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but implicit blasphemy ? designed, or undesigned, does not alter the case of those who are wounded, when they ought to be healed.
The question here is not, whether there be such a doctrine or no, as those men plead for; but whether it be to be found in those advanced proofs of theirs from the Psalms; which, it is alledged, in opposition to their sentiments, have a sense of their own, quite separate from, and absolutely unconnected with, if not altogether eversive of theirs ?
If they would allow any weight at all to their positions, and not expose themselves with their tenets to ridicule, they ought to shew the world the sealed authority of the Lord supreme, the only Judge of such controversies. Let them carry the cause to the only lawful court which binds the conscience of the Christian, and hear what the apostles of Christ say, whom he commissioned his ruling and judging Princes over all the Israel of God, to bind and loose on earth all those things which he himself hath bound and loosed in heaven. We behold them endowed for this purpose with power from on high, shortly after the ascension of the Lord, and not before ; upon their decisions, therefore, from the beginning of their acts to the end of their testimony, let us rest all our matters: neither does this make void Moses and the Prophets, any more than the Lord made void his own parables by his interpretations of them; or the propheçies and the law, by fulfilling them,
The apostles, the apostles alone, are the voice of God to the Christian churches; and not Moses and the Prophets. Let nothing therefore be imprinted on our hearts, but the hand-writing of the apostles. The hand-writing of the apostles is God's imprimatur.
Do you believe, then, O friends, and freely allow us, that the Spirit of Christ in his apostles is his own, his only interpreter, exclusive of you
and of all the universe ? You must either give up your argument, take shame to your selves, and give God the glory, or advanee some other guise kind of proofs than those from the Psalms, from Job, or even those so much insisted upon by you all, ever and anon insisted upon, from Isaiah, chap. 1. Who is among you • that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice r of his servant, that walketh in darkness and • hath no light ? let him trust,' &c. Is this a description of a believer in darkness, and without light (as your argument supposeth) concerning his spiritual state, or his interest in the love of God? According to the prophetic style, one would naturally think in this place of a person in some temporal calamity, who was assured of his eternal happiness, but uncertain as to the particular event of his earthly affairs, which his heavenly Father had kept in his own hand, for the daily exercise of faith, whereby such a one was assured all would be well upon the whole, though for the present he had in himself no assurance of his way, but only in his God, whom
he could trust in all events; as if a son, destitute of all things, in the midst of a dreary wilderness, not knowing one inch of his way to. wards safety, should there, upon the spot, meet with his own father, friend, and guide, who had come forth to seek him, with power, and will, and great desire, to conduct him to his own abode. But you have other things in your head.
• Feareth! and obeyeth ! Are fear and obedience, then, marks with you of one that knoweth not whether the Lord loveth him or not? The apostles would have taught you, that there ean be no such fear, or reverence and obedience, as here spoken of, without love for their principle; and no such love without the person's knowledge of God's love to him. Herein is love, • not that we loved God, but that he loved us. « We love him, because he first loved us;' and manifested his love to us. Obedience is the ex. pression of this love. Thus the debtor and Mary loved much, because they knew their Lord, their creditor, had forgiven them much. But you join creeds with one who daringly said,
God can read the truth of love in thy heart 6 towards him, when thou canst not read the « truth of love in his heart towards thee.' But, says another, whose creed is rather more sterling, as being one whom God hath confirmed, and upheld for a pattern to all them who should afterwards believe, “I know whom I have be
• lieved—Who loved me, and gave himself for 6 me.'
Your allegation from Song ii. is answered by these remarks: for, whatever the spouse sought her Lord, her Beloved, for, it was not for clearness about her interest in his love; for she loved him because she knew her interest in his love. But how absurd is your application of this place ? is it possible for you to ascertain your sense of it? might you not as well, as some of
you have done, have alledged these words of the Lord in proof of your point, that the children of God are sometimes forsaken, and know not his love to them ; therefore they cleave to him by the faith of adherence, as you speak, while they want what
call the faith of assurance; and so cry in their mournful moods, when they are without the sun, with their Lord on the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me ?' Dare you stand by this interpretation ? see where it will lead you; being, if it be any thing at all in your way, a conclusion against the Son of God, that he was for a time without the knowledge of his interest in his Father's love. But why was he forsaken? was it not that those who believe on him might never be forsaken?
Again, Isaiah xlii. 3. ' A bruised reed shall • he not break; and the smoking flax shall he • not quench,' makes nothing for your purpose, being descriptive of the character of the Messiah, going on in the steadiness of his heart, fulfilling
his Father's counsels, upholding his own elect, and all things for the elect's sake, till he has called, prepared, and presented them all to his Father at the restoration of all things, when he shall deliver up the kingdom, and wipe, tears from every eye
in the new heavens and the new earth, where the inhabitants shall not say they are sick: where there shall be no more sighing, nor crying, nor groaning, nor curse. So that, as far as a bruised reed and the smoking flax may be true emblems representing the state of à gracious heart, they were as true of Enoch, Noah, Elijah, Daniel, and the Virgin Mary, in their days, and all their days, equally at one time as another, from the first dawning of faith in their hearts, till they finished their course with joy, as of any other heart whatsoever, even of the weakest believer in whom the Holy Ghost dwells at this day. So little ground is there for building your doctrine on the words of the prophet. But if
leave the prophets, and come to the apostles ; alledging, that even Paul cries out sometimes so pitiably, Rom. vii. 24. - () wretch
ed man that I am! who shall deliver me from • the body of this death?' Observe, he cries out also with the same breath in answer to his own exclamation, "I thank God, through Jesus 6 Christ our Lord.' Which same emphatic question and answer are not to be understood of some particular frames of his, at particular and different times; but of the one even and