« PreviousContinue »
having faid, chat all Do&rines and Traditions are to be examined by Scripture, he faith, The Seripture is fo framed and ordered by God, that it might be accommodated to all places, times, persons, difficulties s dangers, difcases, te drive away
, evil, to procure goad, to overthrop errors, to stablish truths, to instil virtue,to expel vice (a). And Hierony: mus ab Oleaftrosaich, We are to praise God for it, that those shings which are necessary to salvation, he hath made easie(b). From all chese things put together, I chink I may say, it undeniably follows, (which I proposed to evinče). That che foundation of a Procestants Faith is solid and sufficio ent, our adversaries themselues being Judges,'300
$s. Only I must remove one block out of the way. Peradventure they will say that if all these things be true, concerning the word of God in its own language, yet there is one notorious defect in the groundwork of the Protestants Faith, viz. That they build it upon the credit of a Translation, made by persons confessedly fallible. This, because chey make such a noise with it amongst ignorant and injudicious persons, ( however to men of understanding ic is but an impercinent discourse it will be convenienc co say something to it and but a little. To this then I answer 1. The Papists cannot in season charge us with thac fault, of which themfelves are equally guilty; nor can chey accuse our Faith of that infirmity; to which their own is in the world have nothing but a Translatheir own is no lesse obnoxious: for the generalicy of una rion, or, which is worse, a meer Report, for the founda
fa) Scriptura fic est à Jpiritu fancio concinnata atque contexta, 26 omnibus locis temporibus, personis, difftcultatibus,periculis, morbis, malis pellendis, bonis accerfendis , erraribus jugulandis, dogmatibus ftatuendis, virtutibus inferendis, vitiis propulsairdis fit accommodat.. Salmeron in Prolog. 1.
(b) Gratificandum Deo valdè,quòd,quæ funt neceffaria ad falutem, facilia fecit, juper Deut.3o.
tion of their Faich. If their suppositions were admitted that the Pope or Councell is the infallible Judge of controversies, and that tbeir Decrees are of undoubted ve. rity, yet forasmuch as it is the lot of very few Papists to be eye or ear-witnesses of them, they are forced coreceive the rules of their Faith, (i.6.che Decrees of Popes or Councels ) either from the meer reports of such men, whom they acknowledge fallible, (unlesfe they will (as indeed they may upon as good grounds, having once fallen into the humor of inventing ) devise Infallible Notions, as well as an Infallible Judge) or at best, if they be transmitted to them in writing, yet since they are written in a strange language, and unknown to vulgar Papists, they cannot understand them but by a Translation. And con sequently the case of vulgar Protestants, who rely upon a : Translation of the decrees of holy Scripture, is not one joc inferior to that of vulgar Papists, who rely upon a Translation of the Popes decrees.
S. 6. An. 2. Those Protestants that understand not the original languages, have a sufficient foundation of their Faith in che Translacions they enjoy, and tbat for two reasons. . 1. They have so great a moral afsurance of the verity of their Translation in all matters of moment, that no man can doubt of it char is not within one remove of madnesse : and this is such a certainty, as the Papists have no reafon to quarrel with. It is the observation of a grave Author of their own, Those things are certain amongst men, which cannot be denied without pere verfonefle and folly (a). And again, such things as are de livered by common consent of histories, it is a moft foolise
(a) Eeria apud homines es funt, que negari fine pervicaciâ & Rulti giá non poffunt, Çanus doc.com, lib. 11. de humana biftoriæ authoritate f, 4. p. 468.
thing either to deny them, or doubt of them (a). Now to o apply this. A man may have as great an húmane allua
rance as is poflible of the verity of our Translations, by o the collacion of differing Translations, made by several
persons in diverse cimes and places, and they too in sea - veral languages, and fumetimes by men of opposite prins
ciples in Religion, yét áll agreeing in the main; by the impoffibility of a design among some learned men to cheat the vulgar by a false Translation, there being lo many watchful eyes upon them in every Translation, so liccle benefit by such a deceit , such excreme danger and disgrace accending upon it, such improbabilicy of any fucceffe : by che ridiculousnesse and impertinency of Po. pilh exceptions against our Translations, (as may be seen in the discourses between Dr. Fulk and Gregory Martin upon that Subject) being in the grosse fo inconsiderable, thac if all were granted they desire, we need nothing else to confute them but their own Dow ay Bible, or Rhemiff Testament : and several other wayes. In a wo:d, the Papists themselves have not so good security for that," upon which all their Religion and infallibility depends, viz.wbe. ther Alexander the 7th, be a regular Pope : for, if he be not a Priest, which he is not, say the Papists,if his Ordainer did not intend to make him a Priest, (and who knows another mans jarentions ? ) or if there was any Symony in his cle&tion to the Popedome , (which how is it postible for us to be assured that there was not?) in which case by their own profesion. the Election is null, and all the adions done by him afterward: fo till they have better for tified their own Faith, I am sure they have no reason to quarrel with ours.
(a) Plurima sunt ejusmodi, que communi historicorum confenfione traduntur. Hæc non modo negare, fed in his etiam addubilaxe, fultiffimum cft zibid.
$. 7. 2. There is more then a moral aflurance,even a Divine Faith of the verity of that Scripçure which is contained in our Translations. For whereas, amongst o cher arguments alledged by Christians, and owned by the Papilts themselves, chey urge the Majesty of the Style, the sublimity of the matcer, the efficacy of the Doctrine, and its influence into the hearts of men, (of which Grer gory de Valentia saith, I know not whether it be a greater argument for the Scriptures then all the rest, yea then mira cles, confefcon of adversaries &c.) (a). Now the power of these arguments is not confined to the original languages, but common to true Translations : for it is not the Thell of the words, but the kernell of the matter which commends it self co the consciences of men, and that is the same in all languages. The Scripture in English , no leffe then in Hebrew or Greek, displayes its lultrs, and exerts its power, and discovers the Characters of its Di vine original. The most uplearned Christians do ordina rily feel such a supernataral foree in the Scriptures, (though conveyed to them only in a Translation, they find in themselves, and observe in others such a sharpnesse and energy, in oft times convinciog.the proudest Linners, converting the most profligace wretches, comforcing the most distressed consciences, chac ir forceth them to say, Ncx vox hominem fonat, God is in chis Scripture of a truth. When a man finds the Law of God in English, converting the foulandenlightning the eyes, (which was David's argument for its Divinity, Psal.19.;) when men feel the Scripture in the English Translation quick and powerful, and sharper then any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing alunder of soul and spirit, and th joints and marrom, and is a discerner of the thoughts and ixtents of the heart:(which was St. Paul's argument Heb.12.)
(a) Aril, fidei lib, 2-6, 20.
and so I'might instance in diverse other properties.: what id can they infer, but that it is the voice of God, though he fpeaks by an Interpreter, that
it is the water of life, though #conveyed to them in the Glaffe of a Translation. k 8. Anl. 38. At worst, this may fully stop their
mouths, that the argument doch not touch the merits of
the cause, nor shake che foundation ofour Faith, but ones #ly concerns fome particular persons, viz. such as arc ig? * norant of, and unlearned in the original languages. So
the defect lies in the persons, not in the cause, nor in the 1 ground. work of our Faith, but in the acglects of some * men, to build up chemselves fully upon it. If any man
be unsatisfied with Translation, he hath under God a remedy in his own bands: if he like not the Cistern, he
may go to the Fountaine , if he will take the paines of so i long a journey. A little industry, and diligent use of s chofe meanes and helps which are offered even to vulgar # Chriftians; will wholly remove this difficulty, and puc a u period to this argument. 19. I fhall conclude this discourse with the confider bi ration of two particulars. The first is an objection they i urge against the folidity of our Faich. The second, is one
plea more they have for the folidity of their own. The first is an objection, which they frequently urge in all their Treatises: That circular way of argumeatation, which we justly object against them, they boldly retore, upon us, and tell us, that we have no way to prove the Scripture, but by the Spirits testimony, and no way to prove the Spirits reítimony, but the Sripture. This is counted one of the hardest knots, and therefore it will be worth the while in few words to unty it, ( though it may seem a little heterogeneous to my present design.)
S 10. They have no reason to object this circle to us, that they cannot free themselves from. I speak not now of the other famous circle of the Church and Scrip