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Scripture, or written Word, is evident by that Diftinčtion of Paul our Opponent mentions, viz. Our Gospel came not unto you in Word only, but also in Power; plainly intimating, that without the Power of the Spirit accompanying them, his Writings were but mere Words and of no Efficacy.
Page 172. Our Opponent tells us, that, ' It is an Ordinance of God, that the Scripture
should be publickly read in our solemn Assem• blies for publick divine Service, and Christian · Instruction.' And Instances in the Law of Moses being read in the Jewish Synagogues. As if the Practice of the Jews under the Law were sufficicient to prove a Thing an Ordinance of God under the Gospel. But, there is, says he, the < fame Reason for the publick Reading of the · Gospel or Christian Law, in Christian Affem· blies, as there was for the Reading of the Law • of Moses, and the Prophets in the Jewish Tem
ple and Synagogues, and it is accordingly frequently commanded to be done. Col. iv. 16.
iThel. v. 27. Let us hear what thoseTexts say, for 'tis usual with our Adversary to cite Texts without transcribing them ; as if he had Evidence on his Side, which if examined, are really against him.
Col. iv. 16. And when this Epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewise read the Epistle from Laodicea. Our Adversary's calling this an Ordinance of God is but an empty Pretence, seeing himself practises it not. When does he read to the People the Epistle of Paul to the Laodiceans ? He is so far from it, that I suppose, he esteems it no part of Canonical Scripture, though here, he says, commanded to be read in the Church; yet
such Command being but a particular Precept to a particular Church is no Proof of a Gospel Ora dinance.
1 Theff. v. 27. I charge you by the Lord that this Episle be read unto all the holy Brethren.
This also being a particular Precept concerning that Epistle, does not imply a Gospel Ordinance. 'Tis a Rule in Logick. Ex particularibus non est Syllogizare. Any reasonable Man may see the Weakness of this Conclusion, viz. The Apostle direEted his first Epistle to the Thessalonians to be read in the Church there, therefore all the Scriptures of the old and new Testament are appointed, by God's Ordinance to be read in all Christian Assemblies for publiek Worship..
But what particular Precepts will not prove, he endeavours to infer from general Practice; and therefore boldly asserts, · That from the Apo· stles Days, the holy Scriptures, both of the
old and new Testament, have been always read ' in publick Christian Assemblies for divine Wor
ship and Service, and Christian Instruction.' An Affertion too extensive for him to prove, and which we certainly know to be untrue, having been present in many publick Christian Affemblies where they have not been read, though frequently cited by way of Confirmation to living Testimonies given forth agreeable thereto. But the Vicar's saying p. 173. That the Quakeņs ne
ver read them in their Meetings in any Lan
guage at all,nor suffer a Bible to be seen in them,' is a gross Calumny, in Confutation of which we are able to prove by many Witnesses, that the Scriptures have been read in their Meetings, and that, in some of their Meeting Places, the Bible is always to be seen, being publickly placed there for SECT. XIV.
any Man's Inspection
But he adds, And yet juftify their filent * Meetings, and often read their Friends Epistles • and Writings, and call them the Word of the · Lord to them, a Title they will not give to the
Scriptures; and while they call the Scriptures · dead Letters, they call their own Books living <divine Testimonies.'
That we justify our filent Meetings is true; but that we prefer
our Friends Writings to the Scriptures, is not so, for we are ready to give the Title of the Word of the Lord to the Scriptures, in the fame Sense any of our Friends have called their Writings so; and will freely give our Friends Epistles and Writings the Title of Dead Letters, in the fame Sense any of them have so called the Scriptures, and we do, as we often have done, declare, that we prefer the Scriptures before any of our Friends Books, or any other Writing's whatsoever.
Pag. 173. The Viear cites fames Parnel's Shield of Truth pag: 11. to authorize this Query, • Is not he that faith, the Letter is the Rule and « Guide of the People of God, without; feeding
upon the Husks, and ignorant of the true Light <wich was before the Letter was
Now, James Parnel's Words are; pág. 10, They who are never fo learned without, and can read and understand all Tongues and Languages without, and do not read the Scripturé • within, only feed upon the Hulk. Pag. 11; < But Drunkards and Swearers, and proud, and wanton, and covetous, lustful, ënvious
• ones, and all manner of unrighteous Per< fons, will take the Letter to talk of, and call < it their Rule and Guide, but are out of the Life • thereof, and so by it are condemned; and « those are the Swine that are feeding upon the • Hulk without, and have gotten the Form, buç • are out of the Life and Power, and put the
Shadow for the Substance.'
In these Words of James Parnel, there is not the least disparaging of the Scripture or Doctrine contained therein ; nor could our Adversary have drawn any such Consequence, had he not fally cited. thein ; much less could he have inferred that ). P. charges the Observers of the Scriptures with the Ignorance of Christ the true Light, when 'tis plain his Words are directed against those who did not observe, nor live the Life of them.
As to preaching from a Text of Scripture, which he treats of, p. 174, 17.5. we have nothing against it, provided such Preaching proceed from the Motions of the Spirit of Christ, as all true Preaching does ; and 'tis well known, that some of our Ministers do frequently begin their Testimonies with reciting a Text of Scripture, and preach from it.
The rest of this Section, concerning immediate Inspiration, is but a Repetition in part of what he has before said in Sect. iv. and y, and which we have there already answered.
This Section begins with the following
Quest. • Is any outward vocal Prayer, in con- formity to the external Letter of the Law, or 5 any outward Command or Example in Scrip
túre, ever acceptable to God, or such as he
requires, but only when we have an inward and • immediate Motion of the Spirit moving us • thereto ?'
To this Query, the 13th Article of his own Church, before recited, gives him a direct Answer, Works done before the Grace of Christ and ibe Inspiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God.
He queries yet farther, And is not all that is done without the immediate Motion of the Spi• rit, done in Man's own Will, or the Product • of his own natural Will and Abilities?' To which we reply · All that is done, as an Act of Religion, without the immediate Motion of the Spirit of Christ, is not done according to the Will of God; but are such Works, of which the 13th Article aforesaid exprefly says, for that they are not done as God bath willed and commanded, we doubt not, but they have the Nature of Sin. As to what our Opponent fays, pag: 180, o
f using outward vocal Prayer in Obedience to the outward Commands, and Examples, and Ex