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flaming mountain ; and partly many and frequent miracles upon every rising of unbelief to convince them.
4. What was added afterwards by particular prophets in each age, was not any doctrines or new parts of God's law, but predictions about matters of fact, or reproof, or counsel in particular cases : and here the witness was partly the holiness of the men, and partly the fulfilling of their prophecies : and partly the agreement of their counsels and reproofs to the general law,
5. But then for the doctrine of Christ and his apostles: though he had many witnesses, yet his main witness was his own miracles and his Spirit; even that Spirit by which he, as it were, animated the body of his church, and so Christ's doctrine was proved by the Spirit.
6. But now Christ by his Spirit hath sealed and well proved his doctrine : that doctrine standeth as our rule hereafter, to try both all doctrines and spirits by. For a doctrine sealed by the Spirit of truth, must needs be truth, and, therefore, nothing can be truth that disagreeth from it. And the rather must men bring all hither for trial, because this doctrine is not only true, but full and sufficient; no more being to be added; it being given to make the man of God perfect and wise to salvation; and is able to build us up, and give us the inheritance: and Christ having promised to be with them that preach this very doctrine, to the end of the world ; and having purposely given to his church the preachers of this doctrine for the edifying of the saints, and fecting his body, till they all come to the stature of his fulness, to a perfect man; and he will sanctify and cleanse his church by the washing of water by his word, that he may present it spotless and without blame. And Paul chargeth him to keep what he had delivered to him till the coming of Jesus Christ. All this you know is Scripture, and, therefore, this word is not only true, but a perfect rule, and consequently being thus sealed up by the Spirit of miracles and sanctification already, it is now the rule of doctrine and spirits.
Quest. But how was that Spirit known by which Christ first proved his word? Was there any way of knowing the Spirit to be of God, but by the word ?
Answ. Thus : that Spirit which certainly comes from the highest wisdom, power, goodness, faithfulness, and holiness, doth certainly come from God. This reason can see as plain as the eye can see the sun; but such was and is the Spirit of Jesus, by which he attested his doctrine : therefore,
per1. It came from the highest wisdom, as appeareth both in the doctrine itself revealing the hidden things of God, and the way of salvation, and opening the secrets of men's hearts; 2. And by the effects, in that it illuminateth the simple, and maketh Christians the wisest men in the world.
Object. They say so themselves, but how will that appear?
Answ. I will not stand now on the answer of this, being on the by : but this one thing I will say; it appeareth in that all men sooner or later are of their mind. The wiser
heathen philosopher is, the nearer he is to the doctrine and way of Christians : Plato, Plotinus, Seneca, Cicero, were the wisest, and they were likest to Christians. 1. Most dying men say, as they say in most things, though they were against them never so much before; they speak against sin, and commend a holy life, and acknowledge their folly in judging otherwise. 3. Those that are converted, and have had experience of both ways, are the fittest judges.
2. The Spirit of Christ comes from the highest power; for none but the Almighty could do such things, and could animate so many thousand mean people for many years after with the saine spirit, and by this means subdue the world far and near in so short a time, to a doctrine so contrary to flesh and blood.
3. The Spirit of Jesus Christ came from the highest goodness ; for it discovereth the greatest perfection of the author, and the greatest love to mankind, especially to the good, that is possible to conceive of, both in the way to salvation by the redemption through Christ, and in the end, in the glory prepared for believers.
4. The Spirit of Christ comes from the highest truth and faithfulness : for, as the prophets foretold it, and Christ, before he went from earth, promised it, so did he perform it; and the doctrine it sealeth is but the doctrine of the fulfilling of former prophecies and doctrines, and exactly agreeth with all the former word of God.
5. The Spirit of Christ came from the most perfect holiness, as appeareth undeniably in the holy contents of it, and holy design which it prosecuteth. Scripture is most perfectly contrary to all vice, without respect to any fleshly pleasure or interest; and most perfectly contrary to all the laws of nature, and prescribing the most holy, perfect means to everlasting blessed
So that thus the Spirit of Christ might easily be known, by which he proved his doctrine. If, therefore, any Spirit
should now contradict the same doctrine, it is impossible that the Spirit should be of God : for the same Spirit of truth will
urisay, and be on both sides : that which contradicteth the Spirit and doctrine of highest wisdom, power, goodness, truth, and holiness, can never be the Spirit of God; and, indeed, there is not now any Spirit in the world that can make the least probable pretences against the doctrine of the Scripture. The Spirit of consolation and adoption is the same, and so given; and so is the Spirit of illumination the same, and given only by the Scripture: and for any Spirit that shall contradict Scripture, it can never be holy, nor true, nor faithful, as contradicting truth : nor is there any that can pretend to omnipotency, for there is none that speaks against Scripture that ever wrought one true miracle; much less multitudes of uncontrolled miracles, such as cofirmed the Scripture : so that you see how doctrines must be tried; at first by the Spirit; and then both spirits, and their words by that doctrine.
Quest. But may we not then try men's doctrine now by the Spirit?
Yes; both by the Spirit and Scripture together, but not otherwise. If you see any doctrine by which God giveth the Spirit of holiness, that is certainly a holy doctrine, and of God; but if you take not Scripture along, you may easily be mistaken in this: only thus much I say, that yet to this day, if any man be a heathen, or tempted to heathenism, or Judaism, and doubt of the doctrine of Scripture and Christianity, this man may try the Scripture by the Spirit still: that is, by the Spirit which Christ gave in the first time, with the Spirit of illumination and holiness, which he giveth to this day; and by this Spirit he may certainly know the Scripture to be the word of God: but when a man, upon the testimony of this Spirit, acknowledgeth the Scripture, he must try all particular motions, and personal, real, or pretended revelations, by this Scripture; for he receiveth the Scripture as a rule, and therefore must use it as a rule: and even Christ himself and his apostles, though they had such variety of miracles to testify for them, yet still appealed to the prophets that were before them; acknowledging that it would not be of God if it contradicted his prophets or former word; and that was it that was the great occasion of the Jews' unbelief; because Christ took down the law of ceremonies, they thought he contradicted the word of God, not understanding that these were as positives, and therefore alterable by God. So types, and therefore to cease, when the thing typified was come. Besides all this, there is great difference between the Spirit witnessing to Scripture by way of inward persuasion that it is true, and the witness of the Spirit's glorious and blessed effects, wrought by that doctrine, and objectively witnessing. The Scripture might be said to need this latter to make it a sufficient revelation; but it is we only that need the former to cure our blindness.
Let all that are tempted to any doubting about the truth of the christian religion and doctrine of Christ, consider well of this argument; what religion is there in the world that hath possessed the professors of it with a new Spirit, and such a Spirit besides the christian religion? Only this relig
Only this religion hath been sealed by such a Spirit as beareth the lively image of God; a Spirit of wisdom and omniscience, discovered by prophecies, languages, &c.; a Spirit of omnipotency, discovered by miracles; a Spirit of holiness, discovered in the holiness of the doctrine and the holiness of the receivers ; a Spirit of goodness, discovered in the excellency of all; and that love and mercy that is manifested to mankind. Mahomet disclaimeth all miracles, and confesseth, in his Alcoran, that Jesus was the word of God, and spake the truth, and condemneth the Jews most bitterly for not believing in him. The Jews hold part of the truth, and they had miracles for the establishment of their positive ceremonies; but they are blinded, that they cannot see either the tendency of these ceremonies to Christ, the truth, or the miracles, by which God did again seal to the taking of them down. Their prophecies, which they maintain, are one part of Christ's testimony, and those miracles, which themselves confess he did de facto, are another part of it: so that they are but, as Austin speaks, “The library keepers of the church. The heathens that worship multitudes of gods, even they know not what, have neither supernatural revelation nor sound reasoning, but go contrary to both. The deficiency of the mere light of nature needs no other proof than the experience of all those parts and ages of the world, that have had nothing but the light of nature, who have generally lived in gross ignorance and wickedness; and withal, the sad experience of our own weakness and pravity, and how little we can reach with all helps and means; much less by the mere light of nature, besides that certainty we have of supernatural
revelation de facto. He that would be of no religion must needs believe that there is no God; for if there be a God, he must needs be the Maker of the creature, and must needs be worshipped by the creature, and obeyed as our Lord : and he that is thoroughly an atheist is not thoroughly a man: and, therefore, seeing there is no other religion that a man can, with any strong show of reason entertain, and seeing he that will appear a reasonable creature must be of some religion, it followeth, that to renounce the christian religion is to renounce reason, and to doubt of it is to be injurious to reason itself. This is the only religion that doth convey the Spirit into those that do profess it. I know there is a certain work that every religion hath upon the minds of them that do believe it; and, because every religion hath somewhat that is good in it, as the acknowledgment of a God, and that he is good, true, just, &c.; therefore, every religion may do some good in the souls of men; that is, the common truths of God which men of these religions do hold, though mixed with wicked and abominable opinions, may do some good on the minds of men: but because they hold so small a part of the truth, and because they mix that truth with so much error, and detain it in unrighteousness, therefore the generality of them are given up to vile affections and wicked conversations, and the best of them never manifested any spirit of true sanctification or of miracles. Nay, besides that, the mixture of contrary opinions destroyeth the force of that truth which they acknowledge : it cannot have its natural effect upon their souls for want of the concurrence of an internal efficient ; for the christian religion hath both these advantages, of all other religions. 1. Objective ; 2. Effective.
1. It propoundeth such truths of so high and glorious a nature, and offereth benefits of so excellent, desirable, and attractive a nature; and, withal, contains so full and sufficient a number of these truths and benefits, having the whole chain, and not as Jews, heathens, or Mahometans, some few broken links only; that herein it hath the advantage for elevating the soul to God, and purging it from sin, above all other religions : such as the seal is, such will be the impression. Objects make an imprese sion on the understanding, as a seal in the way. If, therefore, , each religion should make its impress on the soul according to its own nature, you should see on all other religion a little of God, and much of Satan; a little light, and much darkness and confusion; but in the christian religion only, you should see the