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The Holy Spirit is not known, felt or discerned, in his real nature, by any Quaker or others, but only his influence, effects, &c.--
Therefore he cannot be in his own real nature a rule of action to them, superior to his own productions, effects, or influence.
The Scriptures, according to Mr. Barclay and Mr. Phipps, are only an inadequate or secondary rule: This is all the honour they will ascribe to them. But did any body ever hear of an inadequate rule before? Or is it usual for men thus to express themselves ?
The term rule seems to imply a positive idea, of which primary and adequate are the essential properties. Take away these, and our idea of rule is destroyed; in the same sense, as if we take away roundnefs from a bowl, and the bowl is destroyed. Is it not as great nonsense, to talk of a secondary inadequate rule, as it would be to talk of a Square circle, or a globular cube?
In proportion as the Scriptures are inadequate or secondary, there is something to be regarded as a test or standard above thein, and they are no rule at all.
I apprehend, then, that these distinctions are mere quibbles, and serve no other end, than, to countenance the evasions and subtilties of those who are fond of them, to confound the understanding of the reader, and to involve the subject in midnight darkness.
3. Mr. Phipps's remarks on Scripture and right reason are next to be confidered.
To throw contempt on his opponent's appeal to the connected meaning of the Scriptures, Mr. Phipps observes, p. 5. “ That every man's sense of the Scrip
ture is his Scripture, and when he proposes his
opponent shall be determined by Scripture, he “ means, according to his own apprehension of the " sense of it.” To which it
To which it may be replied--That every man's sense and apprehension of the teachings of the Spirit of God within him, is, in his
judgment, judgment, the mind and will of the fame Spirit ; and when he proposes the Spirit of God, as the supreme rule and standard of faith and practice, he means, according to his own sense and apprehension of his illuminations.
It is equally applicable in this case as the former, and whatever apprehended absurd and dangerous consequences he would draw from it, against an appeal to the Scripture, more naturally flow, and with greater absurdity and danger, from his own principles, against appealing to the Spirit's inward immediate illuminations, or inspirations. For what John Reeve and Lodowick Muggleton thought to be the mind of the Spirit within them, William Penn and his brethren denied; and what these thought to be the mind of the Holy Ghost, the former rejected as spurious, because it opposed their sense and view of his instructions. There may be numerous other instances given.
It is remarkable, how Mr. P. labours to Thew the inefficacy of the Scriptures, as a rule of faith and practice *. His reasoning seems plainly to be in short this---Controversy has subfifted, and still does subfist, among
those who profess them to be the only supreme rule, therefore they are insufficient, inadequate, and the Spirit, from which they proceed, is the only primary, adequate, and absolutely perfect rule.
Now all he can mean by the Spirit, as has been shewn, can only be his influences and productions within his own mind, and the minds of his brethren: Then his conclufion must be, the motion of the Spirit within, is to be the supreme and all-perfect standard of faith and practice.
* 'Tis very
observable, that the same arguments which are used by the Quakers, to prove that the Scriptures are only a secondary rule, have been adopted by the Deifts, to prove them no rule at all; particularly by Shafte bury and Tindai.
However, let the reader judge, whether a written revelation of God's will, which is plain and obvious to the meanest capacity, that is unprejudiced as to all important and necessary matters, be not a better standard for men to appeal to, and govern their consciences and lives by, than the motion of the Spirit within. How is it possible that they can judge of themselves, and one another, so well by the last as by the first when every conceit of the imagination may be afserted to be the production of a divine afflatus? Neither can men look into each other's minds, but they can into a written revelation, which is open for the perusal, or at least the hearing, of all.
Mr. Phipps observes, P. 14, 15. that “ the Pha“ risees, with their unrenewed mind, did read and “ imitate the Scriptures with great strictness, but re“ mained in a state of spiritual death, because they “ refted upon them, and would not apply to Christ “ himself.”
Our Saviour, however, seems to give a different account of the matter ; for he frequently tells them, Matt. 15. 16. Mark 7. 13. “ that they made the “ word of God of none effect, through their tradi- tions :" How then could they be said to “rest upon
They evidently perverted its plain sense, and rather “ rested upon,” and “ imitated” the traditions of the elders, than the meaning of the Scriptures. The Son of God appealed to the real import of the Old Testament writings, in his controversies with the Jews; and he tells them plainly, John 5.46. 47. that“ if they “ had believed Moses, they would have believed hinn;" “ for," says he, “ he wrote of ine : but if ye believe “ not his writings, how shall ye believe my words ?” One grand reason, therefore, why they did not believe him, and apply to him as the true Messiah, was, because they did not follow the Scriptures, and rest their judgments upon their connected sente and genuine
meaning. Like too many professed Christians in our day, they used them by scraps, and selected sentences, without regarding the connection, as mere auxiliaries to some preconceived system, which had been countenanced by their venerated traditions: they regarded not the facred writings as the primary rule of their faith and conduct. Hence it was that they opposed Jesus. Hereby they discovered 6 their unrenewed « mind," and their presumptuous pretensions to be wise above what was then written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
It deserves to be particularly noted, that our Lord never once blames them for not attending to the light within.
Mr. Phipps further writes, P. 15. (See the Apology alfo, P. 85. Prop. III.) to lessen the importance, and shew the insufficiency of the Scriptures, that
though they are sufficient to make the man of God “ perfect through faith, which is in Christ Jesus;
yet they are not able to make the finful man, the
corrupt man, perfect, who hath not this divine “ faith of the operation of God, by which the vic« tory is obtained.” Then he introduces 1 John 5. 4.
The passage in Timothy runs thus:--2 Tim. 3. 15 --- 17. “ And that from a child thou haft known “ the Holy Scriptures” (of the Old Testament), “ which are able to make thee wise unto salvation,
through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. All Scrip
ture is given by the inspiration of God, and is “ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, “ for instruction in righteousness, that the man of " God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all “ good works."
Here we ask, whether a person can be “ a man of “ God,” without being “wife unto salvation?" Or whether if he be “ wise unto salvation,” he must not be
a man of God ?” Paul, then here afferts, that “ the Scriptures are able to make a person,” (who was not so before, or was not so without them, and must therefore be “ finful” and “corrupt”) “wise unto “ salvation," or, in other words, “a man of God.” But, how are the Scriptures able to do this? “ Through 66 faith."
If they were not believed, they could not save; if they were not known, they could not be believed; and if they were known and believed, they certainly would save. What! any part of them? No, only those which related to Messiah, the Saviour, or Christ Jesus. For even that part of the Old Teftament called the Law, might have been considered as “ a School-Master,” to train up the Jews for and lead them to Christ Jesus. *
But what does Mr. Phipps mean by " faith”? Does he either intend by it, the things believed by Chriftians, concerning Jesus, which make them wife unto salvation, or believing itself? I strongly suspect, something different from either of these. He cannot, however, I believe, find any other faith in the Bible, which is of the operation of God, for the salvation of the soul. What John intends by this term, he has explained himself, i Epistle, 5. 1. 66 Whosoever “ helieveth,” in the Apostles sense) “ that Jesus is “ the Christ, is born of God.” “This is the victory”, he tells us, which “ overcometh the world." See verses the fourth and fifth.
The Apostle asserts then, in this passage to Timothy, that these Old Testament Scriptures, were “able “ to make a person wise unto salvation,” or, “ a man “ of God,” and that they were then also “ profita“ ble,” for every purpose of edification, which was necessary to be attended to, for “ perfecting, a man “ of God,” a teacher, an elder, an evangelist. What therefore may we not say of our Scriptures, since the New Testament is added to the Old? If only a part of them, and in the age of inspiration too, could
* But perhaps it fould be rendered untill Chrif. See how sis is used in the preceding verse.