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after, of persons, whose characters are compounded of good actions and bad; which exhibits doctrines, seemingly, the most oppofite, some of which, are greatly dishonourable to God, others greatly injurious to men; which delivers precepts, the meaning whereof is, at least, doubtful, and therefore, is liable to be disputed, and, in their literal and most obvious sense, the advocates for the Bible, and the trumpeters of it's praise, do not think proper to govern their actions by; all these hold forth a plain reason to us, carefully, and attentively, to read the Bible, and seriously to consider the contents of it, thereby to distinguish and separate the wheat from the tares, as, in such a compofition, some of the latter must needs take place, in order to attain to, and be kept in, the path of truth, and in the right line of duty. For, as the Bible throughout, and in all it's parts, can scarcely be admitted, and as all the disagreeing parties, that appeal to it, cannot possibly all be right; so, surely, it concerns us to take heed, left we be found amongst the

many, which, in such a hurliburly, must needs be wrong. And tho’ the church of Rome has carefully guarded against those evils, by locking up the Bible in an unknown

tongue,

tongue, and by providing, at least, a pretended infallible, living judge, to be always at hand, to give to the people the true sense of the Bible, and to settle and determine all points, that are relative thereto; yet, alas! this is far from being our case. We have not only the Bible put into our hands, in our mother-tongue, but we are alfo required to read it attentively, and practically apply it to ourselves, which, considering the various, and different, and the multiplicity of, tenets, that seerningly are contained in it ; the figurative and ambiguous language, in which some parts of it are expressed ; and the different measures of understanding and penetration of those who read it ; and add to these, the different interests of men, that will be mixed and blended with them; these will, as it were, naturally, and almost unavoidably, introduce the division and confufion above-mentioned. And, seeing the complainers do not only almit, but infilt, that the Bible ought to be put into our hands, and to be read, and practically applied, by all; therefore, surely, they ought either to provide us with such an infallible, living judge, as the Church of Rome pretends to boast of, that may settle and determine

all

very

ز

all points, to general satisfaction; or else to indulge us in the liberty of examining, as well as reading, the Bible, and judging for ourselves, with relation thereto, and forming our conduet by that judgment; elle qur case will not be greatly unlike, nor less. absurd, than, that of a young child, whose nurse set him a-walking, and then corrected him for walking alone. So we are put into the high road to error, by having the Bible put into our hands, and being required to read it; and then are complained of for, and upbraided with, walking in the paths of it, at least in those paths they are pleased to call error. Upon the whole of this argument, I hope it appears, that I have not gone out of the line of truth or my duty, by doing what some have been pleased to call, falling foul of the bible.

It may, perhaps, be expected, before ! leave the subject, that I take notice of a complaint, subsequent to the former, viz. that, by falling foul of the Bible, I have dug up foundations, and greatly unsettled the minds of men. This imputation is most common, and answers the purposes of all parties. Whoever opposes popular opinions, whether true, or false, fuch an one expose. himself to this charge. To oppose Popery

ir

men.

in a Popis country, or Mahometanism in a Mahometan country, is digging up foundations, and greatly unsettling the minds of

In the reign of King Charles the second, the doctrine of unlimited passive-obedience, and non-resistance, to those invested with civil power, was reckoned to be a doctrine of the Church of England; yea, if I mistake not, it was deemed the darling doctrine of our church ; and, consequently, Dr. Benjamin Hoadly, now bishop of Winchester, and all others, who vigorously oppofid that dangerous doctrine *, in vindica

tion * Perhaps, the Abettors of the doctrine of unlimited pallive-obedience and non-resistance, will, in support of that doctrine, call in St. Paul for its voucher. Romans xiii. 1, 2. And as Justice is due to all doctrines, and to all persons and parties ; so I acknowledge, I think, they may fairly claim him, as he seems at least to be plain, express, and full to their purpose. But then, no authority, whether that of St. Paul or an Angel from heaven, can possibly alter the nature of things, can make a false proposition true, can make bad consequences, or conclusions, to be otherwise than what they really are ; and therefore, all authority is to be put by, that is not compatible with truth. St. Paul faith, Let every foul be subject unto the higher powers, for (or because) there is no power, but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. IVhosoever, therefore, refifteth the power, refifleth the ordinance of God; and they that refit shall receive to themselves damnation. In this address of St. Paul to the Rom mans, he first exhorted them to be obedient to those in power ; and then condemned resistance to that power, by observing what that resistance was made to and what would

folloro

tion of our late happy Revolution, and in defence of our civil and religious liberties, fall

under follow upon it; all which he grounded, not upon the use and application of power, but wholly upon the origin and foundation of it, which must of necessity be the same, whether that power be rightly used and well applied, or not ; that is, if all power be of God, then it is equally of him, whatever use be made of it. The argument, used by St. Paul, to enforce obedience to those in power, and to restrain resistance to that power, is that all power is of, or from God; thus it is the ordinance of God; and therefore, it is to be obeyed, and not refifted. Now, if by power being of, and from God, and it's being the ordinance of God, if this be, of itself, a proper ground, or reaíon, for paying obedience to that power, and a reason against refisting it, which is most manifestly St. Paul's argument; then, the misapplication of that power cannot possibly cancel an obligation, that wholly arises from the origin and foundation of it. St. Paul, indeed, backs his argument for obedience to those in power, and for non-resistance to that power, by observing to the Romans, what benefits he presumed they received from it. For, (faid he) Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee, for good; but if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain : for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. St. Paul, in this branch of his argument, does not argue from what rulers ought to be, but from what they then were ; tho', least he should fail herein, he still kept to his main argument, by stiling governors the ministers of God; now, for St. Paul to aver that of all governors indefinitely, which, perhaps, was scarcely true of

any', this was certainly a bold attempt ; tho', indeed, it was suitable to that bold, pushing, adventuring temper, St. Paul appears to have been very much governed by. For, supposing this epistle was wrote at the beginning of Nero's reign, whilft his government was mild and gentle : yet

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