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suggest to them a willingness of any further search, it will be necessary that the Annotations be read, as oft as there are any; and if at any time they seem to be wanting, (in which particular I am not secure but that much more may be fitly added in the opinion of other men than to me seemed necessary,) I shall desire that resort be made to the known commentators, especially to the most excellent Hugo Grotius, from whom, as oft as I had nothing to add, I purposely avoided to transcribe any thing.
It remains that as I am abundantly convinced of the defects and miscarriages of this work, so I beseech and importune the charity of those who have greater abilities, to contribute every one his talent toward the discovery of all the recesses of this sacred writing; that at length (though not yet) this repository and magazine of all saving knowledge and divine observation, being clearly understood, and rescued from the many unsound resolutions and positions which the glosses of men have obtruded on it, the result may be the composing of all divisions and factions in the church of Christ, the thinking and minding of the same things, the obliging and engaging of our souls to the pursuit of that one necessary, the performance of an early, cheerful, uniform, sincere, constant obedience and practice of all that Christ came from heaven to propose to us.
The hope and intuition of which, as it was the main design projected in undertaking of this work, so it will be the reader's only justifiable aim in perusing it, and the only qualification which will render him capable of reaping any fruit by the prayers and ministry of those which attend on this very thing, among them, of
NEW LIGHT, OR DIVINE ILLUMINATION.
§. 1. THAT which Jo. Beverovicius, a physician of Dort,
thought necessary to be stated by the votes of the learned of his age, before he would hope his profession could find any considerable entertainment among men, viz. whether there were a fatal period of every man's life, beyond which it were not in the compass either of art, or sobriety, or good managery to extend it, and as little in the power of disease, or intemperance, or even the plague or sword, to shorten it; hath been matter of some consideration to me in this work. For as in the designing of his time and studies it was prudently foreseen by him that one such popular error being imbibed, and improved as far as it would fairly yield, must needs be the defaming of his medicaments, and the blasting of his whole profession, as one great imposture; so after the pains and travail that this work hath cost from the time of the first thought and designation of it (at the beginning of my entrance on the study of divinity) to this present day of the nativity of it, I cannot look on it without some apprehension that it may run the same hazard which we read of the child in the Revelation, chap. xii, to be devoured as soon as born, if one false pretension, which hath of late been somewhat prosperous in this nation, and is utterly unreconcilable with the designed benefit of this or any the like work, be not timely discovered and removed.
§. 2. And the pretension is this, That the understanding or interpreting the word of God, or the knowing of his will, is not imputable to the use of ordinary means, (such are the assistance of God's Spirit joined with the use of learning, study, meditation, rational inference, collation of places, consulting of the original languages, and ancient copies and expositions of the fathers of the church, analogy of received doctrine, together with unbiassed affections, and sincere desire of finding out the truth, and constant prayer for God's special blessing on and cooperation with these and the like means,) but either to the extraordinary gift of the Spirit in prophesying, preaching, and expounding, or to illumination, not prophetical or simply extraordinary, but such as is thought to be promised to a new life, the work of the Spirit of God in the heart of every saint of his, which consequently supersedes the use of all external ordinances to such, even of the written word of God itself contained in the canon of the scripture.
§. 3. Had this pretension truth in it, I must confess myself, who do not pretend to any such extraordinary gift or inspiration, obliged to acknowledge the great impertinency of all this ensuing work, the perfect vanity of the whole design, and every part of it; and therefore am concerned (as far as the hazard of having laboured in vain) to examine the grounds, and manifest the falseness of this pretension, and that in this method, and by these degrees.
§. 4. First, by surveying the scripture grounds or proofs, which are producible in favour of it; secondly, by setting down the form of sound doctrine in this matter; thirdly, by shewing the great necessity of opposing this and adhering to the true doctrine. And these are likely to enlarge this Postscript beyond the bounds that would regularly belong to it, but will carry their apology along with them.
§. 5. The first ground or proof is fetched by the pretenders from Joel ii. 28, cited and applied by St. Peter, Acts i, to the times of the gospel: It shall come to pass afterward, (or, in the last days, ev tais coxátais ģuépais,) saith God, that I will pour out my Spirit (or, of my Spirit, årò toll liveúmatós mov,) upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see cisions : and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit, (or, of my Spirit,) and they shall prophesy. Whatsoever can be collected from this place to the benefit of the pretenders, will receive a short and clear answer by considering the time to which this prediction (and the completion of it) belonged, and that is expressly the last days, coxáral ġuépai, in the notion wherein the writers of the New Testament constantly use that phrase; not for these days of ours, so far advanced toward the end of the world, (which yet no man knows how far distant it still is,) but for the time immediately preceding the destruction of the Jewish polity, their city and temple. That this is it, appears not only by the mention of Sion, and the destruction approaching it, in the beginning of that chapter in Joel, which signifies it to belong to Jerusalem that then was; but also by two further undeceivable evidences: 1. By the mention of the wonders (immediately subjoined) in the heavens and the earth, &c., as forerunners of the great and terrible day of the Lord, the same that had been before described in Joel, ver. 2, and applied by Christ, in the very words, to this destruction of Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv. 29, 30. 2dly, By the occasion for which St. Peter produceth it, Acts ii. 14, the effüsion of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, ver. 2, 4, which, saith he, was no effect of drunkenness in them, but the very thing which was foretold by that place of Joel, before that great and notable day of the Lord, that was to fall upon that people to an utter destruction. This being a prediction of what should come before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the completion whereof was so visible and remarkable in that age, to which by the prophet it was assigned, (and this as a peculiar character of those times wherein the gospel was to be first propagated by this means, and to which it had a propriety, as a last act of God's miraculous and gracious economy for the full conviction of this people's sin, before they were destroyed,) it must needs be impertinently and fallaciously applied to any men or women, old or young, of this age, so distant from that to which it belonged, and so well provided for by the ordinary means, the settled office of ministry in Christ's church, as to have no such need of extraordinary.
§. 6. A second proof is taken from 1 Cor. xii. 7, To every man is given the manifestation of the Spirit to profit withal, or, Tpòs TÒ ovu épov, for the benefit and profit of the church. But this is soon cleared by the context, which begins to treat, ver. 1, Tepi avevMatikov, of, or concerning, those that have the Spirit ; so tvevMarikòs, the spiritual, clearly signifies, ch. xiv. 37, being joined with TT poduri, prophet ; and so it is expressed to signify here, ver. 3, where ¿v Tveýuari lalôv, speaking in, or by, the Spirit, is set as an instance of the avevmatikos, the spiritual, (and it is but a mistake to render it spiritual things, the Greek Tveruatık@ belong. ing as directly to persons as things, being of the masculine as well as of the neuter gender.) Now for these avevmatikoi, spiritual men, or those that have the Spirit, it is well known that they were those which for the first planting of the gospel were by the descent of the Spirit endowed with extraordinary gifts of miracles, of healing, of prophesying, of speaking with strange tongues, which they had never learned ; all which and more are here mentioned, vv. 8, 9, 10; and when these are exercised or made use of by any, this is called pavépwols aveúmatos, the manifestation of the Spirit, the Spirit of God manifesting itself hereby to be in such a man after an extraordinary manner. An, then I need only add that the ékáorą, to every one, in the front of the verse, cannot in any reason be interpreted in the full extent of every man, or erery Christian ; for then the most wicked would have their part in it: nor yet of every saint; for there is nothing in the text which can so restrain it; but only of every such man as is spoken of in this discourse, that is, every tivevpatikÒS,
spiritual man, every one that is thus endowed with extraordinary gifts of tongues, &c.; for of such it is here peculiarly said, that the manifestation of the Spirit, the exercise of those gifts, is gicen, or designed by God, for the benefit or adoantage of the church. And so this is of no force for the enthusiast, nor appliable to any but those who were thus extraordinarily endowed by the Spirit's descending upon them, which was a privilege of that age, for the planting of the church, and not to be hoped for (nor without sacrilege pretended to) in
. §. 7. A third proof is taken from John vi. 45, out of Isaiah liv. 13, where it is foretold of the Christians, that they shall be all taught of God. For the understanding of the full importance of this text, two frequent known idioms of the sacred style must be observed: 1. That verbs of knowing or understanding (such is learning or teaching) do ordinarily include the will or affections also, so as to know God is to obey and serve him. 2dly, That verbs active (see note [a] on 1 Thess. iii.) and passive, (see note [l] on Matt. xi.) but especially adjectives participial, do frequently include a real passion, or an effect wrought in the subject of the passion. And by the virtue of these two observations (frequently exemplified in the Annotations) the phrase didakto coû, taught of God, will signify those that by the attractions of his prevenient grace yielded to and made use of by them, are persuaded to be his followers or disciples, and so belongs not at all to the matter to which it is applied by the advocates of nevi light, (see note [d] on Matt. xv.) That this not only may be, (which is sufficient to repel the force of the argument drawn from hence,) but certainly is the entire importance of this place, appears by the context in the evangelist. 1. By the antecedents, No man, saith Christ, ver. 44, can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him
UP the last day : where the Father's drawing, and, in the same sense, the Father's giving to Christ, ver. 39, denotes this effect of the preventing grace of God, received in the humble pliable heart, and that as necessary to the undertaking the faith of Christ, or discipleship. And to this is this testimony out of Isaiah applied, It is written in the prophets, They shall be all taught of God, that is, all that sincerely come to Christ, that embrace the Christian religion, are such as were formerly spoken of, drawn by God, given to Christ by God, taught of God, by his prevenient grace so fitted and prepared that they follow Christ, become his proselytes and disciples when he is proposed to them. 2dly, By the consequents, Every one therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me : where, as the coming unto me is all one with the coming unto me, that is, unto Christ, ver. 44, so they that had heard and learned of the Father, being all one with the taught of God, must needs be they on whom the effect of that hearing and divine doctrine was wrought, that is, those who