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dence for the preservation of the several Books of Scrip, ture,that all the wit and learning of Adversaries can only furnith them with two instances of Apostolicall Writings which they suppose to be loft vit. one Epistle from Laos dicca, and another to the Corinthians. ? ;
Arg? : 3. A rule must be plaine and cleare, but the Scriptures are dark and doubtful, and that in things ap pertaining to salvation , as appeares from 2 Pet. 3.16. things hard to be understood which they that are unlearned and unft able wrest to their destruction Now this could not bring destruction, if they were nor hard in things appertaining to falvation : And here the Captain musters up feverall necessary Dodrines which he supposech not to be clearly laid downe in Scripture.
Answ. The Scripture is plaine and cleare in things necessary to Salvation, as hath been abundantly eyinced by Protestants out of expresse Scriptures, and consent of Fachers: But that belongs to another point, and I doe not love to mingle distind Questions cogecher, therefore to them I shall referre the 'Reader , onely I shall take notice of such afsaults as he hath made upon this Do. ctrine.
For the Texứ 2 Pet. 3.'16. I do confesse I do not meet with any passage so plausible as this in his whole Booke: But the solucion of the doubt is not difficult : If you consider, 1. To whom these things are said to be darke even to ignorant, unstable, ungodly men : When Protestants say Scripture is cleare, they do not meane it is fo to chose chat are Blind, or them chat fhut their Eyes, or have discoloured Eyes, (and such are they of whom those things are said ) but unco such as are humble, and diligent in the use of meanes to find out the Truth, not onely some passages of St Paul but in generall all Divine and spirituall Touchs áre darke to the nacurall man (and such there is no reason to doubt these were) as is pofiş
tively asserted by the Apostle S. Paul, 1Cor 2.14. The natural man' receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolifonefle unto him, neither can be know them, because they are spiritually difcerned: and consequently, if the Popish argument from this place have any force in it, not onely fome parts of Scripture will be dark, but not any part of it will be plaine, which the most impudent Papilt durst never yet assert. 2. The wresting of the Scripture in any of its truchs or doctrines is so great a fin, that it may well be called destructive, chough the dog drine wrested be soc simply necesary to salvation: as the disbeliefe and contempt of any Truth or assertion, plainly delivered by God, is confessed to be dainnable, though the matter of the assertion be meerly circumftantial, and not at all in it self necessary to salvation. 03. S¢ Panl’s d'ugrón ta ,, or difficult passages, might be wrested to destruction, although the matter of them was not necessary to be known, or understood in order to Salvation. As for instance : Thac passage of St Pauls, All things are lawfullfør me, (scil, all indifferent things; for be there speaks of the use of meats, or observation of day es,) This I say is not a fundamental Truth, nor is che knowledg of it necessary to Salvation , yet when the Lim bertines do abuse this Scripture, to justify themselves in the practice of all wickednesle, doubtlesse chey wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction. Besides, the matter of a Text may be of lesfer importance, and the knowledge thereof not necessary to Salvation, and the first and im, mediate mistake of it may be in it self inconsiderable, and
yer chat may usher in other, and those higher miItakes, ( as we lee error is fruitful, and grows worse and worfe,)and at last end in destruction; as that Cloud,which it first was no bigger then a mans hand, did quickly over, aft the whole Heavens. , The doctrine of Predestination he Papists confesse is not fundamentall, since their own
Doctors are divided about it ; yet if any man from St. Paul's affertions of the efficacy and immucability of Pre. destination, should infer che unnecessarinesle of San&ification co Salvation, (as some have done ) doubtlesse this man would wrest the Scriptures to his own destruction. Buc the Captain is not contcated with a generall imputation of darknesle to the Scripture, but pretends feveral Instances of things necessary to Salvacion, which are not plain and clear in the Scripturés : his instances are these,
The nature and number of the Sacraments. "2. The number of the Canonical Books, and that the Scriptures are the word of God." 3. The incorruption of the Scrip ture. 4. The understanding the true sence of Seripture, which is literal, which mystical. 5. The number of fundamental points. 6. The doctrine of the Trinity: and 7 other doctrines concerning the baprizing of Infants , and womens receiving the Eucharist', and the observation of the Lords day, and the doctrine which condemnes Re baptization. All thesc (faith he) are necessary to Salvation, and yet Scripture is not plain and clear in them. So that here are two assertions, and both of them falfe in most of the Instances, and all are false in one ofrbem. De picties me to trifle away time in the particular answer of fach impertinent allegations, did not the weakneffe of some in believing all that is boldly asserted', make it ne cellary.
For the 1. 'The Scripture is plain enough in describing the nature of those two Sacraments, which Christ hath instituted', 'as the Captain mighe easily have informed himself, if instead of going to Knor, and Fiat Lux &c. he had looked into almost any of our Proteftant Systems, or common places of Divinity, whither I refer the Rede der, having fomewhat else to do, then to transcribe common plares: And for the other 5 Sacraments I cannot say they are delivered in Scripture more clearly then che oo
chers, but I may fay, they are lesse darkly, because indeed not- deliverd chere at all, being onely a fidion of their own, of which God may fay; They never came into my mind.
for the 2. It is a crude and false assertion which the Captain fayes down, That it is neceslary to salvation to believe all che books of the holy Scriptures to be the word of God, and to believe nothing to be the word of God which is Apocryphal. If the latter pare be true, woc to the Church of Rome that now is, which hath owned those writings for the word of God in the Counceil of Trent , which by cbe judgment of so many most learned Fachers, and grave Councels, and the Church of fo many fuccefsive ages have ever been beld for Apocryphal, as no rational man can doubt, that shall cake the pains to read either of chose excellent pieces, Raynoldus de libris Apocryphis, or Bifhop Confens his Scholasticall history of the Canon of the Scripture. And if the former part be true, then we must damne all those Fathers and Churches, who (as boch Papists and Protestants acknowledge) did some« times doubt of some, books now universally received : nay farther, we must damne all the former ages, and Churches, and innumerable boly and learned writers, and even many of the most famous Papilts themselves, who did all difown and disbelieve fome at least of those Books, which (if we take the judgment of the Trent Councel) are and were a part of the word of God. The truth is, (and so it is generally owned by Proreltant writers) That che belief of those Truths contained in the Scriptures is necessary to Salvacion, though happily a man through ignorance or error should doubt about fome one Book. It is necessary that I should believe the history of Christs life and death, but it is not necessary to Salvation simply and absolutely to believe that the Gospel of St. Mark (for instance) was written by Divine inspirati
on. This may appear from hence, because Faith is suffi cieot for Salvation, and faith comes by hearing, Rom.10 as well as by reading : now as Faith might be, and really was wrought by the hearing of the doctrine and history of Christ, wben preached by such Ministers as were not divinely inspired, lo mighc it be wroughc by the reading of such things, when written by the very fame persons ; and consequently it was not, and is not necessary to the working of Faith, (and therefore co the procuring of Salvation,) co believe, That St. Marks Gospel was written by Divine inspiration. And yet I do not affect this, asif I thought that it were not a very great fin, (especially in and after so much light about it) to disbelieve any one book of che Scriptures, there being so many evidenc cha: rađers of a Divine inspiration, upon the particular books, besides the general assertion, 2 Tim. 3:16. All Scripture is given by divine inspiration, and other convine cing places, but onely to Thew., That ( which is a certain and evidenc. Truch) it is not fimply and absolutely, and le ex natura rci necessary for every person to believe, everyD particular Book to be the word of God, búe a serious and practical beliefe of the Truths conteined in those Books, may be sufficient to Salvacion, even where there is an igos porance (if not wilfull and affected ) of the Divine Authority of some book or books of Scripture.
th: 3. For the Third thing, the incorruption of the Scripture, I Answer
1. The Scriptures incorruption in substancial and cond be fiderable points, besides that it is confessed by the learned Papists (as I have shewed before,) doch fufficient, ly appear from it self, by the collation of one place of Scripcure with another, as also by the collation of several copies. · And one great argument of ic may from(that which seems to thwart it,)viz. the various read Pirt dings which learned men have observed out of diverse