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IOHANNES: GOODWIN. S: THEOL: CANTABRIG: Ao AETAT 47. 1641.

The Divine Authority OF THE SCRIPTVRES ASSERTED, OR THE Great Charter of the worlds Bleſſednes vindicated.

BEING A Diſcourſe of Soveraigne uſe and ſervice in theſe times; not only againſt that King of Errours, and Hereſies Anti­ſcripturiſme, who hath already deſtroyed the faith of ma­ny, and hath all the faith in the World yet remaining, in chaſe, but alſo againſt all ſuch inward ſuggeſti­ons and ſecret underminings of Satan, by which he privily attempteth the ruine of the precious faith and hope, wherewith the Saints have built up themſelves with much ſpirituall Induſtry and Care.

Together with two tables annexed; the former, of the contents, and ſeverall arguments more largely proſecuted in the Treatiſe; the later, of ſuch texts of Scripture unto which ſome light is given therein.

By JOHN GOODVVIN a ſervant unto God and men in the Goſpel of Jeſus Chriſt.

But if our Goſpel be hid, it is hid to them that are loſt, in whom the God of this world, hath blinded the eyes of them who beleeve not, leſt the light of the glorious Goſpel of Chriſt, who is the Image of God, ſhould ſhine unto them,2 Cor. 4 34.

O ye fooliſh Galatians who hath bewitched you, that you ſhould not obey the truth, before whoſe eyes Ieſus Chriſt hath been evidently ſet forth, crucified amongſt you? Gal. 3. 1.

Illis, qui divinas ſcrutantur Scripturas, nihil poteſt illudere. Theophilect.

In quibuſcunque eorum (ſc. aliorum Scriptorum) invenitur eadem veritas, longe tamen eſt impar authoritas. Aug.

LONDON, Printed by A. M. for Henry Overton, and are to be ſold at his Shop entring into Popes-head-Alley out of Lumber-ſtreet. 164.

TO MY BELOVED FLOCK, The Sons and Daughters of GOD, who firſt gave up themſelves unto the Lord, and then unto Us by the will of GOD.

Dear Chriſtian Brethren,

THE daies of mine abiding with you in the fleſh, neither you, nor my ſelf can expect ſhould be many. The Law of morta­lity eſtabliſhed in Heaven, and daily put in vigorous execution on Earth, cutteth off this hope and expectance, both from you and me. But the comfort is, the hole of this pit is not onely levelled and fill'd up, but a mount alſo rai­ſed upon it, by the Law of life which is in Chriſt Jeſus our Lord. If our forlorn of miniſteriall accommo­dations be ſcattered and defeated, by the hand of death, or otherwiſe, our reſerve in Heaven will ad­vance, and bring us off from the world with honour and peace howſoever. The great and precious pro­miſes of life and ſalvation unto thoſe who beleeve, for the making good whereof Jeſus Chriſt himſelf with all his glory, are given in pawn and pledge unto the world, are not ſuſpended upon the preſence of a mor­tall man, one or other, but glory in the truth, faithfull­neſſe, and power, of him who hath made them, and are ready to ſwallow up into victory, whatſoever ſhall threaten, or oppoſe their performance.

Not withſtanding, as the great Apoſtle, though (as he ſaith) he know how to be hungry, as well as to be full, and to ſuffer want as well as to abound, yet ac­knowledged to his Philippians, that they had done well in communicating with his afflictionaaPhil. 4. 12, 14.. In like manner however the great and glorious God, knows as well how to want, as to abound, in reſpect of miniſteriall diſpenſations, and is able without his earthen veſsels, to convey his veſſels of honour, into their bleſſedneſſe and glory, yet there is little queſtion to be made, but that he graciouſly, accepteth the diligent and faithfull ſervice even of theſe his earthen veſſels, in making one ſhoulder with him to advance and carry on this great and bleſſed deſign. And for you though I am upon grounds of ſoberneſſe and truth abundantly confident (at leaſt of many of you) that your anointing is ſuch, that you ſtand in as little need of any mans teachingbb1 Joh. 2. 27., as any other people, yet I know alſo, that no people whatſoever will more thankfully relliſh and accept of the labour and travell of any mans ſoul, either for their edification, or eſtabliſhment, then you.

Upon theſe two conſiderations in conjunction with the great and longing deſire of my ſoul, that your whole ſpirit and ſoul, and body, may be preſerved blame­leſse, unto the coming of our Lord Jeſus Chriſtcc1 Theſ. 5. 23.. I ſhall endeavour, whilſt I yet remain with you, to prevent as much as may be, any ſuppoſed or feared inexpedi­ency in my departure from you. And this (I judge) I ſhall attempt upon the beſt terms of likelyhood of ſucceſſe, by ſeeking to leave as much of my ſpirit with you, as I know how, when my bodily preſence ſhall be diſpoſed of otherwiſe. In order hereunto, not knowing how near the laying aſide of this earthly tabernacle may be at hand, I have thought it meet not only to leave the enſuing treatiſe, for your peruſall after that generall manner, wherein it is left for other men, but to incorporate with it, the expreſſe mention, and that dear remembrance of you, which I have in my ſoul; that ſo in one and the ſame monument, the whole and intire ſpirit of your Paſtor, as well for morals, as intellectuals, may be preſerved for your converſe, and to make company for your mindes and ſpirits, when you pleaſe.

You are my preſent joy; and will be (I hope) my future crown: for neither hath your faith hitherto, through any bewitchings of the fleſh, preſumed to aſ­cend into Heaven, to bring downſome other Jeſus, be­ſides him whom Paul preached, nor have you ſuffered your mindes to be corrupted from the ſimplicity of the Goſpel: nor your ſelves to be baptized into any other ſpirit, then that which ſpeaketh〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, i. expreſly in the Scriptures. You have neither preſumed to be wiſe above, nor yet been ſatiſfied to be ignorant beneath, what is written. Whilſt many profeſſours have compaſſed themſelves with ſparks of their own kindling, you have warmed your hearts with faith and love at that fire, which Jeſus Chriſt himſelf came from Heaven to kindle on the earthaaLuk 12. 49., and ſo have kept your ſelves out of the dint of the ſore judgement of God, which the Scripture calls a delivering up unto an injudicious minde.

Thus I recommend you to God, and to that word of his grace which he ſpeaketh in the Scriptures, both unto you, and to the world, and which is able (ſo you pervert it not with myſticall and forged interpretations, thus making it to become your own, in ſtead of his) to build you up and to give you an inheritance among them which are ſanctified, and implore with all humble and unfained ardency of ſoul, that great Shepheard of the Sheep, ſo to proſper you in the hand of that poor under-Shepheard whom he hath ſet over you, that you may be found of him at the great day.

Yours according to all Paſtorall affections and engagements in the Lord, John Goodwin.

To the Reader.

GOod Reader, The obſervation cannot lightly but do good ſer­vice in theſe times; That as God hath his times to try the world, with his rare and unexpected mercies, ſo hath he his ſeaſons alſo, to make a further and different triall of it like­wiſe, by his ſtrange and unexpected judgements. Who would have ſaid unto Abraham (ſaid Sarah, when time was) that Sarah ſhould have given children ſuck? for I have born him a ſon in mine old age. aaGen. 21. 7.The Kings of the earth (ſaid Ieremy at another time) and all the inhabitants of the world would not have beleeved, that the adverſary and the enemy ſhould have entred into the gates of IeruſalembbLam. 4. 10.. When England lay co­vered with the ſhadow of death, with that profound ignorance of God, and of Ieſus Chriſt, which, under the reign of the Romiſh intereſt amongſt us, was little leſſe then faſt bound with the iron bands both of Church and ſtate laws and decrees, upon the faces of the mindes, underſtandings, and conſciences of the generality of the nation; who would now have ſaid un­to England, yet a little while, and life and immortality ſhall be brought to light in the midſt of thee? and thou ſhalt be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the SeaccIſa. 11.. Notwithſtanding the zeal of the Lord of Hoſts for the good of this nation, did (as we all know) perform it: the people which ſate in darkneſſe have ſeen a great light, and to them which ſate in the region and ſhadow of death, light is ſprung upddMat. 4. 16.

This hath been the great and unexpected application of Heaven unto this nation, for the triall of it on the right hand. And on the other hand, when we were full, when we were rich, when we reigned as Kings in the knowledge of Ieſus Chriſt, when we had the powers of the world to come, at­tending upon us daily, as a life-guard to our ſouls, who would have ſaid, that ever ſuch men ſhould be found in the midſt of us, who ſhould call the Sun, a ſackcloath, and ſay to the Oracles of God, you are deceivers: and to the Scriptures, prophecy no more your vain things unto us: for ye are fables deviſed by men? And yet we know that the righteous God hath ſaid unto the ſpirit of this moſt dreadfull abhomination, goe forth into the land, prevail, and perſwade many; yea it is ſomewhat more then to be feared, that the cloud ariſing out of the ſea, which is yet little, and but like a mans hand, will in a ſhort time cover the Heavens with blackneſſe. For how great is the generation amongſt us, who deny, the divine authority of the Scriptures, in their works: and if in their works, then in their hearts alſo; And they who deny it in both theſe, want but a ſlender opportunity to deny it even with their lips. This is a ſtrange and unlook'd for judge­ment come upon the nation for the triall of it on the left hand: and let Capernaum which hath been lifted up unto Heaven, take heed, that ſhe be not ſuddainly brought down to hell. For doubtleſſe God having thus tryed the nation, firſt on the one hand, and then on the other, will, upon the behaviour of it after both, ſoon determine, and know what to do with it.

That which hath been the ſnare of death to thoſe loſt men (if yet they be loſt) who have not only themſelves loſt the ſight of God in the Scrip­tures, but endeavour to perſwade all thoſe, who ſay they ſee God here, that they have loſt their ſenſes, and call darkneſſe, a viſion, is (doubtleſſe) this: they ſometimes pretended a ſound beliefe of the Divinity of the Scrip­tures, and put forth their hand to the plough of a Chriſtian profeſſion, but have looked back; and hereby are become〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, unmeet, or illdiſpoſed for the kingdome of GodaaLuk 9. 62., being ſet off at a further diſtance in their affecti­ons from God, and grown into a ſecret diſlike and diſtaſt of the waies of religion. And the conſciences of thoſe who diſtaſt the waies of holineſſe and religion, have no other Sanctuary to flee unto for ſecurity and peace, but an exauthorization of the Scriptures, or a deniall of their deſcent from God. A competent, yea or tolerable belief of their divinity, in conjunction with a like proportion of knowledge in them, muſt needs make an irreli­gious heart and life, burthens intolerable. So that men who ſuffer, either the wiſdome of the fleſh, or the pleaſures, or profits of the world, to diſ­engage their hearts from the love of religion, and waies of holineſſe, where­in ſometimes they walked, put the iron yoke of this ſad neceſſity upon their own necks, even to indulge and favour their conſciences to the utter­moſt they are able, or know how, with a ſuppoſall, that the words of the Scriptures, are but winde, and God only the pretended, not the naturall, or reall Authour, and Father of them. Now feeling this iron yoke we ſpeak of, ever and anon galling, and wringing, and paining them, for their caſe, they are conſtrained to travail far and neer with their mindes, and underſtandings to enquire after, and gather up, all and all manner of grounds, reaſons, arguments, colours, intimations, inſinuations, pre­tences, how ſuperficiall, light, empty and un-concluding ſoever, which doe but ſhadow in the leaſt that divine luſtre of the Scriptures, and overture but ſo much as a poſſibility of their non-origination from God. And as Solomon takes notice (Prov. 27. 7. ) that to the hungry ſoul, every bitter thing is ſweet; ſo when men are labouring and toiling under that ſad and hard engagement of proving the Sun to be a ſackcloth, and the Scriptures, not from God, the ſhadows of the mountains ſeem armed men unto them; ſtubble and rotten wood, are turned into iron, and ſteel unto them: yea that which is weak, and ſometimes that which is not, is mighty in their ima­ginations to throw down the foundations of the Scriptures, and to confound the ſtrong and mighty things of God.

Nor is it only that hard neceſſity, which lies upon theſe men, to make ſomething of every thing, yea and of nothing, for their purpoſe, that makes them ſo credulous, yea and confident in their way; the hand of heaven is ſtretched out againſt them, and takes from them even that natu­rall force or ſpirit of diſcerning (in reſpect of ſpirituall things) which ſometimes they hadbbMat. 25. 29., delivering them up into an injuditious minde, andcc〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Rom. 1. 2. ſending them ſtrong deluſions, that they ſhould believe lies. dd2. Theſ. 2. 11.He that is the true light, inlightent every man〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉i. coming, or as he cometh, into the worldeeIoh. 1. 9.; meaning, that Chriſt out of the treaſury of his grace and merit, furniſheth every man whatſoever, who liveth in the world to years of diſcretion, with a ſtock of light, reaſon, judgement, conſcience, memory, underſtanding. &c. whereby to make him capable of thoſe terms, of that great and bleſſed treaty, about the things of his e­ternall peace and wellbeing, wherein God addreſſeth himſelf unto the world. Now whileſt men move, and act according to the true ducture, and com­monſtrations of this light, without any palpable or wilfull deviation, or habituall neglect of them, God (in the Scripture phraſe) takes a kinde of pleaſure in them, bleſſeth and increaſeth their ſtore, according to the import of what our Saviour promiſeth, and aſſerteth in the Goſpel: viz. that unto every one that hath (i. that by a regular courſe, and tenour of actions, declareth that he hath light given him by Chriſt: for a man in law, is then reputed to have a thing, when it ſome waies or other, appeareth, that he hath it) ſhall be given, and he ſhall have abundanceaaMat. 25. 29. (i. by meansNon eſſe, & non apparere, equipas rantur in ſure. of the bleſſing of God upon his regular and conſcientious walkings, the eye of his reaſon, judgement, and underſtanding, ſhall be more opened and cleered, and fortified from day to day) But when men ſhall turn their backs upon that candle of the Lord (as Solomon calls it) which by the hand of Chriſt is lighted up in every mans ſoul; eſpecially after the light and ſhining of it, have been augmented and enriched by the additionall light of the Goſpel; and ſhall follow the irregular and crooked dictates and leadings of their luſts and ſinfull propenſions; God now ordinarily doth not only ſuſpend the influence of his former bleſſing, by which thoſe ſoul-abilities we ſpake of, had flouriſhed and proſpered untill now; but alſo in proceſſe of his moſt juſt ſeverity and indignation, curſeth that tree of light within them, ſaying to it (as Chriſt to the fig-tree, finding no fruit on it) never fruit grow on thee more. Nor is this any thing, but what the Lord Chriſt informeth the world of before hand, in the words immedi­atly ſubjoyned to thoſe lately mentioned. But from him that hath not, ſhall be taken away, even that which he hath, i. (according to the line of the in­terpretation given of the former words) when men ſhall ceaſe to give a re­ſonable account, or proof, of thoſe impreſſions of light and knowledge which Chriſt had planted in them, by waies and practiſes anſwerable to the nature and guidance of them, God uſually blaſteth them with the breath of his diſpleaſure; ſo that afterwards the place of the former abilities in theſe men in reference unto ſpirituall things, is no where to be found, nor ſhall any man, duely comparing the after ingagements and actings of their judge­ments about matters of Religion, with the former, be able to ſay, Theſe are the men. This alſo is but that, which the Apoſtle expreſſeth in the name of God, Heb. 10. 38. But if he (i. the juſt man, ſpoken of in the former part of the verſe, not any, or any man, as our tranſlatours give it us) ſhall draw back, my ſoul ſhall have no pleaſure in himbb〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉., meaning, (according to the emphaſis and force of the expreſſionccApud Hebrew, adverbia negandi-contrarium ſignifi­cant ejus verbi,〈…〉. Mede. Apocol. p. 172. that his ſoul ſhall be highly diſ­pleaſed with him: and that ſuch a perſon muſt expect to receive from him in judgement accordingly. Thus I have ſhewed thee (good reader) the dange­rous and corrupt ſeed, of which the generation of Anti-ſcripturiſts amongſt us, is immediatly begotten; a declining in religious affections and waies.

Give me leave to ſearch this ſoar neerer to the bottom, and (in a few lines more) ſhew thee, what is the onely, or at leaſt, the predominant cauſe, of this declining in men. This I conceive to be, the imbracing of a dead, in ſtead of a living Faith, of the Divine Authority and heavenly Originall, of the Scriptures. It is the ſaying (as I remember) of Quintilian, that ma­ny might in time have attained unto wiſdome, had they not thought they hadMulti ad ſaplenti­am pervenire po­tuiſſent, niſi ſeam perveniſse pu­aſſemi. attained it already. In like manner it may be truly ſaid, that many might have attained a ſolid and ſound belief of the Scriptures, and of their Rela­tion unto God, had they not anticipated, the belief it ſelf, with a looſe ſuppoſition, or imagination of it. Now there had been no place in them for ſuch a ſuppoſition or imagination as this, had not ſomething in them like unto ſuch a belief, prepared it. Similitude is a Great Deceiver in the world; and the ſame in colour, frequently intertained, for the ſame in ſub­ſtance. And to a ſolid and ſound belief of the Scriptures, there is no ſem­blance, but an ill-grounded and ſuperficiall belief onely. Such a belief as this, though it be good for little, but to afford men an opportunity to dally and play faſt and looſe with God, and to turn hell and Heaven into a paſtime, yet ſtrange is the contentment of men and women, who ſit under the ſha­dow of it. A dead faith makes them beleeve they are alive, even whilſt they are dead in ſins and treſpaſſes: yea ſometimes it inticeth and draweth men on to ſo much ſin and wickedneſſe, that God in an holy and juſt revenge takes even it alſo out of the hearts of men, and ſo leaves them faithleſſe al­together. And let this be carefully remembred; that to be faithleſſe alto­gether after a dead faith, is a condition a thouſand times more hopeleſſe, then before it. God no where ſaith, If a man hath not drawn near unto me, my ſoul ſhall have no pleaſure in him: many times his ſoul hath ſo farre plea­ſure in ſuch a man, as to beſtow the unvaluable gift of a ſound Faith and repentance on him. But what ſaith he? we have already heard it: If the juſt man (any man, ſay our Tranſlatours) ſhall draw back, my ſoul ſhall have no pleaſure in him.

We are not yet at the coar of the ulcer: the ſpring-head of the great Sin and miſery proportionable, of our Anti-Scripturiſt, lieth yet lower in the ground. If there be a reaſon or cauſe aſſigneable of his dead Faith, this is like to be the root that beareth it. What the reaſon or cauſe is of a dead faith in any man, will eaſily be conceived, if the nature of this Faith be but taken a little into conſideration, and underſtood. A dead Faith is not there­fore ſo called (I mean, dead) onely becauſe it acteth not, or bringeth forth no fruit, at all: there is no Faith at all, dead in ſuch a ſenſe: the Faith of Iudas, Simon Magus, Demas, of the ſecond, and third ground, &c brought forth fruit, and this like unto the fruit of a living Faith (as farre as men were able poſitively to judge of it) yea, probably, in as great plenty, as a living Faith it ſelf is wont to bear. And yet the reſpective Faiths of all theſe, were dead, in that ſenſe and ſignification of the word, Dead, wherein we now uſe it. Indeed the Apoſtle Iames concludeth that Faith to be dead, which is without worksaaIam. 2. 1.: but he ſpeaketh emphatically, viz. of ſuch works, which are eſſentiall unto, and univerſally found to accompany a Faith, that is living: and doth not ſuppoſe a poſſibility of any Faith what­ſoever, without works in one kinde or other, ſutable to it. Therefore by a dead Faith, I mean (with the Scripture) ſuch a Faith or credulity, which Solomon aſcribes to the ſimple or fooliſh, Prov. 14. 15 The ſimple beleeveth every word, viz that he heareth, or that is ſpoken to him, without any act of dijudication between word and word, without any rationall and ſubſtan­tiall inquiry, whether there be any competent and ſufficient ground to judge that word, or ſaying, true, which he beleeveth. So by a dead Faith, the Scri­pture (doubtleſſe) meaneth ſuch a Faith or conſent unto ſupernaturall Truths, which is haſtily, and without due conſideration rais'd in the ſouland which is able to give no ſubſtantiall, rationall, or ſolid account of it ſelf, either to it ſelf, or unto others. Of this kinde, is that Faith, which is meerly built either 1. upon the credit, authority, or good opinion of our Teachers: or 2. upon ſome great and plauſible concurrence of the judgements of men ſuppoſed learned and Orthodox: or 3. upon the perſwaſion and profeſ­ſion of our Anceſtors and fore-fathers: or 4. upon the determinations, in­junctions, of the State, where we live: or 5. upon the generall profeſſion and practiſe of that Nation, or commonalty of perſons, amongſt whom we live: or 6. upon light and undigeſted apprehenſions of grounds, though in themſelves never ſo demonſtrative, weighty and ſubſtantiall: or 7. and laſtly, upon whatſoever is not ſufficient in a rationall way to poyſe or bal­laſſe the judgement and conſcience with ſuch an aſſurance of truth, in what is in this caſe beleeved, or aſſented unto, but that they ſhall ſtill remain obnoxious and liable to be removed, and taken off, from their preſent belief, by the guſts and blaſts of contrary apprehenſions, in caſe they come in their way. The reaſon why ſuch a Faith, which is built only upon ſome, or more, or all, of theſe foundations, may well be called a dead faith, is becauſe it hath no other root, but what is rottenneſſe; it lives by no other principle of life, but what may be quenched, or taken from it, every hour, and conſe­quently may properly enough be ſaid to be dead, even whileſt it liveth.

So then the Reaſon why the Faith of the Anti-Scripturiſts amongſt us, which now is not, was dead (in the ſenſe declared) even whileſt it was, is cleerly this; their negligence and unfaithfullneſſe unto their own ſouls, either in not inquiring after, or in not ſeriouſly and ſtudiouſly digeſting, ſuch conſiderations and grounds, which are proper and potent, againſt all oppoſitions of contrary reaſonings, arguments, and inducements what­ſoever, to eſtabliſh, root, ground, and build the judgements, ſouls, and conſciences of men, in aſſurance of the truth of the Goſpel, and of the iſſuings of the Scriptures from God. I well know that faith is (in Gods ſence) the guift of God; but know withall, that the reaſon why the ſeed, which fell in the ſtony ground, was ſcorebed with the heat of the ſun, was, becauſe it had not much earthaaMat. 13. 5. ••, i. the main reaſon, why the doctrine of the Goſpel, in the belief of it, in the perſons repreſented by this ground, miſ­carried, and came to nothing upon inducements haling and pulling a con­trary way, was, becauſe neither upon, nor after the hearing of it, they ever beſtowed any labour of minde, any competent conſideration upon it; nor ever took care or thought, to inquire ſo farre after the truth and certainty of it untill they came to ſuch grounds and reaſons, by which they might be inſured, and ſecured hereof. By reaſon of this careleſſeneſſe and neglect, they never came to have root in themſelvesbbMat 13 21. (as our Saviours expreſſion is, in his interpretation of this part of the parable) i they never came to be eſtabliſhed or built upon any ſolid foundations or proofs of the Truth of the Goſpel, which they had heard: and ſo when the argument or motive of declining perſecution, did but incounter and attempt their Faith, it ſoon yeelded, and gave up the ghoſt. The Germans have ſomewhat an unhand­ſomeDes Deus〈◊〉bonum; ſed non per corua taûm. Proverb, which yet carrieth a ſavoury and pertinent truth in it: God (ſay they) giveth every good thing, but not by the horns of bulls. Their meaning is, that though God be the bountifull and bleſſed Authour and giver of all manner of bleſſings and good things unto men, yet he doth not ordinarily give them, at leaſt many of them, but upon ſutable applications and addreſſements of men themſelves, for the attainment of them reſpe­ctively. Solomon affirmeth it to be the bleſſing of the Lord, that maketh richccProv. 10. 22.: and yet had ſaid a little before, that the hand of the diligent maketh richddverſ. 4. alſo. The pacification of the one ſaying towards the other, is as obvious, as the reconciling of the maſters eye (in the proverb) with the ſervants hand, in making an horſe ſat. It is true, God ſometimes by an hand of Providence not much uſed, caſteth riches upon men, without the diligence of their own hand: nor is it to be denied, but that ſemblably he giveth Faith alſo, without, or at leaſt upon very ſlender ingagements or applicati­ons of men, for the obtaining of it. But as the diligent band is the way of his Providence moſt occupied, for his inriching of men with the ſilver and gold of this world; ſo is the thoughtfull, ſtudiouſly bent, and inquiring ſoul about the things of eternity, his ſtanding method, for his inriching of men with the true treaſure, and making them great through a ſound Faith, in the Kingdom of Heaven. And he that will not ſtrive to enter in by the ſtrait gate, is never like to be forced or thruſt into it by God. But here is neither place, nor opportunity for a juſt or through debate of theſe things.

Thus (good Reader) I have briefly drawn up for thy peruſall, the ſad Hiſtory, of the originall, progreſſe, and cataſtrophe or end of that genera­tion, or vein of men amongſt us, who are fallen from a dead faith, to a live­ly deniall of the divine authority of the Scriptures. The enſuing diſcourſe will (I truſt) prove like Aaron when with his cenſer, having incenſe and fire from off the altar in it, he ſtood between the living and the dead, and ſtaied the plague from ſpreading furtheraaNumb. 16. 48.; though he could doe nothing for the raiſing again from the dead, any of thoſe that were already fallen by it. Yet if God be a debtour to any gracious purpoſe or intention in himſelf, of the recovery of any of theſe men, out of that ſnare of death, wherein their foot is taken, and faſt held (for the preſent) I make no queſtion but the preſent Treatiſe, notwithſtanding the image and ſuperſcription of the Authour ſo fully ſtamped upon it in deficiencies and infirmities, may be a commodious inſtrument in his hand for ſuch a purpoſe.

Concerning the ſubject it ſelf of the Treatiſe, the Demonſtration of the finger of God in the Scriptures, I ſhall not need either to commend, or to demonſtrate, the neceſſity of it, no not in reſpect of thoſe alſo, whoſe foot hath not as yet ſo much as begun to ſlide into the way of that abomination, which giveth away the glory of the onely infinitely wiſe and holy God in the compoſure of them, to ſinfull, weak, and contemptible men. As there is much counterfeit and clip'd coin abroad in the world; ſo is there much Faith and belief of the Authority of the Scriptures in the hearts of men, which being touch'd, will be found baſe, and weighed in the balance of the Sanctuary, light. The heart of a man is ſo dangerouſly, yea and deſpe­rately deceitfull, that, to ſave it ſelf a labour, and the ſweat of the brow in being conſtrained to beleeve indeed, by ſtrength of argument, and evidence of demonſtration, it will with much heat of confidence and importunity, violently perſwade him that he beleeveth already: and angerly demand of him (in Iudas his dialect) what needeth this waſte of time, in writing, and reading long diſcourſes,, to prove that, which thou approveſt already, and beleeveſt abundantly? Reader, it may be thou haſt heard of the La­tine proverb, which tells thee that profered ware ſtinketh. Doubtleſſe that belief of ſupernaturall and Divine things, which thy heart, uncon­ſtrained, uncompelled, unconvinced, and this by an high hand of argument and ſolid demonſtration, in one kinde or other, profereth and commen­dethMeux ultroma pu­tet. unto thee for good, for want of ſalt, can hardly be ſavoury, or ſound, or ſuch, wherein either God, or men, will much delight. But (reader) I would not have thee have ſorrow upon ſorrow, a long Diſcourſe upon a long Preface, or Epiſtle.

I have now but only a little mint and aniſe to tith, two or three particu­lars of lighter conſequence to impart further unto thee, and ſo thou ſhalt no longer ſuffer in the bands of an Epiſtle.

1. I deſire to give thee notice, that according to the tenour of my firſt thoughts, onely four or five of the firſt ſheets of the Treatiſe (wherein, being thereunto compelled by the importune and un-man-like clamours of ſome, I attempt that otherwiſe needleſſe piece of curioſity,〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, as the Greek proverb well expreſſeth it, i. to make ſomewhat ſtraiter, then that which is ſtrait) together with the Epiſtle Dedicatory, were intended for the preſſe. In which reſpect, there are ſome paſſages, both in the ſaid Epiſtle, and within the compaſſe of theſe ſheets, which, being calculated according to the exigencie and poſture of things amongſt us ſo many months ſince, as the coming of them forth was projected, and expected, may now, by occaſion of the diſadvantage of ſo long-delaied a publication, ſeem ſomewhat incongruous, and leſſe ſeaſonable. In this behalf, I deſire the Readers courteſie for my accommodation; and that he will pleaſe for my relief herein, to borrow of his memory, if that be able to ſupply him herewith, the ſtate and tenour of his thoughts and ap­prehenſions about the latter end of March laſt, as farre as they related to the contents of thoſe papers, when he reads them.

2. When upon the perſwaſion of ſome friends, I had taken up this ad­ditionall purpoſe, of enlarging the forementioned proportion of the diſ­courſe onely with a ſummary and brief propoſall of the heads of thoſe conſiderations, which I had more largely inſiſted upon in the courſe of my Miniſtry, in order to the Vindication of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures; yea and had ſatisfied my ſelf accordingly, in the propoſall and ſetting down of one or two of the firſt of theſe conſiderations; yet going on to the reſt, I cleerly perceived, that their ſtrength and efficacie for the great ſervice intended, would have ſuffered much loſſe and diſadvantage in reference thereunto, if they had been confined to any narrower compaſſe of explication, then that which is now aſſigned unto them. In which reſpect, I was neceſſitated, to print them (at leaſt the greateſt part of them) as largely, as I Preached them; they who heard them Preached, and ſhall reade them Printed, will bear witneſſe, that very little alteration hath been made.

3. (And laſtly) my deſire to thee (and that more for thy own intereſt and benefit then for mine) is; that ſince the main body of the treatiſe, conſiſts of many arguments, and demonſtrations, to evince one and the ſame great concluſion and truth, viz. that the Scriptures are from God, though thou readeſt them ſingly one by one, and every one apart from his fellowes, yet in order to thy ſatisfaction about their ſtrength and ſufficiency to evince the ſaid concluſion, thou wilt look upon them all together, as one and the ſame intire demonſtration, and not conſult thine own dis-ſatiſ­faction or diſcontent, where there is no juſt ground, or occaſion of either, as viz. by finding weakneſſe and unſatisfactorineſſe (poſſibly) in any one or more of them, taken out of their conjunction, which indeed is their ſtrength. Solomon gives this reaſon, why two are better then one, becauſe (ſaith he) if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but wo to him that is a­lone, when he falleth. &c. There is the like advantage in variety of argu­ments,Eccleſ. 4. 9. for proofe of one and the ſame concluſionif one be weak, or doubt­full in ſome particular belonging to it, and ſo leſſe ſatisfying, one or other of its fellows may very poſſibly relieve and ſupply the defect; and then it becomes valid and ſerviceable, notwithſtanding. A cable may be ſtrong and ſufficient to hold a good ſhip down laden againſt the ſtiffeſt guſt, and ſtrongeſt tempeſt of weather that can blow; and yet ſome one or two of the ſmalleſt threds or twiſts of it, may be brittle and half rotten. In like manner a diſcourſe, or body of arguments, raiſed for the demonſtration and proof of ſome important truth, may perform the engagement with power and authority, and be ſufficient to eſtabliſh the doubtfull, yea and to convince the gainſayer; though every thing delivered and aſſerted herein be not greater then exception, yea though ſome thing be obnoxious, and lieth open to the diſputes and contradictions of ſome men. To reject an authour, or book, becauſe not every waies approveable, is, being interpre­ted, to preſume himſelf to be a God. The Heathen Poet had more of a Chriſtian temper in him then ſo, when he ſaid,

Verumubi plura nitent in camine, non ego pauci
Offendar maulis, quas aut incia ſdit,
Aut humana porum cavit narura
i. Where much doth ſhine, a little not ſo bright
Shall not offend me, which ſome overſight,
Or humane frailty, well occaſion might.

But (Reader) whether I have quitted my ſelf, like a workman that need not be aſhamed, or no, in my undertaking, and whether the divinity of the Scriptures, be yet in the dark, or no, notwithſtanding all that I have done to bring it forth into the light cenſure, and determine thou if thou pleaſeſt Certain I am, i. that he that is about to come as a theife in the night, will bing a day with him, which ſhall open the eyes that are now ſhut, and aſtoniſh the world with the brightneſſe of the demonſtration of this truth, which with ſtrength of affection and deſire (I am certain) with what weakneſſe ſoever in performance, I have in the enſuing diſcourſe laboured to evince and aſſert. The Heavens which have been faithfull keepers of that great treaſure of the world, even ſince it was committed unto their cuſtody, Ieſus Chriſt, will ſhew themſelves as faithfull in delivering it back again unto the world, in the time appointed. In that day the mouth of that ungodlineſſe which is now opened againſt the glory of the Scriptures, will be ſhut, yea and ſealed up, never more to be opened to the daies of eternity. The great Lord of this day, make thee and me worthy to ſtand before him there­in, by a reall beliefe, and fervent expectation of it, according to the Scri­ptures.

Thine to ſerve thee with whatſoever is his, in the things of Jeſus Chriſt, John Goodwin.

The Contents of the enſuing Treatiſe.

  • OFfences, whether given or taken, from whence commonly they proceed. pag. 1.
  • The Authours cleer intent, in the 28. Section of his Hagiomaſtix diſplayed, &c. p. 4, 5, &c.
  • The ſence of Proteſtant writers concerning Scri­pture tranſlations. p. 5, 6, 7.
  • The Engliſh Tranſlation, not in every ſence, nor yet in a pro­per ſenſe, either the word of God, or foundation of Chriſtian Religion. p. 7, 8, &c.
  • The Authours judgement concerning Tranſcripts of Scri­ture in the Originalls. p. 14, 15.
  • Concerning Tranſlations. p. 16, 17, &c.
  • What properly is the Word of God, and foundation of Chriſti­an Religion. p. 17, 18,
  • The Authours opinion concerning the imputation of Faith, and the righteouſneſſe of Chriſt, in juſtification. p. 27.
  • Concerning the power of the civil Magiſtrate: the eſtate and condition of the ſoul between death and the reſurrection. p. 29.
  • Arguments proving the Divine Authority of the Scriptures, Intrinſecall, Extrinſecall. p. 30, 31.
  • The firſt Intrinſecall Argument; the manner, or property of their stile, and phraſe. p. 31, 32.
  • The ſecond; the ſpirituality, or admirable workmanſhip ſeen in their joints, or connexions. p. 32, 33, 34.
  • The third; a certain Authoritativeneſſe, or God-like ſpeak­ing unto the world, &c. p. 34, 35, 36, &c.
  • The fourth; their ſtrange compoſition, or conſtitution, being made up of depths, and ſhallows, &c. p. 36, 37, &c.
  • The fift; their Antiquity. p. 41, 42, &c.
  • The ſix,; the manner of the Goſpels bringing in into the world, in reſpect of the growth, and graduall diſcoveries. pag. 48, 49. &c.
  • The ſeventh; a Majeſtique kinde of ſecurity under many ſeeming contradictions. p. 55, 56, &c.
  • The eight (and laſt of this head) an holy and humble inge­nuity and candor in the Pen-men. p. 60, 61, &c.
  • Intrinſecall arguments of the latter head, drawn from the matter, and import of the Scriptures, being ten in number, propounded. p. 64, 65.
  • The firſt of theſe; That excellent spirit of holineſſe which breaths out of the Scriptures upon the world. p. 65, 66, &c.
  • The ſecond; a potent tendency in them to advance godlineſſe in the world. p. 84, 85, &c.
  • The third; their Authoritaetive and loud call upon the world, for ſelf-deniall. p. 104, 105.
  • The fourth; that heart-ſearching property, which is ſo fre­quently, and with ſo much power, found to be in them, p. 116. 117, &c.
  • The fift: A glorious and mighty power, which ſometimes they exert and put forth, in raiſing and lifting up the hearts of men. p. 133. 134. &c.
  • The ſixth: A like power ſometimes exerciſed by them in ter­riſying and ſhaking the ſouls and conſciences of men. p. 138. 139.
  • The ſeventh: A great and marvellous transforming power frequently exerted by them. p. 148. 149. &c.
  • The eighth: The heights and depths of that wiſdome and un­derſtanding, which are found in the tranſaction of the Gospel. p. 157. 158. 159. &c.
  • The ninth: The myſteriousneſſe of the ſaid tranſaction. p. 218. 219. &c.
  • The tenth (and laſt of this head) The tranſcendent im­portance of the Gospel, by way of benefit and bleſſing upon the world. p. 223. 224. &c.
  • Two kindes of Arguments extrinſecall, proving the Scrip­tures to be the word of God: The first, ſuch paſſages, or acts of Providence, by which God owns the Scriptures, as his. The latter, ſuch either doings or ſayings of men, which are ſo far confederate with thoſe providences of God, as to joyn in testimo­ny with them on the behalf of the Scriptures. p. 227. 228.
  • The firſt, of the former of theſe kindes: The preſerving of the body of the Scriptures intire, and free from corruption, or maim, for ſo many generations, as have paſſed over them. p. 228. 229.
  • The ſecond: The high hand of ſucceſſe, wherewith the Goſ­pel, even in the infancy of it, and ſoon after it went forth into the world, was attended. p. 267. 268 &c.
  • The third: An exact and punctuall fulfilling of the prophe­cyes contained in the Scriptures. p. 305. 306. &c.
  • The fourth: The great and wonderfull effects, which God daily produceth in the world by the Scriptures: and particular­ly by the Gospel, p. 320. 321 &c.
  • The fifth: The conſideration of the tenour or manner of the Government of the world, and of the workings of the hearts and spirits of all kindes of men in it. p. 332. 333. &c.
  • The ſixth (and laſt of this head) The remarkeable judge­ments inflicted by God upon the enemies of the Scriptures. p. 360. 361 &c.
  • The firſt of the latter ſort: the conſideration of ſome things, which have been, and are daily acted and done by men: as viz. firſt, ſuch by which the predictions and propheticall carriages of the Scripture (at leaſt ſome of the moſt conſiderable) are ful­filled. Secondly, ſuch by which the doctrinall or ſententious paſ­ſages thereof, are verified and aſſerted. p. 367. 368. &c. The former of theſe opened. p. 368. &c. The latter. 370. &c.
  • The latter (of this latter ſort) is: The conſideration of ſuch ſayings of men, whether in their writings, or otherwiſe, which re­flect the light of divine Authority upon them. p 371. 372. &c.

TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE The LORDS and COMMONS aſſembled in PARLIAMENT.

Right Honourable;

IT is a memorable ſaying of an ancient Heathen; He is the braveſt man, that knowes beſt how to be injuredaa〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Menan­der.. The lighteſt working of the Spirit towards a revenge, though upon the ſharpeſt provo­cation, being diſcovered, ſuffereth not a man to be ſeen in his glory. In the mean time it is a crown of glory upon the head of men in place, and of Divine parallell, to ſuffer ſuch men to be leaſt injured, who beſt know how to ſuffer; that is, to ſuffer alone, and without the leaſt damage or danger, of any other man. The Anointed ones of God, eſpecially his Prophets, know how to ſuf­fer far above the rate, either of the wiſdome or patience, of other men: and yet, of all others theſe muſt not be touch'd, or put to ſuffer: Touch not mine Anointed, and doe my Prophets no harmbbPſal. 105. 15..

This my moſt humble addreſſe unto you, rejoyceth in this; that it is altogether ignorant, at leaſt in point of affection, of any wrong done to the Authour: and yet preſenteth you witb an opportunity of being ſeen in the beſt of your glory. For upon a late conjunction of the Providence of God, with the improvidence of men, there hath iſſu­ed from the Pulpit (as I hear from many hands) an undue repre­ſentation of me and my pen, into your ears, and that upon the day of your late ſolemn humiliation for the prevailing of Hereſies and Bla­ſphemies in the Land, (beſides what of this ill air I have cauſe in abundance to ſuſpect, hath been breathed upon many of you at other times.)

To me (I ſpeak the Truth, and lie not to your Honours) it is more eaſie to ſuffer, then complain: and had not my deſire to make all your apprehenſions (with other mens) thoughts of Honour and Truth, as farre as lieth in me, been ſtronger, then either of any re­parations for my ſelf, or of any diſparaging reflection upon the offen­dours, I had not lift up ſo much as a thought towards this Apo­logie, or explication rather of my ſelf. Yea ſo tender am I of the reputations of thoſe who have miſtaken me (to qualifie an hard action with a ſoft expreſſion) that I am ſcarce free in my ſelf to deſire of your Honours ſo much as a peruſall of the enſuing Explication, lſt hereby they alſo may poſſibly ſuffer. Only herein (I muſt confeſſe) ſorrow fills my heart, and I look upon the thing as little leſſe then requiring another day of humiliation by way of atonement; viz. that in a day of ſo ſolemn a fast amongſt profeſſed Christians, Barrabbas ſhould again be releaſed, and Chriſt crucified; I mean, that many Er­rours and hereſies, which really are ſuch, and reign to the great da­mage and danger of the Truth, (yea and ſome of them to the diſtur­bance of the peace) amongſt us, ſhould be diſſembled, and paſſed by; ſound aſſertions, and harmleſſe expreſſions being in the mean time spread and arraigned before God, and men, and your Honours par­ticularly, as the great Incentives of the diſpleaſure of God againſt the Nation, and ſo deſtructive to the peace and happineſſe of it.

I am not conſcious to my ſelf of the leaſt wrong I have ever done, either to man, woman, or childe, in word or deed; nor of any re­fuſall of ſubjection to any juſt Law or impoſition of men: if either my memory, or conſcience, herein deceiveth me, I here ſtand forth, and humbly offer my ſelf before your Honours, and all the world, to make ſatisfaction with the beſt of my ſubſtance, or otherwiſe, as farre as I am, or ever ſhall be able, upon any reaſonable evidence or convi­ction of the fact. If I have, either in any of my writings, or Sermons, or Diſcourſes otherwiſe, uttered or aſſerted any thing erroneous and unſound; I here offer and ſubmit my ſelf in like manner, to ſit at the feet of thoſe, whom either of your Honourable Houſes ſhall appoint to inſtruct me in the truth; being a thouſand times more willing to offer ſacrifice to the Truth, then to be a ſervant to any ſuppoſition un­der Heavenaa〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.. For I know that it is Truth which ſanctifiethbbJoh. 177., whereas errour defilethccNec quis er­ror turpitudi­ne caret. Aug. Labi autem, errare, neſcire decipi & tur­pe, & inhone­ſtum ducimus: Ci. Offic. . Only I crave leave to make it my humble requeſt unto you, that I may not be compelled to ſeek the living among the dead, Truth (I mean) amongst the preſumptions, and infirm ſuppoſitions of men; but in the Scriptures, which are living, and where others ſay they both ſeek, and finde it. Strong Concluſions coming forth into the world leaning upon weak premiſes, have in all ages bereav'd the world of the uſe and benefit of the one halfe (at leaſt) of that reaſon and underſtanding, which God with a liberall hand bestowed upon it for its own advancement in happineſſe and peace. I call God for a record upon my ſouldd2 Cor. 1. 23., that I have not the leaſt touch of a deſire to be wiſe (in the things of God) either above, or beſides, what is written [in the book of God] nor have I the leaſt hope of riſing up in wiſdom to the due height of what is written herein, whileſt the incumbrance of fleſh and bloud hangeth on me: only my deſires are, that in my conſcientious endeavours to aſcend this mountain, I may neither be thruſt down by thoſe that are above me, nor pull'd backward by thoſe that are beneath. It would be (I conceive) an entrance in abundance into a better world, if men generally could be content to poſſeſſe their ſouls in patience, when they meet with others either weaker, or wiſer, then themſelves. Au­guſtin speaking of the ſenſe of a difficult place of Scripture, ſaith thus: It may ſeem one thing to me, and another to another: but neither doe I impoſe upon him what I ſhall ſay upon it, for the better ſence; nor he upon meeePoteſt mihi aliquid videri, alteri aliud. Sed nequeego quod dixero, praeſcribo al­teri ad melio­rem intelle­ctum, nequeille mihi. Aug in Euar. Pſal. 36.. Scultetus alſo reports it for a ſaying much eſteemed by Luther, and which he profeſſeth that he firſt heard from Judocus (ſometimes his Maſter.) Solis Canoni­cis libris deberi fidem; caeteris omnibus judicium. i. that preſent belief is a debt due only to the Canonicall books of Scripture, but judgement or conſideration, to all others.

I make no queſtion but that your Honours know, that not only mens manners, but their Judgements and Doctrines alſo are apt in time, to warp, and to degenerate, unleſſe God ſhould ever and anon be ſtirring up ſome, who by dealing faithfully with them, ſhould ne­ceſſitate them to a recollection and ſurvey of themſelves in both. When the Prieſts complain'd of Luther to the Emperour Charles the fift; he plainly told them, that if they had been good, they ſhould have ſtood in no need of ſuch a Cenſor, or Corrector of manners, as Luther wasffVita Religio­ſorum ita fae­tebat ad vul­gus, ut Carolus V. Imperator, Eccleſiaſticis de Luthero con­querentibus in Comitijs Auguſtanis re­ſponderit: Si vos ſacrificuli pijſſetis, non indiguiſſetis Cenſore, & morum Corre­ctore Luthero. Scultet. An­nal Dec. 1. p. 15.. And it was the ingenious confeſſion of an Abbot living in theſe times, that if Luther had not come amongſt them, they ſhould have perſwaded the people to have fed upon heyggJam ſuperſti­tionibus ita e­rant omnia oppleta, ut ce­lebris Mona­ſterij Neuhu­ſani in Vangi­onibus Abbas dixerit (vera narro) Si Lu­therus non ve­niſſet, ſe per­ſuaſuros fuiſſe populo, ut foe­no latrantem ſtomachum placaſſent. Ibid. . I wiſh the obſervation taken up long ſince by Minutius Felix, received not ſo large a teſtimony as it doth, from our preſent times: Many (ſaith he) out of a loathneſſe to weary themſelves in ſeek­ing out the Truth, turn in to the errours next at hand. For my ſelf, my love is ſuch to the precious ſouls of men, that I cannot knowingly ſuffer any ſuſpicious Doctrine, or looſe opinion in the things of God, to paſſe thorow the world neer unto me, unexamined, eſpecially when anyggMulti taedio inveſtiganae veritatis, ad proximus­verunt〈…〉. conſiderable numbers of men are like to ſuffer: which, though it be a thankleſſe ingagement, and very obnoxious to thoſe, who love either eaſe, or honour, more then cleanneſſe of judgement, and pureneſſe of minde and underſtanding; yet is it a proper and effectuall courſe to preſerve the Doctrine of the Gospel, if not abſolutely free from all, yet from that intermixture of errour, which commonly iſſueth from between the feet of a ſupine incogitancy and ſloth in thoſe, who are intruſted with the miniſtry of it.

But I reverence the Great concernments of the Kingdom in your hands: wherein, as from the beginning I have ſerved you with all faithfullneſſe and ſimplicity of heart hitherto, ſo am I unwilling now to make my ſelf a Trespaſſer, ſo much as by an impertinent diverſion of your Honours from your attendance thereon. The great and bleſſed God, whoſe is the Kingdom, power, and glory, fill your Aſſemblies from day to day with the preſence of his glory; by keep­ing your judgements in a due diſtance of precedencie to your affections; and both judgements and affections in a due proximitie and neerneſſe to himſelf, that ſo the whole Nation may yet riſe up before you as one man, and call you bleſſed, and your Name be, The repairers of the great breach, and the reſtorers of paths to dwell inhhIſa. 58. 12., thorough many generations. Such is the prayer of

Your Honours moſt humbly and really devoted to ſerve you, in your Intereſts in both worlds, JOHN GOODVVIN.
1

THE Divine Authority OF THE SCRIPTVRES Re-aſſerted.

BRethren (ſaith the Apoſtle) be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye chil­dren, but in underſtanding, be menaa1 Cor. 14. 20.. If the voice of this exhortation were in both the branches conſcienciouſly remembred by thoſe, who are moſt concern'd in it, it would be as a tree of love and peace in the midſt of the Paradiſe of the Churches of God. There is ſcarce any offence either given, or taken, but proceeds, either from ſtrength in ma­lice, or weakneſſe in underſtanding, or both. When our Saviour, being adjured by the High Prieſt, to tell him whether he was the Son of God, or no, made this anſwer; Hereafter ye ſhall ſee the Son of man ſitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven; did he give the leaſt occaſion of offence unto him? and yet this High Prieſt rent his cloaths, ſaying, he hath spoken bla­ſphemy: what further need have we of witneſſes? Behold now ye have heard his blasphemy. And that of the Prophet Hoſea then taking place, And there ſhall be like people, like PriestbbHoſ. 4. 9., the people alſo voted with their Prieſt, He is guilty of deathccMat. 26. 66.. If the High Prieſt, and his fellow-Prieſts, had juſtified our Saviour in his words and actions, which, had they not been men in malice, inſtead of un­derſtanding, and children in underſtanding, inſtead of malice, they2 would (according to their duty) have done, doubtleſſe the com­mon people alſo had joyned with them in a concurrent ſuffrage for his juſtification. But the obſervation taken up by Auguſtine long ſince, is nothing but the experience of all ages. Some men (ſaith he) of competent underſtandings, had rather quarrell withddNonnulli in­telligentes ci­tiùs volunt ex agitare, quod non intelli­gunt, quàquaecere ut in­telligant: & non fiutu­miles inqui­ſitores, ſed ſu­perbi calum­niatores. Aug. de temp. Ser. . 72. what they understand not, then ſeek out the true understanding of it: and ſo inſtead of modeſt inquirers, ſhew themſelves proua ſlanderers. He himſelf was ſo hotly purſued by the clamours and outcries of ſome of the underſtanding ones of his age, that he was a man in­fected with errours, and poiſoned the world with falſe Do­ctrines, that he was conſtrained to flee for refuge, to a publike declaration of himſelf in the particulars, which were to his diſ­paragement charged upon him: and upon this occaſion wrote that Tract, which is found in the 7th Tome of his Works, inti­tuled, Auguſtins Anſwer to certain Articles falſly fathered, or charged upon himeeAd articulos aliquotibi falò impoſi­tos, Auguſtini Reſponio.; beginning thus: Some men out of a forgetfull­neſſe of Christian and brotherly love, are ſo importunely bent, by all waies and means whatſoever, to miſchief my reputation, that being blinded by a deſire of doing harm, they perceive not how they over­throw their own. For they frame, and gather together, and make up, in ſuch ſayings or ſentences as they can, prodigious untruths of certain moſt fond and fooliſh blasphemies: and theſe they carry about, to ſhew and inculcate into many, both publikely and privately, affirming, they are the ſame, in my ſenſe and meaning, as they are expreſſed in their diabolicall catalogue: which opinions or Teets, we might rea­dily and ſufficiently prove to be thus carried and toſſed up and down, for no other end, but to stirre up a ſpirit of envy againſt us, by anathematizing them all at once; would not the malignity of thoſe, to whom it is a burthen that we ſhould be thought well of, make it matter of ſuspicion, if we ſhould take ſo brief a courſe for our vindi­cationffQuidam Chri­ſtianae ac fra­ternae charita­tis oblit, in tantum exiſti­mationem no­ſtram quoquo modo ſtudent laedere, ut ſu­am ſe evertere nocendi cupi­ditate non vi­deant. Con­texunt enim, & qualibus poſſunt ſententijs comprehendunt, ineptiſſimarum quarundam blaſphemiarum prodigioſa mendacia, eaqueoſtendenda & ingrenda multis publicè privatimquecircumferunt, aſſerentes talia in noſtr, eſſe ſenſu, qualia diabolico indiculo continentur, Quae falò in nos ad exci­tandam invidiam jacttari, facile & ſufficienter ſubſcriptione unius probaremus anathematis, niſi malignitasorum, qui ſe gravari putant, ſi de nobis benè ſentiatur, ipſam ſubſcriptionis noſtrae brevitatem ſuſpectam eſſet habitura.. I ſee the common ſaying is not yet like to fail: Sicut nunc, ſic & olim, As it is to day, ſo was it yeſterday: and (as Solo­mon ſaith) there is no new thing under the Sunne.

3

Moſt certain I am, if I underſtand what plain Engliſh words ſignifie, that there was no more cauſe given by me in the 28th Section of my late Diſcourſe, intituled, Hagimaſtix diſployed &c. why any man ſhould either think, or ſay, that I deny the Divine Authority of the Scriptures; then was given by our Saviour in the words lately cited from Matth. 26. 63. why either the High Prieſt, or people ſhould accuſe him of blasphemy; or in theſe, Deſtroy this Temple, and in three daies I will raiſe it upaaJoh. 2. 19., why the falſe witneſſes, ſpoken of Matth. 26. 60 61. ſhould charge him with ſaying, I can deſtroy the Temple of God, and build it in three daies. Somewhat indeed there was in what our Saviour ſpake, of what theſe witneſſes informed againſt him; but becauſe they quite altered the nature and import of what he intended in his words, the Holy Ghoſt himſelf brands them with the infamous character of falſe Witneſſes; which brand of infamie will ne­ver be gotten out of their fore-heads to the worlds end. But he that hath commanded me to recompence unto no man evil for evilbbRom. 12. 17. Immenſae vir­tutis eſt, non ſentire te eſſe percuſſum. Sen. , hath graciouſly opened the ear of my heart and ſoul to hearken unto my charge in that behalf, and hath made me ſtrong to bear the burthens, whether of the weakneſſe, or wickedneſſe of men. Therefore I ſhall without the leaſt reflection in way of diſparagement upon any the perſons of thoſe, who have unwor­thily ſought to make my ſavour ſtink in the ſight of men, with a compoſed ſpirit addreſſe my ſelf to render an account, as well of my judgement touching the Authority of the Scriptures, as of my intent in the ſaid 28. Section of my Book. When that ſaying of Chriſt to Peter, concerning his beloved Diſciple, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? was generally miſunder­ſtood by the Diſciples themſelves, who by a common miſpriſion, made them to import, that that Diſciple ſhould not dieccJoh. 21, 23., the holy Ghoſt himſelf thought it good, by the pen of the Evangeliſt, to rectifie the errour, only by ſetting down the words, in oppoſition to the interpretation, or miſtake; Yet Jeſus ſaid not unto him, he ſhall not die: but if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? ſometimes, not only a ſpirit of enmity and envy, but of love it ſelf, may through an inadvertencie, and neglect to ingage ſecond thoughts, miſapprehend the genuine intent of what is ſpoken; yea and this in ſuch caſes, wherein the very repetition of the4 word ſpoken, is ſufficient to evict the miſapprehenſion. But

1. To cleer the ſaid Section of any thing, either intended, or ſaid, againſt the Authority of the Scriptures; evident it is,

1. That it was no part of my intent in the ſaid Section, nor any waies relating to the buſineſſe I had in hand, to declare mine own judgement, either in the affirmative or negative, concerning the Authority of the Scriptures; nor yet to put my Antagoniſts upon it to declare theirs in this; but only to ingage them, to declare plainly and diſtinctly, what they mean by the word, Scriptures, when they affirm and maintain the deniall of them to be the word of God to be an errour juſtly puniſhable with death. The Reaſon why I deſired to draw my adverſaries to this Explica­tion of themſelves, was, becauſe I apprehended (and doe ap­prehend ſtill) that when they ſhall give a fair and reaſonable account of what is herein demanded, the unreaſonableneſſe of their aſſertion, wherein they maintain it as a matter worthy of death, to deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, will thereby more manifeſtly appear.

2. Becauſe I deſired that their explication in this kinde might be pertinent and proper, not frivolous, I judged it not amiſſe to attempt by argument, to put them by, or take them off from two explications, which I conceived they were moſt likely to pitch upon, either one, or both; both of them being impertinent to their occaſion. The former of the two from which I deſired to take them off, was; that by Scriptures, they meant the En­gliſh Tranſlation; the later, the Originall Hebrew and Greek copies. From the former of theſe, I conceived I ſhould take them off upon this ground or conſideration; viz. becauſe I ſup­poſe it is no foundation of Christian Religion, to beleeve that the Scriptures in this ſenſe or conſideration, are the word of God, i. (as I preſently explain my ſelf) that God spake to his Prophets or Apoſtles in Engliſh; I now adde, much leſſe that he ſpake unto either, in thoſe very words, phraſes, and ſentences in the Engliſh tongue, of which the ſyſteme or body of our Engliſh Tranſlation is made up. Who could have imagined, that ſuch an expreſſion, eſpecially in conjunction with ſuch an explication as this, would ever have been obnoxious to a ſiniſter interpretation? much leſſe be forced into any ſuch ſence, which ſhould imply a deniall5 of the Divine Authority of the Scriptures? Have not men of the moſt eminent learning and worth amongſt Proteſtants, expreſ­ſed themſelves upon the like occaſion in termes farre more liable to exception, then mine, and yet are blameleſſe? We (ſaith learned Doctor Whitaker) acknowledge no edition [of the Scri­ptures] authentique, [i. of Divine Authority,] but the Hebrew, in the old, and the Greek in the new Teſtament. As for Tranſlati­ons, if they agree (viz. with the Originalls) We approve them: if they diſagree, we reject themaaNullam nos editionem, ni­ſi Hebraicam in veteri, & Graecam in no­vo Teſtamen­to, authenti­cam facimus. Tranſlationes, ſi conveniunt, ptobamus: ſi diſcrepant, rei­cimus, Whita­in Contr. de Scrip Qu. 2. cap. 7.. Now moſt certain it is, that our Engliſh Tranſlations (for they are many) take the very beſt of them (as ſuppoſe the laſt, or any of the former) doe in very many things diſagree from the Originall; and therefore, accor­ding to the judgement of this Grave and Orthodox Writer, (at leaſt if his words be rigorouſly dealt with) ought to be rejected: which is a ſaying 7 times more commodious for left-handed In­terpreters to work upon, then any of mine. And yet this Au­thour hath this teſtimonie from the pen of Presbyterie, that he never held any opinion that was counted erroneous: nor any private peculiar opinion, but what was commonly held in the Church of GodbbM. Edw. A­tapol p. 40..

Chamier, a learned and faithfull Advocate of the Proteſtant cauſe againſt the Papiſts, and Bellarmine in particular, con­cerning Scripture Tranſlations, writeth thus: We (ſaith he) though we approve of other [Editions or Tranſlations] more or leſſe, yet we acknowledge them to be made but by a private ſpirit, as farre as every mans judgement, skillfullneſſe in Languages, diligence and ſincerity, were able to reach and attain. Therefore there is none, whether in our own tongue, or in any other, unto which we think meet to ſubject either our ſelves, or o­ther men. And a little after: As for Tranſlations; the ſenſe of Protestants is this: that all of them, of what ſtanding, name, or credit ſoever they be, with what diligence, ſincerity, learning ſoever they were made, are only ſo farre certain, as they agree with the firſt context, I mean, as farre as they expreſſe that ſence, which is certainly manifeſt to be the ſence of the Hebrew and Greek words. But if they vary or ſwerve never ſo little from hence, that ſence which they give or expreſſe, we judge, nei­ther to be Divine, nor authentique, nor canonicall, but meer­ly6 humane, &c.ccNos verò, et­ſi alias alijs plùs, minúſve prbemus, tamen non negamus confectas eſſe omnes privato ſpiritu, quan­tum contendere potuit cujuſque& judicij acumen, & lnguarum peritia, & cum ſinceritate di­ligentia, &c. & paulò poſt: Itaquenulla eſt, ſive noſtrorum, five aliorum hominum, cui vel nos ipſos, vel alios, addicere velimus. Et rur ſus paulò poſt. Quod attinet ad verſiones, Ca­tholici ſic ſentiunt, eas omnes, cujuscunquefint aut temporis, aut nominis aut dignitatis, quan­talibet diligentiâ, ſinceritate, doctrinâ factae ſine, tantum certas eſſe, quòd cum primo contexu conveniant, quatenus, inquam, eum ſenſum exprimunt, quem certo conſtat eſſe Hebracorum & Graecorum vocabulorum. Quod fi inde diſcedant vel tntillum, tùm quem ille ſenſum reddunt, non eſſe divinum, non Authenticum, non canonicum, ſed mere huma­num. Chamier. Panſtr. Tom. 1. l. 12. c. . § 3. 5. (with much more of like importance:) So then the ſence of this Authour cleerly is, that no tranſlation can be any further certain unto any man (viz. that it is, or, that it contains in it, the word of God) then as farre as the ſence which is therein ex­preſt is certainly manifeſt unto him, to be the ſenſe of the Hebrew and Greek words; and conſequently can be no foundation of Re­ligion unto him. Which, whether it be not a ſaying 10. degrees harder then any of mine, let men, who have not ſacrificed their judgements upon the ſervice of their affections, judge. CertainaaVeteres, quàmvis lin­guarum cogni­tione, ac pre­ſertim Hebra­icae, deſtitue­rentur, inge­nuè tamen ſemper agnoſ­cunt, nihil eſ­ſe melius quàm ipſam conſulere, ut inde verus ger­manuſqueſenſus hauriatur. Calvin in 2. Decretum 4. Seſſ. Syn. Trid I am, that there is not one of many thouſands amongſt us, to whom it is certainly manifeſt, that any ſenſe at all expreſſed in the Engliſh Tranſlation, is the ſenſe of the Hebrew and Greek words: and conſequently to whom it can be certainly manifeſt, that the ſaid Tranſlation is the word of God: and how then ſhould it be a foundation of Chriſtian Religion unto him? The anci­ent Chriſtians (ſaith Calvin) though they wanted the knowledge of tongues, eſpecially the Hebrew, yet they allwaies ingenuouſly acknow­ledged it beſt to have recourſe thereunto, that from thence the true and genuine ſenſe of things might be had. From whence it evident­ly appears, 1. that theſe ancient Chriſtians, made uſe of Scrip­ture-Tranſlations; 2. that notwithſtanding, they did not judge them to be the word of God, or the foundation of Religion; becauſe then they had had no need of making recourſe to any other word of God, or writing whatſoever, for their regulation. Doctor Featly, in his late treatiſe, intituled the Dippers dipt, pag. 1. & 2. hath theſe words. For no Tranſlation is ſimply Au­thenticall, or the undoubted word of God. In the undoubted word of God there can be no errour: But in Tranſlations there way be, and are errours. The bible tranſlated therefore is not the undoubted7 word of God, but ſo farre onely as it agreeth with the originall. And how few are there amongſt us, that are able to ſay, how farreIt ſeems that is good Divinity againſt the A­nabaptiſts, which is blaſ­phemie a­gainſt the Presbyterians. the Engliſh Tranſlation agreeth with the Originall? This Trea­tiſe was lately publiſhed by Authority, and hath been printed and reprinted, 5. or 6. times, no man, that ever I heard of, making the leaſt exception againſt, or taking the leaſt offence at the ſaid paſſage. Hierme of old, called Tranſlations of the Bible, coeno­ſos rivulos,bbQuibus ſi diſ­plicet unda fontis puriſſi­mi, coenoſos rivulos bibant Hieronymus. Epiſt. 102. ad Marcellam. muddy ſtreams or rivolets, in compariſon of the Ori­ginalls. And Auguſtine affirmeth, that men skilfull in the Latine tongue, have yet need of two tongues more, namely the Hebrew and the Greek to attain the knowledge of the Divine Scriptures. ccLatinae lin­guae homines duabus alijs ad Scriptura­rum divina­rum cognitio­nem habent o­pus, Hebrae â ſcilicet, & Graeca. Aug. de Doctr. Chriſt. l. 2. c. 11.But if Tranſlations were theſe Divine Scriptures, men need no more tongues for the underſtanding of them, then that onely where­in they are tranſlated. It were eaſie to adde many more teſti­monies from the pens of learned and Orthodox men, wherein they expreſſe themſelves concerning Tranſlations, in words by many degrees more obnoxious to an obeliſque, then any us'd by me. But it is one part of my preſent deſigne, to plead my cauſe with as much brevity, as the long furrows, which the ploughers have made upon my back, will any waies admit.

Therefore having thus the buſh of Authority at our backs (in the next place) let us try it out with our Accuſers by the dint of a few compendious arguments whether the Engliſh Tranſlation of the Scriptures, be in every ſenſe, yea or in a proper ſenſe, the word of God, or any ſufficient foundation of Religion unto men. If upon cleerneſſe of debate it ſhall appear, that there is a ſenſe, and that obvious and plain enough, eſpecially if proper alſo, and moſt preciſely correſponding with the term, wherein the Engliſh-Tranſlation of the Scriptures, is not the word of God; then have thoſe men quitted themſelves moſt unworthy of men, and much more of Chriſtians, who having put an adulterate ſenſe of their own upon the ſaid Aſſertion, have laid the baſtard at my door; attempting with both their hands to build up their own Intereſts and honours, with the ruines and ſcattered ſtones of my reputa­tion; and have abuſed the ears both of Magiſtrates and people, with ſhameleſſe outeries and ſuggeſtions againſt me, as if I were a man of ſtrange opinions, an Aſſerour of dangerous Doctrines, a ſpreader of I know not what abſurd errors and hereſies, and in8 every point like unto themſelves; when as in deed and in truth (I ſpeak as in the preſence of God) the whole root of the matter,ddJob 19. 28. and intire cauſe of all this duſt, is nothing elſe but the turbu­lent and irregular motions of their own fancies, working and beating and tearing themſelves this way and that, to catch ſome live ſly or other in my writings, which they may kill, and ſo put it, being dead, into my oyntment; that that ſavour of truth which it ſends forth, being a ſavour of death to their unworthy opinions and practiſes, may be made to ſtink in the noſtrills of men. I never denied, but have a thouſand times over affirmed, and by many Arguments and demonſtrations evinced the Scrip­tures to be the word of God; nay, I never denied, but now af­firm, that in a ſenſe (which I ſhall afterwards explain) even the Engliſh Scriptures, or Engliſh Tranſlation it ſelf (and much more the Originalls) may be called the word of God. But that in ſtrictneſſe and exactneſſe of ſpeaking (which is the dialect I ſpeak in the ſaid controverted Section) the Engliſh Tranſlation is not the word of God, I preſume will be made as clear in truth, as the Sun is in light at noon day, by theſe enſuing demonſtra­tions.

Firſt, If our Engliſh Tranſlation be the Scriptures or word of God, or the foundation of Chriſtian Religion, I deſire to know, whe­ther our laſt and neweſt Tranſlation, or that which was made at Geneva, or that of our old Church-Bibles, or that, ſet forth long ſince by M Tyndall, or any other particular Tranſlation in the Engliſh tongue (for there are ſeverall others, eſpecially of di­verſe pieces of the Bible, beſides theſe) be theſe Scriptures, this word of God, this foundation of Chriſtian Religion? To affirm that they are all and every one of them the word of God, and founda­tion of Chriſtian Religion, is to make the word of God to diſſet from it ſelf, yea to make it incoherent, and in ſome things incon­ſiſtent with it ſelf. For that every one of theſe Tranſlations reſ­pectively, differ from other, yea and in ſome places very mate­rially; is a thing ſo well and generally known, to thoſe who have compared them; and ſo eaſie to be known unto others alſo, who will pleaſe but to take a little pains to inquire, that I judge it needleſſe to inſiſt upon any proof of it. To ſingle out any one of theſe Tranſlations, as ſuppoſe the laſt, and to ſet this9 crown of glory upon the head of it (with the rejection of it's fellows) this is the Scripture, the word of God, the foundation of Chriſtian Religion, and none other, is of dangerous conſequence many waies; and (I preſume) will not be juſtified by any con­ſidering man.

Secondly, If the Engliſh Tranſlation be the word of God, the foundation of Chriſtian Religion &c. then was there no word of God, no foundation of Christian Religion, before the Scriptures were Tranſlated into Engliſh: for certain it is, that nothing is, or can be, before it ſelf or it's own being.

Thirdly, If the Engliſh Tranſlation be the word of God, and ſo the foundation of Religion; then all profeſſours of Chriſtianity thorowout the world, who are ignorant of the Engliſh tongue, and do not build their Faith upon the Engliſh Tranſlation, build beſides the true foundation, the word of God.

Fourthly, If the Engliſh Tranſlation be the word of God, and foundation of Religion, why not the Dutch, French, and Spaniſh Tranſlation, as well as it (with all others?) If every of theſe Tranſlations be the Scriptures, the word of God, &c. as well as the Engliſh, then do the Scriptures and the word of God really differ from themſelves: for there is nothing more evident, then that theſe Tranſlations really differ one from another, the reſ­pective languages wherein they are framed, really differing one from another.

Fifthly, If the Engliſh Tranſlation be the word of God, the foun­dation, &c. then may there be, yea and are, many errours in the word of God, and in the foundation of Religion. For that there are many errours and miſtakes in all and every our Engliſh Tranſla­tions, is a thing undeniable.

Sixthly, If our Engliſh Tranſlation be the word of God, the foun­dation, &c. then the Originall. Hebrew and Greek copies, eſpeci­ally wherein they differ in ſenſe and import of matter from our Engliſh Tranſlation (as in many places they do) are not the word of God, nor foundation of Religion. For the word of God ad­mitts no difference in it ſelf, nor are the foundations of Religion divided in themſelves.

Seventhly, The word of God, which the Apoſtle command's Titus to hold forth in his preaching, is called〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, 10i. a ſound word, which cannot be condemned or reproved, Tit. 2. 8. But our Engliſh Tranſlation, is not〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, every way ſound, or irreproveable, or ſo ſound that it cannot be reproved. Therefore it is not the word of God.

Eightly, The word of God (properly taken) is that word, which all Miniſters of the Goſpel ought to preach; and to be inſtant (viz. in preaching it) in ſeaſon and out of ſeaſon (as the Apoſtle injoines Timothy) But all Miniſters of the Goſpel, are not bound to preach the Engliſh Tranſlation (nor indeed any Miniſter at all, at leaſt by any order, or injunction by God) There­fore the Engliſh Tranſlation certainly is not the word of God in a proper ſenſe.

Ninthly, The word of God, is that word of Truth (as James cal­leth itaaJam. 1. 18.) and that incorruptible ſeed (as Peterbb1 Pet. 1. 2.,) of which the whole generation of the Saints are begotten again, and new born. But the whole generation of the Saints are not begotten again or new born of the Engliſh Tranſlation. Ergo.

Laſtly, If no Tranſlation whatſoever, nor any, either written, or printed copie whatſoever, be the word of God, or foundation of Religion, certainly our Engliſh Tranſlation cannot challenge this honour; but rather thoſe Hebrew and Greek copies, whe­ther written, or printed, which are called, Originall. Now that theſe are not properly the word of God, nor foundation of Religion, is evident, 1. Becauſe the word of God had a being, and was extant in the world, viz. in the hearts and conſciences of men, before there was any copie of this word extant in writing, either in the one language, or the other. Now that which is in being, or hath a being before another, cannot be ſaid to be that other thing which followeth after. Moſes is generally acknowledged by us to be the firſt penman of the Scriptures, or word of God; and that the world had continued more then 2000. years before he was born. But to affirm that there was no word of God, in the world, no foundation of Religion, for the ſpace of 2000. years and upwards, is to contradict that which is plainly, and in many places aſſerted, in the written word of God. Beſides, the Goſ­pel it ſelf was in the world, and beleeved on in the world, before any of the Evangeliſts put forth their hand to that bleſſed work, of putting into writing the ſumme and ſubſtance of it. There­fore11 their writings cannot properly be called the Goſpel, be­cauſe the Goſpel had a compleat being and exiſtence in the world, whilſt as yet they were not. 2. Becauſe there are many differences, and might poſſibly have been, and yet may be, many more, in, and between thoſe Hebrew, and Greek copies them­ſelves, which yet are indifferently and with equall reverence on all hands, all termed, the Originalls; yea the beſt, and trueſt, and moſt genuine of them, may in time, either thorough the igno­rance, or negligence, or malice, whether of Scribes, or Printers, or over-ſeers of preſſes, or all, be corrupted: but the word of God, properly ſo called, is alwaies pure, univerſally true, and incorruptible. 3. And laſtly, becauſe no man can have any aſſu­rance, that either the Scribe, or Printer, of any of the Originall copies, now extant in the world, whether Hebrew, or Greek, was either infallibly directed, or extraordinarily aſſiſted from Heaven, either in the tranſcribing, or in the printing of them. Now no writing, or ſyſteme of words and ſentences whatſoever, which a man cannot reaſonably, and upon good grounds judge and conclude, to have been committed to paper by ſpeciall di­rection and warrant from God, can or ought to be a foundation of Religion unto him, or looked upon as the indubitable word of God. And this (I truſt) will abundantly ſerve to clear and ju­ſtifie, that expreſſion (ſo much quarrelled at) wherein I deny the Engliſh Scriptures or Tranſlation, to be the foundation of Chri­ſtians Religion, or the word of God: which was the former expli­cation of the two, from which my deſire was, in the fore-men­tioned Section, to divert my Antagoniſts (as before was ſig­nified.)

2. For the latter explication, which I alſo conceiv'd they might very poſſibly have chopt upon, the tenour of it was this, That by the word Scriptures, in the ſaid opinion made puniſhable by the Ordinance with death, they mean the Originall Hebrew and Greek copies, out of which (it is ſaid, and I beleeve) our Engliſh Scrip­tures or Tranſlations, have been taken and made. From this explication of themſelves, I thought I might readily, and with abundance of conviction, take them off, by this conſideration; viz. that there are very few men in the Kingdome, not one of a thou­ſand, that underſtand either of theſe languages; I now adde, no,12 nor yet know ſo much as whether there be any ſuch languages or no, but onely by hear-ſay, and upon the credit of men; and conſequently, cannot know, but upon the ſame terms, or ground of belief, whether there be any ſuch Originall Copies or no; much leſſe can they know, but ſtill upon the ſame fallible grounds, that the matter, or ſubſtance of things expreſſed in the Engliſh Tranſlation, was taken out of, or is conteined in, the ſaid copies. Now to make it a crime puniſhable with death, for men to deny ſuch writings or books to be the word of God, which they have no more reaſon or ground to judge to be ſo, but only common re­port, or the bare aſſertions of men, will (I beleeve) upon due conſideration be found altogether inconſiſtent with thoſe prin­ciples of equity, which ought to rule in all legiſlation, or making of Laws. For very poſſible it is, that he may truly, and cordi­ally, and ſavingly beleeve the Scriptures, that is, that which in­deed is the word of God, to be the word of God, who yet ſhall de­ny any Originall copie, whether Hebrew, or Greek, now extant in the world, to be the word of God, at leaſt, properly and em­phatically, that is, ſo to be the word of God, as to have no mix­ture of corruption, or of that which is not the word of God, in it. Yea the truth is, that in this ſenſe, they, who both have the greateſt skill, and inſight into the Originall languages, yea and who beleeve the Scriptures unto ſalvation, cannot upon any ſuf­ficient, at leaſt not upon any infallible ground beleeve any Ori­ginall copie whatſoever under heaven, whether Hebrew, or Greek, to be the word of God: yea, I have yet to add, that which is more then all this; Suppoſe the very〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the very ſame copies, which were written with the hand of the holy penmen of the Scriptures themſelves, were yet extant; yea and were in­fallibly known, to be ſo; yet except it were infallibly known alſo, that they were no waies corrupted, raſed, or interlin'd, ſince they came from the hands of the ſaid Pen-men, no perſon whatſoever were able infallibly to ſay and conclude, that theſe (in the ſenſe ſpecified) are the word of God. The reaſon is, be­cauſe the word of God (in the ſaid proper ſenſe) is intirely, and univerſally, in all, and in every part of it, pure, and incorrupt, like God himſelf; therefore ſuch copies or Tranſcripts, which are in any part corrupt, are not the word of God (in this ſenſe)13 and ſuch which are not infallibly known to be univerſally incor­rupt, cannot (in the ſaid ſenſe) be infallibly known to be the word of God. Yea the word of God (in the ſenſe now argued) being not only intirely, univerſally, and in every part of it in­corrupt, but alſo proportionably uncapable of corruption, ſim­ply incorruptible; evident it is, that no writing or tranſcript whatſoever, though infallibly known to contain nothing in it for the preſent, but the word of God, can yet (in the ſaid ſenſe) be truly called the word of God, becauſe though it be uncorrupt, yet it is not incorruptible. And this (I truſt) is ſufficient, yea and ſuper-ſufficient, to ſtop the mouth of that weakneſſe (that I ſay not, wickedneſſe) which hath been ſo wide opened in pro­claiming an inoffenſive and moſt innocent paſſage, ſpeaking nothing but words of ſoberneſſe and of truth, as guilty of a moſt foul and horrid crime.

But ſecondly, to wipe off that importune aſperſion of deny­ing the Authority of the Scriptures to be Divine, which the ene­mies of my peace (yet not ſo much of mine, as of their own) are ſtill in a reſtleſſe manner caſting upon me; I ſhall plainly and briefly here give an account unto the world of my judge­ment, as well in the negative, as affirmative, concerning the Scriptures, and their Authority; as likewiſe concerning Tranſla­tions of Scripture (in the generall) and ſhall further declare my ſenſe (though very briefly alſo) touching the originalls. I ſhall deliver my ſelf as touching all theſe particulars, in certain brief poſitions, or concluſions.

Firſt, if by Scriptures, be meant the matter and ſubſtance of things conteined and held forth in the books of the old and new Teſtament, commonly known amongſt Proteſtants by the name of Canonicall, I fully and with all my heart and all my ſoul beleeve them to be of Divine Authority, and none other then the word of God; and (God aſſiſting) ſhall rather expoſe my ſelf to a thouſand deaths, then deny them ſo to be. As for example; I fully and abſolutely beleeve, that theſe aſſertions (with the like expreſſed in the ſame writing with them) 1. That Jeſus Chriſt is God. 2. That he is the Son of God. 3. He was made man. 4. That he died for the ſalvation of the world, that he roſe again from the dead, that whoſoever beleeves on him14 ſhall be ſaved; that whoſoever beleeves not on him, ſhall be condemned (with a thouſand more beſides) all theſe aſſertions (I ſay) I fully and abſolutely beleeve, not only to be Truths, but Truths of ſpeciall revelation from God unto the world. I have lately imparted unto many others, and that at large, the grounds of my belief and confidence in this kinde: the brief heads of which grounds, I have annexed to this preſent diſcourſe, in the cloſe of it.

Secondly, if by Scriptures be meant, all the letters, ſyllables, words, phraſes, ſentences, and periods of ſpeech, expreſſed in the ſaid books, called Canonicall, whether Tranſlated, or in theſe Originalls (I mean in ſuch, either Hebrew or Greek copies, as are commonly extant, and uſed amongſt us) I know no ground why I ſhould beleeve them to be the word of God; that is; why I ſhould beleeve, that all, and every the ſaid ſyllables, words, phraſes, &c. were in any ſpeciall or extraordinary way given, or appointed by God, to convey thoſe ſpirituall truths and myſte­ries unto the underſtandings and mindes of men, which he hath been graciouſly pleaſed to reveal from heaven, for their ſalvati­on. Concerning Tranſlations, the caſe is more clear; there be­ing none of theſe, but which carry the manifeſt marks of humane oſcitancie and weakneſſe in them. Concerning ſuch Originalls, as were mentioned; firſt, though for the Hebrew copies, it is more probable (of the two) that all the ſyllables, words, and phraſes in theſe, are the ſame, unto which the Originall Pen-men of theſe writings, were in ſpeciall manner directed by God; yet I know no law, either of Reaſon, or Religion, that binds me to beleeve, that no Tranſcriber of them out of their firſt Origi­nalls, no Printer of them out of theſe Tranſcripts, ever failed, or miſcarried after the manner of men, in theſe negotiations. So that as on the one hand, I dare not ſay, but that in ſome of theſe copies, there may be all things, even to words, ſyllables, and letters, of divine inſpiration; ſo on the other I cannot be confident, that they are. As for the Originall Greek copies, it is generally known to thoſe, who have compared ſeverall edi­tions of them together, that there are many differences and va­rieties of readings, and ſome of them ſomewhat conſiderable, be­tween copie and copie, edition and edition. Now certain it is15 that God, who is the Authour of peace, and not of confuſion, did not order or direct his firſt pen-men of this part of the Scriptures, to publiſh different copies of thoſe things, which they were re­ſpectively ſtirred up and appointed by him to impart by writing unto the world. Nor is it any matter of Faith, perhaps not of prudence, where editions and copies varie, and are at odds a­mongſt themſelves, to interpoſe by way of poſitive umpirage be­tween them, upon any ſuch terms, as to determine and conclude, that this, or that, or any other determinately, runs parallell in all things, and without the leaſt variation, with the prototype, or firſt copie it ſelf.

Thirdly, though I do not beleeve, that any Originall exemplar or copie of the Scriptures, now extant amongſt us, is ſo purely the word of God, but that it may very poſſibly, have a mixture, or at leaſt a tincture, of the word of men in it, yet I confidently beleeve, that the Providence of God, and the love which he bears to his own glory, as well in the condemnation of the wick­ed and unbeleevers, as in the ſalvation of his choſen, have ſo far interpoſed and watched over the great and gracious diſcovery and Revelation which he made of himſelf by Jeſus Chriſt unto the world, that thoſe books or writings, wherein it was in all the branches and particularities at firſt imparted unto the world, neither as yet have ſuffered, nor ever ſhall ſuffer, any ſuch viola­tion, mutilation, or falſification in any kinde, either thorough the ignorance, negligence, or malice of men, but that they will be able, ſufficiently, yea abundantly to furniſh the world, men of all ſorts and conditions, with the knowledge of all things, neceſſary to be known, either for their honourable and Chriſti­an deportment in this preſent world, or for their everlaſting ſal­vation, and exaltation in that which is to come.

Fourthly, concerning Tranſlations, though I judge none of them to be the word of God (in the ſenſe lately argued againſt) that is, the pure word of God, without any imbaſement at all by that which is humane; nor yet in ſuch a ſenſe, as the Originall copies may be called the word of God, which do not only expreſſe and hold forth the revealed will, or minde of God, as Tranſlati­ons (at leaſt in part) do, but hold them forth in that very lan­guage, and for the moſt part (if not altogether) in the ſelf ſame16 individuall words and phraſes, wherein God himſelf directed the publication of them by writing, unto the world, which Tranſlations do not; yet I judge them one of the greateſt bleſ­ſings that God ever vouchſafed unto the nations, and Gentile part of the world; and conceive, that though they do not (even the beſt of them) expreſſe the will and minde of God, in that language or ſameneſſe of words, wherein God ordered the firſt publication of them by writing; no nor yet ſo intirely, thorowly, purely, or emphatically, as the Originalls do; yet they generally (even the worſt and moſt imperfect of them, that I know) expreſſe and hold forth ſo much of the minde, coun­ſell, and will of God, by the true knowledge and underſtanding whereof, men may be brought to live godlily, and righteouſly, and ſoberly in this preſent world, and conſequently, to that immor­tall and undefiled inheritance which is reſerved in the Heavens for thoſe that beleeve.

Fifthly, though I judge no Tranſlation whatſoever, either for gracefullneſſe of language, ſignificancie of terms, majeſty of ex­preſſion (with the like) to be equall to the Originall Hebrew and Greek; yet I conceive that there is no Tranſlation ſo farre degenerate or ſo diſadvantagiouſly compil'd, but that carrieth〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ſomewhat differing by way of excellencie from the man­ner of men, in the phraſe and language thereof; yea that which is ſufficient, by the ordinary bleſſing of God upon a conſcienci­ous and intent reading, or conſideration of it, to evince the de­ſcent of the matter conteined in it, to be from God, as a ſeal of armes upon the outſide of a letter, is ſufficient to diſcover from what perſon of honour the matter or contents of the letter come. Yet

Sixthly, I conceive the matter of the Scriptures, I mean thoſe glorious and Divine Truths, thoſe holy and righteous commands, thoſe great and precious promiſes, thoſe aſtoniſhing and dread­full threatnings, conteined and expreſſed, as well in Tranſlations, as in the Originalls to be of greateſt pregnancie and power both to diſcover and aſſert their royall Parentage, and deſcent from God. If our Goſpel (ſaith the Apoſtle) be hid (1. undiſcern'd, or not apprehended to come from God) it is hid to them that are loſt, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the mindes of them71which beleeve not, leſt the light of the glorious Goſpel of Chriſt, who is the image of God, ſhould ſhine unto themaa1 Cor 4 3, 4.. In which words he clearly implies, that there is ſuch a glorious and heavenly luſtre, or brightneſſe of divine excellencie, ſitting (as it were) upon, and ſhining from, the face of the Goſpel, that men, who are not bewitched by the devil, that is, who are not through the juſt judgement of God upon them for former ſins deprived by the devil even of the naturall uſe or actings of their reaſons, judge­ments, and underſtandings, about ſpirituall things, cannot but ſee and acknowledge, manifeſt characters and impreſſions of the grace, holineſſe, love, and wiſedome of God in it; and con­ſequently be hereby drawn to imbrace it. Therefore

Seventhly and laſtly, the true and proper foundation of Chri­ſtian Religion, is not inke and paper, not any book, or books, not any writing, or writings whatſoever, whether Tranſlations, or O­riginalls; but that ſubſtance of matter, thoſe gracious counſells of God concerning the ſalvation of the world by Jeſus Chriſt, which indeed are repreſented, and declared, both in Tranſlati­ons, and Originalls, but are eſſentially and really diſtinct from both, and no waies, for their natures and beings, depending on either of them. A bargain agreed upon, and concluded, in point of tranſaction, between two men, whether the tenour or parti­cular of it be ever drawn up in writing, or ſubſcribed by the par­ties, or no, is yet for the nature of it, and matter of tranſaction, a compleat and true bargain; the writing, if any be made in refe­rence to it, onely declareth the nature or tenour of the bargain, which was in reality, and compleatneſſe of being, before the writing; and conſequently the writing can be no part of it: In like manner, the gracious and good pleaſure of God concer­ning the ſalvation of the world, had in all the particulars of it, compleatneſſe of being, viz. in God himſelf, long before any branch or part of it was imparted unto the world by any wri­ting whatſoever; yea and was ſavingly imparted, and revealed unto the world, 1. By immediate inſpiration from God unto ſome men, 2. by word of mouth, from theſe, unto many others, long before any part of it was ordered by God to be ſet down in writing. So that no book, or writing whatſoever, is either in whole, or in part, this word, or will of God; and conſequent­ly,18 no foundation of Chriſtian Religion; unleſſe we ſhall ſuppoſe and make ſome other foundation of this Religion, beſides the word of God.

This concluſion is further evidenced by this conſideration. The foundation of true Religion, is not changed, varieth not from it ſelf, by any intervalls, or diſtances of times, but like Chriſt him­ſelf, is one and the ſame, yeſterday, and to day, and for everaaHeb. 13. 8.. Now certain it is, that there was a time, where neither Originalls, nor Tranſlations of Scripture, were the foundation of Religion, but ſomewhat beſides; therefore as certain it is, that neither are they the foundation of Religion, at this day. That there was a time, when neither of them was any foundation of Religion, is evi­dent from what hath been already ſaid, and is generally ac­knowledged. There was a true Religion in the world, all along that great ſpace or tract of time (two thouſands years and more) which had gone over the head of the world, before Moſes was called and imployed by God, to lay the corner ſtone of that Divine fabrique of Scripture, which is now (and ſo hath been of a long time) perfected; unleſſe we will deny, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Iſaak, and Jacob, to have been truly Religious, with many others, who lived within that compaſſe of time, and have teſtimony from the Scriptures themſelves, that they were godly and faithfull. Yea the Goſpel it ſelf, and thoſe further and rich diſcoveries of himſelf, which God reſerved for a glorious gift to be preſented (as it were) by Jeſus Chriſt him­ſelf unto the world at his coming into it, were effectually preach­ed, and beleeved by many unto ſalvation, and Chriſtian Religi­on fully eſtabliſhed in the world, before any part of the new Teſtament was written. The Evangeliſt Matthew is generally conceived (eſpecially by ancient writers) to have been the firſt pen-man, that God was pleas'd to uſe in penning the new Teſtament; and that it was about eight years after Chriſts aſ­cention, before he put forth his hand to this work. And yet who doubts but that the foundation of Chriſtian Religion was laid before this in the world; yea and much of this Religion built upon it? Therefore (queſtionleſſe) no writing whatſoever whether Tranſlations, or Originalls, are the foundation of Chriſti­an Religion.

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There are other reaſons, and theſe in abundance, very obvious, and near at hand, of an undeniable eviction of truth in this con­cluſion; but the conſidering Reader cannot lightly by this, ſtand in need of any thing more to be ſaid for his ſatisfaction in the point.

If it be objected and ſaid; but what ground or foundation can a weak and unlearned man have, to build his Faith or Religion upon, if he may not ſafely build it upon ſuch a Tranſlation of the Scriptures, as he underſtands? And of what uſe and be­nefit are Tranſlations, yea or Originalls themſelves, if men may not build their Religion on them, as upon a ſure and ſafe foundation?

To the former part of the Queſtion, I anſwer, 1. That if he who is able to read and underſtand the Scriptures onely in his own native tongue, hath no foundation to build his Faith or Religion upon, but onely that Tranſlation of Scripture, which he is able to read and underſtand; then he that is altogether book-leſſe and illiterate, and not able to read the Scriptures, though tranſlated into his own language, hath no foundation at all, for his. The reaſon of the conſequence is clear; becauſe to him that cannot read Engliſh, an Engliſh Bible is as much a ſealed, or uſeleſſe book, in reſpect of his perſonall reading it, as a Bible Tranſlated into a ſtrange language, is to him, who is able to read the Engliſh tongue, and none other. But certain it is, that many Engliſh, both men and women, who cannot read En­gliſh, and conſequently not an Engliſh Bible, finde notwith­ſtanding a ſufficient foundation whereon to build their Faith and Religion, being ſound Beleevers, and truly Religious. There­fore they alſo, who are able both to read and underſtand the Engliſh Tranſlation, and no other, either have, or may have, I am ſure ought to have, another foundation, on which to build their Religion, beſides their Engliſh Tranſlation; viz. that Truth of God, which is indifferently contained and expreſſed both in Originalls, and other Tranſlations alſo, beſides the En­gliſh; and on which many build their Religion, and that ſafely, who neither know, nor depend upon, either the one, or the other, I mean neither upon Originalls, nor Tranſlations, either in one language or other.

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Secondly, If unlearned men amongſt us have no foundation to build their Religion upon, but onely the Engliſh Tranſlation; then the foundation of their Religion muſt unavoidably, and of ne­ceſſity be, that which is the product and fruit of the wiſedome, learning, and underſtanding of men. For certain it is that all Tranſlations of Scriptures in what language ſoever, are none o­ther; the Holy Ghoſt never intereſſing himſelf, at leaſt in a way of infallibility, or any other wiſe, then according to the line and meaſure of his uſuall aſſiſtance of faithfull miniſters in the courſe of their preaching, about any Tranſlation of the Scriptures. Therefore certainly ſuch men (I mean, that are unlearned) have another foundation, beſides the Engliſh Tranſlation, whereon to build themſelves in point of Religion, even the infallible and un­queſtionable Truth of God; which was a foundation of like im­port to many unlearned ones, before the Engliſh Tranſlation was brought forth, or heard of in the world.

If it be yet urged; yea but is not this Truth of God, which you acknowledge to be ſo juſt and ſure a foundation of Religion, ſomewhat at leaſt, or a part of the Engliſh Tranſlation, inas­much as you grant, that it is conteined and expreſſed in it. And if ſo, then is this Tranſlation, at leaſt in reſpect of a part of it, or of ſomewhat in it, a ſure and ſafe foundation of Religion. To this I anſwer,

Firſt, By conceſſion; that that Truth of God, which I aſſert for the true foundation of Religion, is contained and expreſſed (though it be with ſome diſadvantage) in the Engliſh Tranſla­tion. But

Secondly, I anſwer further (by way of exception) though that truth of God, is indeed the true foundation of Religion, which is contained and expreſſed in the Engliſh Tranſlation, yet it fol­lows not from hence, that therefore it is any part of it. Wine or other liquor may be contain'd, preſented, or held forth in a cup; yet hereby it never the more becomes any part of the cup, which contain's and hold's it forth.

If it be yet ſaid; yea but is not the ſenſe, meaning and import, of a writing, or book, a part, yea the moſt materiall part, of ei­ther? And is not the Truth of God you ſpeak of, the true and genuine ſenſe, meaning, and import of the Engliſh Tranſlation?21 and ſo by conſequence, a part of it? I anſwere:

1. There is not altogether the ſame reaſon or conſideration of Tranſlations of books, or writings in any kinde, wherein one­ly the ſenſe and meaning of another is expreſſed (or at leaſt intended ſo to be) which there is of books containing onely the judgement, ſenſe, and apprehenſions of him, who is the Authour. The union between the words, and ſenſe or meaning in the later kinde of books, is more formall and entire, then in the former: and conſequently the ſenſe or meaning contained in them, may more properly be called a part of them, then in the other. There is a kinde of union between the cup, and the wine that is put into it, and contained in it, as well as there is between the body and ſoul, in the perſon of a man; but yet the former union doth not, of the two things united, conſtitute any thing ſo in­tirely one, as the later doth. The body and ſoul, by means of their union, conſtitute a third thing differing from them both, which is naturally, compleatly, and eſſentially one (viz. the perſon of a man) of which, as well the body, as the ſoul, and again, the ſoul, as well as the body, may properly be called, parts. But no ſuch third thing, viz. which is naturally and intirely one, is raiſed by the other union, which is between the wine and the cup: nor can the wine be called properly a part of any third thing, conſtituted or made of it, and the