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cellency, and perfection of his doctrine, which, after the strictest examination, and nicest scrutiny, cannot be charged with any error or falsehood. The blood denotes our Lord's willing and patient, though painful and ignominious death, the utmost testimony, that can be given of integrity. The Spirit intends our Lord's many miraculous works, wrought by the Spirit, the finger, the power of God, or God himself. This testimony is truth, that is, exceeding true, so that it may be relied upon. For it is unquestionable, and cannot be gainsayed. See John v. 32-37. ch. x. 25. Acts ii. 22.
Here are three witnesses. And "they agree in one." They are harmonious, all saying the same thing, and concurring in the same testimony.
The apostle adds, ver. 9. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater :' referring to the appointment in the law of Moses, that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses any matter might be established." Deut. xvii. 6. and xix. 15. Whatsoever was attested by two or three men, was deemed true and certain. In the point before us there are three most credible witnesses, one of whom is God himself. Refusing this testimony therefore would be the same, as making God a liar, or charging him with giving false evidence, and with a design to deceive, and impose upon his creatures. "He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the testimony which God giveth of his Son."
This interpretation is the same as that in Grotius," or not very different.
25. Rev. xxii. 17. "And the Spirit and the bride say: Come." That is, says 'Grotius, men who are endowed with spiritual gifts.'
Mr. Pyle's paraphrase is this: The whole body of truly good Christians, who are the true church and spouse of Christ.' And in his notes he says, "The Spirit and the bride,'" or • the spiritual bride, that is, the true church of Christ. Thus "grace and truth" is a truth con<veying the greatest favour. John i. 17. "Glory and virtue" is glorious virtue or power. 1 Pet. S. ""kingdom and glory," a glorious kingdom. I Thess. ii. 12. Had the generality of commentators observed this, they would not have had occasion to interpret this of the Holy Spirit of God, wishing, [and] praying for the coming of Christ's kingdom, in the same manner, and ⚫ with the same ardency as St. John, and the Christian church here does. Which to me seems very incongruous.' So Mr. Pyle, whose interpretation is approved by Mr. Lowman.
Brenius is not very different. Or, as some other interpreters express it: "The Spirit and the bride:" that is, the church animated by the Spirit, and ardently longing for the coming • of Christ.' .
Every one may perceive, that we have been discoursing of miraculous gifts and powers: which now are, and for a long time have been commonly called extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. These are not saving. They who received such gifts after baptism, and profession of faith in Jesus Christ, were thereby satisfied, that the doctrine of Christ was true, and from heaven. And they were assured, that if they acted according to that faith, they might be saved, without observing the peculiarities of the law of Moses. But such gifts alone were not saving, without sincere virtue, and the practice of a good life.
So says St. Paul, 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2. "But covet earnestly the best gifts. Ta xagiopata ta ZEITTOVA. And yet show I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge: and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." The same might be said of the necessity of sobriety, and humility, and meekness, or any other virtue, that is there said of charity or love. And perhaps all social virtue is comprehended by the apostle in the one virtue here mentioned by him. For in another place he says: "Love is the fulfilling of the law," Rom. xiii. 8-10.
Ὅτι τρεις εισιν οἱ μαρτυρυντες κ. λ. I shall here put down a similar expression of the Sophist Ælius Aristides, in the second century. Oration T. I. p. 146. edit. Jebb. al. p. 272. Τρεις γαρ εισιν οἱ μαρτυρήσαντες παραχρημα Αθηναίων είναι την νίκην, Αθηναιοι, Λακεδαιμόνιοι, Βοιωτοι.
abstractum pro concreto; spiritus pro habentibus spiritum. Dicunt: Veni. &c. Grot. in loc.
Spiritus qui est in Sponså, vel Sponsa per spiritum, qui in ipsa residet, dicit: id est, credentium omnium vota, tum se
paratim tum conjunctim, hoc idem contendunt. Bren. in loc.
Et in epistolâ 1 Joh. v. 8. Aqua' est puritas vitæ Christianæ, quæ simul cum martyrio, et miraculis, testimonium reddit veritati dogmatis. Grot. Ann. in Joh. iii. 5.
Id est, viri propheticis donis clari. Vide supra ver. 6. Est
C'est à dire, l'Espouse, qui est l'Eglise, animée du S. Esprit, et soupirant ardemment après l'apparition de J. C. Lenf.
And that all virtues ought to be joined together, and carefully cultivated by those who make a profession of the Christian religion, is shown by St. Peter. "And beside this," says he,
giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, [or fortitude,] and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness-For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. 5-10.
CONCLUSION. I have now finished what I proposed at the beginning of this postscript, having explained, according to my ability, those words, the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit of God, as used in the scriptures.
Many of the interpretations, which have been given by me, will be readily assented to by all. If any others should not be approved of at first, I hope no offence needs to be taken. I do not dictate: but with humility and deference recommend these thoughts to the consideration of my brethren in Christ Jesus.
It becomes us all to examine the doctrines, which are proposed to us. We should not be Christians and Protestants upon the same grounds, that others are Mahometans and Papists: barely because such or such opinions are generally received, and established in the country where we live.
Our blessed Lord and his apostles have forewarned us, that men would arise, teaching perverse things; that tares would be mingled with the good grain, and error with truth. The event has been accordingly. If there are any notions concerning a Trinity of Divine Persons, which are not right and just: if transubstantiation is not a reasonable and scriptural doctrine: if the worship of angels, and departed saints, and of their images, is not required and commanded, but condemned and forbidden in the Old and New Testament: it must be allowed, that corruptions have been brought into the Christian Church. For such things there are among those, who are called Christians.
What is to be done in this case? Are they, who discern such corruptions, obliged to acquiesce? Would it be sin, to show, how unreasonable and unscriptural such things are? I do not see how this can be said, provided it be done with meekness and gentleness.
Plato, in his Timæus, says, That it is very difficult to find out the author and parent of "the universe, and when found, it is impossible to declare him to all.' Cicero, who translated that work of Plato into Latin, renders the last clause, as if Plato had said: When b you have 'found him, it is unlawful to declare him to the vulgar.' Perhaps, that was Cicero's own sentiment. Being a statesman, and politician, as well as a philosopher, he might be more concerned for peace than truth. A multitude of deities being the prevailing belief, he was afraid to oppose the prejudices of the people, who might be offended at the doctrine of the divine unity with its consequences. But so it should not be amongst Christians, who, beside the light of nature, have also the light of revelation.
Says the Psalmist: "In Judah is God known. His name is great in Israel," Ps. lxxvi. 1. It was their great privilege, and happiness, that God was known among them, and worshipped, and served by them: when heathen people were ignorant of the true God, and worshipped senseless idols. That distinction was owing to the revelation, which God had made of himself to Abraham, and his descendants. Which benefit we also now enjoy, together with the clearer and fuller revelation of God and his will, which has been made by our blessed Saviour, the promised Messiah. See John i. 18. iv. 23, 24. xvii. 25, 26.
Says that most excellent teacher of men in an address to the Father: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent,” John xvii. 3.
The right knowledge of God and Christ therefore must be the greatest of blessings, and should be sought after in the first place, and be prized above all things. And wherever the benefit of it is obstructed by wrong notions, it may be the duty of some to give, and of others to receive instruction: that God may be glorified, and men may be edified, and saved.
The scriptures are acknowledged to be the fountain of religious knowledge. Accordingly some there have been among us, and in our own times, who have endeavoured to give a clear
Τον μεν εν ποιητην και πατέρα τοῦε το παντος εύρειν τε εργον, και εύροντα, εις παντας αδυνατον λεγειν. Platon. Timæus. p. 28. T. III. Serran, et ap. Fabr. p. 330. ― et cum jam inveneris, indicare in vulgus nefas.
account of the scripture-doctrine concerning God and Christ: men of unquestioned piety, and eminent for natural and acquired abilities. And though their schemes have not been exactly the same, and they have not all had equal success and acceptance, it must be acknowledged, that their writings have been very useful. They have kept up, and cherished a spirit of inquiry and thoughtfulness in things of religion. And they have promoted knowledge, moderation, candour and equity among Christians. And may such excellent dispositions prevail among us yet more and more.
Saith the venerable Dr. Sherlock, Bishop of London, in the fourth volume of his Discourses, lately published, p. 321, 322. From these things laid together it is evident, that the apostles 'were witnesses and teachers of the faith, and had no authority to add any thing to the doc'trine of Christ, or to declare new articles of faith.
Now if the apostles, commissioned directly by Christ himself, and supported by miraculous gifts of the spirit, had not this power, can any of their successors in the government of the church, without great impiety, pretend to it? Did the bishops and clergy of the ninth and tenth 'centuries know the articles of the faith better than the apostles did? Or were they more powerfully assisted by the Holy Spirit? No Christian can think it, or say it. Whence is it then that the church of Rome has received the power they pretend to, of making new articles of faith, ⚫ and dooming all to eternal destruction who receive them not? Can any sober, serious Christian "trust himself to such guides, and not tremble, when he reads the woe denounced by St. Paul: "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel-let him be accursed?" • Gal. i. 8.'
Certainly, that is a noble declaration, and well deserving the regard of all Christians..
His lordship here allows, or even asserts the rights of private judgment. He supposes, that common Christians, who have no share in the government of the church, are able to understand the doctrine delivered by the apostles, and the determinations of bishops, and to compare them together, and to discern wherein they differ. And he allows us to reject new articles, not delivered and taught by Christ's apostles. And strongly represents to us the great hazard of trusting to such assuming guides, as make and impose new articles of faith.
If we may judge of articles, taught by the bishops and clergy of the ninth and tenth centuries; we may for the same reason judge concerning those decreed by the bishops and clergy of the fourth and fifth centuries-For neither were they apostles, but at the utmost no more than suc-cessors of the apostles. And if it should appear, that they taught and recommended any articles, which are no part of "the faith, once delivered to the saints" by Christ's apostles, such articlesmay be rejected by us.
And since it is allowed, that the bishops and clergy of the ninth and tenth centuries have assumed an authority to decide new articles, to which they had no right: should not this put Christians upon their guard, and induce them to examine the doctrine proposed to them, and consider, whether it is the faith once delivered to the saints, or somewhat added to it? For what has been done, or attempted, in some ages, may have been attempted in others.
His lordship blames the church of Rome for making new articles of faith, and dooming all. to eternal destruction, who receive them not.
We should be impartial. If any others do the like, are not they blameable also? It is well known, that there is a creed, in great authority with many, beside the church of Rome,, containing an abstruse doctrine, very hard to be believed. And it would be a very difficult under. taking to show, that it adds not any thing to the doctrine of Christ, as taught and testified by his faithful apostles. And yet it is there said: This is the catholic faith, which except a man. • believe faithfully he cannot be saved.' And 'which faith, except every man do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.' Can this be justified? And does not the bishop's argument just recited, oblige me to add, though unwillingly: may it not deserve to be considered by every sober and serious Christian, who solemnly recites that creed: on whom those anathemas may fall, if God should treat men according to strict justice!
But I forbear enlarging. For I have been desirous, if possible, not to say any thing offensive. Therefore I do not indulge myself in grievous complaints, and severe reprehensions of such things, as by many have been thought to be wrong.
It is the twelfth discourse in that volume. The text is the epistle of St. Jude, ver. 3. latter part.
But, if I might be permitted to do it, I would take notice of one thing, because it has a connection with the subject of this postscript.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Doubtless, this is said by many very frequently, and with great devotion. But can it be said truly? Does not that deserve consideration? Is there any such doxology in the New Testament? If not, how can it be said, to have been in the beginning? Are not the books of the New Testament the most ancient, and the most authentic Christian writings in all the world? It matters not much to inquire when this doxology was first used, or how long it has been in use, if it be not in the New Testament. And whether it is there, or not, may be known by those, who are pleased to read it with care: as all may, in Protestant countries, where the Bible lies open to be seen and read by all men.
I would therefore, after many others, recommend the diligent study of the scriptures, and the making use of all proper means for gaining the true sense of them. If we had the knowledge of the Christian religion, as contained in the scriptures, the advantages would be great and manifold. Jesus would be unspeakably amiable: and the gospel would appear to be a pearl of great price: Christians would be no longer wavering and unsettled, but would be firmly established in a faith, that is throughout reasonable and excellent, and well attested to be of divine original. As our Lord says to the woman of Samaria. John iv. 14. "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst." He will be fully satisfied. He will desire no other instruction concerning the right way of worshipping and serving God, or obtaining true happiness. "But the water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life."
If we would sincerely study, heartily embrace, and openly profess the Christian doctrine in its purity, and would diligently recommend it to others, upon the ground of that evidence, with which God hath clothed it, we should gain upon deists and infidels of all sorts. For a religion, reasonable and excellent in all its principles, promulged by a teacher of an unspotted character, with a commission from heaven, confirmed by many mighty works, which could be performed by God only, has an evidence, which cannot be easily withstood and gainsayed. But no authority can recommend falsehood and absurdity to rational beings, who think and consider. Every one therefore, who loves the Lord Jesus in sincerity, must be willing to reform abuses and corruptions, which have been introduced into the Christian profession, and are matter of offence to heathens and infidels.
When the religion professed by Christians shall be in all things agreeable to the scriptures, the only standard of religious truth; the advantages just mentioned, are very likely: as also divers others, which may be readily apprehended by every one. For then the papal power and tyranny, which for many ages has been a heavy weight upon Christendom, will sink, and fall to the ground: impositions upon conscience, which undermine religion at the very foundation, and prevail at present to a great degree in almost all Christian countries, will be abolished. The consequence of which will be, that true piety and virtue will be more general in all ranks and orders of men. The great diversity of opinions, and fierce contentions among Christians, which are now so great an offence and scandal to by-standers, will cease: Christians will live in harmony, and will love one another as brethren. And the Church of Christ will be the joy and the praise of the whole earth.
As an unbiassed and disinterested love, and pursuit of truth are of great importance, and would mightily conduce to the good ends and purposes which are so desirable; I cannot but wish, that we did all of us less mind our own things, the things of our own worldly wealth and credit, our own church and party, and more the things of Jesus Christ. To whom be glory and dominion now and ever.
END OF THE FIRST POSTSCRIPT.
THE SECOND POSTSCRIPT.
CONTAINING REMARKS UPON THE THIRD PART OF THE LATE BISHOP OF CLOGHER'S VINDICATION OF THE HISTORIES OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT.*
LETT. iv. p. 59, or 425.' But, my lord, supposing we should allow, that there were more Gods than one concerned in the creation of the world, as manifestly appears that there were from Gen. i. 26, and ch. iii. 22. where it is said: "Let us make man in our image." And, "behold the man is become as one of us."
Is then creative power a property communicable to many or several? St. Paul speaks of one Creator only, Rom. i. 25. and blames the heathens, "who worshipped, and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." What then would be the consequences, if Christians should come to believe, that there are more creators than one?
It is hard, that we should be put to prove, what is so very evident, as that there is one God creator. However, I shall here prove it from the Old, and New Testament.
Ex. xx. 1. "And God spake all these words, saying- Ver. 3. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." Ver. 10, 11. "But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God-Forin six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”
Ps. cxxxvi. "O, give thanks to the Lord, to him, who alone doth great wonders, to him that by wisdom made the heavens, to him that stretched out the earth above the waters: to him that made great lights, the sun to rule by day, the moon and stars to rule by night," &c.
Is. xlii. 5. "Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens and stretched them out: he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it: he that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein."
Is. xl. 28. "Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, nor is weary?"
Ch. xliv. 24. "Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb: I am the Lord, that maketh all things, that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." See also ch. xlv. 11, 12. ch. li. 12, 13. Jer. x. 12. ch. li. 15. and elsewhere.
Let us now consider the words of Gen. i. 26. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
Some Christians have said that here is a proof of a trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead. The learned writer, now before us, argues hence for several creators, one supreme,. another, or several subordinate. But it is easy to answer, that the Jewish people never understood these expressions after that manner; for they always believed one God and Creator, and that God to be one person. And many learned interpreters among Christians have said, that the style, common with princes, and other great men, who often speak in the plural num
• When I was preparing these remarks in March last 1758, we received the tidings of the death of the Right Reverend Dr. Robert Clayton, Lord Bishop of Clogher, who departed this life the preceding month; which gave me much concern upon divers accounts. In particular, I was in hopes, that these remarks, such as they are, might be perused by his lordship. I could wish likewise, that Mr. Whiston were still living. But they are both removed out of this world, as I likewise shall be in a short time. And certainly, it behoves us all to improve diligently the season of life whilst it lasts, and to serve God and man according to the ability which God has given us, and the station in which we have been placed, that we may give up an account of our stewardship with joy, and not with grief. Though those eminent and useful men are now no more in this world, their writings remain. It is with these that I am concerned. If I have inad