Images de page
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

have it proved to them by reason, that Moses and the prophets spake from God. And to such I answer, that the testimony of the Spirit exceeds all reason. For as God alone is a sufficient witness of himself in his Word, so will his Word not find credit in the hearts of men, until it is sealed by the inward testimony of his Spirit. It is therefore necessary that the same Spirit which spake by the mouth of the prophets enter into our hearts, to persuade us that they faithfully declared what was commanded them by God.

Again : Unless we have this assurance, which is better and inore valid than any judgment of

man,

it will be in vain to go about to establish the authority of Scripture, either by arguments or the consent of the church: for, except this foundation be laid, namely, that the certainty of its divine authority depends entirely upon the testimony of the Spirit, it remains in perpetual suspense.

Again: The Spirit of God, from whom the doctrine of the Gospel proceeds, is the only true interpreter to open it to us. “Divines,” says the learned Owen, " at the

[ocr errors]

first reformation, did generally resolve our faith of the divine authority of the Scriptures into the testimony of the Holy Spirit;" in which belief he joins himself, by stating, that “it is the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe the Scripture to be the work of God.” In another place he says,

“Our divines have long since laid it down, that the only. public, authentic, and infallible interpreter of the holy Scriptures is the Author of them, from whose inspiration they receive all their truth, clearness, and authority. "I his author is the Holy Spirit.”

Archbishop Sandys, in one of his Sermons preached before Queen Elizabeth, has the following observations;

“The outward reading of the Word, without the inward working of the Spirit, is nothing. The precise Pharisees, and the learned Scribes, read the Scriptures over and over again. They not only read them in books, but wore them on their garments. They were not only taught, but were able themşelves to teach others. But because this heavenly Teacher had not instructed them, their understanding was darkened, and their

knowledge

knowledge was but vanity. They were ig. norant altogether in that saving truth which the prophet David was so desirous to learn. The mysteries of salyation were so hard to be conceived by the very apostles of Christ Jesus, that he was forced many times to rebuke them for their dulness; which unless he had removed, by opening the eyes of their mind, they could never have attained to the knowledge of Salvation in Christ Jesus. The ears of that woman Lydia would have been as close shut against the preaching of Paul as any others, if the finger of God had not touched and opened her heart. As many as learn, they are taught of God.”

Archbishop Usher, in his Sum and Substance of the Christian Religion, observes,

that it is required that we have the Spirit of God, as well to open our eyes to see the light, as to seal up fully in our hearts that truth which we see with our eyes.

For the same Holy Spirit that inspired the Scripture, inclineth the hearts of God's children to believe what is revealed in them; and inwardly assureth them, above all reasons and arguments, that these are the Scriptures of

Cod." he says,

God.” And further on in the same work

“ The Spirit of God alone is the certain interpreter of his Word written by his Spirit; for no man knoweth the things pertaining to God but the Spirit of God."

Our great Milton also gives us a similar opinion in the following words, which are taken from his Paradise Lost:

66

But in their roomWolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven To their own vile advantages shall turn Of lucre and ambition, and the truth With superstitions and traditions taint, Left only in those written records pure, Though not but by the Spirit understood.

Of the same mind was the learned bishop Taylor, as we collect from his sermon De Viâ Intelligentiæ. “ For although the Scriptures,” says he, “ are written by the Spirit of God, yet they are written within and without. And besides the Light that shines upon the face of them, unless there be a Light shining within our hearts, unfolding the leaves, and interpreting the mysterious sense of the Spirit, convincing our consciences, and preaching to our hearts ; to look

for

for Christ in the leaves of the Gospel is to look for the living among the dead. There is a life in them; but that life is,” according to St. Paul's expression, “hid with Christ in God; and unless the Spirit of God first draw it, we shall never draw it forth.”

Again : “ Human learning brings excellent ministeries towards this. It is admirably useful for the reproof of heresies, for the detection of fallacies, for the letter of the Scripture, for collateral testimonies, for exterior advantages : but there is something beyond this, that huinan learning, without the addition of divine, can never reach. Moses was learned in all the learning of the Egyptians, and the holy men of God contemplated the glories of God in the admirable order, motion, and influences of the heaven; but, besides all this, they were taught something far beyond these prettinesses. Pythagoras read Moses's books, and so did Plato; and yet they became not proselytes of the religion, though they were the learned scholars of such a master.”

CHAP

« PrécédentContinuer »