« AnteriorContinua »
Proposition IX. Christ is God. If Christ is God, he is, by proposition the second, the one only God, for there is but one God. That Christ is God is plain from John i. 1–3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word (i.e. Christ) was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him (Christ) and without him was not any thing made that was made' Rom. ix. 5, 'Christ who is over all, God blessed for ever.' There are a great number of other texts that assert the true and real Deity of Christ, and in no one text is it once said, that Christ is not God.
Proposition X. The Holy Ghost is God. If the Holy Ghost is God, he is, by proposition the second, the one only God, for there is but one God. That he is God is evident from his being called, Rom. xv. 19, by way of distinction from all other spirits,' the Spirit of God;' and Heb. ix. 14, 'the eternal Spirit.' He who lies to him, lies to God;' Acts v. 3, 4.
Proposition XI., The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are one.
For we are baptized into the joint name (which can be no other than God), or into the joint authority (which can be no other than equal) of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and that by the express appointment of Christ, with a declaration from himself, that whosoever believeth and is baptized (at least into this faith) shall be saved; and whosoever shall not believe (at least thus much) shall be damned. Proposition XII. They are not to be listened to, but with horror, who
there are three gods. For it hath been proved, proposition the second, and is the foundation principle of the Bible, and of all true religion, that there is one only God. Whosoever therefore asserts, as the Arians do, that there is one supreme God, and two in. ferior, created, or delegated gods, namely Christ, and the Holy Ghost, directly contradicts the word and assertion of God himself, and is guilty of horrible blasphemy.
We have remission of sins through faith
in the blood and death of Christ. •We all have sinned—but are justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth,' or fore-ordained, 'to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, and to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past;' Rom. iii. 23–25. “He (Christ) his own self bear our sins in his body on the tree;' 1 Pet. ii. 24. Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many ;'Heb. ix. 28. Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh ;' 1 Pet. iii, 18. Proposition XIV. Yet we are by no means to imagine that
good works are needless. *For faith without works is dead ;' James ii. 20. Bring forth works meet for repentance;' Matt. iii. 8. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works;' Tit. iii. 8. Proposition XV. He is not to be listened to, but with abhor
rence, who proudly pretending to supremacy over the whole church of Christ, and infallibility, dictates any thing contrary to the word of God.
* You know,' saith Christ,' that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles, exercise lordship over them, but so shall it not be among you;' Mark x. 42, 43. Feed,' saith St. Peter, 1 Pet. v. 2, 3, 'the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage. Yet the pope of Rome is styled by his abettors, and styles himself, universal bishop, head, and lord over God's whole inheritance on earth. God saith, Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down to it, nor worship it;' Exod. xx. 4,5. But the pope saith, ye shall have graven images in the church. Ye shall bow down to them, and worship them. Christ saith, giving the eucharistical cup to his disciples, Drink ye all of it;' Matt. xxvi. 27. But the pope saith, the laity shall not drink of it.
Christ saith, John v. 39,' Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life.' But the pope saith, ye shall not read the Scriptures, unless I please to give you a special licence so to do. With this church no man can communicate without rebelling against God, in obedience to the pope. Proposition XVI. But wherever we are, we ought to commu
nicate with the national established church, if it affords us every thing made necessary to our salvation by the word of God, and enjoins nothing contrary to the same.
Such always ought to be the rule of communion and uniformity, wherein God the author of peace and love rejoices. To charity, every thing but truth, should be postponed. Our holy religion is light and love. If we are so divided, that we cannot enter one house, nor surround one table of the Lord, how can we with one mind, and one mouth glorify God? Rom. xv. 6. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. i. 10, having observed that they were divided, and followed different teachers or leaders, saith, 'I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” He says again to the same Corinthians, Be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you;' 2 Cor. xiii. 11. To the Philippians he saith, Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that I may hear ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel;' Phil. i. 27. Amidst religious differences charity is always lost, and the more unhappily, as the causes of difference are of the less moment, for in this case nothing but hatred and animosity can create and keep up the schism. Like the quarrels of brothers, the disputes among Christians about smaller matters, when they agree in essentials, are always carried on with uncommon heart-burnings. Schismatical dissentions are nothing else, but quarrels. There a spirit of party, wholly. alien from the Spirit of Christ, governs all; and reason is no more heard than charity is felt, no more indeed than in the contentions of froward children. As members of one body in Christ, we ought not surely to differ or dissent from one another, on any account, much less on account of such things as do not interfere with the means of our salvation. Thus surely thought St. Paul, when he said to the Colossians, Col. iii. 14, 15, . Above all these things (things of high import indeed, which he had just before recommended to them), put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness; and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body. Proposition XVII. Divine inspiration without miracles to
prove it in him who pretends to it, is either delusion or hypocrisy.
All the real messages sent by Almighty God to mankind, have been authenticated as his by the power of working miracles, given to the messengers for that very purpose. Such hath always been his gracious manner of dealing by us his rational creatures, to prevent a too easy credulity, and deception in matters of religion. Of him therefore, who says, he is inspired with more than the ordinary gifts of God's Holy Spirit, and on the strength of this pretence takes upon him to deliver any message from God, miracles should always be demanded. If he only delivers what hath been already delivered in the word of God, there is here no necessity for either inspiration or miracles, they having been long ago afforded for the establishment of all truths so delivered. But if the message appears to be new, then miracles are absolutely necessary to vouch it; or if contradictory to the Scriptures, then no miracles can prove it to come from God, for nothing can prove that God hath contradicted himself. A man inspired, must be a man approved of God by wonders,' Acts ii. 22, or to what purpose serves bis inspiration? There was all the reason in the world, that the Corinthians should give heed and faith to the preaching of St. Paul, for “truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among them, in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds,' 2 Cor. xii. 12. The salvation, preached at first by our Lord, was reported by those who heard him, God bearing them witness with signs, and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost,' Heb. ii. 4. This having been his constant method, it is not to be supposed, without extreme absurdity, that he should, in these days,
expect our faith in new doctrines, on other, or less evidence. No protestations of any man that he feels the inspiration wiwin him, no eloquence, no canting, foaming, bellowing, is to pass on a rational hearer for sufficient vouchers in this case; but must be considered as whimsical or hypocritical substitutes in the absence of more genuine signs and attestations, especially if the preachers of new doctrines, or the ringleaders of upstart sects, should take upon them to decry the plain institutions or doctrines of holy Scripture, for instance, should annul the sacraments, or deny the necessity of good works. When Christ's own institutions are abolished under pretence of a new inspiration, that inspiration must prove itself, not only as a reality, but as proceeding from God, by more miraculous evidence, than that which Christ exhibited to attest his authority in the appointment of those institutions. In like manner, if any man insists, that salvation is the produce or effect of good works only, and not of faith, he flatly contradicts the word of God, who saith, · By grace ye are saved through faith ;' Eph. ii. 8.
The just shall live by faith,' Gal. iii. 11. Or on the other hand, if any man shall say, that good works are not necessary in him who hath an opportunity of performing them, and that we are to be saved by faith without works, he flatly contradicts the word of God, who saith by St. James, · Faith without works is dead, James ii. 20. What inspiration, what miracles, can prove such doctrines as these ? Faith in God through Christ is the immediate organ, the necessary instrument of our salvation. But I deny the very existence and possibility of a saving faith, which is not productive of good works. I deny also, that actions, though right in themselves, are ever done, in a manner, and on motives acceptable to God, when no regard to God is had in doing them, nor to the obligations laid on us by the principles of faith and true religion.
Thus, I humbly apprehend, all controversies about religion ought to be handled, and thus may be soon and easily decided among the candid inquirers after truth. Among such as dispute about religion from any other motive, than a love of truth, neither this short method, nor that pursued through a thousand folios on each side, will produce any thing but error and ill nature. If I have here left out any point of importance, which ought to have been proved, it is