« PrécédentContinuer »
at such a loss, that the first step of profiting in the school of Christ is to give it up or renounce it. For by this natural wisdom, as by a veil before our eyes, we are hindered from attaining the mysteries of God, which are not revealed but unto babes and little
For neither do flesh and blood reveal, nor doth the natural man perceive, the things that are of the Spirit. But the doctrine of God is rather foolishness to him, because it can only be spiritually judged. The assistance therefore of the Holy Spirit is in this case necessary; or, rather, his power alone is efficacious."
Dr. Smith observes, in his select Discourses,
« Besides the outward revelations of God's will to man, there is also an inward impression of it in their minds and spirits, which is in a more especial manner attributed to God. We cannot see divine things but in a divine light.
God only, who is the true Light, and in whom there is no darkness at all, can so shine out of himself upon our glassy understandings, as to beget in them a picture of himself, his own will and pleasure, and turn the soul (as the phrase is in Job) like wax or clay to the seal
of his own light and love. He that made our souls in his own image and likeness, can easily find a way into them. The word, that God speaks, having found a way into the soul, imprints itself there as with the point of a diamond, and becomes (to borrow Plato's expression) 'a word written in the soul of the learner. Men
Men may teach the grammar and rhetoric, but God teaches the divinity. Thus, it is God alone that acquaints the soul with the truths of revelation.”
The learned Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Down and Connor, speaks in a similar man, ner in his sermon de Via Intelligentiæ. “Now in this inquiry,” says he, “I must take one thing for granted, which is, that every good man is taught of God. And indeed, unless he teach us, we shall make but ill scholars ourselves, and worse guides to others. No man can know God, says Irenæus, except he be taught of God. If God teaches us, then all is well: but if we do not learn wisdom at his feet, from whence should we have it? It can come from no other spring.” Again: “ Those who perfect holiness in
the fear of God, have a degree of divine knowledge, more than we can discourse of, and more certain than the demonstrations of geometry, brighter than the sun, and indeficient as the light of Heaven.—A good man is united to God. As flame touches flame, and combines into splendour and into glory, so is the spirit of a man united to Christ by the Spirit of God. -Our light, on the other hand, is like a candle. Every wind of doctrine blows it out, or expends the wax, and makes the light tremulous. But the lights of Heaven are fixed, and "bright, and shine for ever.'
Cudworth, in his Intellectual System, is wholly of the same opinion. “All the books and writings which we converse with, they can but represent spiritual objects to our understandings, which yet we can never see in their own true figure, colour, and proportion, until we have a divine light within to irradiate and shine upon them. Though there be never such excellent truths concerning Christ and his Gospel set down in words and letters, yet they will be but unknown characters to us, until we have a living Spirit within us, that can decypher
them; them ; CHAPTER III.
until the same Spirit, bý secret whispers in our hearts, do comment upon them, which did at first indite them. There be many that understand the Greek and Hebrew of the Scripture, the original languages in which the text was written, that never understood the language of the Spirit.”
Neither can a man, except he have a portion of the
same Spirit which Jesus and the apostles and the prophets had, know spiritually that the Scriptures are of divine authority, or spiritually understand them—Explanation of these tenetsObjection that these tenets set aside human reason—Reply of the Quakers - Observations of Luther-- Calvin-Owen - Archbishop. UsherArchbishop Sandys— Milton—Bishop Taylor.
As a man cannot know spiritual things but through the medium of the Spirit of God, or except he have a portion of the same Spirit which Jesus and the prophets and the apostles had; so neither can he, except he have a portion of the same Spirit, either spiritually know that the writings or sayings of these holy persons are of divine authority, or read or understand them to the promotion of his spiritual interest.
These two tenets are but deductions from that in the former chapter, and may
be thus explained :