for his appearance. Whosoever con­su [...]ts either his Name or his Ease, when an assault is made upon the Christian Faith, deserves the punishment either of a Coward in his Profession, or of a Traitor to it. 'Tis not any Personal provocation, nor any pleasure I take in controversie, but meerly a regard to the Truths of the Gospel, and the Interest of the Souls of men, that hath engaged me in this Vndertaking. If there be not strength to be encountered in the Oppositi [...]s of our Adversaries, yet there is petulancy, & that ought to be re­buk'd. [Page] Though I cannot bring my self to believe that Mr. Sherlock deserves a Reply, yet I am very well satisfied that the Doctrines which he undermines, de­serve to be explain'd & confirmed. And as I have made this my Principal Task, so I have only employ'd my self about those Truths which seem to require some further Irradiations of Light than are every where reflected upon them. I have espoused the Quarrel of no Man, un­less you will say that by defending the common Cause of Christians, I have vindicated those whose chief Crime is their adherence to the Gospel, and their declaring the Mysteries of it in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, com­paring spiritual things with spiritual. And as I have endeavoured to regulate all my Conceptions by Scripture and Reason, so whatever Proposition shall be made appear to lye in a Repugnancy to these, I am ready openly to retract it. If any shall attaque these Discourses with Reviling & Reproachful Language, I do declare before-hand that I reckon my self superseded from Replying. I will combat no man at these weapons; nor do I think it a reputation [...] any to [Page] Rail (how much in Fashion soever it is) though he should be able to do it in fine Language.

How often Mr. Sherlock hath con­tradicted himself, and by what falsifi­cations he hath imposed Principles on the Non-conformists which they never held; how he treats the Sacred Writers with as much contempt as he doth T. W. and Burlesques the Scripture no less than others have done Virgils Poems; how he hath renounced the Doctrine of the Church of England, and borrowed his Glosses on the Bible, as well as his Dogmatical Notions, from the Socini­ans; how Illogical he is in all his de­ductions, and slandereth his Adversa­ries by undue Inferences; should have been the Theme and Argument of this Preface, and accordingly I had digest­ed Materials for it; but the Book being swell'd to too great a bulk already, and there being others engaged against the same Author, within whose Province these things must needs lye, as having undertaken the arraignment of his whole Discourse, I do wave the pro­secution of them all at this time. And shall detain the Reader no longer, than [Page] to tell him, that since the Printing off the first Chapter which treats of the In­terest of Reason in Religion, there is come to my hands a Treatise of Humane Reason, in which there are many i [...]l things, though, as it often happens, they be well said, I know not an Opi­nion more pernicious in its Consequen­ces, than that Men may be as safe in the Event by embracing Turcism as Christi­anity, and as secure of happiness in their Errours, as others are in the Truths which they do espouse. Should Persons conspire to overthrow all Revelation, they could not fall upon a Method more likely to effect it, than by endeavour­ing to persuade the World that there are things equally as strange in the Bible as in the Alcoran. 'Tis enough that our Rea­son may serve us (if duely attended to, and pursued) to discern that this or that Religion is false, nor are we therefore to be judged Innocent, because we neg­lect the Exercise of it in making the Dis­covery. No man can embrace a false Re­ligion but by a Criminal Deviation from Reason, and who will admit one Trans­gression to take Sanctuary in another? That whole Treatise proceeds upon a [Page] false Hypothesis; namely, that as mens belief of the Scripture is owing to the conduct of Reason, so they may disbe­lieve it by the same Guidance. Corrupt Ratiocinations are recommended by the Name of Humane Reason, and being once cloathed with this Livery, every Foolery as well as Abomination appeals to them, if not for its justification, at least for its being but a Venial offence. No man ceaseth to be an Offender in Morals, nor doth he therefore deserve pardon, because he hath the concurrence of his judgment in what he does. Though no man can chuse or prosecute what his understanding continues to represent to him as Evil, yet its fail [...]ur in point of duty neither alters the Essential Nature of things, nor makes his condition more safe for acting under the conduct of it. Some men would have no restraint laid upon their Vnderstandings, because they will submit to none in their lives; and they would have their corrupt Ratiocina­tions in Doctrinals as Venial, as they seem in reference to Manners to presume the gratifying of their Lusts to be. 'Tis to be hop'd, that for the undeceiving such as are already imbu'd with the princi­ples [Page] of it▪ and for the preventing o­thers from being [...]ain [...]ed and inveigled, some one or other will bring the whole under an Examen. In the interim I shall adventure to say, that 'tis as weak in regard of the Reasonings which occur in it, as it is pernicious in its tendency. Farewell.

THE CONTENTS.

CHAP. I. Of the Interest and Use of Rea­son in Religion.

INtroduction, 1. Motives influ­encing to the handling of this subject. 2. The Import of Rea­son. 3. What's meant by Religion. 4. The serviceableness of Reason in demonstrating the Existence of a Deity, with an account of the Topicks on which it proceeds. 5. Its useful­ness in proving the Divinity of the Scripture, with the several Media which it makes use of to this purpose. 6.7. Of the Authority of the Scrip­ture as emerging from its Divine O­riginal. [Page] 8. Our Belief of the Bibles being the Word of God, Divine and Infallible, seeing built upon Media that are so. 9. The serviceableness of Reason in our attaining the sense and meaning of the Word, with an account of the Measures which we are herein to be guided by. 10. Of Scripture-Consequences, and the usefulness of Reason in making the Deductions. 11. What appertains to Reason, in reference to Doctrines, which besides the Foundation they have in Revela­tion, have also evidence in the Light of Nature; this exemplified with re­spect to the Immortality of the Soul, and the certainty of Providence. 12. The concernment of Reason in de­fending the whole of Religion from the Clamors and Objections of Gain­sayers. 13. Nothing contradictious to Right Reason to be admitted as a Mystery of Faith: Many things ob­truded [Page] for Principles of Reason which are not so. The prejudice done Religion by mistaken Philosophy, pursued and declared in various in­stances, 14.

CHAP. II. Of the Import and Use of Scrip­ture Metaphors.

THe Inducements upon which some men endeavour to discharge all Disputes in and about Religion. The Grounds of their Quarrelling at Me­taphors; with an account of the rea­sons of my discoursing this Theme. 1. No Forms of speech used by the Holy Ghost, but what are proportion­ed to the end for which they are made use of. The Bible adorned with all sorts of Figurative Expressions. Some fancy more Tropes in the Bible than there are. Mr. Sherlock, among [Page] others, guilty of this. 2. The Nature of a Metaphor; what Tropes it hath affinity with; the Rules and Lines by which it is distinguished from them. 3. The Reason why God, who doth all things according to infinite sapi­ence, hath so often adopted Metaphori­cal Terms to declare himself, and the Things of his Kingdom in and by. 4. When an Expression is to be account­ed Metaphorical. 5. How to attain the true conceptions that are lock't up under Metaphors. 6. An Enquiry into the use of other common Meta­phors, with an account of their use­fulness, and the Measures that are to be attended to in the Vsurpation of them. 7. The Non-conformists injuriously charged for their Vsage of Metaphors; the Contempt thrown upon them falls often with the same weight upon the Holy Ghost. None so Guilty of turning Religion into Alle­gories [Page] and Metaphors as the Modern Conformable Clergy. 8.9.10.

CHAP. III. Of the Union of Believers with Christ▪

THe Concernment of the Church of England, in reference to some Discourses lately Published on this subject: 1. What seems most especi­ally to have influenced Mr. Sherlock to depart from the Doctrine of the Catholick Church in this matter. 2. The Doctrine of the Nonconfor­mists not fram'd to befriend men in a course of Vngodliness. Mr. Sher­lock's is 3.4. The Notion of Vnion in General stated, with an account of the arduousness of resolving the Na­ture of Common Vnions. 5. 'Tis the Person of Christ that Believers are V­nited to. 6. The Vnion we are en­quiring [Page] after, consists not in the speci­fical Oneness which is betwixt Christ and us, through his having assumed Humane Nature. 7. Nor doth it con­sist in any mixture of his Bodily sub­stance with ours through a Carnal feeding on him. 8. A personal V­nion disclaym'd. 9. Not meerly a Legal Vnion; and yet a Legal Vni­on between Christ and those given to him of God, justified. 10. 'Tis not barely a Love-Vnion. 11. Christi­ans not Vnited to Christ by means of a previous Vnion with the Church. 12. What ever it be, 'tis more than a Political Union. 13. An Intelligible Notion of it assigned, and the whole shut up.

CHAP. I. Of the Interest and Use of Reason in RELIGION:

Sect. I.

THe Interest which all Chri­stians have in the Truths of the Gospel, doth suffi­ciently Authorize a Con­cernedness in every Be­liever; that they be neither directly Invaded, nor se­cretly Supplanted. And the more Impor­tant the Doctrines are either in them­selves, or with Respect to their Influence on the Hopes and Comforts of such as Be­lieve and Profess Christianity the less [Page 2] chargeable as Importune is he, who En­gageth either in the Explication or De­fence of them. Besides the Name of William Sherlock, and the Quality of Rector of St. George Buttolph [...]Lane, Lon­don, which the Author Characters him­self by: I understand nothing of the Person whose Writings I am now to In­counter; and I wish for his own sake, as well as the Truths, that I had no further Occasion of knowing him than as his In­terest lies in the Church of England. But having vouchsafed the World a further Discovery and Manifestation of himself, by a Stated Opposition of the Immediate Union of Believers to Christ, and their be­ing justified by the Imputation of his Righ­teousness; Truths wherein the whole of our Concernment and Expectation con­sists: He must not Resent it Amiss, if while we are Examining what he would Obtrude upon us in these and some other things; we Regulate our Conceptions of him, in relation to what he Inti­mates to us of his Principles in those Mat­ters.

The Prefixed Imprimatur of Doctor Parker, would tempt one to Suspect, that all this is done, not only under the Con­nivance, [Page 3] but with the Approbation of more than we are aware of. I confess Men are filled with Surprizal and Amaze­ment, that it should be so; considering the Manifest Repugnance of our Authors Principles, not only to the Opinions of private Doctors of the Church of Eng­land, but the Declared Articles of the [...]aid Church. Though it be Unjust to Ascribe the Sentiments of every private Writer to the Society whereof he is a Member; yet when Errors are Vented under Allowance, others besides the Au­thors become Accountable for them. The Quality of the Licenser, and the Relation he stands in to a greater Person, in whose Behalf in all these things he is Reputed to Act, would seem to Plead that the Fame and Dignity of the Church of England, as well as the Interest of Truth, bespeaks some Vindication from her Ec­clesiastical Rulers, or Dignified Members in these Matters. Or it is easie to be imagined who will Suffer under the Im­putation and Dishonour of them. In the mean time, a sober Inquiry into, and Disquisition of these Points, may, I hope, be pursued without Offence to any; e­specially being managed without passio­nate [Page 4] Heats, or Invidious Reflections. In­vectives and Satirs do not only disparage Religion in general, but betray the Cause in whose Behalf they are used: Nor are they Adapted to proselyte any, but such who have forfeited the Use of their Judg­ments, and Resigned themselves to the Conduct of Impudence, Noise, and Cla­mour. For my self, I profess, such an Aversation to the Method some of our Modern Writers take in Treating their Adversaries, that I shall not so much as insinuate Suspicions, or raise Misprisi­ons of the Tendency of the Notions here contended against, further than the Un­folding and Pursuing them to their Springs necessitates me: And if thereby any who wear the Livery of the Church of England, shall be found to do the Work of the Assembly at Cracovia I cannot help it▪ unless I should betray the Cause I am pleading for. Yet I do here­by no ways intend to List even those a­mong them whose Principles they have imbib'd: Remembring what one said of the Milesians, that, may be they were no Fools, though they did the same things which Fools are wont to do. However, 'tis fit to be declared upon whose Foun­dations [Page 5] they Build, and with whose But­tresses they support their Fabrick; and withall, that it falls too evidently under the Prospect of every discerning Person, who are like to Reap the Harvest of these kind of Sowings. Now though I might be thought sufficiently to acquit my self by continuing on the Defensive, and only examining the Reasons which have swayed Mr. Sherlock, to depart from the Common Judgments of other Men; and though this would be the easiest Under­taking, and in the Judgment of every in­different Person, enough both to Unde­ceive such as are already Misled, and to pre-arm others against the Danger; yet Designing the same universal Usefulness to the Reader, as if I were not confined to Reply to anothers Book; I shall (to­gether with an Answer to my Adversaries Exceptions) endeavour to State and E­stablish the Doctrines in whose Defence I appear, and withal Attaque him in the Opinions he Erects against them.

Nor am I without Hope, that I shall find the Generality of those who are stiled Conformists, as well as those who are termed Non-Conformists (notwithstand­ing their Disciplinary Controversies) [Page 6] Candid and Favourable. The things here contended for, are the Joynt-Con­cernment of both; and the Opinions opposed, are inconsistent with, and De­structive to the Hitherto Received Do­ctrine of that Party, as well as this. If I receive no other Fruit of this Interpo­sure, but the Awakening others to more Matur'd Productions, I shall not Repent my Labour; the putting a Common Adversary to a stand till greater Forces Rally, being of some account, though the Victory be Reapt by other Hands.

Sect. 2. As to the Method here ob­served; 'tis such as I judge Rational, be­ing not only Adapted to the Discovery and Vindication of Truth, the Un­masking and Conviction of Errour; but accommodated to the Instruction and Be­nefit of the Reader, which would be greatly obstructed by following our Au­thor, [...]. Nor is it needful in a way of severe Disquisition, to pursue every Inconsiderable passage in his Book, of how bad Aspect soever it be; for if his Prin­cipal Notions be overthrown, and if the Pilla [...]s upon which the Mayn of his Fa­brick bears be Under-min'd; to follow [Page 7] the Quest and Chase of every Ex­pression in Reflections and Digressions, would be of little Use, unless to Swell this D [...]scourse, and Enhance the Price of it.

The only thing I am aware of lyable to Exception, as seeming to have no Rela­tion to the Theme here undertaken; is, that which follows in the present Chap­ter, concerning The Interest of Reason in matters of Religion. Now though the Usefulness of such an Essay will be a suf­ficient Apology with the Candid and In­genuous; yet I have two things else to ju­stifie it by, should any prove severe and morose.

1. I find a People (so far as I know) Innocent of all Undue Reflections up­on Reason, publickly Arraigned of ha­ving rais'd a Cry against it, as the great Enemy of Free-Grace and Faith, and zealously endeavouring to run it down, Glanvil in his Re­commendation of Reason in the Af­fairs of Religion, subjoyned to his Phil [...]sophia Pi [...], P. 150. under the mis-applied Names of Vain Philosophy, Carnal Reason, and the Wisdom of this World. And that here the Enemies of Dio­cesan-Government of the Church began, [Page 8] upon this they insisted still; and filled their Books, and Pulpits, and private Corners with these Cantings. That this is now their Engine to overthrow all Sober Prin­ciples and Establishments; that with this the People were Infatuated, and Credit was reconciled to Gibberish and Folly, En­thusiasms and vain Impulses, (Idem, ibid. p. 230.) That this is the Food of Con­venticles to this day; the Root of the Mat­ter, and the Burthen of their Preachments. That under pretence of Reasons being con­trary to Religion, Men have been prepa­red to Swallow any thing but what is Sober, and to make every thing that is Absurd a Mystery; and that the Non-conformists (for 'tis those he there Impeacheth) by the Disparagement of Reason, have made Re­ligion a Medley of Phantastick Trash Spiri­tualiz'd into a heap of Vapours, and formed into a Castle of Clouds, and expos'd to ev [...]ry wind of Humour and Imagination. (Idem, ibid. p. 224.) And as another is pleas'd to charge them, That a thwack­ing Contradiction can neither Stagger nor Astonish them; but that they will stand their Ground against all the Dint of Argu­ments▪ and by the Assistance of the Spirit of God, maintain Conclusions in Defiance [Page 9] to their Premises: That say what you will, prove what you can, demonstrate the In­coherence of their Notions, and the Wild­ness of their Conceits, they will Foil all your Wit and Carnal Reason with a Caution a­gainst vain Philosophy and Humane Learning, and a Disdainful Reflection a­gainst the Natural Mans Ignorance in the things of the Spirit. Def. and Con­tin. of the Ec­clesiast. Policy. p. 119.120. And that they become acquainted with the Workings of the Spi­rit, because they are not capable of Understanding the Methods of Reason, and Laws of Argumentation. Is it not now necessary, that we should Vin­dicate our selves from these Aspersions, and endeavour to give a Stop to those Groundless and Unjust Clamours; at least, to make appear that the whole Party ought not to be Traduced, because of the Extravagancies of a few? And were there nothing else in it, this alone is enough to justifie the Expediency, as well as the Seasonableness, of Unfolding the whole Concernment of Reason in Religion. But,

Secondly, I find that the chief To­picks, by which our Modern Writers [Page 10] Accost whatsoever they dislike, is either a pretended repugnancy in the things themselves to Reason; or at least that they are things unintelligible.

As to the first. We are told that Calvin and his followers obtrude pure non-sense and contradictious blasphemies upon our belief, with as much Rigour and boiste­rous zeal as the most indispensable truths of the Gospel. And an instance is given, by alledging that there is required as confident an assent to the black do­ctrine of irrespective Re­probation, Def▪ & Con­tin. of the Ec­clesiast. Pol. p. 665. as to our Savi­ours Death and Resurre­ction. And that it is made as necessary a point of Faith, to believe that the Almighty thrust innumerable Myriads of Souls into being, only to sport himself in their endless and unspeakable Tortures; as that he sent his own Son into the World to die for the Re­demption of Mankind; Or as another represents it, That God so decreed some to eternal ruine, Mr. Lamb's Serm. before the Ld. Mayor, on 2 Thes. 3.2. p. 32. that he made him­self the Author both of their sin and Destruction. Were this a true account of the [Page 11] doctrine of their adversaries in the matter of Reprobation; I should not only par­don, but commend their zeal in opposing it. But they are so far from doing either Calvin or his followers justice in the de­claration they make of his and their opi­nion, that they betray either wonder­full ignorance in the writings of those au­thors, or a very bad Conscience in re­porting them. Suppose that Calvin and his followers, mean generally no more by Reprobation, but the negation of E­lection, or a purpose of Soveraignty backt with justice of leaving a certain number of the lapsed Sons of Adam in their fallen state; I would fain know what in all this interferes with principles of Reason▪ or what attribute of God militates against it. To leave persons in a condition into which they were willfully brought by the Protoplast, without Gods withdrawing of any aid from him necessary to have pre­vented it, or having any other accession to it, save his not hindering it; is not of difficult Reconciliation to Reason, as nei­ther reflecting upon the divine Justice nor Goodness, and is very suitable to Soveraignty, which at least implies God so far master of his own Grace, that he is [Page 12] Debtor to no sinner for the Communi­cation of it. Yea, should we besides a Negation of Grace to fallen man, In­clude in our Idea of Reprobation, a pur­pose in God, (partly with regard to Cor­ruption arisen in us through the destitu­tion of the divine Image, partly with re­gard to those sins which will infallibly, but still upon the election of the creature ensue) not to entertain such Creatures in the arms of his Love, but to adjudge them to the punishment deserved. I know nothing in it, that thwarts the Rational nature of Man, or grates upon the per­fections of God. And as I take this to be a truer draught of the doctrine of Re­probation as defended both by Calvin and his followers, than the Scheme pre­sented us by Dr. Parker and Mr. Lamb: So I know no considerable exception that it is liable to, except that it doth not serve the design of charging the Non-conformists for obtruding contradictions upon the World, so well, as the other doth. I might also add that Gods Eter­nal purpose of Glorifying his Soveraignty in way of mercy upon a certain num­ber of the defiled Guilty sons of Adam, in decreeing to give them Grace and [Page 13] Glory, without respect to foreseen Faith or good works, as the cause, motive or inducement of his Decree; though in the execution of it he as well designs Faith and Obedience, being made the Qualifications of Life, as that they shall precede our being Crown'd with Bles­sedness; is traduced by not a few of our modern Divines as repugnant to Rea­son. But when they should demonstrate it to be so, they betake themselves to mis-representing their Adversaries. Some of them alledge us affirming God to make Heaven our Fate, not our Recompence; and Bliss our destiny, not our Reward. Others report us asserting a Predestina­tion to the end without regard to the means; And that being Elected, we may indulge our selves in a course of sin, for nothing shall obstruct our Felicity. There is no opinion so innocent which these men will not substitute a perverse Gloss upon; nor any Do­ctrines so far from being either absur'd or blasphemous, but they will improve them till they become so. I reckon that ignorance of Books, together with an unhappy education, hath led many to undue thoughts of the sentiments of [Page 14] their Brethren: But that some are in­fluenced to these sinistrous representati­ons by worse causes, I fear there is too much ground to suspect. However, should any of our opinions either concer­ning the subjects before mentioned, or any other, be found to involve any thing in them reflexive on the Holiness and Goodness of God, or to draw along with them consequences repugnant to princi­ples of Reason, I dare say it is to be as­cribed to our ignorance, and not to our Design. And the evincing of this was one main thing which influenced me to the writing of this Exercitation. What­ever can be made appear to lie in a con­tradiction to Reason, we profess our selves ready to disclaim it. But we are apt to believe that a great deal which only crosseth some false and lubricous Princi­ples that Dogmatists have baptized with that Name, falls under the imputation of disagreement with Reason. The repug­nancy to Reason fastned upon some Te­nets, is rather the result of Ignorance, prepossession, and sometimes Lust; than their contrariety to universal Reason, or any genuine Maximes of it.

And as diverse Doctrines which men [Page 15] of late are come to be in a dislike of (for from the beginning of the English Refor­mation it was not so) are endeavoured to be discredited upon a pretended in­consistency that is in them to Reason: So there are some others which are at­tempted to be run down, because sup­posed unintelligible. And a loud cry is raised against whole societies of Men, as if they never imagine themselves Chri­stians, till they have transubstantiated the common Creeds, into unaccountable and inexplicable Problems; and never be­lieve themselves to be good men, Mr. Lamb's Serm. p. 38. till they have brought their Bodies and Minds into that Fame, that they can with ease be ecstatical in all their devotions & expressions of Religion, and that they do therefore disbelieve propo­sitions because they may be understood. Or as another chargeth them with holding things then fit to be believed, Mr▪ Glanvil, ubi supra, p. 222. when they are impossible to be proved or understood. It hath been hitherto judged that the incomprehensibleness of a Doctrine through the Sublimity and extension of its object, is no [Page 16] just Bar to the Truth of it. Nor can I but wonder that any who have studi­ed the weakness of their discursive Capa­city, the feebleness of intellectual Light, how soon it is dazled with too bright a splendor, the confinement and bounda­ries our understandings are subject to; together with the Majesty of Gospel Truth, the immensity of the objects of the Christian Faith; should think the arduousness of framing distinct and a­dequate conceptions of them, a suffici­ent ground for their being renounced and disclaimed. And yet this seems to be the Standard that some men regulate their belief by: And if I mistake not, had no small influence on M. Sherlock in the carrying him off from the recei­ved opinion of the immediate Union of Beleivers to Christ. For as himself in­forms us; any other Union save a po­litical, is a Riddle and Mystery which no body can understand, the perfect know­ledge of which must be reserved for the next world, or the coming of Elias, p. 194. And that whosoever asserteth any other Union, doth make it more than a mystical Union, that is an unintelligible union, p. 197. That the Immediate union [Page 17] of Believers to Christ, is to be reckoned a­mong things Unintelligible, p. 147. And to do him Right, as he describes it, it is so; but I hope to make it appear, ere we have done, that he both injure's the Truth, and those whom he there personates in his ac­count of it: However, it is mainly be­cause of the Unintelligibleness of an im­mediate Union, that it is disclaym'd. For, as the same Person tells us, He cannot un­derstand how our Union to Christ, can be an Argument to unity and concord among our selves, if we are united immediately to the person of Christ, without being first uni­ted to his Church, p. 152.

We shall enquire hereafter whether our Author hath in this point justly enter'd his charge or not. But because we can neither distinctly understand what it is to be above the grasp and fathom of Rea­son, nor duly judg of Objects that are so, nor arrive at any solid resolution how we are to demean our selves towards Doctrines of such a Genius and Complexi­on, without enquiring into the whole use and concernment of Reason in matters of Religion; I have therefore upon this ac­count as well as the former, undertaken this disquisition.

[Page 18]§. 3. In the pursuing this great Enquiry; we are first to fix and settle the sense and meaning of the Terms. The neglect of this would expose us to confusion and im­pertinent wrangling in all that we are to say. Reason then is first taken properly for the faculty of Reason, or the Soul as it falls under the denomination of Mind and Understanding; And in this acceptation it may be considered either as it ought to be, and originally was; or as it exists sub­jectively in us, weakned, darkned and tainted by the Fall. The rational Facul­ty as it exists in us since the ingress of sin, differs much from what it was in its pri­mitive Creation. It was then like the Sun in his Meridian exaltation, when without the interposure of a cloud to en­velope and obscure it. Knowledge then inhabited our minds in no less plenty than light doth the universal Luminary. Be­sides what the Soul consider'd in it self as it came out of the hands of God under the stamp and impress of his Image lay's claim to; it was wonderfully advantaged by a delicate and apt disposure of bodi­ly Organs, and due proportion and tem­perament of the Animal Spirits, as well as by an excellent Harmony that appeared [Page 19] in all the parts of the visible Creation. There was no jarring in our Humors, no blemish in our material Organs, no de­fect in our vehicular Spirits, no obstructi­on in their meatus or passages, no disorder in the world, nor fallacious medium in the Universe, till the Fall caused them. But alass! Now, the mind is not only weakned and rendred groveling by the loss of its primitive Sanctity and Rectitude; but is infected with Lusts, biassed by Passions, brib'd by the sensual Appetites, clogg'd and hindred by the distemperature of in­disposed Organs; not to mention the pre­possessions and anticipations of Infancy, the prejudices of Education, with the deceits and impositions we are liable to, by the delusion of external Objects; for such the World is filled with, since dis­order and confusion arrested it. Howe­ver, Reason considered thus, namely as denoting the rational Faculty though e­ven corrupted by the Fall, is First, That which disposeth and adapteth us for con­verse with objects of Revelation. As the Light of the Sun had been useless to us, had we not enjoy'd an Organ suited to re­ceive the impression of its Beams; so all supernatural Revelation had been both [Page 20] impertinent and superfluous, were we not endow'd with Faculties fitted to con­verse with it. God in all his Transacti­ons with us, supposeth us Rational; and, he is a degree worse than an Enthusiast, who affirm's that the way to be a Christian, is, first to be a Brute. Revelation doth not cassate the use of our Intellectual Powers, but supposeth them; and by en­riching them with discoveries which they could not by their own search have arri­ved at, it perfects them; and they plain­ly acquiesce that these are the things they sought for, but could not find. There neither is nor can be any thing in Divine Revelation, that overthrow's the rational Faculty, or crosseth it in its Regular and Due Exercise. There is a Spirit in Man; And the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding, Job, 32.8. For, as Austin saith, Poss [...] reci­pere fidem est Naturae, licet actu credere sit Gratiae. De praedest. Sanct. cap. 5. Both external Revelation, and internal Illumi­nation presuppose us to be Rational; and through the want of a Faculty that is so, Brutes are incapable both of the one and the other. Secondly. Reason taken for the intellectual Faculty, or the Principle of [Page 21] Apprehension, Judgment and Ratiocina­tion, is both the instrument whereby we certainly discern the grounds and motives of Faith; and the vital Principle of the Act it self. Faith is not only an Elicit act of our minds, but besides, there can be no act of Faith without a previous exercise of our Intellects about the things to be believed. Faith being nothing but an unwavering assent to some Doctrine up­on the account of a divine Testimony, our Reason must be antecedently perswa­ded that the Testimony is Divine, before it can assent to the Doctrine upon the Au­thority and Veracity of the Revealer. Though in many things we can give no Reason for what is believed, distinct from Divine Testimony; yet we ought to be always able to give a Reason for the Au­thentickness, and the Divinity of the Testimony. For, as Austin saith, Quod intelligimus aliquid, rationi debemus; quod autem credimus, auctoritati. Lib. de utilit, Credendi, cap. XI. The Authority of God in the Scripture is the formal reason of Assent to such and such Doctrines, but it is by the means and exercise of our intellectual Faculties that we come to un­derstand such a Declaration to proceed [Page 22] from God; and that these things are the sense of such and such Propositions. Thus the Understanding of Man is the Candle of the Lord, resolving us in the Authentick­ness and Sense of Revelation; though Faith be built upon the Credit only of the Revealer. To this purpose is that of Maximus, [...];In Orat. [...]. Should I neglect the Scripture, Whence should I have Know­ledge? Should I relinquish Reason, How should I have Faith?

Secondly, Reason is taken Metonymi­cally for common Maxims, or principles whose Truth is inviolable. And these are. (1.) Such as be so connate to Sense and Reason; that upon their bare Repre­sentation they are universally assented to. These Principles are not borrowed from Reason as their first Spring and Ori­ginal, but having their Root in the nature of God, and Essences of Things, are only discerned by the Rational mind and In­tellect. I do not say that we are brought forth with a List and Scroll of Axioms [...] Imprinted upon our Faculties; [...] that we are furnished with such [Page 23] Powers, upon the first Exercise of which about such things without any Ha­rangues of Discourse, or previous Ratio­cinations, we cannot without doing Vio­lence to our Rational Nature, but pay them an Assent. Those Truths whether Logical, Moral, Physical, or Mathematical; Whether General (because of their Uni­versal Influence upon all Disciplines) or Particular (from their being confined in their Use to some one Science) are justly stiled Natural, being Founded in the Na­ture of God, the Essences of things, and the intrinsecal Rectitude of the Rational Faculty. These are the Foundations and Measures of all Science, Knowledge, and Discourse; being in themselves certain and incontestable. Nor is there any o­ther proof to be Assigned of them besides their Consonancy to the Rational Facul­ty, to which they are centrally co-united. And forasmuch as all men pa [...]take of the same Reasonable Nature, the certainty of these Principles is Universal. What is disconvenient to the Essential Nature of one Man being so to the Nature of ano­ther; nor is it possible to dissent from them, without doing Contempt to our Faculties. Of this sort are these; That [Page 24] a Thing cannot at the same time be, and not be: That every Effect supposeth it's cause; and many such like. Nor doth Theology borrow these from Philosophy, but they are pre-supposed to both, and Sci­ence as well as Faith builds upon them. 2dly. There are others whose Truth and Certainty are not understood; nor do they win our Assent upon their first and naked Representation; but they are discovered by a Chain of Ratiocinations, and their Verity established by a Haran­gue of Inductions. These are stiled Ac­quired Principles, being by an Industri­ous Exercise of the Discursive Faculty, raised, and superstructed upon the former. Nor are they less True than the other, though more Remote from the first View of our Understandings. Whatsoever is rightly deduced from Unquestionable Pre­misses, hath the same stamp of Truth upon it, that the Principles have from which it is inferred. Where there is a just Con­nexion between Conclusions and Princi­ples; the latter cannot be denied without questioning the former, from which they are fetch't. The Deduction of these by regular Trayns of Argumentation, is the work of a Philosopher; and these being [Page 25] Systematically digested, constitute Phi­losophy. So far then as Philosophy in­cludes only Conclusions duly inferred from Unquestionable Principles, so far there is not only a Friendly Alliance be­tween it and Divinity, but a wonderful Subserviency in it to Faith. Nor is any thing true in Philosophy that is not so in Theology. For, as Aristotle sayes, [...]. Whatsoever is true must be Con­sentaneous to all that is so. lib. 1. Prior. Analyt. cap. 32. And as he adds else­where, [...]. All Truth is consentient to Truth, lib. 1. Ethic. cap. 8. What our Souls in the Re­gular Exercise of Reason instruct us in, is as much the Voyce of God to us, as any Revelation he vouchsafeth us in the Bible. Nor can we Impeach the Genuine Issues of Reason, without Reflection upon God who hath Endowed us with a Faculty ne­cessarily swaying us to those Determinati­ons. The Connexion of one thing with another, together with their mutual De­pendencies, ariseth not from the Arbitra­rious Appointment, and Designation of Men; but is involved in the Essences of Beings, and Results from the Habitudes [Page 26] which the Soveraign Author hath link't them in, one to another. Ipsa veritas Con­nexionum, non instituta sed animadversa est ab hominibus & notata, ut eam possint vel discere, vel docere. Nam est in re­rum ratione perpetua & divinitus insti­tuta. August. lib. 2. De Doctr. Christ. cap. 31. Might we not upon Prolep­tical Principles which are assented to as soon as the Terms are under­stood, superstruct innumerable others; There were no Room left for Medi­tation, Study, Ratiocination, and Dis­putes. All our Knowledge would be either Intelligence instead of Science, or else we must in all things, save a few Self-Evidents, introduce and Estab­lish Scepticism. Were there no secon­dary Principles, which when once de­duced from self-evident Maxims, we may with safety rely on; we must either deny that there are any Habitudes, Re­lations, Dependencies, or Oppositions betwixt one thing and an other; or we must affirm the rational Faculty to be in it's Natural Exercises universally Falla­cious. The indissoluble Connexion that is betwixt one thing and another, transferrs the Denomination of Truth [Page 27] to the Acts of our Mind stiled Judg­ments, and the Declarations of these Acts to others called Enunciations; whenso­ever we Judge and Pronounce of things as they really are. For, as the Philosopher sayes, [...]. I readi­ly grant, that partly through the Weak­ness and Darkness which have arrested our Understandings; partly through the Nature, Quality, Extent, and Arduous­ness of Objects, and our Inadequate Conceptions of them; partly through Prepossessions, Prejudices, and the B [...]as of Lusts, and Passions that we are sub­ject to; partly through Supineness, Sloth, and Inadvertency, we do often prevari­cate in making Deductions and Inferen­ces from self-evident, and universal Max­ims, and thereupon establish Mistaken and Erroneous Consequences, as Prin­ciples of Truth and Reason. But then this is the Fault of Philosophers, not of Philosophy; or of Philosophy in the Concrete, as Existing in this or that Per­son, not in the Abstract, as involving such a Mischief in it's Nature and Idea. Our intellectual Faculties being vitiated & tinctur'd with Lust, enthralled by Pre­dices, [Page 28] darkned by Passions, engaged by vain and corrupt Interests, distorted by Pride and Self-Love, and fastned to Earthly Images, do often impose upon us, and lead us to obtrude upon others, absurd Axoms for Undoubted and In­contestable Principles of Reason. It is this [...], Adulterate Reason, which we charge, for being Un­friendly to Religion. And that it is not without Grounds, shall be after­wards evinced: For I doubt not but that I shall make it appear, that the most malignant Heresies which have Infected the Church, had their Founda­tion in Vulgar, and received Axioms of Philosophy. Whoever will trace the Errors which have Invaded Divinity to their Source, must resolve them into ab­surd Maxims of Philosophy, as their Chief Seminary. Herein we intend not to offer any Disparagement to Reason, but rather to pay it our Utmost respect, by rescuing it from being accountable for every vain Imagination, and false Conse­quence, which are super-scribed with the Venerable Name of Principles of Reason.

§. 4. Having setled the Notion of Rea­son, [Page 29] we are next to fix the meaning of Religion. And this is the more needfull in that men have always had the art of Baptizing their weaknesses, fooleries, yea blasphemies with the sacred name of Mysteries of Faith; and afterwards defen­ding them from the assaults of Reason, by saying, They are Mysteries against which Reason is not to be hearkned to. By matters of Religion, then, we mean in general as well the Agenda as the Creden­da of it; What we are to perform as well as what we are to believe; what re­lates to Obedience as well as what re­lates to Faith. Now the rule, measure and standard of both is the Revelation of God in the Scripture. The Bible is now the only perfect Code and Register of na­tural Religion, as well as the only Systeme of supernatural. Those very Articles of Belief, and Duties of obedience which were formerly Natural with respect to their manner of promulgation, are now in the Declaration of them also Superna­tural. The Scripture is the only Canon of Faith and Rule of Practice. So the Apostle stile's it in more than one place, Phil. 3.16. Nevertheless whereto we have already attained, [...], let us [Page 30] walk by the same Rule. As if he had said, what ever dissensions there be amongst us in lesser things, let us orderly regulate our life and course (for that is the import of [...]) according to the Canon of the Gos­pel. And in the same sense, Gal. 6.16. as many as [...] walk ac­cording to this Rule, peace be on them, &c. The Apostle, having to do with such as in­troduced [...] an other Gos­pel, Gal. 1.6, 7. for their conviction and plainer refutation, he gives us a brief epi­tomy and summary both of the Law and Gospel, and at last shuts up the whole debate with this, that whoever walks ac­cording to this Canon or Rule, peace shall be on him. [...] signifies originally either a Reed made into an instrument wherewith they measured buildings, or the limits and bounds of land: or a small Line which Ar­chitects square out their work by, that all the parts of it may bear a just symmetry & proportion one to another; and from this proper use of it, it is Metaphorically trans­ferred to signifie any kind of Rule. Thus Aristotle useth it. [...]; By that which is right we know both its self, and that which is crooked: for the Canon is the judg [Page 31] of both. And thus [...] Canon is a law that cannot err, and an infallible measure. Phavorin. Or [...] signifies that which is over Scales, commonly called the Tongue of the Ba­lance, which is the director whereby what­soever is put into the Scales is tryed, and hath its just weight adjudged. So the Scho­liast upon Aristophanes tells us that [...] is that which is [...] over the Scales & which brings them to equality. In Ran. This Original signification of the word also, hath given rise to its Metaphorical use of denoting any rule or measure, by which either Doctrines or Practices are tried and ad­justed. And thus the Scripture is the true and only perfect rule of all matters of Religion. [...] the exact balance and Rule or Canon of all Truths. Chrysost in 2. ad Cor. cap. 6. Iren. lib. 4. cap 69. The [...] Rule of im­mutable and unshaken Truth. Austin improveth this Notion of [...] excellently) De baptism. cont. Donat. lib. 2 cap 6.) Let us not, (say's he,) bring our deceitful balances, where we weigh what [Page 32] would, and do as we would, saying accord­ing to our fancy, Behold this is heavy, or behold this is light: but let us bring the Di­vine Balances of the Scriptures; and weigh things, or rather not weigh them, but learn and take notice what the Lord himself hath weighed. I rather chuse to fix the import of Religion thus by its reference to its Rule, than by an enumeration of particulars. First, that it may appear that whatever be the concernment of Reason in Religi­on, yet it is not to invent or introduce a­ny new Doctrine; nor to propose or in­stitute any new Media of Worship, nor to obtrude and force upon us any new mo­ral Duty. Nothing Magisterial doth here belong to it, its highest preferment is to minister. Secondly, Because there is nothing in the Scripture but what we are under the Sanction of; and, as it is oc­casionally made known, we are to pay a rational subjection to it. Though every thing in the Bible be not alike Necessary, yet every thing in it is alike True, and our concernment lie's more or less in it. There is no other Rule by which we are to be regulated in matters of Religion but the Bible, and therfore the import and meaning of those Terms can be no other­wayes [Page 33] decided but by their habitude to their measure. For this end did God give forth the Scripture that it might be the foundation and standard of Religion, and thence therefore are we to learn its Laws and constitutions. The instructing mankind in whatsoever is necessary to his present or future Happiness, was the design of God in his vouchsafeing the World a supernatural Revelation, and foreseeing all things that are necessary to such an End, the respect and veneration which we pay to his Sapience & Goodness oblige us to believe that he hath adapted and pro­portion'd the means thereunto. Now the Doctrines of the Bible are of two sorts: 1. Such as besides their being made known by revelation and believed on the account of Divine Testimony, have also a foundation in the light of Nature, and there are natural Mediums by which they may be prov'd. These are com­monly called Mixt, but I think amiss, seeing they are not made up of dissimilar parts, nor have they objects complicated of different natures; are only discove­red by different Lights, proved by diffe­rent Media, and assented to as well upon Motives of Reason as Divine Authority, [Page 34] of this kind are the Being and Attributes of God, the Immortality of the Soul, the certainty of Providence, the Existence of a Future State, and Moral Good and E­vil. 2dly. Such as have no Foundation at all in Nature, by which they could have been found out, or known; but we are solely indebted to Supernatural Revelati­on for the Discovery of them. Their Objects having their Source and Rise only from the Will of God, a Supernatural Revelation was absolutely expedient to promulge them. And these also are of two Sorts. (1.) There are some Do­ctrines which though our Understandings by Natural Mediums could never have discovered; yet being once revealed, our Minds can by Arguments drawn from Reason, facilitate the Apprehension of them, and confirm it self in their Belief. Of this kind are the Resurrection of the Body, and Satisfaction to Divine Ju­stice, in order to the Exercising of For­giveness to penitent Sinners. (2.) There are others which as Reason could never have discovered, so when revealed, it can neither comprehend them, nor produce any Medium in Nature, by which either the Existence of their Objects can be De­monstrated, [Page 35] or their Truth Illustrated. Of this kind are the Doctrines of the Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Son of God.Mornaeus. Keckerman▪ Claubergius, Bisterfield, &c. I know that there are many Divines, who though they confess that the Doctrine of the Trinity could never at first have been discovered by Reason, yet being once Revealed, they contend that Reason cannot only Illustrate, but De­monstrate it. But upon the best Inquiry into their Arguments, I find most of them palpably Fallacious; and others of them so Disproportionate to what they are brought, that they do not so much as af­ford some saint Adumbrations of it. I readily grant that this and the other My­stery are by a clear and necessary Connexi­on united with other Doctrines of Faith, which Reason enlightned by Revelation, can give a rational Account of. For the My­stery of the Trinity hath a necessary Con­nexion with the Work of our Redemption, by the Incarnation of the Son of God; and the Work of our Redemption by the In­carnation of an infinite Person, hath the like Connexion with the necessity of sat [...]s­fying Divine Justice, in o [...]der to the Dis­pensing [Page 36] of Pardon to repenting Offenders; and the necessity of satisfying Divine Ju­stice for the End aforesaid, hath a necessary Connexion with the Doctrine of the Cor­ruption of Mankind; and the Corruption of Humane Nature is both fully confessed, and can be demonstrated by Reason. Thus though all the Objects of Faith have not an immediate Correspondence with the Objects of Reason; yet these very Do­ctrines of Faith which lye remotest from the Territories of Reason, and seem to have least Affinity with its Light, are necessarily, and clearly connected with those other Principles of Faith, which when once discovered, Reason both ap­proves of, and can rationally confirm it self in. As two Neighbouring Kingdoms are joyned together, though some of their Provinces touch not one another: So by those Objects of Faith which have a clear Connexion with Objects of Reason, there is a mediate Connexion between Reason and those Objects of Faith that lye farther off. I need not add that the most Mysterious Doctrines of Religion are necessarily connect­ed with the Belief of the Bibles, being the Word of God; and that is a Truth [Page 37] which Reason is so far from rejecting, that it can demonstrate it.

§. 5 Having setled the meaning of the Terms, namely, what we understand both by Reason and Religion. We are next particularly to enquire of what Signifi­cancy and Use Reason is in Religion; that so we may give to Reason the things that are Reasons, and yet reserve to Faith the things that are Faiths. And whereas we have said, that there are some Princi­ples of Religion, which besides the Evi­dence that they have in Revelation, have Foundation also in the Light of Nature, it may be easily apprehended, that more is to be allowed to Reason in and about those, than about these the Knowledge of which we are Debters only to Revela­tion for. As to the Latter, Reason, acquits it self in all that belongs to it, by consi­dering what Doctrines are revealed to us in the Scriptures, and deduce [...]ng Conse­quences, which by clear Connexions, proceed from them; leaving Faith to assent to them upon the Authority and Veracity of the Revealer. But as to the former, Reason doth not sufficiently dis­charge it self by discovering that they are [Page 38] Revealed; and thereupon committing it to Faith to Embrace them upon Divine Testimony: But it ought further to en­quire what Inducements and Media there are in the Light of Nature, by which they may be also Known and Demonstra­ted. And as this is to be allowed to Rea­son in all Matters of Religion, which have Foundation in Natural Light; so especi­ally in and about such Principles of it as are necessarily pre-supposed to Faith; of which kind are the Being of God, and the Divinity of the Scripture. Though all our Religion be in an eminent Manner, built upon the Divinity of the Scriptures, and some parts of it know no other Foun­dation but the Bible; and accordingly a­mong such as own that Book for the Word of God, We need no other Bottome to Erect our Faith upon, nor any other Mea­sure to regulate our Debates, and to de­termine our Controversies by; yet when the Divinity of the Scripture it self is con­tended about, it is neither a just nor a rati­onal Way of Procedure, barely to affirm that 'tis Divine, but we are to prove that it is so. If we will not believe the Alcho­ran, to proceed by Inspiration from God, upon the Testimony of a Mahometan; no [Page 39] more is it to be expected, that a Mussul­man should believe what we call the Bible to be God's Word, upon the naked Testimony of a Christian. As upon the one hand, we should betray Religion to every Infidel, by pretending to build our Faith upon a Book, whose sacred Autho­rity we cannot justifie; so upon the other hand, we oblige our selves to the worst of Drudgeries, in being resolved to believe what we can give no Reason for. Besides, we should not only by such a Method, un­avoidably expose our selves to the Di­ctates of every Enthusiast; but with all Minister a just Plea to such as dislike Religion, because of it's Unfriendliness to their Lusts, for the renouncing of it.

Now our Belief of the Scripture sup­poseth the Existence of God, and there­fore our knowledge of his Being must precede our Faith of the Divine Autho­rity of the Bible. I readily grant that the Scriptures may be brought not only to such as own their Truth; but even to Infidels as a proof of a Deity: But then it must not be upon the Score of their naked Testimony, but upon the account of their being of such a Frame, Nature, and Qua­lity [Page 40] that they can proceed from no other Author. And thus we Arrive by the Scripture at an Assurance of God's Exist­ence, as we do at the Knowledge of a Cause by it's Effect. But so far as we assent to any thing upon the Credit of the Scriptures meer Testification, we are necessitated to presuppose the Existence of God; it being only upon the account of his Veracity in himself, and that the Bible is a Divine Revelation, that we do without the least guilt of vain Credulity, because upon the highest Reason, impli­citely believe it.

In discoursing the Serviceableness of Reason in demonstrating the fore-menti­oned Articles, together with those other Doctrines that have their Foundation not only in Revelation, but also in Na­tural Light, and such common Principles which all men assent to: I shall confine my self to wonderful Brevity; and rather point at Arguments than pursue them. And to begin with the Existence of God. Were there no Supernatural Revelation in the World, there is enough both with­in us, and without us, to Convince us of the Being of a Deity. Hence though God hath wrought many Miracles to Con­vince [Page 41] Infidels and Mis-Believers; yet he never wrought any to Convince Atheists. Nor do the Pen-Men of Scripture at­tempt to prove it, but take it for granted, as being evidently manifest both by Sen­sible and Rational Demonstration. I shall not here insist on the Cartesian Ar­gument, drawn from an Innate and In­graft Idea of God: For upon a most seri­ous perusal of what is alledged by Cartes himself, Claubergius, De Bruin, Doctor More and others, in Vindication of it; together with what is produced by Gas­sendus, Ezekius, Vogelsangius, Derkennis, Doctor Parker, and others against it: I look upon it as little better than a Sophism; and to maintain an Article of such Import by a Medium, either Weak or Fallacious, is to betray the first Fundamental of Re­ligion. I know no Idea's formally In­nate; what we commonly call so, are the Results of the Exercise of our Reason. The Notion of God is not otherwise in­bred, then that the Soul is furnished with such a Natural Sagacity, that upon the Exercise of her rational Powers, she is Infallibly led to the Acknowledgment of a Deity. And this is first effected by her looking inwardly upon her self and her [Page 42] own Acts; and we are with Facility, and by a short way of Argumentation, conducted thence to the Existence of God. For, (1st.) We perceive that the Faculty re­sident in us, is not furnished with all per­fections, and therefore not Self-existent, nor indebted to it self for those it hath, o­therwise it would have cloathed it self with the utmost perfections it can Imagine; and by consequence, finding it's own Ex­ility and Imperfection, it Naturally, and with Ease, arrives at a perswasion of de­riving it's Original from some First, Su­preme, and Free Agent who hath made it what it is; and this can be nothing but God. (2dly.) We perceive that we have such a Faculty that apprehendeth, judgeth, reasoneth; but what it is, whence it is, and how it performeth those things we know not: And therefore there must be some Supreme Being, who hath given us this Faculty, and understands both the Na­ture of it, and how it knoweth, which we our selves do not. (3dly.) Our Natures are such, that assoon as we come to have the use of our Intellectual Faculties, we are forced to acknowledge some things Good, and other things Evil. There is an Unalterable Congruity betwixt some [Page 43] Acts and our reasonable Souls, and an Unchangeable Incongruity betwixt them and others. Now this plainly sways to the belief of a God: For all distinctions of Good and Evil relate to a Law under the Sanction of which we are; and all Law supposeth a Superiour, who hath Right to command us; and there can be no Uni­versal Independent Supreme but God. (4ly.) We find our selves possessed of a Faculty necessarily reflecting on it's own Acts; and passing a Judgment upon it self in all it does: Which is a further Con­viction of the Existence of God; for it implies a Supreme Judge to whom we are accountable. (5ly.) We find that we are furnished with Faculties of vast Ap­petite and Desires, and that there is no­thing in the World that can satisfie our Cravings; and by consequence, there must be some Supreme Good, adequate and proportionate to the Longings of our Souls, which can be nothing but God. This is his Meaning who said of the Hea­then, that [...], By the Light of Nature, they nodded after a Summum Bonum: It were to put a Slur upon Nature, to suppose that she hath put those Propensions and Inclinations into us, [Page 44] only to delude and abuse us. (6ly.) We find the Frame of our Rational Powers to be such, that we cannot form a Notion of God, though it were in denying him, but we include his Actual Existence in it. Optimus, Maximus, or a perfect Being is the Idea we have of God, whensoever we think of him. Now this includes actual Ex­istence, it being a greater Perfection for a thing to be Essentially, Independently, and Necessarily; than to be contin­gently, and by Origination from another, on whose Pleasure it's Existence depends. Nor do the School-Men mean more when they tell us, that this Proposition, God is, is Self-evident: For all Propositions whose Predicate is included in the Essence of the Subject, are stiled Per se nota; be­cause if we do but once understand the import of the Term, stiled the Subject, we necessarily assent to it's Identity with the Praedicate. The Exceptions of Doctor Parker which he hath borrowed from the Thomists, who herein differ from the Fol­lowers of Scotus, I judge not worthy of a Reply; unless he should be so Importu­nate as to demand it, which if he think fit to do, I do faithfully promise it shall be in Readiness for him. (7ly.) By consult­ing [Page 45] still our Faculties, we do not find any thing included in our Idea; by vertue of which, we must either ever have been, or through existing this Moment, must ne­cessarily exist the next, which Naturally conducts us to a Perswasion of a God, from whom we derived our Being at first, and to whom we owe our continued Subsist­ence. Nor is this the Argument of Des Cartes alone, but of the School-Men in general; though in this, as in most other things, he was not so Ingenious as to con­fess at whose Breasts he had Suckt, nor out of whose Gardens he had gathered his best Flowers.

Secondly, As we have incontestable E­vidence of the Existence of God, by the first efforts of our Souls, in and about them­selves and their own Acts: So our Under­standings being awakened, and excited by outward and surrounding Objects, they do by short and infallible Ratiocinations, lead us to the Belief of a Deity: We are advantagiously placed in the midst of Magnificent Works, and have Faculties adapted for the Contemplation of them: Nor is there one of them, but what bears those Signatures and Impresses of Almigh­ty power and Infinite Wisdom upon it; [Page 46] as to convince us that there is a God that fram'd them all. I judge this sort of Ar­guments fetch't from the Frame of Na­ture, so uncontroulable a Proof of the Existence of God; that I am afraid it was not without Designe, that Des Cartes not only over-look't, but disparaged them. I will not charge the like Intention upon him in his Meditationes de prima Philoso­phia, that his Country-Man Vaninus was guilty of in his Aeternae providentiae Thea­trum. But this I dare say, that those he slighted are Solid, Easie, and accommo­dated to popular Understandings; where­as those he chose to rely on, are some of them Sophistical, and all of them too Me­taphysical for every one to understand. Nor did it become any, who paid a Ve­neration to the Scripture as the Word of God; to represent this kind of Argu­ments as weak, and infirm, seeing the Holy Ghost hath preceded us in this way of Ratiocination. See Rom. 1.18, 19, 20, 21. Psal. 19.1 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Acts 14.15, 16, 17. and 17.23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28. Job 12.7, 8, 9, 10, &c. Now by viewing the curious Structure of this noble Ma­chine, the World, how many Convincing Proofs of the Being of God, present [Page 47] themselves to our Intellectual Facul­ties.

First, If we consider the naked Exist­ence of things, how they came to be in the Posture they are; we shall discover thence not a few nor mean Arguments of their Divine Author. 1st. The many glorious and beautiful Objects which we are encircled with, did not cause them­selves: Existence is always presuppos'd to Acting; nothing can be both before and and after it self. Nor 2dly. Were they Eternal; For (1st.) It is an Hypothesis pregnant with Contradictions, that any thing Finite, and Dependent, as all things in the World are, should be Eternal. (2dly.) We see every thing subsist by a succession of Generation and Corruption; which is plainly repugnant to self, and e­ternal Existence. Production from Eter­nity is a palpable Contradiction. What­ever is produced passeth from a state of Non-entity into a state of Being; and therefore we must conceive a time when it was not, ere we can conceive the time when it was. (3dly.) The Recency of the Existence of things is plain from the De­ficiency either of History or Tradition an­tecedently to Moses. And he is so far [Page 48] from Recording the World to have been Eternal, that he instructs us particularly both how, and when it began. These Topicks are so largely prosecuted by o­thers, that I supersede them. And as the World was not Eternal; so neither did it result by a casual Concourse of Particles of Matter, moving in an infinite Ultra-Mun­dane Space, and justling one and another, till they fell into this Form and Order which we now behold them in. For (1.) The Eternity of Atoms, is attended with the same Contradictions that the E­ternity of the World is. (2.) Motion is hereby supposed intrinsecal to Matter, which is not only False, but Impossible. It is the greatest Absurdity that can be imposed upon Reason, to ascribe Motion to such a stupid and unactive Principle as Matter, without the acknowledgment of a First and Divine Motor. (3dly.) If all things be the Result of Matter; how comes a Principle of Reason to be con­vey'd into us, by that which had it not In­herent in it self? (4.) This Hypothesis supposeth that to have been the effect of Chance, which carries in it the Characters of a wise Contrivance: But of this more anon. (5.) If the Fabrick of the World [Page 49] be nothing but the result of the casual Meeting and Concatena­ [...]ion of Atoms;Pudet me gene­ris humani, cu­jus aures haec ferre potue­runt. Aug. How comes it to pass, that by their daily Motion, and justling one another, they do not dance themselves into more Worlds; at least into some one Animal or other. (6.) Epicurus's Infinity of Atoms, carries a Repugnancy in it to his Inane Space; and yet without this his whole Hypothesis, falls to the ground. (7.) Nor is it pos­sible to salve the Permanency of the World, and the Continuity of Bodies, by the fortuitous Concatenations of Atoms, through their different Configurations, and jagg'd Angles, without the Superin­tendency of an Omnipotent Goodness, who sustains both the whole Creation, and every part of it. Especially, it is not con­ceivable, how such Bodies as are made up either of Globular particles, or of those Mi­nute-Corpuscles which Des-Cartes stiles his First and Second Elements, should hold together without the Influence of a higher Principle to keep them in their Consistency. And thus from the Con­sideration of the Existence of things [Page 50] we are convinced of the Being of God.

Secondly; as Reason demonstrates that there is a God from the existence of things; so it is further persuaded of the same from the beauty, pulchritude and or­der of the Cre [...]tures; especially the Fa­brick of Animals, and the suitableness of their Members for their Functions. Chance hath no orderly designs nor is symmetry and proportion to be attributed to the fortuitous jumbles of blind matter. If contrivances of art be not effected with­out an industrious skil, much less are the works of Nature which infinitely exceed the former, performed without the con­duct of an intellectual Principle. The consideration of the Fabrick of things made Plato say [...], which I may english in the words of the Holy Ghost, that all things are made in number, weight and measure. Who can observe the great Luminary the Sun, his distance from the Earth, the motion communicated to him, that he move's in an orbicular and not in a straight Line, that in his circular motion he chalk's out to himself an oblique road, that in his journey throug the Zodiack he employ's so much time; and not confess a Wise as well as a Powerful Agent to [Page 51] have been the contriver of all this; see­ing in every instance things might have been otherwise, and yet it cannot but be acknowledged that it is to the best and most universal advantage for them to be as they are. Is it possible philosophical­ly to view the body of Man; the Fabrick of the Organs of sense; the situation of the Heart; the structure of its Ventricles, the communication betwixt it and the Bo [...]dy by Veins and Arteries; the contrivance of the Larynx; the Frame and use of the Epiglottis; the contexture of the Brain, the correspondency betwixt it and all the parts of the Body by Nerves; the Fa­brick of the Muscles those pullies of mo­tion, &c. and not confess an Al­mighty and Wise Artist to have contri­ved and performed those excellent o­perations.

In the Third place what convictions are we furnished with of the Being of God, from the Innate Harmony that is in the several parts of the Creation; and the convenient disposure of all the Creatures to a subserviency to one another in mutu­al offices. Chance cannot have link't one thing to another, nor can contraries com­bine into a mutual coalition without the [Page 52] influence of a supreme Being, who over­rules them. An establshed order among multiplicity of things void of understan­ding, is the work of an infinite Under­standing. Order and Harmony, being no­thing but a congruous disposition of things, according to their Dignity and use­fulness; He must be supposed to know their natures, Dignity, and uses that regu­larly disposeth them; and this can be­long to none but to an Infinite Wisdom. To this might be added the orderly and sagacious operation not only of Brutes, but inanimate Creatures, for ends which they neither perceive nor understand; which as certainly argues a Supreme, Wise, Su­perintender of all things, as the regular course of a Ship in the Ocean argues that there sits a Pilot at the Helm. Upon these foregoing Motives, not to mention many other, hath mankind in all Ages and places subscribed to the Being of God. So universal hath the Notion of a Deity been, that men have rather chosen to worship any thing for God, then wholly to be without one. Being both persua­ded that there was a God and that he was infinitely good, they made every thing that was beneficial to them a Deity, Nor [Page 53] can the Atheist who denies the Existence of God, give any rational account of the universal consent of mankind that there is One. Wheras he that maintains One, can easily resolve it, by shewing how such a persuasion flows naturally from the ex­ercise of every mans understanding. And forasmuch as it is alledged that there have been some who have dissented, and consequently that the persuasion is not Universal: It Amounts to no more but that there have been some who did [...] speak false­ly of and bely our Nature, that I may use Porphyries phrase. Nature may be so perverted by Vice, that men will not ac­knowledg what lyes most proportionable to Reason, [...]; Being corrupted by bad Education, evil Customs, and wicked institutions, they destroy their natural Notions, saith a Philosopher. If the Contradiction of a single Individual, or two, were enough to invalidate an universal Persuasion, or to impeach a Natural Truth; there were neither the one nor the o­ther in the World.De Nat. Deor. For not only Cicero tells us, [Page 54] that there is nothing so absurd, which some of the Philosophers have not maintained:Metaphys. Lib▪ 4. But Aristotle informs us, that there have been some who have held, That a Thing might at the same time be, and not be; And as the same Person tells us; [...]. That is univer­sally known, not which every one acknowledg­eth, but what every one who hath not De­bauch't his Faculties, doth discern, Topic. 6. c. 4. It is enough that the Existence of God lyes even to our Understandings; though some who affront their Faculties will not acknowledge it. I shall shut up all this with a Saying or two of Heathen Philoso­phers; The Denyal of God is [...].Plotin. Irrational, and can be approved by none but those who have nei­ther Understanding nor Sense. The A­theist doth e [...]adicate [...]; That which is Naturally planted in all reasonable Souls, sayes Plutarch. No­thing but the Prophaness of the present Age hath tinctur'd it with Atheism. Sen­suality smothers the most connate Noti­ons; and Reason becomes [...] [Page 55] [...]. Infected with those evil Opinions which proceed from Lusts as Plotinus saith. When Men are once sunk into the grossest Sensualities, their Reason becomes [...], complyant with their sensual Appetites. Besides such Men living as if there were no God, can make no Apology to the World for it; but by espousing such No­tions which may justifie them in their courses. Withall Men being resolved to live as they list; it becomes their Interest in reference to their Tranquillity in the mean time, to Believe, through Holding that there is none to call them to Ac­count, that they may do so. He that finds cause to Fear a God, will soon wish that there were none; Et Quod valde volumus facile credimus, What we earnestly desire, we easily believe. However, I hope there is enough suggested, to prove that there is sufficient Foundations in the Light of Nature, were there no such thing as Re­velation in the World; whereby we may Arrive at a Persuasion of the Existence of a Deity. Nor shall I further Com­bate the Atheist, by shewing how impru­dent, disingenuous, and absurd his Opinion is; all these being Largely done by o­ther [Page 56] Hands: And my Concern was only to declare, that there are Demon­strative Arguments in Nature, where­by our Reasons can previously to all Revelation, Assure us of the Being of God.

§. 6. The next thing to be considered, is the Use and Serviceableness of Reason in proving the Divinity of the Scripture. And here Reason is of great import, for by this alone we demonstrate the Divine Authority of the Bible. The ancient Heathens reproaching the Primitive Christians, that they grounded all their Do [...]rine upon meer Belief; that their Religion consisted In sola ratione creden­di, and that their simple Faith was all they had to trust to: The Christians com­plained of the Charge as a gross and im­pudent Calumny; appealed to Reason for Proof of their Belief, and offered to joyn Issue with them upon that Title. And as they that owe their Belief of the Bibles being the Word of God to Re­port, Principles of Education, or the Fe­licity of their Birth, and the Clime where they were born, receive the Scripture upon no better Motives than the Turks do [Page 57] the Alcoran. So if pretended Inspirati­on may pass for a Demonstration of the Truth of what every bold Pretender will obtrude upon us; We expose our selves not only to the Belief of every Groundless Imagination, but of innumerable Con­tradictions: For not only the grossest Fol­lies, but Doctrines palpably repugnant both to Reason, and one another, have been delivered by Enthusiasts and pretended Inspirato's. I readily grant that the Te­stimony of the Holy Ghost in the Souls and Consciences of men to the Truth of the Scripture, is the most convincing E­vidence, that such Persons can have of it's Divinity. But (1st.) The Holy Ghost convinceth no man as to the Belief of the Scripture, without Enlightning his mind in the Grounds and Reasons up­on which it's proceeding from God is evi­denced and established. There is no Conviction begot by the Holy Ghost in the Hearts of men, otherwise than by ra­tional Evidence satisfying our Under­standings, through a discovery of the Mo­tives and Inducements that ascertain the Truth of what he would convince us of. (2.) No mans particular Assurance ob­tained thus in way of Illumination by the [Page 58] Holy Ghost, is to be otherwise urged as an Argument of Conviction to another, than by proposing the Reasons which our Faith is erected on. The way of such Mens Evidence is communicable to none, unless they could kindle the same Rayes in the Breasts of others that have Irradiated their own; and therefore they must deal with others, by producing the grounds of their Conviction, not pleading the man­ner of it. And that an other is convinced or persuaded by them, depends wholly upon the weight and Momentousness of the Reasons themselves, not on the man­ner that such a person came to discover them. For should he have arrived at the discerning them by any other Mean, they had been of the same Significancy to the Conviction of an Adversary. (3.) The Holy Ghost as a distinct Person in the Dei­ty, is not a Principle demonstrable by Reason. Seeing then it is by the Scrip­ture alone, that we are assured of the Ex­istence of the Divine Spirit, as a distinct Person in the Godhead; therefore his Testimony in the Hearts and Conscien­ces of men to the Scripture, cannot be al­lowed, as a previous Evidence of it's Di­vinity. To prove the Divine Authority [Page 59] of the Scripture by the Testimony of the Holy Ghost, when we cannot otherwise prove that there is a Holy Ghost, but by the Testimony of the Scripture is to argue Circularly and absurdly. I know the Pa­pists to be even with the Protestants, for the Circle we charge on them in their pro­ving the Church by the Scriptures, and the Scripture by the Church; do pretend to fasten the same way of Circular Argu­mentation upon us, in that we prove the Spirit by the Scripture, and the Scripture by the Spirit. Whereas even those Pro­testants, who contend that the Spirit and Scripture do mutually prove one another, may easily acquit themselves from a Cir­cle: Seeing whatever Proof the Scripture and Spirit mutually Minister to one ano­ther; it is in Diverso genere. The Scrip­ture proves the Spirit either in way of Witness, by plainly testifying that there is such a Being as the Divine Spirit; or Objectively, and by way of Argument, bringing into Light such Truths as can be conceived to proceed from none other, save [...], From the Holy Ghost: But then the Spirit proves the Scripture not in way of a naked Witness, nor in way of Argument; but under the [Page 60] notion of an Efficient Cause, Ele­vating and preparing our Understandings, to discern the Lineaments, Characters, and Signatures of Divinity, which God hath impressed upon the Scriptures; which through that [...], that is upon our Minds, we many times do not at all dis­cern; much less do we at any time dis­cern [...], without it: Or else by giving Efficacy to Scripture Truths in and upon our Hearts and Con­sciences; so that the Word arriving with us [...] in the De­monstration of the Spirit and Power;2 Cor. 2.4. we have [...] by the ef­fectual Working of his Power, [...], a spiritual Sense, and Taste of the things themselves. And this Spiritual Gust, that I may use Origen's Phrase, is [...], a Diviner thing and more Convincing, than any De­monstration. For the Word of God, as well as God himself, is best known [...], by an Intellectual Touch, as the Philosopher sayes.Plotin. But, as I have said al­ready, this is no convincing Proof to an Adversary; nor doth the evi­dence [Page 61] of it reach further than the party immediately concerned. And therefore our Recourse must be to Arguments of another Nature. In brief, when we have to do with such, as either Question or Deny the Divine Authority of the Scrip­ture, we are to prove it by Ratiocinati­on from common Principles received a­mongst Mankind; and by Topicks that lye even and proportionated to Intel­lectual Nature. And here Reason is justly magnified, as hugely Subservient to Religion, in that it demonstrates the Di­vine Authority of the Scripture, upon which our Faith, as to all particular Ar­ticles and Duties of Religion is grounded. Not do I doubt but that Reason can ac­quit it self in this Undertaking, to the Conviction of all that are not wilfully obstinate; and for such, I know no means either sufficient, or intended by God to satisfie them. Many great Men both An­cient and Modern, as well at Home as Abroad, have already laboured, and to good purpose, in this Theme. Nor can there be much added by any to what is already said, much less am I likely to do it: Neither is it my Intention to treat this Subject at large, but rather to touch [Page 62] at the Heads of Arguments than handle them. And I suppose this will suffici­ently answer my Designe, which is to vindicate the Non-Conformists from the Aspersions lately cast upon them; as if they were Defamers of Reason, dis­clayming it from all Concern in Religi­on, and deserving to be charged with the Reproach which Julian slanderously fa­stned upon the Primitive Christians, that they had no Ground for their Faith, but that their Wisdom was only to Believe; [...]. The Method I shall here confine my self to, shall be; First, To justifie the Ne­cessity of some Supernatural Revelation, in order to the Conducting us in Religi­on. Secondly, To evidence the Expe­diency that this Revelation should be some where Consigned to Writing. Thirdly, To make appear that nothing can pretend to this Claym of being a Re­velation from God to Mankind, but the Bible. Fourthly, I shall endeavour posi­tively to demonstrate, that the Scrip­ture is indeed this Supernatural Law; and that as well by those Authentick Marks and Signatures, which it hath Sub­jectively impressed on it; as by those [Page 63] Objective Evidences, which in way of External Testimony God hath given to it.

As to the First, There are many things offer themselves in proof of it. (1st.) All Men being convinced of the Existence of God, are hereupon necessarily, and by short Deductions led to a Belief, that there ought to be such a thing as Religion in the World. There hath been no Nation so Savage, nor People so Barbarous, who have not acknowledged some kind of Ex­ternal Performances necessary for the Ex­pressing of the inward Sentiments of De­votion and Honour which they bear to a Deity. I know Epicurus by denying God either to have made the World, or to Govern it, doth in effect both over­throw his Being, and undermine that A­doration which he alledgeth, must be paid him, because of the Transcendent Ex­cellency of his Nature. For Omnipo­tence, Justice, and Goodness, are be­stowed upon him in vain, if he neither made the World, nor regard it being made: Nor will it be easie to persuade men to worship God; if we neither be beholding to Him for our Being, nor un­der his Care; and if he no more respect [Page 64] our Adorations, than if we did reproach and blaspheme Him. Yet this I say, that never any acknowledged a God, but they withal confessed that he ought to be Wor­shipped. Now forasmuch as without be­ing Instructed concerning the Nature of God, the Certainty of Rewards, and Punishments, &c. this can never be Re­gularly nor Rationally, if at all, perform­ed; and seeing Natural Light at least as Subjective at present in us, hath in many thousand Instances, appeared Insufficient to inform us of these things: We may from hence reasonably conclude the Ne­cessity of a Supernatural Revelation. (2ly.) As all Mankind are Imbued with a persuasion both that God is, and that he ought to be Worshipped; so they are al­so convinced, that all the Religion of Men at present towards God, is the Religion of Sinners. In all the Addresses of the Sons of Men to God, they constantly Ap­ply to Him under a sense of Defilement and Guilt. In all their Transactions from time to time with a Deity, they have been studying how to purge and cleanse themselves, and atone and appease Him. Now Sinners can perform nothing duly in Religion towards God, without a know­ledg [Page 65] of the Subordination we were created in at first to Him; his Right and Autho­rity to prescribe Laws to us; the Capaci­ty we were in, both of knowing and keep­ing them; the Way and Means by which Sin entered; that God will not Desert the Work of his Hands to that Ruine which it hath Incurred by it's own Folly; but that he is yet Appeasable towards us, and will accept a Worship and Service at our hands; with the Way, Means, and Terms, that he will receive us again into Favour, and rescue us from the Defile­ment we labour under. Without some Information in every one of these, there is no solid Foundation for Sinners to ap­ply in way of Religion to God at all; and should they attempt it, they will do nothing but prevaricate. Seeing then the Experience of some Thousands of Years, hath evidenced the Ineffectualness of Na­tural Light to instruct the World in any one of these things: We may from hence also infer the Necessity of a Supernatural Revelation. (3ly.) All Mankind hath universally consented in this, that besides the Light of Reason, there ought to be some Supernatural Revelation from God to Man for his Conduct and Guidance in [Page 66] Religion. The necessity of Commerce in way of Revelation betwixt God and Man, had so universally and deeply pos­sessed the Ethnick World, that they thought every Invention that was Excel­lent, whether in Sciences or Arts, to have derived it's Original immediately from Heaven. Of this Principle did the An­cient Politicians and Legislators serve their own Ends, and particular Designs; and therefore to make the people the more plyable to their Institutions, they pretended Converse with some Deity or other, by whom they were prompted to such and such things. The necessity of a Divine Interposure, in determining the Rites and Mysteries of Religion, gave rise to all the Heathen Oracles. Upon this Principle was the Credit of Dreams and Divinations erected. The Thing of it self being one of the first Dictates of the Reason of Man, but perverted in the Ap­plication, laid the Heathen World open to be imposed upon by Enthusiasts, Astro­logers, Sooth-sayers, Diviners, &c. being convinced of the absolute Need of a Pro­phetick Light, they conceived it as much Diffused as the Natural; and that as eve­ry thing did in some design or other, par­ticipate [Page 67] of the Goodness of God, they thought that it did so of his Prescience. Jamblicus de myst. Egypt. Hence not a Stick in the Wood, Bird in the Air, Line in the Hand, Gut in the Sacrifice, but was judged Prophetical. Upon this account Celsus expressing the Judg­ment of the Heathen in general tell us,Vid. Orig. con. Celsum. lib. 4. That [...], Brute Beasts were not only wiser than Mankind, but more dear to God: and the reason was, because they conceived that God con­veyed the knowledge of Futurities to Man through them. Not only the Soul was judged to come into the Body preg­nant with a [...], a prophetical pow­er; only that it is muffled by it's Commix­ture and Confusion with this Earthly Lump; [...], as Plutarch expresseth it. But the very Earth was thought Big with a [...], Prophetick Efflux and most Divine Spirit, by which the Pythia that stood over it was held to be inspired.Plutarch, de de fectu. Orac. I know that in all these [Page 68] things, as also in their Opinion of the In­spiration of their Poets, and such others as were reputed the first Instituters of their Mysteries, they were grosly mistaken; yet the Principle which they only foolish­ly mis-applied, was Genuine, Natural, and True; namely, that all Religion was to be regulated by some Divine Discove­ry. See to this purpose Plato de Legibus, and in his Alcibiades, together with what is said by Camero de verbo Dei, and Sir Charles Wolseley in his Reasonableness of Scripture Belief, from pag. 123. to 128.Enquiry into the Nature & Principle of Moral Vertue, &c. Cap. 3. Sect. 3. I have also said somewhat else­where about it. The Necessity of a Supernatu­ral Revelation, in order to the Guiding and Con­ducting men in Religious Concernments, being thus briefly Declared and Establish­ed, I shall in the next place endeavour to make appear that it is expedient, that this Revelation should be somewhere or other consigned to Writing: Nor is this the safest way only of conveying Do­ctrines down from one Age to another, but in some Cases, the only way that can be possibly imagined of doing it with [Page 69] Security. I readily acknowledge, that the Articles and Precepts of Religion, may in some Cases and Circumstances be safely preserved, and securely conveyed down from Age to Age by Oral Traditi­on, namely, when the Things themselves to be preserved and reported, are Few; the Number of the Persons to be instructed in them Small; the Age of those to whom the Successive Communication is given, lengthened out for several Hundred years; and Mankind in the mean while, neither Slothful nor greatly Corrupted. And accordingly God, who doth all things by excellent Counsel, and in his most extraordinary Works, useth Na­tural Agents, as far as their Capacities will serve, did for some time take this Method, not thinking it fit in the first Ages of the World, to commit the Re­velations He vouchsafed it to Writing. But taking the Case as it now is, namely, that Mankind is vastly multiplied; that our Lives are much shortned and contract­ed to what at first they were; that the Doctrines, Institutions, and Duties which we are to be instructed in, are numerous and many; and that Carelessness and De­bauchery have Arrested the World. And [Page 70] I affirm, that some other Means besides Oral Tradition, are necessary for the safe Conveyance of Revelation from one Age to another. For (1.) The failure of Oral Tradition in the preserving either Things Humane or Divine, argues that God ha­ving Mercifully condescended to give a Revelation of His Will to Man, should pitch upon some more certain Method of conveying it to such as live in Places and Times remote from the first Delivery of it, than Tradition is. How many fa­mous Institutes of Ethnick Legislators, and Theories of Ancient Philosophers are lost through not being committed to Writing? I will take it for granted at pre­sent that the World had a Beginning; that Men were not self-Originated, and that they were not Created Impure; but that Sin by some accident or other, made it's Entrance afterwards into the World: I will likewise take it for granted, that the First common Parents of Mankind who­ever they were, made their immediate Posterity acquainted with those important Things: And yet doth not Experience tell us how insufficient Oral Tradition hath been, to preserve them among the Gentile Nations? The [...], the [...], the [...], [Page 71] out of which those Philosophers, who ap­proach nearest the Truth, alledge things to have been at first made, are plainly borrowed from the Mosaical Records. The Entrance of Sin by the means of cer­tain [...], insolent Daemons, and [...], a Serpent, which some of them suggest, is evidently stollen from the Sa­cred Writings; or at least learned by Converse with the Jewish Nation, to which the Oracles of God were commit­ted. But should we grant that all these and whatever else we meet with in the Heathen Writers of this kind, were pre­served by Tradition among themselves. Yet their Accounts about these great Im­portant Matters are so scanty, inconsist­ent and ridiculous, that we cannot be so Foolish as to believe them to be the just and full Reports which were Communi­cated by our First Parents to their Imme­diate Off-spring. I shall only add that the Tradition of the One True God though most easie to have been preserved, being not only short and plain, but having Foundation and Evidence in the Light of Nature, was nevertheless soon Corrupt­ed and Defaced by the Worlds lapsing in­to Polytheism. (2.) In order to Tradi­tions being a sufficient means of convey­ing [Page 72] down Revelation to Successive Ages; we must suppose both a Care from time to time in all to learn it, and that perfectly, an equal Capacity in all to Understand and Remember it, a regard in every one to instruct others without the least Varia­tion in what themselves had learned; for if either through Sloth, difference of Abi­lities, Entanglements by the World, or Corruption of Manners, there should be a Failure in any of these, it is easie to be apprehended what would soon become of Revealed Doctrines, were there nothing else to secure their Communication from one Generation to another, besides Tra­dition. Now he that will believe all Men to be of equal Capacity, equal Fidelity, equal Diligence, &c. not only contradicts the daily Experience which we have of Men in the World, but withal affirms that to be impossible, namely, that there should be any Errour in Doctrines of Faith, or Mistakes about Institutions of Worship, &c. which yet we find Actual­ly to be. (3.) That cannot be a suffici­ent and certain Medium of conveying Re­velation to Mankind, by which the grossest and most palpable Falshoods, under pre­tence of Being parts of Divine Revela­tion, have been obtruded upon the World. [Page 73] In proof of this I need only instance the Oral Law of the Jews, and the un­written Tradition of the Papists, among which I may say with modesty, there are some Doctrines to be met with, so far from having been at any time revea­led by God, that 'tis a wonder being so Tri­fling, Absurd and repugnant to Prin­ciples of right Reason, they should have ever have been invented by men. (4) No man can be obliged to believe what arriv's with him in way of Tradition, till he have some assurance that all man­kind are agreed and of the same persua­sion with his instructers, unless he should take his teachers to be Infallible. Now as the first of these is morally impossible, at least for most persons in the World, who neither have Time, Ability nor op­portunity of resolving themselves by converse with every Individual; so the last is groundless and absurd, and indeed constitutes all men Infallible, neither ca­pable of being imposed upon themselves nor imposing upon others. What I have said against the conveying down Reve­lation with security by Oral Tradition, makes equally against its conveyance in writing by men not divinely Inspired. [Page 74] As words are the representation of Con­ceptions, so writing is the Register of Words; and if men may deceive in their vocal Reports, they may do the like in the consignment of their Thoughts and Words to Script. Besides we shall be first at a loss to know, whether those that did not write of matters of Religi­on, who were ever the major number, were at an agreement with those that wrote. Secondly: is is not only difficult but impossible for persons of mean Parts, secular Vocations, &c. to consult the Writings of all those that have written of matters of Religion; and yet this is necessary ere we can make a judgment in this matter. Thirdly, we shall find our selves endlesly entangled, when we find them contradicting one another. And Fourthly, to add no more, we shall be still at a loss both whether in that they wrote they were not imposed upon by those of whom they received it, and also whether they lived and dyed in the belief of all that which may be in their younger, and unexperienced Years they threw into Paper, or whether after­wards in some thing or other they did not alter their Opinions. As a superna­tural [Page 75] Revelation than is necessary in or­der to the regulation of mankind in Religi­ous Concernments, so it is also needful that it should be somewhere or other con­signed to writing, and that by persons immediately inspir'd. There is no o­ther medium that we can imagine but it would be obnoxious to fallibility. Nor is there any way besides a [...] or Di­vine Inspiration of such Records, by which we can rationally justify our re­ception of them, or attain to an [...] se­curity in the things that are so Recor­ded. I have discoursed the two forego­ing particulars in way of surplusage, the Theme I am upon not requiring them. For if we can but demonstrate the mat­ter of Fact, viz. that God hath given the World a Supernatural Revelation of his Will, and that it is consigned to wri­ting in the Book we call the Bible, our Obligation to receive that Book is indispensable, and our Concern in it is infinitely Momentous; though we should grant that a supernatural Reve­lation from God to Man in order to his conduct in matters of Religion was not needful, and much more that it was not necessary to commit it to Wri­ting.

[Page 76]Yet pursuing the Threed I have be­gun; and taking it for proved both that a Supernatural Revelation is necessary, and that it ought to be Registred some where or other in writing. I advance to the Third particular, namely, that no writ­ten Records besides the Bible can lay claim to the priviledg of being [...] of Divine Inspiration or that they were written by persons [...] acted and moved by the Holy Ghost. There is no Book can rival the Scripture in this pretence. First the writings of the Ethnick Legislators, Poets and Philoso­phers, are not fit to put in a Demurrer to the Bible in this matter. Many of the Records of the Institutions and Laws of the Ethnick Religion are lost beyond all possibility of Reprive; and those which remain, whether relating to their Mythick, Politick, or Natural Theology, contain matters so extravagant and absurd, and are stuff't with Dogm's so repugnant both to natural Light and one another, that he must have forfeited his Reason, who can suppose them to have proceeded from God. The whole Heathen Religi­on, was nothing but an abuse of that na­tural Inclination which all men have to [Page 77] worship a God; whom because they neither knew, nor how he would be ser­ved, they guessed at both in the dark, Mankind being furnished with Faculties instructing them both in the Existence of God, and that he ought to be Wor­shipped, fell to exercising their rational Powers, not only in enquiries after the Nature of the Supreme Being, but in what manner he would be served. And whereas had they attended to Reason, they might by short ratiocinations have learned a great deal as to both, in the Negative, namely what He is not, and what service will not please Him; and had they improved the [...] the Seeds of God which were in them they might have arrived at something not in­considerable as to the affirmative, in re­ference to the First. Yet partly through a stretching their Line beyond its Mea­sure; partly through Supiness and Care­lesness in their Deductions, they became vain in their imaginations, and prevarica­ted in the whole they undertook. And whereas they might have been assisted in their Theologick Speculations by the Works of God, and ancient Traditions which were the objective helps left them, [Page 78] they did as to both shamefully corrupt themselves. For instead of being con­ducted to the acknowledgment of God by his Works, these they Deified serving the Creature which should have guided them to the Creatour. And hence sprung Sabaism and all the Oriental Idolatry. And for ancient Traditions, these they wofully disguised and adulterated by In­numerable Fables, and thence arose their Mythick Theology. But still finding themselves at a loss, and being also posses­sed with a persuasion that a Revelation from God, was necessary to instruct them in Religious Concernments, they became exposed to a twofold further inconveni­ence. First, Cunning Men by preten­ding either to Inspiration or converse with some Deity, obtruded upon them what they pleased. And here statesmen did in a special manner play their parts; whence it came to pass that much of the Heathen Religion was nothing but Strata­gems of Rulers, and litle Arts of govern­ment. Secondly, Sathan took an occasi­on hence of abusing mankind by Oracles either immediately uttered, or by men whom he acted, and who were [...] the Divels Organs, uttering what he [Page 79] inspired them with. Nor do I mean this only with reference to their Oracular Priests and Pythian Virgins; but I in­clude both their▪ Poets and Philosophers. The Poets were the first and most Anci­ent Authors of the Ethnick Divinity, and were generally judged Inspired. Plato expresly tells us that [...]; God speaketh to us by them in his Dialogue stiled Jon. It is likely enough that some of them were inspired, but by whom, their Writings abun­dantly discover.In his Dia­logue, in­scribed Me­non. Nor were their Philosophers whom Plato also affirmed to have been [...], acted by any better Spirit: Many of them of one Sect as well as another being rank Magici­ans. In brief, the multiplicity of their Gods, their stuffing their Worship with Adulteries, and impure Mixtures, their appeasing their Deities by Humane Vi­ctims; not to mention a Thousand things else, that might be mustred against the Religion of the Gentiles, are so many Demonstrations, that it could not be Divine. Who can suppose that to be Sacred, which is impure, or conceive that which Over-throws Humanity, [Page 80] should have proceeded from God? There is little Hope of finding any thing there for our Conduct in Religion, where we are so much at a Loss to find the Mea­sures of Moral Vertue. The Writings of the Heathen whether Poets or Philosophers being then Void of all just pretence of Admission for Supernatural, and Divine Records, Reason will with the like De­monstrative evidence, convince us, that this Claim is unduly also ascribed to the Alcoran. It is true, Mahomet pretended to have received it by Inspiration: Most think that he Counterfeited in his pre­tence; and it is certain, that as to recei­ving it by Inspiration from God he did so, but that there was not an immediate Inter­posure of the Devil in the Case; so that he was deceived himself, ere he went about to deceive others, I am not so well assur­ed. The Epileptical Distemper to which he was subject, hath in others been at­tended with Diabolical Insinuation. The Age in which he lived, was Enthusiastically inclined: And the Grosseness of the Ara­bian Wits, together with the Subservien­cy of Ethnick Idolatry, which remained up and down among them, might encou­rage Satan to make an Attempt that way [Page 81] among that people. But whether it was indeed so, or whether the whole be singly to be attributed to himself and one or two Impostors more that assisted him, is not material, and makes not to the business it self. Mahometism began not, till the sixth Century; about which time, and for a considerable season before, the whole East was sorely Infected by Heresies, and rent by Schisms, which together with the im­pure Lives of the Professors of the Gospel, both there and in the West, might justly provoke God to permit this Deceiver to accost the World. Arabia had been ever Fertile of Dotages and Dreams; for be­sides other Hereticks, the [...], and the Collyridians sprung from thence; so that we may the less wonder, that it gave Birth to the Distractions of Mahomet. Obtruding a New Religion upon the World, and such an one, as neither Reason nor any former Revelation of God be­friended, it concern'd him to have justi­fied his Mission by some Miracle or other, as to what he went about. But these himself plainly disclaims, and though some of his Followers ascribe such to him, yet there is so little brought in Proof of them, and withal they are so silly and ridiculous in [Page 82] themselves, that they serve for nothing, but to disparage both the Person and Cause in whose behalf they are brought. I know that all Persons who have spoken immediately from God, have not had the Attestation of Miracles; nor was it al­ways needful, especially when they only called Men to Obedience to that which had been sufficiently so attested before. In such a Case, it became the Wisdom of God to be sparing of Miracles; and indeed he thereby better provided for the Credit of such Doctrines as were either really, or only in appearance New; and also more served the Interest of Mankind, than if he should have wrought Wonders in At­testation of every ordinary Messenger and familiar Truth: And this may be a reason why none of all the Pen-men of the Scrip­ture are reported to have wrought Mira­cles, save Moses the Giver of the Law, and the Apostles the Promulgers of the Gos­pel. But though every Herald of Hea­ven had not the Attestation of Miracles, yet no one came inspired by God, who had not some Testimony or other born to him, to distinguish him from an Impostor. Either the Doctrines they delivered were of that Sublimeness, that no Finite Un­derstanding [Page 83] could have invented them, and yet when discovered, were so Cor­respondent to our Rational desires, and so perfective of our Natural Light, that being duly weighed, the Reason of Man acquiesceth in them, and sayes, this is what I look't for but could not find: Or else they made known some present Matter which lay out of the reach of all Humane Knowledge, such as the Secrets of the Heart; or declared some Fact done either at a distance, or with that Secrecy that no Man could know it: Or else they foretold some future Contingent soon after to come to pass, which accordingly fell out in every Circumstance. Nor is it unlike­ly, but that most,Deut. 18.21, 22. if not all the Old Testament Pro­phets had their Missions con­firm'd by the Prediction of some thing future, which no Humane Prudence could fore-see. Or else they were born Witness to by the Prevalen­cy and immediate Success of their Prayers in the preventing some impendent Judg­ment, or in the procuring some needful Mercy; for thereby was declared either their Fore-sight of what God was ready to do, or the Interest, Favour, and Power [Page 84] they had with him. Nor is it without probability, that most of the Prophets under the Mosaick Dispensation,Jer. 27.18. justified their Mission by some such thing. But as for Mahomet, though he not only pretended to speak immediately from God, but with­al introduced a Doctrine really New; yet he came Authorized by no Miracle, Sign, or Badge, by which he might be distin­guished from an Impostor. Yea, where­as he owns that both Moses and Christ were sent from God, it is an Infallible Argu­ment that He was not; their Doctrine and his being altogether inconsistent. It hath been generally acknowledged, not only by Jews and Christians, but by Hea­thens, and that agreeably to the Light of Reason, that Prophetick Illapses never befel Impure and Unclean Souls; and that God never made an Unhallowed Person his Oracle; at least, that never any such were imployed for the Divine Amanuenses. Now if we examine the Alcoran by this prophetick Test, we find the Author of it to have been a Person Lustful and Tyran­nical, made up of nothing but Bloud and Dirt, grosly Sensual, and prodigiously Cruel; which plainly demonstrates how [Page 85] unfit he was to lay Claim to the prophe­tick Priviledge and Dignity. If we con­sult the Doctrine of the Alcoran, we have all the Evidence that the Reason of Man can desire, that it neither did, nor could proceed from God. It is true, there are some things in it stollen from the Scrip­ture, but even those are so perversely re­lated, and so wretchedly Corrupted with Fables, that they lose the very similitude of Truth through the villanous Manage­ment of them. Persons are so Mis-nam­ed, Times are so Mistaken, the whole so Interlarded with Contradictions, and dis­guised with Absurdities, that we must needs say, the Contriver had a bad Me­mory and a worse Understanding. In a word, the whole Alcoran is nothing but a Cento of Heathenism, Judaism, and Chri­stianity, all miserably Corrupted, and as wildly blended together. The Doctrines of it are for the most part, either impossible, Blasphemous, or Absurd. The Rewards promised to the Embracers of it, are impure and foolish. The whole was at first Inven­ted out of Pride and Ambition; pro­pagated by Violence and Rapine; and is still maintained in the way's that it was Esta­blished. Profound Ignorance, sensual [Page 86] baits, and force of Arms gave it its first promotion and do still maintain its credit in the World. The meanest Reason if duly exercised is able to disprove the Di­vinity of the Alcoran.

Some Revelation from God in order to our guidance in Religion being neces­sary, and it being also needful that this Revelation should somewhere or other be consigned to writing; and no other writing that we either know or ever heard of be­ing sit to enter the list and stand compe­titor with the Bible in this matter, we have hereby lay'd a considerable Foun­dation in Reason, for the evincing the Divinity of the Scripture. However in the Fourth place we shall further consi­der by what positive Media the Divine Authority of the Scripture may be rati­onally Demonstrated. And First, we shall consider it with respect to those Sub­jective Characters, which as so many Authentick marks, and infallible Sig­natures of its Inspiration from God, are impressed upon it. And these are so ma­ny Mediums of artificial Arguments to Reason, by which we may Scientifically demonstrate its Divinity. 'Tis but rea­sonable to suppose that every Work of [Page 87] God should be of that frame and com­plexion as to reveal its Author. We find this in the Works of Creation, where there needs no other evidence to assure us who made them, but what them­selves are fraught with. God hath left those impressions of his Infinite Power, Immense Wisdom, and exuberant Goodness upon them, that we need not the Authority of any Man or Church to convince us whose they are, but they carry a demonstrative assurance of their Au­thor in themselves. The like evidence may be justly expected to attend the Word of God, as we find to accompany his Works. And indeed Gods End in Revelation being more Noble than his End in Creation, and the World being more liable to be imposed on in that mat­ter, than in this; 'Tis but Rational to believe that He should leave at least as conspicuous, and glorious impressions, and characters of himself upon his Word, as upon the Works of his Hands. And if men in the writing of Books, do not onely leave on them such an impression of Reason, that we may know them to be the product of rational Creatures; but withal according to their several degrees [Page 88] of accomplishments either as to eminency of knowledg, heavenliness of mind, elegancy of stile, &c. do imprint on them those footsteps of their several qua­lifications, that we can for the most part by the very frame of the writing disco­ver its individual Authour: It may be justly expected that what proceeds im­mediately by inspiration from God, should carry something in it correspon­dent to the Wisdom, Holiness, Power, Omniscience, and Goodness of Him from whom it Flows. And yet let me premise, That as we do not build our as­surance of the Worlds being the Manu­facture of God upon every petty Phaeno­menon, which like the image of Foam that Apelles struck upon his Table by a hasty cast of his pencil, some, may be, look upon onely as a disport of matter in the fortui­tous encounters of one particle with an o­ther; but we raise our persuasion on the curious Fabrick of the nobler pieces, and the Harmonious Structure of the Uni­versal Machine. In like manner we are not so much to seek for the evidences of the Divinity of the Bible in every Verse and Chapter, as in the complex of the whole, and in the principal Parts, [Page 89] Branches and Sections of it. The in­trinsick Evidences of the Divine Reve­lation of the Scripture may be reduced to several Heads. The First Topick re­gards the matter of it. And here the plain and convincing enlightning of us about natural Truths, of which we are at best doubtful is one internal Evi­dence of the Divinity of the Bible. The bringing into Light such things as we could never have thought of, which yet being discovered, have that admira­ble Connexion with all true Reason that we are Ravished with the Glory of Truth that shineth in them, is a Second. The purity and fulness of Scripture-Pre­cepts, commanding every Virtue, for­biding every Vice, and enjoyning nothing either superfluous or burdensome, is a Third. The greatness and spirituality of the Scripture-promises, where we have the nature of Happiness so describ'd and stated, the directions for the attainment of it so full and clear, the grounds of its cer­tainty so many and incontestable, and the whole so fram'd as to be both a powerful inducement to an alacrous and uniform Obedience, and a powerful Antidote a­gainst all Temptations to sin and sensu­ality [Page 90] make a Fourth. The quality of Scrip­ture Prophesies, and the Events still answering the prediction, is another un­deniable Evidence of the Divinity of the Bible. The Nature and exactness of Scripture History relating things of the greatest Weight & with the greatest Truth, is another Evidence arising from the sub­ject matter of the Scripture. It alone informs us of many matters of Fact, which no other Writings either have or could; and as the knowledg of such things was indispensably necessary, so being examined as they are recorded in the Bible, we find the account of them rational and satisfacto­ry. What other Nations have onely faint glimpses of in fabulous Stories, of those the Scripture gives us exact and authentick Records. Not to speak of the Date of the Bible it self! what Book can vie with it as to antiquity of con­tents? As all Ethnick Histories are lat­ter than some parts of the Scripture, so most of them are traductions from thence, and are but parts of the Mosaick Story corrupted and debased with Egyptian being Grecian Fables. Where have we such an exact and full display of the Ori­gine and several periods of the World, [Page 91] and the Original of Nations, as the two first and tenth Chapt. of Genesis do afford us. Yea, in the Narration of such things whereof we have also some register in Humane Records, it were not difficult to demonstrate that there are peculiar Characters in the History of the Scrip­ture, differencing it from all writings of meer Humane Original, and manifest­ing it to be of Divine extract.

The Second Head of Arguments, by which evidence is given to the Divine O­riginal of the Scripture from the Characters impressed on it, respect the Form of it, or the manner in which things are deliver­ed and treated. And here the Majestick Authority that it dictates to mankind in, is hugely remarkable. In no other wri­ting whatsoever is there that Soveraign­ty of Commanding usurped, that the Scripture assumes. It alone treats with us in a way of Supremacy, Majesty, and Authority, becoming Him in whose Name it pretends to speak. What­ever else hath laid claym to the be­ing a Revelation from God to Man­kind, doth by its sneaking, creeping, flattering way of address, evidently [Page 92] betray the meanness of its Original. 2dly. The Stile of the Scripture doth plainly breath of God. With what Bre­vity without Darkness; with what Sim­plicity without Corruption; with what Gravity without Affectation; with what Eloquence without Meretricious Orna­ments; with what Plainness without Flatness or Sordidness; with what Con­descensions to our Capacities, without Unsuitableness to the Subject Matter, is the Scripture written? When the Holy In­spirer of the Sacred Pen-men stoops most to our Capacities, he even then retains a Prerogative in his Stile, above what is to be met with in meerly Humane Wri­tings. There is that Succinctness, Pre­spicuity, Plenitude and Majesty in the Stile of Scripture-Laws; that Sweetness and Spirituality in Promises; that Auste­rity in Comminations; that wonderful [...] and [...], force and Emotion in Expostulations; that [...] meet Accom­modation of Words unto things through the whole Bible, that no Humane Writing can equal. If there be at any time Ob­scurity in the Scripture-Stile, it is either from the Sublimity of the Matter declared, which no Words though never so easie [Page 93] in themselves, can help us to adequate Notions of: Or it is from some Refe­rence to ancient Customs and Stories, which made the Expressions easie to the Age and Persons first concerned in them, though they may be Dark to us, through our Unacquaintedness with those things, that were both the occasion of them, and the Key to them: Or else it is because they regard Futurities, which it was nei­ther for the Safety of the Church in Gene­ral, nor the Interest of Primitive Belie­vers to have had plainly foretold; and as the fulfilling of them will give Convincing Light about them; so I do no ways que­stion, but that after-Ages will admire what we do not Understand: Or God in­tending the Scripture for Persons of one sort of accomplishment as well as another, we may very well suppose that it became his Infinite Wisdome so to frame and a­dapt the stile of it, that there might be some things in it to find exercise for the most elevated Capacities and specula­tive Wits, especially there being not only enough suited to Weaker enquirers, but all that is absolutely necessary to be known being plainly revealed, and no­thing left difficult to be understood but [Page 94] what is not necessary to be understood at all. The pretence of want of Elo­quence in the stile of the Scripture is a groundless, as well as a false calumny. And it ariseth first from a mis­take of the Nature of True Elo­quence, as supposing it to consist in a flourish of painted Words, or a smooth structure of periods, &c. which chiefly influence the affections, and leave not those lasting impressions that calm Rea­son doth. Such Arguments might possibly become the Ancient Sophists and Dema­gogues whose end was [...] and [...] Ostentation and amazement; but do not at all become the Holiness and Majesty of God, in whose Name the Bible speak­eth to Us. Nor doth a [...] and [...] a grandiloquency and bewitching smoothness agree to the end and scope of the Scrip­ture, which would have the great effects it aims at, produced by the things where­of it treats, and not by flourishes of Wit, and flowers of language. For, as Origen observes, if the Scripture had used that E­legancy of speech which is admired among the Greeks, one might have suspected that it was not truth it self that prevailed with men, [Page 95] but that they were deceived by the [...]. The splendour and elegancy of words. Upon this account Paul, though he came behind no man in manliness of expression, yet he declined all [...] artificial affect­ed Wisdom of words, 1 Cor. 1.17. & 2.4. and [...] en­ticing Words of mans Wisdom [...], lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. Or 2ly. It pro­ceeds from want of consideration that the Easterne Eloquence might differ vastly from the Western. If that which even among our selves is accounted Eloquence in one Age, ceaseth to be held so in another, why might not the Scripture stile have admi­rably suited the Genius of those times it was first calculated for, though it do not accord to our western Rules of Oratory? And who knows but that our Europaean Stile may be as little relished by the Asi­aticks, as theirs is by us. In a word if E­loquence and propriety of Spech ought to be judged of by its commensurate­ness to its End, namely its accomoda­tion to the matter that is handled, and condescension to the capacities of them [Page 96] to whom it is directed; and if a regard in a determining concerning a stile, ought also to be had to the quality of the Speaker, I am sure in none of these doth the Scripture faile; but on the contrary there is that of every one of them shi­ning in the Language of the Scripture, that plainly argueth it to be of more than Humane Original.

A third, Medium considerable in the Form of the Scripture as a further im­planted evidence of its Divinity, is the ad­mirable Harmony and agreement betwixt one part of it and another. Though given out at times, ages, and places distant from one another, and by persons of different educations, accomplishments, and inte­rests, yet there is an excellent consonancy of one part with another, and of every part with the whole; which plainly shows that they all spake by one Spirit, and though they treated of different things that they were all the Amanuenses of Him that is uniform to Himself and the same for ever. The seeming diffe­rences in the Scripture are so few in number, so inconsiderable in the matter of them, and withal so easily salved, that they strengthen the evidence by shewing [Page 97] that the Harmony of the Scripture is without Craft and Conspiracy in the Pen-men of it.

The fourth Common place of Argu­ments, drawn from Implanted Chara­cters for the Divinity of the Scripture, ariseth from a Consideration of the End, Aim, and Scope of the Bible. The Scripture hath plainly an End, wherein no other Writing hath any share, further then as it is taken from it, or fram'd in Conformity to it; and yet the very best of such Writings being compared with the Scripture, do vi­sibly fall short in the Way and Manner of Representing and Enflaming to the pursuit, and conducing to the Attain­ment of that End. The Supreme End of the Bible is the Glory of God by Jesus Christ. It is true, the Works of Creation and Providence do manifest the Glory of the Divine Attributes con­sidered Absolutely, and in themselves; yet so as that they neither extensively nor intensively display the Essential Perfections of God as the Scripture doth: But as to the Manifesting the Glory of God in and through Jesus Christ, they are wholly silent. This [Page 98] Priviledge is the Peculiar of the Word alone, and reserved to it as that Au­thentick Character by which he Honour­eth it above all his Name. The Subor­dinate End of the Scripture is the resto­ring of falne Man; with a discovery of the Way, Means, and Terms of his Recovery. And as the Scripture alone doth this, so it doth it eminently, and to all rational Satisfaction. It were easie to branch this into many particular Me­diums, by displaying how it alone instructs us in the Remove of the many insuperable Obstacles; how it resolves us in the great Entanglements and Per­plexities that our Reasons are exercised with; how it brings into Light Pardon­ing Grace, without giving the least En­couragement to the Practice of Sin; how it provides for our being renewed to the Image of God, as well as our being reconciled to Him; and shews us the Way and Means of being delivered from Lust and Corruption, as well as Wrath and Guilt. In a word, that it is Defective in informing us of nothing that is necessary for us to know, either with reference to our Duty or Happiness; but that it fully instructs us in every [Page 99] thing that our Natures look after, or are capable of. And all this it so perform­eth, that the several Lines of it Center in the glory of God by Jesus Christ, through whom we have not only Happiness con­ferred upon us, but Grace to fit us for it. There are other Intrinsecal Evi­dences insisted on for the Proof of the Divinity of the Scripture; which as I shall not endeavour to enervate, so for Reasons that it is not needful to de­clare, I shall wave the producing of them. Nor is it Number so much as Weight of Arguments that is to be trusted to in any Case, especially where the Theme is important, and the Con­troversie to be decided only by Demon­stration. Now as upon the one Hand, I know not one of these [...], I have alledged, by which I am not able to de­monstrate the Divine Inspiration both of the Bible in general, and of most of the particular Books in it; so if there be any Books received into the Canon, where any of these are wanting; they are such as are Narratives of things done among Men, and most of those are born Witness to in such other Books, as have all the fore-going Characters; [Page 100] and if there be any of them that are not Testified to, yet we have all desirable Evidence that they were Written by Persons Divinely inspired; and though all the preceeding Signatures do not oc­cur in them, yet some one, or more, by which they manifest themselves to be of God, do; and in none of them is there any thing inconsistent with the [...], we have produced. Upon the other hand, it is easie by the preceeding Marks to discharge from all Interest in Divine Inspiration a vast Number of Books that pretend to a Share in it. By such I mean not only the Sibylline writ­ings, the Prophecy of Enoch; the E­pistle of Christ to Abgarus; the Gospels of Nicodemus, James, and Andrew; the Canons of the Apostles; the Reve­lation of Paul, his Epistles to Seneca, and the Laodiceans; the Missals of Mathew, Mark, Peter, &c. but all those Books which are Commonly stiled, Apo­cryphal.

§. 7. Besides the Characters impres­sed on the Scripture, by which the Di­vine Inspiration of it is plainly eviden­ced: There are many External Motives [Page 101] by which the same might be further de­monstrated. And here may be pleaded the quality of the pen-men; their can­dor, sincerity, inability of being the im­mediate Authors of such a contrivance, that they had no base nor secular Ends, that they are impartial in laying open their failings, and that they always father the whole upon God. (2) The antiquity of Scripture Records at least some part of them, to which all the rest are con­sonant and upon which they superstruct. (3) The preservation of the Bible through so many Ages, when so many of Wit, Power, and interest in the World had set themselves against it. (4) Its spread, suc­cess, and entertainment in the World, with the manner of its propagation, with­out force of Arms, or aft of Eloquence. (5) The effects it hath wrought in great, sudden, & lasting changes that it hath pro­duced, in men principled in their Judg­ments, prepossess'd with Educations and prejudiced by Lust against it. (6) The attestation of Miracles, which are Gods Seal to authorise the person in whose behalf they are wrought, and Doctrines to which they are annexed. For a Miracle is an extraordinary work transcendent to the [Page 102] powers and capacities of natural Agents. It is either the altering and stopping the Course of Nature, or the produ­cing some effect above its Laws and pow­er. A Miracle is an operation of God in Nature either without interposure of a Second Cause, or above its abil [...]ty. In a word it is the production of something out of nothing, either as to matter, or manner of production. Now such Works are the immediate effects of Almighty Power. It is the Peculiar Title of God to do Won­ders; and he only can do Wonderful Things. Were there not some things im­possible to Natural Agents, there were no room for a real Miracle; and were there not other things which we only think to be impossibles in Nature, we were not capable of being deluded by an ap­pearing one. Effects exceeding the lines of ordinary operations may be pro­duced by a combination of material A­gents, and Sathan may wonderfully ape a Miracle by the impressions he is able to make upon matter; but every true Miracle is the product of a Power that is infinite. As God alone can work Mi­racles so he never exerts His Power in the production of any, but in order to [Page 103] humane instruction. The Devil loves to be acting his Power, to fill men with Amazement and to make them Wonder, but God reserves his Power to seal some portant Truth, to relieve men in some Urgent straight, or to afright them from some destructive Practice. Miraculous Works are one of the greatest attestati­ons that God can give either to person or thing, and are usually his Seal to some great Truth. God is a spirit & cannot be seen to give Testimony, yea should he as­sume a shape and in that declare him­self, there would be still a great deal of lyableness to exception; and therefore one of the most convincing Evidences that God can give to Person, Doctrines, or Cause, is by the effecting of some such Work as is only possible for an Almighty Power to produce. Hence those ancient Im­postors that usurp'd the Title of Prophets either among the Jews, Christians or Heathens, pretended to Miracles and Signs, knowing that without that counterfeit Seal their Doctrine would never have been received by the Peo­ple, and the better to Ape a Mira­cle the greatest part of pretenders to En­thusiasm, were in all Ages Magicians. [Page 104] True Miracles, being the effects of Gods immediate Power; the Notions which we have of his Wisdome and Goodness do not admit us to suppose, that he should lend His Omnipotency to confirm a falshood: For this were the way to induce men into error in a matter of the greatest Moment. And therefore while I believe God to be True and Good; I will never believe that He will lend his power to Impostors to cheat and abuse mankind. Yea were it consistent with Divine Truth and Justice so to do, yet it is repugnant to his Wisdome, in that he should hereby not only weaken but wholly take off all the Evidence that Himself can give to Truth by miraculous Operations. For if God can exert his Power in the confirmation of a Falsity in one Case, what security can we have that He may not do so in another? To say that God doth never work a Mira­cle for our Tryal, in reference to a false Doctrine, till he hath unquestionably con­firmed his own Truth before, and that the having an established Rule to exa­mine after Doctrines by, is enough to preserve us from being imposed upon by Error, though it should come backt with [Page 105] the attestation of Miraculous Works: I affirm that this plea is not sufficient, and and that there are objections to the con­trary which it doth not resolve. For First. As primitive Revelation is not ca­pable of receiving confirmation from its consonancy to any Revelation formerly acknowledged, it being it self the first; so after Revelations that are either really or according to the best judgment that we can make, New, are as little tryable by their congruency to what went be­fore. And if we allow Miracles to be an Authentick attestation in such cases, I see not how we can admit them to be fallacious in any. Secondly, The ancientest portion of Scripture are the Mosaick Writings; now antecedently to the giving forth of these as the Standard of after Doctrines, Idolatry, Superstition and Error had greatly over-spread the world; I would therefore ask, if God may im­mediately work Miracles in behalf of following Errors, what assurance we have that he could not do so in reference to such as preceeded? I know no argument that can be brought in proof of the Ne­gative in the latter Case, but what will equally conclude in favour of the Nega­tive [Page 106] in the former: For if we resolve it into the Nature of God, that he could not do so in the last Circumstances; the same Essential Perfections in God which lead us to judg so of him in them, will persuade us to have the like thoughts of him in all Circumstances that we can imagine. Thirdly, It is expresly against the Evidence of Scripture-Testimo­ny, that God should work a Miracle to confirm either the Mission, or the Error of a false pretender, See Joh. 9.16.29, 30, 31. Christ having restored Sight to one that was born blind, the Phari­sees do notwithstanding question whether he was an Embassador from God, yea, expresly affirm him to be an Impostor; as for this Fellow we know not whence he is. Now let us observe after what manner that miraculous Work is urged in Justi­fication that Christ could be no Decei­ver, p. 16. How can a man that is a Sin­ner [...] i. e. one that falsly avoucheth himself to be sent of God, do such Miracles, and 30, 31, The man an­swered and said unto them, why herein is a marvellous thing that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine Eyes, now we know that God heareth not [Page 107] sinners: i. e. doth not by miraculous Works, bear witness to them that come in their own Name. I know that we are to distinguish between what the Scrip­ture it self saith, and what is only [...]aid in the Scripture. And that the Scripture it self is true though there be many false sayings Historically recited in it; because though the expressions themselves be false, yet it is true that these Untruths which it reports were spoken. But he that looks into the Chapter, will plainly perceive that the Holy Ghost doth not only Register these Sayings, but Adopt them. And that he doth not barely affirm that such Pleas were made, but that the Pleas themselves were true and solid. The Exceptions why Miracles are not in themselves an Incontestable Evidence of the Doctrine they are wrought in Con­firmation of, and of the Divine Mission of the persons that work them, may easily, I think, be taken off. The 1st. is, That Miracles have been wrought by Hereticks, Pagans, and others, whose Persons were neither Authorized by God, nor their Doctrine true. And here the Wonders reported in History to have been done by Aesculapius, Vespasian, and especially [Page 108] Apollonius Tyaneus, whom Hierocles durst in point of Miraculous Works compare with Jesus Christ, are alledged. To which I return these Five Things: (1.) We may justly question the matter of Fact as to many of them; nor are the Reporters such, as that we are bound to yield them an Implicite Faith. Piaefrau­des have found Entertainment not only a­mong Heathens, but Christians. Nor do I doubt, but that most of the Ethnick and Popish Miracles are meerly Romantick, and that it is enough to discharge our selves from them, by putting the Patrons of them on the proof, that ever any such things were wrought. (2.) Many of these seeming Miracles may be salved by Natural Causes. We use to Baptize the extraordinary Phaenomena of Nature with the Name of Wonders, because of our Ignorance of the Ability of Natural Agents. How many things were look't upon by the Pagan World, as the imme­diate Effects of a Supernatural power; that we can now give a distinct and Phi­losophical account of? (3.) Many of them are to be ascribed to the Power and Operation of the Devil, who can [...], make a Lye as well as tell one. [Page 109] Next to Oracles, Satan hath served his Ends on the World by counterfeit Mira­cles, and in both, he hath set himself to Ape God: And though we cannot so readily in every one of them detect the Imposture; yet in most of them, we meet with some Circumstance or other, which may in­duce us to give the Devil the Honour and Reputation of them. (4.) Some of them, and those such as descend to us with the greatest certainty, seem to have been wrought to prepare the World for some strange and new Providence that God was to bring upon the Stage, or to give reputation to some person that God de­signed for some solemn undertaking, and not in the least to confirm any erro­neous Doctrine or false Religion; and as to such miraculous Works, I know no­thing hinders why they may not be ascri­bed to God. Thus would I resolve the Cures wrought by Vespasian on the blind and lame Men, to have been done for the better introducing and establishing him in the Romane Empire; God have­ing intended him for the Minister of his Wrath against the Jewish Nation: But that from some Circumstances of the Sto­ry as it is related by Suetonius, and Taci­tus, [Page 110] I am apt to think that the [...], Enemy not easily discovered; or the Agency of the Devil was in the whole. For I find the infirm Persons alledging their being advised by Serapis, to make their Address to Vespasian for Relief a­gainst their Maladies: Now it is not like­ly, that God should employ the Daemon for the Herald of what himself would ac­complish; or that he should encourage I­dolatry by Communion with Votaries at the Devil's Temple. (2dly.) The Me­thod of restoring the blind Man to his Sight by spitting upon his Eyes, seems plainly to have been done in Imitation of Christ; and that Satan was the principal Agent in the whole,Cognoscis pie lector falsam imitationem Miraculo­rum Christi, sic solitus il­luderehomini­bus, [...]. Is. Casaub. not ad▪ locum. intending hereby either to disparage some of the Miracles of our Savi­our, or to maintain his own Kingdom in the way that He had erected his. (5.) Some of the wonderful Works urged in the proof of what we are contending against▪ might be wrought in Confirma­tion of the Truth of God; and yet with­out any respect to the justifying the Mis­sion [Page 111] of the Publisher of it. And with re­ference to such works, I know no danger in entitling God to be the Author of them. An instance to this purpose, we have Mark 9.38. Where the Person casting out De­vils, was neither Commissioned by Christ, nor did so much as directly own and em­brace Him; and yet God lent him his Power to accomplish these Effects. And supposing a Truth in the Matters of Fact, as reported of the Romish Missionaries in the Indies, I should think this Key suffici­ent to unlock them.

The second and great Exception, why Miracles are not always a sufficient Proof of the Doctrine in whose behalf they are wrought, is fetch't from Scripture. And truly if the Texts pressed in this Service, be not found either mistaken or urged be­yond their true Intendment; we will rea­dily resign both our selves, and the Cause we have been pleading. Nor shall any Shew or Appearance of Reason in favour of it, weigh with us, there being no Rea­son so great as to believe what God hath said. The first Argument levied from Scripture for this Warfare, is drawn from what the Magicians did in their Contest with Moses in Egypt; whereof we have [Page 112] an Account in the 7th. and 8th. Chap­ters of Exodus. To which I reply (1.) That most, yea all, saving one or two Inter­preters, deny any thing done by them to have been truly Miracles. (2.) The Way, Manner, and Rites they used in effecting what they attempted, do plainly acquit God from any Agency about their Works, further than the permitting them. For they are said to have done so by their Inchantments, Exod. 7.11. and 8.7. I dare not think that God was at the Magi­cians Beck; or that he would conciliate Credit to their Hellish Arts by subserving them; or that he would exert his Sacred and Almighty power in Honour of Satans Institutions and Ceremonies. (3.) The Magicians finding themselves out-done by Moses in the matter of turning Dust into Lice; cry out, that the Finger of God was there, Exod. 8.19. which I take to be no less than an Acknowledgment, that whatsoever they had done before, they had done it by Magick: And that it was through the influence and Agency of the Devil, that their Rods had been turned into Serpents, and that Frogs had been brought upon the Land. (4ly.) Though what they did in the two first Instances, [Page 113] wherein they confronted Moses, seems to bear such a Resemblance to true Mi­racles, that it was not at first easie to di­stinguish the one from the other; yet it were easie to demonstrate, that the things which they effected, were not without the compass of the Power of Daemons. And that it might appear, that the Power by which Moses acted, was different from that by which they acted; God therefore wisely ordered it, that his Rod should de­vour theirs; thereby leaving an [...], singular Peculiarity in the Mira­cles of Moses to witness their Divine Ori­ginal. The second Argument mustred from Scripture to fight in this cause is brought from Mat. 24.24. 2 Thes. 2.9. Apoc. 13.13. To all which I answer. (1.) By granting that the Expressions are lofty, wherein the Holy Ghost predicts the Signs and wonders which false Christs, and false Prophets were to work; yet I think we are not to conclude from the Ma­jesty of the Terms in which they are fore­told, that the Works themselves were real Miracles: But that God would inti­mate to us, either that they should be such, as would so hugely resemble true Mira­cles, that it would not be easie to detect [Page 114] them; or that he would thereby awaken us to examine the Doctrines of Men by their Consonancy to the Scripture which was then given out and established, ra­ther than Implicitely to resigne our selves to the Conduct of every Wonder-mon­ger. (2.) The best Key to judge of the quality of the Signs and Wonders there foretold, whether they be true Miracles or not; is to take a View of the extraor­dinary Works, Recorded to have been done by the pretended Jewish Messiahs, and the Apostatical Roman Church, one or both of whom are referred to in the objected places. And if we will apply our selves to this Method of Tryal, I dare undertake that there is not so much as one Sign or Wonder truly Recorded concern­ing them, which may not be solved either by a Co-incidence of Natural Causes, or by the hidden Power of Daemons. (3.) They are expresly stiled [...], lying Wonders, and that not so much Respectu finis, because they were wrought in Confirmation of a Falsity; as Respectu Materiae, because they only Ap'd true Miracles, but in truth were not such. Yea, as if that were not enough to acquit God from being the Author of them, they [Page 115] are expresly ascribed to an [...], Agency of the Devil. The third, and last Argument brought in Relief of their Opinion, who think that God may exert a Miracle-Working Power in the Confirmation of a Falsity, is taken from Deut. 13.1, 2, 3. To which I answer: (1.) That the place doth more especially relate to the fore-telling of Events, than to the working of Wonders. And there­fore if God never lent his Omniscience to the Service of an Impostor; we have no reason to think that he should lend his Omnipotency to the Service of one. And if all the Predictions of false Prophets may be salved without Recourse to Divine Inspiration (as indeed they may) I suppose their Wonders may be al­so salved without Recourse to God's In­finite Power. (2.) They are the Pro­phets after the Promulgation and Esta­blishment of the Law of Moses that are there spoken of; and therefore the Law being given out as the Test of after-Re­velation, at least during that Oeconomy; God tells his People that they are not to try the Mission of Prophets only by Mi­racles, but especially by the Agreeable­ness [Page 116] of their Doctrine to that of Moses. And this may be a reason, why we do not find, that other Pen-men of Old-Testa­ment Scripture were honoured with the working of Miracles. I know indeed that some Prophets were intrusted with Miraculous Power; but so far as I remem­ber, there was not one besides Moses who was made use of in giving forth the Re­velation of God to the Old-Testament-Church, that had this Priviledg conferred on him.

Having thus made appear, that all Mi­racles are Effects of a Divine Power, and that wheresoever God exerts his Miracle-Working Power in Confirmation of a­ny Doctrine, he declares it to be of, and from himself, and to be Unquestionably True. I shall not now insist on the pro­ving, that the Bible is justified by In­numerable, Great, and Undeniable Mi­racles; that being largely, and beyond all possibility of Reply done by other Hands. I shall only say, that even those who suppose that God may sometimes put forth his Wonder-working Power, in Attestation of an Error, do not hereby de­sign to Rob us of the Evidence of Miracles [Page 117] for the Divinity of the Script. For as none have gone beyond them in the proof of the Divine Authority of the Bible in ge­neral, so no one hath improved the Me­dium of Miracles to better purpose. As they have shewed that the Scripture is at­tested by a greater Number of Miracles, and those both more eminent, more conspicuous, longer continued, and oft­ner repeated, than ever any Errour ei­ther was, or ever could be. So they not only prove that God never wrought a Miracle in confirmation of a Falsity for Tryal, till he had first incontestably esta­blished his own Truth, but they also de­clare that he could not. It is not then upon an apprehension of their having dis­served the Authority of the Bible in this particular that I have assumed the freedom of discoursing these things, but that an op­portunity of more light in this matter may be afforded. The Cause of the Scripture will suffer nothing in the main, on what side soever this Controver­sy issues. And as I know my self in more need of being instructed than of capacity to offer information to any; So it is the same pleasure to me, to have my [Page 118] Notions confuted when unsound, as it is to be restored to health when I have been sick.

§. 8. Having briefly viewed the servicea­bleness of Reason as to the demonstra­ting the Divinity of the Scripture; we may, ere we make any further proceed, in­fer and conclude from hence its Autho­rity, For upon its Divine Original doth its Authority bear. The formal reason of our submitting our Hearts and Con­sciences to the Bible, is Gods speaking in it. The Authority of God is his right to command and require Obedience, and it is founded not only in the supereminence of his Nature, but his Relation to us as our maker. Having made us Rational Creatures capable of moral Government, he may accordingly Rule us by Laws backt with promises and threatnings. I acknowledg that de facto, men may withdraw themselves from under the Authority of God, and may deny him Obedience; but that militates nothing against the Right that is vested in Him of ruling them, nor the obligation that they are under of obeying him. Now [Page 119] the Authority of the Scripture ariseth from its being Gods Word and his spea­king in it. Nor are the most momen­tous Reasons of that significancy to de­termine our Assent, as the Testimony of a person of infinite Power, Wisdom, Goodness and Truth. What grea­ter Assurance can we have to ascertain our belief, than that the affirmer is infi­nitely Wise, and cannot be deceived himself, and infinitely Good and cannot deceive others. To say, as the Papists do, that the Scripture hath its Autho­rity in se, in its self, from its self; but that it hath its Authority quoad nos, with respect to us, from the Testimony of the Church; is to talk without either Rea­son or sense. For (1) Authority being a Relative Term, nothing can have Authority in it self, which hath it not in respect of others: Nothing is a Law properly but what is a Law to some. It is impossible to suppose an actual Right in any to Command, without supposing an obligation in some to o­bey. If the Scripture therefore have no Authority from it self in respect of [Page 120] us, it neither hath, nor can have any Autho­rity in its self, Humana dicta ar­gumentis & testi­bus egent, Dei au­tem Sermo ipse sibi testis est; quia ne­cesse est quicquid incorrupta veritas loquitur, incorrup­tum sit testimoni­um veritatis Salvi­an. de vero judicio & providentia Dei lib. 3. at all. (2) If the Scripture have no Authority with re­spect to us but what it hath from the Church, how comes the Church it self to be under an Obligation to receive and obey it. There can be no obligation but in Relation to some Antecedent Authority, and if there be no such Authority obliging the Church to receive the Scripture, there should be no Sin in her rejecting it. (3) If the Scrip­ture have no Authority from its self, and Gods speaking in it, with respect to us, then the Church should be the first Credible, which is altogether false, it being by the Scripture that we both know that there is a Church, and how far her Testi­mony is to be trusted to, (4.) every Testimony is posterior to the thing te­stified, and is accordingly true or false, as it is agreeable or disagreeable to the na­ture of the Thing it beareth witness to, If therefore the Scripture have any [Page 121] Authority with respect to us upon the Te­stimonial of the Church, it behoved to have it antecedently. In a word, if God have not a Right of commanding us in­dependently on the Testimonials of the Church; then no private Revelation that ever God made, or could make of him­self to any, is of the least force or sig­nificancy. Nor could they to whom God by Visions, Dreams, Inspirati­ons or otherwise made himself, his Mind and Will known, take upon them to give forth and publish to others what was thus revealed to them, till they had the Testimony of the Church that it was Authentick. Having established the Authority of the Scripture upon its true basis namely on its being Gods Word and speaking in it. Now forasmuch as no man either is, or can be obliged to believe a lie: We may hence learn what to judg of that Notion of Des-Cartes and some others,Cartes. Medit. 3. & Resp. ad obj. 2 [...]. Wolzog. de in­terpr. Script. p. 24. viz. Deum posse fallere si velit, that God can deceive if he please. No one denies but there both may be, and are, those things in the Word of God, which men may turn into occasions of [Page 122] being Deceived; all that is contended for, is this, that there can be nothing in a Revelation from God, which may be a proper Cause of Error. To say that God may Deceive if he would, is no less than to affirm that he may cease to be God if he would. God can do nothing, but what in sensu diviso, abstracting from his Decree to the contrary, he may Will to do. If we prove therefore that it is repugnant to the Nature of God to be Willing to deceive his Creatures, we at the same time demonstrate that it is contradictory to his Power to do so. First then, If God may Deceive if He please, what assurance have we but that he hath, and may chuse to do it? Nor is it enough to say that he hath told us that he will not; for if he may deceive at all; I know nothing hinders, but that he may even then deceive us, when he in­forms us he will not. Secondly, no one can deceive an other, but it must proceed either from Ignorance, Errour, or Malice; but all these interfere with the Nature of God, and by consequence this posse fal­lere lyes cross to his Nature also. To deceive argues either want of Wisdom, Goodness or Veracity, and therefore in [Page 123] no sense can God Deceive, seeing he can neither cease to be Wise, nor give over to be Good, nor fail to be True. Thirdly, though a finite, ignorant, and mistaken Creature, may impose upon us, without saying one thing, when he thinks ano­ther: Yet it is impossible that an Infinite, Wise, and Omniscient Being should de­ceive any, but that at the same time he must lie: But that God cannot lie, we have both the Testimony of Scrpture Tit. 1.2. and the highest assurance that Rea­son can give us. Hence no one ever ac­knowledged a Deity, but he withall included in his Nature [...], to speak nothing but truth.

§. 9. Having unfolded the Nature and Quality of the Motives, that our assent to the Divinity of Scripture is raised on; we may hence infer, that our Belief of the Bibles being the Word of God, is Di­vine and Infallible. For as Doctor Hammond sayes in another case,Of the Reasonable­ness of the Christi­an Religion. Cap. 1. Sect. 3. if the Person affirming be Infallible, then is the Belief of such a Person Infallible also. So if the Grounds of our Assent to the Scriptures be­ing [Page 124] a Revelation from God, be Infallible, our Assent which is built upon these Grounds, is Infallible likewise. Assents are not specificated and Denominated from their Objects, nor yet from the Faculties that elicite them, but from the Foundations and Grounds on which they are raised. Whilst then the Mo­tives upon which we believe the Scrip­ture, are more than Moral, our assurance of it's Divinity is more than Moral also. For as we distinguish between the Conse­quent and the Consequence, the thing in­ferred, and the manner of Inferring it; and as we reckon every Consequent right­ly deduced from an Infallible Antecedent to be Infallible also, though the Faculty by which it is deduced be in it's Nature Fallible, and in it's Operation lyable to prevaricate and mistake: So every Assent built upon infallible Inducements, is an In­fallible Assent, though the Instruments by which the Assurance of the Existence of such Inducements arriveth with us, may in their Nature be lyable to Errour. Besides, the Incertitude of the Subject or Mind, doth not at all weaken the Cer­tainty of the Object, or the Certainty of it's Motives. That God is, is in it self certain; and there are Indubitable Ar­guments [Page 125] by which his Being may be de­monstrated, though all the World should Hesitate either about his Existence, or suspect a Fallacy in the Media of it's Probation. The Incertitude of the Mind doth not arise from any Fallacy of the Media, but from want of Evidence into, and Cognition of them. The principal Grounds of our Receiving the Bible for the Word of God, are it's Internal Mo­tives, or Arguments impressed up­on it; nor is the manner of it's Con­veyance from Age to Age of so great Import in this Matter, as some do ima­gine. For should we have Light on it by chance, or had it dropt out of the Clouds, yet while it carries these Sig­natures upon it which it doth, we might by the meer Exercise of our Rational Faculties, without the Testimonials of any Man or Church, have concluded that it could have proceeded from none but from God. And should it be granted, that the conveying down the Miracles, and other External Evidences, that are brought in Confirmation of the Divine Inspiration of the Bible, is done by Hu­mane and Fallible means; yet it no ways follows, that our Assent to the [Page 126] Scriptures being the Word of God, though built upon those motives, is Fal­lible For Tradition is not the Formal Ground of our belief in this case, but only a means and Instrument of handing the Grounds of it to us. Nor do I think but that it may be defended, that as the External Motives upon which we receive the Scripture for the Word of God, are in themselues Infallible, that they are also in­fallible in their manner of conveyance to us. For as it may be demonstrated that the first Reporters of these Eviden­ces were infallibly inspired in the Reports they make, and in the writing of the Records which they left behind them, so it may be likewise demonstrated that the Providence of God hath watched o­ver the preserving them down to us. The exception made by a very learned Person, that there are degrees of Certain­ty as to the Divinity of the Scripture, whereas there cannot be degrees of infal­libility; May I think easily be taken off. For if by Degrees of Infallibility, he mean no more but that there are some who have their Faith established upon more Media, than others have theirs; There are thus degrees of Infallibility, [Page 127] as well as there are degrees of Certain­ty. And though Faith superstructed u­pon any infallible Medium be Essentially an an Infallible Faith: yet that which is built upon a plurality of such Media, may be stiled a faith intensively & gradually more Infalli­ble. But if by Infalli­bility,Actus qui ex his Principiis procedit, certus est & infalli­bilis, quamvis illi, qui hunc actum eli­cit, ejus Infallibi­litas non semper sit comperta. Compton. Tom. poster. in Thom. Disp. 9. Sect. 5. he mean the in­fallibility of the Mind, then I must crave leave to say, that it is not to the purpose. For as in an Apodictical Syllo­gism, there may be a certainty both in the Consequent and Conse­quence, and yet our mind, through either not discerning the necessary connexion between the Terms of the Antecedent, or not seeing into the regular and order­ly deduction of the Consequent from the Antecedent, may remain uncertain: So our Assent built upon unerrable Mo­tives, is an infallible Assent, though the mind in the mean time through not dis­covering the Infallibility of those Motives, may remain subject to doubts and fears. And indeed the Schoolmen call the Cer­titude [Page 128] of the Act only by the Name of a Certainty of Infallibi­lity; whereas they stile the Certitude of the Mind by the name of a Certainty of Adhesion. Compton. Tom. post. Disp. Dis. 8. Sect. 1. The Infallibility of the Act of Assent, re­sults from the Infallible Certainty of the motives which ground such assent; but the firm Adhesion of the mind, or that which we have called the Infallibility of the mind, though it radically arise from the Nature and quality of the motives, yet it doth withal & that immediately con­notate a perception of the motives them­selves that they are Infallible, and such as we may venture our Faith upon, without either fear, doubts or Jealousies. And herein lies our first Duty about the Scrip­tures, that our Faith answer their Cre­dibility, and that the Adhesion of our Minds to them be as firm as the Objects themselves are Immutable, or the mo­tives afforded us in their Confirmation, are Infallible and sure.

§. 10. Having declared the great ser­viceableness of Reason in demonstrating the Divinity of the Scripture, we are next [Page 129] enquire into the use of it in our attainment to the sense and meaning of the Word. God in vouchsafeing the World a super­natural Revelation, supposeth us not only furnished with the sensitive Faculties of Seeing and Hearing, but endowed with intellectual principles by which we may understand it, judge of, and assent to it. Were we destitute of the latter, Scripture were of no more significancy to us, than to Brutes: and were the former denyed us, we were no more capable of being trans­acted with in this way, than Stocks and Stones are. Now the letter of the Bible without the genuine sense of it is not pro­perly the Scripture; nor will it availe us to any end or purpose, more than the ha­ving a shell without a kernel. Words are of no further use, than as they are represen­tations of conceptions & Images of things. Could we communicate our Conceptions to one another immediately, or by any o­ther signs, and that with the same facility and certainty as we do by Words, there would be no Occasion for Words, nor any need of them. As conceptions are the re­presentation of things in the mind, so words are the representation of these concep­tions to others. But forasmuch as we can [Page 130] have no perception of the thoughts of ano­ther though he should express them in Speech or writing, unless we first know that such and such words are in the use of mankind appli'd to denote such and such things, therefore all words as they are Ma­nifestative signs of Conceptions, so they are Suppositive signs of things. And though they be first Indicative of Concep­tions in the intention of the Speaker, yet as to execution with respect to the hearer, they are first Manifestative of things; for unless we know what things such and such words are ordained to signifie, they can be no interpreters of the thoughts of him that Speaks. I know no greater dispa­ragement that can be put upon the Bible, nor affront that can be offered to the Au­thor of it, than to stile it, a little Ink va­riously figured in a Book, or a few unsensed Characters: And yet at this rate do the Papists frequently talk. It is of the essence of words properly taken, to be significa­tive. For this end were they invented and appointed, and it is this that gives them their Form. Brute Animals though they may be taught to utter many Words, yet because they understand not truly & really any thing they say, therefore they cannot [Page 131] be said be said properly to Speak. To affirm, that by the Scriptures we cannot mean the sense of them, but only a Book of such and such unsensed Characters; is to degrade God below a Man, and to treat a writing endited by Him, more opprobri­ously than we will allow our own Scribes to be dealt withall. Do we not judg and account other Books to be Interpreters of their thoughts and judgments that wrote them; and shall this be denied to God? If there be not a sense intrinsecally inclu­ded in every Word and sentence of the Scripture, he was ill employed that gave it forth. In brief, if words be devoid of sense, when they are Written, they are also de­void of it when they are spoken; Speech & writing no otherwise differing, but that the one is the Register, Substitute and Vicari­ous of the other. If the Scripture have not a Sense Originally in it self and essentially belonging to it, it can never have any, see­ing for the Church to affix a sense to it, is only to declare her own sense, not its; and indeed to impose both upon God and Man. Now God in giving forth the Re­velation of his will, not only inspired the Penmen of the Bible, as to the Doctrines and things they delivered, but as to the [Page 132] Words, Terms and Expressions in which they declared them. It was God himself that spake in the Prophets, Heb. 1.1. The very Words they used were [...], Words which the Holy Ghost put in­to their hearts and Mouths. 1 Cor. 2.13. The [...] was [...]. The Writing, or Word written was by Inspiration from God, 2 Tim. 3.16. And surely God, if he please, can speak in as plain Words as any of h [...]s Creatures can do. Men many times through some defect in their Judgment, or through a penu [...]y of Words, or through an incongruous disposition and texture of them, are at a loss to express themselves in­telligibly; but to none of these imper­fections is God incident, and therefore if he please he may declare himself so as that men may understand him. Now Words that are Intelligible when they are spoken, are as Intelligible when they are Written. Yea, there are advantages of understand­ing them better in the one case, than in the other. We can better observe the Re­striction and Ampliation of Terms; the quality of every particular proposition; the connexion of an Enunciation that is obscure with what is more clear going be­fore, and following after; the light that it re­ceive's [Page 133] from expressions to the same pur­pose, in other parts of the Book; the Ge­nius of the Stile in general; the nature of the several periods; the manner and Form of Argumentation, and a hundred things more which we can better search into in the perusal of a written Book, than we can do by the swift & transitory hearing of an Oral Discourse. Now as God can speak as plainly as any of his Creatures can, and as Words are at least as easie to be under­stood when they are written, as when they are Spoken: So we have no Reason to think that God affects obscurity or envies that men should understand him. Men being influenced by Pride, may endeavour not to be understood, that they may be admired, & may seek estimation by study­ing to be obscure: And many of the An­cient Philosophers are justly arraigned up­on this account. Heraclitus grew famous by the only obscurity of his Wri [...]gs. The Platonick and Pythagorick numbers grew into a proverb for their Darkness. It is said even of Aristotle, that being reproved by Alexander for publishing his Acroama­ticks he should make this reply, that though they were [...], made publick, yet they were [...] not Published. There is [Page 134] nothing more notorious than that there have been some writers in all Ages who have endeavoured not to be understood: But this is every way as much repugnant to the Nature of God as Pride or envy are. It is Inconsistent with his Wisdome, to give out the Bible for the end which he did, and yet to do it in such a manner as that it cannot be understood. Nor is it agreeable to his Holiness, Justice, or Good­ness to leave the Doctrines of the Bible Unintelligible, when he hath made it our Duty to know them.

Having made appear that the Scripture hath a sense, and that this Sense may be known, & that it is the main thing which we are to look after. It is now time that we should intimate what we mean by the sense of the Scripture. By the sense of the Scripture then, we Understand that which the Words according to the Intention of the Holy Ghost do signifie. We are not to bring senses to the Scripture, but to receive them from it. It is his Mind and Will we are to learn who endited the Bible, and therefore are not to impose Minds and thoughts upon it. And when I speak of Scripture Words, I do not [Page 135] mean letters, nor syllables, nay nor Words apart, but entire propositions, Sen­tences, Enunciations, paragraphs, yea Chapters and Books. Nor can we judg rightly of the sense of Words but by con­sidering them as they lie in propositions, nor ought we to determine of the sense of a proposition but in relation to the verse, Chapter and Book where it occurres, yea nor without having a respect to the whole and entire Systeme of the Bible.

There is but one sense of Scripture which we may call Literal, Dogmatical, or Histo­rical. I call that sense Literal which God doth intend in the Words, whether the Words be taken properly or tropically. That which ariseth from a figurative acceptation of the Word,Non [...]negamus dari Sensum Scripturae com­positum, seu dua­bus partibus con­stantem; in quo, voces rem quan­dam, res illa a­liam divinâ na­cura (que) rerū con­sentaneâ ordina­tione Significat Bisterfield. disp. de script. p 34▪ is as truly a Literal sense, as that which flows from their proper acceptation. In texts of Scripture where Types are lay'd down, in which other things typi­fied are intended, there is not a twofold sense of the Words, but there is one only of the Words, and the other is of the Types [Page 136] themselves: which being designed to pre­figure other things do accordingly carry a key along with them by which they may be unlocked. I do not deny, but that of one Sense of a Text there maybe two parts, namely when those things which are im­mediately signified, do denote or at least lead us to somthing more Sublime. Though even in this case there be but one proper sense of the Words, namely the Literal, the Mystical being not so much the sense of the Words, as occasioned by, and built upon the things signified. Or if you will, there is that [...] and habitude between the Literal sense and the Mystical, that they do both together make up one entire, compleat sense of the place. Yea, it may be said that in all propositions which admit a Literal and a Mystical sense, though there be but one Explicite Enunciation, yet there are two implicitely. And if any have a mind upon this account, to distinguish be­twixt the Literal sense and the Mystical, they may for me, nor will I quarrel with them. But to assign a plurality of coordinate or Ambiguous senses to one and the same text,Obscuritas quae est in Subjecto n [...]n est transfe­renda in Objectū. Spa [...]hem. Disp. de Script. i. §. 4 i. is the height of Mad­ness, invented only to re­proach [Page 137] the Scripture and to make way for the Autho­rity of the Church in the expounding of it,Aliud est a­gere de obscuri­tate Subjecti seu personarū, aliud de obscuritate in Objecto, seu Scripturarum. Morus causa Dei. p. 18.16. Nihil impedit Scripturam esse claram & per­spicuam, & ho­minem nihilo­minus, esse [...]. Coccei. Sum. Theolo­g. cap. 6. Perspicuitas Scripturae est proprietas insita quam & semper retinet, homo li­cet illuminatus sit necne; quam­vis non illumina­to homine istam claritatem i­dem non videat Heidan. Causa Dei lib. cap. 6. Debemus distinguere inter Ob­scurum in se & absolute, & quod Obscurum est no­bis & quoad nós. Mares. and is indeed repugnant not only to the perspicuity of the Scripture, but to the unity of Truth, and the end of Gods revealing the Word, which is to instruct us in Faith and Obedience; for wheresoever there is a Multiplicity of Disparate Senses, we can never be sure that we have attained to the true meaning of any one proposition. Now when we enquire into the Sense of Scripture, and asse [...]t its being Intelligi­ble; we always distinguish betwixt the perspicuity of the Object, and the capaci­ty of the Subject actually to understand it. The easi­ness of the Scripture to be [Page 138] understood in respect of it self, and our disposedness to understand it right, are things vastly distant. The Sense of the Word may be in it self facile and plain, though in the mean time it remain dark and obscure to those who have shut their eyes, or that have their understanding de­filed, tinctur'd, and darkned by fuliginous vapours. The Bible is only plain to such who apply themselves to the study of it without prepossessions, prejudice, and forestalled judgments, & are withall hum­ble and diligent in the use of means to find out the meaning of it. Though the Ethere­al Regions be replenished with rayes of light emitted from the great Luminary, yet it is both necessary that men have eyes, and that they open them, in order to their discovering and receiving the benefit of it. If our understandings either from that darkness and ignorance which they are en­veloped and muffled with through the Fall, or from malignant Habits occasioned either by unhappy education, or sensual lusts, do not discern the sense and meaning of Scripture; it is no impeachment of its perspicuity, but a manifestation of our weakness, corruption and folly. Besides, when we speak of the plainness of the [Page 139] Scripture & its easiness to be understood, we always put a difference betwixt Scrip­ture Texts relating to Doctrines of Faith & manners, which are absolutely necessary to be known; and such of whose Sense we may be safely ignorant, the Doctrines they refer to, having no indispensable connexion with Salvation. The whole Will and Mind of God, as to all that is needfull to be known in order to our duty and Happi­ness, is revealed in the Scripture with­out any such ambiguity or obscurity as should hinder it from being under­stood, though God in his Soveraign Wis­dome hath in many things whose simple Ignorance doth not interpose with Sal­vation, left many hard and difficult Texts; partly to make us sensible of the weak­ness of our Understandings, partly to imploy our minds unto diligence, part­ly to induce us to implore Divine in­struction, and to make us depend upon God for illumination, and partly to ex­ercise our Souls unto reverence: But in Fundamental Truths the Case is o­therwise, for the end giving measure, and fixing bounds unto means, it is not con­sistent with the Wisdom, and Good­ness, yea nor Justice of God, to leave [Page 140] that hard to be understood, which upon no less peril than the hazard of Salvati­on, he hath required the indispensable knowledg of. As first, principles of Rea­son need no proof of their Truth, being self-evident to every one that under­stands the Import of Terms: So Fun­damental Doctrines of Religion car­ry an Evidence in the plainness and per­spicuity of their Revelation, that every one who reads the Bible without preju­dice and a perverse mind, may be satisfi­ed that such Doctrines are there pro­posed. Nor is it any Argument that those Texts of Scripture where such Ar­ticles are revealed, are not easy to be un­derstood, because some out of prejudice or perversness have wrested them to a Corrupt sence; seeing God did not en­dite the Bible for the froward and Cap­tious, but for such who will read it with a free and unprejudiced mind, and are willing to come to the knowledge of the Truth. For, as Aristotle says in the Case of the first principles of Rea­son [...]; A self Evident Principle is not Evident to all men, but only to such who have found and undepraved [Page 141] Understandings. Topic. 6. Cap. 4. So it is no impeachment of the perspicuity of the Revelation of Fundamental Truths of Religion, that men who have their minds defiled and darkned by Lusts, infected with evil Opinions, and filled with pre­judices, do not believe and acknowledg them. And by the way, while all Truths absolutely necessary to be known, are easy and plain, and while we are in­dispensably obliged to believe and receive whatsoever is so, an Enumeration of Fundamental Truths is neither necessa­ry, nor useful, and possibly not safe. Now as all Doctrines necessary to be Under­stood are so revealed in the scripture, that they are easy enough to be so; so be­ing understood, they are as well the Standard and Measure by which dark and obscure Texts are to be interpreted, as the Key to the opening of them. As Curve lines are best discerned when ap­plied to straight, so are Heterodox sen­ses imposed on Obscure Texts of Scrip­ture best perceived, when examined by their Habitudes to necessary and plain Truths. Whatsoever bears not a Sym­metry with the Foundation, can be no Superstruction of God: And whatso­ever [Page 142] Notion either Formally, or Virtu­ally, directly or consequentially, inter­fere's with a fundamental Truth, though never so many Texts be pressed in the proof of it, we maybe sure both of its falsity and that they are all wrested and mistaken. But though the Scripture be most plain in points necessary to Salvation, yet no one Text of the Bible is in it self unintelligible;Discourse of the true Grounds of Faith annex­ed to his Divine Dialogues. for as Dr. More say's, to affirm that the Holy Writ is in it elf unintelligible, is aequi­valent to the pronouncing it nonsense, or to averr that such and such Books or Passages of it were never to be un­derstood by men, is to insinuate as if the Wisedome of God did not only play with the Children of men, but even fool with them. Mons. Wolzogen therefore in his late Book de Interprete Scripturarum, hath not only in this matter shamefully betrayed the Protestant cause, but reflected reproach upon the Spirit of God. There are som­things, says he, in the Scrip­ture which we cannot un­derstand, Fatemur in­quit, esse quae­dam in Scrip­turis quae non valeamus assequi, non tan­tum vitio men­tium nostrarum, aut sublimitate rerum, sed ipsa singulari qua­dam constituti­one Scripturae p. 16. ita verba composuit & o­rationem, ut sci­ret si in eam in­cideret peccator, inductum iri in errorem p. 172. ita loquitur quando (que) Deus ut nolit intelli­gi p. 173. Haec tamen dispensa­tio Divini nu­minis quae varia est & infinita prepemodumom­nem continet ob­scuritatis Cau­sam, quae videtur non a nobis sed a Scriptura profi­cisci. &c. p. 174. not through any defect or fault of our Minds, [Page 143] or through the Sublimity & Majesty of the Doctrines themselves, but through the Frame of the Scripture it self, and the manner in which they are revealed. If there be but one passage in the Bible in it self unin­telligible, I cannot imagine any use that it should be off, or that it should ans­wer any end, which we must needs suppose so wise an Agent as God had in the giving of it forth. Be­sides, when we discourse of the Serviceableness of Rea­son towards the attainment of the Sense and meaning of the Scripture, we put a vast difference betwixt discerning the Literal, Grammatical and Histo­rical sense of it, and the discerning it in a saving & Spiritual manner. I know our Divines sometimes express this as if they dis­tinguished betwixt the Grammatical or Li­teral [Page 144] and the Spiritual sense. But their in­tendment is not to diversifie the things themselves, and what is understood in such places, but the manner and way in which they are understood. Though the Natural man may discover the true and genuine intendment of a text no less (may be) than he that is born of God;Distinctionem sensus Gramma­tici, & intel­ligentiae spiritu­alis, ad Intelli­gendi modum referimus. Vo­gelsang. Exer­citat. Theolog. Exercit. 6. p. 101. Haud quaeri­tur de intelli­genda Scriptura, sed de salutariter intelligenda. Hoornbeck. So­cinian. confutat Tom. 1. lib. 1. cap. 5. yet their perception is not of one and the same kind, nor do they understand it after one & the same manner. Though the Sense there­fore be Physically the same, yet in the way of discove­ring it, there is a Moral dif­ference.

The meer Rational mind may discern the literal Sense of Scripture proposi­tions,Aliter enim homo naturalis videt, spiritualis aliter, vel ean­de licet veritatē videat uter (que). idem quando re­praesentatur ho­mini naturali objectum, ac spi­rituali, uterque idem necessario recipit, at pro suo quisque Modu­lo; Spiritualis qua talis, spiri­tualiter; natu­ralis è contr [...] naturaliter, but without a super­natural Irradiation from the Spirit of life, there can be no saving knowledge of [Page 145] them. The Spirit which breathed out the Scrip­ture at first, is in this Sense the only Inter­preter of it. And as the Text is his, so also is the Gloss. He that unveiled the Object, must enlighten the eye; for we need as much the spirit of Wisdom for the one, as the Spirit of Revelation for the o­ther.Joann Vander Waeyen pro vera & genu­ina Reforma­torum sententia de Interprete Script. lib. 2. p. 101. Duplicem sensum non fingimus, uti splendidè mentiuntur Remonstrantes, sed ejusdem sensûs diversos recipiendi modos, prout diverso aguntur homines principio. Idem. ibid. p. 226 vid. etiam Trigland, Antapol cap. 3.

See among many other places Eph. 1.17. 1 Cor. 2.11, 12. 1 John 2.20 and 5.20. John 6.48. Psal 119.18, 27. But seeing the Socinians and Remonstrants preclude the necessity of the influence of the spirit of God upon the mind, in order to the understanding the meaning of the Scrip­ture [Page 146] either one way or an other;Ostorod. In­stitut. cap. 1. Catiches. Ra­cov. cap. 3. Remonstrant. Confess. cap. 1. Episcop. disp. 3. de Script. perspi­cuitate. Velu­thuis. de usu Ra­tionis, p. 8, 9, 12, 14, 15, 194. Wolzog. 209. de interpret. Script. p. 12.62, 63, 126. and forasmuch as diverse who are not will­ing to be catalogued a­mongst them, do yet in this fight under their ban­ners; I shall [...] pro­duce something in proof of it. (1) We have the Te­stimony of the Scripture, that Reason without auxi­liary beams can never dis­cern Spiritual things Spiri­tually. The natural man re­ceiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritual­ly discerned, 1 Cor. 2.14. Where by [...] the Natural man, we are neither to understand the [...] the babe, the In­firm, the Weak. For though such be often unskilfull in the Word of Righte­ousness, neither able to frame due con­ceptions of the mysteries of the Gospel, nor throughly disposed to a due savouring of them, nor fully capable of improving them to all the holy ends, and in all the usefull deductions and inferences to which [Page 147] they are designed, and to which they are admirably accommodated: Yet the things of the Spirit of God are not [...] foolish­ness to them. Nor are we by [...] here, to understand only the Sensual man, or one that is wholly sunk into the Animal Life, and enslaved to the satis­faction of his corrupt appetites, and inor­dinate fleshly desires; seeing the natu­ral man in this place is directly opposed to the [...], the spiritual or rege­nerate man; and to the [...] and the [...], the Wise, and the Scribe; to the [...] and [...], the Dispu­ter and the Princes of this World, qui domi­nabantur in scholis, Who bare sway & rule in the Schools. But by the Natural man, we are to understand the meer Rational man, even him that doth most excolere animam, Cultivate his Intellectuals. [...] the per­son endowed with meer humane Wisedom as the Greek Scholiast says. Now! what is affirmed concerning this Souly man? [...], He receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, [...], neither can he know them. There is not only an [...] a dimsightedness, but an [...] an impotency through a dispropor­tion [Page 148] in his faculty with respect to them. They are seen in another light, than he is endowed with; [...], they are spiritually discerned. They are known only by a divine irradiation and conque­ring sun-beam of the Spirit of life upon the mind. And therefore God is said to shine into our hearts to give the [...] light (i. e. the clear and evident manifestation) of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 4.6. (2.) We have the attestation of Reason, which tells us that nothing is well known, but by that which hath a just analogy to it. [...] every thing is best under­stood by that which bears a resemblance of it. Things of sense and life are only known by vital & Sentient Faculties. Vegetables do not admit every particle that comes to nourish them, but only such as bear a pro­portion to their own pores. Where there is not a congruity betwixt the Subject and the Object, the Object can never be discerned in its true light. As the eye can­not behold the Sun, [...], un­less it have some resemblance of the Sun in it self; no more can any Man understand the things of God in a due manner [...], unless he be made to partake of [Page 149] of the Divine Image. Every thing acts in a way consimilar to its own Nature; and therefore let the Ob­jects be never so spiritual,Sine Spiritu arcana spiritus quaerere, nihil aliud est, quam sine luce videre velle. Rivet. Isagog. ad Script. S. cap. 18. §. 3. the natural man can ne­ver know them in a way, analogous to them, i. e. spi­ritually, but only in a na­tural way, that alone being homogeneous to himself. We are told in philosophy, that quicquid recipitur, re­cipitur ad modum recipientis, every thing is received in a way agreeable to that which re­ceiveth it. And therefore where there is nothing but a natural Mind, it can act no otherwise than in a Natural way. In a word, without a vital alliance & cognation to Spi­ritual things, we can never understand them in a Spiritual saving Manner. I take these two here in an aequipollent sense, without medling with the questi­on, whether there be no difference be­twixt knowing Gospel truths in a Spi­ritual manner, and the knowing them in a Saving. (3) If we be in the alone Virtue of our Rational Faculties adapted to a due discerning the things of the Spirit of God, and that i [...] [Page 150] their proper light; I see no reason why an unregenerate man should be more stiled blind in reference to the Word of God, than in reference to Euclids Elements, or Aristotles Organon. Nor indeed why he should be esteemed so inept for that, as for these. I might add in the fourth place,Vid. Voss. Hist. Pelag. prestat. & pas­sim. that accor­ding to the Doctrine of the Ancient Church, be­sides the external Reve­lation of the Word, there was also an in­ternal Inspiration of the Spirit supposed necessary, in order to the understand­ing of it in a saving manner. And in this, the Church of England, not to speak of Forraign Churches, hath hitherto har­monised with the Ancients. For though a few are, and have been otherwise min­ded, yet they are as far from deserving the name of the Church of England, as an excrescency is from obtaining the name of the Body upon which it grows. The way and manner how the Spirit assists us in the understanding of spiritual things spi [...]itually, I shall not at this time enquire largely af­ter; only in brief we may conceive of it thus. (1) There is either through the immediate in dwelling of the Spirit, or [Page 151] through the Communication of new prin­ciples, a [...] an ablation of every thing extraneous; a dissipation of those fuliginous vapours that both obnubi­late the mind, and do imbuere Objectum co­lore suo. By the purification of the Heart, the Understanding is clarified. Scales drop off from our Eyes, and the [...] Governing Faculty becomes purged from those prepossessions, prejudices, and Lusts which obstructed its perceptive Powers. (2) By the Spirit of Life in the new Birth, the subject is elevated and adapted to the Object. Grace renders the mind idone­ous for, and consimilar to Truth. The Eye is not so much relieved by the pros­pective and Telescope, as the Understanding is by Grace. (3) There is a suggesting of Media for the Eluci­dating of Truth.Exporrigit ra­dios suoscaelestes per universum Dei verbum. hoornbeck▪ The­olog. practic. part. 1. lib. 6. cap. 3. A revi­ving in the Memory clear texts, to illustrate such as are dark. (4) There is fre­quently an irradiation of the Word it self. An atti­ring and clothing it with a garment of Light, that is impatient either of Cloud or Shadow. And upon the whole, the Soul both feels, [Page 152] and is transformed into what it knows. Its apprehensions are no longer dull and languid, but vigorous and af­fective. As every thing relisheth ac­cording to its contemperation to the palate, so the mind being seasoned with Goodness, tastes a pleasure and delight, and feels an efficacy in what it under­stands. It sees things in a steddy Light, and exerts its self in all suitable opera­tion, both in matter of internal acts, and outward Duties. However, though we contend that the Spirit of Wisdom is ab­solutely necessary for the Understanding the sense of Scripture-propositions in a Spiritual saving manner, yet we do not deny, but that the meer Rational mind, may discern the Literal Sense of the Word, in a way congruous to its own state, and condition. It is true, even with re­ference to the perception of the bare Li­teral sense, that the person renewed in the Spirit of his Mind, is greatly advan­taged above the Unregenerate Man. For the Spirit of God makes us of quick Understanding in the fear of the Lord. Isay. 11.2, 3. The mind is defecated from those impure fogs and mists of Lust and Passion, which greatly hinder and [Page 153] prejudice the Understanding in the per­ception of Natural Truths, and much more of Supernatural and Divine. Grace both helps us to use Reason aright for the discovering the true meaning of Scrip­ture Enunciations; and furnisheth us with a holy Sagacity of smelling out, what is right and true, and what is false and per­verse; and especially by impressing, im­planting, and working in us the thing re­vealed, it confirms us in, and causeth us ra­ther immediately to feel, than logically to discern, the sense of such and such a place. Yet I know none who affirmeth that to conceive the sense of Theological proposi­tions, the supernatural Light of the Spirit is absolutely necessary. For if it were thus, Infidels which reject them, would not dis­claim them as False and Incredible, but as unconceivable and unintelligible. Yea thousands destitute of the Divine Unction, have in a theorical way actually understood the Bible. All that have usefully commented on the Scripture, were not born of God. The means con­ducive to the Understanding of the true sense of Scripture, are besides Hu­mility, Teachableness, frequent Reading of the Bible, and prayer; an acquain­tance [Page 154] with the Signification and use of Words, the Nature and kinds of Rheto­rick, with the Rules and conditions of Ar­gumentation, &c. Three things occur to to our consideration, in enquiry after the sense and meaning of any Book: The mind of the Writer, the Words in which he declares it, and the connexion, habi­tude and relation betwixt the Words spo­ken, and the Mind of the Speaker. What ever there is often in Men, yet in God there is never a separation betwixt the Judgment himself hath of things, and that which the words he maketh use of, manifest and import. He can declare nothing as our Duty, but what indeed is so, & what himself judgeth so to be. Men hav­ing then by common consent & agreement established, that such and such conceptions shall be united with such Words, according­ly whenever such a word is heard or read, such a conception doth arise in our minds; and if at any time we would make known to others such a Cogitation, such words do presently occurr, to express it by. To arrive therefore at the knowledge of the sense of the Scriptures, There is nothing required on the part of the Object, but that it be intelligibly written, and that the words in which it is given forth, sig­nifie [Page 155] according to the Institution, Use and Custom of mankind. For as one sayeth, Scriptura non esset Scriptura nisi ver­bis, Joann. Van­der Waeyen de Interpret. Scrip. advers. Wolzog. lib. 2 p. 5. ex usu significanti­bus, scripta extaret. And here the knowledg of the Etymology of Words, their usage in Exotick Au­thors, is of great import, but that which is chiefly to be attended to, in the sensing of Scripture, is their use in Sacred Writers. God is many times pleased to restrain or enlarge the signification of Words, as in His Wisdom he judgeth meet. Hence many Terms taken up from other Disci­plines, Artes, and usages, are peculiarly applied and confined to denote things otherwise,Deus usus est genere sermonis practico, & Oe­conomico potius quam th [...]orico & Acr [...]amati­co, adeo (que) phra­sis & enuncia­ta non tam the­oretice velut in Acroaterio Dialecticorum, vel in schola aliqua metaphysica vel captioso litigatorum foro, quam practice, veluti in domo disciplinae paternae, intelli­genda sunt. Conrad. Berg. de fid. Cathol. dis­sert 6. Thes. 179, 180, 222. than they do there, whence they are borrowed. God useth ra­ther a practical and Oeco­nomical way of speaking, than a Theorical and Acro­amatical. [Page 156] Nor do Scripture Enunciations, signifie philosophically, as in Dialectical Schools, but practically, according to their Use in Families and common converse. And unless there be very urgent Grounds to the Contrary, we are to determine the signification of Words, not with respect to their Etymologie and Grammatical pro­priety, or their usurpation in Schools, but according to their popular Use, ‘Quem penes arbitrium est, & jus & norma loquendi.’

Many a Text otherwise plain, hath been rendred abstruse, and unintelligible, by mens glossing it in analogie to their Me­taphysical notions and querks; fathering those nice and subtile fancies to Terms occurring in the Scripture, which they find the Schoolmen have applied them to, in their wanton, luxurious and Aenigmatical Debates. Yea, the same Words are in Scripture, used sometimes in a larger, sometimes in a narrower signification. And in such cases, the only Rule to deter­mine their import, is the context and subject Matter. Hence the Hebrews have a saying, that he preverts the Word from [Page 157] its true intendment, who doth not observe what precedes and what follows. And the Civil Law tells us, that, in­civile est tota Lege non in­specta, Particulas quasdam de Scripturis eli­gunt quibus de­cipiāt, non con­nectentes quae infra & supra sunt, ex quibus voluntas & in­tentio Scripto­ris posset intel­ligi. August▪ contr. Adia­mant. cap. 4. ex una ejus tantum parte proposita, judicare velle de toto legis sensu: It is an irrational thing to judge of the whole Law by, consulting only one part of it. Scripture texts hang together in a chain of mu­tual dependance, and to know the Sense of one Scripture, requireth a due consideration of many. And though some passages of the Bible be in themselves difficult, yet there is such light reflected on, & lent to them, in other places, that the meaning of God in them, may be sufficiently understood. And this is what our Divines generally intend, when they say that Scripture is the Inter­preter of Scripture. God in the enditing the Bible, hath spoken with that perspi­cuity, & accommodation of himself to our Capacity, that we may know what he aimes at and intends; and if any Texts be obscure and dark, yet by those rays of [Page 158] Light which they borrow from other pla­ces, their sence and meaning may be easi­ly understood. Nor is there one Text al­ledged by the Anonymous Author of Phi­losophia Scripturae Interpres, after all his operose and impertinent wrangling to prove the Scripture ambiguous, and ob­scure, which may not be plainly unfolded, either by a due observation of the subject matter, and Context, or by comparing it with parellel places, where the same things are declared in equivalent Terms, but with more clearness and evidence; without the least necessity of recourse to Philosophy as the Standard of sensing the Bible. Nor is the forementioned Book any thing else but a plea for Soci­nianism; only instead of Reason, we have Philosophy advanced to a Dictatorship over the word of God, and Des-Cartes made master of the Chair. And wheras Monsr. Wolzogius in a pretended reply to the said Author, hath constituted the Custom and usage of Speech, the only Rule of Interpreting Scripture; I must crave leave to say, that he confounds what he ought to have distinguished, namely the Rule of expounding the word with the media of Interpretation. And besides, a know­ledg [Page 159] of the usage of words in common speech, is rather adapted to help us in the Verbal sence of Scripture, usually called Version or Translation, than in the Exe­getical and real Sense, vulgarly and truly stiled exposition. And withal, there are many things which God designs our in­struction in, by Words and Phrases as they lie in the Systeme of the Bible, and in a Habitude to the things there treated of, which they were never in Forraign Au­thors, or customary Speech among men, applyed to the manifestation of. Scrip­ture is avowedly the best expositor of it self. God by framing it in the manner he hath done, by giving it such a Texture, and by inculcating the same things in the greatest variety of expressions, hath made it self the alone measure by which it is fully to be understood, and hath ta­ken upon himself to be suorum eloquio­rum optimus Interpres. Now the line that in order to our attaining the sense of Scrip­ture we are to be guided by, is this: That Scripture Phrases, Propositions, Pa­ragraphs, Sections, &c. do actually signifie every thing, which in such a disposition and Texture, with reference to the subject matter and context, and in Analogy to the [Page 160] Systeme of the whole Bible, they can signi­fie. I do not say, that they always excite that sense of themselves, in the heart and mind of the Reader;Verba sacrae Scripturae actu significant quic­quid significare possunt. Hund. disp. 4. de ver­bo Dei. but my mea­ning is, that they are then only rightly appre­hended, and the intend­ment of the Holy Ghost in them, fully attained, when this latitude of signification is alow'd them. There are no empty frigid phraseologies in the Bible, but where the expressions are most splendid, and lofty, there are No­tions and things enough to fill them out. God did not design to endite the Scripture in a pompous tumid stile, to a­muse our fancies, or meerly strike to our I­maginations with the greater force, but to instruct us in a calm and sedate way; and therefore under the most stately dress of words, there always lyes a richer quarry of things and Truths Words being invented to express natural things and humane thoughts, the utmost signi­fication they can possibly bear, proves but scanty and narrow, when they are apply'd to the manifesting Spiritual and celestial Objects. The serviceableness [Page 161] of this Notion against Jews, Socinians, Arminians and others, lies in the view of every discerning person, and the ad­vantage I promise my self from it, Chap. 3. hath led me to suggest it here. How are the most plain and magnificent Testi­monies in proof of Christs being the Messiah, the true God, Reconciling us by his death, mans inability to Good, the necessity and efficacy of renuing Grace, &c. enervated, by affixing some low, secondary, and metaphorical mea­ning to them; or by turning the Scrip­ture into meer Hyperboles, Allegories, rampant and empty Schemes of Speech. Nor, secluding this from being the mea­sure of our judging of the sence of Scrip­ture, is it possible to arrive at any Cer­ta [...]nty about the meaning of it. If it do not actually signifie all and every thing which with respect to the subject matter, the context, the agreement of one part with another, and every part with the whole, it can signifie; there is not one [...] assignable, by which we can make a judgment what it doth signi­fie. God being Omniscient, knows what all words are by men ordained to de­note, [Page 162] and what import they have in their combinations one with another, and in the several textures into which they may be disposed; being Wise he can pitch upon such Words, and digest them into that frame, as is most adapted to be­get a Conception and apprehension of those things in us, which he would in­struct us in the knowledg, and win us to the belief and obedience of; And being Veracious, Good and Faithful, it is repugnant to his Nature to design the imposing on us, or the leading us in­to Errors and Fallacies. Men either through unaccquaintedness with the just Valor of Words, or through Igno­rance of the Nature of things, or through oscitancy and neglect in the Election of Terms, may diliver themselves in ex­pressions both too lofty for the things they intend, and dissonant to their own Conceptions; but all these being incon­sistent with the Divine perfections, we dare admit no such thing in reference to him. It is the character of the Spirit of man to speak much and in effect to say little, but 'tis the Caracter of the Holy Spirit to speak little and therin to [Page 163] comprehend much; nor do we through­ly penetrate into Scripture Misteries without enlarging our Conceptions be­yond the letter. The Stile of the most reputed Oratours is for the most part too pompous, & flatulent for the subjects they treat of; neither the Images which they form in their minds, nor the Arrayment of them in Words, are adapted and proporpo­tioned to things. They are like boys walk­ing upon stilts, who seem higher then they are, and their discourses are like a load of flesh in the body of man, that serves on­ly to embarass it with an unprofitable weight. But to imaigine so of God, or to ascribe [...], great swelling words of vanity to him, 2 Pet. 218. Jud. 16. or to think that in the enditing the Bible, he did [...], only feed us with gaudy phantasms, poetical Schemes, & lux­ariunt phrases, is to impeach more than one of his perfections. In a word, Gods design being to instruct us, and it being repugnant to His Nature, either to be deceived himself in the nature of things, or to deceive others, it necessarily fol­lows that the Scripture doth actualy de­denote all and whatsoever it is capable of [Page 164] denoting. Nor are we in the interpreting of the Word to restrain and con­fine its sense,Bonus In er­pres non debet ipse Sensum Scripturae coar­ctare; sed tam sumere latè quam sumi po­test. Sebast. Schmidt. de I­mag. Dei. cap. 4. p. 77. Deus censen­dus est dixisse, quicquid ex suis dictis legitime colligitur, cum non nesciverit, quas ex illis, ho­mines recta ra­tione utentes, consequentias nectere possent. Mares System. l [...]c. 1 Thes. 17. but to take it in the greatest La­tude of sign [...]fication it can bear, I shall shut up this w [...]th that of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14.6, 11. So like­wise yee, except yee utter by the Tongue [...] Words easy to be under­stood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For yee shall speak into the Air: Therefore if I know not [...] the mea­ning of the voice (the [...] pos­se vocis, the whole force, vertue, power and signifi­cation of the Words) I shall be unto him that spea­keth a Barbarian.

§ 11. The next thing considerable with respect to the interest of Reason in Re­ligion, is its Use and serviceableness in drawing Consequences from Revealed [Page 165] and supernatural Truths. And this fol­lows from what we have said concerning the sence of Scripture-propositions. It is by this means, that Divines have al­ways laboured to clear Mysteries of Faith, by making appear the Connexion of things obscure with these that are plain, and those that are contested with these that are not. It is by this Method also that the Fathers have refuted Heresies, by shewing that those evil Doctrines which they introduced into the Church, either had not any agree­ment with the true Mysteries of Faith, or that they were altogether opposite to them. To disclaim all Scripture Consequences & the ministration of Rea­son in deducing them, is plainly to deny all the Connexions Relations, dependencies, and oppositions of one thing to and upon an other▪ and to betray Religion into the Hands of its Enemies. And as this is one of the last, so I look upon it as one of the most shameful Refuges of the Ro­manists. Finding themselves in their dis­putations about matters of Religion, foi­led and bafled by the Protestants, some of them have thought it their safest course to renounce all Principles of Reason in the concernments of Faith, [Page 166] & to reject all Conclusions as well inferr'd from premisses, where both are of Revelati­on, as where one only is of Faith and the other of Reason. It must be a desperate Cause that cannot otherwise be maintai­tained; And nothing but a failure in other defences would have reconciled them to a method pregnant with so ma­ny absurdities. But when men are pre-engaged in the defence of a Cause, what will they not rather seek relief from, than reject what their lusts, interests and educations oblige them to? The first forgers of this new Armature forwarding off the blows of Protestants, with the entertainment that the Inventi­on met with at Rome as well as Sorbon, he that hath a mind to inform himself, may learn from Vedelius in his Rationale Theologicum, and Bochart contre Veron. And how far the Socinians those Idola­ters of Reason when it serves their de­signs, do conspire with the Papists to disparage it in this matter we are now enquiring about, when it doth not be-friend them, such as are inquisitive, may read in Hoornbecks Socinianismus con­futatus, Tom. 1. lib. 1. cap. 9. p. 211. But that we may address to the matter [Page 167] it self: By a Consequence we mean ei­ther a proposition standing in that habi­tude, relation, and having that connexi­on with another, that if that be true, this is also true; or a proposition lying in that repugnancy and opposition to a­nother, that if the first be true, the latter must be false. There is either that co­herency betwixt them, that the one in­fers and draws the other after it; or that contrariety that if truth be the portion of the one, falsehood must fall to the lot of the other. Now conclusions are of two kinds; first when there is nothing in the Antecedent but what is in the Con­sequent, and this is always between two Terms and no more; and these Terms are either convertible, as no Innocent per­son is a sinner, therfore no sinner is an Innocent person: Or they are subalter­nate the one the other, as every man is guilty before God, therefore this and that man is so: Or else they are Terms Equivalent, as Believers have the guilt of sin remitted to them, therefore their liableness to legal Wrath is re­moved. 2 dly. When there is somthing In the Antecedent that is not in the Conse­quent, and to Conclusions of this Na­ture, there are always required three [Page 168] Terms, and the Foundation of dedu­cing one proposition here from ano­ther, is either the connexion, or op­position that is betwixt the one and the other. All Conclusions are virtually included in their premises, and he that assents to these, doth in effect grant those. It is all one whether both the premises be in Scripture, or one onely be there, the other being either fetch't from undoubted Principles of Reason, or evidence of Sense; for in all these Cases, the Conclusion is as much the Word of God, as if it were in so many letters and sillables in the Bible. Hence that common saying quaedam in Scripturis sunt, et dicuntur; quaedam in ii [...]dem sunt etsi non dicantur: There are some things in the Scripture, and are accordingly reported to be in them; and there are somethings in them, though they be not in so many Words there related, &c. Men through Ignorance, ositancy, or the like, do not always dis­cern what ariseth and followeth from what they say, and do often therfore af­firm that, from whence something doth ensue, which they are so far from holding, that they do detest it; and accordingly we frequently argue against them, per deductionem ad absurdum seu impossibile. [Page 169] But God always foresees whatsoever followes up­on every declaration he makes;Cum Deus sit sapientissimus, italocutus est, ut quicquid possit concludi ex eo quod dixit, ve­lit inde conclu­di, nam homi­num ea est osci­tantia vel stul­tia aliquando, ut ea dicant, ex quibus aliquid colligitur, quod minime velint Cam. praelect. de Eccles. he understands all the hab [...]tudes, con­nexions, dependencies, and oppositions of one thing upon and to ano­ther, and accordingly we not onely may with safe­ty, but he expects that we should, inferr and de­duce from what he hath said, all and every thing that necessarily bears up­on and follows from it. And though what is thus inferred, be not in the Scripture, [...] in so many letters; yet while it is there, either [...], in the equivalent, or [...] in the sense, or [...] by way of Consequence, it may be truly said to be there [...] in effect. And though some Conclusions lye more con­nected with the principles from which they are deduced, than others, yet they are both equally true, providing the princi­ples be so, whence they are inferred. Let the trains of Ratiocination be shorter or [Page 170] longer, nothing can flow from Truth but Truth; only there is more difficulty in the deduction, and more liableness to mis­take in the illation of the latter, than the former. And accordingly we desire no man to assent to the thing concluded, till he have examined, or at lest may, and be satisfied, that there is nothing false and so­phistical in the Way and Manner of its deducement. Though our understandings be in some cases subject to mistake, yet there is no ground to suppose that they universally do so. Though our Facul­ties be fallible in their Ratiocinations, yet there are Connate Notions and Conge­nite Criteria, by which we may discern, when they deceive us, and when not. There are certain Rules which the universal Rea­son of mankind hath agree'd on as the Test and Standard, to judge of legitimate deductions by, and of those we have as infallible certainty, as that it is day when the Sun is in the Meridian. As we dis­cern pure Mettal from embased, by bring­ing it to the touchstone, so we discern regular Consequences from Sophistical, by incontested Maximes. To argue aga­gainst the use of Reason in drawing Con­clusions from undoubted Principles, pre­cludes [Page 171] the whole service of the Rational Faculty, and lead's to the worst of Scepti­cism. Whosoever impeacheth the fit­ness of our understandings to draw conclu­sions from evident Articles of Revelation, doth equally endite them of ineptitude to deduce Inferences from first Maximes of Natural Light. Scripture principles are as certain as any in Philosophy, and they lye in the same Habitudes of congruity and incongruity to other things, that first Principles of Science do; & therefore if we may not argue from those, I see no reason why it should be thought lawful to argue from these. Nor are we otherwise secure in any Ratiocinations of Philosophy no more than Theologie, unless God had giv­en us a Logick to instruct us in the Rules of Argumentation, as he hath given us the Scripture to inform us in matters of Faith and Obedience. In a word, we must ei­ther implicitely resign our selves to the dictates of every one that accosteth us, or we must as brutishly reject them; unless there be both a Rule to which we may apply, and by which we may try them; & some Certain Measures by which we may discern, whether we have rightly commensurated and examined them in [Page 172] Order to discerning what of them is false, and what is true. Now though Reason be the instrument of deducing Conclusions from Principles of Faith, yet it is not the foundation and ground, on which we believe and assent to the Truths so deduced. Nor doth Reason judg of the Verity of the Conclusion, but only of the regularity of the de­duction of it. When an Architect ap­plieth his line or square to a Building, they only are the Rule by which he judgeth of the Symmetry of his Work, but it is his eye that serveth him to discern how the Work agrees to the Rule. 'Tis one thing, (as Austin saith) to know the truth of propositions, Aliud est nos­se regulas Con­nexionum, aliud sententiarū ve­ritatem, lib. 2. de Doct. Christ. cap. 33. De Conse­quentia stature rationis certe o­pus est, (eadem scil. Logica est, ut in Mathe­maticis, Physi­cis, Metaphysi­cis, sic etiam in S. Theologiâ) at vero de con­sequente statu­ere, certe fidei solius est. Cam. Nemo nost­rum docet quod Conclusio sit credenda ut Ar­ticulus fidei ra­tione Conse­quentiae, creden­dam dicimus, quia est Verbum Dei, esse autem verbū Dei con­sequentia osten­dit. Hundius disp. 4. de Con­sequent; ex Scriptura. Non enim consequen­tias propriè sic dictas afferimus ad proban­dam aut fun­dandam conclu­sionem fidei, sed tantū ad osten­dam veritatem connexionum. Videl. Rationale Theolog. lib. 3. cap. 4. and another to understand the rules of Connexion and Laws of Argumentation. And as Camero says, to determine of the goodness of a Conclusion, or its re­gular illation from its pre­misses, is the Work of Rea­son, and that according to the Rules of Logick, which is the same in Theologie, as [Page 173] in Natural Phylosophy, or in Mathematicks; but to determine of the Truth of the Conclusion is the Work of Faith, through the Testimony of the Word. As a Demonstration in Ge­ometrie doth not consti­tute that a Truth which was not one before, but only evidenceth it to the Mind: So we do not be­lieve a Conclusion to be an Article of Faith upon the formal Reason of its deduction, but upon the Authority of God in the Bible; Argumentation serves only to show that God, hath said it. As Computation in Arith­metick doth not constitute the Total of the lesser Numbers, but only col­lects and adjusts it; so Ratiocination from Prin­ciples [Page 174] of Revelation doth not make a Conclusion to be the Word of God, but only sheweth that it is so. Nor is there any weight in that exception, that in all Conclusions of this Na­ture, one of the Premisses only is of Revelation, the other being fetcht ei­ther from Reason, Sence, or Experience. For as that act which we could not have exerted without the assistance and in­fluence of a supernatural subjective Principle, is rightly stiled a Supernatu­ral act, though it be Elicited by our Nutural Faculties: So every Conclu­sion which we arrive at the knowledg of, through the assistance and conduct of Revelation, is rightly stiled a Con­clusion of Faith, and esteemed a part of Revelation, though a proposition of a­nother kind be assumed to help us in the deduction of it. As a Child is Fede­rally holy, wheresoever one of the Parents is a Believer,1 Cor. 7.14. though the other remain in the mean time an Infidel, so from the Conjunction of two Propositi­ons, whereof the one is of Faith, there results a Conclusion of Faith, though the other proposition be drawn only [Page 175] from principles of Reason, or Evidence of Sense. All men acknowledg that particulars are included in Universals, and if the Universal be of Revelation, the several particulars involved in it, are Revealed also. For as much then as there is not one Conclusion which we deduce from Principles of Faith, that may not be inferred by some Syllogisme or other in the first Figure, where the major Proposition is always Universal, and the Conclusion is either contained in it as a Species, or as a particular; it naturally follows, that the Major be­ing of Divine Revelation, and an Ob­ject of Faith, the Conclusion must be esteemed, revealed, and admitted for an Object of Faith also. While the subject of the Conclusion is included in the Middle Term which is the sub­ject of the Major proposition, and the Predicate of both is the same, there is nothing more plain and evident than that if the Major proposition be of Re­velation, and to be believed with a Di­vine Faith, the Conclusion is so like­wise. Yea, were it so, that the Minor proposition were only revealed in the Scripture, yet while the Major, which [Page 176] is fetcht from some incontested Maxime of Reason, contains either the whole, or a part of the Definition, or the Cor­relate, or the Essential property, or the Contradictory, or the Contrary of the Predicate of the Assumption which is from Scripture, one of which it al­ways doth, the Conclusion must needs be reck'ned as a part of Scripture, and submitted to in the same manner, as we do to that, which carries the express and explicite Authority of God upon it. For whosoever explicitely reveal's the thing defined, reveals in effect all those things which we have enumerated con­cerning it. While the Scripture, for example, assureth us that Christ is a man, it doth at the same time assure us that he is a Rational Creature; and by telling us that he is a man, it doth in effect tell us, that he is not an An­gel. And however some late Papists talk in this Matter, (not to speak of o­thers) that they may shift the Pro­testant Arguments which they cannot Answer: Yet I am sure the most learn­ed that ever espoused the Romane Cause, are at an agreement with us in [Page 177] this point. That is an Article of Faith, Id est de fide quod Deus per Prophetas & Apostolos reve­lavit, aut quod evidenter inde deducitur. De verbo Dei. cap. 9. Quasi quod ex iis quae Pro­phetae & Apo­stoli de Deo do­cuerunt necessa­rio deducitur, in Prophetas & Apostolos refer­ri non de [...]e­at. Smiglesius. contr. Masco­rov. de Bap­tism. p. 7. Non modo ad Doctrinam Ca­tholicam perti­net, quod Apo­stolis expresse revela [...]um est, verum etiam quod ex aliera propositione revelata, & altera certa in lumine Naturali, Syllogismo collectione (que) evidenti conficitur: Canus de loe. lib. 6. cap. ult. vide etiam Vasquez. in jam. Thom. quaest. ja. disp. 12. cap. 2. Veg lib. 9. in Concil. Trident. cap. 39. & Catharin. contr. Soto. says Bel­larmine, which God hath either revealed by the Pro­phets and Apostles or which may be evidently inferred from thence. Smiglesius against Mascorovius pro­claims it ridiculous to think otherwise. That is not only a part of the Christian Doctrine which is expressly revealed by the Apostles, but whatsoever can be evidently deduced thence, though one of the propositions going to the deducement of it, have its certainty only in Natural Light; saith Canus. And whereas they say that Con­clusio sequitur debiliorem partem, the Conclusion re­ceives it specification, and is denominated from the weakest proposition. I reply (1) Were that Logical [Page 178] Maxime to be taken in the universal Latitude which they affix to it, they are yet so far from gaining any thing thereby, that their whole Cause in this Matter, is supplanted: For if both Propositions be evidently true, their Dogm's must be evi­dently false, seeing the Conclusions that lye in repugnancy to them are, our Ene­mies being Judges, deduced from true propositions. God is as much the Author of the Rational Faculty in its Regular Exercise, as of Scrip­ture;Hierocl. and [...] to be persuaded by God, and to be persuaded by Right Reason is one and the same thing. (2.) That proposition in a Philosophical sense, is the weakest which is remotest from self evi­dence; and therefore where there are two premisses, whereof the one hath no other Evidence but what it borrows from the Authority of the Infallible Revealer, the other in the mean time hav [...]ng [...]ts Evi­dence from a light residing in it self, and from its Congruity to the Essential Recti­tude [Page 179] of our Intellectual Faculties; if the Conclusion follow the fortune of the wea­ker proposition, it must be a Conclusion of Faith, and not of Science. For though the Certitude of Faith be not only equal, but transcendent to the Certitude of Rea­son, Sense, and Experience. 2 Pet. 1.16, 17, 18, 19. Yet the Evidence of Reason, and Sense, is with respect to the Object as­sented to, & the habitude it stands in to us, beyond the Evidence of Faith, 2 Cor. 5. [...].1. 1 Cor. 13.12. Nor do the School men only allow a proposition grounded on an Axiome of Reason to be more evident than a pro­position founded only on Revelation, but withal, not a few of the Learned'st. Roma­nists, both School-men and others, will have the former to be also more Certain at least quo ad nos, than the latter. See Bel­larm. lib. 3. de justifi [...]. cap. 2. Durand. in 3. d. 23. quest. 7. Compt. Tom. poster. disp. 9. (3.) The forementioned Logical Axiome referrs only to the Quantity and Quality of the premisses, and not to any o­ther affections incident to them. If one of the Premisses be Negative, the Conclu­sion in the virtue of the alledged Max [...]me must be Negative also; or if one of the propositions be a particular, nothing be­yond [Page 180] a particular can be concluded, though the other be an Universal. And howsoe­ver in some cases it may hold further, yet this and no more was the intendment of the first establishers of it. Nor indeed is it admittable in the full Latitude which the Terms seem to bear, seeing of two propositions, whereof the one only is true, there may follow sometimes a Con­clusion that is true, though the other pro­position be in the mean time palpably false. But ere I undertake the probation of the thing it self, two or three things must be necessarily premised. (1.) That all Fundamental Articles are contained [...] & [...] in so many letters and syllables in the Scripture: Nor is there a­ny thing necessary in order to our assent to them, but that we understand the Terms of the Enunciations in which they are de­livered. 'Tis true, there are Terms, and Phrases, made use of to declare them unto the edification of Believers, & to secure the Minds of men from undue apprehen­sions of them, that are not in the Scrip­ture; but this is no more than what is needful in the explaining of all Divine Truths, yea, all Moral Duties. For ex­ample, That there is One God, and that [Page 181] the Father is this one God, and that the Son is so also, and the Holy Ghost like­wise, is declared in many express Te­stimonies in the Bible; but in the Ex­plication of this Doctrine, and in the ap­plication of it to the Faith and Edification of Believers; namely, how God is One in respect of his Nature and Essence; how being Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, He subsists in these three distinct Persons, what are their mutual respects to each o­ther, and what are the incommunicable Properties in the manner of their sub­sistence, by which they are distinguished the One from the other; there are such wo [...]ds and phrases made use of, as are not literally and syllabically contained in the Scripture, but teach no other thing but what is there revealed. (2.) That these very Fundamental Articles may be also confirmed by consequences and logical deductions from express literal Testimo­nies; nor do probations of this nature al­ter or enervate the quality of them. The thing is in it self the same, though the method of proof be varied. For exam­ple▪ the Doctrine of the Trinity is equally a Fundamental, whether we prove it from express Texts, or by consequences from [Page 182] literal Testimonies, or by its connexion with the whole Systeme of the Gospel, the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Oeconomy of Redemption, &c. (3.) That though all Fundamentals be in Terminis expressed in the Scripture, that yet these very Truths do include others in them which cannot be proved but by Conse­quences. For instance, That God is a Sp [...]rit, is revealed in so many letters and syllables in the Bible; but that therefore he hath not hands, nor feet, nor any cor­poreal members, can only be concluded by way of Consequence. In l [...]ke manner the Incarnation of the Son of God, that the Word was made Flesh, is expresly taught in the Scripture▪ but yet there are many things predicable of the Word In­carnate, which cannot be otherwise de­monstrated, but by Consequences, and by borrowing some proposition or other from principles of Natural light.

Now these things being premised, the lawfulness of arguing from express Scrip­ture-Truths, by deduction of Conclusi­ons, which though they be not mentioned in the Bible in letters and syllables, are yet there in effect, and were accordingly in­tended, may briefly be thus justified. [Page 183] (1.) In that to preclude this is to render the Word of God of no significancy to any particular person; seeing 'tis by this method alone that general precepts, pro­m [...]ses, and Comminations are applicable to single Individuals. Nor can any one Universal direction be otherwise brought down to a particular case. (2.) God in instructing us how we are to demean our selves towards his Word, doth it in Terms and Phrases which are peculiar to such as Discourse, ratiocinate, and deduce Conclusions from acknowledged Princi­ples. See Rom. 3.28. [...] there­fore we conclude, Rom. 6.11. [...] likewise reckon ye also your selves, 1 Cor. 2.13. [...] comparing Spiritual things with Spiri­tual, Act. 17.11. [...] they searched the Scriptures, namely, whether the things which the Apostles deduced from the Testimonies of Moses and the Prophets, had foundation in them, yea or not, 1 Thes. 5.21. [...] prove all things. Hence we are enjoyned [...] rightly to divide the word of Truth, 2 Tim. 2.15. and to Pro­phesie, [...] according to the analogy of Faith, Rom. 12.6. and [Page 184] [...], to convince by argu­ment and demonstration gainsayers. And 'tis said of Paul that [...] he reasoned wth the Jews out of the Scriptures, Acts 17.2. And of Apollos that [...], he mightily in the way of ratio­cination convinced the Jews, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was Christ, Acts 18.28. Nor was it possible by any text of the Old-Testament for the Apostles to prove Jesus of Nazareth to be the Messiah, but by argumentation & trains of deducti­ons. There was no other way or Method by which this could be don, but by shew­ing from Moses and the Prophets, that to whomsoever such properties, Characters, &c. agr [...]ed, such a one behoved to be the Messiah, and then evincing from History and Experience, that all these Characterisms centred in, and agreed to Jesus of Nazareth. And in this way the Apostles proceeded in their dealing with the Jews, by producing places out of their own Scriptures where the Proper­ties, Signatures, Characteristical notes of the Person, Natures, Offices and Work of the Messiah were foretold and described, and by which the Faith of the Church [Page 185] was guided to him, and on which the World was bound to receive him; and then in shewing that all these agreed to, were verified of, and met in our Lord Jesus as their Center, they concluded that he was infallibly the person concerning whom the Promises were made unto the Fathers. And this leads me to the 2d. argument in proof of that we have under­taken to justifie; namely the Method which the Inspired Writers observed in the conviction of Jews and Heathens. There can be no fallacy where we act con­formably to such a pattern; nor can that be disclaimed as Sophistical in others, which we find practiced by the Sacred Penmen, without impeaching both the Wisedome and Truth of God by whom they were inspired. To allow it to have been lawful for them to argue by Conse­quences, and yet in the mean time to deny it to others, is to be perverse, partial and humoursome: and to lodg it as an accusa­tion on Them that they mistook in the course they steered, is not only to justifie the Jews in their unbelief, and the Hea­then in their Idolatry, but to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by whom they were acted and conducted in what they did. [Page 186] Now that this was the Method which the Apostles observed, in their demonstrating many of the chief Articles of the Chri­stian Faith, may be made good by many instances scattered up and down the New-Testament, See Act 9.22. Act 18.28. Act 15.8, 9. Act 17.16.17. Act 2.16, 17, 18. Act 3.22, 23. Rom. 1.20. Rom. 3.9. to 21. Gal. 3.10. 1 Cor. 15.4, 5, 6, 7. Joh. 1.33, 34. In all these places, not to name more, (nor to urge the suffrage of the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in whom this way of procedure manifests it self in every Chapter and paragraph,) We must ac­knowledg that they not only argued by consequences, but that if their Argu­ments were digested into syllogisms, there will be only one proposition found that is of Revelation, the other being assumed either from Reason or Sense. Besides the attestation of Apostolical practice in this matter we have also the example of our blessed Saviour, to convince us not only of the lawfulness, but to assure us of the obligation that lyes upon us, of accounting all that for the Word of God, which can by any train of Natural deduction be con­cluded from it. If men were not resolved [Page 187] to be obstinate, this alone were enough to issue the debate, and to advance what we are pleading for beyond all jurisdiction of being gainsaid. It is by way of argu­mentation and by consequences that he proves the Divinity of his Person. Mat. 22.44, 45. The Quality and Autho­rity of his Office, John 5.39, 45, 46. John 10.25, 37, 38. Luke. 7.20, 21▪ 22. The necessity of the Death and suf­ferings of the Messiah, Luke 24 26.27. The Resurrection of the Dead in General Mat. 22.31, 32. All his Reasonings in the forecited places, should they be redu­ced into a Logical Form, will be found to bear upon one only Scripture premiss, the other being constantly either a propo­sition drawn from natural Light▪ or from the evidence of Sense. And to affirm that the Ratiocinations of Christ and the Apo­stles, though they joyned one premise from Reason or experience, to another from Scripture, were nevertheless conclusive, because the Proposition from Reason by their very using of it, became upon the ac­count of the infallible authority they were clothed with, a part of Divine Revelation; I say to affirm this, is ridiculous and im­pertinent. For had they intended to have [Page 188] immediately concerned their authority in what they said, Argumentation from an acknowledged Scripture Truth had been both needless and superfluous. Where the whole evidence depends upon the Authority of the immediate Speaker, a naked assertion is not only sufficient but most becoming. Let the Authority of a person be what it will, yet so far as in transacting with others, he recurrs to argu­ments either from Reason, or the Testi­mony of an other, so far in that instance he plainly declines his Authority. Nor did all these with whom Christ and the Apostles dealt in way of Argumentation, acknowledg any such authority by vertue of which, whatsoever they said in such a case became immediately a part of Divine Revelation, to have belonged to them. When the Scribes and Pharisees confes­sed Christ in the way and Method of proving the Resurrection to have said well, Marc. 12.28. Luke 20.39. They did not thereby intend the acknowledgment of Christ as a prophet sent from God, or that any authority upon that account resi­ded in him, For that they disclaimed: but it was the Authority of God, Exod. 3.6. and the rationalness of his deduction from [Page 189] thence, though made by the joyning of a proposition of another Nature to it, which they paid a respect to. The Multitude were swayed in this case by the meer strength and weight of his argument, and are therefore said to have been astonished at his Doctrine, Mat. 22.33. They ad­mired his Wonderful Wisdom and pro­found Sagacity; nor were they influenced by any Authority they held him vested with. Nor indeed is it any great evidence of a profound Wisedom or of his insight into the Scripture, to argue from Media which have no further convincing efficacy or force, but what they borrow from his authority that useth them. In brief, either the Text quoted by our Saviour was sufficient, antecedently to Christs using of it, and abstracting from his Authority, to demonstrate the Resurrection, or it was not. If it was, then it was not meerly from his Authority, that they came under an Ob­ligation to a belief of that conclusion: If it was not; than how comes Christ to lodg their unbelief in reference to the Resurre­ctiō upon their ignorance of the Scriptures? Marc. 12.24. Mat. 22.31. For if they stood not under the obligation of that con­sequence, but meerly because of his Au­thority, [Page 190] then the best acquaintance imagin­able with the sense and meaning of that place, could have ministred them no relief in that point, yea it had been utterly un­lawful to have drawn any such inference from it. (5.) Exclude Scripture-Con­sequences, and the Papists are not able to impugn one Tenet of the Protestants, nor are they in Capacity to prove the first Article of the Roman Faith, namely, the pretended Infallibility of their Church. While they wrest such Weapons out of our hands, they at the same time disarm themselves. And by endeavouring to disserve the Cause of the Reformed Churches, they utterly undo their own. For if our Reasonings of this kind be insig­nificant against them, theirs are also in­significant against us, and by the same art that they endeavour to blunt the edge of our Swords, they are bound to throw a­way their own. I shall discourse this no farther, only shut it up with a saying of Justin Martyr, [...] without Philosophy and right Reason, there can be no knowledge nor sci­ence in the World.

§. 12. The next thing that belongs to Reason in matters of Religion, regards [Page 191] those Doctrines, which besides the Foun­dation that they have in Revelation, have also Evidence in the light of Nature. And as I intimated before §. 5. more is allow­able to Reason in and about these, than about those we are indebted only to the Scripture for the discovery of. 'Tis not enough that we enquire into the declara­tion of them, as it lyes in the Bible, and how they are there expressed, &c. but we are further to see what Media there are in the light of Nature, by which they may be both discerned and confirmed. Yet I shall here crave liberty to premise; That where the Authority of the Scripture is owned, our chief Topicks in all Theolo­gical debates ought to be fetcht from the sacred Records. Thence we should both frame our Idea's of them, and borrow as well the Arguments, as the Colours and Ornaments, by which we would commend them to the Minds and Consciences of Believers. Especially a regard ought to be had to this, in popular Discourses and Sermons. As humane Authority ought to have very little place, if any at all, in the Pulpit, so we ought not there to serve our selves too much from Maxims of Philoso­phie, and principles of Reason. As God [Page 192] hath impressed more of his Authority up­on the Scriptures, than upon any thing else that he hath made Himself and his Will known by; so there is an Efficacy of the Spirit promised to attend the naked Preaching of the Word, beyond what we can expect to accompany our Ratiocinati­ons from principles of Reason. As Faith prepares the spirits of men to a submission to what they hear immediately out of the Bible, so there is something great and ele­vated, which I know not how to express, in Truths, as nakedly delivered by the Holy Ghost, which Argumentations from Na­tural Maximes, doth for the most part ob­nubilate and darken. The Majesty of God, whose commands we deliver, doth above all things most attract the respect of our Auditors, nor do we at any time so effectually persuade, as by the meer autho­rity of him in whose Name we speak. Yet I do not deny, but that Rational proofs are of great use, not only to such with whom Scripture-Testimonies signifie no­thing, but even to those who own and a­dore its Authority, by shewing that as it is highly reasonable to believe whatsoever God hath said, so the things themselves are agreeable to, and have foundation in Rea­son; [Page 193] and the two lights of Revelation and Nature do excellently harmonise. This being premised, among other Truths which besides their being plainly revealed in the Scripture, have also evidence given to them in the Light of Nature, the Im­mortality of the Soul, and the certainty of Providence, are especially remarkable. 'Tis True there are many other Doctrines of this quality, viz. the Attributes of God, the Creation of the World, Moral Good and Evil, &c. All which, as they are revealed in the sacred Scripture, so they are demonstrable from undoubted principles of Reason: But wav [...]ng these at present, I shall only by way of essay, and with all imaginable brevity, consider what media there are in Nature, by which the two former may be evinced, and the serviceableness of Reason in the doing of it. I shall begin with the Immortality of the Soul; and the Unhappiness of the Age wherein we live, doth render the inculca­tion of this Truth not only seasonable, but necessary. Men having degraded them­selves into Beasts by practice, they thence take the Measures of their Opinions, and allow no difference betwixt themselves and the p [...]ttifullest Brute, but that Matter [Page 194] in them is fallen into a more lucky tex­ture and modification. To justifie their sensualities, they contend that they have nothing but their Animal inclinations to gratifie; and indeed the soul of a Brute will very well serve all the Ends that some men propound to themselves. Next the Belief of the Beeing of God, the persuasi­on of the souls being Immortal, is the hinge upon which all Religion turns. 'Tis this that leads us both to contemn the gratifications of the Flesh, and to be soli­citous about a happiness hereafter, though it be with the undergoing of present in­conveniences, rather than here. There is no one Truth hath a more powerful in­fluence upon the whole course of our pre­sent life, than a steddy and vigorous belief that the soul is immortal. Now when we assert the Immortality of the Soul, we do n [...]t intend that it is Immortal in such a sense, as that by no cause it can be annihi­lated. God alone is thus Immortal, for as there are no principles of Corruption in his Nature, so there is no forraign Agent that can deprive him of his Being. [...] He only hath Immortality, 1 Tim. 6.16. All things owing their Existence to him, there is both a Power [Page 195] and a Right resident in him of depriving them (should he judg it fit) of their Be­ings. Whatsoever is derived from his Power and Bounty, he may take away at his pleasure. Yet I reckon it absurd to think that he doth annihilate our Souls, it being contrary to the Method which he ob­serves in other parts of the Universe. No substance yet ever perished. Under all the Mutations that Matter undergoes, by which this and that Individual body comes to be destroy'd, there is not so much as one single Atome lost. [...].Plotin. No substantial En­tity is totally destroyed saith the Philosopher. Non perit in tanto quicquid mihi credite mundo. Ovid. By the Immor­tality of the soul then, we mean no more, but that it includes no principles in its self, by which it can be brought to decay. And this it derives from it being Immaterial. No spiritual substance is capable of that dissolution which a Body is lyable to, and suffers. For seeing Material subjects come to be corrupted only by a separation of their conjoyned parts; The Soul being Immaterial, and so void of parts, is in dan­ger of no such dissolution. Now in dis­coursing the Immortality of the Soul, I think fit in the beginning to discharge my [Page 196] self from an exception or two, which though hugely insisted on by those who will have the soul to be meerly corporeal, and consequently corruptible, yet are in themselves absurd and irrational. The first is this, that there is no such thing in the World as an Incorporeal Being, and that Existence is not to be affirmed of any thing, but what is perceivable by sense; and that we cannot have assurance that a­ny thing is, but what we have ocularly be­held. To which I reply (1) That they miserably beg the question which they ought to prove. They have not been a­ble to assign any contradiction that lyes a­gainst an Incorpo [...]eal Being, more than a­gainst a Corporeal. (2.) Their Objecti­on doth equally militate against the Being of God, as against the Immaterial Nature of the Soul. For if God be at all, he is Incorporeal, a Corporeal God being pregnant with Contradictions. (3.) We are not to require more proof of any thing than it is capable of. According to the diversity of Objects▪ we are furnished with distinct faculties in order to the perception of them, and there are different lights in which they are seen. Who questions the being of Sounds, Odours, &c. be­cause [Page 197] they are not discerned by the same Organical Faculty that Colours are? To require that an Immaterial should fall un­der the perception of sight, is to demand that an Immaterial should be a Material. There are Innumerable things, whereof we have the most convincing Certainty, and yet they were never the Objects of Sense. No man ever saw a Thought, and yet we are fully assured that we have Thoughts. How many things do the Gentlemen that make this exception believe, which yet they never saw? (4) Though Incorporeal Beings be not Immediately perceived by sense, yet through diverse of their operations which affect our Sensitive Organs, we have a mediate assurance of their Existence by our very Senses. The second exception is taken from the inexplicableness of U­nion, betwixt a Material and an Immate­rial. There is no Cement, say they, by which the one can be knit to the other. Incorporeals are of a penetrating Na­ture, and consequently cannot take hold of Matter, so as to make a Whole consist­ing of two constituent parts so vastly diffe­rent. To this I answer, (1.) That there is nothing more Unreasonable than wholly [Page 198] to question the Existence of things, be­cause we do not Understand the Modes ac­cording to which they Exist. To dis­charge a Cause out of the precincts of Be­ing, because we cannot give a reason of all its particular effects, ought to be justly reckon'd amongst the greatest of absurdi­ties. Whatsoever is prov'd by Reason, we are firmly to believe it, though there may be many things in the Theory of it that are wholly inconceivable. While we have all imaginable assurance of the con­junction of the soul with the body, and that the soul cannot be corporeal, our Faith ought no ways to be weakned, though we know not the Physical way of their coalition, and how they come to be United. (2.) There is as much difficul­ty in apprehending the connexion of one part of Matter with another, as in Under­standing the Incorporation of the Soul with the Body, and yet no man questions but that there are bodies in which the par­ticles of matter are united. I hope to make it appear, Ch [...]pt. 3d. that there is not any Hypothesis of Philosophy yet ex­tant, by which the Union of the parts of Matter in cont [...]nuous Bodies can be solved, and yet we are very well assured [Page 199] they are connected together. A 3d. Ex­ception is rai [...]ed from the Sympathy that is betwixt the Soul and the Body, from which they would conclude an Identity of Nature between them. To which I briefly return to these things, (1.) There are ma­ny cases in which our Souls are affected, without the least impression either from bodily Objects without us, or any previ­ous excitation of the Spirituous Blood within us. For not to mention the im­pression which the Soul receives from the consideration of things purely Spiritual and Divine, which do no ways immediate­ly affect the Body, all the Influence ima­ginable which they have upon it, pro­ceeding primarily from the mind it self, and its dominion over the Animal Spirits. I shall only name Troubles of Conscience which arise only from Moral Causes, and the exercise of our Reasons about what we have done. I may add that there are ma­ny cases wherein the Soul and Body seem to have no Communion with one ano­ther, and that not only in Ecstasies, when the Soul is [...], in a manner for a season separated from the Body; but even in other.Suid. Hence men upon the borders of [Page 200] Grave, when without strength, vigor, or pulse, yet even then they have their thoughts more refined, and their under­standings more spritely, than at other times. And which is more strange, are so little affrighted at death, though they fully understand it, that they lay down the Body with the same compo [...]edness, and more delight, than if they were only putting off their Cloaths. Nor are they only persons tired with the miseries of the World that do so, b [...]t such many times, who have enjoyed all the delight that this earthly state can afford. (2.) We find our Souls frequently determining them­selves in way of chusing and refusing, con­trary to the provocations of sense, and the cravings of the bodily Appetite. Though our Intellectual Faculties have a percep­tion of sensual Delights, yet they often chuse both that which is contrary to flesh­ly pleasures, and which no Corporeal Fa­culty is able so much as once to appre­hend. Were we constituted of meer Matter, all our operations should be pro­duced by a fatal Impulse, and in every act we should be under the like Necessity as Matter is, when forcibly determined to Motion. While we find our selves en­dowed [Page 201] with a faculty determinative of it self, We may rationally infer that the impulses of outward Objects upon the bo­dily Organs, and the continuation of their Motion to the Brain and Heart, do only solicite, and not force out Assent, and that the Soul it self is of an Immaterial Nature. (3.) All that sympathie, which we observe between the Soul and Body ariseth meer­ly from the close connexion of the one with the other, and is necessary both in order to the Souls governing the Body, & its being engaged to take care of it, and provide a­gainst its necessities. And as a Lutanist loseth not his skill, because he cannot play melodiously upon an Instrument, whose str [...]ngs are either broken or ill tun'd: No more is the Soul prejudiced in her self by bodily Maladies, though she be hindred & discomposed in her operations, through the distemper of those Organical Instru­ments which she is forced to use. That we are too much affected with every passi­on and irregular motion of the blood and Animal Spirits, doth not prove that our Souls are Corporeal, or that our irregu­lar actings upon those inordinate motions are the results of fatal Impulses; but only shew that we do excite our Intellectual [Page 202] powers, to the preventing those violent Motions, and the keeping the Body Se­date, and to the curbing and restraining them when excited, and that we do by sloth & neglect suffer our selves to be de­pressed by those Terrestrial encumbran­ces, and hurried by those Motions, which if we were not wanting to our selves we might easily tame and subdue.

Having free'd our selves from these exceptions, we now proceed to the thing it self, and in the mentioning the Ar­guments which offer themselves in Na­ture to prove the Immo [...]tality of the Soul, I shall not insist on that Argu­ment which is so vigorously urged by some Modern as well as Ancient Wri­ters: Namely that if the Soul were Corporeal we should not be the same to day, that we were yester day. We remain the same at sixty Years of Age that we were at twenty, though in the mean time we have worn away many bodies; and therefore, say they, there must be something Immaterial in us which is the foundation of this Identity. This I shall wave, for they who con­tend for the Corporeity of the Soul, will reply, that we are no otherwise the same [Page 203] this Year that we were the last, than Brutes and Vegtables are. Nor shall I press the Argument that is drawn from sensation, because what ever is in it for the Immateriality of the sen­tient and percipient Principle, in us con­cludes in behalf of Brutes that they have the like. For the Hypothesis of Des-Cartes that Beasts are meer Machines I look upon it as altogether indefensi­ble. But though I decline and wave the using of this Medium for the rea­son I have now suggested, yet I dare not censure it as trifling, much less disclaym it as Sophistical. These then being lay'd aside, there are others to be pro­duced; and seeing that whatsoever is Incorporeal is upon the very score of its being so, incorruptible, and excepted from dissolution also: I shall mainly in­quire what reasons there are in the Light of Nature, whereby we may be induced to believe that our Souls are Immaterial. First, if the Soul were only a Crasis of the Body, it were capable of no other distempers but what arise from the compression or dilatation of matter, or from the obstruction and inflamation of Humours while we therefore find it [Page 204] subject to Maladies which spring meer­ly from Moral causes, and which are no more curable by the prescriptions of Physicians, than the Stone or Gout are to be removed by a Philosophy Lecture, we have sufficient Cause to believe that it is of an incorporeal Nature. 2dly. The essences of things are best known by their operations, and the best guess we can make of the Nature and Condition of beings, is from the quality of their Actions. While therefore by contem­plating our selves we find that we do elicite actions which exceed the power of matter, and the most subtile Motion of Corporeal particles; we have all ima­ginable ground to think, that we are pos­sessed of a principle that is Immaterial, as well as Intellectual. He who consi­ders that there is not one perfect Organ in the Human Body, but the parallel of it is to be met with in the Noblest sort of Brute Animals, and yet that there are diverse operations performed by men, that no Beast whatsoever is capa­ble of doing the like, must need appre­hend that the Soul is not a Corporeal Faculty, nor a contexture of Material parts. Here all the Acts of Intellection [Page 205] may be insisted on. (1) Acts of sim­ple Apprehension. We are endow­ed with a Faculty that frame's No­tions and Ideas of things which exceed the Sphere of Sense, which are no ways capable of sensible Representation, nor were the Notions of them conveyed into us by the help of Terrestrial Ima­ges. Such are the Notions of Immate­rial Beings, infinite Space, the Habi­tudes of one thing to another, Moral Congruities and Incongruities, ab­stract and Universal Natures, Propor­tions of Figures, Symmetry of Magni­tudes, yea the notion of perception it self. (2) Acts of judgments whereby we contemplate the several Natures and properties of things, compare them in all their respects, rank them in their distinct orders and dependen­cies, frame distinctions and divisions of Beings, connect and disjoyn Subjects and Predicates, and accordingly say that this appertains to the other, or it doth not, and affirm or deny one thing of another as we observe them to agree or disagree. (3) Acts of Ratiocination, whereby we infer one thing from another by Syllogisms, deduce Conse­quences [Page 206] of longer or shorter Trayns. (4) Acts of Reflection in which the Soul becomes it own Object, perceive's that it doth perceive, passeth a sentence up­on its own judgements, which no mat­ter though it be never so fine, and how­soever modified and agitated, can do. (5) Acts of Correcting the Errours and mistakes of Imagination, whereby hav­ing viewed all the representations of the Senses it compares them together, makes a judgement of them, forms ap­prehensions contrary to those which are suggested to us by sensitive Organs, re­jects the phantasms of Imagination, as insufficient Indications of the Truth of External Objects. Not that our Senses are deceived, for they only de­clare their own Passions, and communi­cate their Motions to the Brain, accord­ing to the Impulses which they really receive from ambient Matter; but these representations being made with­out judgment, the Soul examines them, perceives that it should be deceived should it always pronounce according to the Images conveyed to it by the Sen­ses, and accordingly apprehends, cor­rects and determineth contrary to them. [Page 207] (6.) Acts of Volition, whereby it Chus­eth and Refuseth by a self-determinating-Power, according as things are estimated, remaining exempt from all coaction and necessitation by the influence of any Prin­ciple forreign to it. Now all these are im­possible to Matter, because That acts al­ways according to the swing of Irresistible Motion, nor can it be courted and soli­cited to Rest, when under the forcible Impulse of a stronger Movent. 3dly. The Immortality of the Soul is plainly demon­strated from the Attributes of God and his Government of the World. Without the supposition of a Future State there is no preserving the Authority of God from contempt, no due means provided for the preventing men from gainful sins, or the encouraging of them to hazardous Duties. And accordingly there have been few in the World who have believed a Provi­dence, but they have likewise asserted the Immortality of the Soul; these two being inseparably connected. While we contemplate the state of things in the World, we find Prosperity for the most part attending Vice, and Misery the Com­panion of Virtue. Good men are usually accompanied with Crosses, and have the [Page 208] least proportion of present things, while Bad men are often glutted with success, and swim in pleasures. Now if there were not an Immortal state where both the Virtue of the Good might be compen­sated, and they receive comfort for their Sufferings, and the Vice of the Bad might be punished, and they receive Vengeance for their Crimes; both the Wisdom and Goodness, as well as Justice of the Rector of the World, would be lyable to cen­sure and Impeachment. Yea it seems the better of the two, wholly to deny the Providence of God, than to think that he should administer humane affairs with so much irregularity and injustice. In a word there is nothing can administer a satis­factory resolution in reference to the present dispensation of things in the World, but a firm persuasion of the Im­mortality of the Soul, and the Certainty of a Future state. Judgments inflicted on Sinners in this life, cannot fully clear the Righteousness of God, because the best of men are as well involved in them as the worst; yea, it is but now and then that the greatest Criminals are made as remarkable in their punishments as they have been in their lives. Besides an In­finite [Page 209] Eternal God is the Object of Wick­ed mens contempt, and its his Law who lives for ever, whose Authority they de­spise; nor can any punishment be pro­portionable, but what is Eternal also. 4ly. That inbred desire which is in all men after Immortality, argues that there is such really provided for the satisfying this Natural and Universal appetite. For 'tis not to be Imagined that Nature should furnish us with longings, when there is nothing that may content them. To have such desires wrought into the complexion and constitution of our Souls, were there provision made of nothing that might answer them, would not only reflect upon the Wisdom of our Maker, who hath produced us with these longings; of which there is no use; but his Mercy, Goodness, and Justice also, in implanting those Appetites in us, which serve at once to abuse and torment us. And this leads me to the other particular which I pro­mised to discourse; namely, the Cer­tainty of Divine Providence. This is one of the Truths also, which besides the attestation given to it in the Scripture, hath evidence enough in the Light of Na­ture. I confess, that if we take our Mea­sures [Page 210] in this Matter from the sentiments of the Wisest Heathen, we should be ready to think there is no foundation in Reason to convince us otherwise, but that all things go at Random. It was not the opi­nion of Epicurus alone, but of many o­thers, that the Gods concerned not them­selves in sublunary affairs. Nor did the Poets only discharge God from the Go­vernment of the World, but their very Moral Philosophers did the same.

Horaces, — Deos didici securum a­gere aevum
And Lucans—Nunquam se cura Deo­rum
Sic premit, ut vestrae vitae vestrae (que) saluti
Fata vacent.—

Are not worse than Plinies, Irridendum curam agere rerum humanarum illud quic­quid est summum: and Senecaes, Deus nihil agit, nec illum magis beneficia quam inju­riae tangunt. Even many of them that owned some kind of providence, either confined it to Heaven, holding it Unsuita­ble to His Glorious Nature to concern himself about frail and visible things, but [Page 211] that he governs them by subordinate Causes, as the Grand Seigniour doth his Provinces by his Bashaws & Lieutenants; or they limited it to effects which de­pend on a concatenation of Natural Causes, to which they are ligu'd by trains and connexions, excluding God in the mean time from any Care of Contingent Events, or Administration about the Un­derstandings and Wills of Men; or lastly, they bound it up to Universals and Gene­rals, allowing it little or no interposure a­bout particulars and singulars. And this seems to have been the opinion of the Au­thor of the Book de Mundo, who whether it was Aristotle or Philo, or any other, is not material. The reasons that prevail­ed with them to question, yea, deny the providence of God, were 1st. That 'tis beneath and unbecoming the perfections of God, and an interruption of his Felicity, to concern himself in the affairs of the sublunary World, and to distract himself with the cares of it. But this is (1.) Ra­ther to describe some effeminate Prince, than the Deity. And (2.) It proceeds up­on a Foolish mistake, & an unworthy sup­position; namely, that it is pain and trou­ble to God to govern the World, which [Page 212] none can imagine but they who are igno­rant of his Attributes and Being. What­ever God can do, he does it without trou­ble to his Infinite perfections. Nor (3.) Is the Happiness of God more im­peached in Governing the World, than in making of it. If without molestation to Himself, he could produce it at first, he can without encumbrance Rule it still. The 2d. Motive that sway'd them to doubt the Providence of God, was the Impunity of Wicked Men. But in this they conclu­ded as Illogically▪ as in the former. God (1.) may have aims in the prosperity of Criminals that we are not aware of, and therefore we ought not to reflect on his dispensations, when we know not the grounds of them. He hereby testifies that severity is not the inclination of his Nature, but that punishments are ex­torted from him. He hereby also allows offenders time, as well as Inducements to Repentance. He also herein sets us a pattern of mercy and forbearance, and teacheth us Meekness and Lenity by his own Bounty and Patience. He withal gives assurance to the World by this of a future judgment. The Prosperity of the Wicked here, is a pledge of their [Page 213] punishment hereafter. (2.) Bad men are not so happy as they are commonly imagined to be. How can they be reckoned happy who have nothing suc­ceeding, according to their Scope and Meaning? Every man intends well to himself, but it is the perpetual infelicity of the Wicked, that they never reach the mark they aime at. For by doing ill, they prosecute that, which at last them­selves will find of all things to be the worst. Besides, Wickedness is its own punishment, not only in that it debaseth the Soul, degrades Humane Nature, and offers violence to the principles of Rea­son; but that in the very pursuit of it, the offender forfeits all true tranquillity, for that only accompanies Virtue. That lust cannot be assigned, the gratifying of which, is not attended with disquietness. The Unbridled appetite is a scorching flame; Envy is a gnawing Scorpion; Co­vetousness is a strangling and corroding care, &c. The multitude of Ends and Objects which exercise a wicked mans thoughts, do wonderfully distract him. His Soul is full of disquietness through the intestine and civil Wars maintained in it. Scelera dissident; Lusts are like the brood [Page 214] of Cadmus. arm'd one against the other. Diversity of inconsistent Ends and oppo­site Means do strangely rack and discom­pose the Soul of a Sinner, and his Mind is like the Sea when it rageth with the stri­ving of contrary Winds upon it. Nor is this all, but there is be­sides, a secret shame linkt to every wicked action, and every Evil is preg­nant with an inward Horrour. Let a man offend never so privately, yet when he thinks what he hath done, he is both a­sham'd, and his Conscience fills him with remorse for what is past, and tormenting fear of what is to come. The joy and delight which he promiseth himself in prosperous wickedness, is withered by the dread of future punishment. (3.) All the prosperity of Sinners is constituted of Earthly Enjoyments, and the disappoint­ment which they find in them, having no­thing better neither in possession nor hope, doth not only lessen, but emb [...]tter the fruition. There is an insatiable Ap­petite in the Soul of man, which nothing Terrene can content or satisfie, and the Meditation of this, is enough to make them vote themselves miserable in the midst of all their Grandeur and Opulency. [Page 215] Nor is the frustration which we meet with in every single enjoyment to be either prevented or remedyed, by having re­course to variety. For after we have traversed the Creation, we shall still find our selves unsatisfied. And how unsea­sonable will it be, to bewayl our folly, for seeking that in sublunary things which they could not minister, when we find it too late to make better provision. (4.) As every Wicked man is not prosperous, so prodigious Sinners do seldom, even in this life, escape exemplary punishment. God now & than singles out some chief offen­ders whom he punisheth in this World, that they may be as common Antidotes against the poyson of Wickedness, that it may not encrease and spread, through an Uni­versal Impurity of bad men. (5.) If bad men were immediately punished, Moral government would be subverted, nor should there be room for the Influence of Comminations and Pro­mises.Sallust. de Diis & Mun­do, cap. 19. [...], If punishment were immediately inflicted upon Delin­quents, obedience would cease to be a Vir­tue, [Page 216] as proceeding from fear, not choyce. The third Exception against the Provi­dence of God in the Government of the World, is fetcht from the Miseries and sufferings of the Righteous. But that conclusion is ill drawn from those pre­misses; nor is there any such Consequent chain'd to that Antecedent. There is e­nough in the light of Nature to satisfie us in this Matter, though Men have not been so happy as always to discern it. (1). Many that seem to be good, yet in­deed are not so. There are some stark naught, who nevertheless have the cun­ning to conceal it. But though they de­ceive us, they cannot impose upon Om­niscience; and when we think that a Righteous person is ill entreated, God on­ly punisheth a secret Malefactor. It be­comes us to suppose a just Cause why God makes men Unhappy by adversity, though he do not acquaint us with it. (2.) There is enough in the Best to deserve worse than they suffer. God never chastens a Believer, but he strikes an offender. He never afflicts a Saint, but at the same time he punisheth a Delinquent. It is true, that though Men will confess themselves not to be so Good as they should be, yet e­very [Page 217] one thinks himself too good to suffer; and let their chastisements be never so justly and mercifully moderated, yet they judge them too great for them to under­goe. But would men calmly examine themselves, they would not only find Cause to justifie God in what they meet with, but to magnifie his Mercy that they feel no more. (3) No Good mans Af­flictions are so many, but his Mercies are more; and we ought to confront the one with the other. In the day of Prosperity be joyful, but in the day of Adversity consider, for God hath set the one over against the other, &c. Eccle. 7.14. The 70 read that place God hath tuned one thing to ano­ther [...]. As Harmony in Musick is perfected by sup­plyes of different Notes; so God hath Checker'd our Conditions in the World, for the better beautifying of his Provi­dence. And as the Night sets off the Day, & the Winter as well recommends as relieves the Summer, so doth God give us the quicker tast and relish of our Mer­cies, by intermixing them with Crosses. (4.) Our hesitations about Providence up­on the account of the sufferings of good men, proceeds from Unacquainted­ness [Page 218] with Gods design in them, and an ignorance of their Issue. He is our Friend when he seems to be our Enemy, and only acts the part of a Physician when we look upon him as an Executioner. He only withdraws what would be our snare instead of our advantage; and with-holds what he fore-sees we would mistake for God, instead of being lead by it to him. As there is no judging of a Picture by its first lines, nor of a Structure by seeing its Materials in heaps; no more ought we to pass sentence upon the Providences of God, without a prospect of them from the beginning to the end. Providence is one Entire System, nor can we judge of the parts but in relation to the whole. What at first we can give no account of, we are often brought to approve by a subsequent course of Dispensations. (5.) The a­bridging Good Men in the fading Transi­tory things of the World, doth not at all argue that God envies Good Men hap­piness, but only declares that true Happi­ness doth not consist in such things. There is no one thing speaks the Emptiness of the admired greatness, profits, and pleasures of the World more, then that God permits the enjoyment of them to the worst of [Page 219] men, and with-holds them from such for whom he hath the greatest esteem. Who ever understands the Nature of true Good, must bid adieu to the hopes of it in any thing but God alone. And for those things that most state felicity in, a Wise and Good man would judg himself unhappy, if he could not despise them. Who can think that to live in a Palace, to lye in a soft Bed, to eat nothing but what is delicate, to give Laws to others, to be controlled in nothing we say or do, &c. were ever intended for the Felicity of an Intellectual and Rational Being? The Soul of a Brute would have served all the Ends that some men propound to themselves; but surely the bestowing of an Immortal Spirit on us, ought to instruct us, that Blessedness consists in something else than Gauds, Trifles, Grandeur, Airy Titles and the like. And he who cannot want these things without thinking him­self Miserable, at once reproacheth his Maker, as if he had Created him for nothing more worthy, and degrades and dishonours himself, by intimating that such gratifications are suitable to Him. (6.) The advantages which Good men receive by afflictions, do amply compen­sate [Page 220] their feeling of them. They hereby both discern their sincerity themselves, and discover it to others. Nor is it easie to imagine the satisfaction, that the Con­sciousness of a constant sincerity ministers to a Soul. To find that we love God, notwithstanding the narrow allowance he affords us, is a more soveraign Cordial to the Mind that would approve its self to God, than the flushest enjoyment of su­blunary things can yield. Their Adver­sity also gives them either relief in Morti­fying those Corruptions which endanger them, or in exercising those Graces which glorifie God. And who dare reproach the Wisdom or Goodness of God for dis­posing things in such a manner, as may turn not only most to his own Honour, but our advantage. Storms and Frosts are as Use­ful to the Universe, as serene and clear weather. Nor are Sugar and Honey more necessary, than Salt and Brine are. If after all this, there remain Inexplica­bles in the works of Providence, 'tis no more than what we daily meet with, in the Works of Creation. Nor must a finite Understanding hope to comprehend the Methods of an Infinite God. And the future state will set all that straight, which [Page 221] we now judge Crooked. Having vindi­cated the Providence of God from those Objections which seem to affront it, my next task is to suggest those Arguments which Reason, abstracting from all Revela­tion, can muster to attest it. (1) Were there not an Omnipotent Power, and an Omni­scient skill to restrain and govern the quarrelsome Spirits that are in the World, it would soon sink under the bottom of its own Confusion. This the Heathen inti­mated in the Fable of Phaethon, who being admitted to drive the Chariot of the Sun but for one day, burnt both himself and it together. It was well said by the Stoick, that [...], It is not worth the while to live in a World empty of God and Providence. Nay it were the greatest unhappiness imaginable to be brought forth into the World, to be perpetu­ally tossed up and down by blind Fortune. [...], If there were not a Providence, Hierocl. Sallust. ubi su­pra. cap. 9. there could be no Order in the World. And as another Philosopher saith [...]; If there were no Supreme Orderer, whence comes order to be [Page 222] in the World? (2.) Preclude Providence, & we remove one of the greatest foundations of venerating the Diety. 'Tis not a per­suasion of the Excellency of his Nature, that can engage us to a hearty Adoration of Him, if we once discharge him from all concernment in us and our affairs. Though there be the like Eminency of Dignity in the French King as in the King of Great Brittain, yet we have a greater reverence for the one than the other, because the one protects us, which the other doth not. Nor can we well believe the Divine Nature to be excellent, should we assert it devoid of Goodness, which is the greatest perfecti­on; much less will it be easie to honour him for a God, whose Felicity we judge to consist in Idleness. We find our selves capable of, yea, endowed with the affecti­ons of Fear and Love, and God is an Ob­ject most adapted for them; but seclude him from the administration of the World, and there is no Foundation left for the begetting and maintaining either the one or the other in the hearts of men towards him. For if he regard not what we do, instead of having provided due means for our fearing and loving of him, he hath left us under an unavoid­able [Page 223] temptation of acting towards with him with slight and contempt. (3) If there be no Providence, there is not the least ground for addresses to God out of hope of assistance, or the thanking him for the benefits we partake of; and yet the chief of natural Religion consists in these. Who would pray to God to be de­livered when in straits, or praise him when he hath scaped his entanglements, if God no ways interest himself in us and our affairs. (4) If God govern not the world it is either because he Cannot, or because he will not: to say the first is to represent him contemptible for his Weakness; and besides, he that made the World cannot be supposed unable to Rule it: to affirm the Second is to bestow Omnipotencie upon Him in vain, and to impeach every one of his perfections, because of a faileur in their most natural and agreeable effects. (5) God is Soveraign of the World, and therefore he must needs Govern it. Through all things being the products of His will and Power, he hath an incon­testable Dominion over them. Now we cannot fasten a greater reproach upon a Soveraign, than that he throws off all the Care and Gubernation of his Subjects. (6) [Page 224] We see effects in the World, which could proceed from no cause but God, and dis­coveries made to it, which he alone can reveal; and by consequence he hath not wholly withdrawn himself from the Rectorship of it. (7) He must needs Rule the World who hath given it Laws, for Law is the Relative of govern­ment; and that he hath given it Laws, the inbred Notions which we have of Good and Evil, the Fears and hopes that haunt us, do abundantly demonstrate. These he hath woven into the composition of our Natures, and by these order is maintained in the World. Now 'tis the greatest af­front that can be offered to Reason, to think that God should make use of a Fiction to preserve Truth, Justice and Righteousness amongst mankind; or that he should keep up the Respect of him­self by falsehood and Deceit. Thus by singling out one or two Truths that have evidence given to them in the Light of Nature, as well as in Revelation; we have shewn what belongs to Reason about all Doctrines of this Genius and complexion.

§. 13. The next concernment of Reason in & about Religion is to defend the whole of it, from the Clamours, and Objections of gainsayers. For as Bisterfield says, [Page 225] Though they who reject ar­guments levied from Rea­son against the Mysteries of Religion, act modestly, Illi qui argu­mēta á recta ra­tione petita vio­lenter rejiciunt, ea (que) solutione indigna pro­nunciāt, mode­ste quidem a­gunt, sed pessi­me de Religione mereri viden­tur. In Synopsi praefixa libro cui titulus; My­sterium pietatis defensum contr. Crell. yet they do not throughly serve the interest, nor hereby de­serve well of the Cause of Truth, which they own and profess. 'Tis true that the Authority of Divine Testi­mony is enough to warrant our Faith, whatever Object­ions lye against the thing so testified: but to rest here without warding off the thrusts of Adversaries, is to tempt them either wholly to throw off the belief of all Revelation, or to affix perverse Senses to it. Now there are some Articles of Religion, which may not only be defended, by shewing from the Testimony of the Bible, that their Ob­jects have an Existence, but by explain­ing how they are, and that either from principles of Natural Light, or from the account that the Scripture it self Gives of the Modes of their Existence. For Ex­ample, How the Earth could be peopled in so little a time, as the Mosaick History [Page 226] doth tacitely inform us, when all Man­kind sprung [...] from one stock (for so the word there signifies) and proceeded from one Man and one Wo­man as their Original Progenitors.Act. 17.16. How an Ark of that Capacity which the Scrip­ture instructs us Noahs was, could receive into it all kinds of living Creatures, with provisions of Aliment for so long a time? How the Israelites could multiply to such a number in Egypt, within the compass of two hundred years or little more, when there went down but such a handful thi­ther of whom they descended? There are other Articles of Religion, which we can only shew from Revelation that the Objects of them are, but the manner and way how they exist we cannot tell. And seeing the Measure of Faith doth only follow and suit the measure of Revelation, we are therefore in reference to such things only to believe that they are, but the Mode of their Existence is to be no Article of our Creed. And I crave li­berty here to suggest, that it is both a piece of Tyranny to impose the belief of the Modes of their existence upon the Con­sciences of men, and hath been found dis­serviceable [Page 227] to Religion to undertake to explain the Manner according to which such a thing exists, when God hath only revealed the Existence of the thing it self, but concealed the Way how it is. If in the explicating the Phaenomena of Nature, which is the proper province of Reason, the most that a discreet Philosopher will pretend to, is, to declare the possible ways by which a Phaenomenon may be accoun­ted for; without presuming to say that it is only performed in this way, and that there is no other in which it may be ex­plained: Much more doth it become us in the Great mysteries of Revelation, to abstain from defining the Manner how they are, and to content our selves with what God hath been pleased to tell us, viz. that they are; without prying into the Mode of their being, which he hath hid from us. Now in and about such Doctrines these things appertain to Rea­son, First, To shew that 'tis not required that it should comprehend them. What­soever God hath said is to be assented to, though we cannot frame adequate No­tions of the thing it self, nor understand the manner how it should be. 'Tis as much against Reason as Faith, to think to [Page 228] fathom the perfections, Counsels and Works of God; seeing Reason acknow­ledgeth him to be infinite, and it self to be Finite. If we will pretend to Reason in Religion, we are to be believe whatever God hath said to be True, this being the greatest Reason, that he who is Veracious cannot lye. There is nothing more conso­nant to the transcendency of so a high a Nature as that of God, than that it be ac­knowledged incomprehensible; nor is there any thing more agreeable to his in­finite Wisdom, than that his projects, designs, and contrivances should be held past finding out. 'Tis both unjust and ir­rational to think that man should penetrate those depths and Abysm's, which the An­gels desire only [...] to look into as vailed and hidden from sight.1 Pet. 1 12. But more of this anon. 2dly. We are to hold our selves assured, that every Argu­ment from Reason, repugnant to a Do­ctrine revealed in the Scripture, is a So­phism, though, may be, we cannot disco­ver the Fallacy. 'Tis one thing to be as­sured of a Truth, and another to be able to answer all the Objections that are pres­sed against it. There are Innumerable [Page 229] things even in Philosophy, of which we are fully assured, and yet we cannot resolve all the difficulties that attend them. If every pusling Objection be enough to make us renounce what we have express Revelation for; by a parity of Reason, we must disclaim many a Natural Truth, which we have the evidence of sense and Reason for, because we cannot answer all the Objections that do encounter them. It were the way to introduce an Univer­sal Scepticsm, to doubt of the Truth of e­very thing, the knotts & intricacies about the Natures, Properties, Operations and Modes of whose Existence, we cannot unty. What a man hath embraced upon just and weighty grounds, he is not to desert it, meerly because he can not answer every Objection that is urged against it. 'Tis the height of folly and Madness to forego an opinion, when the Objections wherewith it is entangled, are not of greater, yea nor of the same importance with the reasons on which we received it. 3dly. We are to answer the Objection, not by explicating how the thing contested is, but by shew-that there is nothing in the argument that prove's it impossible to be. And this is done by shewing that what is stiled a Prin­ciple [Page 230] of Reason, in truth and reality is not so, at least in the degree and latitude that it is applied. There are many vulgar Axioms, urged as Maximes of Reason, which are as far from obtaining in Phi­losophy, as in Divinity: there are others which though they hold in reference to some Objects, and in relation to some A­gents, yet they are not to be allowed with respect to every Agent and every Object. For example, though a Finite Agent re­quire a preexistent subject in order to its operation, yet this holds not in relation to an infinite and Almighty worker. And though Impenetrability may be affirmed of all Substances that are Corporeal, yet to apply it to all Substances Universally, and thereupon to reject Spirits as Mr. Hobbs doth, is grosly to prevaricate. Most re­ceived Maximes have their limitations, nor are they principles of Reason farther, then as they are circumscrib'd by such condi­tions and confinements, and to urge them beyond their bounds, is to contradict Reason, which tells us that they hold only so far, and no farther. That great Maxi­me which is the Foundation of all Argu­mentation, viz. that Extrem's identified to a middle Term, are identified the one [Page 231] to the other, admitts more than one or two limitations, which if they be not at­tended to, all our Syllogising is but meer Sophistry. For if either the Extrem's be only collectively identified to the Medium, not distributely; or if they be one with it inadequately only, and not adequately; or if they Center in the Middle Term only in the Concrete, and not in the Abstract, there is no concluding of an Identity be­twixt the Extremes themselves. And I dare say that through a faileur in one of these, both most of the Arguments a­gainst the Doctrine of the Trinity; and for Communication of Omnipresence to the Humane Nature of Christ, because it a­grees to the Person of the son of God, (not to instance in more particulars,) may be easily avoided and answered. (2) by shewing that if it be an universal and true Maxime of Reason that the Objection is grounded on, how that there is not any thing in Revelation that doth contradict it. There is an excellent Harmony betwixt Truth and Truth, and though they be di­stinct and different, yet they are not con­trary and repugnant the one to the other. They who reject Gospel Mysteries on supposition of a Repugnancy they lye in [Page 232] to Reason, have not been able to this day to justifie their Charge. 'Tis true the more we adventure too neerly to look in­to them, the more we find our selves dazled with their Fulgor, but yet we find no thing in them that implye's a Contra­diction to our Faculties, or that is repug­nant to the Nature, and Attributes of God. Nor is there any one Argument produced to this day in proof of the re­pugnancy of the Mysteries of the Trini­ty, the Incarnation of the Son of God, his satisfying Divine Justice in the Room and behalf of Sinners, the Eternal De­crees, &c. Which hath not received an answer, and the Authors of it been shame­fully baffled.

§. 14. Having unfolded the Interest and concernment of Reason in and about Religion, it will be necessary ere we shut up this Discourse, more particularly to state and fix the Bounds betwixt these two, and to offer some Measures by which Reason may have allotted, all that belongs to it, and yet nothing in the mean time be detracted from Faith.

First then, Reason is the Negative Measure in Matters of Religion. No­thing contradictory to right Reason is to be [Page 233] admitted as a Mystery of Faith. What Right Reason say's cannot be done, we must not father it upon God to do. If Reason be objected against any Scripture Testimony how plausible and subtile soever it seems, Si Ratio con­tra Divinarum Scripturarum autoritatem redditur, quam­libet acuta sit, fallit veri simi­litudine, nam vera esse non po­test. Rursus si manifestissimae certae (que) Rationi Scripturarū Sanctarū obji­citur auctoritas; non intelligit qui hoc facit: & non Scriptura­rum illarum Sensum, ad quem penetrare non potuit, sed suam potius ob­jicit veritati: nec quod in eis, sed quod in Seip­pso pro eis inve­nit, opponit. Aug. Ep. 7. ad Marcellin. yet Right Reason it cannot be, but only deceives through an Unbrage and shew of it. And if Scripture Authority be urged against an un­doubted and evident Prin­ciple of Reason, he that doth so, presseth not the true meaning of the Scripture, for that he doth not reach, but only imposeth, his own Sense, and urgeth what himself phancieth to be there, instead of what indeed is so. (saith Austin.) These two lights though different, yet they do not destroy one another. God is the Author of natural as well as Supernatural Light, nor can he bely himself. We have no greater Cer­tainty than that of our Fa­culties, [Page 234] for by that alone are we inabled to discern a Divine Revelation from Hu­mane or Diabolical Delusions. Should God reveal such Doctrines as contradict Natural Truths and Principles of Right Reason, He would thereby eradicate what himself hath planted in our Souls. The Law of Reason being the first declaration of the Will of God, originally annexed to, and communicated with our Natures, 'tis not to be imagined that by any after declaration, he should thwart his first. Besides, all Revelation is to instruct us in a reasonable, though supernatural way, and therefore, though in many things it may exceed our Reason fully to comprehend it, yet in all things it must be consistent with our Reasons. To admit Religion to con­tain any Dogm's Repugnant to Right Rea­son, is at once to tempt Men to look upon all Revelation as a Romance, or rather as the invention of distracted men; & with­all to open a Door for filling the World with figments and lyes, under the pallia­tion of Divine Mysteries. We cannot gratifie the Atheist and Infidel more, than to tell them that the prime Articles of our Belief imply a contradiction to our Facul­ties. In a word, this Hypothesis, were it [Page 235] received, would make us renounce Man, & espouse Brute in matters of the chiefest & greatest concernment, for without debasing our selves into a lower species, we cannot embrace any thing that is formally impossi­ble. Nothing but mens entertaining opi­nions which they cannot defend from be­ing absurd and irrational, could have sway'd them to reproach Reason in the manner they do; but they do only decline the weapons they are sure to be wounded by. When men have filled Religion with Opinions that are contrary to com­mon Sense and Natural Light, they are forced to introduce a suitable Faith, name­ly, such a one that commends it self from believing Doctrines repugnant to the evi­dence and principles of both. And thus under a respect that is pleaded to be due to sacred Mysteries, do the wildest fancies take Sanctuary: And meerly out of fear of violating that regard which ought to be paid to Objects of Faith, we must be­lieve that to be true which the Universal Reason of Man-kind gives the lye to. Thus the first Hereticks that troubled the Christian Church, under pretence of teaching Mysteries, overthrew common sense, and did violence to the Universal [Page 236] Uniform and perpetual Light of Man­kind. Some of them having taught that all Creatures are naturally Evil; Others of them having established two Soveraign Gods, one Good, and another Bad; O­thers having affirmed the Soul to be a part of the Divine Substance, not to mention a thousand falsities more; all these they defended against the assaults of the Ortho­dox, by pretending that they were Myste­ries, about which Reason was not to be hearkened to. Thus do others to this day, who being resolved to obtrude their fancies upon the World, and being nei­ther able to prove nor defend what they say, they pretend the Spirit of God to be the Author of all their Theorem's. Nor can I assign a better reason for the antipa­thy of the Turks to Philosophy, than that it overthrows the follies and absurdities of their Religion. This themselves confess by devoting Almansor to the venge­ance of Heaven, because he hath weak­ned the Faith of Mussul-men in the Alcoran, through introducing Learn­ing and Philosophy amongst them. There is no Combating of the Valentini­ans, Marcionites, Eutychians, and others, but by shewing the repugnance of their [Page 237] Opinions to first principles of Reason. We do not make Natural Light the posi­tive Measure of things Divine, do on­ly allow it a Negative voyce. We place it not in the Chair in Councels of Faith, but do only permit it to keep the door, and hinder the entring of Contradictions and Irrational Fancies, disguised under the Name of Sacred Mysteries. This I thought fit to propose in the first place, and have the more largely insisted on it, because of its serviceableness against the Corporal presence of Christ in the Eu­charist, and the ubiquity of Christs Body, and divers other Articles both of the Ro­mane and Lutheran Creeds. What the Universal Reason of Man-kind tells us is finite, commensurable and impenetra­ble, &c. they would have us believe it to be Infinite, Immense, and subject to penetration. The great Article of the Roman Faith, viz. Transubstantiation must needs be false, if there be any in­contestable Principles of Reason, or True Maximes of Philosophy. For to omit at present, that 'tis Repugnant to Metaphysical and Physical Axioms, that Accidents should exist without a subject, or that there should be Whiteness and nothing white, [Page 238] Sweetness, and nothing sweet; that one Body should be penetrated by another, when we find every Material substance ir­resistibly to defend its self from coex­istence in the same place with another that is Corporeal; that one & the same Be­ing should be entirely at one and the same time in distant places (which is to be di­stant from it self) yea, that it should be there with contradictory adjuncts; that the Sign and thing signified, or Relate and Correlate should be the same. I say to pass these by, as having been a thousand times urged against the Papists, and no­thing replyed but what renders their Folly and Extravagance the greater and more remarkable. I shall only say that Transubstantiation is inconsistent with the first Principles of Logick. (1.) No Enunciation is true, but upon the account of Congruity to its Object; and the pre­vious existence of the Object according to what is affirmed of, or denyed con­cerning it, is that which grounds the veri­ty of the Enunciation; If therefore the Sa­cramental Elements be not the Body and Blood of Christ antecedently to the words of Consecration, the Enunciation by which the Priest affirms the one to be [Page 339] the other must necessarily be false. (2.) Every Enunciation supposeth a pre­vious Act and judgment of the Mind, of which it is Manifestative; for the End of words, is to indicate Conceptions: Un­less therefore previously to consecration the Bread be judged to be the real Flesh of Christ, no one can truly assert that it is so. (3.) In every true Enunciation, the subject may by Conversion become the predicate, as is evident by an induction of all propositions in the World; while therefore the Body of Christ cannot in a proper and Physical sense be said to be Bread, no more can Bread in a proper sense be said to be the Body of Christ. (4.) No Disparate can be truly affirmed in casu recto of another, that interfering with the Nature of opposites; Bread and the Body of Christ therefore being Dis­parates, the one cannot in a proper sense be predicated of the other. (5.) No real, positive Attribute or predicate can be affirmed of a subject which is not; for, non entis nulla sunt attributa. And there­fore if the Bread be annihilated (as indeed it must be, unless instead of allowing Christ to have only one Body, and that formed of the substance of the Virgin, we [Page 240] should hold that he hath many Bodies, and those formed of Material Particles distinct from what he was fram'd of in the Womb of the Virgin,) Our Saviour spake very illogically, in asserting con­cerning that which it is not at all, that it is his Body. I shall wave what might be further added to this purpose, only con­clude it with this brief remarque, That if Principles of Reason obtain so far in Things purely Supernatural, as that there can be no repugnance betwixt the one and the other, they ought more especially to have so much place in those things which Grace borrows and transports from Na­ture for its Use.

Secondly: When we say that there is nothing in Religion which is truly repug­nant to Principles of Reason, we do not by Principles of Reason, understand all that this or that sort of men vote and re­ceive for such. The Universal Reason of Man-kind is of great Moment, but mistaken Philosophy and false Notions of things, which this and that Man admit for theorem's of Reason, are of very small importance. Men being mislead by their Senses, Affections, Interests, and Imaginations, do many times mingle er­rours [Page 241] and false conceits with the Genuine Dictates of their Minds, and then appeal to them as the Principles of Truth and Reason, when they are indeed noth [...]ng else but the vain Images of our fancies, and the conclusions of Ignorance and mistake▪ Though Reason in the Abstract, and those inb [...]ed notices implanted in our Souls, which upon the first exercise of our Faculties, command an Assent, be all consistent w [...]th the Mysteries of Faith; yet Reason in the Concrete, and as it ex­ists in this and that man, being weak, maim'd, imperfect, and extremely remote from a full and just comprehension of things, we do accordingly find many Ar­ticles of Revelation to have been little be­friended by Axioms and principles of vul­gar Philosophy. But this proceeds from the Corruption of Reason, its be­ing vitiated by Lusts, byassed by Inte­rests, perverted by Education, darkned by Passions, enthralled by Preju­dice; rather than from Reason it self; and is to be ascribed not to the Light of Reason, but to the Dark­ness that envelop's it. It hath been usual for men, according to the School they have been bred in, to expound and judg of Religion in Analogy to the prin­ciples [Page 242] they have suckt in from thence. By this means hath Religion been em­based, through mens subjecting the Exa­men and conduct of it to mistaken Philo­sophy. He that would examine an Arti­cle of Faith by a Proposition of Reason, must be careful that his Measure be just and true, and not deceitful and fallacious. No man ought to distrust an Article of Religion for its being against a propositi­on which we take to be true only be­cause we were taught it. The Prejudice done to Religion by mistaken Philosophy ought not to be dissembled; and I shall therefore crave a little liberty here to un­fold it. And not to insist on the ill Influ­ence that the Phenician and Chaldaick Philosophy had on the Judaick Theology; though it be of easie proof that their Pla­netary Deities, and their Teraphims sprung from thence. Nor to do any more but mention, that the chief Errours of the Pharisees, Sadduces, and Esseans took their rise from the Grecian Philosophy; their Dogm's being a mixture of Pythago­rean, Platonick, Stoick, and Epicurean Notions. I shall rather observe that the chiefest Errours that have infested the Christian Church, arose from a mingling Gentile Philosophy with the Doctrine of [Page 243] the Gospel. Both Irenaeus and Tertullian affirm the Errors of the Gnosticks to have sprung from the Platonick Ideas; Though I think it not improbable, but that their [...] & [...] took their birth from Pythagoreanism. The Aeons of the Va­lentinians, if we will believe Tertullian, were also [...]orrowed from the Idea's of Pla­to; but if any shall judge that they were rather derived from Hesiod, I shall not contend, seeing the Ancient Poets were not only the Ethnick Theologues, but their chief Philosophers. Epiphanius tells us that the Heresies of the Mar­cionites came out of the School of Plato. Lib. de heres. Lib. de cu­rand Affectib. Graecor. Annal. ad An. 174. Dissert. de vit. & Script. Por­phyr. cap. 1. Ep. ad Ctesiph. Augustin. Tom. 1. cap. 18. Theo­doret inform's us that Sa­bellius became a Heretick by his obstinacy in Plato's Doctrine. Tatian being deeply tinctur'd with Pla­tonism became thereupon Head of the Eucratists, if you will give Credit to Baronius. Holstenius hath shown us how the Ma­nichean principles were fram'd from the Pythagorean. Hierom assureth us that Pelagius suckt all his Doctrine from the Philosophy of Pythagoras and [Page 244] Zeno, and Jans [...]nius fully proves it. Nor did Samosatenus and Arius de­rive their blasphemous opinions concern­ing the Deity of Christ, from any other fountain, save from the Platonick Philoso­phy. The Popish [...] or Saint-wor­ship, is nothing but an imitation of the [...] or Daemon-worship of the Pa­gan Philosophers. And that [...] of the latter gave rise to the Doctrine of Su­pererogation held by the former. The Romish Purgatory was fetcht from Plato, Lib. 10. de Repub. as well as from Virgil and Ovid. Yea their Caelibate had its first foundation in the Doctrine of Py­thagoras. I might also add that the Opinion of the Praeexistence of Souls, lately revi­ved among our selves, and the Notion of Aethereal Vehicles of Angelical Spirits, were imbib'd from Plato and Pythagoras. Ad Hermog. lib. de prae­script. It was not therefore without Cause that Tertullian sti­led the Philosophers the Patriarchs of Hereticks; and that he af­firmed Haereses a Philosophia subornari, Heresies to have been occasioned by Philoso­phy; and that Philosophy was condimen­tum, the seasoning of all Heresies. Nor [Page 245] was He alone in this opinion, for Lactan­tius, Arnobius, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, Gregory Nazianzen, besides divers o­thers, speak all to the same purpose. The Platonick School at Alexandria, was the Seminary of the chiefest and most pesti­lent Errors vented in the Church, during the four first Centuries. Joannes Bap­tista Crispus hath wrote a discourse of Plato's Opinions, and hath at the End of every Chapter shewn what Heresies sprung from each. Yea, the Apostle Paul seems plainly to me, to have intend­ed the Pythagoreans and Platonists, when he adviseth the Colessians to beware lest a­ny man should spoyl them through Philoso­phy, Col. 2.8. Platonism growing out of request, did the Philosophy of Aristo­tle after it came into esteem, prove more friendly to Religion? No! The purity and simplicity of the Gospel, was no less corrupted by blending the Dogm's of Ari­stotle with the Articles of Fa [...]th, than it had been by mingling the Philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato with the Doctrines of Christ. The primitive Centuries felt some of the mischievous effects of it. The Theodotians upheld their Errour by the reasonings of Aristotle. The Carpocrati­ans [Page 246] out of an inordinate zeal to his Do­ctrine, erected an Image to him. The Aetians were transported to that degree of madness, as to teach their Schollars the Categories of Aristotle for a Catechism. Lib. 2. cap. 35. So­crates expresly informs us, that it was the Aristotelick Philosophy that lead Aetius into the Heresie of Arius. Hierom tells us, that the Hereticks shel­tred themselves inter spineta Aristotelis a­mong the briars of Aristotle, and that their Heresies were fostred from thence. And Tertullian assures us, that the Enemies of the Christian faith borrowed their Arms from him,De prescript. by which they de­fended their Errors. But the greatest mischief that befel Religion through the Philosophy of Aristotle, was, after the School-men had moulded Theologie to his Method, and undertaken the manage­ment of Divinity in analogy to his princi­ples. The vast Volumes of the School-men are stuffed with Peripatetick deprava­tions, and their Scholastick controversies are resolved into the subtilties of his Phi­losophy. Christian Morality lost its sim­plicity and purity by being blended with [Page 247] his Ethicks; and the Doctrines of Faith became depraved through the mixing them with his metaphysical niceties. It was by this means that Christianity which is a plain simple thing of it self, became corrupted into an Artificial kind of wrangling, and degenerated into contentious & unprofitable altercations. For partly through an usurpation of barbarous and insignificant Words; partly through an introduction of new Terms; partly through handling the great mysteries of Faith in Analogy to metaphysical Hypotheses; partly through accommodating the Articles of Religi­on to a congruity with Philosophical Axioms; partly by applying Maxims of Philosophy beyond their proper Ob­jects; partly by their disputing every thing pro and con; and especially by advancing Aristotle to an equal Autho­rity with God himself, they wholly de­faced and contaminated Religion. Nor have Luther, Melancthon, Bucer, Calvin, and other Protestants, only complained of it, but many of the most learned and sober Romanists, such as Mirandula, Be­atus Rhenanus, Erasmus, Vives, Jan­senius, Gassendus, &c. have severely [Page 248] censured it. Nor is the case mended since the Aristotelick Philosophy grew out of repute, and the Cartesian, and Corpuscularian usurped the Chair. I rea­dily grant that in reference to the solving the Phaenomena of Nature, there is more to be said for the Corpuscularian Hypothesis, than for any other. Nor do I envy Des-Cartes all due praise, though I would not be the person that should fasten the many Encomiums and Elogi­ums on him, that some men adorn him with. I also allow that generous free­dom which our Cartesians pretend to, of being baptized into no mans Notions, upon the meer Authority of his Name; and I wish they were true to themselves, and while they inveigh against the A­ristotelians as Mancipata Capita, they did nor continue the Tyranny, though they have changed the Tyrant. Yet I crave leave to say, that as the Cartesian Hy­pothesis is managed, it is like to prove as disserviceable to Religion, as any Philosophy hitherto entertained in the World. I will not insist on his renoun­cing Arguments for the Being of God, derived from the Fabrick of things, though therein he plainly reflects up­on [Page 249] the Scripture, which in more than one place calls in Media of that Nature to demonstrate the Existence of a Deity. Neither will I Press his dischar­ging all Spirits from place, though that seems consequentially to discharge them from Being; for what is no where, we cannot well apprehend to be at all. And if Ubication be nothing but the presence of things in place, and if place necessarily Exist, and that as well without the Circle of the Universe as within it, it would seem to me impos­sible, but that if a thing exist at all, it should coexist with place. Nor will I dwell upon his disbanding all Final Causes out of the precincts of natural Philosophy. Though that would seem to imply, that all things are the effects of Fate or Chance, and that there was no design nor Counsel in the producti­on of them. For if infinite Wisdom contrived, and infinite Power fram'd the World, such an Agent behoved to have an End, in order to which he acted, and this ought to be of prime conside­ration in our speculations of the fabrick and nature of things. Nor shall I dwell [Page 250] upon his attempting to solve all the Phaenomena of Nature secluding any Im­mediate influx of Divine Providence: yea, that all the Phaenomena of the Uni­verse might arise out of Matter by meer mechanical Motion, and that Matter alone, supposing such a degree of moti­on communicated to it, and the Laws of motion established, could have pro­duced the Sun, Moon, Starrs, Plants, Animals, and the Bodies of men in such Organization, Order, Beauty, and Harmony, as now they are. Though this seems wonderfully to be­friend the Atheists, for if all that which we observe in the World, sup­posing the Existence of matter and Mo­tion, might result from the meer laws of mechanism, I do not see but that per­sons Atheistically disposed, may goe a degree farther, and affirm both the self-existence of matter, and that motion was appendent to it; its Idea no more excluding motion than it includes Rest. Neither will I dwell upon his Notion of the Conflict between the Flesh and Spirit which the Scripture so emphatical­ly mentions, namely, that it is nothing [Page 251] but the repugnance of those motions which the Body by its Spirits, and the Soul by her Will, endeavour to excite at the same time in the Glandula pine­alis, or little Kernel where he supposeth the Soul to be harboured and seated. As if the whole conflict which the Ho­ly Ghost so solemnly describes under the Notion of a War betwixt the Law of our members and the Law of our mind, Rom. 7.23. and the lusting of the Flesh against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the Flesh, Gal. 17. were nothing else, but that the Kernel in the midst of the Brain, being driven on one side by the Soul, and on the other by the Animal Spi­rits (which are minute bodies) it thence comes to pass that those impul­ses being oftentimes contrary, the stronger hinders the operation of the weaker. When the Corporeal Spirits by their rude Joggings of the glandu­lous Button, endeavour to excite in the Soul a desire of any thing, and the Soul repels it by the Will she hath to avoid the same thing, This constitutes the War betwixt the Law of the Members and the Law of the Mind. I am apt to think that [Page 252] the Author of the De­fence and continuation of the Ecclesiastical Polity, p. 339, 340, 341, 342. had this in his eye, when he undertakes to resolve all the Joyes, refreshings, Fears, Sorrows, &c. of a people he is pleased to stile Phanaticks, by the laws of Mechanism, and principles of Anatomy. And it is not unlikely but that Mr. Sherlock be­fore he addressed to the Philosophy of Christs Satisfaction (for so he is pleased to call it) had throughly digested the Philosophy of this Combate we have been speaking of; and having accom­modated the latter to mechanical Prin­ciples, he may very well mould the o­ther to a compliance with the Hypothe­sis of Socinus. To wave all these and many more Tenets in the Cartesian Phi­losophy which very little befriend Re­ligion, I shall at present only call forth two principles of Monsieur Des-Cartes which he superstructs all his Philosophy upon, and which, if I greatly mistake nor, are likely to disserve Religion, beyond any thing occurring in the Ari­stotelick Philosophy. The first shall be [Page 253] that famous thing cal­led Dubitatio Cartesiana, Prim. Philo­soph. Meditat. prim. for which he is justly impeached of shaking the foundations of the house of Wisdom, and laying a ground for Universal Scepticism. The Sum of his Notion is briefly this, that in our enquiry after Truth we are not only to unhinge, and suspend our assent from all or any of those things which we former­ly believed, but that we are to demean our selves towards them as if they were false, that is, as himself paraphraseth it, we are no more to believe them, than if they were so. Like as a needle placed be­tween two Magnets, at a distance propor­tionable to the different forces of the con­trary Movents, remains in an aequilibra­tion without a propension to the one more than the other; so in our researches of Truth, the Mind is to bind up its assent for a time, from affirming a thing either to be true or false. And this Dubitation or suspension of the Judgment he carries to that extent, that he hath not so much as allowed us the postulatum of Archimedes, viz. ground whereupon to set our foot. For he not only supposeth our Senses to [Page 254] be fallacious where the Object is remote, the Organ tinctured and indisposed, and the Medium inept, but even where there is a concurrence of all those things which are commonly required to the certainty of Sensation. Yea he asketh us, how we know, that we were not created at first of such a frame as to be in all things invinci­bly obnoxious to errour? & what assurance we have, but that some evil Genius, Wise, powerfull and malicious, doth haunt and impose upon us in all our consultations? ei­ther by mingling false colours in seeing, or altering the undulations of the air in Hear­ing, or by communicating various im­pressions to the Nerves, different shocks to the brain, and agitations to the glan­dula pinealis, or by impregnating the I­magination with false Idea's, or infecting true ones with false tinctures, or by vari­ously modifying and changing all the tex­tures and motions of the Animal Spirits, or by disordering all the ranks and files of our Ideas, and discomposing all the Vesti­gia of things which are imprest upon so soft and dissipable a substance as the Brain? Now how far these reasonings extend, and what an unhappy and trouble­some Guest such a Genius were, if other [Page 255] men could not with as much facility lay this Devil, as Des-Cartes hath raised him, is easy to imagine. A wariness in pro­nouncing concerning natural things, where though there be many things certain which ought not to be called in question, yet there are many things doubtful of which we ought not precipitantly to de­termine, was allowed by all the old philo­sophers, and was especially practised by Plato and his successours in the Old Aca­demy, whence arose the Academick [...] or suspension of Assent. But the Cartesi­an dubitation reacheth further, yea they extend it so far as to doubt whether there be a god or not. Yea that we ought to question the Existence of the Deity. Cartes. prin. Philosoph. & Epist. 10. Tom. Poster Velthuis. And that if we would philoso­phise to any purpose con­cerning the Being of God, we must not only call into question, but for a time suppose it false that there is one: as a Cartesian lately proposed it in publick questions at Leyden. We have a further evidence of the ex­tent and tendency of this Dubitation, vouch­safed us by the Author of Philosophia Scripturae Interpres, who claiming the same right of questioning all things in [Page 256] Divinity, till he should arrive at some­thing certain and evident, that Des-Cartes hath in philosophy▪ doth at last issue it in making Faith wait at the elbow of Rea­son, and in constituting Philosophy the Standard of Theology. Yea we have a more deplorable instance of this unbound­ed Dubitation in the Anonymous Author of Tractatus Theologicopoliticus, (suppo­sed to be Benedictus Spinosa) who being throughly tinctured with this and the rest of the Cartesian principles, hath in pursuance of them, endeavoured in effect to undermine and subvert all Supernatural Revelation. I cannot but commend the ingenuity of Henricus Re­gius, who having imbib'd this Cartesian principle, and foreseeing that it would be charged as leading to Scepticism, he very candidly confesseth it, and withal add's, that it is impossible by any principles in Nature to avoid a perpetual Hesitation; and I will add, that if there be no princi­ples in Nature to check Scepticism, the prin­ciples of Revelation can never do it, for without presupposing both that our Senses & Reasons do not universally deceive us, we can have no assurance that there is any such thing as a Supernatural Revelation [Page 257] at all. I would not say that the Cartesians are Scepticks, but I say, they owe it not to the principles of their Philosophy, that they are not so. Supposing us once to dis­band, lay by, and to take for false, all that we have imbib'd from Education, or o­therwise embraced, I would fain know where we can begin, and upon what foun­dation we can superstruct Science? They who propose it as a Principle that we are to doubt of every thing, ought in pursu­ance of their Hypothesis to suspect those very principles with they lay down for Certain. If there be not some princi­ples incontestable and beyond the pre­cincts of being gainsayed, it is not to be imagined but that we should be endlesly bewildred and entangled in a perpetual and inextricable maze. According to this new Hypothesis, no man can be sure that there are any Material effects or Beings in the World; for we can have no other Certainty of the Existence of Cor­poreal Beings, but by their affecting the Organs of Sensation; and of this accor­ding to the principles of Des-Cartes, there is no assurance can be obtained? For (1.) How can I be certain that there are any impressions made by forraign Objects [Page 258] upon the Fibres and Nerves, seeing all may be but meer Phancy and Imagina­tion? (2.) How shall I be ascertain'd that those impulses upon the Nerves which we ascribe to outward Objects, are not begotten and caused by the Malus Genius we just now heard of? And as I must in pursuance of this Principle abide in a perpetual Suspension of Mind, whe­ther there be any Material Beings in the World, so I can no ways be assur'd from any effects which I observe in the Uni­verse, either that they have a second Cause at all, or which particularly is their Cause; not the latter seeing God may produce the like effects by different Causes; not the former, because whatso­ever is brought forth by the ministry of second Causes, may be produced immedi­ately by God himself. I will only sub­joyn that if there be any Truth in this Cartesian Notion, no man can be assured of his own Cogitation, or whether he doth cogitate at all. For we cannot o­therwise know that we do know, but by a latter reflex act of the Mind upon the former; and of this I can have no certain­ty, seeing I am not sure whether the Act I reflect upon, were elicited by the mind it [Page 259] self, or only an impression begotten in me by some powerful and malicious Guest which doth continually haunt us. I am not ignorant of the restrictions, limitati­ons, and expositions with some Cartesians give of the fore-going Principle, but up­on an examination of what is alledged a­gainst it by Gassendus, Schoockius, Daniel Voetius, Vogelsangius and others, and what is pleaded in justification of it by Clauber­gius, De Bruin, &c. as well as Des-Cartes himself; I must needs say that all the Car­tesian plea's in behalf of it, do either o­verthrow what themselves would esta­blish, and contradict what they endeavour to obtrude, or that they are wholly weak and impotent. But I am not without thoughts of discoursing this more largely some other time, and therefore shall at present supersede the further prosecution of it. The Second Cartesian principle which I impeach as disserviceable to Re­ligion, is this, That whatsoever we have a clear and distinct perception of, is infalli­bly true, and that we are no ways longer to doubt of it. This they make the only test of discerning and distinguishing Truth from Falsehood: Nor do they allow any other Measure or Standard of discrimi­nating [Page 260] betwixt Verity and Errour. If we should be deceived in these things which we have clear and distinct perceptions of, God himself,Prim. Phil. Medit. 6. saith Des-Cartes would be Fallax & Deceptor (horresco re­ferens) and all our Er­rours and Mistakes must be attributed to him. Unless the Cartesians be infallible in what ever they imagine themselves to have a distinct perception and cognizance of, God must be cease to be Good and True, and must undergoe the blame of all their hallucinations. I do the rather touch on this Cartesian Axiom, because I not only find it introduced into Divinity by some Outlandish Writers, but by some Modern Theologues at home, particularly by the Author of Deus Justifi­catus. p. 17. Nor will it be amiss a little to enquire into it, as well upon the account of its being erected by the Cartesians for the first and only princi­ple of all Certainty and Science, as upon the Score of the bad effects it is like to have upon the minds of men in Matters of Religion. Now the meaning and sense of this Theoreme must either be this, That whatever we apprehend and perceive [Page 261] as it is, it infallibly is so, and our percep­tion of it is true. But then according to this paraphrase of it, there cannot be a more nugatory and ridiculous proposition form'd; for it is as much as if we should say, what we have a true cognizance of, that we have a true cognizance of; and what is truly known by us, that we do truly know. But this cannot be the meaning which the Cartesians intend by it, for as much as they make the clearness and distinctness of perception the Rule by which we ought to judge of the Existence of Objects and things. For according to them our perceptions are not therefore clear and true, because of their congruity to the Objects about which our minds are conversant; but on the contrary they de­termine concerning the Object, from the clearness and distinctness of our percepti­on. The sense therefore of this Cartesian Axiom, if it have any at all, and be not per­fect non-sense, must be this, namely, That every thing really is as we perceive it, pro­vided our perception of it be clear and di­stinct. That those Idea's of things which offer themselves to our Minds by clear and distinct perceptions, are infallibly the true idea's of the Natures and properties of the [Page 262] things themselves. Now admitting this to be the sense of it, I affirm it to be the most silly, fallacious, and lubricous prin­ciple, that ever men pretending to Philoso­phy laid down. I shall wave that Medium, that there may be clearness and distinct­ness of perception in acts of simple appre­hension, and consequently that whatsoe­ver we clearly and distinctly perceive is not true, because Acts of simple Appre­hension are not capable of verity. This I say I shall decline the urging of, seeing I judge both Verity and Falsity to obta [...]n in all the operations of the Mind. For Verity being nothing else but the confor­mity of the Act to the Object, there is as well an Incomplex Verity in acts of simple Apprehension, as there is a Complex Ve­rity in Acts of Judgment. I may as well apprehend things to be as indeed they are, as I may affirm one thing of another as in­deed it is. However, though I wave this Medium, yet my first Argument shall be drawn from acts of simple Apprehension, but built upon another Medium, and it is this; whatsoever I can clearly apprehend, separate, and apart, I can apprehend the same with the same clearness united and Conjunct, for example, as I can clearly [Page 263] and distinctly apprehend a River and Wine apart; I can with the same clearness apprehend them conjunct and united; and yet I should be loath to trust this Carte­sian principle so far as to assert that there is really a River runs Wine, meerly be­cause I can frame a complex apprehension of these two together. (2.) It interferes with what the Cartesians else-where, and upon other occasions affirm. For ac­cording to them when possibles offer them­selves to our Rational Natures by a clear and distinct perception, we do not other­wise perceive them, than as actually ex­istent, and yet they themselves will not say that they do actually exist. (3.) The Objective Verity of Things, is the Rule and Measure of the verity of perception; for therefore are our perceptions true, be­cause consonant to the Nature of things, and consequently clearness and distinct­ness of perception is not the Test by which we are to judge of the Natures, Qualities, and Modes of Beings. (4.) We are bound to pay an assent to many Doctrines, and believe not a few things, whereof we can have no clear and distinct perception; such for example, are the Mysteries of the Trinity, and Incarnation of the Son of [Page 264] God, &c. If we could distinctly and clearly perceive them, they were no lon­ger Mysteries, and if we do not assent to, and bel [...]eve them, notwithstanding that we do not distinctly and clearly perceive them, we are hardly, yea, I may say not at all Christians. This is so indubi­table, that we may, yea, ought to assent to many things which we have no clear and distinct perception of, that Des-Cartes himself is forced to subscribe to it; his words are that multis possumus assentiri, quae non nisi perobscure & confuse cog­noscimus; which as it is most true, so he could have said nothing more contra­dictory to, and subversive of his own prin­ciples, (5.) Experience not only tells us that Men do often err and mistake, but that they do so in things about which they suppose themselves to have clear and di­stinct perceptions: Yea, if we will believe Des-Cartes, impetrare a nobis non possis­mus, ut obscure & confuse cognitis, quam­di [...] talia nobis apparent assensum praebea­mus; We cannot obtain of our selves to as­sent to any thing, so long as we only obscure­ly and confusedly know it. Now though this be egregiously false, yet nothing could be said more to the overthrow of [Page 265] this great and fundamental principle of his. For if men can assent to nothing but what they have a clear and distinct cogni­zance of, and if daily experience assure that one or other is always embracing, venting, and justifying Errour, then fare­well to this principle of the Cartesians, that whatsoever presents it self to us by a clear and distinct perception, is really, and in it self so as we do perceive it. (6.) Were it most true that it is impossible for any thing to be otherwise than what we clearly and distinctly perceive it; yet this can be no first principle of Science; because we are still at a loss how we shall know, whe­ther we have a clear and distinct percepti­on of things, yea or not. Let us suppose two men imbued with Opinions, whereof those of the one are repugnant with those of the other, and each of them pleading a clearness and distinctness of perception in reference to his own. Now I would enquire of the Cartesians, by what means these two men shall be satisfied that their knowledge is clear and distinct, for clear­ness and distinctness of perception, can no more be ascribed to both of them, than truth can be predicated of the two parts of a contradiction. (7.) The Cartesians in [Page 266] the justifying of this principle involve themselves in a most shameful Circle. For if it be enquired, how we shall know but that God hath fram'd us with such Fa­culties as may in the most clear and distinct perceptions we have, abuse and delude us. They reply, that we know it from the idea which we have of Gods being per­fect, i e. infinitely Good and True; and if they be again asked, what assurance they have that this is a true idea of God, they recurr to their Canon of clear and distinct perception for the justifying of it. Thus they prove the truth of their Rule and Measure from the perfection of God; and the perfection of God from the truth of their Rule; which, if I mistake not, is to argue circularly. Shall I add (in the eighth and last place) that it is nothing but Socinianism new furbished, and seems indeed shapen to justify them in their most detestable Errours. For it is re­markable, that when they are in a sober mood, they tell us that they do not re­nounce the Articles of the Trinity, In­carnation of the Son of God, &c. be­cause they are above our reason, but be­cause they judge them repugnant to the di­stinct and clear perceptions which they [Page 267] of things. The words of Smalcius are; We readily acknowledge many things in the Chri­stian Religion, Nos vero ul­tro fatemur, plurima esse in Religione Chri­stiana quae ra­tionem supe­rant. contr. Frantz. disp. 3. de Sacramento. supra rationem Religionem esse novimus; de li­ber. arbitr. which are above our Reason; and we know that Religion transcends Reason. Their quarrel with these myste­ries is this, that there are many things which they clearly and distinct­ly perceive, to which these Doctrines are con­tradictious. This I thought convenient to discourse a little the more largely, because though nothing in Reli­gion be repugnant to any true principle of Reason, yet there are many things voted for principles of Reason, which indeed are not so, and it is no disparagement to Arti­cles of Faith to interfere with such. The Mind is so darkned by the Fall, and E­clipsed by habitual Lusts, that there is but little right Reason in reference to spiritual things in the World.

Thirdly: Reason is not the positive Measure of things Divine. As there are many Doctrines of Faith, which Reason in its highest exaltation could never have dis­discovered, [Page 268] so being made known, it can­not in its clearest light fully comprehend them. Though Revelation presupposeth Reason, and doth in no one thing contra­dict it, yet the very End of Revelation is both to certifie Reason in such things wherein through its contracted darkness it doth mistake, and to inform it in those which through the essential quality of its Nature it could never have discovered. Accordingly men in all ages have not only been listning after some supernatural Re­velation or other, but whatever they took for such, they always without more ado resigned themselves to the conduct of it. 'Tis true, they disparaged their Reason in admitting that to be a Divine Reve­lation which indeed was not so, but on supposition that it had been such they acted most rationally in surren­dring themselves to the guidance of it. The Article it self may be plainly re­vealed, and yet not only the reason and mode of it lye altogether hid, but the thing it self may over-power our Facul­ties, and dazle them with its Majesty and Splendour. (1.) Reason is often non-plust and puzled about its own proper Ob­jects, and the phaenomena of Nature, and [Page 269] shall we think it a competent judge of Ob­jects it was never adapted for? It is be­low many of the Works of God, and therefore much more below Mysteries of Revelation. See this Argument ele­gantly and strenuously handled by Brad­wardine de causa Dei lib. 1. c. 1. Here are many things which we ought to ad­mire, but must never hope fully to un­derstand. Our work here is to believe, not to enquire. (2.) If our minds will not submit to a Revelation until they see a reason of the proposition, they do not believe or obey at all, because they do not submit till they cannot chuse. Faith bears not upon demonstration, but upon the Authority and Veracity of the spea­ker; and therefore to believe nothing but what we do comprehend is not to believe, but to argue, and is Sci­ence not Faith.Qui in Evan­gelio quod vul­tis, creditis: qúod nón vultis, non creditis, vo­bis potius quam evangelio cre­ditis, lib. 17. contr. Faustū. cap. 17. Ye that will believe in the Gospel what you please, and what ye think fit, ye will not believe, you renounce the Gospel saith Austin to the Manichees, for you be­lieve your selves, not it. (3.) To believe nothing but what we can fully [Page 270] comprehend, is to remonstrate to the Wis­dom and Power of God, at least to chal­lenge to our selves an Omniscience pro­portionable to the Divine Wisdom and Omnipotence. (4.) The Rule and Measure of Faith must be certain, but no mans Reason universally is so, because one Mans Reason rejects what anothers assents to. Every man pretends to right Reason, but who hath it, is hard to tell. If it be lawful for one man to reject a plain Revelation in one particular, because he cannot comprehend it, why may not a second do the same with reference to Re­velation in another particular. As the Socinians by making their Reason judge of what they are to believe, will not ad­mit many of the prime Articles of the Gospel; so the Philosophers would make their Reason judge of what they should re­ceive, & their Reason would not admit the Gospel at all. (5.) The certainty of Reve­lation is preferred to all other Evidence, and we are commanded to subject our Reason to the Authority of God in the Scripture; and by consequence, Reason cannot be the positive Measure of Religi­on. The Sacred Writers do every where remit us to the Scripture it self as [Page 271] the Rule of Faith, and not at all to the Tribunal of Reason. Herein are the So­cinians justly impeachable; for though sometimes they acknowledge Religion to be above Reason, as we lately heard; yet at other times they speak in a very indiffe­rent Manner.Sola ratione dijudicamus possibilitatem & impossibili­tatem articulo­rum fidei. prae­fat. contr. Frantz. 2. By Reason alone (saith Smalcius) can we define what is possible, and what is impossi­ble in matters of Faith. See to the same purpose Ostorod. Instit. cap. 6. Schlicting. de Trinit. ad­vers. Meisner p. 67. &c. Hence that of Socinus, that he would not believe Christ to have satisfied for our sins, though he should read it not only once, but often in the Scripture; and that the Infallibi­lity of the Revealer had not been enough to esta­blish it, Lib. de Ser­vat. part. 3. cap. 6. Idem ibid. part. 2. cap. 4. supposing Christ to have said it, and to have risen from the Dead to declare his own Veracity, unless he had declared it by its Causes and effects, and so shewn the possibility of it. To which a­grees a passage of Smalcius in reference [Page 272] to the Incarnation of the Son of God,Homil. 8. in cap. 1. Joan. that he would not submit to it, though he should meet with it not on­ly often, but in express Terms in the Bi­ble. I wish others did not say the same in effect: But while they renounce Do­ctrines upon no other account but their incomprehensibleness, or because we can­not fully fathom them, they must give us leave to think whose principles they have drunk in, and whose cause they plead. Thus have I discoursed the whole Interest of Reason in Religion; and as I know not that I have said any more in this Matter than what is generally maintained by all the sober Nonconformists; so I hope I may say that the charge which some men have fastned upon us, as if we wholly re­nounced Reason in all Concernments of Religion, and that no Contradiction can astonish or stagger us; and that this is the foundation and support of the Credit of the party, especially amongst Vulgar Hearers, is a false aspersion, groundless calumny, and an impudent Crimination. And though I do not think that it sa­vour's of over-much Modesty, that a few young Theologues of the Church of Eng­land [Page 273] (if indeed they be so) should mono­polize to themselves the name of Ratio­nal Divines; yet, for my own part, I nei­ther envy them the Title, nor have any quarrel with them upon that account, it be­ing indeed their want of Reason that I find fault with. And as it hath generally been the unhappiness of others who have too much boasted of, and relyed upon Reason, to fall into the most irrational sentiments; so I do not see but that it is in a very great measure the misfortune of our New Ra­tionalists. As the Philosophers of old made Reason their only Rule, and yet most of their Religious opinions, whether in reference to Faith, Worship, or Moral Obedience were perfectly Irrational. And as the Socinians pretend to pay more than an ordinary veneration to Reason, and yet there are none in the world whose Tenets lye more cross to the Fundamental Maxims of it, than some of theirs do. For to give Religious Adoration to a meer Creature (for such they allow Christ only to be) to deny God the fore know­ledge of future contingents, & to ascribe passions and affections to God in the man­ner they are incident to us, are such Re­pugnancies to Reason, that a man had need [Page 274] renounce that, as well as Revelation, ere he can admit them. So I account it of easie proof that many of the Darling No­tions about Original Sin, Converting Grace, the Nature of Regeneration, and Justification it self, &c. of our pretended late Rational Divines, are as well repug­nant to Reason, as they are to Scrip­ture.

CHAP. II. Of the Import and Vse of Scrip­ture-Metaphors.

SECT. I.

SOme men having espoused corrupt de­signs in reference to the Truths of the Gospel, are in pursuance there­of led to Methods which may subserve and countenance their Undertakings. For the End being fixed, Means must be found out and adapted for the compassing of it. Now among other little arts and contrivances supposed conducible to their Undertaking, I find some late Writers improving their skill and industry especi­ally in these two things. First, under pre­tence of banishing all wrangling, brawling and vain talking, they study to cashier and discharge all Disputes in and about Reli­gion; and 'tis become their Interests up­on two accounts so to do: (1.) That [Page 276] they may have the liberty to vent what they please without running the hazard of being contradicted. (2.) Because finding themselves unable to justifie what they would obtrude upon the World, un­less it be in a Dramatick, Drolling way, they think it fit under the plea of dislike to a pugnacious, disputing humour, to except against all Logical and Scholastical Me­thods of treating things, as knowing the weapons they are sure to be foiled at. Did they only disallow quarrelling about Opinions which neither serve to render us sounder Christians, nor better men, and which were both at first commenced, and are still maintain'd out of interest; or did they only impeach the fetching of To­picks from Aristotle or Aquinas, and the arguing with the same confidence from the Decretals as from the four Evange­lists, I should highly commend both their Wisdom and Zeal. But while what-ever crosseth Socinus, or Pelagius, is immedi­atly branded as vain and empty speculati­ons; and Pauls Epistles are censured with little less modesty than they arraign the Writings of the School-men: I must sup­pose them engaged in a design against the Gospel, which they are not willing as yet [Page 277] publickly to own. If they account that I impose upon them in this matter, I shall upon the least intimation direct them to the Authors I aim at, and the places whence I derived my information: But in the mean time, out of respect both to the interest of Religion, and their Reputation, I shall forbear. The second is, their ar­raigning Words, Phrases, and modes of speech, wherein what they dislike is in­tended. Hence are their Clamours con­cerning Metaphors, even against such, as the Holy Ghost condescendeth to use, in order to the instructing us as well of our State as Duty. Where the authority and credit of Men is meerly concerned, I love not to quarrel with any about Terms and expressions, further than as they have an Influence upon things; and providing I were at an agreement with them in the lat­ter, I should as well give as claym a great liberty in the former. But when both the Wisdom of God stands impeached, and under the palliation of quarrelling with Terms & Phrases, the chief Doctrines of the Gospel are supplanted, it then be­comes the Duty of those who have a Zeal for his Honour and the Truth once deli­vered to the Saints, to declare their resent­ment. [Page 278] The unfolding the Nature, Im­port and Use of Scripture-Metaphors, as it is in it self a laudable undertaking, so there are two things which at present ren­der it needful and expedient. (1.) The vindication of the Non-Conformists, who are publickly charged for turning Religion into unaccountable Phan­sies and Enthusiasm's, drest up with empty Schemes of speech; Eccles. Polity, p. 74, 75. and for em­bracing a few gawdy Metaphors & Allego­ries instead of the substance of true and real Righteousness. So that if you will believe a late Authour, herein lyes the Material diffe­rence between the sober Christians of the Church of England, and the Modern Secta­ries, that while those express the precepts & Duties of the Gospel in plain and intelligible Terms, these trifle them away by childish Metaphors and Allegories, and will not talk of Religion but in barbarous and uncouth Similitudes. And as a­nother expresseth it,Mr. Sherlock con­cerning the know­ledg of Jesus Christ, &c. p. 108. That the mystery of Phanaticism consists in the wresting Meta­phorical and Allusive expressions to a proper sense: And as the [Page 279] former person phraseth it, Abusing Scripture expressions, not only with­out, Eccles. po­litie, p. 75. but in contradiction to their sense. (2.) The defence and vindication of the Doctrines of the Gospel; many of which are under­mined under the pretence of renouncing luscious and fulsome Metaphors. Thus the Immediat Union of Believers to Christ is disclaimed, as being built only up­on Metaphors perversely sensed; our spi­ritual impotency and inability to Good is contended against, as being inferred from a Mis-understanding of that Metaphorical expression, viz. Our being dead in Tres­passes and Sins; Our being meerly passive in the first communication of grace to us, or Regeneration, is likewise indicted as a falsity built upon a mistake of the mean­ing of our being Created to good Works, which is a Metaphorical phrase. It were endless to recount the many Doctrines which the Church of Christ hath in all ages been in the persuasion and belief of, that are by this new artifice of crying out Luscious and rampant Metaphors, sub­verted and overthrown. The due stating therefore the Nature and import of Meta­phors, is become not only a seasonable, but a necessary piece of Service. I can very [Page 280] well allow that in Philosophy, where the Quality and Nature of things do not transcend and over-match words, the less Rhetorical ornaments, especially the fewer Metaphors, providing still that the phrase be pure and easie, the better. But in Divinity, where no expressions come fully up to Mysteries of Faith, and where the things themselves are not capable of being declared in Logical and Metaphysical Terms; Metaphors may not only be allow­ed, but are most accommodated to the as­sisting us in our conceptions of Gospel-mysteries.

§. 2. But before I proceed further on this subject, there are some few things which I desire to premise; whereof the first is this. The Holy Ghost in giving forth the Scripture hath usurped no Words, Tropes, Phrases, Figures, or Modes of speech, but what are propor­tioned to his End, namely, the instructing us in Faith and Obedience. To think otherwise, is either to impeach his Wis­dom, as if he knew not what forms of speech in order to such an End were best to declare himself in; or else his Good­ness, in not vouchsafing to speak to us in [Page 281] those terms which he knew to be most adapted to promote our knowledge of the Things which he had made it our duty to be acquainted with. The Scrip­ture stile can neither in the whole, nor in any part of it be reflected upon, without offering reproach to God, who as well guided the sacred Amanuenses in the words and expressions they revealed things in, as in the things themselves they did re­veal. The 2d. is this, that the Bible is replenished and adorned with all sort of figurative expressions. There are hardly any Tropes or Figures in Rhetorick, of which numerous Examples do not occurr in the Holy Writ. Some Tropes confer a grandeur, others an elegancy to the stile where they are met with, and some re­concile an easiness to the things that are treated of. Now among other Rhetori­cal Tropes to be found in the Bible, I hardly know any, of which we have more examples than of Metaphors, in which, God by similitudes borrowed from known and obvious things, intimates to us the usefullest and sublimest Truths. In such kind of phrases he condescends to lisp those Mysteries to us which would never be so well understood by any other way of [Page 282] expressing them. Now though in this case we not only may, but ought to call such to an account who abuse Scripture-Metaphors to a perverse sense, yet we must always preserve the reputation of the Metaphor it self. How tender in this Matter some late Authors have been, we shall afterwards more largely declare. I shall at present only observe, that many Scriptural expressions, abstracting from a­ny corrupt Gloss put upon them, meerly upon the account of their being Rhetori­cal Tropes, have been traduced as Fulsom Metaphors. Were they only the para­phrases which the Non-Conformists af­fix to them, which they make the subject of their scorn, the business were more tol­lerable; Nor should we be offended with their mockeries and derisions, till we had justified the expositions fathered upon them: but when the very words which the Holy Ghost in his care and wis­dom condescendeth to use, are also oppro­briously reflected on, they must pardon us if we know not how to digest such blas­phemous and prophane boldness. In­stances of this Nature I shall afterwards give, and hope to make it appear that ma­ny of the Rampant and Luscious Meta­phors [Page 283] we are charged with, are no other but the declaring Gospel-Mysteries, in words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual.

(3.) Though there be many Rhetori­cal Tropes and Figurative expressions in the Scripture, yet it cannot be denyed but that some either out of ignorance or wan­tonness, have made many more than there ever were. There have been, and yet are a sort of men in the World, who affect to turn every thing into an Allegory, and to transform the plainest expressions into Metaphors. Besides the Jewish Rabbies who are monstrously guilty in this particular; the miscarriage of the Anci­ents in this matter is both too evident to be denyed, and too gross to be justified. Their Expositions of Scripture are often light and ridiculous, and somtimes per­verse and dangerous. Origen especially seems to have made it his business to find out Mystical and Cabalistical Senses in the plainest parts of Scripture; which made one of the Ancients themselves say of him, Ingenii lusus, pro Dei Mysteriis ven­ditat; he obtrudes the sportings of his fancy for Religious and Sacred Mysteries. And as another expresseth it, Ingenii sui [Page 284] acumina, putat esse Ecclesiae Sacramenta. This practice of some Primitive Writers in and about the Scripture, influenced Por­phyrius to deride the Gospel as containing nothing certain in it. How well, or ra­ther how unhappily many of the Popish Fryers have imitated them in this, I need not tell. I shall rather observe that the So­cinians, who though they impose a proper sense on some Texts of Scripture, where it is both absurd and blasphemous to admit it; yet they disguise and transform into Metaphors other Texts that have a plain and proper meaning. But at the rate of making the Priesthood of Christ, his Sa­crifice, Redemption through his death, Metaphorical, as they do; the whole Gospel, both in the Doctrines and pre­cepts of it, may be turned into an Allego­ry. Shall I add that these very Authors, who of late among our selves, have assum­ed a liberty of censuring their Brethren for Undermining the Gospel by trifling it into Metaphors, are themselves so unhappy in paraphrasing Scripture, as to make Tropes where few else in the world do? In proof of this, I shall produce an instance or two out of Mr. Sherlock. Whereas other Ex­positors of Scripture, have expounded [Page 285] Christs being called the Brightness of his Fathers Glory, and the express Image of his person, Heb. 1.3. in a plain and pro­per sense, and have accordingly argued from it for the Deity of Christ against the Socinians. Mr. Sherlock, by Christs be­ing stiled the Brightness of his Fa­thers Glory, &c.p. 32. Understands no more but those discoveries which Christ hath made of God, being a true re­presentation of the Divine Nature and Will, as any picture is of the person it represents. Which as he hath borrowed word for word from the Socinians, who hereby understand only his revealing and declar­ing the will of God unto us fully and plain­ly, which was done before, only darkly & in shadows; so he declares himself guilty of abusing the Scripture to a Metaphorical sense, where the words according to all Rules of Exposition, will admit a proper one: and therefore both Grotius and Ham­mond; persons to whom I suppose he pay's a respect, do vouchsafe us a much better paraphrase. And according to Mr. Sher­locks exposition of the words, I see not but what is here predicated of Christ, may be predicated of the Prophets, at lest of the Apostles. A second instance shall be that [Page 286] of: the 2 Cor. 4.4. where Christ is stiled the Image of God: Where Nonconfor­mists see no necessity of admitting a Me­tonymie, no more than a Metaphore, but that he who was absolutely and antece­dently to his Incarnation [...] in the form of God, Phil. 2.6. is in a proper sense in his person Incarnate [...] the Image of God, in which exposition of the words they are countenanced by Col. 1.15. where Christ in a proper sense is called [...] the image of the invisible God. The places seem parallel the one to the other, especially if as all Copies have [...] in the last, we admit the reading of those Copies which have [...] also in the first. But now Mr. Sher­lock is pleased to tell us that Christs being the Image of God, comes in very abruptly, unless we understand it in this sense, that he is the Image of God with respect to the glori­ous Revelations of the Gospel, which contain a true and faithful account of Gods Nature & Will. Which is plainly to fancy a Trope where there is not the least reason of imagining any, & the deriving upon him­self the guilt which he so liberally charg­eth others with. And whereas he alledg­eth, that without allowing a Meton [...]mie in [Page 287] the words, Christs being the Image of God comes very abruptly in, I see not how the Apostle could better shew how the Father expresseth and declareth himself unto us by his Son in the Gospel, than by manifesting what the Son is in himself, and with reference to the Father. And whereas all Interpreters, Ancient as well as Modern, except the Socinians alone, expound Joh. 1.16. Of his Fulness we have all received Grace for Grace, of a par­ticipation of renewing, Sanctifying Grace by Jesus Christ, according to the plain and proper import of the Words; Mr. Sherlock groundlesly imagines a Trope in them, and accordingly paraphraseth the Fulness which we receive from Christ, to signifie no more than a perfect Revelation of the Divine Will concerning the Salvati­on of Man-kind; which Exposition, as I have told him else-where, whence he hath transcribed it, so I shall only say at this time, that it is a turning plain Scripture-Testimonies into Tropes & Figures, where there is not the least reason of supposing any. More examples of his Paraphrasing the Scripture by substituting Tropes, where other men in whom this humour is supposed to be predominant, do see no cause for allowing any, shall afterwards [Page 288] be assigned. I shall only further observe at present, that in several Scripture Pas­sages, where other Expositors can see no more but an easie and elegant Metonymie at the most, he frames to himself, and would obtrude upon the World such harsh and uncouth Tropes as none but himself and some Socinians ever dream'd of. Thus while other Interpreters expound Christs being made of God unto us, Wisdom, Righ­teousness, Sanctification and Redemption, 1 Cor. 1.30. of his being the Author of all these, not only in the revealing where­in Wisdom, Righteousness, &c. do con­sist, but in way of Causality by an easie Metonymie of the Effect for the Cause, yet after a different manner in Analogy to the things themselves that are spoken of.Sensus est om­nia illa in eo haberi, & habe­re nos illa in eo, quo modo om­nia potest. Dum enim nobis illa factus est, intel­ligendum nostra fi [...]ri plene, singula quo possunt omni suo modo, id est, sapientia, ut per cam sapia­mus, Sanctificatio per quam sanctificemur; Re­demptio qua Redimamur; ita & Justitia, ut per cam justificemur. Justificari autem ea non possu­mus, quod jam est pro natura rei, nisi imputatione. Hoornb. Socinianism. Confutat. Tom. 2. lib. 3. cap. 2. Sect. 2. p. 700. Mr. Sher­lock tells us, That by Christs being made Wisdom to us, [Page 289] he can understand no more than the Wis­dom of those Revelations Christ hath made of Gods Will to the World, p. 103. I would willingly know how he would paraphrase the rest of the verse so as to make sense of it, & yet preserve a Con­sistency to his commentary upon the first pa [...], without framing other Tropes than those do, whose miscarriages in this par­ticular he so much blames in their In­terpreting of Scripture. Likewise where­as other Commentators expound, Joh. 14.6. where Christ sayth of himself, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, by admitting only a simple and familiar Metaphor in the Term Way; Mr. Sher­lock doth over and above fancy a Meto­nymie in the Pronoun I. For, p. 31. he paraphraseth the Text thus, I alone declare the True Way to Life and Happi­ness which he again repeats p. 229. I will not be so severe as to railly upon his manner of expressing himself in this Matter p. 135. where he say's that it is not the Person of Christ (i. e. Christ himself) but the Gospel of Christ, which is the Way, the Truth and the Life, because I suppose his meaning to be, that though Christ is so, yet that it is not otherwise than by the Gospel; though I could have wished [Page 290] that out of respect to Sense as well as Modesty he had otherwise declared him­self than there he doth. (4) I am the less surprised to find the Popular Discour­ses of some Non-Conformists arraigned as stuft with Metaphors, and their Ser­mons and Didactical Writings not only branded upon that account as unintelligi­ble, and that their No­tions would appear Jejun [...] and ridiculous stuff did they want the varnish of fine Metaphors and Glittering Allusions:Eccles. polit. p. but their Persons loaded with Calumni­es as if they trifled away the Duties of the Gospel by Childish Allego­ries and similitudes: Ibid. I say I am the less surprised at this, in that I find the Scripture it self im­peached in the same manner by others upon the like accounts. For as upon the one hand the Scripture is blam'd as Dull, flat and unaffecting by men of a wanton and prophane wit, because of its not be­ing adorned with Flowers of Rhetorick; so upon the other hand there are some who find fault with it as dark and obscure, because of the many Rhetorical Tropes and Figures with it is replenished which. Nor is there any one Topick which the Pa­pists, [Page 291] to justify the with-holding the Laity from the reading of the Bible,Vid Becan. Theolog. Scho last. part 2. Tom. poster. Tract 1. cap. 3. Quest. 7. and to serve the design of erecting a living Infallible Judg, manage with more confidence in opposition to the perspi­cuity of the Scripture, than that there are many Tropes, Figures and Rhetorical Schem's in the stile of it. The Divine Ends in interweaving so many figurative expressions into the phraseo­logy of the Bible shall be inquired into and declared afterwards; and the Scrip­ture acquitted from any just imputation of Darkness and Obscurity upon the account of the Rhetorical Ornaments with which it is embellished. But as to the charge fastened upon some of late, of obscuring Religion and darkning what is otherwise plain and easy, meerly for indulging them­selves now & then in the use of a Metaphor and Similitude: I shall briefly return these things. (1) That it is for the most part in Popular Discourses, where less accuracy and propriety in expression is required than in Polemical and Controversal Writings, that this is to be met with. Our great End being to instruct and per­swade, [Page 292] and the Modes of speaking and Writing being but an Organical Art in order thereunto, all Methods of Discourse must be estimated by their Commensu­rateness to this End. (2) Many of the expressions quarrelled with in Sermons and Practical Tracts, are nothing else but the very Terms and Phrases which the Holy Ghost condescendeth to declare sacred things by. Nor can any reproach be fastned on them in the Writings of men where they occurr, without reflections on the Wisedom of God who useth them in the like cases and to the same purposes. Fitter and more Emphatical Expressions to declare Divine things there are none, than what the Holy Ghost hath preceded us in, there being none that teacheth like God. Job 36.22. Nor is the Scripture only the Rule of what we are to believe and pra­ctice, but also the Measure of our expres­sions about sacred things, which we are to declare [...], not in the Words which Mans Wisedom teacheth but which the Holy Ghost teacheth. 1 Cor. 2 13. God not only inspired the Minds of the [Page 293] Prophets and Apostles with a knowledge and apprehension of the things they were to reveal; but he suggested the very words by which they were to express what their Minds had conceived. Hence we are not only obliged to teach no other Doctrine but what the Scripture Authoriseth, but we are advised to pay a particular regard [...]to wholsome Words even the Words of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Tim. 6.3. The [...] which the Apostle there perstringeth, re­fers not only to the teaching of Doctrines unadapted to the promotion of Godliness, but the declining Scripture Words & Phra­ses in the unfolding Mysteries of Faith; the sacred Oracles being not only our Standard in the former but also in the lat­ter. Hence likewise it is that we have in command to observe [...] a Form of sound Words, 2 Tim. 1.13. i. e. to conform our selves in the explicating of Gos­pel Mysteries to the Terms and Expre­ssions which the Apostle had manifested and declared them by. And it is made a Character of a good Minister of Jesus Christ to be [...] [Page 294] [...] nourished up in the Words of Faith and of Good Doctrine. 1 Tim. 4.6. The mysteries of Faith require a Rhetorick proper and peculiar to themselves; And as it is only from the Scripture that we can be supplyed with Glorious Images and excellent Idea's of the things them­selves which we treat of, so it alone can best fu [...]nish us with all Ornaments of Speech and Eloquence as well to beautify as declare them. (3.) Rhetorical Tropes and Figures have been usually accounted for Lights & Colours to illustrate things, and not for shades and Clouds to darken and obscure them. As of all Tropes Me­taphors are the most usual in Prophane Authors, so, unless (perhaps) we except Metonymies, they are more obvious in sa­cred Writers than any o­ther.Nulla figura florentior nec quae plus luminis. ad­fert orat. Cicer. prim. de orat. And as they add a wonderful pulchritude and suavity to an Oration, so they hugely conduce to our more easy conception of the things treated of. Nor doth this obtain so much any where as in Mysteries of Fa [...]th, for they through a greatness and Majesty peculiar to themselves, do so [Page 295] far transcend all expressions, that in order to their being duely conceived, they re­quire a being accommodated & attemper­ed to the weakness of our Faculties in Allusions, Metaphors, & such like P [...]ase­ologies in which they are display'd by sen­sible Resemblances; but more of this after­wards. (4.) Those of the differently-mind­ed in matters of Discipline & Ecclesiastical Order from the Church of England, who seem especially guilty of an affectation of Metaphors, Allusions and Allegories in their Popular and Didactical discourses, (for all of that sort are not Criminal in this Matter) do appear to me to have imbib'd it from the most fam'd Writers of the Church of England Nor were it a diffi­cult Undertaking to declare when Inordi­nacy and excess this way, as well as Pedan­tick quibling with Letters and Syllables, turning the Scripture into clench, and paraphrasing Texts by the sound and chink of Words, and feeding the People with the Chiming of Terms, took its rise and commenced, and who were the chief pro­moters of it. And in reference to the more ancient amongst the Non-Confor­mists who are charged in this Matter, [Page 296] why may not the plea of Tacitus in be­half of Seneca, (that he had Scribendi ge­nus temporis illius auribus accommodatum) that they accustomed themselves to a stile su [...]ted to the Genius and Gusto of the Age, be allowed? And for the younger sort, though I suppose there are but few of them that can be justly charged with it, yet if there be any such, it may be said that they owe it either to the Unhappiness of their Converse with an ill sett of Books, or that they (as well as the for­mer) do it in complyance with the Capa­cities of their Heare [...]s, who can neither be edified nor affected by any other stile. However as the Phantastical trifling with Words and Syllables, and the Boyish af­fectation of Cadencies is wholly grown in­to difuse and distast, as unbecoming the Sanctity of the Mysteries we treat of, the Majesty of God in whose Name we speak, and the Gravity of the Ministerial Functi­on, so I hope a care will likewise possess us in reference to the other, viz. that we coyn no Metaphors of our own to express things by, but what are modest, cleanly, and carry a due Proportion, Analogy, and Similitude to the things they are brought to illustrate. But our Adversaries must [Page 297] in the mean time pardon us if we be not so fond of their Effeminate, amorous stile, as to introduce it into the Pulpit: For in­deed it savours more of the style of the Grand-Cyrus, Cleopatra, Parthenissa, &c. than any style that the Doctrines of Faith, and Precepts of Morality have been here­tofore delivered in. I will take the liberty for once to say, that their Preaching with an air more brisk and unconcerned, and a countenance more debonair and light­some than becomes those who would work Compunction in others, or recon­cile their Hearers to Mortification, toge­ther with their polisht artificial dress of Words, hardly admitting a Quotation from Scripture for fear of spoyling their Oratory, seem as justly lyable to blame, as the Methods and Modes which they not only censure, but traduce others for.

§ 3. I intend not to discourse of Scrip­ture Rhetorick in General, nor of the va­rious kinds of Figures as well as Tropes that the sacred style is adorned with. This task hath been prosperously undertaken by Glassius, Flac. Illyricus, Alstedius, Westhe­merus, &c. in Latine, and not many years ago Mr. Lukin laid out his endeavours this [Page 298] way in English, not to mention others who have done something in this matter. It is to Metaphors alone that I confine and circumscribe my thoughts, yet I am not without hope, that by explicating of them, Light will be administred to the better Understanding of other Scripture-Tropes. Anciently Tropes were not so throughly distinguished the one from the other, nei­ther were those several Names invented to design them by, nor were the Lines, Measures, Bounds, Cognations, and Habi­tudes of each a part, and to one another, so described and set forth as now they are. And this may serve as an Apology for Aristotle's confounding Synechdoches and Allegories with Metaphors. [...]. Which occasioned Cicero to ob­serve that Aristotle used the Term Meta­phor in a larger acceptation than after-Rhetoricians are wont to take it.Metaphora est de re propria ad non propri­am verbi alicujus usurpata translatio lib. contr. mendacium, cap. 10. Augustine defines a Metaphor to be the traduction of a Word from its proper significati­on [Page 299] to a sense that doth not originally and properly belong to it. Terms thus apply­ed, are called by Hermogenes [...], because inverted and transferred from their proper meaning to a significa­on which doth not primarily belong to them. A Metaphor then, is a Form of speech whereby one thing is put for ano­ther to illustrate it. It is the traduction of a Word from its immediate and pro­per sense, Translatio quae­dam & velut posterior No­minis impositio vel extensio; Ri­vet. Isagog. ad Sacr. Script. cap. 14. p. 213. Cum vox a pro­pria significati­one deflectitur ad alienam propter simili­tudinem. and the extend­ing it to the denotation of some other thing, upon the account of some simili­tude or proportion betwixt the one and the other. It hath this in common with Metonymies, Synechdoches, and Ironies, that in all of them things are mis­named, and words trans­ferred from what they peculiarly denote, to manifest something else. But herein they differ; an Irony is the usurping of a word to an Intention oppo­site to what it seems to imply, and is an [...] or a speaking by Contraries, which may be easily discerned either by [Page 300] the thing it self which is spoken, or by some circumstance or other in the Ora­tion. A Metonymie is the mis-naming of things, or the putting of one thing for ano­ther, when though they have a connexion as Correlates, yet absolutely considered the one is not of the Nature and Essence of the other. Thus the Cause is Fre­quently put for the Effect, and the Effect for the Cause; the Subject for the Adjunct, and the Adjunct for the Subject: The Act or Affection conversant about any Object, for the Object it self, and the Object sometimes for the Act; the Sign for the thing Signified, and the thing Signified for the Sign, &c. A Synechdoche is a Form of speech, where by one thing that is of the Essence of another, or that hath a necessary Connexion with it, is put for that other, to which it hath such a cognation and affinity. Thus the Gender is put for the Species, and the Species for the Gender; The Integral for a Part, and a Part for the Integral; the Species for the Individuum, and the Individuum for the Species, &c. But a Metaphor is the Stiling of one thing by the Name of another; which as they have no necessary connexion absolutely [Page 301] considered, so they stand in no such rela­tion, but that the one may be apprehen­ded without the other; only because of some Similitude or proportion, the one is denominated by the Term which ex­presseth the other, the better to mani­fest and illustrate some property, affection &c. in that other. In every Metaphor three things are carefully to be attended to, the Original, Immediate and proper signification of the Word; the Signifi­cation to which it is transferred and ap­plyed, and the Similitude, Analogy, & Proportion betwixt the things them­selves, in some affection, property, or adjunct, &c. which are denominated by it. For no Term doth otherwise declare and illustrate the things which it is Me­taphorically applyed to denote, but with reference to the thing that it pro­perly imports, and from which be­cause of some congruity it is transfer­red. This is especially observable where one and the same Word is Metaphorically applyed to decipher things of a diverse, opposite, and contrary Nature. For ex­ample, Christ is not only Metaphorically stiled a Lyon, but Tyrants are likewise so denominated, where as Cruelty and [Page 302] Salvageness are the reason of Transfer­ring the Term to the latter, so Fortitude and Victoriousness are the Grounds of ap­plying it to the other. Instances of this kind are numerous, and in the Unfolding and explicating of Metaphors, great So­briety as well as Diligence is to be ob­served, lest mistaking the Quality, Af­fection, Property, Operation, or Ad­junct why any Word is transferred from what it Originally signifies, we misapply and pervert it to intimate something else, which the Holy Ghost never designed and intended. The proportion between the things that are one of them substituted in the room of the other, and as they lye compared in their Indigitation by the same Term, is that which ought mainly to be regarded in our expounding of Meta­phors. In order yet to our better Under­standing the Nature of Metaphors, we must consider what Forms of Speech or Rheto­rical Tropes they have any affinity, ally­ance, or cognation to, and with which nevertheless they are not identical nor co­incident, that so we may state the Mea­sure, Rules, and Bounds of each, with their congruities and incongruities to one another. And the first thing that here [Page 303] offers it self, is the affinity betwixt Meta­phors and naked Assimilations, Simili­tudes and Comparisons, commonly called [...]. Though in every Metaphor there be at least a Similitude presupposed and included; yet every Similitude is not a Metaphor. In a Similitude there is an express comparing of one thing with ano­ther, but so as that the same Name is not imposed on both: Whereas in a Metaphor there is only the transferring the Name of one thing to denote and indicate another, though in the explication of the Metaphor,In similitudine est comparatio unius rei cum altera, in Me­taphora vero una res pro al­tera dicitur. Illyric. de Tro­pis & Schema­tibus. p. 341. the Similitude between the things them­selves, which occasions the adscription of the Name of the one to the other, ought always to be unfolded and declared. This holds in all Simili­tudes as well those that are contracted, abbreviated and envelopt, as those that are expanded and display'd; namely, that there is an express comparison managed betwixt the one and the other. Whether the Particle of Comparison be expressed both in the [...] or in each [Page 304] of the two that are in way of assimilation conferred together; or whether it be lacking in both, (as sometimes it is;) or whether expressed in the one, but wanting in the other; or whether when deficient in the first, supplyed by a Copulative Conjunction in the latter, it turns to the same account, there being still a compa­rison some way or other expressed be­tween them. Nor have Rhetorical Assimilations foundation only in the Predicament of Quality, but in any other whatsoever. The best and most ornate as well as the most usual Similitudes are [...] where one thing is compared with another in some adjunct affection, &c. wherein they resemble one the other, and are like; and where that to which the other is compared, is disposed and put first, and that which is compared to it, is introduced last. Yet there are sometimes Comparisons of one thing with another in dissimili, i. e. in properties and Attributes wherein they differ, whereof divers instances occurr in the Proverbs of Solomon; and such a Comparison is com­monly called [...], and when that which is compared, is put first, and the other to which it is compared, last, it is called [...]. [Page 305] But the Measure already assigned betwixt Metaphors and similitudes obtains univer­sally, Namely that in Metaphors one thing is put for another, but in Similitudes one thing is only compared with another, or likened to it; nor shall I therefore subjoyn any more in this Matter. The next Form of Speech that a Metaphor hath a cognation to, and with which it is by some confound­ed, is a Parable. I do not by a parable here understand any Proverb [...] or Adage, as the Word is used, Luk. 4.13. Nor do I understand by it an [...], or a­ny thing darkly spoken, as [...] is ap­plyed, Math. 15.11, with 15. Much less do I take it for a Type, as it is usurped by the Author of the Epistle to the He­brews, chap. 9.9. and chap. 11.19. but by a Parable, I mean a Symbolick form of Speech, where by a well appropriated Similitude from some feigned story, some Moral Truth or Instruction is insinuated into the Minds of men, to make it the bet­ter apprehended and understood. Now a Metaphor and a Parable are not the same, for all Metaphors are founded in some si­militude or proportion, but Parables may proceed on Adjuncts and Affections that [Page 306] are opposite, if there be a likeness in the Issue and Event; see Luk. 18.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. and Luk. 11.8. to 11. and Luk. 16.1. to 10. In a Metaphor the sense is to be collected from the Words themselves in their Tropical Import, but in Parables the meaning is to be gathered not so much from the words themselves, either in their Tropical or Proper signi­fication, as from the things that are re­lated and alluded to. In a Metaphor there is the mis-naming of one Thing by the Term that indigitates another, but in a Parable there is only the accommodation of one thing according to the intent and scope of the speaker to another. In a word, Parables are nothing else but lengthened, continued, and prolonged Similitudes, wherein somthing is sup­posed and related as done, either to com­mend some Moral Instruction, or to in­sinuate with the more vigor, facility, and delight, some spiritual Truth. And the same Measure which we proposed for the distinguishing between Metaphors and Similitudes, serves to manifest the diffe­rence betwixt them and Parables. Nor shall I add any more with respect to them, [Page 307] save that we are neither in briefer simili­tudes, nor in those that are more drawn out and stiled Parables, to imagine that all things in the [...] or latter part, should exactly answer to all things in the [...] or former part: nor are we in the [...] to regard every minute particular, there being many things interwoven which have no relation to the main scope, but serve only as a Landskip to fill up a Table; but it is the principal strokes that we are to observe, and thereby to accom­modate the design of the first part of the Parable, to illustrate the second. And where this is duely attained, Parables are no less argumentative than plain and ex­press Scripture-Testimonies; nor do they only decipher, illustrate and explain, but demonstrate and prove. Another Form of speech, to which Metaphors have an Ally­ance, is that which we call an Allegory. [...] if we regard the Etymology of the Word is so stiled, because [...], it imports one thing in the signi­fication of the Terms taken absolutely and abstractedly, and intends another as they lye in such a texture, and in a habitude to what precedes and what follows. The Word [...] occuri's no where in Ari­stotle [Page 308] says Gerh. Vossius; & Plutarch tells us that what we call [...] the more anci­ent Writers stiled [...]. A Rhetorical Allegory is nothing but the Continuation of a Trope, viz. of a Metonymie, or a Sy­necdoche, but most frequently of a Meta­phor. Of such Allegories the Scripture is replenished, and forasmuch as no Text hath any more than one determinate sense, otherwise it could have no sense at all, the literal sense of such places is to be derived from the Words in their Figura­tive use, as they are placed in such a tex­ture and habitude, and introduced by the Holy Ghost to such an End. That which looks first forth in an Allegorick Scrip­ture, or what the words import in their immediate and proper signification, is not the literal meaning of it, but the Lite­ral sense is that which ariseth only me­diately from the words, and immedi­ately from the things with their affections, adjuncts and properties, which the words in their original signification do denote. Whatsoever the Words in the scope and design of the Spirit according to their Tropical Import manifest, that and no­thing else is the Literal meaning of such a place. For where the Words of the [Page 309] Text are Tropical and Allegorick, there is no way of assigning any literal sense of them, but with regard and in Analogy to the Trope. They who will allow no other Literal sense of any place, but what the Words in their proper, immediate and original signification imply, may be easily reduced to confess that many Texts have either no Literal sense at all, or else an Absurd, False, or Blasphemous one. Now besides this Rhetorical Allegory, there is another kind of Allegory owned and acknowledged by Divines, and that is, when though the words bear a Proper sense, which ought to be sacredly ob­served in our exposition of them, yet they may be withall translated from their plain & Natural sense to a Spiritual & Mystical one. An instance we have of this, Gal. 4.24, &c. compared with Gen. 16. and Gen. 21. As lkewise 1 Cor. 9.9. com­pared with Deut. 25.4. not to mention more. Now in order to our demeaning our selves wisely in this Matter; we are (1.) to be careful, that the proper and ori­ginal sense of the Words be not neglect­ed. There have been those, and yet are, who will hardly allow any Text of Scrip­ture a Proper sense, but do every where [Page 310] obtrude an Allegorick meaning, as if that alone were intended by the Holy Ghost, and nothing else. But such kind of Ex­positors do in effect little less than under­mine the whole Scripture, betray Reli­gion, and turn the Sacred Oracles into Burlesque. Nor is there any Notion so Romantick which the Scripture by a luxuri­ant phansie may not at this [...]ate be wrested and debauched to give countenance to; yea, a very small measure of Wit will serve to pervert the plainest Scripture-Testimonies to quite another sense than was ever intended by the Writer of them. An Instance of this we have in the Qua­kers, who by turning the whole Scripture into Allusions, have wrested the Reve­lations of the Word to justifie their own wilde Phantasm's, and fram'd the Words of Scripture [...] to their own private Notions, and thereby evacu­ated the sublimest Doctrines, and most Glorious Actions into empty Metaphors and vain Similitudes. Thus the person of Christ is Allegorised into themselves, and the Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Assention of our Saviour are construed af­ter the manner of Aesops, or Philostratus's Fables into useful Morals, as if they were intended [Page 311] only to declare what is to be done in us by way of allusion. But let them, & all such persons of what Communion and per­suasion soever they are, who turn the Gos­pel thus into a Romance, and subvert the Mysteries of Faith, by transforming them in Phantastick Allegories, be treated with the derision and contempt of all who pre­tend to Wisdom and Modesty. (2.) We are not to imagine that every Text of Scripture besides it Proper, Literal, and Original sense, is to have a Spiritual and Mystical one affixed to it. Particularly, neither Moral Precepts, nor Texts re­cording Promises, Comminations, or de­claring Doctrines of Faith, are to be drawn to an Allegorick sense. (3.) It is ne­cessary in our Allegorising of Scripture, that we have a particular regard to the A­nalogy of Faith, and that we press it to give Countenance to no Doctrine or Te­net by way of Allusion, but what hath foundation and warranty in some plain Text else-where. We are not to frame Hypotheses to our selves, that are no where, either [...] in so many Letters and Syllables, nor [...] in the sense and import, in the Bible, and then to Al­legorise the Scripture in proof and confir­mation [Page 312] of them. (4.) There must be a proportion and Similitude between the things themselves, whereof the one is ap­plyed to ground, illustrate, manifest, and support the other. Nor must the Analo­gy be strained and far fetched, but obvi­ous and pertinent. Much less must we superstruct any Doctrine upon Allusions how accomodated soever, unless where the Holy Ghost hath preceded us, as in some cases he hath. Where God him­self hath informed us that though such a passage was originally and principally spo­ken of one thing, that yet he intended to signifie some other thing by it, there we may with safety build, but no where else. Yet I am not without ground to think, that many of those Old Testament Texts which are supposed to be Allegorically ap­plyed in the New, are only alluded to up­on the account of some similitude in the things themselves, and that there was not any antecedent designation of them by the Spirit of God to intimate the things which they are applyed to. For as there are many passages in the Old Testament, which though in their Immediate significa­tion and meaning they relate to Persons, Things and Actions that then were, yet so [Page 313] that those Persons, Things and Actions were solemnly designed, ordained and in­stituted to prefigure Christ and the things belonging to his Kingdom: And as there are many other Things, Actions and E­vents which then were and fell out, re­lated in the Scripture, which have no so­lemn Instituted signification affixed to them, but are to be interpreted in refe­rence to what they primarily declare, yet so as that many of them seem to have had a Providential Ordination to prefigure something that was afterwards to come to pass. So there are many other things related to have fallen out then, which though they neither were in the solemn Institution of God, nor yet in his Provi­dential Ordination designed to prefigure any thing referring to the Kingdom of Christ, are yet meet to illustrate things and events now, because of an Analogy and Similitude between what then was, and what now is. Nor is the applying of a Text to things, Actions, and Events which have some Similitude with those it originally referred to, to be reckoned for an Allegorising of Scripture, being on­ly an accommodation of it to our Instructi­on. The Old Testament-Church is pro­posed [Page 314] in matter of Obedience and Re­wards, Sins and Punishments, as a [...] or example to us, 1 Cor. 10.6, 11. and therefore what befell them, may without the hazard of Allegorising the Scripture be accommodated and applyed to illustrate present events. And indeed the Holy Ghost hath besides General Rules, such as that Rom. 15.3. left us particular Instances of accommodating Scripture-Texts, Passages and Phrases to Things and E­vents which they neither were in a Pro­per nor Mystical sense designed Origi­nally to signifie. See among many o­thers Matth. 15.8. compared with Isa. 29.13. Matth. 13.14, 15. com­pared Isa. 6.9, 10. Rev. 11.4. com­pared with Zach. 4.3, 11, 12, 13, 14. Nor in this the affixing any new sense to the Words, but the applying and ac­comoding their sense to Doctrine, Re­proof, Correction, & Instruction in Righte­ousness.

§. 4. Having declared the Nature of Metaphors, and the difference be­tween them and other Schem's and Forms of speech with which they seem [Page 315] to have some Cognation and Affinity: we are next to inquire into the frequent usage of Metaphors in the scripture, with the reasons and grounds of it. Metaphors whether founded [...] ▪ in a bare and single Similitude, where one thing is mis­named by another, because of their agreement in some one adjunct, affection or property; or [...] where there is a correspondency between plurality of things in an Analogy of Adjuncts & Pro­perties, are of frequent usurpation in the sacred Scripture, as well as in Prophane Authors. They are too many to be re­counted, the Bible being every where adorned and bespangled with them. Un­der Metaphors are comprehended [...] in which Humane Parts, Mem­bers, Affections, Actions, and such things as belong to men, are ascribed to God. In such forms of Speech God by a [...] or Condescension declares the Infinite Properties of his Nature, his Everlasting Counsels, with the Mysteries of his Providence, in Terms adapted to our capacities. [...], he deciphers what himself is, and doth, by things that fall under our Apprehension. And what is thus said of God [...] and [...] after the [Page 316] manner of men, must be understood of him [...] in a way suitable to the divine Nature and Majesty. In most Anthro­popathies besides a Metaphor there is also a Metonymie. For as to attribute Members to God who hath [...] an Immaterial and Incorporeal Nature, and to ascribe Passions either [...] or [...] Irascible or Concupisci­ble to him who is [...] desiring nothing for supply, being Infinitely full, nor lyable to any Commotion or Perturbation, being Holy and Unchangeable, must necessarily imply a Metaphor: So Hands and Arms being attributed to God to im­port Power and Strength; Eyes his exact Knowledg and exact watchfull Providence; Repentance a change only in his Provi­dential dispensations; Fear his care in pre­venting the destruction of his people, &c. in­clude an easie a Metonymie. God in the Re­velation of his mind to us in the Scripture, hath made use of Metaphors drawn from all the Phaenomena of the Creation, and from all the several properties and ope­rations of the several species of Crea­tures. There is not that kind of Meta­phor in Rhetorick, whereof we have not some example or other in the sacred Writ. The Reasons why he who doth [Page 317] all things according to Infinite Sapience, hath in the declaration of himself and Will to the Sons of Men so frequently adopted Metaphorical Terms to ma­nifest them in and by, are Various. I shall only mention such as are most obvious, and which lye with­in the line of every ordinary mans perception. (1.) He doth it to In­form us how the Material World, and the Invisible do correspond together in Analogies and proportions, with respect to the Nature and properties of the things contained in the one and the o­ther. Not only the Jewish Rabbies have a saying that the Works of the Out­ward Creation carry in them the Image or resemblance of the Inward; but the Pla­tonists say, That God hath set the same Seal or Stamp upon different matters, i. e. he hath fram'd and contrived the Terrene World with a kind of subservient con­formity to the World of Invisible things. [...] sensible forms are Images of Intellectual things, was a Pythagorean Maxim, upon which they founded their Symbolick mode of Philosophising. The several Crea­tures are so many Looking-glasses where God hath communicated and scattered [Page 318] some resemblances of himself, and Invi­sible Things, and Metaphors are [...] the Academy where Nature strips and unvails her self. By Converse with, and knowledge of the Natures and Properties of sensible things, we are the better inabled to con­ceive and apprehend spiritual things, when apparelled in earthly resemblan­ces. (2.) May be God in his frequent usage of Metaphorick Terms, intended it in part, as an accommodation of him­self to the Custom and Mode of the Jewish and other Oriental Nations; who in making known their conceptions of things one to another, were much ad­dicted to a Symbolick way. Though the Bible was written so, as that no Person of whatever Nation or Age, might be debarred the Understanding of it; yet in its texture and stile, there was a regard primarily had to those, to whom the several parts of it were first addressed. Now it is beyond all con­tradiction that their usual Mode of Dis­course was Abrupt, Figurative, and Symbolick; and therefore if more Me­taphors should appear to occurr in the Scripture than do well agree with Western Eloquence, (though indeed it [Page 319] be otherwise) yet they might excel­lently suit the Genious of those Ages it was written for, and the people it was first directed to, and designed to work upon. That the Eastern Nations not only heretofore had [...] a Symbolick way of teaching, but that even to this day, those of them who affect to speak more learnedly and gen­tilely than others, do chuse to express themselves in a Parabolick, Metapho­rick way, carry's so much self-evidence that it need not be proved. The Egyp­tian Hieroglyphicks which were one of the most ancient Methods of expressing, things, were nothing else but a shadow­ing forth their Sacred Mysteries and Philosophical contemplations by Earth­ly Images and sensible Forms. The ve­ry Origination of the Word [...] i. e. from Sacred Sculpture, inti­mates that a Hieroglyphick was no­thing but a Symbol of a Sacred thing engraven on a stone. Nor stood the Egyptian Hieroglyphicks for ba [...]e Let­ters or single Words, but somtimes for entire sentences and compleat dis­courses. Yea, there is not any thing more certain than that both the [...] Manners and Passions of men [Page 320] were figured and shadowed forth by the shapes of Animals and other Creatures. Now as Aristotle says [...], A Metaphor is the Image or Shadow of a thing: For therefore is one thing Meta­phorically misnam'd by another, be­cause there is some resemblance, propor­tion, or parallel between them in some property, Adjunct, or the like. Now this consideration is the more worthy of our notice in that though the Holy Ghost inspired the Sacred Amanuenses as well with respect to words as matter, yet the words that he suggested to them, were such as they had a familiarity with, and to which they were accustom­ed. (3.) A third and main Reason of the Scriptures being so replenished with Metaphorical expressions is this; name­ly, that Objects which lye remote from our Understandings (as all Spiritual Ob­jects do) may, by being represented un­der some obvious and sensible Image, be the better attempered to our Minds to contemplate, and rendred the more fa­cile to our Understandings to conceive. I grant that [...],Arist. Every thing spoken Metaphorically, is spoken obscure­ly, with respect to expressing the Na­ture [Page 321] of things. And accordingly in as­signing the Definitions of things, Me­taphorical Terms are to be avoided, be­cause as Aristotle says, they do not de­clare [...], what a thing is, but only what it is like to. When any thing is manifested by a Metaphor, the thing it self is not fully expressed, but only some similitude betwixt it and ano­ther. But yet on the other hand [...], A Me­taphor carries along in it somthing of per­spicuity and sweetness, as well as it imports something that is strange. It renders things clear [...], i. e. by a resem­blance taken from some sensible and common thing, it accommodates them to our Senses, and gives some umbrage and shadow of them, though as to the full manifesting their Nature [...] to our Reasons it falls short. Now as there is not any thing relating to Do­ctrine or Manners delivered in the Scripture Metaphori­cally,Nihil est ob­scure dictum in Scripturis quod spectet ad Doctrinam, vel Mores, quod non pla­nissime dictam sit in alijs locis. Augustin. lib. 2. de Doctr. Christ. cap. 6 & 9. which is not some­where [Page 322] or other, either explicitely, or im­plicitely expressed in Terms that are proper, (one place being a key to the unlocking another): So neither doth the Scripture use Metaphorical Terms to manifest so much the Existence and Nature of things simply consi­dered, as to illustrate the Mode of their Existence, and the manner of their operations. The deep things of God do so far over-match our Reasons and Understandings, that in order to their being expressed to our Capacities, they are forced to be cloathed with as much external sensibility as may be; that so the disproportion between them and our faculties, being qualified and reduced, we may the better and more familiarly converse with them. Where things are of a sublime Nature, and such as neither words are able to express unto perfection, nor we capable of framing commensurate Notions of them, Logical and Meta­physicall Terms are of all others, the most inept to declare them in; nor are there any so accommodated to display and unvail them, as Metaphorical expressions, wherein by variety of re­semblances, they are brought down to our [Page 323] Reasons, which they could not have been, had they been discoursed of in proper Terms, or in a dialect fully answering their Nature. For men to discourse in Metaphorical Terms of things, whose Na­ture and Properties they are wholly igno­rant of, is plainly to trifle, seeing while we know not the true ideas of things, we can only imagine some resemblances in o­ther things to them; but whether they do really resemble them or not, 'tis impossible that we should be able to tell. But while 'tis only the sublimity of the Subject dis­coursed of, its remoteness from the Un­derstandings of men, & the Insufficiency of proper Terms adequately to declare it, and not ignorance of, and unacquainted­ness with the subject it self, that occasions Gods usage of Metaphors, they are not only justifiable, but the Wisdom and Compassion of God in condescending thus to accommodate himself to us in the Re­velation of his Counsels and Will, doth call for the highest thankfulness and ado­ration. For as we are more affected when the things of God are brought down to us, under sensible representations, so likewise the things themselves become more intelligible. And as this Method [Page 324] of manifesting Divine things is not with­out its Use, even in reference to those Doctrines that lye in a greater approxima­tion, and are more exposed unto our Un­derstandings and Capacities, so especially 'tis of eminent advantage to us in Rela­tion to those Things that are Sublime and Mysterious, and which exceed our com­prehension. He is little acquainted with Scripture, who doth not know that there are many Things & Truths in it, which are [...],Justin Martyr. Beyond all expression, con­ception, and comprehension, and which have therefore a peculiar Character and Mark affixed on them of being deep and mysterious. Now though the declaration of these in the Word be ne­ver so plain and perspicuous, yet the Things themselves, through the quality of their Nature, do remain hidden and ob­scure, and beyond what our weak Under­standings can duely conceive, or frame adequate Notions of; nor can there be a better Method and course steer­ed in relieving and assisting our minds in the Apprehension of them, than [...], to illustrate them by [Page 325] things sensible, and of ocular know­ledg.

Horat.
Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures,
Quam quae sunt oculis sub­jecta fidelibus, & quae
Ipse sibi tradit spectator.—

(4.) The Scripture being intended for the benefit of the Illiterate as well as the Learned, it was necessary that it should be written in such a familiar Method as that in things necessary for all to believe and understand, it might suit and befit e­ven those of Vulgar and Common Capa­cities. 'Tis the fault of some men that they look upon their own & Abilities Un­derstandings, as the Measure that should regulate all discourses; and whatsoe­ver is not adapted to their apprehension, they thereupon arraign and find fault with; if they be above it, they condemn it for Obscure and Unintelligible; if below it, for trifling, flat, and trivial. It being no small part of Discretion in an or­dinary Authour to accommodate himself to the Capacities of all to whom he speaks or writes, and not to oblige him­self [Page 326] meerly to suit and please the Sons of Art; how much more doth it become the Wisdom of God, that seeing he designed the Scripture for the Universal Instruction of Mankind, so to adapt and dispose the phraseology of it, as that all might be e­difyed by it? Now in reference to the Vulgus, who scarce understand any thing but in proportion to their senses, and in de­pendence on Material Phantasms, what Method can be more likely to affect their Minds with, and raise them unto Spiritual things, than to have them proposed un­der the Names, and illustrated by the properties and operations of those things, with whose Natures and Affections they are so well acquainted. Much of every mans Knowledg begins at his Senses, and Reason inoculates and superstructs upon them: especially they of weaker Intel­lects need the relief of sensible Adumbra­tions in the conduct of their Minds to Spi­ritual and Heavenly things. Accordingly therefore hath God disposed the Revelati­on of the Counsels of his Will in the Scripture, yet with that provision and caution, that by a very ordinary atten­dance and care, we may see Spiritual things to be intended and designed, and that our [Page 327] are not to be arrested by those sensible re­presentations. Hence we have not only a wonderful Variation g [...]ven to one and the same proposition, and the same thing ma­nifested and inculcated under different Forms of speech; but besides in those very places where the Deep Things of God are most brought down to our senses, there is enough either in the Nature of the Thing spoken of, or in the scope of the Speaker, or in the Context, to assure us that there is only a Metaphor, Similitude, or Allegory in the expression. For indeed, there can be no Corporeal Images of Spi­ritual Things, only by considering the pro­perties and affections, &c. of things Material to which they are compared, we are guided the better to understand and know their Spiritual Nature.

§. 5. Having unfolded the Nature of Metaphors, and enquired into the Reasons of the frequent usage of Meta­phorical Terms in the Scripture, we are next to state, when an expression is to be accounted Metaphorical, that so we may neither mistake proper expressions for Figurative, nor substitute a Figure where there is none. We have already inti­mated [Page 328] § 2. that 'tis the humour of some, in order to serving a design, and ministring to an Hypothesis, to transform the plainest Truths into Meta­phors, and thereby to pervert the Scrip­ture from its true sense, to a befriending their prepossessions & prejudices. Allow but men the liberty of supposing Meta­phors, where their lusts and forestall­ments influence them to such Imagi­nations; & there is not that Gospel-Truth wh [...]ch may not be supplanted, notwith­standing the plainest testimony given to it in the Bible. If men may be per­mitted to forsake the Natural and Genu­ine sense of words, where the Matter is capable of it, they may notwithstanding their declaring themselves to believe the Gospel, yet believe nothing at all of the Christian Faith. Two things therefore are carefully to be attended to in the Inter­pretation of Scripture. (1.) That we im­pose not a proper sense where the words ought to be taken in a Tropical, Figura­tive, Metaphorick, or Allegorick one. Nu­merous Instances may be assigned how the Scripture hath been perverted from its true Intendment, by the usurping words in a proper sense, where a Meta­phorical, [Page 329] or Allegorick ought only to be allowed. Thus the Anthropomor­phites of old, and some Socinians of late (for all of them have not thought so con­temptibly of the Deity) by taking those texts, which attribute Humane Members to God, in a proper sense, have fancied him to be Corporeal, & have ascribed a Mate­rial, Humane shape to Him; whereas the meaning of such places is only to affirm those perfections of God which such Members in us are the Instruments of. Corporeity is repugnant to the Divine Nature, inconsistent with the Common Notions of mankind concerning Him, and contradictious to what the Scripture in other places reveales of his Essence and perfections; so that the Attributing Bodily Members to him, must be con­strued as so many Metaphors declaring only such Attributes and Operations to belong to Him, as those Organs and Members in us denote, and are the ap­paratus and instruments of. Thus also the Jews writing the precepts of the Law on their Frontlets and Phylacteries, took its rise from affixing a proper meaning to Exodus 13.16. & Deut 6.8. whereas indeed the words are Metaphorical, & do [Page 330] only intimate that they were to have the Law in Continual remembrance. Not but that I acknowledg locks or fringes fastned to the skirts of their Gar­ments,See Numb. 15.38, 39.40. Deut. 22.12. as a badg of that Subjection and Reve­rence they were to abide in towards God and his Law, and that they were not to wander after false worship, to have been enjoyned them; but that the Ten Commandments or any thing else were to be written upon them, I read not; and do Apprehend that Custom to have derived its Original from the mistake already suggested. In like manner their Imagining, Isa 19.18, 19, 20. to be intended in a proper sense, gave occasion to Onias's building a Tem­ple resembling that of Hierusalem, in E­gypt, at least was pleaded in justification of it: Whereas the import of the place, is only to declare the Gentiles admission in­to the Church, and that they were to have a share in the Spiritual Blessings of the Gospel, which the Prophet predicts and describes in Terms and Phrases, adapted to the O. T. Oeconomy and dispensation. I may here add, that all the Jewish mis­takes, in reference to the Messiah, as if he [Page 331] to be a Triumphant King, subduing the Earth by the terrour of his Legions, and to confer [...] on them all Terrene Pomp & Mag­nificence, &c. did arise principally from obtruding a proper sense upon some of those Prophesies which relate to the King­dom of the Messiah, whereas in Truth their Phraseology is wholly Metaphorick; God chusing by words which properly de­note and import Things Terrene and Temporal to instruct us concerning the Spiritual Benefits that we should be made partakers of, by, and through the Messiah. The imposing a proper sense upon words which Christ intended only in a Metaphorical, gave rise to one of the Articles of Indictment which the Scribes and Pharisees preferred against him: see Joh. 2.19, compared with Mark 14.58. Tis true, they withall altered his words; for whereas Christ had only said, Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up; The false witnesses deposed that they heard him say, I will destroy this Temple, &c. but yet their main prevarication, and that without which the other altera­tion could have no wayes served their de­sign, was their construing his words in a proper sense, as referring to the Temple [Page 332] at Jerusalem; whereas he designed them only in a Metaphorical, to denote his Body.Vid. Bellar­min. de Mo­nach. lib. 2. cap. 20. In like manner, Math. 5.3. is not only produced by the Papists in proof of the voluntary Poverty of some of their Monasticks, but was scoffingly applyed by Julian to justify his robbing and pil­laging the Christians, meerly through wresting that to a proper sense, which Christ intended in a Metaphorick, as the [...], in the very Text doth plainly declare. Through the like perverting of the 1 Cor. 3▪ 12, 13. to a li­teral and proper sense, do the Romanists endeavour to justify a future Purgatory; whereas the words are plainly Metaphorical,In comment ad cap. 4. Amos. de­noting either Afflictions as Hierom thinks, or the Word of God (that [...], that I may use Basils phrase) as Calvin and others judge. What Origen practiced on himself through imposing a literal sense on Math. 19.12. may be seen in Euse­bius, Hist. Eccles. lib. 6. cap. 7. whereas the words do manifestly contain a Metaphor with an Hyperbole. It were easy [Page 333] to produce many other Texts of Scrip­ture, which even men of great Name, and justly reverenced some of them for Antiquity, others for their Learning, have through their too much relyance on the Immediate & Proper sense of the words, perverted to a far other meaning, than ever the Holy Ghost intended in them. (2.) No less care is required, that we do not fancy a Metaphor where the words will bear a proper and Immediate signi­fication. Non aliter a propria significa­catione recedi oportet, quam si manifestissi­mum sit, aliud testatorem sensisse; We are not to forsake the Genuine and Natural sig­nification of Words, unless there be the highest evidence that the Author did other­wise intend them, saith the Civil Law. And as Austin says, semper verborum proprietas servanda est, nisi quaedam ingens ratio tropum suade­at: De Doctr. Christi. cap. 10. The proper significa­tion of words is always to be retained, unless necessi­ty enforce us to expound them otherwise. Every Scripture expression, Word, and Phrase is to be taken properly, and accor­ding to its Original and immediate mean­ing, if nothing of absurdity, nothing [Page 334] repugnant to Faith, or disagreeable to the Common Notices of mankind, arise or ensue upon such an acceptation. There is no bounding of a roving fancy which love's to sport it self with the Idea's and Phantasms it self hath raised, without confi­ning our selves within the foresaid limits. There are three rules, by which we are to govern our selves in determining con­cerning the Words of Scripture, whether they are to be taken Tropically, or only properly. (1.) The 1st, respects the sub­ject-Matter, and scope of the Speaker.De pudici­tia. For as Tertullian says, Ex materia dirigendus est sermo, The Import of Words is to be judged of by their habitude to the Matter treated of. When the affix­ing a literal sense to any Text of Scrip­ture, will either lodg the imputa­tion of impertinency upon the Author, or argue him deficient in not pursuing or reaching his scope and design; it becomes us then to have recourse to a Tropical. The same words are not alwayes capable of the same sense, but answerably to the subject Matter they are used about, they do not only sometimes admit a larger, and sometimes require a stricter accep­tation, [Page 335] but in one place are to be taken properly, and in another not. The Im­port of a word in one place, is not enough to define its Import in another, unless all things can be supposed parallel. How wretchedly, and irrationally do the Soci­nians impose a Metaphorick sense upon the Scripture-expressions of Christs dying for us, Redeeming us, Reconciling us by his Blood, bearing our Iniquities, being made sin, and a Curse for us; because some of these phrases upon other occa­sions, and where the Subject matter leads to it, are used Metaphorically. If there occurr any Media alledged by the Divine writers, which considered abstractedly, and in themselves seem not very cogent or Pungent, nor throughly proportioned, to the Scope and End they are brought for; we are to remember that in such reasonings they argued a concessis from principles confessed & acknowledg­ed by those they had to do with. Nor are any proofs held more convincing in rela­tion to persons discoursed with, than what are drawn from their own principles and opinions. And in such cases, though the Concessions should be lubricous and unsolid, yet the Ratiocinations from [Page 336] them, are not so. Tis enough in Ar­gumentis ad hominem, as Logicians call them, that the Principles and concessions of Adversaries be duely applied, but the Truth or Falsity of them the dis­courser is not concerned in. (2.) A se­cond Rule, by which we may determine whether a Text of Scripture ought to be interpreted in a proper sense, or only in a Metaphorick, is by observing the Congruity or Incongruity, which through imposing a proper sense upon it, it would have with other Scriptures. He that Pro­phesieth i. e. interpreteth Scripture, must do it saith the Apostle, [...], according to the proportion of Faith. Rom. 12.6. [...] Analogy according to Phavorinus is [...], is the proportion of one thing to another. There is an excellent Harmony in the system of the Bible, and therefore one place is so to be interpreted, as to main­tain a consistency with other places. I know that the [...] is apprehend­ed by some to refer to the [...] v. 3. Namely, that they who were enrich­ed with the Extraordinary Gift of Inter­pretation, should use their gift according to that measure and proportion which [Page 337] They had of it. Which Exposition, as I will not take upon me to gain say, much less to censure; so I know nothing to the contrary why that which I have sug­gested may not be admitted. If the pro­per and immediate signification of words cannot without supplanting Doctrines elsewhere plainly revealed, be retained; A Metaphor or some other Trope must be acknowledged to lye in them. For the several Amanuenses of the Scripture had their pens guided by one omniscient Hand, they being the several secretaries of one infallible Enditer, and by consequence, the Scripture must in all things be con­sistent with it self, nor must any sense be imposed on one part of it, that riseth up in contradiction to the meaning of a­nother. (3) A Third means of discerning whether a portion of Scripture is to be construed in a proper sense, or only in a metaphorick, is by observing the consi­stence or inconsistence of a proper sense with principles of natural Light, and first maximes of Reason. Though the Scrip­ture was not principally written to instruct us in Philosophy, nor to teach us the es­sences and properties of natural things, yet there is not any thing in it, that con­tradicts [Page 338] any true principles of Philoso­phy, or that is repugnant to what we tru­ly know of the nature and affections of things by the light of Reason. God be­ing the Author of both Lights, there needs not the accommodation of what we know by the one, to what we under­stand by the other. Verity requires no wresting nor glossing to harmonise with Verity. For as Aristotle says [...]. Truth is always at peace with Truth, be they of what nature or kind soever. Therefore where the im­posing a proper sense upon any Scripture Words or Phrases, will obtrude upon us any Dogme or practice repugnant to the Rational Faculty that [...], or to principles of natural Light, there we are to substitute a tropical one. Forasmuch then as the interpreting those Texts of Scripture to a proper sense, which attribute Eyes, Hands, Feet, &c. To God, were to superstruct a Doct­rine upon the Foundation of the Pro­phets and Apostles that is repugnant to the common notices which we have by the light of Reason of the nature of God, therefore all such phrases must be ac­knowledged to be metaphorical. The like judgment is to be made of all those [Page 339] Scriptures, wherein the names and af­fections of brute Beasts are attributed to Men, the things immediately and origi­nally signified by those words and names lying in a direct contradiction to rational Natures. Upon the same account must that phrase, Mat. 8.28. Let the Dead bury the Dead, be acknowledged to contain as an [...] in the entire propositi­on, so a metaphor in the first Term Dead. There are innumerable Instan­ces more of this Nature, namely, where we are compelled to recurr to a Meta­phorick sense, upon the account of the inconsistency of a proper one with prin­ciples of Philosophy and Maximes of Reason. Now as these are the lights and measures of discerning when a Scrip­ture is to be interpreted in a proper sense, and when not (for whatever Rules besides are assigned to this purpose, they may be reduced to one of these) so I know none more regardful of them, in the sensing and expounding of Scripture, than those stiled Nonconformists are. And should any of them be found to transgress in this matter, it ought to be ascribed to the ig­norance & vanity of the particular persons that are herein criminal; nor is the Party [Page 340] answer for it, as being no ways concerned, seeing the common Principles upon which they are led to dissent from the present establishment of the Church of England in its Ceremonies and Discipline, have not the least influence upon them in this affair. Were our adversaries impartial in their censures, the excess and exorbi­tancy in this particular will be found to lye among themselves. For if any be guilty of introducing a Mystick Theology out of Plato and Proclus, and of Allegori­sing the Scripture according to a preten­ded Cabala, they are the men. Nor do any else that I know of, make such Phan­tastical applications of Scripture to pur­poses distant from its own, as those who stile themselves sons of the Church of England, do. But indeed 'tis not truth nor zeal for God, but malice and interest that sway's some men in their discourses and Writings. The Non-conformists are the persons against whom they are pre­judiced, and of whom they never think but with forestalled Judgments, or Bias­sed Passions, and therefore they only must be loaded, both by wresting the most innocent passages in their Writings to a perverse sense and meaning, and by trans­ferring [Page 341] & imputing to them the Fooleries of others, with every thing else that may render them contemptible.

§ 6. That there are many Figures in Scripture, and that many things are spoken in Metaphorical Terms in condescension and accommodation to our Capacities, & that there are certain Measures by which we may distinguish between things Meta­phorically and Properly spoken, hath been already declared. The next enquiry is, by what means we may attain the true con­ceptions that are lock't up under Meta­phors? There are no Schem's of speech that are more liable to be mistaken and wrested to a perverse sense than Meta­phors are. The instances in which one thing may resemble another are so many, and the power of Imagination so great, that in nothing may a man sooner preva­ricate, than in expounding Metaphorical Terms and Phrases. The consideration therefore as well of this, as that, the Non-Con-formists are particularly arraigned of abusing Scripture expressions, not only without but incontradiction to their sense ▪ and of prating in Scripture Forms of speech without having any Notion of the things they signify, hath prevailed with me to dis­course [Page 342] this more particularly. I take at present for granted, that every Scripture-Proposition whether the Terms of it be Figurative or Proper, hath a certain and determinate sense which it is designed and adapted to convey to us. Every expression in the Bible as well Allegorical and Me­taphorick, as Proper, is every way apt to instruct us in the case that 'tis made use of. Nor needs there any other proof of this, but what is levyed from the Wisdome and Goodness of God, his End in all the Forms that he speaks to us in being to teach and inform us. I also suppose it beyond all suspect and debate (at least a­mong persons that are not wild and Phran­tick) that where the Terms are Metaphori­cal,Omnes enim Fi­gurae, certà ratio­ne ad proprium sensum tendunt, eum (que) explicant. Flac. Illyric. de ra­tione cognoscendi S. literas. Tract. 1. Col. 30. yet the Truths ex­pressed by them are Real. 'Tis a high blas­phemy against the Spi­rit of God, to imagine the Scripture a meer dress of words em­ploy'd about nothing. As every Scripture-Phrase is intended to manifest somthing that is true and real, so for the most part the noblest and most [Page 343] sublime Truths lye under Metaphorick expressions. Metaphors are not used to im­pregnate our Minds with gawdy Phan­tasms, but to adjust the Mysteries of Re­ligion to the weakness of our Capacities.Chap. 1. §. 10. I Shall not here repeat what I have else­where p [...]oved, namely, that every Text of Scripture hath a Literal sense. For as that is the literal sense of a place, where words are used proper­ly, which flows from their Natural and Immediate signification, so the Literal sense, where words are imploy'd Tropi­cally, is that which ariseth from their Fi­gurative acceptations. I also suppose it universally acknowledged, at least in Words, though too many depart from it in effect, that we ought to conform our opinions and expositions to the sense of the Scripture, and not wrest Scripture-Words to them. We are not to frame to our selves Idea's of Religi­on,Optimus Lector est qui dictorum intelligentiam ex­pectat ex dictis po­tius quam imponat; & retulerit potius quam at­tulerit; ne (que) rogat id videri dictis contineri, quod ante lectionem praesumpserit intelligendum. Hilar. lib. de Trinit. and then to accom­modate the Scripture to their defence and pa­tronage. [Page 344] This is to teach God what he should have said, not to learn what he hath. I shall only further Subjoin in way of Premise, that in unfolding a Metaphor, our Terms ought to be proper and not Metaphorical. I readily grant, that it is of great advantage towards the enlightning our minds in the sense of a Metaphorical Scripture, to consult other Scripture passages where the same Terms are Me­taphorically used, especially where all things are parallel, but still the meaning of the Metaphor is to be ultimately de­clared in Words that are Proper. For Me­taphors properly signifying one thing, and being applyed to, signify another only be­cause of some resemblance, we are there­fore in our sensing of Metaphors to remove the Metaphorical Term,Oportet interpre­tem pro tropica vo­ce aliam propriam adhibita solida de­monstratione verbi Dei substituere. Il­lyric. and to substitute in its room that word which Properly signifies the thing, whereof we con­ceive the former to have been only a Figure. To paraphrase Metaphors in Metaphorick terms, is in­stead of making them Intelligible, to con­tinue them dark and Mysterious. For as [Page 345] we are not to terminate in the [...] and Images themselves, but to penetrate into the things couched under, and represented by them, so much less is a [...] a Mimetick Phancy in our commenting on them to be indulged. In a word, it is the work of a Judicious Interpreter to bring forth and declare the scope and mat­ter of all such Phrases in the most plain and easy expressions. Now in order to the arriving at true notions & conceptions of those divine and Spiritual things which are lock't up under Metaphorick Terms, we ought (1) in some considerable degree to understand the Nature and properties of the things, from which the Metaphor is taken. For Metaphorick Terms sig­nifying one thing, and being only applyed to shadow forth another by reason of some resemblance between them, we are wholly inept to declare the Heavenly Truth, that such Forms of Speech are adapted, & have a tendency to instruct us in, while we remain ignorant of the things which those Words originally and immediately import. And seeing the Scripture expresseth somewhat of Religion by all the parts of the Creation, [Page 346] by the Imployments & very utensils of Hu­mane life,Scriptura dum versatur praecipue circa ea quae gratiā & gloriam eter­nam spectāt, cogni­tionem omnem Phi­losophicam sibi sub­sternit, è (que) rerum naturis tantum sibi sumit quantum sibi opus est ad fabri­candum speculum per quod divina oculis nostris qua­dantenus represen­tantur. Rivet. Isa. ad S. Script. cap. 5. p. 47. and by the usages and customs of Mankind: Metaphors are not a subject for any undertaker to exercise upon, who hath not more than a tincture of knowledg in all those. Though to understand the Bible well, be e­nough to promote Faith and Good life, yet to understand some pas­sages of it well, a great many other things must be first under­stood. It cannot otherwise be, but that to persons ignorant of natural Philosophy, Agriculture, &c. as well as unacquainted with the customes and usages of the Oriental Nations, many Texts will seem obscure which are not at all so to such as are imbued with true Ideas of the Natures and properties of things, and enriched with a knowledge of Arts and the Cu­stomes of the World. A luxurious Fancy will be apt to frame very wild and [Page 347] absurd Notions out of Metaphors, if the Understanding be not furnished with a knowledg of the qualities, operations, and use of those things from which they are drawn. A familiarity therefore with the works of God, as it will oblige us humbly to adore the Mysteries of the Word which we cannot fathom, through finding our selves non-plus't in the most obvious phaenomena of Nature, so it will exceedingly contribute to our understan­ding many passages in Scr [...]pture, of which we must otherwise either continue wholly ignorant, or judg of them accor­ding to the suggestions of Imagination. I may add, that when a word or Term is borrowed from any Art, Science, or Disci­pline, and metaphorically applied to illu­strate some mystery of Faith, or the mode of its Existence, the genius and value of the word with respect to its usage in the Discipline whence it is transferred, is carefully to be observed. How expedi­ent and necessary upon this account an acquaintance with the civil-Law is, in or­der to the fixing the importance of di­vers Scripture-phrases, such as Adoption, Surety, Earnest, &c. were easie to De­monstrate. 2. There being diverse Me­taphorical [Page 348] expressions in the Scripture, the meaning of which is not to be arrived at by meer recourse to the immediate sig­nification of the words and Terms, as bearing rather upon the things which the Eastern Nations in their symbolical re­presentation of matters applied them to; It will therefore be needful to know the meaning of many of the Oriental Sym­bols, and what things and events, be­cause of some similitude between the Symbols themselves and the things and events they stood for, they represented by them. For as there are many Pro­phetick passages both in the old and new Testament, which are not strictly Meta­phorick, that cannot otherwise be un­derstood; So there are many Meta­phorick expressions in the Scripture, of whose meaning we can have no assurance, but by knowing something of the use and import of the Symbols of the Ancients. (3) The same Terms, according as they are metaphorically applyed to different subjects, importing often different things, their signification must be stated by con­sidering the subject they are applyed to. Through the different Affections, Proper­ties, Adjuncts, and Effects that apper­tain [Page 349] to things which Words originally and properly manifest and denote, it fre­quently falls out that things hugely oppo­site are resembled to them, and stiled by their Names. Now in this case the quality of the Subject Metaphorically de­noted by such a Term, can alone deter­mine the resemblance which intercede's between the thing originally and imme­diately signified, and the thing to which it is Tropically applyed. I should be too tedious, did I undertake to enumerate the several Words that with respect to the various properties or effects of the things which they properly signifie, are appli­ed metaphorically, to represent not on­ly things different but opposite, some of them in a good sense in Analogy to one property or effect, and others in an evil in Analogy to another. (4) Great care is required, that when diverse properties and affections of things Originally signi­fied by Terms and Words, may without injury to Truth be in Way of similitude applyed to the Things which those Terms are Metaphorically brought to illustrate, that the comparison and Resemblance be not carried beyond what the Holy Ghost doth there peculiarly design. We ought [Page 350] not only to take heed that we hurry not a Metaphor beyond the precincts of Truth, but that we drive it not beyond the limits which the place where it is used, and the end of the Speaker, confine it to. 'Tis not enough that we do not trespass against the Analogy of Faith in the application of a Metaphor, but it is also requisite that we exceed not the Intention of the sacred Writer in that very place. There is in all Metaphorical expressions some one Pro­perty, Affection, Operation or other wherein the proportion and resemblance between the things immediately signified by the Words, and the things which they are brought to manifest and illustrate, doth peculiarly consist, and this the nature of the Discourse, the Context and speakers scope must determine us in. Want of due attendance to this, may occasion a prevaricating from the sense of the place, where yet there may be an Harmony maintained in reference to the universal System of the Scripture. A failure in this if in any thing relating to the subject be­fore us, is that which hath ministred oc­casion for the clamours of partial and angry men. But that others besides some of the Non-Conformists are guilty of it, were easy to set beyond all exception, [Page 351] did I love to expose the Wisdom and dis­cretion of any, as some do. Yea, 'tis not so easy to fasten a just imputation upon any in this matter as some are prone to ima­gine. For besides that fecundity of sense which lieth in all Scripture Words, There are none more pregnant with a vastness of meaning, than Metaphorical Terms are. This at least must be allowed, that wheresoever the re­semblance of one thing to another is represen­ted under a Metapho­rick word or expressi­on,Laconismus scrip­turae maxime cerni­tur in vocibus me­taphoricis quae non raro ingentem re­rum copiam com­plectuntur. Glass. Philolog. Sacr. lib. 1. Tract. 3. Sect. 6. § 2. that all the particu­lars which stand in A­nalogy with that ex­pression, and any ways serve to make out the comparison and simili­tude, ought to be included. Nor do I once question but that this alone will go a great length in relieving the Non-Con­formists from the imputation charged up­on them in reference to their exposition of Scripture-Metaphors. (5) When the sense of a Metaphor in this or that place lies enveloped and obscure, 'tis of great ad­vantage to consider the import of the [Page 352] Metaphor as it occurs in other parts of Scripture, where the Tenor of the Dis­course, and the context render the mean­ing of it more plain and obvious. When a phrase stands encircled with darkness in one place, we are then to see what light can be borrowed from the usage of it in some other place (supposing all things to be parallel) where the tendency of it is more apparent. God hath so tempe­red the Scripture, that by the use of a Phrase in one place, light is reflected on the meaning of it in another. By their mutual irradiations they enlighten each o­ther, and the knowledg of the more per­spicuous guides us to the Intelligence of the more obscure. (6) When a Me­taphorick Phrase abstractedly and ir­relatively considered seems dark and in­tricate, the surveying it in its Habitude to the context will hugely tend to the unfolding its sense and importance. The Rabbins have a saying, that Nulla est ob­jectio in lege quae non habet solutionem in latere; What ever difficulty attends a phrase considered alone, it may be resolved by observing what borders upon it. Words are to be sensed in relation to what pre­cedes and ensues, and are not to be dis­joyn'd [Page 353] from the body of the Discourse to which they appertain. For as Hierome says, Moris est Scripturarum, manifesta obscuris subnectere, & quod prius sub aenigmate dixerint apertâ voce proferre. In Esay, cap. 19. We have all imaginable certainty of having attained the true Notion of a Metaphor, and of ha­ving reached the real Truth wrapt up un­der it, when by secluding the word that is tropically used, and substituting in its place the Word signifying the thing whereof we apprehend the other only to be a Figure, a Harmony with the con­text is maintained, the end and design of the speaker answered, and the sense of the whole discourse not only preserved as good, but rendred more clear. (7) God having revealed nothing in Metaphorical Terms, but what he hath somewhere or other declared in proper Words, we have this therefore as another Medium of discerning the meaning of Metaphors, namely the viewing the plain and proper expressions where the same things are manifested. Metaphors are not so much designed to teach us positively the Doct­rines and Mysteries of Faith, as to illu­strate them, to render them more [Page 354] familiar to our Understandings, to im­press them more durably in our Memo­ries, to excite our affections with the more vigour, and by the artifice of an ex­ternal dress to make the study of the Word more pleasant and delightful; and therefore the true conceptions that are vailed under Metaphors, are to be sought for in those places, where the same Truths are revealed and declared in pro­per Terms. 'Tis a high satisfaction to observe how plain Texts conduct us to the understanding of metaphorical, and how metaphorical Terms serve to illu­strate things that are else-where delivered in proper Words. God knowing the various Tempers and Genius's of men, hath so disposed the phraseology of Scrip­ture, that the same truths are represen­ted in a dress, idiome, and dialect which may best suit the Gust'o of every one. Though there be enough in the things themselves which the Scripture treats of, to conciliate a Reverence, and Venera­tion to it, yet the frequent repeating the same things, were there not some varia­tion in the exteriour Ornaments, would be apt to beget a Nauseum, [...]nd expose the sacred stile to be thought languishing, cold and insipid. As upon the one hand there­fore [Page 355] the Scripture is secured from the im­putation of being flat, cold, and unaf­fecting, through those Lights and Graces of Rhetorick wherewith it is adorned, which at once illuminate the mind by their easiness, and by a certain peculiar movement insinuate upon the heart by their striking the Imagination: so upon the other hand all obscurity is removed from the Word, not only through the quality of the Schem's of speech themselves, which are all natural, & have an admira­ble tendency to illustrate the things they are made use of for, but because those very things are all of them delivered in plain and proper terms else-where. These being the Lines, and Measures that are to be attended to in the explaining of Me­taphors, I dare pronounce that 'tis not so much the obscurity of Metaphorick ex­pressions which hindreth them from being understood, as the want of common reason & sense in those that meddle with them. In a word, Metaphorical Terms signify all and every thing which with reference to the nature of the Trope, Analogy with the sacred System, Congruity with the Context, and pursuance of the scope of the Author they can signify. And as I know none more observant of these Rules [Page 356] in the sensing and applying of Metaphors, than those who are stiled Non-Conformists so upon a supposition that some of them either through ignorance, inadver­tency, or wantonness should prevaricate in this matter; yet I no ways understand how either in consistency with Religion or Morality, a whole party should be tra­duced for the folly of a few. Had a re­gard for the things of God influenced men in these efforts, they would have found as much cause of impeaching some among themselves of extravagancy in this matter, as of any else whoever. But proceeding upon other Motives, they have confined their cavils to the wri­tings of such, the loading of whose per­sons with reproach they reckon to be their Interest. Only it hath fallen out here as in other cases where reflections are par­tially, and withall too personally address't, that their reproaches have not only for the most part lost their effect, but they themselves are reputed uncivil and mali­cious.

§. 7. The Nature of Metaphors in general being unfolded, and have­ing also fix'd and stated the Rules of expounding Scripture ones, we are next to enquire into the use of either [Page 357] common Metaphors whether in popular Sermons, practical Discourses, or even some times in Polemical Writings. I take it for granted that as Reason gives a Discourse its Strength and Nerves, so Rhetorick gives it its Colour and Grace. The strong­est Arguments when delivered dryly, as they do not so delight and please, so nei­ther do they so enlighten and instruct, as when clothed in a bright and flourishing Character. The same things nakedly and bluntly represented, do not make so great an impression, as when embellished with handsome Language. Nor is there any thing more perswasive as well as delight­ful, than to find good words accompanying excellent Sense. And the better any subject is, the more worthy it ought to be accounted of a rich and polished, though not of a gaudy Dress. And indeed ele­gant expressions are impertinently be­stowed, where the matter and sense are not considerable. Nor is there a greater evi­dence of Folly in a Speaker or Writer, [...]. Longin. [...] Sect. 27. than to affect a loftiness of expression on a mean and petty Subject. Words being manifes­tative [Page 356] [...] [Page 357] [...] [Page 358] of conceptions and things, ought to be proportionate to the Themes where­of we treat, and the Idea's we have of them. Where there is not something substantial and weighty underneath, a daz­ling stile serves only to amuse the Rea­der, and to palliate the weakness of the Discourse. But though grave and weigh­ty Matter deserveth to be well set off, yet this is chiefly to be respected in the clean­liness and masculiness of Terms, and not either in the rankness or glistering of Phrase and Expression. I know no­thing more nauseous to a well balanced judgment, than to find a grave subject han­dled in a luscious and Amorous manner. The Gospel particularly disdains to be recommended by flowers of Language, or to Court the Affections of men by fine words, as chusing to adjust its self to our Reasons by its Truth, and to address its self to our Consciences by the Authority which its Author hath impressed upon it. I wish there were not occasion for the re­vival of Gregory Nazianzen's & Hierom's complaint, namely, That Theological Truths are so handled by some, as if they took their measures of the ministeri­al Function from the Ancient Demago­gues, and not from the Sacred Writers. I [Page 359] reckon it will be also allowed, that every Argument is not alike capable of exter­nal Ornaments. There are some subjects which the best writer, ‘— Desperat tractata nitescere posse.’ Especially matters Controversal will least admit the colours of Rhetorick. Feathers and Lace do not become a War­rier so well as Buff and Steel. Here if any where, Ornari res ipsa negat contenta do­ceri. And as to Reason strongly, and to Speak well, do seldom meet in one person; so an ambition of being excessive and cu­rious in Words, is usually accompanied with a neglect of Logick. Arguments weigh more in a close Discourse than ei­ther an elaborate Phrase, or a quaint Simi­litude. Nothing in a Disputation ren­ders a Cause more suspected, than to find it managed with too much Ornament. Nor can it but hugely displease, to be put off with an Embarras of words, when we look't for Demonstration. Of all signs what­soever, Allegories and Metaphors are the unfittest to declare Logical Notions by. And whoever they are that manage De­bates in metaphorical Terms, they do but [...] play the Fools, that I may use Longinus's Phrase, and put the world off [Page 360] with [...], with a flou­rish of Words in stead of Arguments. The only use I know of Metaphors and Similitudes in Disputations, is to refresh the Spirit of the Reader and awaken it when it is weary; perswade and convince they cannot. Metaphorick flourishes may be also useful to illustrate and brigh­ten Truth when it is once established, but the naked and plain mode of disputing conduceth only to the conviction and de­monstration of it.

But as to the usage of Metaphors in Popular Sermons, and practical Discour­ses, the Case is otherwise. Whatsoever is pleadable in their behalf upon any oc­casion, serves to justify the usurpation of them in Discourses ad Populum, and Didactical Writings. The Inducements and Motives of their allowance in Rhe­torical Tracts, Orations, or what­ever else doth best admit these Orna­ments of Eloquence, do all of them e­vince their agreeableness to the Oratory of the Pulpit. The Original and primi­tive Causes of the usurpation of Meta­phors in Discourses, seem to have been Necessity and Delight; though afterwards an itch and ambition of not being under­stood, might influence some men both to [Page 361] an excess this way, and to an affectation of Metaphors that were altogether Poe­tical and presumptuous, instead of being content with such as were easy and com­mon. Now the several springs and foun­tains of this Necessity appear to have been: (1) A penury of words. Though to me Terms thus applyed to intimate diffe­rent things, ought [...]ather to be stiled Ho­monymous & aequivocal, than Metaphorick. A cognation of Affections, Properties & operations in Beings otherwise vastly different, being accompanied with a scar­city of Terms to express them all by distinct Signes, hath occasioned the im­posing one and the same word to indigi­tate things of different kinds. And as the use of any Analogous Term for that which primarily it was ordain'd to signify, ought to be accounted for the proper u­sage of it; so the applying it to manifest other things upon the score of Similitude or proportion to the former, may be e­steemed for its Metaphorical Application. (2) That things by being thus represented, may be apprehended by the Vulgar, (which make up the far greater Number in the World,) with the greater ease and faci­lity. There are some whom the clearest and most convincing Reasons, will not [Page 362] instruct, unless you can so attire & apparel your Conceptions, as by bringing things as neer as may be to their Senses, you im­press and strike their Imagination. 'Tis not so much the things themselves which are spoken that move the Plebs, as the manner of delivering them in Scheme's ac­commodated to strike their senses with vigour. (3) These Modes of speech are found advantageous to relieve the Me­mory, and to render it more tenacious of what is committed to it. Next to the ranging things in a natural Order, that the one may help to the remembrance of the other by the connexion they have together; I know nothing more subservient to memory, than the coupling and tying our Notions to such material and outward Objects as are obvious and known. Now if these and the like inducements have rendred Meta­phors necessary in most kinds of Discour­ses, I may justly reckon that Theologi­cal Subjects do more peculia [...]ly require them than any other. For, 1. Gos­pel-Truths are of such a sublime and mysterious Nature, that no words can ex­press them unto perfection, nor are there any Terms in the stores and treasures of men, that can adequately declare them. [Page 363] As all words are instituted signs, so they were Originally invented to express natu­ral Things and humane Thoughts by, and thence it is that the utmost signification they can possibly bear, doth prove but scanty and narrow when they are applied to manifest things Spiritual and Heavenly. Through a deficiency therefore of proper Words to express them by, we are redu­ced to a necessity of manifesting, or at least shadowing them forth by Meta­phorical Terms. (2) The Doctrines of the Gospel are not only such whose Principles, and Media of probation lie not in Nature, (being indebted for all the knowledg we have of them to the Soveraign Will and Wisdom of God, who hath supernaturally revealed them) But besides, through their lying out of the roads and paths of Reason, there remains also a Physical disproportion, as well as a Moral, betwixt them and our Faculties, notwithstanding their being revealed. And upon this account there cannot be a more proper means of administring relief to our intellectual Faculties about them, than to refract, accommodate, and at­temper them to our minds, by dexterous­ly cloathing them with all that external sensibility, which their Natures will ad­mit, [Page 364] through borrowing Light from things material and known to illustrate them. (3) Whatever be the philosophy of Memo­ry, which for ought I know hath as much of Riddle & Mystery in it, as any one thing in Nature hath: This much is certain, that not only through a Moral indispo­sition, we find our memories more leaky as to Divine things, than any else; but through our very natural frame we are less retentive of, and more in danger of forgetting the Notions and Ideas of Spi­ritual things, than of those that are Cor­poreal. So that upon this account as well as the two former, viz. the preserving the remembrance of spiritual Objects with the more facility, it becomes not only a matter of Relief and Advantage, but even sometimes of necessity to convey them to the Understandings of men, and commit them to their Memories, by having linkt and knit them to Material Objects. I know no better Method to preserve supernatural things in the Me­mories of Men, than their being expres­sed by such things as we constantly con­verse with, and are like so to do while we have our abode in the World. Pleasure, & Delight, were another cause of the first [Page 365] Introduction & usurpation of Metaphors. Augustine proposeth it as a Question not easily to be resolved, why the same Things de­livered in plain and per­spicuous Language,De Doct. Christ. are not found so pleasing, as when set out and a­dorned with Metaphors. Cicero (than whom no man could either speak better, or judg what was well spoken, being him­self inimitable both in the art of mo­ving and instructing, as knowing not on­ly all the Topicks both of convincing and perswading, but also throughly understan­ding the philosophy of the Passions, and the several avenues to the hearts of men,) gives this Reason for it, Quod omnis tran­slatio quae quidem ratione sumpta est, ad sen­sus ipsos admovetur, maxime oculorum qui est acerrimus: Because e­very Metaphor that is pro­per, 3. de Orat. exposeth the Things that are spoken of, to the senses; especial­ly to that of the Eyes, which of all the senses is the quickest. Besides, Metaphors if due­ly and wisely used, beget Admiration; and there is nothing doth more impress or af­fect us, than that which some way or o­ther commends it self to us as Admirable. [Page 366] Hence Aristotle say's, That if we would write eloquently and to perswade,Rhet. 3. cap. 2. [...]. 'Tis also no small pleasure to have the same things represented under different Forms of Speech, and to have a variation given to the same thoughts, which the mingling Metaphors with plain Lan­guage admirably doth. I need not add the delight there is in having our minds diverted to other objects, and that not only without taking them off from the subjects we undertake to explain, but so as by these diversions they are still made more easy and intelligible to us; and the main intention is still pursued, even when there seems to be the greatest deviation from the Theme. All which (not to mention more) as they gave rise to the First use of Metaphors, whether in common, or more elaborate discour­ses, so they serve to justify their usur­pation in the handling of subjects re­lating to Faith and Piety. But there needs no other authorization of Meta­phors on Divine Thems's but the Holy Ghosts having so frequently made use of [Page 367] them in declaring the Mysteries of our Religion. God by his unfolding himself and his Mind to us in several kinds of Me­taphorical Terms, hath not only allowed, but sanctified our Use of the like. No Schemes of Speech which the Divine Spirit hath made use of to instruct us in the Do­ctrines of Faith, and by which the sacred Scriptures do touch our hearts, and make themselves Mistress of our affections, can be reflected upon without im­peaching the Wisedom and Faithful­ness of God who hath preceded us in them. And if the practice of the An­cients, and Example of the Fathers, may be admitted as a pattern which 'tis law­ful to imitate, a little commerce with them will instruct us that they indulged themselves a Latitude herein, beyond what is to be met with in any Modern Authors. I readily grant, that as in the Exposition and application of Scripture-Metaphors, we are to take the highest care that they be not perverted to a sense to which they were never intended, so in the usurpation of other Metaphors by way of Imitation and parallel of what we find in the holy leaves, a due Sobriety ought to be observed. Nor have I any [Page 368] Apology, much less Defence to make, for the audacity and phantasticalness of some men in this matter. 'Tis enough to de­clare the Rules which ought to be atten­ded to, without arraigning the Ignorance and Folly of any man in this affair. Yet this I may say, that miscarriages in this particular, are not only incident to persons of the Non-conforming perswa­sion, but there are some dutiful sons of the Church, as void of wit, modesty and decorum herein, as others are. Some entring upon the Ministry without Piety, and o­thers without Learning, and too many undertaking that sacred Function with­out any due sense either of the Sanctity and Majesty of the Mysteries of Religion, or the purity of Christian Morals, having withall neither any knowledg of Nature, nor acquaintance with the Rules of Rhe­torick; do expose not only their own Folly, but disparage and prophane the Adorable Mysteries of the Christian Faith by their sluttish and bold Metaphors. And which is more deplorable, though they escape not reproach, yet they are not capable of instruction. I disclaim being the Advo­cate of any such; and wish, that through an affectation of seeming Witty to Vulgar [Page 369] Heads, they had not rendred themselves ridiculous to such as are Wise and Rati­onal: and that under pretence of ren­dring the abstruse Things of the Gospel, familiar and easy to the weakest Capaci­ties, they had not both contaminated and disgraced them. Amongst the ma­ny Rules laid down by Rhetoricians for our government in the usage of Metaphors, I reckon these the most Remarkable. (1) They must not be obscure and Un­intelligible, but accommodated to the Understandings of those we address to. The glass must not be so besmeared with paint as to shut out the light, nor the cortex so thick as that there is no coming at the Sense. Aristotle forbids all remote and hardy Metaphors, even in common Ora­tory, unless they be prefaced with [...], If it be lawful to use such a Metaphor, or if the comparison may be ad­mitted without boldness and danger: And much more are they to be forbid in the sa­cred Eloquence. Nor are the same Me­taphors to be used before every Auditory, which may pass for Ornaments & lights be­fore persons of Learning & Ingenuity. A chief part of Pulpit-Oratory, consists in a­dapting [Page 370] our selves to the Hearers we speak to; for what graces & beautifies a Discourse to one Assembly, discommends and ren­ders it useless to another. Especially Poe­tick Metaphors, and such as cannot be un­derstood without an insight into the My­thology of the Heathen, are to be avoided. Allusions to their Fables and Romantick Stories are both incongruous to, & unwor­thy of a Sacred Subject. The Holy Ghost whose Method we ought Religiously to conform to, hath expressed matters of Religion only by such natural things as we familiarly Converse with, and by the common employments of Humane Life. (2) We must not crowd them too thick. For that instead of illustrating a subject, darkens it; and in the room of deligh­ting the mind, and surprising the Affecti­ons, they dazle and oppress them. Lon­ginus tells us that Caecilius would admit but two, or at most three, in reference to one matter. But the Subject can only best regulate us in this, for the same air of Eloquence doth not become every Theme. [...] Sect. 28. Longinus notes, that a Multiplicity of Meta­phors may be allowed,Vbi supra. [...] [Page 371] [...], where the affections are carried like a Torrent, and the Passions raised to a becoming height, and enflamed with a due ardor. A plurality of Metaphors is not only lawful but expe­dient, when the Subject we are treating of is so sublime, that Allusions to one thing do not serve to illustrate it. And as this is often our case in displaying the Mysteries of Faith, so wee have the President of God himself in it. When Metaphors and Similitudes fetcht from from one sort of Subjects, do not serve to illustrate the Matter treated of, the whole Creation and the several species of Creatures are called in by the Holy Ghost, to be some way or other Hieroglyphical of it. (3) Metaphors ought not to be drawn from any thing that is slovenly and Sordid. I the rather mention this, in that I find the Non-conformists charged for Stuffing their Sermons with Kitchin-Metaphors & Rascal Similitudes. Def. & con­tinuat. p 163. There are things enough cleanly and innocent to fetch allusions and Analogies from, e­ven then when we address to the Vulgar, without defiling the purity of Religion with any thing that is sluttish or Nasty. [Page 372] One of the Original Fountains of Meta­phors, was the arraying things in them­selves uncomely, in a dress wch might not offend the severest modesty; & 'tis a pitty to have the Antidote perverted into poy­son. [...], or the declaring that in a modest Metaphorick Phraseology, which properly expressed would grate upon a Chast Ear or Mind, being an Ingredient into Vulgar Oratory, how much more ought it to obtain a place in the Elo­quence of the Sanctuary? The Holy Ghost forbids even in common discourse, not only all [...] obsce­ness,Eph. 5.4. but [...], which I think may be rendred childish and fool [...]sh Quibling. For the Term in its Native signification denotes the handsome turning or changing of a word, and is used to signify Urbanity or pleasantness of Con­versation,Eth. lib. 4. cap. 8. and accordingly Aristotle reckons it for a vertue: but the Apostle plainly taking it in an evil sense, I know not why it may not be translated foolish Jingling with words, or insignificant pra­ting. I am sure Suidas renders it not only by [...] boyish levity, but by [...] [Page 373] Clownishness. Did we in our usage of Metaphors make the Scripture pattern our measure, 'tis not possible that we should debase our selves to the allowance of any that are Uncivil or Immodest. A discreet person will easily find enough to please the fancy, without offending either the Conscience of any, or disparaging the Subject whereof he Treats. Yet I can­not but say, that what some men brand for Kitchin Metaphors and Rascal Similitudes, are cleanly enough, and appear to have been made use of in compliance with the exigencies of Themes, and the weaknesses of Audito [...]s. Nor needs there any other Apology for most of them, but that the Sanctuary as its worthy of Gold and pre­tious Stones, so it rejects not Goats Hair and Badgers Skins. Upon the whole (providing the Rules suggested be atten­ded to) I see not but that besides the using of Scripture-Metaphors in the sense, and to the end for which they are inten­ded, we may also use other common and ordinary ones, at least to express, though not to prove our thoughts. And though such do not serve to demonstrate the Truths which they are brought for, yet they may serve to impress and incul­cate them.

[Page 374]§ 8. Having discoursed all that I had to offer in and about Metaphors in gene­ral, and having both declared the mea­sures of expounding and applying Scrip­ture-ones, and the Rules which ought to be attended to in the usurpation of o­thers; there now only remain a few things to be suggested, to obviate the scof­fings and revilings whereby the Non-conformists are endeavoured to be expo­sed to Contempt and Scorn upon the ac­count of their use of Metaphorick Terms. And the first is, that the loudest Cla­mours and most invidious Reflections le­vied against them in this matter, proceed from a disrespect to, and fall with the same picquancy upon the Scripture it self. And they may well be admitted to speak reproachfully of men, who have the the boldness to do so of the Word of God. Only I think they would do better to de­ny the Scripture all claim of being Di­vine, than to treat it with the Contempt which some do, after they have acknow­ledged it to be the Word of the Lord. Many of the Phrases and Passages quar­relled at in the writings of the Phanaticks, are plainly no other, than what the Holy Ghost hath condescended to use in his de­claring [Page 375] the mysteries of Faith, and Duties of Religion. They are the same course Expressions that the Scripture it self makes use of, that it may suite the dulness of our understandings, that I may use Chrysostomes Words,In Psalm 7. speaking of me­taphors & Al­legories, [...]; so that the most part of the reproches which are fastned upon the Pha­naticks (as they are pleased to stile them) in this matter, argue the bestowers of them guilty of prophaness against the Scrip­pture, as well as incivility to the persons of the Non-conformists in derogation of whose esteem they apply themselves to write. I know this will be thought too plain and tuant, nor should I have so blankly charged them, if they had either the Wit or Modesty to receive instruction by gentler insinuations. But I remem­ber, that when Dr. Owen had told them That the greatest guilt of some of the Phrases carpt at, it may be, Truth and Innocence vin­dicated, p. 17. p. 161. was only their too near approach to the ex­pressions used in Scripture to the same purpose: The Author of the De­fence and Continuation thought he had [Page 376] sufficiently acquitted himself by replying, That may be the Sky will fall to morrow, and it may be S. Pauls Steeple as soon as it is rebuilt will remove it self to the East-In­dies. Though he should withal have re­membred, that the foresaid Learned per­son had also told him, that these things would be made evident when particulars should be instanced in, Pag. 20 ubi su­pra. viz. that the Metaphors the Non-conformists are charged with, are no other, but expressions of Gospel Mysteries, not in the Words which mans Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the Author of the Defence judg'd it meet there to bear back, reckoning that he came off with Triumph enough, and suf­ficiently loaded with the spoyls of his E­nemy by raillying upon a may be. I shall therefore not account it enough barely to assert that some of the Expressions reflect­ed on in the Writings of the Non-confor­mists, are such as the Holy Ghost himself hath preceded them in the use of, and that to the very same Ends and Purposes for which they produce them; but see­ing nothing less will serve the turn, either [Page 377] for the vindicating Them from the imputa­tion of canting, or to beget more modesty in their Adversaries, I shall present the Reader with some instances where it is so. And that I may not be thought to design the disparagement of any Party of men, by quoting testimonies from divers of their Authors, who rather than not strain up the dreggs of their Choler against the Phanaticks for their phraseologies, have even written in derogation of Scrip­ture-phrases, and made the Spirit of God the Subject of their derision, as well as the Non-conformists; I say, to avoid this, I shall confine my self to Mr. Sher­lock alone. Faith, say's he,Pag. 104. Edit. first. is very luckily called coming to Christ, whence it is very evident that to believe in Christ, is to go to him for Salvation; which Me­taphors of Coming and Going, are a very intelligible explication of believing. Now what is this but to be guilty as well of pro­phaning the Scripture, as of incivility to the Non-conformists? for this ve­ry Metaphor is made use of by the Holy Ghost, Joh. 5.40. and. 6.35, 37, 44. to signify believing, of which, as pro­phanely as sarcastically our Author stiles [Page 378] it a very intelligible explication. But Mr. Sherlock seems to be one of those who never think any thing intelligible, when declared in Scripture-Terms. I will crave of the Reader to peruse the 104, 105, and 106 pages of his Book, (for I do not love to foul these leaves, more than I needs must, with passages opprobrious against God as well as men, though it be only to expose and confute them) and then to tell me, whether the very Scripture-expressions in their pro­per sense be not made to bear a Share in his Contempt and Scorn▪ Though the Receiving of Christ be a phrase which the Holy Ghost expresseth Faith in him, and the belief of his Word and Doct­rine by, Joh. 1.11, 12. and 3.32, 33. and 17.8. Act. 1.41. and 8.14. and 17.11. Col. 2.6. 1 Thes. 2.13. yet that doth not secure it from the lash of our Authors pen. It may seem strange that they will not allow men to speak the things of God, in the Terms & Phrases which the Holy Ghost teacheth. But where the things of the Spirit of God are first disliked, 'tis no marvail that his expressions come to be dislik'd also. But surely the ex­posing them to make their Readers sport, [Page 379] what ever of wit it argues, it declares a prophane sawciness. One would think that the Scripture expressing Faith in Christ by Trust, Eph. 1.12, 13. Men without obloquy might do the like: but that phrase also is made the pleasure of Mr. Sherlocks scorn, and the use of it turned into open ridicule. Now we have Christ (sayes he in mockage and derision) we must Trust and lean upon him. Dis­trust of our selves & dependence on Christ for continual supplies against entangle­ments from sin and the World, are not only made our Duty (though not so as to supersede our own watchfulness and best endeavours) but the latter is certainly the great priviledg of Believers. Nor doth the New Covenant excell the Old in any thing more than in this, that God hath herein undertaken to watch over us by his Spirit, and to continue those sove­raign supplies of Grace to us whereby we shall be kept unto salvation. And be­sides, what may be tendred in Justifica­tion of this from the Wisedome of God, with whose Sapience it seems not con­sistent finally to leave us after he hath en­graven his Image upon us, considering that he prevented us with his Grace and [Page 380] Mercy when we were in our Pollutions; The Faithfulness of Christ, to whose care Believers are in a special manner com­mitted, Joh. 17.12. and 18.9. pleads also for it: Yea, The Scripture likewise gives in its express. Testimony to this purpose, 2 Tim 1.12. assuring us, that on our being found in an attendance up­on Instituted means, and in the exer­cise of those Duties and endeavours which are required of us, God will work in us both to will and Do, Philip. 2.13. and keep us by his own power through Faith unto Salvation, 1 Pet. 1.15. Yet this Mr. Sherlock hath some venemous spawn to bestow upon, and the Phana­ticks must upon this account be made the the Subjects of his sly, but petulant mock­age. And now, sayes he, we have thus brought our souls to Christ, we must commit them to his trust, Pag. 105. to take Charge of them, and save them; and if they perish it will be his fault, and he must give account of it. And as if there were not prophaness & Satyr enough in this, the Words of the Holy Ghost must be brought in to bear a Share in his scorn and contempt. Thus St. Paul did, (says he) 2 Tim. 1.12. I [Page 379] know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep what I have committed to him against that day. Could he not be content to expose the Non-conformists without involving the Scripture in the same Condemnation? Or was St. Pauls case and theirs so much the same, that he knew not how to wreak himself upon them, without making Him suffer under the same imputation. I confess Mr. Sherlock is not the onely man who seems displeased with St. Paul; for besides that,Discourse concerning the principles and practices of the Latitudinari­ans. Mr. Cala­my's Sermon on Tit. 1.8, 9, p. 5. one tells us his Style is often the most obscure he ever read: another makes it a part of a Guild-Hall declamation, that the 9th Chapter to the Romans; is studied more than our Saviours Sermon on the Mount; and that the firebrands of the Church have used to fetch all their heat from St. Pauls writings, and have thought themselves tolerated, if not encouraged by his Example to dispute every thing. ibid. p. 10. In which words there is not onely a false and invidious supposition, that there are some of the Phanaticks who prefer St. [Page 382] Pauls writings to the neglect of the Gos­pels and other Sacred Books, but there is withall a reflection upon those portions of Holy writ which God hath honoured him to be the amanuensis of. But this I do not much wonder at in the Author of the foresaid Sermon, seeing it is from St. Paul, that we have learned to distinguish between Faith and good works in the Matter of Justification, Pag. 22. which he there so severedly censures. But to return, Though the Reverence which Mr. Sher­lock pays to the writings of the Apostles, may be possibly consistent with, & recon­cileable to his burlesque manner of trea­ting them, yet one would think, that the admiration which he hath for our Saviours Sermons above the Wri­tings of the Apostles, Page, 240. (though the Apostles were not less inspired by the Holy Ghost, in the penning and giving forth the Epistles, than the Evangelists were in writing the Gospels which convey to us the Sermons of Christ) should have secured them from the like entertainment. But it hath here also fallen out otherwise, for rather than T.W. should escape our Authors censure, the [Page 383] Words of Christ in the true intendment and meaning of them, are introduced as the matter of his Mirth and Scorn.Page, 112. As the Serpent (says he, pretending to blazon T. W'S. Folly, and to lay him Obnoxious to Contempt and Derision) was lifted up to be lookt upon by the stung Israelites; which looking, implyed a secret hope they had of cure; so if we do but look on Christ fiducially, we shall be cured of our sins. Now let this be compared with the words of Christ himself, Joh. 3.15, 16. And as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the Wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life; and I dare leave it to the Judgement of every sober and Judicious person, whe­ther the very Scripture-expressions in their proper sense, be not made to bear a Share in this Gentlemans derision. Had Mr. Sherlock only raillied upon some things in T.W's discourse concerning the resemblance of Christ to the brazen Serpent, and preserved the dignity and Reverence of the Type it self, without reflections upon the main scope and de­signe of the Comparison, he should [Page 384] have easily escaped my Censure; but having included the Sentence I have rehearsed in the same indictment with others, wherein, may be, T.W. hath prevaricated, I must renew my Charge, namely, that some of their loudest Cla­mours against the Non-conformists for Similitudes and Metaphors, fall with the same weight upon expressions which the Holy Ghost in his Wisdom hath been pleased to use. I shall add one passage more relating to the resemblance betwixt Christ and the Brazen Serpent, for which amongst others, Mr. Sherlock is pleased in way of Irony, to stile T.W. very happy in expounding Types, the equivalent where­of, besides that it may be found in a hun­dred Dull Authors (he knows whom I mean, being an Epithete lately bestowed upon a certain set of Writers by one of his Friends) I have read in a Person, whom though he do not, may be, universally like for his Divinity, yet he bears him more respect than to laugh at him for a Fool. The passage in T. W. is this: The Brazen Serpent was made like a Serpent, but was no real Serpent; so Christ was made in the likness of sinful Flesh, but was no sinner. The equavalent of it is this; Haec Imago [Page 383] & effigies Serpentis erat similis Serpenti▪ ita Christus qui purus ab omni veneno pec­cati fuit, in cruce pependit, speciem refe­rem hominis peccatoris, vel, ut Paulus loquitur, in similitudine carnis peccati, Rom. 8.3. I need not English this, and therefore shall only tell him where he may meet with it, viz. in a certain Gentle­man called Wolzogenius commenting up­on Joh. 3.14. so that at least here is one more as happy in expounding Types as T. W. is. And as I see not how Mr. Vin­cents advice to young Women to chuse Christ for their Husband, is either a peece of fantastical Wit (as our Author is plea­sed to call it) or comes to be spoyled by the Churches being Christ's Spouse, page, 144. see­ing His relation of a Husband to the Church, doth no way hinder his being so to every Member of it: It affords me a­nother instance of Mr. Sherlocks into­lerable sauciness towards the Scripture, rather than he should fail in exposing those, whom he thinks he hath cause to be displeased with. For not to mention what occurs in the Canticles justifying the utmost of what Mr. Vincent says in this matter, even the Apostle Paul [Page 384] not only speaks of his having espoused the Church of Corinth to one Husband, that he might present them a Chast Virgin to Christ, 1 Cor. 11.2. but he speaks of every par­ticular Believer among the Romans as being married to Christ. Wherefore my Brethren, ye also are become dead to the Law, by the Body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the Dead, that we should bring forth Fruits unto God, Rom. 7.4. To all which, not only the passage of our Author,Page, 244. That every Christian is not Christs Spouse, is directly repugnant, but his supposition that Christ, in case particular Believers be espoused to Him, must be a Polygamist, argues him as well an igno­rant as a confident man, and imposeth the same brand upon the Inspired Writers, that he would expose the Non-confor­mists under the infamy of. He that would see more of Mr. Sherlocks Burles­quing the Scripture, and how he hath in a prophane & Sacrilegious manner abused the very Words of it, to make his Rea­ders sport, and to render his Adversaries Ridiculous; Let him consult amongst other places, p. 62, 63, 65, 66, 69, 70. [Page 385] of his Book, for I cannot allow my self to transcribe what either may have a ten­dency to the tainting the Minds of some, or the offending the Consciences of o­thers.

A Second thing which I would reply upon our late Writers for their upbraiding the Non-conformists upon the account of turning the plainest Scriptures Into Me­taphors and Allegories; or as Mr. Sherlock expresseth it, of turning all Religion in­to an Allegory, is this; That the guilt in this matter lodgeth principally with themselves. 'Tis but fit, that instead of being always upon the Defensive, we should sometimes carry the War into their Quarters. Not that I design this as a justification of any amongst us who may be guilty in this particular, but meerly to shew that this way of assaulting us was none of the wisest, considering how open they lye themselves to Recriminations of this kind. They are indeed most Cri­minal herein, who put the imputation fur­thest from them; though they ought to look well to themselves, who undertake to accuse others. I would say Quis tule­rit Gracch [...]s? But that I expect to be told that I have Classically expressed my self, as an acquaintance of Mr. Sherlock [Page 386] Jyb'd a Learned Person meerly for say­ing, that he neither desired nor designed ser­ram reciprocare. In the pursuit of this, insteed of producing particular Texts which they use thus to perve [...]t, I shall rather instance in some of their darling Notions, the very maintaining of which, obligeth them to turn a great many of the plainest Texts in the Bible, into meer Metaphors. I am sensible what a Charge I have entred against them, and do plain­ly foresee how it will be resented; & therefore I shall endeavour to give in­disputable and uncontroulable Evidence in Justification of it. The First Medium and Topick I particularly own my self indebted to an Opinion of Mr. Sherlocks for, there being none of the Church of England, so far as I know, that ever ven­ted the Notion before. The Offices (says he) of Prophet, Priest, and King, are not properly distinct Offices in Christ, but the several parts and Administrations of his Mediatory Kingdom. His Intercession sig­nifies the Administration of his mediatory Kingdom, the power of a Regal Priest to expiate and forgive Sins. Were it my Humour to Treat an Adversary with se­verity, I would do more than say, that Mr. Sherlock by making Christs Office of [Page 387] King but one part and Administration of His Mediatory Kingdom, Writes not with that accuracy at all times, which some men ascribe to him. Had a motion of a Friend of his obtained, viz. that Men should be Obliged by Act of Parliament to write Sense as well as Truth, I can not see but that an Action at Law might have lay'n against him, if some of those Per­sons he so often Raillies upon had thought fit in Revenge for his Reflections, to have commenced it. What ever care he hath taken to write Truth, he hath not been so careful here as he ought to write Sense. But this I wave: Nor shall I digress into any large Debate of that Question, Whe­ther the Priestly office of Christ be in­cluded in his Regal? Or, Whether, though not separated in their Subject, the Person of Christ, they be not in their Natures, Objects, Acts and Effects distinguished the one from the other. Only thus in brief, If moral Powers which are distinguished by their Objects, Acts, manner of Operation,See Dr. Owen on Heb. vol. 2. Exercit. 8. and the Effects which thereupon ensue, be dif­ferent faculties and pow­ers; then the Sacerdotal and Regal Of­fices [Page 388] of Christ, which are moral Facul­ties and Powers with which he is invested by God for certain Ends, being thus dif­ferenced; they must consequently be distinct Offices, the one no way included, superseded or swallowed up by the other. Now that it is thus, may be easily Demon­strated. For (1) their Objects are distinct. The object of the exercise of the Priest­ly Office is God. This not only the Apostle informs us, in the account he gives of the Nature and Institution of Priesthood, Heb. 5.1. where he tells us, that the actings of a Priest in the exercise of his Office respects [...], but elsewhere, Ephe. 5.2. This the common Notion which man-kind hath of it, toge­ther with the whole Oeconomy of the Aaronical Priesthood, and Christs being a Priest after the order of Melchisedeck, who was a Priest in a proper sense, do e­vince. But now the Object of Christ's Regal Power, is Man. As King, he Acts in the Name and on the behalf of God, with and towards us. And as his Power and Authority over the Church, is con­fessed by the very Socinians to be a Regal Power; so his being vested in and with such a Power, doth necessiarily imply his [Page 389] readiness to make use of it for the Chur­ches Good. What inward Thoughts men entertain of Christ I know not, but to de­clare Him a King, who, as such, is only able, but not willing to help his People, is not much to his commendation as in­agurated in such an Office; yea, it is more Honourable to be represented as willing and not able, than as able and not willing. (2) They differ in their Acts. The Acts of Christs sacerdotal Office are Oblation, and Intercession, which as they both respect God as their Object, it be­ing God, not us, that Christ offered him­self to as a Sacrifice; and God, not us, that he intercedes with: So they differ from the Acts of his Regal Office which are Legislation, the Communication of the Spirit, the Destruction of his and our Enemies, and the like. Nor are these any where called the Intercession of Christ, as Mr. Sherlock falsely imagines. Indeed His intercession, as upon the one hand,Page, 6. it is founded on his Oblation and Sa­crifice, being nothing but the representa­tion of his meritorious Passion, & a conti­nuation of His Sacerdotal Function; so on the other hand it hath its Effects towards [Page 390] us, by vertue of the interposition of some Acts of His Kingly Office. For these Offices being all Vested in the same Per­son, and having all the same general End, and belonging all unto the work of Me­diation, it cannot otherwise be, but that their Acts must have a mutual Respect to one another; yet still the Priestly Office, to which Intercession appertains, is for­mally distinct from His Kingly. Nor are the Acts of his Regal Office ever cal­led His Intercession, though as to the applying the benefits of His Advocation, there be the Interposure and Exertion of His Kingly Power. To say as Mr. Sher­lock doth, That Christs offering himself a Sacrifice for Sin, was an Act of Kingship, Page, 6. is not only to Socinianise, but expresly to contradict the Scripture in an hundred places. Yea, the very next words of the Text he refers to, which repre­sents it as an Act of Obedience, which I think is no Regal Act; do oppose it: This Command have I Received of my Fa­ther. Though Originally it was an Act of Liberty and Choice in the Son of God to condescend, & by his Contract with the Father, to render himself liable to Die; [Page 391] yet having once Covenanted, and un­dertaken to give himself a Ransome, it was an Act of Debt and Obedience so for do. Though with respect to those that Instrumentally took away his Life, he had a Physical Power to have preserved it, yet with respect to God, with whom He had transacted to give himself an Offering for Sin, he had no moral Power or Right to with-hold himself from Dying. To af­firm (as Mr. Sherlock al­so doth) that Interces­sion signifies the admini­stration of Christ's Mediatory Kingdom: Page, 7. The Power of a Regal Priest to ex­piate and forgive Sins, is both false in it self, and borrowed word for word from the Socinians. The Intercession of Christ consists neither in a power of exp [...]ating sin, nor of conferring for­giveness, but in a representation of his Sacrifice, for the procurement of the actual communication of the fruits of his Death unto them for whom he had given himself a Ransom. Expiati­on of Sin was perfected before Christ went into Heaven Heb. 1.3. and 9.12. and therefore cannot lye in his Inter­cession which is an act of his Priestly [Page 392] Office consequent to his entring into the Holy Place. In a word, neither is inter­cession any Act of Christ's Regal Power, nor is the bestowing of the Forgiveness of Sins any Act of his Priestly Function. The Scripture plainly Attributes Inter­cession to Christ as a High Priest, and not as a King, Heb. 7.25, 26, 27. and on the contrary, ascribes Forgiveness of sins to him as a King, and not as a Priest, Acts 5.31. Intercession importing the impe­tration of something from God, to whom as its Object it is addressed, it can be no Act of Christ's Kingly Authority; That consisting in the exerting a Power he hath in himself. And on the other Hand, his forgiving of Sins respecting us wholly as its Objects, it can no way appertain to his Priestly Office; God alone being the Object of all the parts and Acts of the Sacerdotal Function. (3) As the Priestly and Kingly Offices of Christ differ in their Objects and Acts, so they differ likewise in their manner of operati­on. For whereas the Acts of Christs sacer­dotal Office operate only morally by way of Merits, procurement and acquisition: The Acts of his Regal Office operate Phy­sically, being really productive of their ef­fects. [Page 393] (4) The Priesthood and Kingship of Christ were prefigured of old, not only by distinct Types, but God in the prefigura­tions and instructive Symbols whereby he instructed the Ancient Church what Christ was to be in his Offices, he infor­med them of his Priestly Office by more Figures & Types, and with more distinct­ness than he did of his Kingly, which is not very well reconcileable to infinite Sapience, had his sacerdotal Office been only to be a part and different Admi­nistration of his Regal. (5) Nor did God only in the Typical prefigurations of what the Messiah was to be, represent his Priesthood by more Types than he did his Kingly Office, but he ordained an or­der of Priesthood to be a Figurative and Typical representation of what Christ in this kind was to be: whereas on the other hand we do not read that God in­stituted the Office of a King to be a pre­vious Typical representation of the Regal Office of the Messiah. 'Tis true indeed, that the people having chosen a Ruler of this kind, God in his Faithfulness and Wisdom adapted and accommodate that Office to prefigure what himself would afterwards do in the person of His Son; [Page 394] but he neither originally, immediately, nor principally ordained the Office of a King to this end; which is no ways ac­countable for, had Christ to have been only a King, & were his Priest-hood only a part and different administration of his mediatory Kingdom. (6) That the Priest­ly Office of Christ is really distinct from his Regal, receives not only Light, but may be demonstratively evinced from this, that though Melchizedeck the illu­strious Type of the Messiah, was in a proper sense both a King and a Priest, Gen. 14.18. yet His being a Type of Christ is peculiarly referred and applied to his Sacerdotal Office, and not his Re­gal, Psal. 110.4. Heb. 7. Nor do I see how with any consistency to Truth, the Holy Ghost could thus accommodate the Antitype meerly to the Priest-hood of the Type, were not the Priestly Office of Christ distinct from His Kingly. (7) I might argue how disagreeable it is to the Wisdom of God, to have so separated the Offices of King and Priest by an Ordinance of His own, that from Moses, till the arrival of the Messiah, they were never to meet in one person, if the Priest­hood of Christ were not distinct from his [Page 395] Regal Office, but were only a part and different Administration of His Media­tory Kingdom. And this consideration is the more important, if we observe that the sacerdotal Office and the Regal, were not only for a long time kept united in the same Person among the Nations, but that Originally even within the Church, the same persons who where the Heads and Rulers of Families, had of Right the Office of Priesthood belonging to them. But this I shall decline further discoursing of, and only refer Mr. Sherlock to be instructed in this point by the Reverend and Learned Dr. Stillingfleet, Discourse concerning the true Reason of the sufferings of Christ. Cap. 8. supposing he will not think it beneath him to learn of a Person whom the whole learned World pays a just veneration to, should he disdain the being taught by such Systematick Divines, as Covetus, Lubbertus, Essenius, Turretinus, Grotius, or Dr. Owen, &c. as accounting them only puissant in Pole­mick Squabble, and in the Budg Doctors of the Schooles, that I may borrow a phrase of Dr. P. But that I may return to the Consideration of the passages recited at [Page 396] first out of Mr. Sherlock: I would en­treat him not to plume & tower too much over this Notion of Christs Priestly office be­ing included in his Regal,Socin. de Christo Ser­vat. cap. 15. Catech. Ra­cov. min. p. 43. Smalc. de Di­vin. Christi cap. 23. Ostorod. Instit. Relig. Christian. cap. 40. Crell. con­tr. Grot. cap. 10. Volkel. de vera Relig. cap. 38. as if he were the Original Author of it, there being several persons very well known who have prece­ded him in it. And see­ing, for ought that I know, it may be matter of en­couragement to him to find that he is not alone in this Opinion, I shall remind him that he hath the whole Tribe of the Socinians for his Associates. How-ever, if this Intelligence should be of no other use, yet it may prevent that Elation of Mind he might otherwise fall under, should he apprehend that he had blessed the World with a Notion which it was not acquainted with before. But that which I mainly intended from the fore­cited passages of Mr. Sherlock is this, viz. that according to this Principle of his, that the Priestly office of Christ is only a different part and administration of [Page 397] Christs Mediatory Kingdome; There is, not one Text in the Bible where Christ is called a Priest, which can be under­stood in a proper sense, but they must all of necessity be interpreted in a Meta­phorick. Whether our Author fore-saw this, I cannot tell; but I am sure they who harmonize with him in the Notion, and to whom indeed he owe's it, if he had Pliny's Ingenuity to acknowledg per quos profecerit, do by the reducement of the Sacerdotal Office of Christ to his Regal, seek to destroy the Priest-hood of Christ in a prope [...] [...]ense, and to allow him only to be a Priest Metaphorically. This they lay as the substratum of their de­nyal of his satisfaction, his having proper­ly expiated our Sins, made atonement for us, Reconciled God to us, &c. This they retreat to upon all occasions, for eluding the Arguments they are pressed with from Christs being called a Priest, and a High Priest; namely that he is not properly so, and that the name doth not belong to Him directly to denote what as such He is or doth, but that it is only ascribed to Him by reason of some Allusion between what he doth for us, and what was done by the Priests of Old. And indeed sup­posing [Page 398] it once to be true, which Mr. Sher­lock in so many Terms affirms, that Christs Priestly office is not properly a distinct Office from his Kingly, being only a diffe­rent part & administration of his Mediato­ry Kingdom (or as the Socinians phrase it, his exerting his Regal Power with Love, Care and Compassion for the good of his people) and that the Name of Christ being interpreted, signifies only a Mediatory King: I say supposing this be true, the inference of his being only a Metapho­rick Priest is not to be avoided, and con­sequently all the Texts where he is any wayes stiled a Priest, are to be under­stood only Metaphorically. For, if his Priestly and Kingly Offices be not di­stinct, either his Regal Office must be re­duced to, and included in his Sacerdotal, which our Author will not affirm (and if he should, he would only gain by it the making Christ a Metaphorick King instead of a Metaphorick Priest) or else his Sacerdotal Office must belong to and be included in his Regal, being only a readiness to exercise that Authority and Power for his Church which as a King appertains to Him: And if so, then those innumerable places of Scripture which [Page 401] report Christ to be a Priest, to have gi­ven himself a Sacrifice to God for us, to have expiated Sin, to have made atone­ment and to have rendred God propiti­ous, are every one of them Metaphori­cal. I have insisted the longer on this O­pinion of Mr. Sherlock concerning Christs Priestly Office being only a dif­ferent part and administration of his Me­diatory Kingdome, 1st. to make it appear, that by Charging Socinianism upon some of our late pretended Rational Divines ▪ we do not transform them into a­ny thing but what they are. The truth of the imputation rather than the foul­ness, seems to be that which makes them angry. As the Historian tels us of Tiberius, that he was both the readier to believe, & the more offended at something which was said of Him, because it was the true report of his guilt; so I wish it were not as much the Justness as the Odiousness of the Character of Socinian, which renders some men stingy. But 2ly. the main reason of my insisting upon these passages, was to demonstrate that, whereas they arraign the Non-Conformists for turning the plainest Scriptures into Metaphors, the crime lodgeth especially with themselves▪ [Page 402] and that the principles which they have Espoused, are not otherwise defensible, but by turning the plainest Scriptures into Metaphors. So that here, ‘Clodius accusat maechos—’

And providing Mr. Sherlock will abide by his Notion, That the Offices of Pro­phet, Priest and King, are not properly di­stinct Offices in Christ, I do here undertake to prove by easy trains of deduction, that for one Text capable of a proper sense which the Phanaticks pervert by impo­sing a Metaphorick one upon it, he lyes under a necessity, if he will preach or write consequentially to his Tenets, of wresting twenty in the same man­ner.

§. 10. But this is not the only opinion imbib'd by our Author which I impeach as pregnant with this mischief, His No­tion of Justification being attended with the same inconvenience, nor is it any ways maintainable but by perverting in­numerable Texts from their plain and natural sense to a Metaphorick. In the prosecution of this Charge, I shall first give a true representation of his thoughts about Justification, and then endeavour to demonstrate that besides what else [Page 403] lyes against him, it is accompanied with this fatal unhappiness of turning a great part of the Bible into meer insig­nificant and empty Metaphors. His sentiments then in refe­rence to Justification are these.P. 322. That we are only Justified by our believing and obeying the Gospel of Christ. P. 320. That the Sacrifice of Christs Death and the Righteousness of his life have no other Influence upon our acceptance with God, but that to them we owe the Covenant of Grace. That is, God being well pleased with the Obedience of Christs life, and the sacrifice of his Death, for his sake entred into a New Covenant with Mankind, wherein he promiseth par­don of Sin, and eternal life to those who believe and obey the Gospel: so that the Righteousness of Christ is not the formal Cause of our Justification, P. 324. but the Righ­teousness of his life & death is the meritori­ous Cause of that Covenant whereby we are declared Righteous, & rewarded as Righte­ous persons. The Covenant of Grace which God for Christs sake hath made, pardoning our past sins & follies, and rewarding a sin­cere [Page 404] though imperfect Obedience; The Gospel by its great arguments & motives, and power­full assistances forms our minds to the Love and practice of Holiness, and so makes us inherently Righteous, and the grace of the Gospel accepts and rewards that sincere Obedience which according to the Rigor and severity of the Law could deserve no re­ward. This I take to be a true account of Mr. Sherlocks Judgement about Justification, and I have quoted it in his own words, that he may neither complain of his being imposed upon, nor the Reader question the Truth and since­rity of this representation. And as whosoever consults the pages I referr to, will find that I treat my adversary with faithfulness; so if they compare them with some other places where he hath declared himself with less Modesty, they will have reason to say, that I have ex­posed his Opinion in the favourablest manner I could. Now I design not any accurate ventilation of this great Theme, nor any severe research into Mr. Sherlocks faileurs in the manage of it, nor a Critical survey of his neglect of Truth, as well as Modesty in treating his Adversaries about it: nor yet his par­tiality [Page 405] in arraigning only the Non-con­formists, when he could not but know that the most Eminent Persons that ever the Church of England bred, as well as the Generality of Protestant Divines are equally involved, having appeared in the Defence of that very Notion of Justification which he so in­vidiously represents, and tragically de­claime's against those for. The full handling of Justification stands reserved for other hands; who in due time will retrive the spoyles wherewith our Au­thor hath enriched his Wardrobe, and strip him of the Lawrels wherewith he hath adorned his Temples. I shall only bestow one stricture upon him, and then apply to the proof of the inconveni­ence I have already charged his Opi­nion with, and for which in this place I cited it. In brief then, I see not how the Covenant of Grace is any ways ow­ing to the Sacrifice of Christs Death and the Righteousness of his life, providing that Mr. Sherlock will be constant to and write consonantly to some of his other principles. For, if the Natural Notions which men have of God, assure them that he is very Good, and that it is not [Page 406] possible to understand what Goodness is without pardo­ning Grace, P. 44. as our Author elsewhere tells us: I say, supposing this to be true, I see not how the Righteous­ness of Christs life and Death can be the meritorious cause of Gods forgiving our sins and Follies, for as much as his Es­sential Goodness obliged him to it. I take it for a principle of Reason, that no­thing can be merited which is due upon an Antecedent Title. Merit in its es­sential Notion importing an acquisition of a Right which we had not before, there can be no room for it in reference to that which we stood entitled to by the natural goodness of God, and those Notions which we have engraven in our Consciences of it. Nor can I imagine how the Covenant of Grace can be so much as necessary to the promising Re­mission of Sins, much less that the Death of Christ was needful to procure it to that End, providing what our Author sayes in another place do obtain. The passage I referr to is this. The whole Mystery of the recovery of mankind con­sists only in the repairing the Divine I-age which was defaced by sin, that is, in [Page 407] making all men truly good and virtuous· Sin is our Apostasie from God, and doth as naturally make us miserable as it makes us unlike the most happy Being. But Ho­liness restores us to our Primitive state, to the perfect Constitution of our Natures, P. 89. and makes us Good, and therefore happy, as God is. Now if this be true, although the Covenant of Grace might be ne­cessary upon other accounts, name­ly to mold and frame our souls to the Love of God and practice of obedience, to ingenerate piety in us, & to make us in­herently Righteous; yet I do not see how it was needful to the promising remissi­on of sin. Neither can I satisfie my self how forgiveness of Sin is at all necessa­ry, if the whole mystery of our Recove­ry consists only in the repairing the Di­vine Image which was defaced by sin. I have observed of the Arminians, that however somtimes they acknowledg the New Covenant to be gratuitous and f [...]ee, yet by some principle or other which they have imbib'd, they do in effect make it an Act of necessity in God and not of favour. Thus (that I may give one instance) upon Corvinus's admitting all mankind by the [Page 408] fall of Adam to be discharged from that Obedience which the O­riginal Law required;Contr. Mo­lin. cap. 8. § 7. it necessarily follows, ei­ther that Gods soveraign­ty and Rectorship over man had been supplanted, Mankind had been under no law at all, and consequently no wayes capable of offending; or else God be­hoved to enact the new Covenant. This being suggested, which I leave Mr. Sherlock at his leasure to think of, I now address to enforcing the Charge I have loaded his Opinion about Justification with, namely that as it imports our ab­solution by and before God from the ac­cusation of the Law, it occurrs not in a proper sense in the whole Scripture, but must every where be susceptive of a Metaphorick one, if his Notion of it be admitted. I do not here dispute whether [...] and [...], to Justi­fy and to be Justified be not some­times taken in a Moral Sense for justifacere, (that I may use Davenants phrase) the making an inherent Change in our Persons: as well as at other times in a forensick Sense, for the making a [Page 409] Change in our state, by absolving and ac­quitting us when accused. Though I must say, that I know not one place in the whole New Testament where [...] and [...] are of necessity to be interpreted as expressive of Sanctification and purga­tion from Vice, (though Rom. 8.30. 1 Cor. 7.11. Tit. 3.7. be produced to that pur­pose) unless it be Rev. 22.11. and it is certain that some ancient Copies instead of [...] there, Let him be further justified still, have [...], Let him do Righteousness still. Nor will I here discourse how inconsistent it seem's with the Wisedom and Sapience of God, to introduce a perfect Righteousness, such as that of his Son was, meerly to make way for his justifying us upon an imper­fect Righteousness, such as that of our Obedience is. Nor shall I argue how that the Righteousness of Christs Life, and Sacrifice of His Death must be impu­ted to us for Justification, in a proporti­onableness to our Sins, having been imputed to Him in order to his expiatory Suffering. To attribute Christs Suffe­rings meerly to Gods Dominion, without any respect to sin is the grossest of Soci­nianism, and repugnant to the Scrip­ture [Page 410] in a hundred places. To say that our sins were imputed to Christ,See amongst others Isa. 53.5, 6. 1 Pet. 2.24. Gal. 3.13. and Dr. Stil­lingfleets vin­dication of them from the exceptions of Crellius. cap. 2. ubi supra. in the effects of them, but not in the guilt, is to contra­dict all Principles of Rea­son. For Guilt and Ob­noxiousness to punishment being Equipollent phrases, he cannot be supposed to have been made liable to the last upon the account of our Sins, without haveing been brought under the first. Nor is it imaginable how with­out submitting to the guilt of our sins he could have been punished, should it be granted that without respect to them he might have suffered. Though with­out any habitude to sin, his sufferings might have been Dolorous, yet they could never have been Penal. 'Tis a thing utterly unintelligible how Christ could be made sin for us, and have our pu­nishment transferred to him, without a previous imputation of Sin, and the de­rivation of its Guilt upon him. Now by proportion, if our Sins were imputed to Christ otherwise than meerly in the Effects of them, so must likewise the [Page 411] Righteousness of his Life and the Sacri­fice of his Death be otherwise imputed to us, than meerly in the benefits of them. Nor will I press how that secluding not only the Righteousness of Christ's Life, but the satisfaction of his Death as the matter, and the imputation of it as the Formal Cause of Justification, it seem's repugnant to the immutability, and Essential Holiness of God, to justi­fy us upon an imperfect Obedience, the Law which requireth a perfect remaining still in force, and denouncing Wrath in case of every failure. Neither shall I here urge how there can have been no surrogation of Christ in our room, nor can we properly be said to be Redeemed by him as our substitute, if all redounding to us by his Death, be only the procure­ment of the Gospel-Covenant in which God upon such Conditions as he there re­quires, undertakes to pardon our Iniqui­ties and Sins. A surrogation in our room and stead, to Acts and Sufferings which are not in a Law-sense accounted ours, I am so far from Understanding, that with­out admitting injustice in the Rector who allowe's the substitution, it seem's to me a thwacking Contradiction; especially [Page 412] if we consider that Christ was our substi­tute to make satisfaction to the Demands of the Law and not of the Gospel: and that by his Obedience and Death, He hath only freed us from what we were ob­noxious to upon failure of perfect Obedi­ence, but not at all from what we are li­able to in case of Unbelief and want of sincere Obedience. That the Righte­ousness of Christ is some way or other ours, yea, that it is in a certain sense the very cause of our Justification; the Soci­nians themselves do not deny: Nec enim ut per Christi justitia justificemur opus est ut illius justitia nostra fiat justitia, sed sufficit ut Christi justitiam Causa sit nostra justifica­tionis, & hactenus possumus tibi Concede­re Christi Justitiam esse nostram Justiti­am quatenus nostrum in bonum justificati­onemque redundat, says Schlich tingius, & as Crellius expresseth it, that Christ laid down his Life for us,Contr. Meisner. p. 250, Cont. Grot. cap. 1. ut jus quoddam ad peccatorum remissio­nem & vitam aeternam ob­tinendas nobis daret. Nor do I find that Mr. Sherlock sometimes acknowledgeth any more. But waveing all these things, and many more managed by others, [Page 413] which Mr. Sherlock if he please may reckon Cavil, Sophistry and Vulgar Talk, and judg them unworthy of a sober re­ply; and by slighting what he cannot an­swer, or with a storm of words not only darkning but diserediting what he will not find so easy for him in a Logical way to encounter, bear up his repute amongst his Friends. There are only two things I would premise in order to the more clear making out the Consequence of perver­ting the plainest Scriptures into Meta­phors, which I have fathered upon Mr. Sherlocks Opinion. The First is this, that to justifie is in its proper acceptati­on a Forensick Term, signifying to acquit and absolve one that is accused. That this is its import when it refer's to God and Christ as the Objects of it, and men as the Agents is plain from Psal. 5.1.4. Mat. 11.19. Luk. 7.29. That this likewise is the meaning of it, when it is expres­sive of the Act of men standing upon their own vindication and Innocency, is clear by Luk. 10.29. and 16.15. Job 32.2. and 9.10. That this withall is the only acceptation which it is capable of, when it relates to the Act of a Humane Civil Judg, as Psal. 8.2. Isa. 5.23. Pro. [Page 414] 17.15. will I suppose hardly be denied. In this sense also can it onely be taken when declarative of the Act of God to­wards us as our Judg, or when set in Op­position to Condemnation, or the Curse of the Law, to which we are obnoxious, as Rom. 8.33.5, 18. Gal. 3.11. The Second thing I would premise is this, that Justification not only supposeth us to be indicted, but withal imports an ab­solution from the Charge of that Law of the breach whereof we are accused. Now as the Introduction of the Law of Faith hath not abrogated the Law of Perfect Obedience, but this as well as that doth remain in force, each of them requiring a Conformity to its own demands: so supposing us to answer all that the Gospel requireth (which is both a Righteousness of inherent Grace, and of Personal sincere Obedience, a fai­lure in either of which leaves us inca­pable, not only of being justified, but of being pardoned,) yet the other Law abiding uncancelled, and we being all Guilty of the violation of its Terms, there lyes accordingly a Charge against us, from which by justification we are to be acquitted. Had the Law of Faith re­pealed [Page 415] and abrogated the Law of Works, then indeed we should have remained ly­able to no farther Accusation, provi­ded we had performed the Gospel-Con­ditions: But then it would follow that by being Believers, we wholly cease to be sinners: and that the Gospel instead of only making-provision for the Remis­sion of Sins against the Law, hath pre­vented the Breaches of it from being so. And indeed the Socinians express them­selves in this more consonantly to their Principles, than some others do. For having stated the whole of justification in the Remission of sin upon performance of the Conditions of the Gospel, in pur­suance of this they accor­dingly plead for the utter abrogation of the Sancti­on of the Law.Vid. inter alios Crel. Resp. ad Grot. cap. 3. p. 322. These things being premised, I do affirm that upon Mr. Sher­locks Notion of justification, viz. That we are only justified by our Believing, & obey­ing the Gospel of Christ, and that the Sacri­fice of Christ's Death and the Righteousness of his Life have no other influence upon our acceptance with God, but that to them we owe the Covenant of Grace, wherein [Page 416] God promiseth pardon of sin, Page 320. and Eternal Life to those who believe and obey the Gospel: However in reference to the meer demands of the Gospel, we may in a proper sense be said to be justifi­ed, yet that in reference to the Indict­ment of the Law, which is that alone which accuseth us (for were we accusable of Non-compliance with the Gospel-Terms our Condition were wholly reme­diless) we cannot in any propriety of Speech, be said to be justified, but that justification wheresoever it regards our discharge from the accusation of the Law must be taken Metaphorically. Pardoned indeed we may be, but justified in a pro­per sense we cannot. For to suppose God to pronounce a person just, that is unjust; or to declare him Righteous, that is unrighteous, is to make him pro­nounce a sentence that is unjust & false, & to Act repugnantly to his own Holy and Righteous Nature. And as to justify and to pardon are not only wholly distinct in their Natures and Idea's, but always se­parated in the cases of such as are ar­raigned at Humane Tribunals, (unless it be where the substitution of one Person [Page 417] in the room of another is allowed) and even then, though they accompany one another, yet they are both distinct Acts, and we have distinct Notions of them. For neither can an accused Innocent, by being accquitted, be said to be pardoned; nor a condemned Criminal, by having the execution of his sentence remitted, be said to be justified: In like manner as they import the Actings of God as a merciful Father, and Righteous Governour to­wards us, we have not only distinct and different Idea's of them, but they have their spring and rise in distinct Attributes of God, and we become interested in them upon distinct motives and pleas. Remission is the result of Mercy, and the Act of one exercising Favour; but Justi­fication is the off-spring of Justice, and im­ports one transacting with us in a Juridical way without the infringement of Law or Equity. The word justify neither in its Etymologie nor Application and usage, according to the Institution of men, and least of all in the Scripture Usurpation is Equipollent to pardon, nor coincident with to forgive. So that upon the whole, If we be not made Righteous with the per­fect Righteousness of Christ imputed to us, [Page 418] but that God only for the sake of Christ will dispence with the Rigor of the Law, As our Author expresseth himself: And if the only Influence that the Sacrifice of Christs Death and the Righteousness of his Life have upon our ac­ceptance with God, Page 315. be that God being well pleased with the Obedience of Christ's Life and the Sa­crifice of his Death, for his sake entred into a Covenant with mankind, wherein he promiseth Pardon of sin and eternal Life, Page 320. to those who believe and obey the Gospel; as Mr. Sherlock declares his Con­ceptions of it. And if those who are justi­fied by Christ, and shall Reign with him in Life, be not those who are Righteous by the imputation of Christs Righteousness to them, but those who have abundance of Grace and the Gift of Righteous­ness, that is, who by the Gospel of Christ, which is the Grace and the abundant Grace of God, Pa. 334, 335. are made Holy & Righteous as God is; as our Author further tells us, I dare affirm, if all this be true, that Justifi­cation as it is opposed to the accusation of the Law, its charging us with Guilt, and [Page 419] its passing sentence of Condemnation a­gainst us thereupon, doth not admit a proper sense in the whole Scripture, but must every where be construed Metapho­rically: and that the import of it is not that we are properly and in a Law-sense justi­fied, but that such benefits accrue to us by Remission of sin as if we were so. According to the sentiments of our Au­thor we are only pardoned, but by rea­son of some Allusion betwixt the Ad­vantages redounding to us by Forgive­ness, and the priviledges, immunities, and benefits which ensue upon a proper justification, we are therefore Metapho­rically said to be justified. It were to bid defiance to the Scripture in a hun­dred places, to say that we are not at all justified, & yet in effect their Principles imply no less; For by stating the whole of our assoilment from the accusation of the Law in Remission, they indeed say that we are not justified, only we are improper­ly said to be so, because of some Corre­spondence betwixt the one and the other, in the exceeding great and excellent Be­nefits which by Forgiveness of sin re­dound to us. Justified in a proper sense we are not, only the Name of Justificati­on [Page 420] is transferred to Remission of sin, be­cause of some Analogy in the Effects and Consequences of the one to the other. This our Author is so ingenuous some­times as to acknowledg, for he tell's us, That to affirm that the Merit of Christs Death, is ours to free us from the Guilt and Punish­ment of our sins, Page 108. and his Active Obedience to the Will of God, his Righteousness is ours, for our Justification, consists in the wresting of Metaphorical Expressions to a proper Sense. Page 109. Let the Candid Reader now judg who they are that exercise their Wits, in finding out Metaphorical Senses in the plainest Scriptures, and in perverting the clearest Texts into Metaphors and Allegories: and who not daring openly to decry, and renounce the Gospel, take a course to undermine it. They proclaim us guilty, when indeed they themselves are the chief Criminals: And accuse their Brethren at adventure without ever considering that the Charge returns upon them­selves.

CHAP. III. Of the Vnion of Believers with Christ.

SECT. I.

I Am come at length to the ventilation of that which I principally designed, and which in my undertaking to accost Mr. Sherlock I had chiefly in prospect. And as I am not without hope, that what hath been tendred upon the former Themes will not be altogether displea­sing, so I reckon that what is now to be discoursed will both receive Light and be sustained as well by treating, as the arranging them in the order I have done. Nor is it only Matter of complaint, to find the received Doctrines of the whole Christian as well as Protestant Church publickly impeached and arraigned, but 'tis matter of wonder how by persons [Page 422] nor only living in the Communion of an Orthodox Church, but enjoying great emoluments by virtue of their station and interest therein, it comes both to be so, and to be connived at by those whose Duty it is upon many accounts to ex­press their resentment. To suffer those principles which we not only be­lieve, but superstruct our hope and com­fort upon, to be publikely invaded, be­cause in the opposition given to them the reputations of those are endeavoured to be abated, whom for other causes we think we have reason to dislike; is not an allowable Apology before Men, much less will it serve as a just plea before God To permit the Articles of our Belief not only to be questioned, but contradicted and run down with all the Satyr and Contempt that can be ima­gined, meerly because some of the Non-conformists are at the same time made the Triumph of their Derision and Drol­lery who do so, is not wisely done, to say no worse of it. For by the publica­tion of such Discourses under the stamp of their Authority, who are entrusted with the Care, Defence and Preservation of Religion, and through the universal con­nivance [Page 423] of the Fathers and Dignitaries of the Church; since their Publick venting, it cannot be otherwise expected, but that the Church of England in general will come to be reputed guilty of the Princi­ples asserted, and even such as are In­nocent will be made to suffer in the e­steem of the World amongst the No­cent. Especially Forreigners who can take no other measure of the whole, but what they draw from the approved Writings of particular and Individual members, (no whole having any ex­istence but what it hath in its parts) will be tempted to judg otherwise of the Church of England, than is either for her Interest or Honour that they should. And besides whilst these New Doctrines stand propagated under the countenance and security of an Imprimatur, there is little likelyhood that the heats and rup­tures between Them and dissenting Bre­thren should be extinguished or made up; but that instead thereof, they will grow to be further enflamed and wi­dened. There is no man, how mo­dest or zealous of peace soever he be, who will much care to maintain Com­munion with that Church, that hath both [Page 424] departed from her own established Do­ctrine, and that of the whole Catholick Church also. 'Tis a very incongruous Method of promoting Unity, and an odd way of providing for the safety of the Church, to suffer persons of known Learning, Holiness, Gravity and Mo­deration, and such as dissent from her only in matter of Formes of Ecclesiasti­cal Government, and Rites and Modes of Worship, to be treated with all the Scorn, Contempt, and whatever else the Fall of Adam hath stained the World with; and all this (for any thing that yet appears) meerly for maintaining her own anciently received, and yet Legally esta­lished Doctrine. Were the matter con­troverted only Scholastical niceties, or enquiries of lesser Moment, yet it were both for their own Honour who manage them, & the Interest of the Church where their concernment lyes, that they should be debated with Candour and Modesty. And that mutual esteem and Charity of affections might be preserved under dif­ferent apprehensions of judgment. And that though the Opinions were not Recon­cileable, yet there might no Variance arise through invidious representations of one [Page 425] another, betwixt the persons differently sensing. How much also the Church of England, by suffering her publick Arti­cles and established Doctrines to be as­saulted by any of her Members who hath but the pride and boldness to do so, ex­poseth her self to the clamour of the Papists, is easy to be conjectured. For hereby she retains no common standard of Religion by which it may be under­stood what she holds. And this if I be not misinformed, hath been mustered up by a Romanist, & urged in a private Dis­course to a Person of Learning, beyond the possibility of a satisfying Reply. Did the Fathers and Dignitaries of the Church only resolve on this Neutrality, till the Non-conformists were worded or railed into silence, yet this is not re­concileable to the Wisdom (to omit the Zeal) which we are willing to believe them to be endowed with. For besides that the Trust reposed in them is not an­swered by their looking on so long, 'tis more than likely that if the minds of men come once to be tinctured with these Notions, an interposure then will be like the applying a remedy when the Disease is incurable. Unhappy Principles when [Page 426] once throughly imbib'd, are not found so easy for men to devest themselves of. Though persons esteem it no reflection upon their Parts, nor disparagement to their Understandings to change their O­pinions once, especially if they obtai­ned our Belief before we were in a capa­city to examine them, yet few are wil­ling to proclaim their Weakness so far as to change their Judgments often, parti­cularly when the things again to be rece­ded from, did not solicite their Faith till they were of age, and thought them selves of ability to enquire into them. And if an implicite apprehension of the Concurrence of our chief Doctors (col­lected from their Silence) should be found to have influenced any to submit to these Notions, beyond what the glosses with which their Authors varnish't them could do, their declining so long to de­clare themselves is yet worse to be ac­counted for.

§. 2. But waving the Interest of the Church of England in those Truths which our Author manageth an oppositi­on to, and Her Concernment more than Ours to appear in the Defence and Vin­dication of them from the rude and [Page 427] bold, though weak assaults of Mr. Sher­lock; I shall rather enquire into what seems more especially to have given Birth to our Adversaries Notion of the Union of Believers with Christ, and to have influenced him to denounce War against the Doctrine of the Catholick Church in this matter. And not to in­sist upon what our Author is pleased to alledg as the Reason of it, whereof cha. 1. sect 2. seeing I do rather judg That a pretext than the true Motive: It seems to me to derive its spring higher, and to own its self to another Opinion e­spoused by some of our late Writers, which however artificially glossed, doth indeed damm up all the sources of Grace and Holiness, and is no way defensible but by renouncing all Immediate Union betwixt Believers and Christ, and dis­claiming Him from being a Head of in­fluence to any. In brief then, the Root and Stem, from which our Authors O­pinion in this matter hath shot forth and sprung, is this; namely That, there is no infused Principle of Grace communica­ted to us from Christ as our Life and Head by the efficacious operation of the Spirit, but that whatsoever is so stiled [Page 428] in vulgar Talk, is only the result of our natural Abilities, assisted and seconded by the Moral influences of the Gospel. That Mr. Sherlock is throughly baptized into th [...]s Pelagian and Socinian Principle, though he may sometimes mask himself in declaring it, I shall endeavour to De­monstrate by presenting the Reader with some passages which occur in his Book. When Dr. Owen had upon a certain oc­casion said, That the Humane Nature of Christ if it could be conceived as sepa­rated from the Deity, could afford no spi­ritual supply, but only in a Moral way; our Author is pleased to reply in way of Sarcasm and Irony, that That is a very pittiful way indeed; inti­mating in effect,P. 207. that there is no other way by which supplyes of Grace are com­municated to us. Nor doth he only Railly upon the foresaid Learned Person, for styling Christ the Fountain of all Grace p. 213. but he plainly tells us, that by Grace for Grace which we are said to receive out of Christs fulness, there is no more to be un­derstood, but onely a clear and perspicuous Revelation of the Divine Will in the Gospel, P. 216, 217. because [Page 429] it proclaims so many excellent Promises. A gloss evidently borrow­ed from Socinus, Nam quid aliud Christi Evangelium quam veritaes & Gratia qui­bus vitam aeter­nam adipisca­mur. Socin. in Joan. 1. vers. 15. Ex qua plenitudine om es hause­runt, quatenus omnes eandem Doctrinam de gra­tia Christi & veritate ex Jesu hauserunt & amplexi sunt. Schliching. in Joh. 1.16. Significat hic Joannes Evangelista se & alios discipulos, Domini Jesu salutarem doctri­nam Evangelii non a Joanne Baptista sed ex in­exhausta plenitudine Domini Jesu hausisse. Wolzog. ibid. Schlich­tingius and others of that Tribe (which I thought fit to intimate, not only to prevent his glorying in a­nother mans line, but that the world may know what copy he useth some­times to write after. Hence it is that he will have Christ to be styled our Life, only because he hath prea­ched the Word of Life, and declared the true and only way to Life and Happiness: Page 8.110. And because he hath Power and Autho­rity to bestow Immortal Life upon all his sincere fol­lowers. see also p. 238. Of kin and affinity [Page 430] to these is his affirming God to have by various ways attempted the recovery of mankind, but with little success till at last he sent his Son into the World, who by more plainly publishing the Word of Life, Page 88, 89. and by his more easy directions and nobler Promises reformed the World, after that long and sad ex­perience had proved all those Ways ineffectual, p. 10. which the Divine Goodness out of a rest­less Zeal and concernment for the re­covery of Mankind had fallen upon. Hence not only the Methods of Divine Grace are denyed to consist in the producti­on of any new Principles by an omnipotent & irresistible Power: But the asserting a ne­cessity of infused Principles to regene­rate our Natures, relieve our Weakness, and adapt us to live to God; is represen­ted by our Author a making us to be Acted like Machines by the Irresistible Power of the Grace and Spirit of God. Page 10. And to declare us passive in the recepti­on of the first Grace, is said to render all the Rules and Directions prescribed us by God vain and foolish, P. 354. I purpose [Page 431] not here to discourse the nature of Rege­neration, nor the consistency of Effica­cious Grace with humane Liberty, nor how the producing Faith in us by a pow­er infallible in its Effects, and which is never actually defeated, is so far from being subversive of our Rational Freedom, that it promotes as well as pre­serves it. Nor shall I urge, how if Re­generation be nothing but the result of the exertion of our Faculties through an-application of Gospel-Precepts and Pro­mises to our minds for influence and conduct, that the Holy Ghost hath not only suggested things ordinary and ob­vious to us under an Embarass of lofty Hyperbolical and swelling words; but instead of enlightning us in the Nature of the work of Conversion beyond what the Phlosophers have done, he hath only envelopt it in thick Darkness, and cast it into further obscurity; the chief Terms declarative of it in the Scrip­ture (if that supposition be once admit­ted) being only Rampant, fulsome Me­taphorical expressions of Amendment of Life. Nor shall I debate what is requi­red of us in way of Duty in order to our Regeneration, and how that whatsoever [Page 432] so is exacted; as to the Matter and sub­stance of it lyes within the Sphere and Circle of our Natural Abilities. As nothing but charming lusts, false delu­sions, Carnal Interests, foolish pre­judices, indulging the appetites of the Animal life, and attending to the titilla­tions of the flesh, can hinder men from the performance of what God in subservi­ency to his communicating of Grace (at least in his ordinary dispensing of it) doth require; so the being in the Exercise of those means, and in the discharge of those Duties which God prescribes and enjoyn's, doth not only take us from, and prevent those sins which would render Conversion difficult, if not impossible; but they are further useful as means appointed and blessed of God unto such an end. Though our Obedience hath neither any Physical Efficiency upon our Regenera­tion, nor is Grace bestowed in the Con­sideration of any previous merit that is in our performances, yet tis neither super­fluous nor vain, much less doth it lye in any repugnancy to our Conversions being only perfected by an Effectuall Subjective Work of the Spirit of God. Neither shall I here declare with whom [Page 433] the Opinion of our Author in this matter coincident. Though to do him right he is so far from being singular in it, that he hath not only the Pelagians, Socinians, and the Writer of the Defence and Continuation of the Ecclesiastical Polity, but the doughty Mr. Hobbs, for his associates;Leviath. cap. 20. the last of whom I can ve­ry well allow to com­bate Gods Grace, having first Listed him­self in Opposition to his Being. And as these are enough to secure him from the impeachment of Novelty, so they may serve him to confront Austin, Prosper, &c. the African, Arausican, and other Ancient Counsells, as well as the Synod of Dort, and Generality of Christian Writers with. That which upon a most serious and Impartial survey and examination of the foregoing passages I have to offer is, that from hence hath proceeded our Au­thors Notion of the Union betwixt Christ & Believers. Nor could he in congruity with those principles allow any other kind of Union betwixt them and Him, but what is meerly Political or at most Moral. Admitting once his premises, his Conclusion is Good and Regular: And [Page 434] allowing his Antecedent, his Consequent is every way Logical; nor is there the least Flaw in the coherence. How­ever bad and perverse his thoughts be in this Matter, yet they are Harmonious and duely Ligu'd one to another. Union importing a Relation differs not intrinse­cally from the Subject, Term, and Foundation; and therefore answerably to the Nature, Genius and Quality of the ground and cause of the Habitude be­twixt the Extremes Related, must our Notion and Idea of the [...] and respect between the Relate and the Correlate be. Other Influences of Christ on Be­lievers, besides the giving them Laws attended with promises and threatnings being with Mr. Sherlock absurd and im­possible, all Union betwixt Christ and them save a Political is therefore to our Author obscure and Unintelligible. Ig­norance & dislike of the Communication of the Spirit from Christ to us whose he is said to be, Gal. 4.6. Rom. 8.9. and to be given by Him to be with us and to dwell in us, Joh. 14.17. 1 Cor. 3.16. to­gether with an opposition and enmity to the Holy-Ghosts producing New Principles in us by a Physical and efficaci­ous [Page 435] Operation (though he be said to renew us, Tit 3.5. Sanctify us, 1 Pet. 1.2. and regenerate us, Joh. 13.5, 6.) is indeed the true spring and source of our Authors in­surrection against and contempt of any Union betwixt Christ and his people, but what is Political. Whatever else is pretended, 'tis but the casting a mist before the eyes of men, or rather the Hectoring them out of the Common Belief of the Catholick Church by a Noise & Clamour of Riddle & Unintelli­gible Mystery. And whereas I intimated, Chap. 1. §. 2. that 'tis mainly because of the Unintelligibleness of the Union common­ly pleaded for, that Mr. Sherlock renoun­ceth and disclaimeth it; my meaning was partly, that this is the principal reason wch he thought fit to alledg; and partly that the obscurity which in reference to him 'tis envelopt with, is from that darkness that be-nights him in relation to the Nature of Regeneration, and the indwel­ling of the Spirit. The Immediate Communication of Grace from Christ by a powerful and Unresisted operation of the Holy Ghost, being in his Opinion first Unaccountable for, thence in the Second place comes all kind of Union betwixt [Page 436] Christ and Believers, except a Political and Moral to be Unintelligible. The obscurity of the Union contended for might indeed influence him to depart from the received Opinion about it, but his Opposition to the Principles from which it results gave the Original rise to that abstruseness which made it an Unintelligible Riddle. For other­wise the Notion of an Immediate Union betwixt Christ and Believers is not more Unintelligible on the Foundations which we proceed upon, than Mr. Sherlocks No­tion of it is on the Hypothesis which he hath erected.

§. 3. One would think that the mean­ing of the Terms Christ and Believers should be so fully understood and univer­sally agreed on amongst Professors of Religion, especially Ministers of the Gos­pel, that to spend time and words in sta­ting and setling the import of them were not only needless but superfluous. But through the misrepresentation which some have industriously, and with respect to the serving a corrupt design given of their Brethren as to the fixing the import of these words, the case is otherwise. And therefore 'tis necessary, before we [Page 437] advance any further, to settle and deter­mine the Notion of these Terms as well as of Union, and to set restraints upon their significations, lest otherwise we be made to accept a sense of them which contradicts our own judgment as well as the Truth. Mr. Sherlock in his ar­raigning the immediate Union of Belie­vers with Christ, is pleased to charge those whom upon that occasion he thinks fit to encounter, for affirming men to be United to Christ while they continue in their sins, Pa. 338.348. and that the Union betwixt Christ and Believers is perfected while men continue as ugly, deformed, and vitious as may be. And having represented our Union with Christ to be perfected, we remaining in the mean time unholy, he proceeds to inferr Our destroying all the necessary obligations to Holiness for the future, Because then the merits and satis­faction of Christ become imputed to us to remove the guilt of sin, and to deliver us from the pu­nishment of it, Pa. 351.352. and his actu­al Obedience becomes imputed to us to make us Righteous, and to give us an actual right to Glory. Whether this account which [Page 438] gives of the Opinion of his Adversaries, proceed from his ignorance or insinceri­ty, I shall not determine; but false and slanderous it is, and must accordingly be ascribed either to want of knowledg in these things, or neglect of faithfulness in reporting what he knew of their Judg­ments about them whom he undertakes to oppose. Having lost the Divine I­mage and our Integrity by the Fall, we not only contend that there is the effi­cacy of an external Agent necessary for the recovering it, and that he who im­printed the Image of God on Humane Nature in the first Creation of Man, must restore it in his Regeneration; but we affirm withal, that till the sancti­fying Spirit effectually, infallibly, and by an unresisted Operation, transform us into the Divine Nature, and communicate to us a vital seed, we remain polluted, unho­ly, and uncapable of doing any thing with all that dueness of circumstances as may commend us or our performances to Gods acceptance. Not but that antecedent­ly to the Holy Ghosts renewing us by a communication of Grace to us, we may both Dogmatically believe the Doct­rines of the Scripture, and be found in a [Page 439] discharge of the material parts, not only of natural Duties, but of the Acts of In­stituted Religion. But to say, that we ought thereupon to be denominated Ho­ly, is to remonstrate to the Scripture in a thousand places, and to overthrow the very Tenour and design of the Gospel. Now while we remain thus Un-holy, we are so far from being actually united to Christ, or capable Subjects of Justifica­tion and Forgiveness, that till we be actu­ally made partakers of the washing of Regeneration, and the renuing of the Holy Ghost, we cannot possibly have any Union with Him, or have a right to Par­don of Sin, or any thing that ensues or de­pends thereupon by Him. I know not one amongst the Non-conformists, who Affirmeth that wicked Men while They con­tinue such are actually united to Christ, and thereby have an actu­al Right to Pardon and Righteousness, P. 351, 353▪ and Eternal Life, yea, that they must be united to Christ (if ever they be United) while they continue in sin, as Mr. Sherlock is pleased without respect either to Modesty or Truth to brand them. Nor do I know any Opi­nion maintained by them that draws such [Page 440] a pernicious Consequence after it. But 'tis no matter with some if the Deducti­on be odious and reproachful, whether it be Rational and Coherent or not. All that we plead for is this, that as previously to our Union with Christ we are polluted and Un-holy; so by that very Act whereby he Unites us to Himself, He infuseth those Principles into us, by which our Natures are cleansed, and we come to be denominated Holy and Pure. The Foundation of our Union, and that by wch we become [...], 1 Cor. 6.17. ligu'd and cemented to the Lord, is the mat­ter of our inward Purity, and the vital Seed and living principle of our follow­ing Obedience. By the same Act that he assumes us into Union with Him­self, He transforms our Natures; and by having made a Change in the Heart, there infallibly follows a Change in the conversation. Those very Principles by which we are regenerated, are both the Li­gaments which Knit and Unite us to him, and the springs & sources of all our Gospel Obedience. 'Tis a needless enquiry whe­ther our renovation in order of Nature precede our Union with Christ, or whether our Union go before our Renovation, [Page 441] seeing in order of Time they are not on­ly inseparable; but that which is the New Creature, the Seed of God, and Divine Nature in us is the very Bond of our Cohesion. And as none conti­nuing Un-holy are united to Christ, so neither doth our being united to Him, De­stroy our Obligation to Ho­liness and Obedience for the future, Pa. 351, 352 of which Mr. Sherlock foolishly as well invidiously impeacheth it. For besides that both the Consideration of Gods distinguish­ing mercy in the renewing our Natures will be a forcible Motive and Argument to Holiness, and the principles already inlaid into our Hearts like a vital Form in the Soul, turning it into an uni­versal consent with Gods own Will, adapt, connaturalise and incline us to it; The same Spirit which was the Author of our Regeneration continues both to watch over, cherish, foster excite, and draw forth those principles and habits which he hath already infused into our souls, and to communicate such farther supplies as upon our serving his promises God in his Soveraign infinite wisdom in order to his own glory thinks meet. [Page 442] These we have described, are the persons whose being united to Christ we plead for, which I hope neither derives a dis­honour upon the person of our Saviour, P. 350. nor offers any contradiction to his Gospel. We disclaim being the Patrons and ad­vocates of the Union of any Unholy person, while he continues such, to Christ: Nor is our adversary able by any Rule of Argumentation to infer it from any of our Opinions. How far he may be able to prejudice those against us who are led by Noise, Clamour and Confidence, instead of calm and sedate Reason I know not; but amongst persons of a better figure, who will not meerly be talkt into a contempt of us, who hate us not out of Interest, and so regulate their Faith concerning us by their Indignation, I defie him a Proselyte. I wish Mr. Sherlock were not in this very particular lyable to have that retorted upon him­self which he hath as unjustly as invi­diously fastened upon us. For as I should be sorry that any thing in our own opini­on should lye in such an inconsistency to the frame of the Gospel, as to entitle Unholy persons to an actual Union with [Page 443] Christ; so 'tis no pleasure at all to me to find the Doctrine of an Adversary preg­nant with consequences subversive of true Holiness. But we must take things here as they are, and he ought not to be offended to have his own Notions in this Matter modestly exposed, having with so much Satyr and Contempt injuriously represented the Opinions of others. And first, he grants in so many words, that in one sense we must be united to Christ before we can be Holy; P. 349. and he gives this rea­son for it, Because the first & lowest degree of our Union with Christ is a Belief of his Gospel, and the belief of the Gospel being the great principle of Obedience, it must needs go before it. While Mr. Sherlock impeacheth us, as disserving Holiness and Religion by our Notion of Union, who yet allow no man to be in Christ,2 Cor. 5.17 who is not a new Creature: and that Christ only dwells in us and we in him by the Spirit which he hath given us: 1 Joh. 4.13. He is at the same time so unhappy, and so little mindful of what he says, as not only Consequentially, but in Terminis [Page 444] to plead that men must be United to Christ before they can be Holy. I know he adds, That our Union is not per­fected without actual o­bedience;P. 350 P. 146.147. but if to be in Christ signify no more than being members of his vi­sible Church which is made up of Hypocrites as well as sincere Christians, as our Author tells us elsewhere, I see not but that Uni­on is compleated as well as begun with­out a Mans being Holy, seeing to be u­nited to Christ is no more in its full import than to be in Him. Yea, as if it had not been enough barely to assert, that men whilest they continue in sin may be United to Christ, the Scripture must be suborned to counte­nance it.P. 146.147. Christ (sayes he) speaks of such bran­ches in him as bear no fruit; and therefore being in him can signify no more than be­ing Members of his Visible Church, which is made up of Hypocrites as well as sincere Christians. But neither doth this nor any other text in the Bible militate in be­half of such an impious Notion, how­ever it or they may be pressed, wrested and distorted to such a service. Should [Page 445] we allow Mr. Sherlocks reading of the words referred to Joh. 15.2. which our present English Translation hath prece­ded him in, yet there is nothing in them towards the Patronage of the Cause they are brought for. The meaning of the place is not, that there are any really in Christ who bear not fruit, but only that there are some void of all fruits of Righ­teousness, who make profession of their being so; Who are there­fore in an equivocal sense styled branches,Qui videtur esse in me cum revera non sit, alioqui ferret fructum. Pis­cat. in hoc. because they are numbred a­mongst the Members of the Church. For it is usual to speak of persons and things as if they were that which they appear to be. But withall, the place is capable of another Lection, which if admitted, our Authors Hypothesis is far from being befriended by it. For the words may be as well read, Every Branch that beareth not Fruit in me he taketh away; as every Branch in me that beareth not Fruit. And then the true import of it is, that unless we be in Christ we can bring forth no Fruit to God, and that what shew of [Page 446] being branches we make by virtue of an External Member-ship in the Church. Yet that shall be no Obex to Christs disclaiming and renouncing our Works. Nothing hath the true denomination of Holiness, but what proceeds from the Spirit of Christ in us, and Principles of Grace by infusion communicated to us, which are the Foundation, matter and Bond of our Union with Him. And under whatever gloss or varnish we or our works appear to the World, yet without such a Relation to Christ we are none of His, nor are our Duties as to the Principles and Circumstances of them acceptable to God. The Ob­ligation upon Men to Obedience in what state soever we suppose them; The con­sistency of Gods Right of Comman­ding with our contracted inability to the yeilding of due Obedience; the Ca­pacity that all men remain in, notwith­standing any Congenite Impotency for the performing many External Duties good in themselves and in the matter of them, with the subservience of these performances to Conversion, as they are means appointed of God in order thereunto; all these I in some measure [Page 447] understand and can reconcile with the Oeconomy of the Gospel: But that our Lives can be Holy till our Hearts be so through the renuing of the Ho­ly Ghost; or that our Works can be adequately Good antecedently to our Reception of supernatural Grace, I do no wise understand, and I should ac­count my self obliged to Mr. Sherlock would he unfold these things to me with­out obtruding Pelagianism upon the World. And this conducts me to a Second thing wherein our Authors No­tion of Union with Christ disserveth and undermines Gospel-Holiness, be­yond what the highest Malice steel'd with a proportionate Confidence, can by any Laws of Reason fasten upon his Adversaries of such a tendency. For as if it were not enough to have said, that men are in a sense United to Christ before they either are or can be Holy, P. 349. even that very Obedience in which he states the compleatness of our Union with Christ, and by which he declares it to be perfected, is not owing to an In­fused Principle derived from Jesus by the effectual operation of the Holy [Page 448] Ghost, but is only the result, & effect of our Natural Abilities awakened and ex­cited by the Gospel. Hence (that I may not again repeat what we have heard from him before Sect. 2.) he tells us, That a Holy Life must at least in order of Nature goe before our Union with Christ, Page, 349. because by this we are United to Him; and that we are not real and living Members of Christ till we first sincerely Obey Him. Now I say, that this Obedi­ence wherein our Author places the very perfection of our Union with Christ, is not only formally distinct from true Gospel-Holiness, but indeed lies in a con­trariety to it. The Gospel acknow­ledgeth no Acts of true Holiness per­formed by any, where there is not ante­cedently at least in order of Nature a principle of true Holiness in the persons performing them. No Acts, operations, or Duties of ours are in the esteem of the Gospel Holy, but what proceed from, and are done in the virtue, po­wer, and efficacy of Grace previously de­rived from, and Communicated to us by Jesus Christ. There is pre-required to all acts of Gospel-Obedience, a new, [Page 449] real, spiritual Principle by which our Na­ture is renewed & our Souls rendred habi­tually and subjectively Holy. Grace is not the effect and product of any previ­ous good Actions of ours, (what ever subserviency through the appointment and dispose of God they may lie in as to his bestowing of it) but all Acts & Opera­tions truly Good are the fruits and efflo­rescencies of Grace. To talk of sincere Obedience precluding our antecedaneous adeption of a new Principle, and the Communication of a Divine Vital Seed to us, is to impose Pelagianism upon us, and that in a more fulsom way, and in cruder Terms than many of the followers of Pelagius used to declare themselves. Excluding our being furnished with an active, supernatural, infused, sub­jective Principle, the utmost influence the Gospel hath upon Obedience is only by the equity and reasonableness of its Laws, the nobleness and certainty of its Promises to solicite our Minds, and to awaken the Strength we have; but as to the conferring any real Strength or the begetting a vital Form in our Hearts, thereby repairing and restoring the I­mage of God which we have lost, it is [Page 450] altogether incompetent and ineffectual. So that upon the whole, that very Obe­dience wherin Mr. Sherlock states the Nature and Perfection of our Union with Christ to consist, is not only contra-distinct from, but subversive of the Ho­liness which the Gospel requires, being an Obedience educed meerly out of our natural Abilities, and no ways owing to any Antecedent Renovation of our Natures by the Holy Ghost; which is that alone that the Gospel honours with the name of Holiness. Nor is this either all the Invasion which our Author, by the Idea he gives of Union with Christ, hath made upon Gospel-Holiness, but admitting once his account of it to be true, that which God alone doth entitle by the Name of Holiness is wholly shut out of the Religion of Christians. So that a Third Reason why I except against his Notion of our Union with Christ as per­nicious to Holiness beyond what the O­pinion of any others is whom he so Tra­gically declame's against, is this, that it ren­der's all True Holiness even in persons actually and compleatly united to Christ, impossible for the future. For as our Union with Christ is perfected without a­ny [Page 451] Communication of New Principles by a real, Physical and efficacious o­peration of the Holy Ghost; so through our being United to Him, he becomes not according to Mr. Sherlock, a Quick­ning Head and a Vital Root of Influences to us.P. 159. He is (says he) only styled our Head, P. 165. because invested with Authority to Govern us by his Laws; and our Vnion with Him as such, consists only in an acknowledgment of his Authority, and in Subjection to his commands. Hence the making the Per­son of Christ a Fountain of Grace, is re­flected upon by our Au­thor in words full of con­tempt and scorn.P. 213. And by our Fellowship with Christ which the Sacred Writers so Emphatically speak of, we are told there is only meant such a Political Union, as is betwixt a Prince and his Subjects, between Superiours,P. 187. and Infe­riors. Hence also that Fulness of Grace which is said to reside in Christ, P. 216. is declared by our Author to be nothing but his revealing the Gospel [Page 452] to us, which may well be called Grace be­cause it contains so many excellent promises: and our receiving out of his Fulness Grace for Grace, is paraphrased to denote no more but our being perfectly instructed by Him in the will of God. P. 217. Hence likewise Christs being styled our Life, is glossed to import only his publishing the Word of Life to us, which contains the most express pro­mises of a blessed Immortality, and the most easy and plain directions how to attain it. Now I do not deny (the things revealed and com­manded in the Gospel,P. 231. being both Good in themselves, and suited to the Reason and Interest of Mankind, and also enforced by the most attractive Motives which we can either desire or Imagine,) but that men in the alone strength of their Natural Faculties, may perform many External Duties, and in that manner also that we who judg on­ly according to appearance, are thereup­on to account them Holy; yea that no­thing but supineness, lustful prejudice, consuetude in sin, & a being immersed in­to the Animal Life, can hinder them from so doing: But I deny that any [Page 453] Act or Duty hath the proper Form, and Nature of Holiness, or is so denomina­ted in the Scripture, but what both pro­ceeds from an Antecedent Habit or Prin­ciple of Holiness in the persons by whom they are performed, and an Immediate influence from Christ in the virtue of our Union with Him as our Quickning-Head, Vital Root, & living Spring in the actual performance of them. 'Tis he that worketh in us both to will and to do, Phil. 2.13. and without him we can do nothing that is Formally Good or acceptable to God, John 15.3. That exclusively of an antecedent Habit and seed of Grace communicated to us and Resident in us, and of fresh Influences from Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, we are neither Subjec­tively Holy, nor do perform any one thing which the Scripture bestows the Denomi­nation of Holiness upon, hath not only been Demonstrated against the Pelagians both by Ancient and Modern Writers, but defined in several Councils and Synods. And therefore Both these being discharged out of Mr. Sherlocks Hypo­thesis of our Union with Christ, his Doctrine concerning it is so far from ha­ving any Influence upon the promotion [Page 454] of True Holiness, that it lyes in a Repug­nancy to it, and makes it impossible to Christians. Let us suppose Men satis­fied of the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, and accordingly in the Dogmatical Belief of them; let us sup­pose them also perswaded of the Rea­sonableness and Equity of Gospel-Pre­cepts, and that upon the promises and threatnings which accompany and en­force them, they are not only inclined and resolved to obey them, but that they actually perform the Material parts of all Moral Duties and Acts of Instituted Worship, which is the most we can conceive of the persons for whose Union with Christ Mr. Sherlock pleads, and indeed more than truly they can be en­tiled to; yet all this admitted, I say, that providing we will take our Measures of the Nature of Holiness, from the Decla­rations which God hath given of it, and not from the ill-digested Notions of the Pelagians, and Socinians about it, Gospel Holiness is not only disbanded out of the whole of this, but undermined & subverted by it. For as much as the Gospel, judgeth nothing to be true Holiness but what presupposeth the Grace of Rege­neration as that which adapts to it, and im­plyes [Page 455] a causal Concomitancy of Actual Grace, as that which doth immediately influence it. Moral Virtue it may be, but Christian Holiness 'tis not. And thus I have declared who they are that stand united to Christ, and that our Hy­pothesis so far as it relates to the Subjects of this Union, doth no ways countenance a prophane Course, or frown upon a Holy Life. And have also demonstrated how the Hypothesis erected by our Author in op­position to it, is, as it respects that Extreme of this Relation, many ways guilty of such an unhappy & pernicious tendency.

§. 4. Having declared whom we mean by Believers, who are the subjects of this Union we are Discoursing about, and ha­ving manifested that there is nothing in the Character of the Persons assum'd into this Relation of Oneness with Christ, that in the least undermines Holi­ness, or befriends a course of Impiety: We are next to fix and determine what we intend & understand by Christ, who is the other Extreme of this Relation of Uni­on, and to whom Believers in the Vir­tue of it become ligu'd and copulated. I confess I should heretofore have esteem'd the engaging in such a service a mee prodigality of Words and Time; but the [Page 456] Ignorance and Disingenuity of Mr. Sher­lock doth render it a this time a necessary Undertaking. Nor can I otherwise either vindicate the Non-conformists from the unjust representation which in this mat­ter he gives of them, nor correct the mi­stakes and prevarications which in assign­ing the import of the Name, and Term Christ, I find him guilty of. First then, neither in the Question before us, nor in a­ny other whatsoever, doth Christ signify the Name of an Office. I expected to have met with Sense whatever I might have mist, in the Writings of a Person pretending to so great accuracy as Mr. Sherlock doth; and that whate­ver quarrel he had against any Text in the Bible, or the received Rules of Ar­gumentation, yet that he would not have fallen out with the Accidence and Syn­tax. If either he had not ability, or would not allow himself leasure to write Rea­son and Truth, yet he should have been careful to have avoided Nonsence. To affirm, that Christ is Ori­ginally the Name of an Of­fice, P. 5. & 8. & p. 201. or to speak of the Duties and Actions of an Office as our Author doth, argues him (that I may [Page 457] express it with the greatest modesty I can) to have forgotten his Grammar as well as his Logick. As every Concrete Term imports a Form, Quality, or something analogous to these Admini­string a Denomination, so it always im­plies a Subject denominated from them. Though there be Actions belonging to Officers, and Actions which Persons by virtue of their being vested with an Office are obliged to, yet to ascribe Acti­ons to an Office, as if it were the very A­gent (whereas it is meerly the Foundati­on from which an Obligation to the per­formance of such and such Actons in the due discharge of it results) whatever Wit or profoundness his Friends may Ima­gine in it, I cannot otherwise account of it than a piece of sublime Nonsense. And Nonsence is not to be refuted, but expo­sed. For he betrayes the weakness of his own Reason, who undertakes to encoun­ter an absurd Phrase with Arguments. Nor Secondly, doth the Name Christ in the Question under Debate, signifie the Gospel and Religion of Christ. 'Tis in­deed by the Doctrine of the Gospel as a Moral means that we come to be uni­ted to Christ, but 'tis not It that we are [Page 458] united to. As the Gospel alone reveals our Union with Christ, and as the Com­munication of the Spirit, & the repairing the Image of God in our Souls are on­ly promised by it; So God in his sove­raign Wisdom hath ordained it to be the alone Vehiculum of the Spirit, and the means of ingenerating Faith in our Hearts, which are the Bonds of our U­nion. Hence 'tis called the [...] 2 Cor. 3.8. in opposition to the Law which was [...]. And as the purity of its Precepts, and the nobleness of its Promises do admi­rably qualify and adapt it as an Obje­ctive Moral means of restoring the Image of God in us; so through the Blessing of God attending it as His solemn Institution to this End, we become [...] by it 2 Pet. 1.4. Though no Physical Efficiency is to be ascribed to it, yet besides a Moral Efficacy, which through its own frame and complexion it hath to reform Mankind beyond (what any Declaration of God & our selves, that ever the World was made acquainted with had): There is a Physical efficacious Operation of the Spirit of God accompanies it on the [Page 459] score of the Lords having in Infinite Sa­pience ordained it as a means for the communicating Grace. But still 'tis not the Doctrine of the Gospel that we are united to. 'Tis true, that it is both by the Doctrine of the Gospel that we are brought to be united to Christ; and 'tis also true, that whosoever are united to Him have the Doctrine of the Gospel [...] as an ingraffed and incorpora­ted Word, and are moulded [...] into the Form of its Doctrine: But yet 'tis not the Terminus of the Relation of Union which intervenes betwixt Christ and them, nor is it That which they are united to. Mr. Sherlock I confess, tells us, that when Christ, Joh. 15. speaks of the First person I and in Me, P. 147. he cannot mean this of his own person, but of his Church, Doctrine and Religion and that by I in him v. 4. and I in you v 5. we are to understand the Christian Doctrine dwell­ing and abiding in us. 'Tis pretty,P. 148. to observe with what nimble removes from the Church to the Doctrine of Christ, & again from the Doctrine to the Church of Christ, our Author paraphraseth the [Page 460] first five or Six verses of that Chapter. The I and me in the first & 2d. verses are glossed as referring to the Church. I am the true Vine, the meaning is saith Mr. Sherlock, that Church which is founded on the Belief of my Doct­rine is the true Vine: P. 145. P. 146, 147 E­very Branch in me, i. e. saith he, every Member of my visible Church. But then the I in you, and the I in him v. 4. and 5. are expoun­ded of the Doctrine of Christ. His fly­ing from one quarry to another, argues some inconvenience and danger he fore­saw his exposition of the place encumbred with, or else that some vertigo troubled his pericranium. I shall at present only examine so much of his paraphrase as re­spects those words where in stead of the person of Christ, he will have the Doct­rine and Religion of Christ to be under­stood. That which he interprets as rela­ting to the Church of Christ, which can only be understood also of his person, shall hereafter be taken into consideration. And as to that which lyeth now before me, 'tis enough not only to prejudice Mr. Sherlocks exposition, but to over­throw it with all Judicious persons, that-Expressions [Page 461] of the same Nature are not allowed the same sense. I know that one and the same Word is sometimes in one & the same verse differently sensed, when the subject Matter, context & scope of the Discourse do so require: But to impose disagreeing and various meanings upon Expressions of one and the same Nature occurring together, where one and the same sense may safely be admit­ted, is to violate all Laws of Expo­sition, and to make the Scripture plia­ble to what purposes we please. The in you, and the in him, v. 4. and 5. are pre­dicates referring to the same I & affirm­ed of the same Subject, that True Vine is predicated of v. 1. and 5. But it being as well absurd to style the Doctrine of the Gospel the true Vine, as to assert con­cerning the Church that it is in us; our Author hath therefore found it necessa­ry to make the subjects of the Propositi­ons different, though there needs no more where the Judgment is not fore­stalled, and the mind under a chosen Occecation, than the meer inspection of the Paragraph, to ascertain the contrary. (2) Though the subject of a Proposition may be brought into Debate, where it is [Page 462] expressed by a Relative Pronoun, yet when one speak's of Himself in the First Person by a Pronoun Demonstra­tive, as the Evangelist introduceth Christ here doing, [...], to say that he speaks not of Himself, is no less than to give him the Lie. Words in the common acceptation and stated sense of them being infallible manifesta­tive signs of the Conceptions of the Speaker when the Author is Veracious; I would know of Mr. Sherlock, that sup­posing it had been the design of Christ to have told us, that by I in you, and I in Him, he meant himself, how he could have done it otherwise, or in Terms of a more determined signification? What better Evidence can we have of the sense of a Place than that had an Author intended such a meaning, he could have used no plainer Expression to declare it? (3) The I in you, v. 4. is the same with the I that had spoken to them, and through whose Word they were made clean, v. 3. Now to think that this could be the Doctrine of Christ or any other than Christ himself, is a Non-sensical Imagination. What friend­ship our Author hath for the Religion of Christ I cannot tell, but that he ex­pounds [Page 463] Scripture at a high rate of con­fidence to the derogation of his Person, is by the Instance before us too plain & evident. Nor do we, Thirdly, in the Question under consideration under­stand by Christ the Church of Christ. I shall not now controvert, whether by the Name Christ the Church may not sometimes be signified? All I shall say is this, that as the Phrases of Being in Christ, engrafted into Christ, and United to Christ, being one Body with Christ, and Brethren in Christ, are to be otherwise Under­stood than meerly to imply Our belong­ing to that society whereof Christ is the Head and Governour (which is the Pa­raphrase that Mr. Sherlock is pleased to put upon them,Page, 11.12. See in Gal. 3.16. Pareus, Li­ranus, Cajet. Corn. a Lapi­de, Rutherford on the Cove­nant p. 312. On 2 Cor. 12.12. see Dr. Owen of the Holy Spirit p, 454.455. but shall be after­wards disproved and over­thrown) so Gal. 3.16. and 1 Cor. 12.12. where of all other places the Church seems with the greatest probability to be signified by the Name Christ, ought in my mind to be other­wise interpreted. And were that my present bu­siness, I should think it a [Page 464] matter encumbred with small difficulty to Demonstrate that 'tis the Person of Christ, & not his Church, that is immedi­ately & primarily intended by that Name in both places. And truly even admit­ting the supposition that there is no other Union betwixt Christ and Believers, but meerly a Political, I do not see but that Mr. Sherlock might have allowed Christ himself to be intended wheresoever our U­nion with him is declared & spoken of. I am sure as his Hypothesis had thereby remai­ned as consistent every way with it self, so more reverence had been maintain'd towards the Scripture, than there is by justling out Christ, and substituting the Church in his room. For example, when Christ saith of himself I am the true Vine, &c. Our Author even in pursuance of his own Notion might have allowed him to be so, and that Christ spake the Truth, though in way of Paraphrase he had sub­joyn'd that he was so no otherwise but by the Gospel, and upon the account of his Authority over, and influence upon the Church by his Doctrine and Laws. I am sure the Socinians (though through their denying the Divine Person of Christ, they renounce all vital influences from [Page 465] him to Believers, and disclaim his being other than a Political Head,) un­animously allow, that where Christ says, I am the true Vine, he mean's him­self. Though the Honour of being the First-framers and erecters of the Hy­pothesis of Christs being meerly a Poli­tical Head to his Body, be due to them; yet I should be Injurious to Mr. Sherlock, did I deny him the reputation of being the Contriver of this New Dresse▪ and Trim, with which he hath adorned it. Only 'tis attended with this Inconveni­ence, that it is not shapen very agreeably to the place that lay before him, and which should have been his mea­sure; with what handsomeness soever otherwise it be deckt and set out. Whereas Christ saith, Joh. 15.5. I am the vine ye are the Branches: this must be expounded, saith our Author, to the same sense with what goes before, P. 145. where Christ speak­ing of himself saith, I am the true Vine. The meaning is that Church which is founded on my Gospel, is the true Vine: I, signifies Christ together with his church which is his Body. Concerning which Paraphrase I shall only recommend these [Page 466] things to the Consideration of the Rea­der. 1. 'Tis inconsistent with it self. In one line he affirms the Church to be the true Vine, and in the next he tells us, that the I of which True Vine is predicated, signifies Christ together with his Church; & yet a few lines after he contends, that by I am the True Vine, we can Rationally understand nothing but the Church which is founded on the Belief of the Gospel, P. 146. and her being the only True Church which God now owns. And accordingly all the four Reasons brought in confirmation of his exposition, are wholly calculated to shut Christ out from any share or claim in that Proposition, I am the True Vine, and to establish the Church for the alone Subject of that Enunciation. Now I un­derstand not how these things are recon­cileable viz. When Christ speaks in the First Per­son I he cannot mean this of his own Person but of his Church; P. 147. and yet that I signifies Christ▪ together with his Church, pag. 145. 2 'Tis altogether Novel. For be­sides that no one Commentator who own's the Divinity of Christ hath preceded him in it, even the Socinians out of [Page 467] whose Mine he hath too frequently dig­ged his Treasure, do in this particular stand in opposition to him. As to the Manner of our being in this Vine. viz. through a Belief of, and adhesion to Christs Doctrine,Nam sicut ex vite sunt palmites, sic ex Magistro nascuntur dis­cipuli, & sicut in vite sunt palmites, i. e. adhaerent pal­miti, sic & Magistro ad­haerent discipu­li doctrinam Ejus amplec­tentes & profi­tentes ▪ in Joan. 15.2. our Author hath the Exposition of Schlichtingius to befriend him. But I know none of the Socinians that have been so front-less, or who have so far steeld their brow, as to preclude Christ from being under­stood here by the True Vine. 3. 'Tis repugnant to the Universal Reason and sense of Mankind. For though there may be Contrasts about the Sub­ject of an Enunciation when the Expres­sion is in the 2d. or 3d. Person, yet it was never till Mr. Sherlock wrote so much as questioned but, that when the Person speaking affirms any thing of himself in the 1st. person, he himself is the Subject of that Proposition. Christ therefore being the Person speaking & saying of himself, I am [Page 468] the True Vine, 'tis both to give him the lye, and to contradict the Reason that Mankind is determined by in judg­ing of the Subject of a Propositi­on, to say, he is not the True Vine, but the Church is so. 4. It offers violence to the Harmony of the Context. For (1) Though we can easily conceive how a particular Believer may be in the Church, yet 'tis impossible to a apprehend how the Church can be in a particular Be­liever. And therefore seeing 'tis the same Identical I of whom the True Vine is predicated, v 1. that in you, and in them, is affirmed of, v. 4, 5. either the whole Church must be allowed to be in every Individual Christian, which is impossible; or else the Church is not signified by the [...]n either of the places, which overthrow's Mr. Sherlocks paraphrase. (2) Because no Christian severed from the Vine and its Influences ( [...] for [...]) which is here intended, either doth or can bring forth fruit to God; but this, a per­son severed or separated from any Visible Church may do, and consequently 'tis not the Church, which by this Metaphorical Term Vine, is here meant and under­stood. Now that one living in the [Page 469] fellowship and communion of no Vi­sible Church may yet be a Christian, these following Reasons do demonstrate. First, Because when these words were spoken, there was no Church of Christ founded on the belief of the Gospel, and yet there were believers. 2ly. Because 'tis possible for a man to be a Christian where there is no visible Church for him to be united to. And unless we should suppose a Number to be converted toge­ther, we must grant this to have been the case at least for a time of such as first em­braced the Faith of the Gospel in Hea­then Nations. 3dly Because a person may be cast out from actual Communion with the whole visible Church, and yet re­main a disciple of Christ and a true Be­liever. And that this hath been the lot of some of the best servants of God, might be made manifest in diverse Instan­ces, if it were either necessary or lay now before me. (4) Because no adult person, especially such as are not sprung of Christian and Covenant-parents, either hath or can plead a right of admission into the visible Church of Christ, who both doth not live to God, and of whose so doing there is not some previous Mo­ral [Page 470] Certainty and Evidence. Interest in Christ by Faith, is the Foundation of all that Interest which any Man rightfully hath in the Church, as a Member of it. It is through a Relation, and habitude to Him as our Vital Head, that we come to be knit together as Members of the same Body. So far is our Communion with the Church from being the Foun­tain and spring of our Holiness, that as its our being Holy that entitles us to the Communion with the Church before God; so it is our seeming to be so that entitles us to her communion be­fore Men. So that upon the whole, our Authors Gloss of the Churches being un­derstood by the True Vine, proving con­tradictious to it self, repugnant to the Rea­son of Mankind in the measures by which they judg concerning the sense of a Propo­sition, as well as inconsistent with and irreconcileable to the Context, and with­al Novel; I hope he will find few Pro­selytes to it, and fewer Advocates for it. And as the Arguments upon which he hath built it, are no other than vain and trifling Pretences; so the most plausible of them have been already replyed to, and the futilousness of the rest shall here­after, [Page 471] if necessity do so require, be made manifest. I shall shut up this with Dr. Ham­monds Paraphrase of the Text, whom I suppose none of the Conforming-Cler­gy will either upbraid with Ignorance, or deny him to equal Mr. Sherlock, both in the knowledg of Divinity and the Doct­trine of the Church of England. I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Hus­band▪ Man, is thus Glossed by him: I am the True Generous Fruit bearing Vine, Jer. 22.1. my Blood as the blood of the Grape, shall Rejoyce the Heart of God and Man, Jud. 9.12. And my Father who hath thus planted me in this World here below, hath the whole ordering of all that belong to me, and every Branch, every Believer, every Member of my Mistical Body. And accordingly, he understands our abiding in the Vine, ver. 5. to be in the Virtue of Grace, communicated from Christ to us.

Having discharged the Church and the Doctrine of the Gospel from being signified by the Name Christ, as that Word and Name denotes the Term to which Believers are united: it remains that we declare what is the true import and just meaning of it with respect to the room it hath in the present [Page 472] Question. And here by the Name of Christ we understand the person of Christ: nor is any thing else intended properly by it in the whole Gospel. Sup­posing that secondarily and in way of Trope it occur sometimes used to imply the Doctrine of the Gospel and, may be sometimes to signify, the Christian Church, yet that prima­rily and properly it doth not denote the Person of Christ, is a blasphemous & wild Imagination. That Christ is a Person, was never denied by any, unless it be the Quakers, who neither know what the Idea of Person is which they deny him to be, nor what themselves intend in the acknowledgment they make of Him. The Arrians, and Socinians de­ny the Divinity of his Person, the Mani­chees of old disclaimed the real Manhood of His Person; The Nestorians asserted two Persons in him as well as two Natures; but that he was a Person some one way or other hath been always granted, till a Generation hath of late arisen, who nei­ther understand whereof they speak, nor what they renounce. But the Enquiry is, What we mean by the person of Christ to which Believers must be united; And this we are obliged the rather to declare [Page 473] our selves about, seeing Mr. Sherlock is pleased to Character us, as having here out-done all the Metaphysical subtilties of Suarez, Pag. 200. First then, By the Per­son of Christ we understand more than his being a meer Man. There are a sort of Gentlemen, who though they own the Personality of Christ, yet they wholly renounce the Divinity of His Person. And to give them their due, 'tis upon the supposition of his being a meer Man, that they allow him to be only a Politi­cal Head to his Members. Nor is this any thing but a just pursuance of their for­mer Principle; for not admitting Him to be God, 'tis impossible that he should be a Head in respect of Vital Influences to any. And I wish that among the many Expositions of Scripture-Texts, which our Author hath transcribed from them, he had not in complyance with them per­versely sensed even such places wherein their design is to undermine the Deity of the Son of God. I would not be thought to impeach Mr. Sherlock of op­posing the God-head of Christ, but this I affirm, that if his Glosses of Col. 1.19. Col. 2.3. and 2.8. Joh. 14.20. Joh. 1.14. (which are the very same that the Socini­ans impose upon those places) be admit­ted, [Page 474] we have some of the main proofs of it, wrested out of our hands. Secondly, Though by the Person of Christ to whom we are United, we understand more than a meer man, yet we also af­firm that he is truly and properly a Man. As we do not Un-God him with the Ari­ans and Socinians, so neither do we Un-man him with the Marcionites and Mani­chees. As he is truly and Essentially God, and not meerly styled so upon the account of his wonderful Conception, the Sanctity of His Life, His Power of working Miracles, His Resurection from the Dead, His Rule and Care over the Church, and the like; so He is as tru­ly and essentially Man, having assumed the whole and entire Humane Nature, with whatsoever belongs to it as a neces­sary Affection or Adjunct. He had both a true Organical Body, and was not a meer Spectrum or Phantasm in the shape and form only of a Man, as Marcion and Ma­nes blasphemously imagined; and had also a true Humane Rational Soul, nor was the Deity meerly instead thereof sup­plying its Office to the Body, as Apolli­naris with equal folly and perversness asserted. Thirdly, We do by the Person [Page 475] of Christ to which we are United, in­tend and understand more than his God-head and Man-hood abstractedly and separately considered. And if this be The outdoing all the Metaphy­sical subtilties of Suarez,Page 201. which our Author Chargeth us with, that we have found out a Person for Christ (in this sense) distinct from his God-head and Man-hood, we think not to have done would have been as far from Wit, as Truth. A deep and mysterious Doc­trine of the Gospel we acknowledg it to be, but to style it a metaphysical subtil­ty, is to betray high Irreverence towards the great Mysteries of Faith, as well as shameful Ignorance in the Fundamen­tals of Religion. The Notions of Sup­positum, Person, Hypostasis, personality as distinct from the Idea of Nature or [...] are so far from having their first rise in the Schools of Philosophers, or being Originally ow'd to Metaphysicks, that they sprung from the Mystery of the Incarnation, which both gave occasion of framing distinct and different Concep­tions of them; and by the account which the Scripture gives of the Mystery, did illuminate us concerning them. Though the person of Christ do not at all differ [Page 476] from the [...] and the Humane Na­ture, as they are considered united; yet as we conceive of God-head and Man-hood in the abstract, there is an inade­quate difference betwixt them and the Person of Christ. And although there be no third Nature in the Person of Christ, besides his Divine & his Humane, yet His Person is neither his Divine Nature nor his Humane. And had Mr. Sherlock been either acquainted with Metaphysicks, or conversant in the Canons of the Anci­ent Councils, not to mention his being familiar with the Fathers, he would ne­ver have charged the maintaining of that upon his Adversaries as a Reproach and Crime, the not holding whereof would have justly exposed them to the Imputa­tion of Heresy. But when men are un­der the conduct of Passion, and their Ignorance is answerable to their Rage; what less can be expected than the throw­ing out accusations at adventure, and the listing the most momentous Truths of Christians, either in the Roll of subtil Querks, or pernicious Errors; rather than such whom out of prejudice they oppose, should escape being blazon'd for Fools or Hereticks. Fourthly, By the [Page 477] Person of Christ then, we mean the Hu­mane Nature assum'd into Union with the Person of the Word and subsisting by the Hypostasis, and personality of the [...] or second Person in the Trinity. As the Humane Nature of Christ is of it self [...], so 'tis assumed into Uni­on, not precisely the with Divine Nature, but with the second Person of the Trini­ty which connotate's somthing more than barely the Divine Nature, though what that is, be beyond the Territories of Reason to conceive or declare. Now with respect to the operations, com­munications, fruits,Christi per­sona constat & conficitur ex Deo & homine, cum ipse Chri­stus sit verus Deus, & verus homo quia om­nis res illarum rerum naturam & veritatem in se continet ex quibus con­ficitur ▪ Prosp. and effects which proceed from the person of Christ constituted and consisting of the second Person of the Trinity and the Hu­mane Nature, we are to consider these four things. 1. The [...] the Agent or Cause, and that is the Person of Christ. The effective Principle of the whole Mediatorial Work is Christ personally considered, and the things done, wrought, bestowed, or any [Page 478] effected, are all [...], or the works and operations of God-Man. 'Tis not this or that nature simply considered, but the Person of Christ that is the Fountain and Causal Principle of Actions, and deno­minated from them. Though we cannot conceive any operation to proceed from Christ, but what belongs either to his God-head or Man hood as its Formal prin­ciple, yet as there are many things pre­dicated of the person of Christ wherein the Humane Nature is united to the Di­vine [...], which cannot in any single pro­position be affirmed of, or ascribed to either of them; So whatsoever is attribu­ted to him as the Christ, He is as a Per­son the efficient Principle and cause of it. 2. The [...], the Formal Prin­ciple of all his operations, and that is ei­ther the Humane Nature or the Word. Though the Man-hood be brought into conjunction with the [...] ▪ yet as both re­tain what is proper and essential to them­selves, so they remain distinct Formal Principles of operation. Agit utra (que) forma cum alterius communione quod suum est, Leo epist. ad Flav. Verbo operante quod Verbi est, & Carne exequente quod Carnis [Page 479] est. 3. The [...] or Action which ceeds either from the Humane Nature or from the [...] as its Formal Principle. And as This or That is its Formal Prin­ciple, it is of such a Specificate Nature, i. e. a Divine Action or a Humane. Though the things wrought for us, communicated to us, and effected in us, be all [...]; and though Divines use to style the Actions them­selves so,Vid. Derod. de Substantia & Accident. Art. 4. N. 293. as proceeding from the same Effective Personal Principle, yet I think it better to forbear that appellation of them, seeing no Acti­on proceeds both from the Humane Nature and from the [...] as its Formal Princi­ple. 4. The [...] or [...]. The thing wrought or effected by the concur­rence of the Humane Nature, and the Word as they are united in & constitute the Person of Christ. And here the di­stinct [...], or Formal Principles occur­ring in the person of Christ, do in their influence meet and center each of them [...] by an Action congruous and pe­culiar to its own respective Nature. And though the God-head and Man-hood in Christ remain distinct Formal Princi­ples [Page 480] of Operations, yet through the Uni­on of the Humane Nature to the second Person of the Trinity in Him, those things come to be effected by Him per­sonally considered, which he could not have wrought, either as God or Man se­parately conceived. Now Christ being our Mediator only considered as God and Man in one Person, and not meerly as God, or as Man; And it being from Christ as Mediator, though in ways congruous and proportionate, that we receive Grace, Life, and all vital In­fluences, Therefore we contend and plead, that the Union of Believers with Christ, is through their being united to his Person.

§. 5. The last Term, whose import and meaning we are to state and fix, is Uni­on. And being a Transcendental Term, 'tis not easy to assign such an uncontrou­lable, and clear Notion of it, as may adequately agree to, and univocally ex­press it wheresoever it occurs. But though Union be one of the greatest secrets of Nature, and that which affronts our Understandings, when we enquire into the Quality and Mode of this or that Union in particular; yet so much [Page 481] Light may be reflected upon it in gene­ral, as may serve to declare the value, and meaning of the Term. Union then is either taken for Unition; or for the Effect, Modification or Mode caused by the [...]itive action in the Extremes, or at least one of them, that come to be copulated; or Thirdly, For the Relation exsurging between the extremes knit and ligu'd one to another. In the First acceptation 'tis to be conceived of Efficiently; in the Second Formally; and in the Third as a [...] and Habitude resul­ting from & arising upon the two former. In the First usurpation it imports an U­nitive action exerted either towards both, or at least one of the Extremes to be united; In the Second, it denotes the effect or product of the unitive Acti­on in the Extreme or Extrem's towards which it was put forth; And in the Third, it signifies a State of Oneness emerging upon the whole betwixt the Exrreme's. Something Analogous to all these occurs in most, if not in all Unions properly so called. And this is what I shall offer in reference to the fixing of the general Notion of Union. But whereas now upon the one Hand the unintelligible­ness [Page 482] of the Union of Believers with the Person of Christ, is that which our Au­thor chiefly pleads as the Motive, and Inducement of disclaiming it; being (as he phraseth it) a Riddle, and Mystery, which no body can under­stand;Page 194. And whereas up­on the other Hand, he tells us,Page 197. That there is no­thing more easy to be un­derstood than our Union, and Commu­nion with Christ, and that it had certain­ly continued so, had not some men under­took to explain it. I must crave leave in the First place, to ask him, whether he will renounce every other Union, the manner and Mode of which he cannot intelligibly unfold; and then Secondly, Whether there be any danger or absurdity in supposing this Union (which the Apostle styles a Mystery, Eph. 5.32.) to be as incomprehensible as the connexion betwixt the parts of Matter, in a continuous Body; or the Union betwixt the rational Soul and the Humane Bo­dy. And seeing the finding our selves non-plust, in the explicating common U­nions, may serve to teach us modesty in our Intellectual converse with Uni­ons [Page 483] of a sublimer Nature; and the have­ing our Reasons baffled by the obvious Phaenomena of Nature, may possess us with a Reverence towards Objects of Faith: I shall a little discourse the un­accountableness of the Quality, and manner of other Unions. Sense as well as Reason, convince us of the Cohesion of the parts of Matter in a continuous Body; yet, when we arrive to enquire how they come to be connected, our Understan­dings hang their Wings, and force us at least so far to subscribe to the Pyrrhoni­an [...] Incomprehension. Though we be fully ascertain'd of the continuity of one part of matter with another, yet by what glue, or cement they come to be lock't together, no Hy­pothesisCamerarius, Lerees, Dig­by, White. hitherto erected can resolve us. Some de­spairing to unty the knot, endeavour to cut it; And therefore deny all parts in any Bulk, till they are made by Division. But First, That cannot be supposed Divisible in which there are not antecedent parts, into which it may be divided. To affirm, That to be Divisible into parts which hath no parts at all, is the first-born of Absurdities. They may [Page 484] as well say that a thing may be separated from it self, as that there may be a separa­tion made where there were not previ­ous parts. 2. To imagine Bulk without di­stinct parts going to the Composition of it, is a plain Contradiction. Continuum in its very idea is nothing but a co­alition of plurality of parts. 3. If they be not parts antecedently to Separation, they were never so, because after Disu­nion each of them is an entire Supposi­tum or Bluk. 4. Contradictory pre­dicates may be affirmed of them while in composition, and therefore they must be distinct parts, for different wholes they are not. But to dismiss this Opinion, which doth not resolve the difficulty, but destroy the subject of it. Others 2ly. betake them­selves to indivisible continuant points, which as they assert distinct from the constituent parts, so they affirm one part to be clasp'd, and button'd to another by them. But those Peripatetick fooleries of Continuative, and Terminative Points distinct from ingredient Compo­sitive parts, deserve rather to be hissed off the Philosophick Stage, than to be Calm­ly, and Rationally refuted. Nor will I be so prodigal of Time or words as to [Page 485] muster an Argument against them, save that were they admitted we are still at a loss how they themselves come to be connected with their Contiguous parts, or how one part can be knit and fastned by them, to another, without penetration or the coexistence of more Materials than one in the same place. And notwithstand­ing what a late Learned Person hath said,Glisson. de Nat. Subst. &c. cap 28. I still judg Penetration not on­ly a greater absurdity than Ina [...]ity, but, the rudest Non-sense, and boldest contradiction that can obtrude it self upon the Rational Mind. Others 3dly, have re­course to Hooks, and fork'd Corners, and will have one part of Matter to be held fast by another through an involuti­on of their Angles. But (1) the Cohe­rence of the parts of these Harpaginous Nooks will still remain lyable to the same difficulty. And to retreat to new An­gles by which the parts of the first hooks are knit together, is only to avoid the Ob­jection but not to solve it: And our Reason instead of being satisfied comes only to be lost in an Infinite Circle. Yea the very allowing an infinite pro­gress [Page 486] without conducting us to something where our understandings can at last ac­quiesce, is not only to renounce the Name of Philosophers, but to destroy the End of Philosophy. (2) It will still remain of difficult conception, how the first Indi­visibles, whereof, according to the Hypothe­sis beforementioned, every Bulk is origi­nally constituted, & compounded, do hang together. For though those Atoms which are the Immediate Ingredients of the composition of Bodies, should be allowed to consist of parts, yet Originally they consist of, and are in our conceptions of them ultimately resolved into Mathema­tical Indivisibles; and concerning the indiscerptible Cohesion of them, there is no satisfaction afforded by the present Hypothesis. Now if the coherence of the parts of Atoms, and Minute Bodies be once refunded into the force and Quality of Nature, I see not why the continuity of the parts of more bulky compounds should not be ascribed to the same prin­ciple. Nor 4. doth the Hypothesis of Des-Cartes of the parts of Matter being lock't together meerly by Juxtaposition, & Rest, adjust it self to our Reason or Sense in this Matter. For (1) there may be juxta­position [Page 487] and Rest, where there is no continuity, as in a heap of stones or wheat, as well as in two polished Marbles that lye contiguous to one another. (2) There may be Motion where is no dissolution of the cohesion of parts, as is evident even to Sense in viscous fluids, & the like might be demonstrated, not only of Solids that are Tensile and Ductile, but of others also. (3) There are degrees of cohesion, the parts of Matter being more indiscerptibly clasp'd together in some Bodies than in others, whereas there are no degrees of Intenseness in Rest, the least Motion be­ing repugnant to it. Now upon the whole, if our assent to the Continuity and Adhesion of one part of Matter to another, remain firm and unshaken, not­withstanding the difficulties that encoun­ter us about the Manner of it, And though there be not yet any Philosophick Hypothesis that can resolve us how it comes to pass that one part more indiscerptibly cleaves to another, than if they were fastned together by Ada­mantine Chains; I see no reason why the Incomprehensibleness of the Manner of our Union with Christ should any ways obstruct or weaken our belief of it, hav­ing [Page 488] all the assurance that Divine Reve­lation can give us, concerning our being United to Him. As we assent to an Evi­dent Object of sense, or to that which is plainly demonstrated by Reason, though there occurr many things in the manner of their Existence which is Unconceive­able; So the Quod sit and reality of our Vnion with Christ being attested by Him who cannot lye, it becomes us to embrace it with all steadiness of Belief, though we cannot conceive the Quomodo or Manner how it is. For my part, I have often thought that through God's leaving us pos'd and Non-plust about the most ordinary and certain Phaenomena of Nature, he intend­ed to train us up to a Mancipation of our Vnderstandings to Articles of Faith, when we were once assured that he had declared them, though the difficulties relating to them were Vnaccountable.

Nor is the manner of the Coherence of the parts of Matter, the only difficulty in Nature relating to Union that perplexes and baff [...]'s our Reason, but the Mode of the Mystical Incorporation of the Ratio­nal Soul with the Humane Body doth e­very way as much entangle and leave us desperate as the former. That man is a [Page 489] kind of Amphibious Creature allied in his Constituent parts both to the Intellectual and Material Worlds, and that the several Species of Beings in the Macrocosm, are combined in him as in a Systeme, Reason, as well as Scripture, instructs us. That we have a Body we are fully assu­red by its Density, Extension, Impene­trability, and all the adjuncts and af­fections of Matter; and that we have an immaterial Spirit we are demonstratively convinced by its reacting on it self, its consciousness of its own Being and Ope­rations, not to mention other Mediums whereof we have spoken elsewhere; And that these two are United together to make up the composition of Man, is as plain from the Influence that the Body hath upon the Soul in many of its per­ceptions, and which the Soul hath upon the Body in the motions of the Spirits & Blood, withall that ensues and depends thereupon. Nor could the affections and adjuncts of the Material Nature, nor the Attributes and properties of the Im­material, be indifferently predicated of Man, were not the Soul and Body uni­ted together in the Unity of Mans per­son. But now how this can be, is a knot [Page 490] too hard for Humane Reason to unty. How a pure Spirit should be cemented to an earthy Clod, or an Immaterial sub­stance coalesce with Bulk, is a Riddle that no Hypothesis of Philosophy can resolve us about. How this intellective [...] should come to be button'd to this corpo­real [...] is a mystery the unvailing whereof must be reserved to the Future state: For our Indagations about it hither­to do leave us altogether unsatisfied. (1) The Aristotelick substantial uniter and cement will not do; For besides its re­pugnancy to Reason that there should be any substantial ingredient in the con­stitution of man, save his Soul and Body: the Unition of it self with the Soul, sup­posing it to be Material, or with the Body, admitting it to be an Incorporeal, will re­main unintelligible. And to affirm it to be of a middle Nature, partaking of the Affection and adjuncts of both, is that which our Reasonable Faculties will never allow us to subscribe to, the Idea's which we have of Body and Spirit having no alliance the one with the other. And to style it a substantial Mode is to wrap up repugnancies in its very notion. For though all Modes be the modifica­tion [Page 491] of substances, yet they are Predica­mental Accidents: And how essential so­ever th [...]s or that Modification may be to a Body of such a species, yet 'tis wholly Extrinsecal and Accidental to Matter it self. In brief, the voluminous Discour­ses of the Aristotelians both about Union in General, and the Union of the Ratio­nal Soul to the organical Humane Body in particular, resolve themselves either in­to Idle Tattle and Insignificant Words, or obtrude upon us contradictions and Nonsense. (2) To preclude all Union be­twixt the Soul and Body on supposition that they are not distinct constituent parts of Man, is plainly to despair of sol­ving the difficulty. For not to dispute whether the Soul and Body may in Phi­losophick rigor be called parts, or whe­ther man with reference to them may be styled a Compositum; 'tis enough that the one is not the other, but that they are different principles, and that neither of them considered separately is the Man. Though the Soul and Body be perfect substances in themselves; and though the Soul can operate in its disjunct state, & in its separation will be no less a Person than Soul and Body now together are; [Page 492] yet there are many Operations belong­ing to the Soul in this conjunct state, of which it is uncapable in the separate; and there are many things predicable of the Soul and Body together which cannot be affirm'd of them asunder. How close and intimate soever the Union betwixt the Soul and Body be, and how great soever their mutual dependences in most of their Operations be upon one another, yet not only the intellectual Spirit and the duely organised Matter remain even in their consociation classically different, (their Essences, Affections & Operations admitting a diversity as well as a distin­ction) but there are some operations be­long to each of them upon which the o­ther hath no Influence. For as the Mind is Author of many cogitations and con­ceptions to which the Body gave no oc­casion; so the Body is the spring and fountain of several Functions over which the Soul hath no Dominion nor any di­rect Influence. They remain as much distinct notwithstanding the Union which intercedes between them, as they would have done should we suppose them to have had an existence previous to their confederations, or as they shall be after [Page 493] the dissolution of the League between them. From all which it may be scien­tifically concluded that they are distinct and different Principles in mans Constitu­tion, But whether thereupon, he ought to be called a Compositum, or they to be sty­led parts, will be resolved into meer Lo­gomachie & chat about Words. Though, to speak my own mind, I see no Cause why Man may not properly enough ob­tain the appellation of Compositum, and the Soul and Body be allowed for Constituent parts. Nor Thirdly, doth the Cartesian Hypothesis, though the most ingenious, and best contri­ved of any hitherto thought upon, fully satisfy an inquisitive Mind in the Matter before us. Their Hypothesis is briefly this, That God in his Infinite sapi­ence chose to create three distinct and different kinds of Beings, some purely Material which yet through dif­ference of the Figure, Size, Number, Tex­ture and Modification of their parts, come to Multiply into many different species. (2) Some purely Immaterial, a­mong whom whether there be any speci­fical difference is pro and con disputed. (3) Man a Compositum of both, having [Page 494] an Immaterial Intellectual Soul joyned to an Organical Body. Now say they, God having in his Soveraign pleasure, thought Good to form Man such a Crea­ture, he hath not only by an Uncontrou­lable Law confined the Soul to an in­timate presence with, and constant resi­dence in the Body, while it remains a fit receptacle, or till he give it a dis­charge; but withall hath made them de­pendent upon one another in many of their operations. And in this mutual dependence of the one upon the other, with respect to many of their operations, they state the Union betwixt the Soul and Body to consist. For through the impressions that are made upon the Or­gans of Sense, there result in the Soul certain perceptions; and on the other hand through the Cogitations that arise in the Soul, there ensue certain Emotions in the Animal Spirits. And thus say they by the Action of each upon the other, & their passion from one another they are for­mally united. But all this instead of loosing the knot serves only to tye it faster. For (1) This mutual dependency as to operation of one upon the other, can­not be apprehended but in posteriority of [Page 495] Nature to Union, and consequently the Formal Reason of Union cannot consist in it. (2) There are cases wherein neither the impressions of outward objects upon the Sensory Nerves beget or excite any perceptions in the Soul (which whether it proceed from obstinacy of Mind, or intense contemplation, alike answers my drift) and also cases wherein Cogitations of the Mind make not any sensible impressions upon the Body (as in Ecstasies) and yet the Union of the Soul and Body remains undissolved; which argues that it imports more than either an intimous presence or a dependence between them in point of operation. (3) 'Tis altogether unintel­ligible how either a Body can act upon a Spirit, or a Spirit upon a Body. I grant it may be demonstrated that they do so, but the manner of doing it, or in­deed how it can be done, is not intelli­gible. That a Tremor begot in the Nerves by the Jogging of particles of Matter upon the sensory Organs, should excite cogitations in the Soul; or that the Soul by a meer thought should both beget a Motion in the Animal Spirits, and de­termine through what meatus they are to steer their course, is a Phaenomenon in [Page 496] the Theory of which we are perfectly non-plust. How that which penetrates a Body without giving a Jog to or receiv­ing a shove from it, should either impress a Motion upon, or receive an impression from it, is unconceivable. So that to state the Union of the Soul and Body in a reciprocal action upon and passion by and from one another, is to fix it in that which surpasseth the Sagacity of our Fa­culties to conceive how it can be. Now if Common Unions of whose reality and Existence we are so well assured, be ne­vertheless with respect to their Nature not only so unknown but unconceiva­ble; we may lawfully presume, if there lye nothing else against the Immediate U­nion of Believers with Christ, save that it cannot be comprehended, that this is no argument why we should immediately renounce the belief of it. If we can but once justify that there is such an Union betwixt the blessed Jesus and sincere Christians, the incomprehensibleness of the manner of it ought not to discourage our Faith. If we can take up with the Evidence of Sense and Reason as to the reality of other Unions whose Modes are as little understood, I see no [Page 497] cause why the Veracity of God providing we can produce the Authority of Divine Testimony, should not satisfie us as to the reality of the Union; though the man­ner How it is, were a question we could not answer.

§. 6. The import of Terms being fixed we are now to make a nearer ap­proach to the matter it self. And the first thing that the threed of Reason conducts us here to, is this, that be the Kind & man­ner of our Union what it please, yet it is the person of Christ which we are united to. For suppose it to be Political and that the only Vinculum be our owning his Laws, yet forasmuch as Christ only personally considered both doth enact them, and ex­act Obedience to them, and punish our Rebellion against them; our Relation to Him as Subjects doth ultimately respect his Person. All the reverence we pay his Laws under the Reduplication as His, bears upon the Veneration we pay Him­self. However he come by his Soveraign Dominion over the Church, 'tis his Per­son that it is stated and vested in. What­ever room either our Obedience on the one hand, or the Gospel of Christ upon [Page 498] the other, have in this Relation of Uni­on, the Extremes United they cannot be. Whether it be by means of our Uni­on only with the Christian Church, or by what Copula soever else we are United to Him, Yet 'tis still to the person of Christ, i. e. to Christ himself that we are United. Or suppose it to be only a Mo­ral Union, an Union in Mind, Love, Design and Interest, a being acted by the same Principles, having the same tem­per and disposition of Spirit; yet still 'tis between the Person of Christ and the persons of Believers that this Uni­on intercedes. For as they, through the guidance of sanctified Reason, embrace, cleave to, and, with the greatest compla­cency delight in him; so He, through their participating of his likeness, and haveing his Image imprinted on them, loveth and embraceth them. In a word, all Unions except Natural or Physical, are the Relations of Persons to Persons; 'Tis the Husband and Wife themselves, that are ligu'd together by the matrimo­nial Tie. 'Tis between the persons of Subjects and the Person of the Prince as clothed with Authority, that the Politi­cal Nexus consists. I cannot there­fore [Page 499] but stand surprised to find Mr. Sher­lock both endeavoring to disable such Texts of Scripture as are levied in proof of an Union between Believers and the Person of Christ, (whereof § 4.) and impeaching his Brethren that they are not satisfied, that Christ and Believers are united, P. 200. unless their Persons be united too. For, let the Union, as to its Quality and manner, be what it will, suppose an U­nion by mutual Relations or Affections or common Interest, yet it is the Person of Christ and the Persons of Believers, that the Habitude and [...] lies between. Yea this our Author acknowledgeth (though all he reap by it is to contradict himself) For this is a very plain case, says he, If Christ and Belie­vers are United, P. 200. their Per­sons must be united too; for the Person of Christ is Christ Himself, & the Persons of Believers are the Believers themselves, and I cannot understand how they can be united without their Persons, that is without themselves. Nor can a­ny one else understand it that I know of, only I wonder why then it is imputed to us as a Crime, That we are not satisfied [Page 500] that Christ and Believers are United unless their Persons be United too. Ibid. But as Mr. Sherlocks Book is pregnant with Contradictions, so perhaps he hath found out an Art of justifying the Truth of Repugnant Propositions. And though hereby he subvert the Foundations of Science, and thwart the Universal Rea­son of Mankind, yet I will not say that he is herein singular. For besides those mentioned by Aristotle who maintain'd that one and the same thing might at the same time be and not be; and besides that Burgersdicius, Schulerus and some o­thers, have fancied a Medium betwixt Ens and Non ens; There is a certain Carme­lite stiled Franciscus Bonae Spei who will have both the parts of a contradi­ction, if it be only in reference to mat­ters of Faith, to be susceptive of Truth. And indeed if our Author be not acquainted with him, 'tis pitty but that he should, as well upon the account already mentioned, as divers others I could suggest, particularly because he will find him a man of confidence, huge­ly addicted to novelty, & one who loves to be invalidating the Evidences which [Page 501] the prime Articles of Faith are built upon.

§. 7. Having established this General viz. that 'tis the Person of Christ to which we are United; the next enquiry is con­cerning the Nature, quality and manner of the Union of Christians to him. And it being here as in most cases which relate not simply to the Existence of things, but to the Modes how they exist, easier to refute false notions than to establish true, I shall therefore observe the Method of declaring First, what it is not; wherein if I prove successfull I shall either obtain further light to the defining what it is, or else manifest the unnecessariness of determining positively about it. First then, it consists not meerly in Christ's as­suming our Nature. A specifical one­ness there is betwixt Him and us upon that account, but all Mankind being e­qually thus related to him, it cannot im­port the whole of that special Oneness which intercedes between him & sincere Christians. Now when I say that Christ did partake of our Nature, I do not mean that he possessed the Individual Nature of this or that Man, much less that he assumed any Universal Nature, that is [Page 502] Identically the same in all and every Man; for that as Damascenus says, would not have been assumptio but fictio; but what I aim at is this, that as man con­sists of two essential constituent parts, a Rational Soul and a Body thus and thus Organized; so the son of God assumed both a Reasonable Soul, and a true Or­ganical Body fram'd and made of the sub­stance of the Virgin, who was lineally sprung from Adam the first and common original of all Mankind. So that there is an oneness of Similitude (which is all that intervenes amongst men) between Christ and us; but as for an Oneness of Identity, it imply's a contradiction; and should any assert it, they are to be recko­ned for obtruders of repugnancies under the pretence of sacred Mysteries upon the Faith of Mankind. The Son of God through the designation and Authorita­tive disposal of the Father, & by the Im­mediate Efficiency of the Holy Ghost, ha­ving assumed our intire Nature into Union with his Divine Person, became thereby related to us in a cognation and alliance which he is not to the Angels. And up­on this affinity doth the whole of his Mediatory Interposure and our Interest [Page 503] in what he hath done and suffered bear▪ God in order to the reconciling Man to himself by the obedience and Sacrifice of a Mediatour, did first espouse our Na­ture to the Person of his So that was to be so. [...]. Greg. Nyss. i. contra Eun. Here­by he became adapted to his Office and qualified for his Work. Without this conjunction by the espousing our Na­ture, he could neither have been a Priest ordained for men, Heb. 5.1. Nor have atoned God by the Oblation of himself, as an expiatory Sacrifice, Heb. 8.3. Heb. 10.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. He behoved to par­take of the Humane Nature in common with men, before he could either be capa­ble of the Sacerdotal Office wherein he was to act for men with and towards God, or before he could be provided of a Sacrifice to offer. His agreement with us in one common Nature is the basis of all his fitness to undertake on our behalf, & of the equity of the accruement of the benefits derived to us thereby. 'Tis this cognation, alliance and propinquity of Nature, that qualified Christ to be our Surrogate, and to have our sins impu­ted [Page 504] to Him; and which gives us our first capacity, of having the Obedience of his Life and Sacrifice of his death, either for­mally or in the effects of them imputed to us. Precluding this, God could not in consistency with his Wisedom, Holiness, Justice and Truth have exalted the glory of his Mercy in our Justification and For­giveness; nor could the Son of God have been Inaugurated unto the Mediatory Kingdome, or had a right to those Digni­ties, Priviledges and Honours which e­merge and result from thence. Now al­though upon the assuming our Nature into Union with the Person of the Son of God, the Essences, Properties and Ope­rations of both Natures be preserved di­stinct and entire, being united, as the Ancients speak, [...], without confusion, conversi­on, division or separation: Yet through that conjunction which they are brought into, Christ becomes as it were a Compo­situm of the [...] and Humane Nature. And accordingly the Ancients style the Person of Christ [...], say the Fathers of the Second Constantinopolitan Council. Max­imus, the Martyr doth not scruple the call­ing [Page 505] the Divine and Humane Natures, parts of which Christ consists; [...]. And as our Nature is highly dig­nified and exalted by its being taken into Union with the Second Person of the Trinity, so a certain Relation of Oneness results thereupon between Christ and us. The Apostle himself, Heb. 2.11. say's that we are [...], of one, i. e. as I sup­pose [...] of one Blood, or partakers of the same common Nature, which is the foundation of that Alliance of Bro­ther-hood he speaks of in the next Words. And so the 14.v. which seems to be ex­egetical of this, plainly carrie's it, foras­much then as the Children are partakers of flesh and Blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. The Ancients as well as Moderns style this a Natural Union; And indeed Christ thus is so far one with us, as the participating of the same com-Nature amounts to. He is both [...], of one and the same Mass of Hu­mane Nature with us, and [...], of one and the same Blood, being sprung from one and the same common Root or Stock (though not in the same manner) that we are. Christ and we are [...] [Page 506] of Alliance, and Consanguinity together; which as it speaks infinite condescension, love and Grace in him seeing [...] se exinanivit he emptied himself (which re­spects the Essential condition of the Hu­mane Nature assumed by the Son of God, and not meerly the poverty which in that Nature he submitted to) so it declares the Dignity that our Nature is exalted to, being in the Person of the Redeemer ta­ken into association with the Divine Na­ture. And as from the Conjunction of the two Natures together in the Person of Christ there ariseth [...] a communication of properties between them, (which is real as to the ascription of the affections of each Nature to the Person, though it be but [...] verbal as to the predication of the properties of one Nature concerning the other) so through the advancement of our Nature into Union with the Son of God, there are some rays of Honour reflected upon, and some priviledges that may be affirmed of us, that the Angels themselves are not susceptive of. Yet this is not the Union we are enquiring after; for (1) in this respect all Mankind can plead the same propinquity to Christ. The worst as well [Page 507] as the best of men may enter their claim to this Relation of Oneness with him. For though the Apostle affirm that he took on him the Seed of Abraham, yet the meaning is not that some are precluded affinity with him in the Humane Nature, while others are Dignified with that Al­liance, but the sense of the place is only this, that according to the Flesh he came of the Lineage of Abraham, the promise having been made to him that in his seed should all the Nations of the Earth be bles­sed, Gen. 12.3. (2) Were this the whole import of the Union of Believers with Christ, that he and they partake of one common Nature; the Oneness betwixt one Man & another were greater than the Oneness betwixt Christ and the Faithful, which directly opposeth the account the Scripture gives of it, & the intendment of the many Metaphors by which it is repre­sented. Now that it should be so, is plain; Because the resemblance betwixt one Man and another obtains not only in the essentials of Humane Nature but in the defilements and sinful infirmities of it; nor is there any thing in the person of this or that man whereof something pa­rallel is not in the Person of every one else; but to imagine such an Universal [Page 508] resemblance between Christ and us, is both to overthrow the Divinity of his Person, and to supplant the purity of his Humane Nature. Though our Blessed Saviour hath assumed our Nature in its essential constituent parts, together with all the Natural, sinless infirmities that accompany it; yet besides His being in­finitely distant from all likeness to us, up­on the account of the Divinity of his Person, there is a vast dissimilitude even with respect to the Humane Nature, as it is in Him free from all tincture of impu­rity and concomitancy of culpable im­perfections, and as it is in us defiled with, and debased by sin.

§. 8. As our Union with Christ is of a sublimer importance than meerly to de­note that the same Humane Nature was in Him, which is in us; so what that is which over and above our participating of one common specifical Nature, it doth imply, is a Theme worthy of our further search. And the Popish Noti­on concerning it, is that which presents first to our examen. Though the Ro­manists do not wholly disclaim a spiritu­al Union betwixt Christ and sincere Be­lievers; yet they principally insist on a [Page 509] Mixture of his Bodily substance with ours. They will have our Union with Him, to consist in our partaking of the Animated and Living Body of Christ, by manducation or Carnal and Corporeal feeding on him. And this Union they will have obtain'd by means of the Eu­charist, wherein instead of feeding at all on Bread and Wine, they contend that in a Carnal manner we eat the Body, and drink the Blood of Christ. That the Sacrament of the Lords Supper is an emi­nent Symbol of our Union and Commu­nion with Christ; yea, that hereby our Union and Communion with Him are in a special, though Spiritual manner pro­moted and maintained, we readily grant. And accordingly we with all chearfulness acknowledge a Real presence of Christ in the Sacrament. The Truth of the Real Presence hath been always believ­ed, and is so still, though as to the man­ner of it, there have been for many Con­turies, and yet are fierce digladiations in the World. The Lutherans will have Christ present one way, namely, that though there be not a destruction of the Elements, and a substitution of the Body and Blood of Christ in their room, yet [Page 510] they will have Christ Bodily present with the Elements, though hid and concealed under them: and this they express by Consubstantiation. The Papists plead for a presence of another kind, viz. that the Elements being wholly destroyed, either by Annihilation or Transmutati­on into the Body and Blood of Christ, he alone is Corporeally, Locally, and Phy­sically present: and this they style Tran­substantiation. There have been others who have also asserted Bodily Presence, but after a manner different from both the former; for holding the Elements to continue undestroyed or unchanged, they fancied them to become united to the Body and Blood of Christ, and to make one and the same Body and Blood by a kind of Hypostatical Union: and this may be called Impanation. And although there be at this day, and always hath been, a great number of Christians, to whose Reason none of these ways can ad­just themselves, yet they all confess a presence that is Real, though they will have it to be after a spiritual kind and manner. All these four ways of pre­sence are Real, each in its kind and or­der. Nor do I know any save the So­cinians, and some Arminians but that [Page 511] in some sense or other, allow a Real pre­sence. Indeed Socinus, and the Men of that Tribe will admit the Lord's Supper to be only a Commemoration of Christ's Death, but will by no means have it ei­ther to seal or exhibit any thing to the Believing Receiver. That it is Com­memorative and Symbolical of the Body of Christ as Broken, and of his Blood as shed, they have our astipulation, but that it is besides both an Instituted seal of the Conditional Covenant, ascertain­ing all the mercies of it to such as faith­fully Communicate, and in whom the Gospel Conditions are found; and also truly exhibiting of Christ and his Grace to the Believing soul, we strenuously af­firm. This the Apostle declares by calling the Cup of Blessing the Communion of the Blood of Christ, and the Bread, the Communion of the Body of Christ, 1 Cor. 10.16. This the very Nature of the Ordinance doth likewise confirm; for in every Sacrament there must be not on­ly a sign, but something signified; and consequently the Elements of Bread and Wine being the signs tendred us, they must be really exhibitive of something else that hath an Analogy to them, and [Page 512] this can be nothing but the Body and Blood of Christ, which are as really ex­hibited to be spiritually fed upon, as the sensible Elements are to be Carnally. This the words of Institution also demon­strate; for when Christ saith take eat, this is my Body; there must either be an Ex­hibition of his Body to us in some sense or other, or we must impeach Christ of uttering a false proposition in offering that to be eaten, which, according to these Gentlemen, in no sense is so. Yea, were the Lord's Supper nothing but a Comme­moration of Christ's death and the be­nefits purchased thereby, it were no more to the Worthy Receiver than to the Unworthy, nor any more to the Re­ceiver than to the bare Spectator; both which are in themselves the grossest of absurdities, and withal lye in a direct repugnancy to the Gospel. It is not a Real presence, as the Papists slander us, but a Corporeal that we disclaim. But should we grant Christ to be locally and bodily present in the Supper, though it be Contradictious to Reason, Sense, Scripture, the Nature of a Sacrament, the very words of Institution, and the be­lief of the Ancient Church; yet it would [Page 513] no ways serve the End for which it is pre­tended, namely its being the means of our Union with Christ. For not to urge that were he Bodily present in the Sacra­ment, or were nothing really and sub­stantially there but the very Body and Blood of Christ as the Papists affirm, it were yet the most abominable thing that ever men were guilty of to eat Him. For though some have pawn'd, sold,Apolog. cap. 13. De Nat. Deor. lib. 3. and let out their Gods to Farm, as Tertullian up­braids the Heathen; yet as Cicero say's, of all the Religi­ons that have been in the World, there were never any of such a Religion as to eat their God. There are some instances among the sal­vage Nations of such as have eat the Flesh, and drunk the Blood of their Enemies, and of such as have sold their friends to the Anthropophagi when they were either useless through Age, or in their apprehension irrecoverably sick; but no Nation hath been so barbarous as to feast themselves with the flesh of their God's, or to quaff their Blood. The Egypti­ans would not eat with the Jews, Gen. 46.3. because as Onkelos tells us, the one did [Page 514] eat what the others worshipped. 'Tis known who said, if the Christians eat what they adore, anima mea cum Philosophis. God by distributing the Brute creatures into clean which might be eaten, and un­clean which might not be eaten, did thereby, saith Theodoret, provide against the accounting or worshipping any of them as a God. Fo who will be so un­reasonable as to esteem that a God which is Unclean, In Gen. qu 55. or so Mad as to adore that which he eats. Whatever pittifull be­ings men have chosen for Gods, and how useful soever in their own Nature to have been turned into Cates & Viands, yet they who worshipped them have been so far from making them their repast them­selves, that the seeing others (who made not such account of them▪ nor payed them any veneration) do it, hath been enough to excite their Rage. An in­stance we have of this, Exod. 8.26. where Moses being permitted by Pharaoh to sacrifice in the land o [...] Egypt, return's this as a Reason why he could not: Lo, we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us? They who had most de­graded [Page 515] themselves in the choice of their Gods, had yet more respect for them, than the Papists who make their God a victim, have for theirs. As if it were not disgrace enough to their God to pawn, and fell him, and that sometimes to very ill intents and purposes, (all this they have don with their consecrated Host) they place the most glorious part of their Religion in the Sacrificing him, and eating his flesh when they have done. Now the only Text to sustain the weight of the Bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and to justify this Cyclopian eating of Him is, Math. 26.26. Take, Eat, this is my Body, &c. Than which I know not one place in the whole Bible that yields us more infal­lible Arguments to subvert their whole Hypothesis, every word being pregnant with a demonstration against them. But all I shall say is this, that whereas they upbraid us for the admission of one Trope in the paraphrase of the words, they are forced themselves to substitute a great many before they can serve their design of them. Had it been the purpose of the Holy-Ghost to declare our sense and op­pose theirs, I know no plainer expressions that could have been chosen to accom­plish [Page 516] either the one or the other. The Words are all as plain as the Subject-Matter to which they ought to be adapt­ed will admit; nor can the Wit of Man invent any that are more proper to mani­fest the Conceptions of the Speaker, sup­pose him to have intended the sense that that we contend for. The Substantive verb, est is, in which many of our Divines acknowledg a Figure, is as remote from needing such a concession, and as capable of a proper acceptation as any one in the whole Enunciation. 'Tis a Transcen­dental Term, and signifies as properly a Similitudinary Being, as an essential, and only the quality of the Subject of the Pro­position, can determine whether it import Being Substantial or Being Intentional. Forasmuch therefore as it is here a note of Affirmation, interveening between a Sign as a Relate, and as a thing signified as a Correlate; I affirm that the only pro­per Sense which it hath or can have, is to intimate the one to be vicarious for, and representative of the other. To ima­gine that est as 'tis the note of affirmation between Sign [...]m and Signatum, can have any other sense than to signify, is a fancy that will never be entertained in the [Page 517] minds of such who understand what they say. In a word, 'tis a Sacramental E­nunciation where it occurs, & 'tis the note by which the Relation of the sign to the thing signified is affirmed, and therefore the whole Relation between a Sign and the Thing signified being meerly to re­present, it is impossible that it should have any other import, save to denote that the one is signified by the other. But to wave any further opposing the Bodily presence in the Sacrament, though the Popish notion of our Union with Christ cannot consist without it. I say, that supposing all which the Romanists say in the Matter of the Elements being Tran­substantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ, & our feeding on Him in a Carnal manner, were true; yet this cannot be the bond of the Union which is so mag­nificently represented. For ( [...]) were this the basis of our Union with Christ, and the Nexus by which we are copula­ted to Him, then not only sincere Belie­vers, but the most obdurate sinners, provi­ding only they receive the Eucharist, should be united to Him. Admitting the Popish Hypothesis, I neither see of what advantage Faith is to one Commu­nicant, [Page 518] nor of what damage Infidelity can be to another, but that the whole of both their securities depends upon this, that their Stomacks be not queasy, and that they have a good digestion. 'Tis but to swallow the consecrated Host, and Christ and they are one, whether they partake of the Spirit of the new Birth or not. Either Pauls assertion of some mens eating damnation to themselves is false, or else the Popish Notion of our being united to Christ by the eating of his Flesh under the Species and Accidents of a white Wafer, is so; and which of these is most likely to deserve that Brand, I leave to the umpirage of all Christians. (2) Were this the Foundation and Bond of Union betwixt Christ and his Mem­bers, there should then be none United to Him, but such as have first been made partakers of the Eucharist, which is so remote from all shadow of Truth, that on the contrary none ought to approach the sacred Table, but they who are first sincere Christians. 'Tis true, their pretending to be so, if their claim cannot be disproved, obligeth Ministers to admit them; but yet it is only their being so that authoriseth them to come. 'Tis sincere Love and Gospel-Faith [Page 519] that God prerequires of all his Guests, though his Stewards are often ne­cessitated to take up with professions of them. Although the Sacraments be necessary necessitate praecepti, and cannot be neglected by any without guilt, yet they are not so necessary necessitate Medii, but that God hath and can communicate his Grace independently upon them. (3) Were there no other bond of our Union with Christ, save that which the Church of Rome suggests, our Cohesion to Christ were a very lubricous thing, and not such an indissoluble Ligue as the Scripture reports it. For the Founda­tion of Oneness ceasing the Relation superstructed thereupon must cease al­so. Union can hold no longer than the unition upon which it results and from which it emergeth, holds; now this accor­ding to the Romanists continues no longer, than till the Form, Figure, and other Ac­cidents of the consecrated Wafer dissolve and vanish. So that instead of an abi­ding conjunction with Christ, a little time unties the knot, and the incorporation of Christians with Him comes to nothing. (4) Were our Carnal and Corporal eat­ing the Body of Christ, the Medium of [Page 520] betwixt Him and us, I do not see but that Mice and Rats, &c. may come to be united to Him as well as Believers. For that these through the Priests neglect, or by some accident or other, may snatch up & swallow down the consecrated Wa­fer, is a thing easily conceivable, & there are instances enough of it; and by conse­quence all that is necessary to the Rela­tion of Union, intervening betwixt Christ and them, the Habitude and [...] it self must ensue also. I shall only add upon this occasion, that Minutius Felix's ar­gument in disproof of the Heathen Gods, doth with equal strength militate against the Corporeal presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Mice, Swallows and Crows, Quanto veri­us de Diis vestris animalia muta naturaliter ju­dicant, mures, hirundines, mil­vi? non sentire eos sciunt, ro­dunt insultant insident: ac nisi abigatis in ipso Dei vestri ore nidificant. pag. 175. Edit Ox­on. 1631. saith he, know better than you (Pagans) what your Gods are: For by gnawing and sitting upon them, and being ready to nest in their Mouths, if you did not drive them away, they know that they have neither sense nor un­derstanding. (5) Though I be not forward to con­cern the Authority of [Page 521] Scripture to confute senseless and irrati­onal Notions; reckoning it a condescen­sion to encounter them with Reason, and holding it a disparagement put upon the sacred Oracles, to call in their Suffrage where Sense alone can give the deci­sion; yet I cannot but here observe, that our Lord Jesus Christ even there where he most seemingly speaks in Favour of a Carnal eating of his Flesh, viz. John 6. hath in words hugely Emphatical said enough to prevent such a Gross, stupid, and unreasonable Imagination. For be­sides that not a word of that whole dis­course relates to feeding upon Christ in the Eucharist, as is acknowledged by the most learned of the Roman Writers; we have in the preface to it, ver. 35.40. and in the conclusion of it, ver. 63. a key afforded us to unlock the whole, and to assure that it is not only to be taken in a spiritual sense, but that a fleshly eating of the Son of man would conduce nothing to our Good. 'Tis the Spirit that quick­neth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are life.

§. 9. Having declared that whatever the Nature and Quality of our Union [Page 522] with Christ, and what ever the Medium by which it is accomplished be, that it is the Person of Christ which we are United to: and having also declared that it im­plies something more than a meer par­ticipating of the same specifick Hu­mane Nature; and having just now ma­nifested that it consists not in a mixture of Christs bodily substance, through our eating his Flesh, and drinking his Blood in a Carnal and Corporeal Manner, with ours: The next thing to be disclaim'd from all room and Interest in the Idea of it, is its being a Personal Union. And this I am the rather obliged to do, be­cause Mr. Sherlock, with little regard to Truth, and as little consistency with himself, tells the World, That we place all our hopes of Salva­tion in a personal Union with Christ. p. 103. A slander so enormous, and so void of any colour by which it may be glossed, that to what I should impute our Authors charging it upon us, I cannot tell. Ignorance it can­not be ascribed to, seeing Dr. Jacomb, On Rom. [...]8.3. p. 46.67. and 51. (whom Mr. Sherlock hath particular­ly singled out to oppose in this Theme) not only barely disclaims, [Page 523] but refutes it; and seeing our Author himself acknowledgeth else-where, that it is only an Union of Persons, and not a Personal Union which we plead for; p. 198. & 293. And to attribute it to a wilful Falsification, were to arraign him of a Crime which I would be loath to judge any Man pretending Justice and Honesty, much less a Minister of the Gospel, guilty of. I would rather there­fore think it the result of some deduction unduely and illogically drawn from In­nocent principles, or that he took it up in discourse from some of those who for their diversion throw out accusations a­gainst us at adventure, than that he ei­ther judged it to be held by us in Termi­nis, or that he should fasten it upon us in meer Malice, only that he might the better expose us. However, this in Mo­desty may be required of him, that the next time he writes, he would either ac­quit the Nonconformists from the guilt of this charge, or else enforce it by express quotations extracted out of their Books, or by lawful Trains of Argumen­tation from some of their avowed Doctrines and Opinions. But to resume my Theme; That a per­son [Page 524] may by Philosophy and Contempla­tion attain such a degree of Union with God, as to know and understand things by a contactus and conjunction of sub­stance with the Deity, hath been asserted both by the Platonick & some of the Ari­stotelian Philosophers. The passages which occur in Plotinus, Porphyrius, Jam­blichus, and Proclus (all great and fa­mous Platonists) of such a tendency, are numerous, and need not to be here tran­scribed. The possibility of arriving by Contemplation, at the knowledg of the first and supreme cause, [...], by a kind of bodily touch, is asserted in those Fragments of Metaphysicks Fathered upon Theophrastus the Disciple of Aristotle, and the imme­diate Successor in his School. The same Imagination became espoused by the A­rabian Philosophers, especially by Aver­roes a great adorer of Aristotle, and who hath signalized himself by his Commen­taries upon him. Had this Notion been only entertain'd by Contemplative Hea­thens, I should not have taken notice of it, but it was imbib'd, and that very timely, by Persons professing Christiani­ty. Origen seems to have been one of [Page 525] those that were first tainted with it, and to have received it with many other Pla­tonick Dogms, with which he corrupted the Truth and simplicity of the Gospel, either from Ammonius the Renowned Professor of Platonism at Alexandria, whose Schollar he was, or from some more ancient Patrons and Advocates of that Sect. From Origen the Ancient Monks derived the Ferment & leaven of it. The counterfeit Dionysius Areopa­gita (for that he was not truly the Person whose Name he assumes, and that he lived not till about the Sixt Century, or at least the Fift hath been demonstrated by Scultetus, Rivetus, Daillaeus, Dogmat. The­olog. Tom. 2. lib. 1. cap. 3. and is acknow­ledged by Petavius) ap­pears by the whole of his Discourse de Mystica Theologia, to have been dipt in that Mad and Frantick Notion. From all, or some of these, it spread among the Ro­mish Monasticks; I mean such of them as are called Mystick Theologues. Nothing more frequent with that sort of men, than a tattle of an Intime Union with God, whereby the soul becomes Deified. And from them the Weigelians, and Fa­milists [Page 526] borrowed their Magnificent lan­guage of being Godded with God, and Christed with Christ. The adventurous determinations of the School-men con­cerning the Beatifical Vision smell rank of the same Blasphemous, Nonsensical fig­ment. For by their contending, that the Divine Essence is immediatly united as an Intelligible species to the Intellect of the Blessed, and that this species and the Glorified Understanding do not remain distinct things, but become identified, they do in effect affirm the soul to be Transubstantiated into God, and to be really Deified. And seeing 'tis a Mat­ter of easie demonstration that the knowledg which we shall enjoy of God in Heaven, differeth only in degree from that which we possess here, (otherwise 'tis both altogether unintelligible and un­capable of rational explication) it will follow by a short Harangue of discourse, either that Believers have no knowledge of God in this life, or else that their souls become Deified and essentially United to God by knowing Him. I need not name the admired Non-sense and high-flown Cantings of the Quakers which carry a broad fac'd aspect this way: That [Page 527] which we have suggested, is enough to in­struct us out of what springs they and o­ther Wild Enthusiasts have drawn the putid conceits which they propine to the World. But as to the Persons whom Mr. Sherlock censures for placing all their hopes of Salvation in a Personal Union with Christ, I dare not only say, that they renounce any such Union, but that there is nothing in their Principles which consequentially leads to it. If our Doctrine of Believers Union with the Per­son of Christ cannot be defended without introducing a Personal Union with Him, we profess our selves ready to disclaim it, and do assure all the World, that if it har­bour any such thing in its bosom, our meaning is not so bad as our Opinion. We believe the Person of Christ, and the Persons of Believers to remain di­stinct after all the Union that intercedes between them. We are thankful for the Influences of his Grace, and the in­habitation of his Spirit; but we detest those swelling words of Pride and Igno­rance, of being Christed and Deified. Whatsoever be the Nature and kind of the Union between Christ and Christi­ans is, a Hypostatical Union it cannot without Blasphemy be imagined to be. [Page 528] For admitting once a Personal Uni­on, it will immediately follow, that Christ and They are but one Person. As two drops of water which existing apart made distinct supposita, coming to be Physically United, make but one Physical Body, substance, and suppositum, so two or more subsisting Intellectual substances which considered separate are so many Persons, do by Personal Union come to have one singular subsistence, and to make but one Person. Now to imagine this of Christ & Believers, interfere's with all that Reason which as Men we are pos­sessed of. To be One Person with Christ, and yet to be locally distant, is a thing which our Discursive Faculties will style a Contradiction. Seeing similitude and Identity are opposite Notions, and our highest attainment, is only to resemble Christ; it is impossible, that by any Uni­on whatsoever, we should become one Individual Numerical Person with Him. Innocency and guilt, Legal Merit and Demerit (not to mention other Innume­rable Adjuncts) do too vastly disagree to center in the same Individual subject, or to be predicable of the same Identical In­tellectual Being. To be made One real [Page 529] Physical Person with Christ, is an Hypo­thesis attended with such a troop of Ab­surdities, that he neither understands what Christ nor himself is who gives it entertainment. They are rather to be en­countred with an Anathema, who espouse such a blasphemous figment, than to be combated with Rational Arguments; nor should I have further concerned my self about it, than barely to disclaim it, but that we have to do with some who will not believe us, unless we disprove it also. And indeed it seems to have been an apprehension of the Non-conformists owning a Personal Union with Christ, which influenced Mr. Sherlock to tell the World that it is not very intelligible how we can be or abide in the Person of Christ, and that 'tis more unintelligible still, how we can be in the Per­son of Christ, p. 147. and the Person of Christ at the same time be in us, which is a new piece of Philosophy, called Penetration of Dimensions. In reference to which I shall only say, that as our Author's sup­position, so far as it relates to the Opini­on of the Non-conformists, is both false and disingenuous; so the Medium by which he assaults the thing supposed, viz. [Page 530] A personal Union, is weak & sophistical. For as the preexisting Corpuscles of Mat­ter do without any Penetration, or with­out ceasing to be entitatively as distinct as they were before, come to constitute one Physical Body meerly by being co­pulated together, and brought into a Con­tinuity; and as the meat which we eat being concocted in the Stomach, that Laboratory of Nature, doth incorporate it self with the previous Corpuscular Particles which constitute our Organical Body, without the coexistency of two or more of them in one and the same Indi­vidual place, which is that we style pene­tration of Dimensions: So I see not but that a Hypostatical Union of Christ with Believers might be easily defended, if Penetration of Dimensions were all the inconvenience it were liable to. Ter­tullian, who thought God Corporeal, (as did also the Anthropomorphites and the Audiani) little dream'd tha [...] a Personal U­nion could not be maintain'd without Pe­netration of Dimensions, forasmuch as he believed the Incarnation of the Son of God, and the Hypostatical Union of the Humane Nature to the Eternal [...]. And though the Opinion of the Corpo­reity [Page 531] of God hath not only been con­demned by the Ancient Church as an He­resie, but rationally refuted and demon­strated & to be both blasphemous absurd; yet I do not remember that amongst all the Arguments levied against it, that this of Penetration of Dimensions through the Personal Union of the Hu­mane Nature with the Word is so much as mentioned. Though some of the Pri­mitive Fathers, as well as the Heteticks styled Luciferiani, held the soul to be Material, yet they never imagined that through being united to the grosser Mat­ter, of which the Humane Body is fram'd, that any penetration of Dimensions en­sued; nor is this Medium mustered a­gainst them by any that have accosted and baffled their opinion. There are some odd Stories in Authors worthy of Credit, which seem to import a Perso­nal Union betwixt two created Intel­lectual Beings, and yet I do suppose that no man, unless it be Mr. Sherlock, will thence infer a penetration of Dimensi­ons. One is in Buchanan's History of Scotland, where he tells us of a Monster which from the middle downward, ha­ving but one Body, had from thence up­ward [Page 532] two, and that what ever impression was made upon the lower parts, excited a perception in both alike, but that one only was affected by assaults made upon them, where their Members and Organs were distinct. Now this together with their frequent quarrelling with one ano­ther, seems to argue that they had two distinct souls, and different formal Principles of perception and operation, and yet that they were personally U­nited, seeing both every impulse upon the leggs and thighs was perceived by each of them, and also because the infe­rior parts were under the influence of the one Head as well as of the other.Disp. select. part. 1. p. 752. An instance some­thing parallel to this, we have in Voetius de Crea­tione, where he tells us of a young man whom thousands in Holland saw, who besides a Head which he had in its due and natural place, had another promi­nent and jetting out from his Belly, and that these two Heads were inhabited and actuated by distinct souls, as appeared by the contrary perturbations and oppo­site passions which sometimes, even to their falling out with one another, dis­play'd [Page 533] themselves in them. In fine, though we both disclaim all Personal U­nion of Christ with Believers, and ab­hor the ascribing any such thing to sinful Worms as Identity with the Holy One of God; yet I do not see that the opposing it by a Medium drawn from Penetration of Dimensions, is either solid or pun­gent.

§. 10. They who instruct us in the arranging Discourses, do not only advise that in our Ratiocinations the stronger Reasons ought to succeed and support the weaker, and our Velites precede our Triarij; but that those things which per­plex our progress, though they do not directly oppose it, should be first re­moved before we address to that which is either more difficult to be established, or more particularly contradicted and gain-said. And accordingly having pro­ceeded hitherto in the best Method, and by the most Regular steps I could, and discharged the Notion of Belie­vers Union with Christ from all such things as have no room in the Formal Idea of it; we are next to apply our selves to the consideration of these [Page 534] things, which though they some way or other enter its conception, yet they nei­ther adequately declare it, nor are the Immediate foundations of that Mystical Union betwixt Christ and Christians, whose Quality and Complexion we are enquiring into. And the first thing which here falls under our prospect, is, that though there be a Legal Union be­twixt Christ and Believers, yet a Legal Union alone will not sustain the weight of all the Scripture-expressions which de­clare the mystery of our coherence with our Blessed Redeemer. A Legal Union I not only grant, but assert, only I say that the whole of a Believers Union with Christ is not comprehended in it. Two things then I am to prove. 1. That there is such an Union between the Lord Jesus Christ and the Elect of God, as may be styled a Legal Union. 2. That this is not all the Union which intercedes between Him and Believers. 1. Christians may be said in a Law sense to be One with Jesus Christ. This I account my self obliged to justifie, because Mr. Sherlock, by endeavouring to invalidate the Media, upon which it is built, hath not only un­dermined, but in effect denyed it. Now [Page 535] it is not by any Act, Convention, Ap­pointment, or Designation of ours, that Christ comes to be constituted our De­legate, Agent, Representative or Surro­gate. We had neither any power over the Son of God to substitute or interpose Him in our room; nor over the everlast­ing Father to oblige Him, to accept any satisfaction from him, or to admit that His sufferings should be effectual to Re­deem us. Yea, having lost Gods Image, and forfeited his Favour, we were so far from being thoughtfull how to recover either the one or the other, that De­spair in our selves, and Enmity against God were the Natural Attendants of our Sin and Misery. The Law Union between the Redeemer and us, is the E­mergency and result of a Federal Pact be­tween the Father and the Son. The Blessed Trinity having resolved to mani­fest the glory of Immense Wisdom and Infinite Mercy in the recovering Lapsed Man from Sin and Wrath, the Father by an act of Soveraign choyce and uncon­ceivable Love invites the Son to inter­pose between the Law and us, and the Son by the like Love and Complacential Election condescends to do so. Though [Page 536] the exuberant fulness of God supersede all thoughts of any real accession to Him in any of His perfections, yet in this great transaction towards Man, we must conceive Him not only acting in con­sistency with the Honour of his Attri­butes, but to the declaration of the Glory of all his properties. Man having sha­ken off his dependency upon God by transgressing the Law of Creation, Gods Rectorship over him, which is Regula­ted by his Wisedom, Holiness, Veracity, and the Eternal Rectitude and Righte­ousness of his Nature, would not allow that he should be received into Favour, but in such a way, and by such means, as may secure the Ends of Government, manifest the displicency that is in God to Sin, evidence his Truth and Immutabi­lity in proceeding according to the Penal Law which in pursuance of his own At­tributes & Mans Rational Nature and Re­lation to God, he had at first enacted. And as upon the supposition fore-going, neither the Glory of Gods Attributes h [...]d [...], nor His Authority [...] preserved from [...] interposure of One every [...] between the Law [Page 537] and us, to suffer its Penalty, and Justice to us, to make atonement; So in the in­terposure of the Son of God, there was the Invitation and consent of the Father necessary as well as a voluntary consent and undertaking of the Son. Without a Call on the Fathers side, the sufferings of Christ would have had no tendency to the Glory of God, nor have been plead­able as effectual to Redeem us; and without the voluntary consent of the Son, he could neither in Justice have suffered penally, nor could his sufferings have been propitiatory for Man. Christs suffering in our stead, and being punish­ed for our sins, as well as the whole effica­cy of his Death, and Merit of his Passion, bear upon an antecedent contract be­tween the Father and him. And this Agreement which Divines call the Co­venant of Redemption, is the foundati­on of that Legal Union between Christ and us. To say that Christ suffered on­ly for our advantage, and not in our room is plain Socinianism, and to say that he bare our punishment without be­ing charged with our guilt, is plain Non-sense; and to grant these, and yet to remonstrate to such a Relation between [Page 538] Him and us, as may and ought to be styled a Legal Union, is to vent repug­nancies in the same breath. However I shall endeavour to give some further proof of this Union betwixt Christ and the Elect in a Law-sense, by unfolding the Notions of Surety and Mediator, which our Author hath studied to disable from doing us any service in this Mat­ter. [...], the word which we render Surety, occurs but once in the New Testa­ment; I do not deny but that its found thrice in the Apocryphal Writings, and that the Verb [...] to become bound for another, is used several times by the 70. viz. Pro. 6, 1. & 17, 18. As also [...] Suretyship occurrs, Prov. 22.26. [...] is deduced by some from [...], the hand, or palm of the hand, Vid. Eustath. in Homer. vol. 2. p. 920. & 1334. and to import the striking of hands, which was an ancient Symbol of one's becoming bound for another. So Job. 17, 3. Put me in Surety with thee, who is he that will strike hands with me? and Prov. 22.26. Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are Sureties for debts. And by the way, this may instruct us what to think [Page 539] of the Wit as well as the Modesty of Mr. Sherlock for reflecting on Dr. Jacomb, meerly because he had expressed the Fe­deral transaction between the Father and Son by striking of hands, p. 289. though it was only to declare the compact between them by allusion to a rite and ceremony which among men is Symbolical of some pact and agreement. Others derive the word [...] sive [...] the Earth, because that of all the E­lements hath not only the greatest fixa­tive strength and virtue with reference to other things, but is in it self the Im­moveable Center of the World. 'Tis u­sually rendred by Sponsor, fideiussor, praes, an Undertaker, an Engager, a Surety. And this is acknowledged by all to be the import of it, Heb. 7.22. Where the Apostle declares of Christ that he is the Surety of a better Testament or Covenant. The main difficulty is whether Christ be the Surety of the Covenant from God to us, or the Surety for us to God. The Soci­nians unanimously understand it of his making Faith of, and ratifying the Covenant from God to us. He is [Page 540] styled the surety of the Co­venant, Sponsor faede­ris appellatur Je­sus, quod nomine Dei nobis spo­sponderit, i. e. fi­dem fecerit De­um faederis pro­missiones serva­turum esse. Non vero quasi pro nobis spospōderit Deo, nostrorum­ve delictorum so­lutionem in se receperit. in loc. says Schlichtin­gius, because he under­takes in the Name and be­half of God to us, that all the promises of it shall be made good and performed; and not because he under­takes to make satisfaction on our behalf to God. And indeed, though both Gro­tius & Dr. Hammond go this way, yet our Authors paraphrase hath greater affinity in its Phraseology to Schlichtingius's gloss than to either of theirs. His words are these, To be Surety of the Covenant signifies no more than to con­firm and ratifie the Covenant, p. 289. and to un­dertake for the performance of it, that all the promises of the Covenant shall be made good upon such Terms and Conditions as are annexed to them. But first: Should it be granted that Christ, under the No­tion of Surety, hath ratified & confirmed the Covenant, yet it will not follow that this is the principal, much less the sole rea­son of the denomination of Sponsor which [Page 541] ascribed to Him. That the confirming the Covenant was a subordinate end of his Incarnation and Death, many do allow, but that it was either the only, or the su­preme End, without renouncing our Bi­bles cannot be admitted. His being Surety of a better Testament, is equipol­lent to his being styled the Mediator of a better Covenant, Heb. 8.6. and Media­tor of the New Testament, Heb. 9.15. And therefore the whole of his Media­torship not consisting in his publishing the Covenant, and undertaking in the behalf of God, that the promises of it up­on such and such Terms shall be made good; no more can his being the Surety of it lye solely in that. Besides the Office of a Prophet, (wherein he transacts from God with us) which belongs to Christ as Mediator, there also appertains to him the Office of a Priest, wherein he acts for us with God. But seeing I said that the Notion of Surety, Heb. 7.22. is of the same import with the meaning of Mediator, Heb. 8.6. & 9.15. It was because it is his Sacerdotal Office, with respect to which he is in both these places, so styled. Though there be other Offices which as Mediator he exerciseth [Page 542] towards the Church, and which other places of Scripture bear Testimony to; yet it is his Office of Priest alone that is intended in the Term Mediator, in both the fore-going Texts. And so the No­tions of Surety and Mediator are of the same Latitude, otherwise his being Sponsor is a much narrower Notion than his be­ing Mediator. 2dly. Though the ad­mission of Christs being styled Surety of the Covenant, because he hath ratified and confirmed it, will not preclude his being Surety also upon other accounts; yet I will add that there is nothing of his ratifying the Covenant, and undertaking for the performance of it, intended in that Term. Now the Reasons that sway me to this belief, and consequently to judge Mr. Sherlocks paraphrase not only groundless but perverse are these. (1.) It shakes Gods infinite Veracity, which is the foundation of all Divine Faith. We may sometimes question whether such a Declaration come from God; but admitting once that it is His, there is no room left to suspect its being True. To make promises, is the Issue of Gods arbitrary and soveraign Will, but to keep and fulfil them, being made, [Page 543] proceeds from the Eternal Rectitude and Sanctity of his Nature. To deny his Be­ing, is a lesser disparagement put upon him, than to imagine that he can falsifie his Word. Christ needed a Testimony from God to confirm his Mission, but God needed none from Him to establish his being True and Unchangable. Though we need good assurance that they who pretend to be the Heralds of Heaven, be not Impostors, yet the only reason of believing what God saith, is his own In­fallibility. (2.) The Apostle reckon­ing up all the evidences of the Immutabi­lity of God's Counsel hath omitted this, and thereby precluded it from the num­ber of them. Other security in order to our Consolation we need not, nor hath God thought fit to give any but his Pro­mise and Oath;See Heb. 6.16, 17, 18, 19, And as by the first he gives us a Right (providing we an­swer the Conditions an­nexed to them) So he assures us by the second, that there are no latent reserves.See. (3.) Had the A­postle been introducing Christ in the place of, and advancing him a­bove Moses, who acted for, and from [Page 544] God to the People, there might have been some probability in Mr. Sherlock's gloss; but by introducing him into the room of, and exalting him above Aaron, who act­ed in behalf of the People towards God, there is a plain overthrow given to it. Schlichtingius, who useth not to be over li­beral in concessions relating to the honour of Christs Priest-hood, yet grants credibile esse in voce sponsoris sacerdotium Christi intelligi, That the Priesthood of Christ is in all probability implied in his Spon­sorship. 'Tis true, he takes a course by the Notion which he assigns of Christs Priesthood, namely, that in eo praecipue Christi sacerdotium consistit quod per Chri­stum Deus promissa sua nobis exhibeat, that his concession shall little avail us; but as I dare not think that Mr. Sherlock will espouse it so; If he do, I shall know whom to list him among, and what to re­ply to him, but in the mean time I forbear. It being once evinced that the Vadimony of Christ relates to his Priesthood, we do thereby immediately obtain that the ratifying of the Covenant is no part of his Suretyship: For all that Christ does under the reduplication of a Priest, is for us, and in our behalf to­wards [Page 545] God; but to undertake that the promises of the Covenant shall be made good, is to act from God to us. In brief, that Christs Sponsorship relates to his Priesthood, there needs no more but the consideration of the context to convince such as are teachable; and for others, I know no means sufficient to in­struct them, neither have I the vanity to attempt it. His susception of Suretyship is the rise and basis of his Sacerdotal Of­fice, and whatsoever he did in discharge of his Priestly Function, it was in pursu­ance of his having substituted himself our Sponsor; and accordingly the Nature and Boundaries of his Suretiship are to be de­fined by a survey of what he became lya­ble to, and performed as our High Priest. For though the compact and convention between Him and the Father be the foun­dation and fountain of both, yet his Priest­hood is immediately erected upon his sus­ception to be our Praes or Surety. And forasmuch as his being our Sponsor a­riseth from an agreement which inter­ven'd between the Father and Him, and exerteth it self in the works of his Sacer­dotal Function; we must therefore have recourse to these as the Standar [...] and [Page 546] Measure, by which the full import and extent of his being our Surety is to be re­gulated and determined. The impor­tance and derivation of the Term as ap­plyed to Transactions amongst men, falls infinitely short of expressing the Vadi­mony which Christ entred into and un­dertook. For besides that, the one re­lates to Crimes, the other to pecuniary debts; and that the party, to whom the Security here is given, stands considered as a Rector, whereas elsewhere we con­sider him as a meer Creditor; there are also other essential differences, namely, that in transactions amongst men, he who gives the Security supposeth the Debtor Solvent; but in the case before us, our ina­bility to satisfie, lay as the ground-work of the whole of Christs susception. The Law of Creation which had a threatning annexed to it, denouncing wrath against all manner of transgression, being by us violated and broken; it pleased God (though he did not relax the punishment at least in its essentials which was threat­ned) for the exalting the honour of his Grace, to dispense with the Law so far as concerned the immediate subject, and to allow a substitution. Upon this, in [Page 547] complyance with the Call of the Father, doth the interposure of the Son enter. And the great end of his concerning him­self being the advancement of the Glory of Gods Wisdom and Mercy in our reco­very in such a way and manner as that not only none of the Divine Attributes should be impeached or eclipsed, nor the Decorum of Gods Government spoiled, but that through Sins having a meet re­compence measured out to it, God might appear the Protector of his Laws; it was thereupon necessary that He should undergoe the punishment which the Justice and Law of God made due to sin. And forasmuch as this could not be effected without having our sins transferred upon him; he there­fore substituted himself in our room, and became our [...] and Surro­gate. And this is all that we mean by our Legal Union with Christ, which the Term and Notion of his being our Surety doth not only display and il­lustrate, but confirm and prove. And whereas Christ is styled the Surety of a better Covenant, it is because the En­acting of the Covenant of Grace re­spects his undertaking to be made [Page 538] Sin, and to undergoe the Curse as the Moral cause and Condition with­out which there had been no over­tures of mercy made to the Sons of men. It was in consequence of Christs susception to be our Sponsor, Appellatur spon­sor quia spospon­dit & ultro in se suscepit prae­stare omne id quod Justitia & Lex Sancta Dei quae nec mutari, nec abnegari nec dissimulari potuit, exigebat ut fieret, si bona Testamenti pax, vita, salus nobis donari & nostra fieri debebant. Momma de va­riâ conditione & statu Eccles. Tom. 1. cap. 1. p. 8. and with respect to the Obedience of his Life, and Sacrifice of his Death as the pro­curing and deserving Cause, that God entred into a Covenant with Man-kind, promising to pardon their sins, re­ceive them into favour, & crown them with life, upon such terms & condi­tions as the Father & Son thought fit to prescribe. What these are, the Gos­pel declares; nor is any man actually forgiven, justified, or admitted in­to friendship with God, but upon a performance of the conditi­ons, and having the qualifications there required. Christs own discharge was an Immediate consequent of his sufferings, [Page 549] and they for whom he suffered had also immediately a Fundamental Right of be­ing acquitted; but their actual delive­rance was to be in the way & order, that He who had substituted himself in our room, and he who had both admitted and been the Author of the substitution, thought fit to appoint. This I have the longer insisted upon, because our Author either doth not, or will not understand those whom he writes against. For by what he says against Dr. Jacomb upon this Theme, I am apt to think that he conceives himself too Witty to understand what he reads, or that he consults the Non-confor­mists Book only that he may turn them in­to Burlesque & ridicule, He First Fathers such a Notion of Christs being our Surety upon Him, as neither he nor any man that was in his Witts ever held, and then sets himself to exercise his Faculty in op­posing it. To affirm of us that we make Christ our Sponsor to discharge the Offices of Piety and Virtue, p. 29. Justice and Temperance in our stead, as Mr. Sherlock doth, is to impute his own mistakes to us, that he may the bet­ter upbraid us. Although we plead the Me­ritorious Righteousness of Christ against [Page 550] the accusation of the Law, yet we con­tend for a personal Righteousness of our own, to answer the demands of the Gos­pel. Our fulfilling the Terms of the New Covenant, is the condition en­titling us to the Righteousness of Christ, by which alone we escape the curse of the Old. Though Christ hath merited all that Grace, in the strength and virtue of which, we repent, believe, and obey, yet it is we our selves that do so, and not Christ. And therefore I have nothing further to say to our Author in this Mat­ter, but must suffer him to fight with his own shadow. Let him but once justi­fie his charge of our making the Personal Righteousness of Christ our Personal Righ­teousness, or that we maintain Christ to have fulfilled all Righteousness in our stead; and I do here assure him that I am not on­ly ready to allow his severest reproofs, but to commend and second them. But till then I leave him to encounter the Wind-mills of his own Imagination, and to hew the posts which his Fancy hath erected in the room of Phanatick Adver­saries.

[Page 551]The Notion of Mediator, and the ser­viceableness thereof, to conduct us to the belief of a Legal Union with Christ, is that which we must address next to the explication of. [...], which we render Mediator, is a Term in a manner peculiar to the sacred Writers. 'Tis true, he whom Thucydides styles [...], the Scholiast calls [...] & [...]. It is de­rived [...] and signifies one that in­terposeth between two parties at vari­ance, to accommodate and compose their difference. The Socinians, those de­clared Enemies of the satisfaction of Christ, though they retain the Term as applyed to Him, yet they do so enervate the meaning of it, as in effect to overthrow what in words they seem to acknowledg. For by stating the whole of Mediator­ship in his being God's Legate, and the Interpreter of the Divine Will to Man, they not only supplant his Mediatorial Office through disclayming the principal Reasons and Ends of it, but mistake the true and primitive import of the word. There may be an internuncius between parties, who stand in alliance of friend­ship; but Mediator includes in its idea, a supposition of difference among those be­tween [Page 552] whom he interposeth, [...], A Mediator is not of one, saith the Apostle, Gal. 3.20. That is, as Grotius expounds it, There is no need of a Me­diator between those that are at agreement. [...] hic sumo a neutro [...]. Non solet sequester se interponere in­ter eos qui unum sunt. i. e. qui bene conveniunt. Grot. in loc. Non unius partis sed dua­rum earumque dissidentium. Ja­cob. Capel. Me­diation not only implies two distinct parties, be­tween whom there is to be an interposure, but al­so that there is a variance to be accommodated. Suidas gives us the true import of [...] when he renders it by [...] a Peace-maker. I do not deny but that Christ's discharge of his Prophetical Office is a part of the exer­cise of his Mediatorship; But as the whole of his Mediatorial undertaking doth not consist in his being Gods Ambassador to declare His Will, and the purposes of his Grace concerning us; so a variance between God and us lies at the bottom, and gave occasion to his comeing forth as a Legate from the Lord to us. The whole Tenor of the New Covenant, whereof Christ is the Messenger and A­postle, [Page 553] importeth a difference between God and us, through the violation of a former. As the prescription of Repen­tance to us, together with the whole of that Religious Worship which God re­quires of us, argues him reconcileable, so it speaks him antecedently offended. It is an affront to Reason as well as Scrip­ture, to imagine a Mediator without re­spect to a fore-going difference. Some have conceived (though as well against as without the countenance either of Reason or Scripture) that the Son of God should have been Incarnate, though man had persevered in his Integrity; but none save the Socinians ever dream'd that any one could come in the quali­ty of a Mediator, where there was not a previous difference between those in whose behalf he so appeared. That he should be styled a Mediator, meer­ly with regard to his declaring God's Grace and Favour to man, together with the duty which God required of us, is repugnant to every Text in the Bible, where the Term oc­currs; and that it contradicts the common sense of Mankind in their ap­plication [Page 554] and usage of the Word,Receptâ sig­nificatione & vulgari usu lo­quendi, factum est ut is qui pa­cem inter duos quocunque modo conciliet Me­diator appelle­tur. de Servat. p. 1. c. 7. Socinus him­self is forced to acknow­ledge. Now as an in­terposure between two differing parties to com­promise a difference is included in the Idea of a Mediator; so there are several things intrinse­cally belonging to the Mediatory Office and Work of Christ, which do not appertain to Mediation simply considered. For whereas other Mediations are chiefly managed by way of entreaty and intercession, the Office and Work of Christs Mediation consists not only fundamentally, but principally in his oblation of himself as a Propitiatory Sacrifice. I do not preclude the Inter­cession of Christ from bearing share in his Mediatory Work; I only say, that as the whole of his interposure is not to be confined to it, so it had in every part and degree of it a respect to, and did bear upon his giving himself for a Ransom. Not only his Intercession now in Hea­ven, which excludes the gestures of a formal supplicant (these being both in­consistent [Page 555] with the state of Glory, to which he is exalted, and the accomplish­ment which he hath made of all that was required of Him as the ground and Mo­tive of the Communication of Mercy to us) and lyes meerly in the representation of his Meritorious passion and Sacrifice, (which whither it be at any time accom­panied with an articulate voice, I do not determine) but his intercession here on Earth, which (as well because the Obla­tion and Sacrifice that he was afterwards to represent, was not then dispatched, as in Analogy to the state of Humiliation he was then in) behoved to be vocal, and in way of formal supplication; I say not only the one, but the other also, respects his Mediatorious passion as their Foun­dation, and as the cause, ground & mo­tive, with relation to which the things in­terceded for are procured. Christs in­terposure as Mediator between God and Man, took its rise from, and bore upon a compact between the Father and Him, that he should be Incarnate, and give his Life a Ransom for many. This the Ho­ly Ghost doth most emphatically instruct us in, 1 Tim. 2.6. Heb. 8.6.9.15. & 12.24. which are all the places where he is [Page 556] in express Terms so styled. Now had not the susception of our sins preceded as the Antecedent impulsive cause of Christs sufferings, he could neither be said to be made Sin for us, nor to bear them, nor to have them laid upon him, nor to dye for our Offences, nor to be our Ran­som: Nor could the inflicting of suffer­ings upon him have been either good in it self, or an act of Rectoral Justice in God, or have had any tendency to his glory, or to the honour of his Law, or to deterr Sinners from offending; yea, pre­clude once the consideration of sin as the meritorious cause of the Agonies which Christ underwent, and the Love, Wise­dom, Justice, and Rectorship of God are obnoxious to reflexions, and stand lyable to be impeached. And if it be once ob­tain'd that our sins are the Meritorious impulsive cause of Christs Death, his susception of our Guilt will necessarily follow. For Guilt being nothing but an Obligation to punishment, & it being im­possible to conceive such a habitude be­twixt a person and sin, that it should be the meritorious impulsive cause of his pu­nishment, and yet he not be under an ob­ligation to punishment, it plainly follows [Page 557] that guilt must be supposed antecedent to a demerit of punishment. Guilt and pu­nishment being Relates, he that is obnox­ious to the latter, must be previously un­der the imputation of the former; as Bishop Andrews expresseth it; Christ was first made sin in respect of the Guilt, and then a Curse in respect of the punish­ment. Serm. of Justification on Jer. 23.6. Where Sin is so charged, as to expose a person to a demerit of punishment, there is an obligation to it, & where there is such an obligation to it, there is in some sense or other Guilt. Those very arguments, whereby we overthrow the Popish Dogm of Believers being discharged from the Guilt of Sin but not the punishment, do equally disprove Christs undergoing the punishment of Sin without susception of the Guilt. In brief (1.) Through a convention betwixt the Father and Son our sins are so charged upon and transfer­ed to Christ, as to be exacted of him; and he hath submitted to the Demerit of them, so as to undergoe the penalty in the substance and kind of it, (though not in the Adjuncts and Consequential acci­dents which would have accompanied it upon such weak, finite, depraved subjects [Page 558] as we are) that we should have under­gone. (2.) Through Christs interpo­sing as Surety and Mediator by suffering in our stead, God hath so vindicated his own Honour, asserted the Authority of his Commands, and satisfied the ends of Law and Government, that he accepts of what Christ hath done and suffered as full satisfaction to his Law; and in considera­tion thereof, without any reflexion upon his Attributes, or subversion of his Rectorship, he makes a tender of pardon to us. (3.) God having admitted the inter­posure of Christ on our behalf, & having inflicted sufferings upon him as a punish­ment for our sins, and having accepted those sufferings as a Sacrifice of Atone­ment for the expiation of our Guilt, and having also agreed with his Son and de­clared in the Covenant of Grace the Terms on which we are made partakers of the benefits thereof; we upon a per­formance of these conditions, come to have all that Christ did and suffered, as our Mediator, imputed to us in a Law-sence. That is, the Law owns that Christ intervening in our room, hath answered all its demands, so that God in consisten­cy with its exactions, may be both just [Page 559] in himself, and yet be our Justifier. And this being all that we intend by a Legal Union with Christ, namely, that by the Covenant of Redemption, Christ so be­comes our Surrogate as to have our sins in a Law-sence imputed to Him, and that we through fulfilling the Terms of the Covenant of Grace, have all that, which He as substituted in our place and stead, did and suffered, imputed in a Law-sense to us: He must not only disclaim Christs being Mediator in any proper sense, but renounce the whole Gospel that denys it. Having not only declared, but justified that there is a Legal Union between Christ and Believers, and having also stated and defined what it is, and wherein it consists, all that remains incumbent up­on me, relating to this Head is, to shew that the whole of a Christians Union with the Lord Jesus, is not comprehended in this, nor hereby expressed. And 1st. There are many Scripture Texts mani­festative of an Oneness that the Saints have with Christ, which a Legal Union doth not come up to the heighth and grandeur of. As there is not any one thing in the Gospel which the Holy Ghost hath judg­ed meet to express in greater variety of [Page 560] phrase, than the mystery of our cohesion with Jesus Christ; so this Legal Union can no ways sustain the weight of most of them. 'Tis not consistent with the Wis­dom and Goodness of God to entertain us with pompous words, or to treat us with Hyperbolical expressions, when he is declaring to us the Mysteries of Faith, to which he not only requires our assent, but hath made much of our comfort and duty dependent upon them. Who can think that a Legal Union is all that the Holy Ghost intends by our being one Spirit with the Lord, and being ingraffed into Him as Branches are into a stock, or root; cemented to Him, as the building is to the Foundation; incorporated with him, as our Aliment and Food is with our fleshly substance; ligu'd and connected to him, as the Bodily Members are to their Natural and Vital Head? I know all these expressions are Metaphorical, yet I also know that they must be declara­tive of something that is not only real, but whose greatness it is not easy to conceive. As the variety of Metaphors which the Spirit makes use of to decipher it by, de­clare its importance, so the quality of them serves to intimate that it is not [Page 561] meerly a Legal Union. If there be no other Oneness between Christ and sin­cere Christians, but that which we have been discoursing of, there could not be a Symbole worse chosen to express it by, there being no Analogy between what the phrases originally signifie, and that which they are designed and brought to illustrate. 2dly. Those things being distinct and different whose ideas are so, the formal Conception of our Legal Union with Christ being hugely diffe­rent from the Notion which we have of our Spiritual Union with Him, it plainly follows that our Mystical coherence to Him, imports some thing besides a Le­gal Oneness. Now that the Idea which we have of the one, is distinct from that which we have of the other, appears (1) in that our Legal Union implyes a Relation to Christ as our High Priest and Sponsor, interposing and acting in our behalf to­wards God; whereas our Mystical Union respecteth Him as acting to us in the quality of a Vital Head. (2) Because the vinculum of that is Christs susception of our sins upon him, and the Fathers im­puting them to him; but the nexus of this is the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us, [Page 562] and principles of Grace infused into us. (3) Because the result of our Legal U­nion is the imputation of what Christ in our stead did and suffered, for Righteous­ness to us, and discharge from Wrath; but the effect of our Spiritual Union is further communication of Grace, toge­ther with quickning Influences whereby we grow up into a higher conformity with our Head, and are more and more adapted to live to God. 3dly. Those things are different, whereof the one is the meritorious fruit as well as the Con­sequent of the other; and that this is the habitude which the things before us stand in, might be easily demonstrated. For though many of the formal benefits of a Legal Union, such as Actual discharge from Wrath and Justification to Life, do not arrive to us, but through the inter­vention of a Spiritual conglutination to our Mediator, (it being not only in the power of the Father and Son to appoint in what order, and upon what Terms we should have an Interest in the pur­chased Redemption; but the very Na­ture of our deliverance, which was not only a ransoming us from Wrath, but a restoring us to the favour of God, and [Page 563] an exalting us to a superadded blessed­ness, required that it should be in such a Method and upon those conditions, as that God might both exercise forgiveness in consistency with His Holiness, and we be adapted for that to which we were ad­vanced) yet, even our spiritual Union in the very vinculum & bond of it, is a pur­chased fruit of what Christ as substituted in our room, and so one with us in con­spectu curiae, did and suffered. Yea, the Honour of being Heir of all things, and Head of Influence to the Redeemed, is a reward of what Christ underwent and performed as our Surety, in the relation of which he stood Legally United to us.

§. 11. I now proceed to the conside­ration of Moral Union, which is all that some (and those very considerable Per­sons) will admit to intercede betwixt Christ and Believers. By Moral Union we understand a Harmony of Wills, an agreement in designs, a confederation in affections; in a word, an Union by way of mutual and reciprocal love. 'Tis styled Moral from its band or ligature, which is Love. Love is not only [Page 564] [...]he principal and chiefest▪ but the source and fountain of all humane Affections. All the Affections are but the several forms and shapes of Love. Desire, Fear, Anger, Hope, Sorrow, Delight, &c. are but the various Forms and Aspects of Love, according as its Object is circum­stantiated under the consideration of ab­sent, present, easie, or difficult to be en­joyed, &c. As the Object Beloved is affected with this or that Circumstance, so Love receives a new Modification, and becomes clothed with this or that Form. And indeed Love is of a very Unitive Nature, 'tis the Marriage of one Intellectual Being to another. 'Tis the strongest bond of Alliance, the most con­nexive cement. All Love tends to U­nion, to have the heart implanted and incorporated with the Object beloved. It both unites the Lover to the Object which he loves, and transform's him into it. What, and where our Love is, that and there we are. There is an assimi­lating efficacy in Love, whereby it casts the mind into the Mould of the thing Be­loved, which made Austin say, si terram amas, terra es; If thou lovest the Earth, thou art Earth: And the Philosopher to [Page 565] say [...], a Friend is only ano­ther Self. Friendship which is nothing but mutual endearedness, or a confede­racy in sincere affections▪ (save that it su­peradds conversation and society to Love) is not only styled by Hierocles [...] the noblest efflorescence & perfecti­on of Virtue; but Aristotle defines it [...], by one Soul in two Bodies. Or as Horace calls Virgil whom he entirely loved, dimidium animae, the half of his Soul. Now a Love-Union we readily acknowledg between Christ and Believers. As it was infinite compassion which influenced Him not only without Motives, but in despite of obstacles in us, to become our Ransom; so having Re­deemed us by his Blood, and engraven his Image upon us by his Spirit, he doth with superlative delight behold his pur­chase and embrace his likeness. 'Tis in pursuance of his complacency in them, that he Espouseth their concerns, resents their troubles, and ministreth opportune relief to them under their several exigen­cies. Nor is his Love greater than it is lasting, being as Unchangeable as it is free and superlative. Upon the same Motives that he works such dispositions [Page 566] and qualifications in us, as may render us fit objects of his Delight, he takes care to prevent their being totally lost, that so we may not cease to have a share in his complacency. Admit that Christs com­placential Love stands determined to Holiness, and that he delights in none till they be good; yet the Immutability of the Divine Counsels, the Conventi­on between the Father and Son in the Covenant of Redemption, Gods Vera­city in reference to the promises which he hath made in the Covenant of Grace, the absolute compleatness of Christs Sa­crifice for all those in whose behalf he gave himself a propitiation, together with the prevalency of his Intercession, and his design in purchasing and bestow­ing the Holy Ghost to reside in and watch over Believers, may assure us that he will preserve those as meet objects of his Love, upon whom he hath once engra­ven his Image to make them so. And by the way this may serve as a reply to that of Mr. Sherlock, p. 211. where he tells us, that the Unchangeableness of Gods Love doth not consist in being always de­termined to the same Object, but in that he always Loves for the same reason; that [Page 567] is, that he always loves true Virtue and Goodness where-ever he sees it, and never ceaseth to love any Person till he ceaseth to be Good, and then the Immutability of his love is the reason why he loves no longer. For besides that our Author doth here­by preclude all Gods love of Benevo­lence and Compassion, of which Persons abstracted from qualifications are the Objects. Which as the Scripture doth every where celebrate as the highest love, so there was nothing in us that could attract it, but on the contrary, there was every thing in us which might have rendred us the Objects of ever­lasting Indignation: See Rom. 15.8. Joh. 3.16. 1 Joh. 4.9, 10. I say be­sides this, the whole passage, even taking it as refering to Gods love of complacen­cy, is fram'd to overthrow Election, Effi­cacious Grace, the perseverance of Be­lievers, and to render the New Cove­nant no better than the Old, and our standing in Christ as lubricous as our standing in Adam was. And therefore I hope Mr. Sherlock will pardon me if I do not readily subscribe to him in this, forasmuch as I know it repugnant to the Articles of the Church of England, not [Page 568] to mention what else it is. The un­changeableness of his Love of Benevo­lence which took its Motives from him­self, and can no more be inconstant than the Divine Nature is, doth strongly in­fer the preserving those qualifications in us which are the immediate foundations of his love of complacency, supposing that he hath once wrought them. For the bestowing of those upon us in order to this that he might delight in us, being the aim and design of his Eternal Love of Good Will, it naturally follows that the Immutability of his kindness ensures his watching over and maintaining them, when once he hath wrought them in, and communicated them to us. In brief, Christs heart is wonderfully knit in love to the renewed and sanctified soul, Thou hast ravished my heart, my Sister, my Spouse, says he, Cant. 4.9. The word there used occurrs no where else in the Scripture, and signifies to have won, engaged, seized upon, or rob'd one of his heart. 'Tis a term borrowed from a passionate Lover, who is not Ma­ster of his own heart, another having gotten the possession of it. He that loved us at no less rate than dying for us, [Page 569] when we were Enemies, cannot but be affectionately linkt to us, having once washen us in his Blood, and renewed us to his likeness by his Grace. On the o­ther hand, though the love of a gracious Soul to Christ can neither equal his in its degrees, nor any way rival it in the free­ness, earlyness, or instances of discovery; yet it is so far reciprocal, that upon con­viction of Reason, conduct of Judg­ment, and the propension of the New Nature, it cleaves to and embraceth him. The sincere Christian not only reckons Christ an object chiefly worthy of his love, but by exiliency, egress; and ex­pansion of Soul after him, he endeavours a Conjunction and Union with him. From hence comes that liquefaction and languor of heart to enjoy him, and to re­ceive his impressions; hence proceeds that consignment of our Wills to his; from hence also there springs a concern­ment for his interest more than for our own. All the reciprocal love and friend­ship of the World are but [...], Idols and Images of Love and Friendship, being compared with what intercedes between Christ and Christians. Now this Love-Union, [Page 570] we not only own, but plead for, and do state our happiness in the perfection of it. Nor is there any thing that recommends Heaven more to us, than that our souls shall be there enflamed with and united by holy ardors to One so infinitely amia­ble in his own perfections, and so un­speakably deserving our purest flames for his free and preventing, as well as his exuberant and superlative love to us. This Conjunction, through a ligature and bond of love, (manifested in imitati­on and uniform obedience) betwixt Christians & the Lord Jesus Christ, is often mentioned in the holy leaves. But yet I cannot assent to those who state the whole of Believers Union to the person of the Mediator meerly in a reciprocal­ness of affections. 1. Because one Chri­stian should at this rate be as much One with another, as he is with Christ; which the Scripture will not allow us to submit our assent to, as not being reconcileable to those grand, lofty, and emphatical ex­pressions which the Holy Ghost peculiar­ly appropriates to declare the Unity which intervenes between Christ and Christians. That there is an Union of Affections between one Christian and a­nother, [Page 571] I suppose will not be denyed, nor is he indeed a Christian who hath not a witness of it in himself, and who doth not in the several ways wherein it is dis­playable, endeavour to give evidence of it to the world. 'Tis this Love Union amongst Christians which our Lord Je­sus so solemnly prayed for, Joh. 17.21. 'Tis this which he hath enjoyned his Dis­ciples as his New Commandment, and which he hath appointed to be the bond of perfection unto them; Joh. 13.34. Col. 3.14. 'Tis this which is represented as an evidence both of our Love-Union with God, 1 Joh. 4.12. and of our im­plantation into Christ by Regeneration, 1 Joh. 3.14. 'Tis this that was the glory of the Primitive Saints, Acts 4.32. and for which the very Heathen both admi­red them, and payed them an Internal veneration. In a word, 'tis this where­by all the Members of Christ being first copulated to Him as to a Vital living Head, and being Harmonious in the be­lief of all the Essential Fundamental Doctrines of the Gospel, come to be principally knit together among them­selves. And where this is not, a politick confederacy, and a wicked conspiration [Page 572] there may be, but such an Union as ought to be amongst Christians, there is not. But how high, noble, and necessary soever this Union is which intervenes betwixt one Christian and a­nother, yet it is not equipollent to the U­nion which occurrs between Christ and Believers. Nor do I hereby only mean that they differ gradually in some acci­dent or other (for so even the Moral U­nion betwixt Christ and Christians differs from the Moral Union of Christians a­mong themselves; the source and spring, the Motives and Arguments, the de­grees, dimensions, acts and instances of Manifestation being not universally the same, either in the love that Christ bear­eth to Believers, or in the flames which they cherish and maintain towards him, with those that obtain in the love of one Child of God to another) but my mean­ing is, that they differ specifically and in kind. And in proof of this, I desire no more, but that Persons would without prepossession & prejudice examine such Texts as Joh. 15.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1 Cor. 12.27. Rom. 8.1.9, 10. Gal. 2.20. Joh. 6.5, 6. not to mention more, where the Union betwixt Christ and Believers is [Page 573] represented & illustrated; and if he can find any thing in the Love-Union of one Christian with another, that beareth a proportion and Analogy with what is there declared concerning the Union of the Lord Jesus with Believers, I am mistaken. 2. Because the Holy An­gels would be every way as much con­nected and ligu'd to Christ as Believers are, were no more to be understood by this coherence, but a conjunction by way of Affection, or did this adequately ex­press the Notion of it. For, besides the subjection that the Angels are in to Christ as their Lord and Governour, 1 Pet. 3.22. and the attendance which in pursuance thereof they give at his Throne, Isa. 6.1, 2. together with that adoration and worship which they pay him, Heb. 1.6. and their readiness to minister in whatsoever services he en­joyns them about his Church, Heb. 1.14. I say besides all this, they are in a special manner cemented to him by pure flames and holy ardors. Those blessed Spirits, through that more perfect knowledg which they have of the attractive beau­ties and excellent perfections of Christ, (partly by the means of their more illumi­nated [Page 574] intellects, partly through their im­mediate attendance upon his glorious per­son, especially from their being above all temptations that may divert their minds from so amiable an object, and being free from all impure Lusts that may damp their flames) do cleave to him with a Love more defecated and pure, as well as more intense & elevated; than we can who are so far beneath them in the quality of our Nature, and whose Understandings are still so much benighted with ignorance and obnubilated with the vapours of Lust, and whose residence is so remote from the place of perfection as well as happi­ness. I do not determine whether their happiness be improved, and their perseverance in holiness secured by Je­sus Christ; though if so, there is a field of occasion and Motives to promote and exalt their love to him, ariseth thence. But declining to define any thing in that matter, there are enforcements enough besides, by which their sallies of Love to the Lord Jesus are allured & charmed forth. For 1st. Whatsoever they do, or have received from the exuberant goodness and pregnant fecundity of their Creator, they have it all by & from [Page 575] the [...] the Person of the Son as the immediate Operator and Dispenser of it. For the order of operation in the blessed Trinity, as to external works, corre­sponds unto, and followeth the order of subsistence. Hence though the Fabrick and Creation of all things be ascribed to the Father as to Authority and Order, Heb. 1.1. and to the Spirit as to disposi­tion and ornament, Joh. 26.13. yet they are peculiarly attributed to the Son as to immediate operation, Col. 1.15, 16, 17. 2dly. The Glory of God be­ing the alone object of the desires of the Heavenly Host, it cannot otherwise be, but that the honour which ariseth to God by the restitution of man, through the in­terposure of the Son as Mediator, must enflame those pure Spirits with love to him, through whose undertaking that Glory is compassed and effected. Nor is the Mysterious contrivance of Mans recovery a Theme which with a Religi­ous curiosity they only look into, 1 Pet. 1.12. but they both celebrate this plot of Love and Wisedom with Hallelujahs, and express their acknowledgments for the Glory which thereby redounds to their blessed Maker, in affections resembling [Page 576] the description given us of their Nature, Psal. 104.4. to the Person of the Medi­ator. 3dly. Man belonging to the same classis of Creatures, though of a different species with the Angels, the compassion which these Courtiers of the great King bear to the sublunary part of the Rational System, (whereof we have an evidence and instance in the joy that possesseth them upon the Conversion of a Sinner, Luk. 5.10.) may be lookt upon as another incentive of their love to Christ. We being separated from the Love of God, through the loss of the Di­vine Image, forfeited thereupon the kindness and friendship of the Angels; but being restored to conformity and fa­vour with God by Jesus Christ, there immediately ensues an [...] a re­dintegration of friendship between them and us. Nor do I question but that the consideration, that it is by Christ that they and we are [...] recon­ciled and brought into Oneness together, doth help to kindle their love to him. And as there is an adhesion of the Angels to Christ by love, so on the other hand he embraceth them with complacency and delight. For as there is nothing to be [Page 577] found in them, why he should look upon them with displeasure; so the sanctity of their Nature, and their ministring with readiness not only about his Throne, but in the affairs wherein he employs them a­broad in the World, lead him to behold them with approbation and love. And though none of their Homages equal his perfections whom they address their Ser­vices to, yet their faileurs being no ways the results of an impotence con­tracted by sin, but the inseparable appen­dants of the finiteness of their Natures, he readily accepts them. The covering their faces with their wings, (being in testimony of their infinite distance) is as welcome to him, and doth as much ob­lige his Love as their acclamations and celebration of his praise. There being then a Love-Union betwixt Christ and the Holy Angels, I hope that I may in­fer from hence that the Union between Christ and Christians is both something else and more sublime. I cannot think that any, who have read their Bible and believe it, dare affirm, but that besides the Oneness which we have with the Lord Jesus, through his participating of our Nature which the Angels have no [Page 578] share in, but that there is also a further Union between him and us, of which as the Angels do no ways partake, so nei­ther are they capable. 3dly. That the Mystical Union between Christ and Christians consisteth not in a reciprocal­ness of Affections, may be yet further de­monstrated from this; namely, because according to that Notion of Union, Belie­vers are no less United to the Father than to the Son; yea, they are United first to the Father ere to the Son. And I am apt to think that there needs not any more to be said against an Hypothesis, but that tis pregnant with consequences of so mis­chievous a tendency. Admit once Be­lievers to be United after the same man­ner to the Father, as they are to Christ, and we immediately justle the Lord Je­sus out of the place of Mediator. That there is an Union of Love between the Father and Believers, the Gospel doth every where display in most amiable and bright colours. Hence that of the Apo­stle, He that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God, and God in him, 1 Joh. 4.16. As Love is the only Attribute of the Divine Nature which is a­lone put to give us an Idea and Notion [Page 579] of God; so to be Love, is represented after a manner peculiar to God as the Fa­ther. The Love of the Father was the first spring and source of our recove­ry, and of all the means of accomplishing and bringing it about. It was the Fa­thers Love that contrived a way to reco­ver us, when we had forfeited all right to Happiness, and were neither careful, nor in a condition to regain it. When there were no Motives in us to invite his Love, his Love it self was in their room. And how great was his Love when he gave him whom he so dearly loved, for a Ran­som of those who were guilty of sin which he so greatly hated. The tran­scendency of his Love, is the greatest Obstacle to the belief of it. After that, his Love had travailed with plots of Mer­cy to poor Sinners, in what noble and a­musing effects did it exert it self? See Joh. 3.16. Rom. 5.8. 1 Joh. 4.9, 10. In a word, it is Love which is eminently ascribed to the Father in the Oeconomy of the Blessed Trinity about the Work of Mans Salvation. And this property of his Nature, which he chose to display in the work of Redemption, he hath act­ed to the uttermost, whereas he did not [Page 580] so by his Power, which he manifested in the Works of Creation, it being within the compass of his Omnipotence and Ex­uberant Bounty to produce a World more glorious than this. And though all this respects Gods Love of Com­passion to the Elect, yet we may hereby guess what his Love of Delight in Be­lievers is, on whom his Love of Good­ness hath compassed its designs. When his Love of Benevolence hath attained so much of its End as the renewing us in part to his Image, and the recovering us back to our obedience, He views over with delight the births that his com­passion went with, and beholds the ef­fects of his good Will with unspeakable complacence. That similitude which his Love in its first consideration design­ed an [...] [...]ntended, his Love in the second Notion of it embraceth and settles its de­light upon. And that Believers do em­brace the Father with a Love equal and proportionate to that which they have for Jesus Christ, I hope I need not spend time to prove. Besides the Al­lective and attractive perfections which the illuminated Understanding discovers in both, as they partake of the same Di­vine [Page 581] Nature and Essence, it meets with enforcing Motives of Love in the Oeco­nomical actings of each, as they are repre­sented in the Scripture, operating to­wards, & about our Redemption, with different peculiarities in the manner of their acting. How doth the Father's Love, (in being the Author and Foun­tain of our recovery, in his contriving the means of it, in giving his Son to be our Ransom and Propitiation in order to the effecting it, and in pursuance of his ac­cepting the Sacrifice of his Death as an Atonement for sin, and a meritorious price of sanctification, his being the Ori­ginal disposer in way of Authority and Order of all that Grace by which we are rendred meet objects of Gods delight) inflame the souls of renewed Ones with Love to him. 4. This Love-Uni­on, as it terminates upon Christ from us, or, as it implies our Affections being set upon him, is so far from being the formal Reason of our Mystical Union, that it doth suppose us already cemented to him. There can be no true Love to Christ without a previous conformity, seeing all love includes a supposition of likeness: Now to imagine either a resemblance be­tween [Page 582] us and Christ, without a New Na­ture previously form'd and wrought in us, or to conceive that there are any princi­ples communicated to us as the ground and matter of similitude, and yet we re­main unconnected to Christ, are fancies that the Gospel obligeth us to account absurd. To apprehend a Person renew­ed by Grace, and not implanted into Christ, is to bid defiance to the Gospel, and to conceive a soul cleaving to Christ by a Love that is sincere without an An­tecedent Principle of Grace adapting and connaturalizing it, is not only to con­tradict the Scripture, but to denounce War against Metaphysicks, which tell us that every Effect presupposeth a cause proportion'd to it. In brief, As we are not naturally imbued with a Love to Christ, so no man will by a prevalent Love embrace him till he be first conna­turalized, attempered & brought into a suitable habitude of mind to him. Every act supposeth a Power, nor is there hopes of Fruit where there is not a Root that can communicate sap to the branches that are to bear it. Though the soul be the Vital Principle of all actions and Af­fections, yet it is Grace that gives [Page 583] holy actions and affections their consti­tuent form. The Union which we have with Christ by love, saith the Reverend Bishop Reynolds, presupposeth an Unity we have in him by Faith; Faith is the immediate tye between Christ and a Chri­stian, but Love a secondary Union follow­ing upon, and grounded on the former. By Nature we are all Enemies to Christ and his Kingdom, of the Jews mind, we will not have this Man to raign over us; therefore till by Faith we are throughly perswaded of Christs love to us, 3. Treatise, viz. The Vani­ty of the Crea­ture; the sin­fulness of Sin, and the Life of Christ, p. 480. we can never repay love to him again. Herein is love, saith the Apostle, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son, 1 Joh. 4.10. Now between Gods Love and ours, comes Faith to make us one with Christ.

§. 12. That there ought to be no­thing in Religion which is incompre­hensible, or of which we are not able to form adequate Notions, is a fancy e­spoused by the Socinians. Hence it is, [Page 584] that though they do not wholly renounce the Gospel, yet by designing to accom­modate the mysteries of it to the Level of Humane apprehensions, they supplant the prime Articles of it. That there are Doctrines in the Christian Religion which our Understandings cannot fathom, seems to have been the chief thing that influenced Celsus, Hierocles, Porphyrius, Lucian, and other Heathen Philosophers of old, in their opposition of it. This their upbraiding the primitive Believers for receiving things [...] with an Ir­rational Faith, and their styling them [...] persons of easie belief, that had no reason for the things which they em­braced, abundantly declare. And truly admitting the Principle which they pro­ceeded upon, namely, that there ought not to be any thing in Religion, but what our Intellects bear a proportion to; they seem to me to have acted more rationally in refusing the Gospel altogether, than those do who embrace it, and yet [...], Model the Oracles of God to their private fancies, that so they may level the Mysteries of Christianity to our weak and shallow [Page 585] capacities. That there are Mysterious Doctrines in the Gospel, and particularly that our Union with Christ is of that Number, the Holy Ghost who should best know the complexion of every truth in it, hath plainly informed us. We are Members of his Body, of his Flesh, and of his Bones; This is a great Mystery says the Apostle, Eph. 5.30.32. Mr. Sherlock, who seems to judg all such things foolish and fanciful Notions which men cannot fully conceive & comprehend, is pleased to tell us, that there is nothing more easie to be understood than our Union and Communion with Christ;p. 197. but how he can reconcile him­self to Paul, unless great Mysteries be of easie conception and comprehension, I know not. 'Tis true, he hath taken care to present us with such a Notion of Believers Union with Christ, as may be understood on this side Heaven, and without sending for Elias to un­riddle it, p. 195. that I may use his own expression. Now what that Notion is, and whether it fully answer the account which the Scripture gives us in the Matter of Christians Union with [Page 586] the Lord Jesus, is that which we are now addressing to the ventilation of. And that neither he, nor others may think themselves imposed upon, I shall repre­sent his apprehensions of it in his own words.p. 142. Those Meta­phors, says he, which describe the Relation and Union betwixt Christ and Christians, do primarily refer to the Chri­stian Church, not to every individual Christian: The Union of particular Chri­stians to Christ, is by means of their Union to the Christian Church. The Church is the Body of Christ, p. 143. and every Christian by being United to this Body, becomes a Member of Christ. The Union of particular Christi­ans to Christ, consists in their Union to the Christian Church; p. 144. and our Union with the Christian Church, is the Medium of our Union to Christ. p. 149. Those Phrases and Me­taphors which represent our Uni­on with Christ, signify our visible Society with the Christian Church, and our sincere practice of the Christian Religion. Now this Union (says he) between Christ and the Christian Church is a Political Union, that [Page 587] is, such an Union as is between a Prince and his Subjects: Christ is a Spiritual King, and all Christians are his Subjects; and our Union to Christ, p. 156. consists in our Belief of his Revelations, Obedience to his Laws, and Subjection to his Authority. Fellow­ship and Communion with God, according to the Scripture Notion, signifies what we call a Political Union, that is, that to be in Fellowship with God and Christ, p. 186. signifies to be of that Society which puts us into a pecu­liar Relation to God. This is the account that Mr. Sherlock is pleased to afford us concerning the Union of Believers to Christ; and were this a true report and description of it, it ceaseth to be Myste­rious, nor needs the perfect knowledge of it be reserved to the next world, p. 147. or the coming of Elias, that I may again usurp our Au­thors phrase. He seems very careful that there should be nothing left Mysteri­rious in the Christian Religion, nor doth the Term Mystical please him, being, as he tells us,p. 197. a hard word. Only I wish that under [Page 588] pretence of wariness and caution, there be not any thing in the Gospel ac­knowledged of arduous conception, he did not lay a foundation of going soberly to destroy Christianity.

Now in the examining Mr. Sherlocks Notion of the Union of Christ with Be­lievers, I reckon it necessary before I address to the disproof of what I dislike in his opinion, to declare what I own to be true in the matter of a Political Union between Christ and Christians. First then, That Christ is the Political Head of his Church we readily grant, nor is it denyed by any, so far as I know, that profess themselves Christians. The ve­ry espousing the Profession of the Chri­stian Religion includes an acknowledg­ment of Christs being our Supreme Legi­slatour and Governour, and that we are to be subject to his Authority, and obedi­ent to his Commands. A Right of E­recting, Governing, and protecting the Church, is delegated to, and vested in him. And as he in the discharge of this Regal Office wherewithal he is entrust­ed, hath enacted Laws, appointed Or­dinances, and ordained Officers for the [Page 589] Government of his Church; so we by our submission to them do acknowledg his Authority, and make profession of our subjection to him as our Lord and King, and therereupon may be said to be rela­ted to Him as our Political Head. All that own the name of Christians are thus far agreed, for though the Papists inter­pose another immediate ruling Head be­tween Christ and the Catholick Church, yet as they acknowledg Christ to be the only Head of Vital Influence to the Church Regenerate, so they confess Him to be the only supreme Governing Head of the Universal Church. But as their Notion of a Vicarious, Political Head o­ver the whole Church, is both destitute of all countenance from the Scripture, and repugnant to it; so no one is capable of enacting Laws for the Universal Church, nor of seeing them executed; nor hath the Catholick Church ever acknowledged such a constitutive Imperant Head, what ever some part of it may have done. Upon this ac­count especially, we judge the Pope to be [...] the Antichrist, and [...] [Page 590] [...], The Opposer, who exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the Temple of God, shew­ing himself that he is God; because he usurpeth the Headship over the Church of Christ as to Legislation, Judgment, and Execution; dispensing with Christs Laws and enacting his own. He chal­lengeth a peerage with Jesus Christ as to Legislative Power and Headship over the Universal Church, which is no less than to storm his Throne, and Usurp his Scepter. The claym of the Roman See is great, but their Allegations to justifie it are wholly precatious. And when Jesus Christ appears to vindicate his Supreme Authority from the invasi­ons which Usurpers have made upon his Dignity, the counterfeiting the broad Seal of Heaven, and the suborn­ing Scripture to supplant Christs Throne, will prove a Crime unanswerable. I shall only add in reference to this particular I have been discoursing, that no verbal pro­fession of being a Christian, unless it be accompanied with a belief of the Reve­lations, [Page 591] and an Obedience to the Laws of Christ can de Jure entitle us amongst his Subjects.

Secondly: As a visible profession of subjection to Christ, testified in the be­lief of what he hath revealed, and in the obedience of what he hath commanded, is the foundation of this political Union between Christ and his Church; so we do hereby become politically united one to another, and are denominated Mem­bers of Christs Catholick Visible Church. For as the Profession of the Gospel in the belief of its Doctrines, & an avowed subjection to its Laws, is the constituent form of the Church as Visible, and the formal reason of its obtaining that appel­lation; so all that profess the Invocation of the Name of the Lord Jesus, their Lord and ours, 1 Cor. 7.2. do hereby belong to Christs Catholick Church Visible, and become Politically united as Subjects of the same Legislator and King. In the profession of the same Lord, Faith and Baptism doth the Union of the Church under the consideration of Catholick and Visible consist, and as the Subjects of one and the same Temporal Prince, [Page 592] become politically United together, by their being in subjection to the Autho­rity of the same supreme, civil Ruler, and governed by the same Laws; so may all Christians be said upon a parallel account to be politically united one with another. And here upon the one hand, as Christ hath not made our Right to a room and membership in the Catholick Church to depend upon a formal belief of every thing that he hath revealed, though eve­ry thing that Christ hath revealed ought to be believed when it appears that he hath revealed it: so upon the other hand, there are some Doctrines the explicite belief of which is necessary to the having a place in the Universal Church; a Church being nothing else but a company of men owning the Authority of Jesus Christ as Lord and King, and agreeing in the faith of such Doctrines as he hath made Salvation dependent upon. As we do not outwardly hold the Head, nor de­clare our subjection to Christ as our Law-giver and Ruler, but by a belief of those things which he hath made the Essentials and Fundamentals of the Christian Reli­gion; so we have no Right of Matricula­tion into the Church Catholick-visible, [Page 593] nor have we any Union with the Mem­bers of it, but through a belief of these common radical principles. These are what we commonly call Fundamental Ar­ticles, which as I shall not take upon me to enumerate, being neither necessary, nor, may be, convenient; so they are in themselves both few and plain. Only as the Romanists are injurious to Christ, and uncharitable to men in confining Chri­stianity within the Circle of their own communion, and making the Roman and Catholick Church Terms Equipollent; so they are both unreasonable and ridicu­lous in making the Unity of the Universal Church to consist in the belief of all that they have thought fit to determine ne­cessary to be believed. For, besides many other things pleadable against this Romish Foundation of the Unity of the Universal Christian Church, and the Relative Politick Union of one member with the rest; it renders the Unity of the Church, and the Union of Christians one with another, first, impossible, & secondly, absurd. Impossible in that most Men can neither allow time, nor have they suf­ficient acquired intellectual abilities▪ ei­ther to know what the Roman Church [Page 594] hath defined necessary to be believed, nor in what sence she hath proposed and determined them to be assented to. Ab­surd, (1) Because a man must believe contradictions before he can be a mem­ber of the Catholick Church, or have any Union or Communion with Chri­stians; That is, he must renounce Rea­son before he is capable of having Faith; and devest himself of Man before he can espouse Christian. And the reason is plain, because the Romish Church hath defined things to be believed that are re­pugnant one to another. (2.) Because what serves to matriculate a person into the Church of Christ, and to give him the Relation of an Oneness with all Chri­stians this year, may not be sufficient to secure and continue his Union and Rela­tion the next, but that without alteration or change in his belief, he may cease to be a Member of the Catholick Church. For the Church may in that compass of time determine something necessary to be believed, concerning which before she had not pronounced. But to resume what I was upon, as there is through our subjection to Christ by the belief of his Doctrine and obedience of his Laws, a [Page 595] Political Union betwixt Christ and Christians; so I see nothing to the con­trary, but that all Christians may in the virtue of their common Faith and Obedi­ence be accounted united amongst them­selves. I shall not here discourse the reciprocal and mutual duties which we come under the obligation of by this Re­lation, but as they are many and great, so were they attended to, a check would be given to that wrath and bitterness which is amongst Christians, & a stop put to that war and persecution which one wageth against another. Neither shall I here discourse the Nature and Measures of a particular Church with the foundation and media which ground the Relation of one to another in it; but shall only say this, that though admission into an instituted particular Church presup­poseth whatsoever was necessary to entitle us to a Membership in the Church-Catholick, yet there are both diverse things required in order to the latter, which were not so in refe­rence to the former, and diverse fresh duties emerge from this posterior Rela­tion, beyond what we were obliged to by the precedent.

[Page 596]Having briefly treated these things which ought not to be denyed, and shewed my self as liberal to our Author as without trespassing upon my light I can: I come now to discourse those things wherein our Author differs from the general sense of Christians, and the common opinion of the Universal Church. And the first conclusion which I propose in opposition to the Hypothesis that Mr. Sherlock hath erected, is this, That were the Union of particular Belie­vers with Christ only a Political Relati­on, yet it were immediate to the Person of Christ. Let our Relation to Christ, which is styled by the name of Union, be whatsoever our Author pleaseth to make it, yet it is not the Church that we are primarily united to, nor doth our Union terminate there, nor is it meerly by means thereof, that we are brought into a cohesion with the Lord Jesus. This, if justified, overthrows Mr. Sherlocks two first Conclusions, which indeed are but one in import, though obtruded upon us for two. For to say that those Metaphors which describe the Relation and Union betwixt Christ and Christians, p. 142, 143. do pri­marily [Page 597] refer to the Christian Church, and not to every Individual Christian, which is Mr. Sherlock's first conclusion; and to say that the Union of particular Christians to Christ, p. 143, 144. is by means of their Union to the Christian Church; which is his second Conclusion, are in my opinion, things coincident. The same Metaphors which describe the Re­lation and Union of Christ with Christi­ans, do also display the Relation and U­nion of Christians with Christ; & if the Union betwixt Christ and Christians doth primarily refer to the Christian Church, the Union of particular Chri­stians with Christ can result from no o­ther Medium, nor bear upon any other foundation but the Union with the Chri­stian Church. I should not bestow re­marks upon the ridiculous and imperti­nent Battologies of our Author, nor sally out into reflections upon what meerly fa­vours of dulness and hebetude, but that it may not be amiss to inform the World how undeservedly Mr. Sherlock hath ob­tain'd the name of an accurate Writer, and if it be possible, to give check to his briskness in Descanting upon the [Page 598] Writings of others. For he may remem­ber what a reflection he hath cast upon Dr. Jacomb, meerly for converting a Proposition, and saying, That the person of the Believer is United to the Person of Christ, having before said (though not so as to make it a different conclusion) That the Per­son of Christ is United to the person of the Believer. See p. 198. But to return to the proof of the Assertion which I have advanced in contradiction to Mr. Sher­locks Notion of our being United to Christ only by our Union and Fellowship with the Christian Church. 1. If parti­cular Christians be United to Christ only by virtue of a previous Relation to the Church, I would then fain know of Mr. Sherlock how the whole Church comes to be united to the Lord Jesus? For I suppose it will not be denyed but that there is a Relation of Oneness between Him and the Church; and if any should be so perverse, and of so unreasonable a humour as to question it, there are Media enough to evince it, though obstinate persons and such as maintain Tenets in despite of evidence to the contrary, may not be convinced by them. 'Tis the [Page 599] Church in its full latitude and extent that is eminently Christs Body and his Spouse, and 'tis his Body and Spouse that he is conjoyned and marryed to. Now for any one to say that he is united to the Church by the vincula that are between him and Individual Believers, is to run himself into the absurdity which we com­monly call a circle. For if the copula of particular Christians to Christ be their Society and Fellowship with the Christi­an Church, and if the vinculum between Christ and the Church be through the cohesion of particular Believers to Christ, there is no remedy but that our Author must be entangled in a circle, or else there is no such thing in the World as circular defining and discoursing. And to say that Christ is united to the Church by the Churches belief of his Revelations and Obedience to his Laws, is but instead of loosing the knot to tye it faster. For the Church being an Aggregate Body of Believers, she can no other ways em­brace the Revelations of the Gospel, or yield obedience to its commands, but in the virtue of what her particular constitu­ent Members do. 2. That our Union with Christ, even supposing it a meer [Page 600] Political Relation, should be by the means of our Union with the Christian Church, is repugnant to that conception and idea which we have of the Church. For the Church Catholick-Visible (and much more particular instituted Churches) being nothing else but the Collective Body of Christians, it naturally follows that they must in priority of Nature be Christians before they can any ways belong to the Church. Now to suppose them Christians (I speak of adult persons) without their previous owning the Authority of Jesus Christ through a belief of his Doctrines, and a professed subjection to his Laws, is an absurd and self-contradictious Imaginati­on. 3. If the Apostles were immedi­ately United to Christ without any Ante­cedent Relation to the Christian Church, I see no cause why every Individual Chri­stian ought not to be held united to Him in the same manner that they were. For the Apostles being united to Christ un­der the formal consideration of their be­ing Christians, and not under the redu­plication of their being Apostles, it follows by a short and easie train of ratiocination, that all who have a [Page 601] right to the denomination of Christians, are united by the same Bond, and stand in the same immediateness of conjunction with Christ, that they were. Yea, Paul hath said enough to set this beyond all suspect, in that speaking of the Body of Christ, he reckons the Apostles in the classis of Members with other Be­lievers; 1 Cor. 12.27, 28. Now that the Apostles were not united to Christ by the Mediation of any Antecedent Rela­tion to the Christian Church, but that their Relation of Oneness with Him was immediate, there be unanswerable Ar­guments at hand to demonstrate. But I shall only mention one, namely, there was no Christian Church pre-existent to them, into whose Society and Fellow­ship they could be admitted. I have thus far discoursed these things with Mr. Sherlock, taking the church for the univer­sal Catholick Visible Church, which is the most favourable acceptation to befriend the Notion of our being united to Christ by the means of Union to the Christian Church, that 'tis capable of. And this acceptation of the Church, as our com­munion with it is the Medium and Bond of our Union with Christ▪ Mr. Sher­lock [Page 602] finds himself in some cases necessi­tated to retreat to. If, says he, there be no Visible Society of Christians professing the Faith of [...]hrist, p. 165. and living in Communion with each other (as it may happen in times of persecution, or some great degeneracy of the Church) our Union to Christ then con­sists in an acknowledgment of his Authori­ty and Subjection to his Laws, which makes us Members of the Universal Church, though there be no particular Church to communicate with. Now if the Notion of Union with Christ by the Medium of a previous Interest in the Catholick Visi­ble Church, be not defensible; much less is it maintainable on the Hypothesis of an Union with a particular Church, as the Vinculum and Foundation of it. And yet most of our Authors discourse is fram'd in countenance of this; namely, that Individual Christians are not united to Christ, but by means of their Union to some particular Church. Hence we are told that we cannot be United to Christ, p. 163, 164. that is, can­not own his Authority and Go­vernment till we unite our selves to the publick Societies of Christians, [Page 603] and submit to the publick Instructions, Au­thority and Discipline of the Church. And this is made the motive and ground of our living in the Communion of the Church where Providence hath cast us, so long as she submits to the Laws of Christ, and ac­knowledgeth his Au­thority, because, p. 165, 166. as our Author saith, this U­nites us to Christ. Mr. Sherlock, so far as I am able to conjecture, was not at leisure to think what was most service­able to the Hypothesis he had espoused, or what was most disserviceable to it. All Immediate Union of particular Christi­ans with Christ, save by means of their union with the Christian Church he was resolved to deny, but in what sense the Church was to be taken, by Communion with which, we come to be copulated with Jesus Christ, he durst not determine. At one time 'tis by our being Members of the Universal Church; at ano­ther 'tis by our Fellowship with such a Church as is under the conduct of Bishops and Pastors, p. 165. whose Members are in regular sub­jection to their spiritual Guides and Rulers, p. 163.165. and live in concord [Page 604] and Unity amongst themselves, and in a mutual discharge of all Christian Offices. But that Communion with a particular Church cannot be the Medium of a Christians Union with Christ, I come un­der the influence and command of these Reasons to believe. 1. There may be some Individual Christians, where there is no particular Instituted Church of Christ into which they can be admitted. Nor may this only be supposed, but there are divers instances in Ecclesiastical story to evince it. Yea, there can be no par­ticular Church without the pre-existence of Individual Believers; seeing it is of such that every particular Church is con­stituted and formed. We may as well build a House without pre-existent Mate­rials, as erect a particular Church with­out Believers to constitute it of. There must be living stones, of which this Tem­ple of God is built and fram'd. The be­ing Saints through the effectual Vocation and renewing of the Holy Ghost, is the first ground presupposed by the Apostles, in their adscription of the Name and Ti­tle of Church to any. Nor are the Du­ties required of those that stand in a par­ticular Church Relation, possible to be [Page 605] performed but by such as are sincere Christians. 2. Christians in the very Virtue, and upon the alone Motive of their being Believers, may be obliged, and that upon no meaner inducements than their Loyalty to Christ, to renounce Communion, not only with the particu­lar Church with which they have walk­ed, but to suspend Fellowship with any particular Church that lyes within the circle and compass of their knowledg. If any Church shall so degenerate as to forsake the common Faith, it becomes the duty of every honest Christian to forsake that Church, and renounce all external communion with her. And yet I hope it will not be said that the Person so acting, ceaseth to be united to Christ, there being no greater evidence of his Union with the Lord Jesus, than his dis­clayming fellowship with those who had revolted from the Faith of the Gospel. 3. Christians may be injuriously cast out of the Communion, not only of one, but of every particular Church, and yet re­main united to Christ; and consequent­ly their union with a particular Church cannot be the Bond of their cohesion to Him. Our Blessed Lord hath predicted [Page 606] it to be the Fate sometimes of Believers, to be so entertained: and hath according­ly advised his Disciples to expect it as their lot, and to resent it as their honour, to be cast out and separated for the Son of mans sake, Luk. 6.22. The Term [...], rendred, they shall separate you, is of the same import with [...], Joh. 16.2. Yea, it may fall out, that a person may be justly secluded for a time from communion with any par­ticular Church, and yet his union with Christ not be dissolved. A scandalous sin in a Professor, providing the party offending give not evidence of his sincere Repentance, is foundation enough for the Church to proceed to such a censure; (yea, the maintaining her own Dignity and Honour, and the making Christiani­ty appear to be a Doctrine of exact pu­rity; and that the Christian Religion (as Celsus and Julian reproached it) doth not allow impunity to Criminals, ob­ligeth her to it) and yet it will be unsafe to pronounce of every person that is the Object of those censures, that he ceaseth to be a Christian, or that all his union with Christ is interrupted and dissolved. 4. Our union with a particular Church [Page 607] being the Medium of our Union with Christ, is an assertion so remote from all truth, that on the contrary none are to be received under the Notion of Mem­bers into a particular Church, but upon a presumption that Christ hath first re­ceived them. Without previous grounds of judging men to be Believers, we are not only destitute of all warranty to ad­mit them, but we are obliged by the Laws of the Gospel, yea, by principles of Reason, considering the Nature of the Society, not to do it. A Church being a Spiritual Corporation wherein Priviledges are to be enjoyed upon Terms antecedently required, and these Terms being at least the acknowledg­ment of Christs Authority through a be­lief of his Doctrines, and a professed subjection to his Laws (which is the No­tion and Idea of a Political Union with him) to suppose our Union with a parti­cular Church, to be the foundation and ground of the Relation of Oneness with Christ, involveth no less than a Contra­diction. 5. 'Tis a persons submitting himself to the Laws and Authority of Christ (which is that wherein Mr. Sher­lock himself stateth the Political Union [Page 608] of Christians with Christ to consist) that swayeth and influenceth him to submit himself to Pasto [...]s and Teachers, and to joyn with others in the Fellowship of the Gospel; and by consequence, our Uni­on with a particular Church, is so far from being the Bond of our Union with the Lord Jesus, that on the contrary our Union with Him is the Motive & induce­ment of our joyning into Fellowship with a particular Church, which is that we mean by Union with it. The account which the Apostle giveth us of the Churches of the Macedonians, is that they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then unto them by the Will of God, 2 Cor. 8.5. It was by taking upon them the observance of Christs commands, that they found themselves obliged to coalesce into Church-Societies. 6. I shall only add in the last place (for it is not num­ber, but strength of Arguments that men are prevail'd upon by) that an Imaginati­on of our being United to Christ by the Mediation of an Union with the Church, seems to have been the foundation of the Papal Vicarious Political Head. Nor is this my apprehension alone, but 'tis the sense also of Episcopius, a Person [Page 609] whose Judgment & Testimony Mr. Sher­lock will not undervalue. And to speak my inward thoughts,Hoc ipsum Pa­patûs paulatim, & sensim intro­ducti fundamen­tum esse vide­tur. in 1 Joan. cap. 1. v. 2, 3▪ 4. 'tis all he says to purpose upon this Theme, (though he un­dertake to treat it with some industry,) being in this, as in most other par­ticulars, rather florid than nervous. Be­sides a brisk air that displays it self in his manner of handling things, there is lit­tle solid, or beyond what is vulgar and common in him. But to return, into this supposition that Christ is not the immedi­diate Political Head of his Church, is the substitution of an Universal Vicari­ous Head resolved. And to do the Pa­pists right, if Believers, even in a Poli­tical sense be not immediately united to Christ; 'tis more congruous to Reason to establish one Vicarious Catholick Vi­sible Head, than five thousand. And though upon the supposition that there is such a Head, the Pope may fail in his claym to it, yet I see not, but that if the honour and priviledg of it be refused him, some one or other must have the credit of it. Thus admitting that were [Page 610] all the Union which intercedes between Christ and Believers, meerly such a Po­litical Relation as is between a Prince and his Subjects; yet I hope I have proved that our Union with Christ is neverthe­less immediate. I am sure, the King of England, through his governing his Subjects by subordinate Officers delega­ted to Rule by his Authority, doth not cease to be an Immediate Head to all his Subjects, and to every Individual person amongst them. There remains only be­fore I advance to the second Conclusion, some exceptions of our Author to be ta­ken notice of. And upon a survey of what he hath mustered in the behalf of his Hypothesis, I cannot but ascribe to him a faculty of pressing any thing that comes in his way to fight for him. Nor shall I here only rescue some Texts of Scrip­ture, and some received Doctrines from the rape which our Author hath commit­ted upon them, and from that involunta­ry service into which they are compell­ed, but I shall endeavour to defeat his cause by them.p. 142, 143. The 1st. is drawn from the Metaphors which describe the Relation and Union between Christ and Chri­stians, [Page 611] which says he, do primarily refer to the Christian Church, and not to every Individual Christian. Thus Christ is called a Head, but he is the Head of his Church, which is his Body, as the Husband is the head of the Wife, Eph. 5.23, 24. No particular Christian is the Body of Christ, but only a Member in his Body. Christ is called a Husband, but then the whole Church, or Society of Christians, not every particular Christian is his Spouse, as St. Paul tells the Church of Corinth, 2 Cor. 11.2. Christ is a Shepherd, and the Chri­stian Church is his Flock, Joh. 10. For the Relation between a Shepherd and Sheep, doth primarily concern the whole Flock: Christ is the Rock upon which his Church is built, the chief corner stone, and the Christian Church a Holy Temple; so that all those Metaphors in their first and proper use, refer to the whole Society of Christians, and are designed to represent the Union between Christ and his Church. To this I answer, 1. That were this dis­course of our Author fram'd into a Syllo­gism, the incongruity between the conclu­sion and the premises would easily appear. For example, Christ is the Head of his Church, Ergo, no particular Believer is [Page 612] united to him, but by means of their Ui­nion with the Church I deny the conse­quent; surely, though the King be Im­mediate Head to the whole Kingdom, yet he is also Immediate Head to every Indi­vidual person in it. Mr. Sherlocks Lo­gick is like that of Chrysippus which men were too dull to understand, though they say the Gods would have used it. 2. The Church and its Individual Members be­ing of an homogeneous Nature, whatsoe­ver is predicated essentially of the whole is equally predicable of every part. 3. The Holy Ghost plainly affirms that it is between Christ and the Church, as it is between the Head and Members of the same Natural Body. And there­fore, as not only the whole Body hath in­fluence in the disposal of it self, and in the discharge of its Functions from the Head, but also every particular Member hath influences of life and strength from thence; so Christ is not only an Immediate Head of Direction and Rule to the whole Church, but to every Individual Believer in it. Whatever the Habitude of Pastors & Teachers be to their particular Churches to which they are related, and to the Members of which these Churches [Page 613] are constituted, yet it is to the Word of God as the Rule of conduct, by which Christ under the Notion of a Political Head governs his Church, that e­very Individual Believer is to attend. 4. Though our Author informs us, that he hath almost pored out his eyes in search­ing the Scripture in order to his being enlightned about this and some other Notions, p. 40. yet I must take leave either to question the matter of Fact, or to suspect that his sight was not good before, or that his visible Faculty was strangely tinctured. For the Apostle, whose Authority and Testimony may I hope be allowed to rival Mr. Sherlocks, tells us, that as the whole Church is Christs Body, so we are all Members in particular of Christ, 1 Cor. 12.27. and that the whole Body is joyned to Christ by the conjuncti­on which every Member hath with him, 1 Cor. 12.12. And that Christ is not only a Husband to the whole Church, but that he is so to every Christian, appears by this, seeing not only the particular Church of Corinth is said to be Espoused to Him, 2 Cor. 11.2. but every Indivi­dual Believer among the Romans is also represented as Married to him, Rom. 7.4. [Page 614] Neither do they only report him to be the Foundation, Rock, and corner Stone of the Church taken Collectively, but likewise in its distributive acceptation, 1 Pet. 2.5. Eph. 2.19, 20, 21, 22. Thus having not only defeated the strength and force of his first objection, but im­proved the Medium from which he musters it, to subvert the cause in whose defence it was brought; I proceed now to the second. That the Union of parti­cular Christians with Christ, consists in their Union with the Christian Church, the Sacraments which our Saviour hath instituted as Symbols of our Union with him, are, says he, a plain de­monstration. p. 153, 154. Our first under­taking of Christianity is repre­sented in our Baptism, wherein we make a publick profession of our Faith in Christ; and it is sufficiently known that Baptism is the Sacrament of our admission into the Christian Church, &c. Thus the Lords Supper is a Sacrament of Union, and signifies the near Conjunction that is be­tween Christ and the Christian Church, and the mutual Fellowship of one Christian with another, &c. For answer, whether the Sacraments import any more than a Po­litical [Page 615] Union between Christ and Belie­vers, I shall wave till anon, and only consider them at present as brought in proof of Christians being united to Christ by means of their Union with the Christian Church. And truly if these be the weapons with which Mr. Sherlock thinks to captivate and subdue the minds of men to espouse his Notion, he must either only encounter those that court their own Bondage, or there will be few found following the Chariot wheels of our Hero. Instead of any slaugh­ter he is like to make amongst the Non-conformists by these Forces, he only wounds himself, and overthrows his own cause by them. And first, as to the Ar­gument drawn from Baptism, I reply these four things. 1. Baptism is nei­ther the Medium of our Union with the Catholick Visible Church, nor that by which we formally become Members of a particular Instituted Church. Not the latter, seeing it is not only possible that a Person may be Baptised where there are not enough to form an Instituted particular Church, but it may be some­times found necessary to deny the Privi­ledg of Membership in an Instituted [Page 616] even to such as have been Baptized. Yea, before any particular Churches were e­rected, there were Baptised Christians, it being of such that the first Christian Churches were constituted. Not the Former, forasmuch as a Person may be of the Universal Visible Church, and yet not be Baptised. Nor is this a Chimaeri­cal Imagination, for there have been many who (partly through want of op­portunity to enjoy the Ordinance of Bap­tism, partly upon other Motives, though they are not justifiable) have denyed themselves the Mercy of the Baptismal Laver; and yet to suppose that thereup­on they are not Christians, is to re­nounce all exercise of Charity, and to involve our selves under the guilt of condemning those whom the Lord hath received. 2. Were Baptism as well the Medium, as the Symbol of our Union with the Christian Church, yet it doth not follow that we are only United to Christ by means of our Union with the Church. And the reason is plain, seeing none ought to be admitted to Baptism (I speak of adult persons) but such who are an­tecedently judged to be Christians, Act. 8.37. Now to reckon any one a Chri­stian, [Page 617] who doth not before-hand own the Authority of Jesus Christ in the belief of his Doctrines, and an avowed sub­jection to his Laws, (which is the Bond of our Political Union) is no less than a con­tradiction. 3. Our owning the Autho­rity of Christ, which is the Vinculum of our Political Union with him, being pre­supposed, our submitting to the Ordi­nance and Institution of Baptism is a visi­ble profession of it. 'Tis not enough that we are perswaded of the Truth of the Christian Religion, and that we se­cretly embrace it, but we are publickly to own it, and to tell the World that we are of such a Belief. As Baptism pre­supposeth Repentance, which respects our turning to God as our End, and Faith which implye's our owning Christ as our Way; so our being Baptised into the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is a solemn declaring to the world our coming to God by Jesus Christ, through the Sanctification, Influence, and Conduct of the Spirit. Nor is our naked promise so Authentick, as when we publickly seal to the Articles required of us. 'Tis both a Badg and Symbol of our profession, and a Bond & Obligation [Page 618] upon us to discharge the Duties which our profession of Christianity calls us to. Hence it is called an Answer towards God, which as it supposeth the demands of the Covenant, so it proclayms our un­dertaking to perform them. 4. The U­nion of the Catholick Visible Church, consisting in a joynt profession of the same Lord, Faith, and Baptism, there doth therefore, upon a Persons submitting to the Ordinance of Baptism, such a Relation to the whole Catholick Visible Church emerge, as that he is rendred a compleat Member of the Church under the consi­deration of Catholick Visible. By this, as by a solemn Rite, we become visibly separated from the World, and enrolled amongst those who have consigned over and consecrated themselves unto the ser­vice and obedience of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. So far is our Union with the Visible Church by means of Baptism, from being the Medium of our Union with Christ, that it is our dedicating our selves to Christ by this August ceremony which constitutes us compleat Members of the Church under the Notion of Visi­ble. Secondly: As to the Argument Levied from the Lords Supper, I reply [Page 619] these things. 1. The Supper of the Lord, though a Sacrament of Union, yet it can­not be the first Medium of our Union with the Church, seeing none have a right to it, but such as are already Church-Members. Men are first to ap­prove themselves sincere Christians, be­fore they are to approach the Holy Ta­ble. Only those that have Fellowship with God in Christ, have a title of parti­cipating at this Christian Eucharistical Feast. Much less is it the Medium of our Political Union with Christ, it being on­ly through a previous subjection of our Consciences to his Authority, that we celebrate this Ordinance. 2. As by Bap­tism, we publickly avow our taking up­on us the profession of Christianity, so by the Lords Supper we ratify our perseve­rance, and renew our engagements of being the Lords. By coming to his Ta­ble, we proclaym our selves of his Fami­my, and declare our resolution of conti­nuing to be his Followers and Retainers. 'Tis a profession of our being in Cove­nant with him, and that we will remain constant and faithful in it. 3. Though, as I have already said, it can neither be the Medium of our Union with the [Page 620] Church, nor with Christ, yet it is both a Symbol of the one & the other. 'Tis an eminent badge of that Union, which is, and ought to be among Christians. Our eating at the same Table, is an argument of our being of one and the same Family. Forasmuch as we all eat of one Loaf, (that is the meaning of [...] 1 Cor. 10.17.) we do thereby intimate that we are one Body, and Members of the same Christ. Yet at such a distance doth this lye from evincing our Union with Christ to be by means of our union with the Church, that indeed nothing else than an Antecedent union with Christ, can give us a Right to partake of this Sacred Supper, or of Fellowship and Communion with the Church in it. Thus the Reader may see that even on the supposition that our U­nion with Christ is meerly a Political U­nion, or such a Relation only as is be­tween a Prince and his Subjects, yet, that it is immediate, and not by the means of an Antecedent Relation to the Christian Church.

Having then dispatched the first thing which I laid down in opposition to Mr. Sherlocks Hypothesis; That wherein my concernment next lyes, is to prove [Page 621] that the Union between Christ and Chri­stians is not meerly Political. And if I be but able to acquit my self in this un­dertaking, the whole of Mr. Sherlocks No­tion in reference to the Union of Christ to Christians, is subverted and over­thrown. And it being here that we have our Authors most Heroick Adventures, and where especially he seems to speak as standing on his Tiptoes, it is but fit that he should be the more peculiarly attend­ed to. In opposition therefore to his As­sertion, that the Union of Christians with Christ is only a Political Union, that is such an Union as is between a Prince and his Subjects;p. 56. I Ad­vance this Antithesis, that a Political Re­lation doth not adequately express that Oneness which the Scripture so augustly celebrates as interceding betwixt Christ and Believers. This directly contra­dicts Mr. Sherlocks third and fourth Con­clusions, which indeed are coincident. For to affirm that the Union betwixt Christ and the Christian Church is a Political Union, that is, such an Union as is between a Prince and his Subjects, p. 156. which is his third pro­position; and to say that our Fellowship [Page 623] and Communion with God, ac­cording to the Scripture-Noti­on, p. 186. signifies what we call a Po­tical Union, which is his fourth, are ac­cording to the best understanding of E­nunciations I have, coincident and equi­pollent propositions. Now in discoursing this, we are to take all our measures from the Scripture, and to regulate our con­ceptions by it alone. For this Union between Christ and Christians is one of those Mysteries which no Ideas congenite with us, nor objective discoveries in the works of Creation and Providence could have conducted us to the knowledg of. 'Tis a Truth which our Intellectual Fa­culties in their Immediate exercise could never have discerned, nor hath it any connexion with the things which we na­turally know, to be collected and deduced from them. Though by attending to Revelation we may come to frame an in­telligible Notion of it, yet as it is consi­dered in it self, and with reference to o­ther Doctrines of Faith, on which it de­pends, we could never have form'd any apprehensions of it, if the Gospel had not previously declared and revealed it. Now the first Argument in proof that our Uni­on [Page 622] with Christ is more than Political, shall be levied from those Symbolick Me­taphors, and Terrene Figures and Ima­ges by which the Holy Ghost is pleased to express it. I have in the fore going Chapter assigned this as one Reason a­mong others, why God, who doth all things in Infinite Wisdom, declares the Mysteries of Faith under Earthly Para­bles and Symbols, namely, that Spiritual Things which lye remote from our Un­derstandings, may be rendred more easie and familiar for our minds to contem­plate, and that our Faith concerning them may be promoted and assisted by their being represented to us under obvious and sensible Images. We have also else­where intimated that where the Terms are Metaphorick, yet the Truths intend­ed and expressed by them are Real. And as to that which we are now upon, 'tis highly remarkable, that there being no one kind of Union in Nature which ser­veth fully to illustrate the Union be­twixt Christ and Christians, that there­fore the Holy Ghost hath sought to enlighten it by Similitudes and Re­semblances transferred and borrowed from all sorts of Unions. For, as Chry­sostom [Page 624] well observes, [...], Christ Unites us to himself by many paterns. Hom. 8. in 1 Cor. And it is worth taking notice of, that having given us a List and Collection of some of them, he shuts up the whole with this, [...], all these things declare an Union be­tween Christ & Believers, & such an one as will not admit the least thing to come be­tween them. Had our Oneness with Christ been only represented by the Relation be­tween a Shepherd and Sheep, the Con­junction between a Husband & Wife, or the habitude between a Prince and his Subjects, there might have been some probability in Mr. Sherlocks Notion: but being also represented by resemblances drawn from Natural and Artificial Uni­on; as the Insition of branches into their root, the copulation of Members to their Vital Head, the incorporation of con­cocted Food, with our pre-existent Flesh, the cohesion of a building by a strong ce­ment to its Foundation, and the confede­ration of the Vital Soul with the Orga­nick Body: There must be a sublimer kind of Union between Christ and Chri­stians, [Page 625] than meerly what a Political Rela­tion doth import. Christ is the Vine, we are the Branches; He is the Vital Head, we the enlivened Members; He is the Living Foundation Stone, to whom we as lively Stones are cemented. I may confidently say that there is not any Ana­logy between what is originally signified by these Metaphors and the thing aimed at and designed by them, if only a Politi­cal Relation between Christ and Christi­ans is to be understood. The Gospel-Method and Form is the most obscure and improper way in the World of teach­ing the Truth of things, if all these Tro­pical phrases imply no more but that Christians acknowledg Christ for their Legislator, and obey him as their Sove­raign. Grand expressions, and magnifi­cent Terms in Subjects that require Low, are an argument of no great discretion in a common Author. And to imagine that in the Scripture petty things should be de­clared in Forms that are august, lofty, and Emphatical, is to think diminutive­ly of the divine Wisdom. In a word, if there be no more intended under all those Symbolick expressions which we have mentioned, but that Believers own [Page 626] the Authority of Jesus Christ by be­lieving his Doctrines, and submitting to his Laws, then we wonderfully expose the Gospel to contempt, by telling the World that under a grandeur of words and Hyperbolical expressions, things of a mean and low sense are to be apprehend­ed and conceived. I shall only urge this from two other Pattern Unions, to which the Scripture in the shadowing forth and illustrating the Oneness between Christ and Christians, signally alludes. The first of these Symbolical Unions, is that of the association and adhesion of the component particles & corpuscles of Meal, of which a Loaf is kneaded and compacted. For as the Apostle says, [...], Seeing 'tis one Loaf of which we partake, we are therefore one Body (viz. in Christ) who participate of that one Loaf, Non dicit Pau­lus fideles unum esse panem, sed ab uno pane du­cit similitudi­nem, Dissert. de Miss. cap. 3. Quoniam unus est panis, unum corpus nos illi multi sumus: Nos enim ex uno illo pane participamus: Bez. in Loc. 1 Cor. 10.17. Picherellus well observes, that Paul doth not say, we are One [Page 627] Loaf or Bread (though our Translation render it so) but that he argues from the coalition, of the clusters of the small corpus­cles of Meal, of which a Loaf is kneaded and contexed, to the identity and Oneness that intervenes between Christ and Belie­vers. And accordingly Beza translates it, As the Loaf of which we all eat is one, so we partaking of that One Loaf, although we be many, are but One Body to Christ. Thus also Chrysostom paraphraseth it, [...], &c. What is that Loaf? It is the Body of Christ, (viz. Sacramen­tally) what are those who partake of it? They are the Body of Christ; not many Bodies, but One. For, as the many grains, of which a Loaf is form'd, are so conven'd into one Mass, that the distinction and di­versity of one from another doth not appear, [...], in the same manner are we conjoyned to Christ and one another (in 1 Cor. Hom. 24.) The cohesion of the many little parts of Flour, of which one and the same Indivi­dual Loaf is kneaded and compacted, being that which the Apostle declares and illustrates our conjunction with Christ by, it plainly follows that our Conjunction to him must be of another kind, than what a [Page 628] bare Political Relation doth import. The second Pattern Union I shall at pre­sent argue from, is the Oneness be­twixt the Father and Son in the bless­ed Trinity. At that day ye shall know, (saith Christ to his Disciples) that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you, Joh 1.14, 20. I pray that they all be One as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be One in us, &c. Joh. 17.21. I readily grant that 'tis not an Oneness of Essence betwixt Christ and Christians, an [...], or [...], as the Weigelians wildly and blasphemously i­magine, that is here to be understood. Nor doth the particle [...] always signi­fie sameness, but is often used to denote similitude and likeness, as Matth. 9.48. Luk. 6.36. But yet upon the other hand I deny that 'tis meerly an [...], or an Oneness of Will and affection between the Father and Son, as the Arians and Socinians pretend, that is here meant. Nor indeed can there be an Oneness of Will, and an universal Con­sent and Agreement in Design and Af­fections, where there is not previously either a Specifick, or a Numerical Oneness of Nature. An attendance to other Texts, such as Joh. 10.30. Joh. 14. [Page 629] 9, 10. 1 Joh. 5.9. where the same phrases occurr, will best resolve us what kind of Oneness between the Father and Son we are here to understand. And certainly, unless we will betray the Gos­pel and the Faith of Christians into the hands of their worst Enemies, 'tis an Es­sential Unity that is there meant. Now though we plead not for the same kind of Oneness between Christ and Believers as is between the Father and Son; yet we affirm that somthing more sublime than barely a Political Relation between Him and Them is adumbrated and shadow­ed forth to us. 'Tis not a sameness of Union between Christ and Christians, with that betwixt the Father and Son, which the Holy Ghost intends by those expressions, only by alluding to that in­comprehensible Identity which is be­tween the Persons of the Blessed Trinity through a Numericalness of Nature, he would instruct us that the Union between Christ and those that are born of God, is intimate, great and mysterious, as well as True & Real. Before we dismiss this, we will take a brief survey of our Authors exceptions against the conclusion de­duced from the fore-going allusive Meta­phors. Christ, says he, is styled the [Page 630] Head of his Body the Church, because he hath the command and rule over, p. 157, 158, 159. and is invest­ed with Authority to Govern her, and the Church is styled the Body of Christ, because she must be obedient to his Laws, and sub­ject to his Government. Now to this I reply: 1st. The Head in reference to the Natural Body having not only an In­fluence upon the Members by way of Communication of Animal Spirits, but by way of conduct and Government; accordingly I deny not but that the Term as applyed to Christ, may somtimes re­fer only to the last property. There are some Texts of Scripture where the sub­ject Matter doth plainly determine the signification of Head as predicated of Christ to refer meerly to Eminence and Rule; Particularly the 1 Cor. 11.3. is so to be understood. But that Christ is never styled Head, save in Allusion to the property and affection of Govern­ment which belongs to the Head in the Natural Body over the Members, is a bold Imagination, and which never any espoused before Mr. Sherlock, except the Socinians. All pretending to the Name of Christians, the Enemies of the Godhead of Christ only secluded, have, [Page 631] besides their acknowledging the Lord Je­sus Christ to be the Political Head of the Church in respect of Authority and Rule, owned him likewise to be a Spiri­tual Head in respect of quickning Influ­ences. 2dly. 'Tis received as an Uni­versal Measure, by which all Expositors are to Regulate their Glosses upon the sacred Text, that whensoever any thing is represented by a Metaphorick Term, all that bears any proportion or analogy to the affections and properties of the Thing which the Word in its Original signification doth denote, ought to be understood. Every Scripture, whether it be proper or Tropical, is to be ex­pounded in the greatest Latitude which the Word will bear, as we have demon­strated, cap. 1. §. 10. Christ being therefore to the Church what the Head is to the Members of the Natural Body, and the Head not only giving Direction and Guidance to the Bodily Members, but having also a vital Influx upon them; it naturally follows that Christ is as well Head to the Church in regard of actual Influences of Spiritual strength and life, as in respect of Guidance by Laws and Rules. Nor is there any way to avoid this inference and sequel, unless it can [Page 632] be made appear that the attribution of spi­ritual Influences to Christ in reference to his Body doth contradict some principle of Reason, or supplant some sacred Truth, which I'm sure our Author hath not hitherto done. 3dly. Suppose that Christs having the Rule and Govern­ment over the Church, were all that by attendance to the Allusive Metaphor of his being to the Church what the Head is to the Natural Body, could be esta­blished and inforced; yet the Holy Ghost having, besides the accommodation of himself to our instruction in the bare and naked usurpation of the Metaphor, extended the import of it so far as we pre­tend, by a comment and paraphrase of his own which he hath left us upon it, we may reckon our selves secure in the ap­plication which we make of it. For as if it had not been enough through the naked and bare use of that Allusive and Meta­phorick Term, to have intimated that it is between Christ & Christians, as be­tween the Head and Members; he hath expresly informed us, as there are commu­nications of Spirits from the Head unto all the Members of the Body, through the subserviency of these parts, which, by the great & wise Architect of the Humane [Page 633] Fabrick, are thereunto designed; that there are in like manner supplies of spiri­tual life & strength from Christ to every Believe [...] ▪ through the Moral subservien­cy of one Christian to another in the Du­ties and Offices which he hath appoint­ed. Thus the Apostle Eph. 4.15, 16. having styled Christ our Head, he adds by way of defining the sense, in which he is so, from whom the whole Body fitly joyned together and compacted by that which every joynt supplyeth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, ma­keth inerease of the Body, unto the edifying it self in love. And to the same purpose, only more emphatically, speaks the same Apostle, Col. 2.18. And not holding the Head, i. e. Christ, from which all the Body by joynts and bands having nourish­ment ministred, and knit together, increas­eth with the increase of God. If these Te­stimonies be not sufficient to silence the Sophistry of men, and to level the Ob­jections whereby our Author endeavours to supplant Christs being a Head of Influ­ence, I will not say that we may despair of Understanding the Bible; but this I will say, that by the same art that Mr. Sherlock avoyds those, he may retain a [Page 634] belief of such Scripture expressions as are declarative of any Fundamentals of Faith, and yet renounce the Truths they are designed to reveal. I shall only here subjoyn Bishop Davenants para­phrase upon the [...], Joynts and Bands which the A­postle speaks of. [...] Vocantur eá omnia quae nos Christo de­vinciunt, [...] ▪ ea omnia per quae membra sub hoc capite sibi cohaerent. Jam vero commissi [...] ­rae per quas Christo capiti jungimur & per quas Christi in­fluxus ad nos derivatur, sunt spiritus & dona ejusdem spiritus, praesertim fides, quae manus est quâ apprahen­duntur spiritu­alia beneficia, in Col. 2.19. By [...] Joynts, we are to understand saith he, those Vincula and ligatures by which we are copulated to Christ; and by [...], Bonds, we are to under­stand those Media by which we are concatenated to one another. Now, says he, the Ligatures by which we are knit to Christ as our Vital Head, and by which we receive quickning Influences from him, are the Spirit and the Graces thereof, espe­cially Faith.

The second Argument in opposition to our Au­thors Hypothesis, shall be raised from such Scripture Texts as are [Page 635] not allusive to any Pattern Union, but yet are manifestative of such an Intimate conjunction between Christ and Christi­ans, as a Political Relation is so far from giving us an adequate Notion of, that indeed it bears no proportion nor Analo­gy to it. Nor shall I insist on such pla­ces at this time as express Christs A­biding in us, and our Abiding in Him; His Dwelling in us, and our Dwelling in Him; His Being in us, and our Being in Him; Though a Political Relation be too mean and low to answer the Gran­deur of these phrases. He that without prepossession and prejudice consulteth these following Texts, viz. Joh. 15.4. Joh. 6.56. 1 Joh. 4.13. 2 Cor. 13.5. Col. 1.27. Rom. 8.10. 1 Joh. 5.20. 2 Cor. 5.17. will soon find that such an Union as intercedes between a Prince and his Subjects, is too flat, jejune, and cold an Interpretation to sustain the weight of those sentences. Had the Holy Ghost designed the delivering the Doctrine which we contend for, he could not have chosen Terms more plain, full, and Emphatical to declare it, than those by which he hath expressed it in the fore­going places. And the same subtilties [Page 636] that are used to persuade the World that what we alledg, is not the true meaning of them, would equally serve to pervert their sense, were that the intendment of the Holy Ghost in them, which we affirm. There are two passages which I reckon eminently manifestative of the Intimate Conjunction that is between Christ and Christians, which I shall at this time bor­row some Light from, and reflect some upon in reference to the Matter before us. The first is that of Paul, Heb. 3.14. [...], For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of ou [...] confidence stedfast unto the End. I know that Modern Interpre­ters do generally suppose the name Christ to be taken here Metonymically, viz. for the benefit of Christs Mediation; but I judg that the Apostle intends a great deal more by our partaking of Christ, than meerly so. The Syriack renders it [...] We are mingled, i. e. united to Christ. Chrysostom paraphraseth it [...]; What is it to be parta­kers of Christ? He and we are made One. [Page 637] He the Head, we the Body; Coheirs and Incorporated with Him. And accordingly he makes the [...] the begin­ning of our confidence to be [...] Faith, by which, says he, [...], We are begotten and consubstantiated with him; i. e. intimately and truly United to Him. That an Union with Christ by some tye and ligature, beyond what a bare owning of his Authority denotes, is here intended in our [...], Being made partakers of Christ, the use of the Verb [...] by the same Apo­stle, from whence the Noun [...] comes, induceth me to believe. When Paul would express Christs participating of the Humane Nature, or of Flesh and Blood, he doth it in this phrase, [...], which seems clearly to conduct us to the meaning of the expression [...], which we are now upon. As he became no otherwise [...], but by the assumption of our Nature into Union with his Divine per­son; so we do no otherwise become, [...], but by participation of the same spirit that inhabited the Humane Nature of Christ, which is the Bond and Medium of that Union which we plead for [Page 638] between Christ and Christians. The other expression which I judg declara­tive of a higher Union between Christ and us, than what a Political Relation doth imply, is his being styled our Life. Life is said to be in Christ, not only for­mally as in its subject, but causally as in its fountain. Nor is he only called the Word of Life, and the Prince of Life; but he is expresly said to be our Life, Col. 3.4. And Paul witnesseth of himself that he lived through Christs living in Him, Gal. 2.20. Now that he should be styled our Life, meerly with refe­rence to his bringing Life and Immorta­lity to light in the Gospel, is too jejune a sense to sustain the weight of the Phrase. I do not deny but that the Gospel is the Word of Life, and that it is so styled in the Scripture: Nor do I bring into de­bate Christs being in a proper and emi­nent sense, the alone Author, as well as the Subject of it: Only I affirm that the making his revealing the Gospel, which discovers the Glad Tidings of Life, and the Terms of it, to be the only reason of the Appellation given to him which we are now discoursing, is to im­pose a Notion upon the expression which [Page 639] is too scanty and narrow to answer the Majesty and Grandeur of it. And as the Context (even to any who do but su­perficially view it) will not admit this to be its full import; so the Apostles ex­pression of Christs living in him, which seems a commentary and paraphrase up­on it, doth plainly overthrow this from be­ing the sense of it. Nor will it suffice to say that he is our Life in a Moral sense, because our Life of Grace here, and of Glory hereafter, are owing to the Sacra­fice of his Death as their procuring cause. 'Tis true that both our Holiness and Hap­piness respect Christs Meritorious Life and Death as their price; but yet this neither comes up to the Loftiness, nor exhausts the fulness of that expression, He is our Life; much less is there any thing in this Gloss that bears affinity to his living in us. The only sense which bears a proportion to the Words, is this, That as Natural life proceeds from, and must be ascribed to the Soul as its spring & principle; so all spiritual Life is owing to Christ as immediately act­ing us by his quickning Spirit. Of our selves, saith the Learned Bishop Reynolds, [Page 640] we are without strength, without love, 3. Treatises, p. 407. Idem. ibid. p. 144. without life, no power, no liking, no possibility to do good, nor any principle of Holiness or Obedience in us. 'Tis Christ that strengthens us, that wins us, that quickens us by his Spirit to his Service; Christ is the Principle and Fountain of Holiness, as the Head is of sense or motion. And this he maketh to be one eminent part of the meaning of that place, He that hath the Son, hath Life; 1 Joh. 5.12. though Mr. Sherlock is not only pleased to tell us that it signifies no such thing,p. 103. but treats those who do so paraphrase it with words full of con­tempt and scorn. But to resume what I was upon, forasmuch as no Vital Princi­ple doth or can operate, but as it is u­nited to the subject that is to be quickned by it; Christ being then the Principle of our spiritual life, there must be an Union of Christ with us as the spring and foun­dation of his Influence upon us. No one thing can be supposed the principle and source of life to another, without admit­ting a previous Union between them.

[Page 641]The third and last Argument whereby Mr. Sherlocks Hypothesis of a Political Union may be combated, and if I mistake not, utterly defeated, is levied from the Vinculum and Bond, by which the Scrip­ture reports Christ and Believers to be copulated and brought into cohesion one with another. As every Union implies such a Relation, in the virtue whereof there resulteth an Oneness between the connected Extremes; so, as the Nature and Quality of the Unitive Principle or Cement is, such is the Genius of the U­nion it self, and of the oneness that there­upon emergeth. Now by consulting the Scripture, which alone ought to regulate and bound our conceptions in the Matter before us, we find the Spirit to be the Vital Ligature of the conjunction and co­herence that is between Christ and Chri­stians. The very Spirit that resides in Christ, being communicated to us, we do thereby in a secret but sublime and real manner become knit and ligu'd toge­ther. Animation by one Spirit, is both a nobler and firmer way of Union than adhesion even by continuity of parts is. Now by one Spirit we are all Baptized into one Body, 1 Cor. 12.13. And hereby we [Page 642] know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, namely by the Spirit which he hath given us, 1 Joh. 4 13. Hence as upon the one hand, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9. So upon the other hand, He that is joyned to the Lord is one Spirit, 1 Cor. 6.17. I know that Mr. Sherlock glosseth both these Texts of our having the same temper and dis­position of mind which Christ had, p. 172, 173. but most ignorantly as well as falsly. 'Tis true, such a temper and disposition of Mind as Christ had, is the fruit and effect of the Spirit of Christ; but it is no more the Spirit of Christ it self, than an effect is its own cause. Our having the Spirit of Christ is assigned as the cause of our having a Spiritual tem­per of mind, and I hope our Author will admit a cause and its effect to be distinct and different things. The Spirit which we are said to have, is the very same Spi­rit by which Christ will at last quicken our Mortal Bodies, and I suppose this will not be the produce of any temper or disposition of mind of ours. In a word, the whole context lyes in a direct repug­nancy to our Authors paraphrase of [Page 643] Rom. 8.9. For that Hypothetical proposi­tion, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, is an inference from the fore-going words; if so be the Spirit of God dwell in you. And this Spirit of Christ is said to be the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the Dead, v. 11. And to have the Spirit of Christ, is the same with being led with the Spirit of God, v. 14. This Spirit of Christ which Believers are said to have, is the [...], A Spirit it self that beareth witness with our Spirits, that we are the Children of God, v. 16. and the Spirit that helpeth our Infirmities, the [...] that maketh intercession for us, v. 26. All which lyes in a direct contradiction to Mr. Sherlocks Gloss. And whereas our Author ob­jects, that what the Apostle calls the having the Spirit of Christ, v. 9. he ex­presseth by if Christ be in you, v. 10. and that this is no more than our being possest with the same love of Virtue and Good­ness which appeared so eminently in Christ; I reply, that though the having the Spirit of Christ, and Christs being in a Person be coincident; yet 'tis most false that we are to understand no more by Christ in you, v. 10. but a being possest [Page 644] with the same love of Virtue and Goodness which appeared so eminently in Him. And my reason is, because the Apostle makes Christs being in them, the ground, principle and cause of their minds being connaturalized to Virtue and Goodness, (for that is the import of those words, but the Spirit is Life, i. e. the inward man is quickened and renewed) and surely to e­stablish an Identity betwixt Causes and their Effects, is to impeach the first Prin­ciples of Science. And as for our Au­thors exposition of 1 Cor. 6.17. namely, That He who is joyned to the Lord is one Spirit, signifies no more but our having the same temper of mind which Christ had; it is not only too dimininutive and scanty a sense to bear a proportion to the words, but it is plainly contradictory to the scope of the Text. For not to insist upon the word [...], which we render joyned, though it be a very emphatical Term, im­porting no less than such a near and close conjunction between Christ and Christi­ans, as is between things which are strongly cemented and glewed together. Nor yet to dwell upon the [...] is one Spirit, though it be the highest phrase in the stores and treasuries of language [Page 645] to express an intimous conjunction by. I shall only take notice that the Apostle having asserted, v. 15. That our Bodies are the Members of Christ, and having subjoyned by way of inference from thence, that we ought therefore by no means to take the Members of Christ, and to make them the Members of an Harlot. He gives this reason for it, v. 16. be­cause whosoever doth so, becomes One Body with her, and so cannot be One with Christ, those two lying in a direct re­pugnancy the one to the other. So that now I argue, if the Union betwixt a Man and an Harlot, in the virtue of which they are One Body, import more then meerly a likeness of Temper and Moral Disposi­tions, as surely it doth, forasmuch as there may be a similitude in sensual pro­pensions and inclinations, where the be­coming One Flesh through Carnal Con­junction interposeth not; Much more doth a Believers being One Spirit with the Lord, imply a higher kind of Union than an affinity of Dispositions. For this be­ing it which the Apostle setteth in opposi­tion to the former, it must at least bear a proportion to it in respect of neerness of cohesion, although through being com­pared [Page 646] to it as an oppositum, it can have no agreement with it in its Principles, Bonds and Media. I shall only add that the Af­finity between our Authors paraphrase, and that of a certain So­cinian upon the place,Ita suum spi­ritum seu ani­mum cum Do­mino conjungit, ac si unus & i­dem cum ipso esset, quatenus se totum illi re­gendum tradit; sic amici dicuntur iidem, cor unum, anima una, propter constantem concordi­am, amorem & perfectum consensum. Schlich­ting. gives me some ground to suspect whence our Au­thor imbib'd the Gloss which he would obtrude upon us.

But to resume what I was upon, name­ly, that the Spirit being the Vinculum and Ligament by which we are united to Christ, our cohesion therefore to Him must be somthing more than a Political Relation. That Believers are inhabited and actuated by the Spirit, is a Truth which the Scripture gives Testimony to in an hundred places. Nor is he only pre­sent in the Hearts of Believers in respect of that New Creature, Divine Nature, and Spiritual Being which he hath wrought in them, but even immediately also. Thus [Page 647] the Ancients in a manner unanimously [...]; The Spirit is not only in Believers now as heretofore, meerly by his operations, but he exists and dwells in them as it were after a substantial manner, saith Nazianzen; [...]; He knits us to him­self by a kind of Immediate contact, while he maketh us partakers of the Divine Na­ture, saith Cyrillus Alexandrinus. Non per gratiam visitationis & operationis sed per ipsam praesentiam majestatis; atque in vasa non jam odor balsami, sed ipsa sub­stantia sacri defluxit unguenti, saith Au­stin. He who desires to know the Har­mony and agreement, as well as the sense of the Fathers in this mat­ter,De Trinit. lib. 8. cap. 4, 5, 6. may consult Petavius who treats it at large. And if any have a mind to understand the Opinion of the School­men concerning it, they may advise with Ruiz de Trinitate d. 109. Sect. 7. Vasq. 1.2. d. 205. Valentia 1.2. d. 8. q. 5. and they will satisfie them. This is all that I shall offer at present in opposition to Mr. Sherlocks Hypothesis, nor should I [Page 648] have said so much, but that it is here where we have his most Heroick adven­tures, and where he seems all along to speak as strutting and standing on his tip­toes. 'Tis here that he flings down the Gantlet to all the World, and treads the Stage with no less state and majesty, than as if he intended to erect lasting Trophies to himself, for having baffled the received Opinion of the whole Chri­stian Church. And 'tis here that most particularly I have accepted his Chal­lenge, and bid him battel on his ground, and at his own weapons; and as to the issue of the Encounter, I leave it to the Reader to pronounce betwixt him and me. This I do affirm, that as I have not declined him in any thing where he seem'd to argue like a Man and a Schol­lar, so I must beg his pardon, if in some things I have forborn him and given back, forasmuch as I was not willing to be under the temptation of exposing him too much. And upon this very induce­ment, I thought once to have overlookt his Argument taken from the Nature of the Sacraments, which he brings in proof that all the Union between Christ and Christians is meerly political; but upon [Page 649] second thoughts I am resolved to say something to it, least by being left in the way it should put some to a stand, though it should put none to a retreat. We have already encountered the same forces in another field, and being defeated there, there is the less likelyhood of their stand­ing it long out here. As we have disa­bled this Medium from serving our Au­thor against the Immediate Union of Christ with Believers, so we will now venture to see what strength is in it against the common Opinion of the Chri­stian Church about the Nature & quality of the Union that is between Him and them. Now I take it for granted, says he, that there can be no better way to un­derstand the Nature of our Union with Christ, than to consider the Nature of those Sacraments which were designed as the Instruments and signs of our Union with Him; and if we will take that account the Scripture gives of them, all the Union they signifie, is a publick and visible profession of our Faith in Christ, and sub­jection to Him as our Lord and Saviour, p. 185, 186. and a sincere conformi­ty of our hearts and lives to the Nature and Life of Christ. Thus Baptism [Page 650] is a publick profession of the Christian Reli­gion, that we believe the Gospel of Christ, own his Authority, and submit to his Government. p. 181, 182. And the Lords Supper is a Federal Rite which answers to the Feasts or Sacrifices under the Law, whereby we re­new our Covenant with the Lord, and vow obedience and subjection to him, &c. For answer: Baptism and the Lords Supper being Ordinances instituted by Christ in a Habitude to the whole tenour of the New Covenant, as it mutually obligeth both on Gods part and outs; accordingly they may be considered, either as they respect us, or as they respect God who hath instituted and ordained them. As they respect us, they are both Symbols of our Profession, and solemn engage­ments upon us to Duty. As they respect God who hath appointed them, they are representations of the mercies of the Co­venant and Ratifying seals of it. But to speak a little particularly to each of them, & First to Baptism; Baptism, as it is the outward way and means of our Initiation into the Lord Jesus Christ, and of our matriculation into the Catholick Visible Church; so it is the great representation [Page 651] of the inward washing of Regeneration, and of our being renewed by the Holy Ghost. The effusion of the Spirit, being often likened to the pouring forth of water, (See Isa. 44.3, 4, 5. Ezek. 36.25, 26, 27. Joh. 3.5. Joh. 7.38. Heb. 10.22.) So in Baptism it is most ex­cellently signified and represented. The Spirit, saith Dr. Patrick, is very well signified by water, Aqua Geni­talis, p. 31. for as that cleans­eth & purifieth from filth, so the Spirit of God is the sanctifier of Gods people, purging and cleansing their hearts from all impurities. Now the Spirit be­ing no otherwise the spring and princi­ple of all our Sanctification, but as he is the Bond and Vinculum of our mystical Uni­on with Christ, out of whose fulness we receive all the Grace which we are made partakers of; therefore Baptism be­ing a representation of the effusion of the Spirit, it is also an adumbration of the Union which we plead for. 2ly. As to the Lords Supper. As the Lords Supper is a visible Symbol and Badg of our a­biding in Christ, into whom by Baptism we were Initiated, and an obligation to all the Duties of growth, and progress in Christianity; so it is really exhibitive of [Page 652] Christ to us, and a representation of our Spiritual Union with Him. As the Bread and Wine could not in any congruity of speech be called the Body and Blood of Christ if they were not exhibitive of them; so our eating his Flesh, and drink­ing his Blood in a Sacramental sense, can signifie no less than our being spiritually incorporated with him. The Cup of Blessing, saith the Apostle, which we bless, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ? 1 Cor. 10.16. And as by one Spirit we are Baptized into one Body, so we are all made to drink into one spirit, 1 Cor. 12.13. Our very Author tells us, (not a­ware that thereby he overthrows his whole Hypothesis) that the Lords Supper is a spiritual feeding on Christ, an eating his Flesh, and drinking his Blood, which signifies the most intimate Union with him, v. 84. that we are Flesh of his Flesh, and Bone of his Bone, Eph. 5.30. The Apostle, in the place that Mr. Sherlock refers to, doth in way of illustration of the Union between Christ and Christians, allude to the Oneness which was between Adam and Eve. Now that was greater than the Oneness be­tween any other Husband or Wife in the [Page 653] World, for she was not only of the same specifick Nature with Him, and knit to him in a Matrimonial tye by God him­self, but she was extracted and formed out of his very Body, and so is the fitter Symbol of the Intimate Union that is be­tween Christ and Believers. And thus I hope, I have not only wrested this wea­pon out of Mr. Sherlocks hand, but struck through his cause with it.

§. 13. It being acknowledged on all sides, that there is an Union between Christ and sincere Christians, and it be­ing now declared and made manifest what it is not; I might here wind up without proceeding any further, or un­dertaking to assign the true and just No­tion of it. Nor is Religion exposed by our affirming some of its Mysteries to be incomprehensible. Our Reason fails us when we attempt to give an account of our selves, and the obvious phaenomena of Nature, and therefore we may well allow it unable to explain things which lye at a vaster distance from it, and to which it bears less proportion. If nei­ther the Nature of God, or of our Souls, or of Matter (of whose Existence we have [Page 654] the most scientifick evidence) are to be comprehended by our narrow and shal­low Intellects; why may we not justifie the belief of such things, of whose Truth and reality the Scripture instructs us, though we cannot conceive the man­ner how they are, or indeed how they can be. And if men will not be talk'd and huff'd out of the persuasion of those things, of whose Existence their Senses and Reasons ascertain them, though they cannot answer all the difficulties they are accosted with in their enquiries about them; much less will Christians be Hector'd out of the belief of the Do­ctrines of Faith, because of the Entan­glements which attend the conception of them. 'Tis the Nature of Faith to em­brace things upon the alone Testimony of God, though it understand nothing of the Mode and Manner how they are. The highest assurance of the reality of any thing, is Gods affirming it, and what he asserts we are with all reverence to assent to its Truth, though we can frame no a­dequate Idea of it, nor fathom it in our conceptions. To bring down the Do­ctrines of Religion to the Model of Rea­son, is wholly to overthrow belief, and [Page 655] to pay no more respect to the Authority and Testimony of God, than we would to that of a Worm like our selves. If there were no obscurity and difficulties in the Notions of Gospel-Truths, where would our submission and Humility be, which are the qualifications that do most recommend us to God, and upon this account especially, because they prepare the Mind for Faith, and give check to all bold and curious enquiries. 'Tis e­nough that we can by rational proofs de­monstrate the Bible to be the Word of that God, whose Veracity is proportio­nate to his Sapience, and both of them infinite; nor is it needful that its Do­ctrines should further adjust themselves to our Understandings. And indeed as to the Doctrine we have been discours­ing, not only the Apostle styles it a great Mystery, but Christ himself seems to ad­j [...]rn the perfect knowledg of it till the glorified state. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and you in in me, and I in you, Joh. 14.20. Yet seeing the Holy Ghost hath been pleased not only to assert an Intimate Union be­tween Christ and Believers, but hath condescended to illustrate it by so many [Page 656] similitudes; and seeing many things that are Mysterious and unsearchable till God reveal them, are afterwards of no difficult conception, providing we regulate our apprehensions of them by the Word; I shall therefore, having arraign'd and o­verthrown the false Notions of this Spi­ritual Union, venture to assign a true, and I hope also an Intelligible Notion of it. Now this I shall attempt by these several steps and degrees. 1st. The highest and closest Union is between those things that are actuated by one Spi­rit dwelling and moving in them. Ad­hesion of parts is not so noble an Union, as information by one and the same Spirit. If the vegetative juice be precluded ad­mission into any branch, it is no longer in a proper sense United to the Root, not­withstanding its Physical continuity to the other Branches. When the Animal spirits forsake any Member in the Orga­nick Body, it is immediately as if it were not knit to the Head, though it remain not only connected to the adjoyning parts by Muscles and Sinews, but ligu'd to the Acropolis by Nerves and Arteries. The strictest and most proper Union is that which emergeth from actuation by [Page 657] the same spirit. 'Tis this that renders the inferior Members as much coherent with the Head as the superior are, because they are all acted by the same Animal spirits, which as they are prepared in the Brain, so they have their flux thence to all the Regions of the Body, and their reflux back thither again. Thus the soul, though she keep her residence [...], is really joyned to all the Body, because of the commerce that is between the Head, where her Imperial Court is, and the rest of the Members, through the ministry of the Animal spi­rits. 2dly. Things at the greatest di­stance, and between which there is no physical continuity, may be acted by the same Spirit, providing he be immense and infinite. That Spirit, who through the Infinite perfection of his Essence is every where, may both inhabite and produce si­milar operations in those subjects that are locally distant the one from the other. Though a Finite spirit cannot at the same time influence and act distinct and distant Subjects, if there be not either a continu­ity or a contiguousness between them, yet an Infinite Spirit may. 3dly. 'Tis Christ as Mediator that Believers are United to. [Page 658] The Mystical Union is between Him and Believers, as he is a Middle Person be­tween Them and his Father. Our Mo­ral Union with the Father in way of com­placential love, is through our Spiritual Union with the Son by the renovation of the Holy Ghost. 4. The Holy Ghost did in a singular manner operate upon, and reside in the Humane Nature of Christ. Though Christ was Holy by Essence, in respect of his Divine Nature, yet he was Holy by Consecration and Unction with the Spirit in respect of his Humane. Though it was only the Son that did as­sume our Nature into subsistence with himself, yet it was the Spirit that posi­tively adorned and furnished that Nature with Grace. 'Tis true, it is not of easie apprehension how the operation of the Holy Ghost should interpose in the same person between the one Nature and the other; but it is as true that we have it plainly affirmed in the Scripture, which is the highest assurance we can have of any thing. 'Tis one of the deep things of God, which we ought to submit to with an humble Faith, and not to enquire af­ter it with a presumptuous boldness. The Testimonies to this purpose are many, [Page 659] but I shall only refer the Reader to two or three, viz. Isa. 11.1, 3. Joh. 3.34. Luk. 4.1. 5thly. The Holy Ghost is the Immediate Renewer and Sanctifier of the Elect. All the saving Illumination, all the Gospel conviction, all the Vital quickening, all the Regenerating Virtue that we come under, at any time have, or are made the Subjects of, they are from the Spirit of God and the Efficacious subjective operation of the Holy Ghost in and upon us. Our birth and progress in Holiness, are to be ascribed to Him as the Efficient Cause and Immediate Worker. 'Tis for this Reason that the Third Per­son in the Trinity is so frequently styled the Holy Spirit; For that Title doth not so much refer to the Essential Purity of his Nature, as to the sanctifying operati­ons which are assigned to him in the Oe­conomy of Mans Redemption. This I shall not now divert to the proof of, 'tis enough that the Scripture bears witness to it in a thousand places; nor can the con­trary▪ Opinion be espoused and asserted, without a Virtual renouncing the Gospel. 6thly. 'Tis from, by, and through Jesus Christ as Mediator that the Spirit, whe­ther it be with respect to his Immediate [Page 660] seisure of us, and dwelling in us, or with reference to any of his saving operations, is given to, and bestowed upon us. As God never dispensed any Grace to the Sons of Adam but in, and by the person of Jesus Christ, as the Mediator and Head of the Church; so the Communi­on of the Spirit, who is our Immediate Sanctifier, is from and through Christ. His Spirit he is, by Him he is promised, His bodily absence He supplies, and of His fulness He takes and communicates to us: Ye have received an Unction from the Holy One, saith the Apostle, 1 Joh. 2.20. Though the giving the Spirit be ascribed to the Father, as He with whom the Authoritative disposure and appoint­ment of all Divine extrinsick operations lodg; yet with respect to Immediate Mission, his sending is attributed to Christ, whose Spirit upon this account as well as others He is called. Hence the Ancients style him Vicarium Christi, the Vicar of Christ, and Vis Vicaria, the power by which he is present to our souls. Spiritus nos Christo confibulat, the Spirit buttons us to Christ; that I may use Tertullian's phrase. The Holy Ghost sup­plies Christ's place here in the World, [Page 661] and through him the Lord Jesus Christ is present with his Church till the con­summation of all things, and by Him he dwells and walks in his People. The Spirit is Christs purchase for his People, and his Donative to them. The Holy Spirit was given to Christ as a reward of his Obedience and Death to be by him communicated to men. Jesus Christ as Mediator is Authorised by the Father to dispense Grace to whom he will. 7ly. Through the communication of the Spirit from Christ to us, and immediately upon his taking the possession of us, the Nature of Christ, the Seed of God, and a vital living principle comes to be form­ed in us. For though the Donation of the Spirit to us, and his possessing of us, precede the Geniture of the New Man in priority of Nature, forasmuch as the Cause must be conceived before the Effect; yet the inhabitation of the Spi­rit, and the production of a New Crea­ture and spiritual Being in us, are perfect­ly simultaneous as to time. Now through the formation of this Seed of God in us, we become partakers of the same spiritual Nature that Christ was. We do hereby not only beat the Image of [Page 662] the Heavenly, but are changed into the same Image. This is Christ formed in us. And this New Spiritual Being and Internal power becoming incorporated and made One with our souls, it is as a Vital Form in us. And as this [...], doth by transforming the soul, attemper it to universal Obedience; so one of its first operations, is an exercise of Faith upon Jesus Christ. And this being that which entitles us, in a peculiar manner, to fresh communications of Grace and sup­plies of the Spirit of Jesus, as well as that which interests us in his meritorious Righteousness, we are therefore not on­ly said to live by Faith, but Christ is said to dwell in our hearts by it. Thus by the guidance and conduct of Scripture, we are by short steps, and Regular Ratioci­nations, arrived at such an Idea and Noti­on of Believers Union with Christ, as is both plain in it self, and easie to be un­derstood, providing that men be not ob­stinate against Evidence. Nor have I wrested or suborned any Sacred passage to give Testimony in this cause; all I have made use of, being such as volun­tarily offer themselves without any force or distortion put upon them. And for [Page 663] such as are mustred against us, I have ei­ther gain'd them back to our side, or shewed that their Testimony doth no ways oppose what we plead for. Were I now sure that my Reader would not tire, I might draw out this discourse to a grea­ter length; but as I have not the confidence to entertain Guests longer than I can afford them entertainment worthy of them, so I am not so disingenuous as to treat men with words, when thoughts and material remarques fail. If after all this which I have said, any shall still be found quarrelling at the Unintelligibleness of Believers Union with Christ, I think we may justly either complain of their perverseness, or blame their Hebetude. To such as are not refractory to Scrip­ture-Light, and to the easie deductions which our Intellectual Faculties in their Rational exercise do draw from Revela­tion, there is enough said to make it un­derstood; & as for others, I leave them to the punishment of their own obstinacy. Instead therefore of filling up pages by producing Testimonies of Ancient & Mo­dern Divines, or of calling in the Autho­rity of the Church of England, I shall shut up all with a few passages out of Dr. [Page 664] Patrick's Mensa Mystica. And this I the rather do, being inform'd that the Opi­nion of this Dr. weighs more with Mr. Sherlock, than either the Canon of a Convocation, or the Decree of a General Council. The Passages (with which much of what I have delivered, is not on­ly coincident in sense, but in words) are these, As the highest and closest Union is that which is made by one Spirit and Life moving in the whole; p. 99.100, so the Union between Christ and his Members is by one Life. As things at the greatest distance may be U­nited by one Spirit of Life actuating them both, so may Christ and we, though we en­joy not his bodily presence. Although Christ, in regard of his corporal presence, be in the Heavens, which must receive him un­till the time of the restitution of all things, Act. 3.21. Yet he is here with us always, even to the end of the World, (Math. 28.20.) in regard of his holy Spirit working in us. p. 102. By this he is sensible of all our needs, and by the Vital Influences of it in every part, he joynes the whole Body fitly together, so that he and it make one Christ, 1 Cor. 12.12. And that this Union is wrought [Page 665] by the Spirit (which every true Christian hath dwelling in him, (1 Cor. 6.17. Rom. 8.9.) the next (v. 13.) will tell you, we are Baptised into one Body by one Spirit. p. 103. This Spirit is always needful, being that which maintains our life. It is the very bond and ligament that tyes us to Christ. p. 104. For our Union is not only such a Moral Union as is between Hus­band and Wife (which is made by love) or between King and Subjects (which is made by Laws) but such a Natural Union as is between Head and Members, the Vine and Branches, which is made by One Spirit or Life dwelling in the whole.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

I find upon a Review of these Sheets, that several Er­rors and mistakes, and those of divers kinds have crept into them. Some of them are only Literal or in Pointing; others lye in omission, addition, and transposition of Words; of [...]ach sort I have collect­ed a few by way of instance, and for the rest, being such as will not minister trouble to an Intelligent Reader, I leave them to his Candor to mend.

PAge [...]. line 8. [...]. But to the p. 15. l. 17. r. frame, p. 22. l. 10. r. 11. p. 45. l. 12. [...]. I [...]gen [...]s, p. 63. l. 19. r. [...] ibid. r [...], p. 54▪ l. 8. [...]. [...], p. 55 l. 22. r. Foundation, p. 67. l 23. [...]. [...] ▪ p. 74. l. 11. r. it is, p. 76. l. 10. r. [...], p. 96. [...]. 2. [...]. in [...]te [...]mining, p. 121. l. 19. r. and his speaking, p. 128. l. 9. r. an assent, p. 135. l. 10. in the Mar­gent [...]. naturaeque, ibid. l 12. r. significat. p. 137. in the Mar­gent, l. 24. r. retinet, p. 146. l. 10. r. Velthuis, p. 150. in the Marg. l. 9. r. praefat. p. 151. l. 8. [...]. [...] p. 156. l. ult [...]. perverss, p. 163. l. 19. r [...], ibid. l. 21. r. luxuriant, p. 166. l. 20 r. contra, p. 168. l. 23. r. oscitancy, p. 172. l. 9. in the Marg. r. statuere, p. 173 l. 30. in the Marg. r. ostendendam, p. 192. l. 14. Argumentation, p. 199. l. 6. del. to, p. 201. l. 6. r. our, p. 223. l. 1. dele with, p. 226. l. 2. r. [...], ibid. l. 2. r. 26. p. 244. l 8. r. [...], p. 307. l. 21. r. [...], p. 311. l. 7. r. into, p. 314. l. 18. r. with Isai. ibid l. 20. r. [...], ibid. l. 22 r. accommodating, p. 317. l. 24. r. that sensible p. 318. l. 17. r [...], p. 342. in the Marg. l. 2. r. certâ, p. 366. l. 4. r. [...], p. 385. l. 4. r. referens, p. 391. l. 3. r. to do, p. 394. l. 4. r. were Christ, p. 412. l. 16. r. Justitia, p. 447. l. 28. r. the Lord Jesus, p. 456. l. 2. r. at this, p. 484. l. 1 [...]. r. Bulk, ibid. l. 7. r. [...], p. 538. l. 18. r. [...], p. 552. l. 2. r. [...], p. 579. l. 21. r. amasing, p. 590. l. 17. r. precarious, p. 624. l. 7. r. [...], p. 634. in the Marg. l. 20. r. apprehen­duntur, p. 637. l. 26. r. [...], p. 643. l. 12. r. the Spirit, p. 648. l. 13. r. own ground.

Books sold by Dorman New­man, at the sign of the King's-Arms in the Poultrey.
An Advertisement of Two Books, Published by the same Authour; En­tituled,

A Sober Enquirey into the Nature, Mea­sure, & Principles of Moral Virtue, its distinction from Gospel-Holiness; with Re­flections upon what occurrs disserviceable to Truth and Religion in this matter, in three Books, viz. Ecclesiastical Policy; Defence & Continuation, and Reproofe to the Rehearsal Transpros'd.

JUstification only upon a Satisfaction, or the Necessity and Verity of the Satis­faction of Christ, as the alone ground of Re­mission [Page] of sin, asserted and opened against the Socinians, together with an Appendix in Vindication of a Sermon Preached on Hebrews the second and Tenth, from the exceptions of H. W. in a Pamphlet called The Freeness of Gods Grace in the for­giveness of Sins by Jesus Christ.

A Golden Key to open Hidden Treasures, or several great points that refer to the Saints present blessedness, and their future happiness, with the resolution of several important questions. Here you have also the Active and Passive Obedi­ence of Christ vindicated and improved, a­gainst men of corrupt minds, &c. Who boldly in Pulpit and Press, contend against those glorious Truths of the Gospel. You have further eleven serious singular Pleas, that all sincere Christians may safely and groundedly make to those ten Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, that speak of the general Judgment, and of that parti­cular Judgment that must certainly pass upon them all immediately after death. The Godhead and Manhood of Christ, is here largely proved and improved against all Gainsayers, by what names and titles so­ever they are distinguished and known a­mong [Page] us. Several things concerning Hell, and hellish torments, opened, cleared and improved against all Atheists, and all others that boldly assert that there is no Hell, but what is in us. Some other points of impor­tance are here cleared and opened, which other Authors (so far as the Author hath read) haved passed over them in great si­lence, all tending to the confirmation of the strong, and support, peace, comfort, settle­ment and satisfaction of poor, weak, doubt­ing, staggering Christians: By Thomas Brooks, late Preacher of the Gospel at Margaret's-New-Fish-street.

Mores hominum, the Manners of Men described in sixteen Satyrs, by Juvenat; together with a large Comment, clearing the Author in every place wherein he seemed obscure, out of the Laws and Customs of the Romans, and the L [...] ­tine and Greek Histories. By Sir Robert Stapleton, Knight.

The Christian Mans-Calling: or a Treatise of making Religion ones Busi­ness: wherein the Christian is directed to perform in all Religious duties, Natural Actions, particular Vocations, Family directions; and in his own Recreation▪ [Page] in all Relations, in all Conditions, in his dealings with all men, in the choice of his Company, both of evil and good, in solitude, on a week-day, from morning to night; in visiting the sick, and on a dying-bed, by Geo. Swinnock.

Gospel Remission; or a Treatise shew­ing that true Blessedness consists in the pardon of sin. By Jeremiah Burroughs.

The Real Christian: Or a Treatise of Effectual Calling; wherein the work of God in drawing the Soul to Christ, being opened according to the Holy Scriptures; some things required by our late Divines, as necessary to a right Preparation for Christ, and a true closing with Christ, which have caused, and do still cause much trouble to some serious Christians, and are with due respects to those worthy men brought to the ballance of the Sanctuary, there weighed, and accor­dingly judged: To which is added a few words concerning Socianism. By Giles [...]ermin, sometimes Minister a [...] Shalford in Essex.

Mount Pisgah: or a Prospect of Hea­ven; being an Exposition on the fourth Chapter of the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. By Thomas Case, [Page] sometimes Student in Christ-Church, Ox [...]n, and Minister of the Gospel.

Grammatica Quadrilinguis; or Brief Instructions for the French, Italian, Spa­nish, and English Tongues, with Pro­verbs of each Language, fitted for those who desire to perfect themselves there­in: By J. Smith. M. A.

Mr. Janeway's last Legacy to his Friends, containing twenty-seven fa­mous instances of Gods Providences in and about Sea-dangers and Deliveran­ces, with the names of several that were Eye-witnesses to many of them; where­unto is added a Sermon on the same Sub­ject.

A Discourse concerning Evangelical Love, Church-peace and Unity; with the Occasions and Reasons of present Differences and Divisions about things Sacred and Religious. By John Owen, D. D.

Hieragonisticon, or Corahs Doom; being an Answer to two Letters of In­quiry into the Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Re­ligion.

[Page]THese are to give Notice, That the Psalms of David in Meeter are newly Transla­ted, and Diligently Compared, with the Ori­ginal Text and former Translations, more smooth and agreeable to the Text than that of Tho. Sternhold, John Hopkins, or any other Extant in English; and do run with such a fluent Sweetness, that the Ministers whose Names are here under Subscribed, have thought fit to Recommend it to all with whom they are Concerned; some of them having used it already with great Comfort and Satisfaction: These Psalms are to be sold by Dorman Newman, at the King's Armes in the Poultry, at One shilling Four pence Price.

  • John Owen, D. D.
  • Tho. Manton, D.D.
  • William Jenkyn.
  • James Innes.
  • Thomas Watson.
  • Thomas Lye.
  • Matthew Poole.
  • Jo. Milward.
  • John Chester.
  • George Cockayn.
  • Matthew Meade.
  • Robert Franklin.
  • Richard Mayo.
  • Hen. Langley, D. D.
  • Thomas Doolittle.
  • Thomas Vincent.
  • Nathaniel Vincent.
  • John Ryther.
  • William Thompson.
  • Nicholas Blaky.
  • Charles Morton.
  • Edmund Callamy.
  • William Carslake.
  • James Janeway.
  • John Hicks.
  • John Baker.

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