SECT. I. Proving the Scriptures to be the Infallible Rule.
The thing that the Quakers drive at in this Query, is, that be∣cause Enoch, Noah, and others in the Primitive world had not a written Word of God for the Rule of their Faith; That therefore neither should the Written Word of God be the Rule of our Faith. This, beside that it is their known Principles (as Witnesseth their fore∣said Confession of Faith, called, The Principles of Truth, wherein they most frequently cry up the Light within every man as his only Rule, and decry the Scriptures and all external Ordinances to their ut∣most Breath, as may be seen pag. 5, 78, 79, 80, 92, 102, 103, 124, 133, 136, 140) Is either the Scope of this their pre∣sent Query, or else it hath no Scope at all, and so it must be the fruit of some Distraction, they having thereby intended nothing. Well then, the Quakers must either acknowledge Scripture-Testimony for Truth (as I hope they will, seeing they here re∣quire us to answer by Scripture) and then we shall soon see an end of the Question from the Scripture; or else they must deny Scripture-Testimony to be true, and shall proclaim God a Lyar, whose Testimony the Scriptures are, and by whose Inspiration they were given (as is proved in the former Queries Survey) which is the height of Blasphemy.
These things premised, I Assert, against the Quakers, that the Scriptures are the Infallible Rule of our Faith and Man∣ners.
That the Scriptures are Infallible is sufficiently proved at the Page 23Survey of their former Query; where we proved them to be of Di∣vine Inspiration, and the Word of the Living God, and not of any meer Creature, and so they cannot deceive; so that for their Infallibility we need say no more. That therefore the Scriptures are the Rule of Faith and Manners I prove.
For first, That must be the Rule of Faith and Manners by which every matter of Faith and Manners ought to be examin'd seeing eve∣ry thing that is examined must be examined by its Rule, or else it will be done by Guess and Rule of Thumb, as the Jest is. But every matter of Faith and Manners ought to be examined by the Scriptures: Ergo the Scriptures are the Rule of Faith and Manners. The Major is pro∣ved already. I prove the Minor from Isai. 8.20. Where we are ex∣presly Commanded to go to the Law and the Testimony with eve∣ry matter of Faith and Manners, and it is positively declared, that if it be not according to these, there is no Light in it, which is a suffi∣cient Prohibition to receive it. And the Law and Testimony are the Scriptures. Exod. 32.15. and 34.29. Deut. 31.24, 26. 2 King. 22.8. Neh. 8.1, 3, 8. Psal. 78.5.
Secondly, Christ says to the Sadducees upon a great Article of Faith, that ignorance of the Scriptures caused them to err therein: Ergo the Scriptures are the Rule of Faith. The Antecedent is Taught by Christ himself, Mat. 22.29. Mark. 12.24. Ye err (saith he) not knowing the Scriptures, and because ye know not the Scriptures. I prove the Consequence, because if the igno∣rance of any other Doctrine, except the Rule of Faith, should cause a man to err upon an Article of Faith; then though a man did perfectly know the Rule of Faith, yet he might err in the Faith through ignorance. But the Consequent inferred is repug∣nant (for then he knows all the Articles of his Faith, and yet he believes wrong through ignorance, that is, because he knows not what to believe:) Therefore the Antecedent from which it is inferred is also repugnant.
Thirdly, Christ sends all men to the Scriptures for the Rule of Faith and Duty: Ergo the Scriptures are certainly the Rule of both. The consequence is Infallible, seeing Christ did not mistake himself. The Antecedent is clear from Luke. 16.28, 29, 30, 31. Where while Christ is delivering his Doctrine for all men in the parable of the Rich Glutton, he sends all men to the Scriptures for their Direction and Rule in the intire business of Repentance and Page 24Salvation, and that they may not be Eternally Damned (and so he shews we must stand to them upon pain of Damnation) and delcares, that if they listen not to the Scriptures, there is no more hope of them, and he'l give them no other Rule to Guide and Direct them. They have Moses and the Prophets (says he) that is the Scriptures written by them, let them hear them, and if they will not hear them, one arisen from the Dead (which he re∣fuses to grant them) will not get them perswaded. There is a bundle of Arguments in one Text proving the Scriptures to be our Rule.
Fourthly, the Jews at Berea are highly commended for examin∣ing by the Scripture the Doctrine of Grace Preached to them even by a Paul (Act. 17.11, 12.) that they might know if the things which he Taught were so, as the Text says; for albeit Paul was an infallibly-inspired Apostle, yet seeing they knew not that, and he being but newly arrived unto them, they had no proof of his Doctrine, and there being great danger from abounding false Teachers, they are therefore highly commended for putting his Doctrine to the Test and Tryal of the Fore-constitute Scrip∣tures, wherewith every Doctrine of Religion was in substance and matter to consent and agree, and they otherwise not to re∣ceive it, Isai. 8.20. Therefore the Scriptures are the undoubted Rule of Faith and Duty. The Consequence is plain, seeing they would never have been commended for examining and trying his Doctrine by the Scriptures, except the Scriptures were the Rule, or for making that a Rule for examining and receiving of Doctrines of Faith, which is no Rule of matters of Faith; Nay, for this they would have been deservedly discommended.
Fifthly, The Scriptures are able to make us Wise unto Salva∣tion. 2 Tim. 3.15. Therefore they contain the Rule of Faith and Duty. The Consequence is easie, seeing without the Rule of these, we cannot be wise unto Salvation, but plainly ignorant of the way thereunto, having no Rule to direct us.
Sixthly, the whole Scriptures were given by Inspiration of God, and they were written purposely for the Churches Instructi∣on and Learning, as is before shewed: Therefore they must surely be the Rule of Faith and Duty; for, I am sure, there is nothing wanting here that is requisite to the Constituting of them for a publick Rule; or else let the Quakers (if they can) shew Page 25us what that is; for I can not perceive it, without the Spectacles of their Eagle-eyed Inspirer.
Seventhly, That Doctrine must be the Rule of Faith and Manners, which in all matters of Faith and Manners we ought to observe and take heed to, as a Doctrine full of shining light for our instruction and direction: but that is the Scriptures: Therefore the Scriptures are the Rule of Faith and Manners. The Major is clear, nor do the Quakers deny it. The Minor is laid down in 2 Pet. 1.19, 20. where Peter, after his rehearsing of the glorious Revelation on the Mount; at the Transfiguration (which was as glorious a Revelation as any else) he addeth, That they had a more sure Word of Prophecy, whereunto they did well to take heed as unto a light shining, &c. knowing this first, that no Prophecy of the Scripture is of any private Inter∣pretation; here it is clear, that it is the Scriptures which he calls, the more sure Word of Prophecy, and prefers before all transient Revelations; not as if the Scriptures were more certain in them∣selves (Quoad se) than Gods immediate voice from Heaven; but because they are a more sure way in regard of us; (Quoad nos) they being a Written, yea Sealed and Sworn Evidence and Contract of the whole Bargain and Terms of Salvation and Life, delivered into our custody to be perused by us upon all occa∣sions; and this gives more assurance, in regard of our weakness, than a passing Revelation, and is more ready for our constant direction, than a transient Revelation, which we cannot always command, nor retain often in our memory till we understand; nor are all men able to bear them; That on the Mount made the Disciples roave and mistake exceedingly, Mark. 9.6.
The Quakers answer, (in their Confession of Faith, or Prin∣ciples of Truth, page 135, 136, 140.) That by the more sure Word of Prophecy, the Apostle means the Light within us, and so they deny our Minor. But contrariwise the 20 Verse there, where he cautions the interpreting of the Scripture-Prophecy, clearly coheres with the 19 Verse, as a caution subjoyned con∣cerning the same thing which he had there called, The more sure Word of Prophecy; and so by the more sure Word of Prophecy must be meant the Scriptures, because of the clear coherence. Se∣condly, I must demand of the Quakers to shew, (if they can) How the Dictat or Light within is more sure than Gods immediate Page 26Voice from Heaven, such as that was at the Transfiguration? I have shewed how the Scriptures are called, and are so in regard of us; but I cannot understand, how the Light within can be, or be called so. Thirdly, The Testimony of other Scriptures pro∣duced, and to be produced, will not permit this violent Gloss.
Again, They ordinarily answer to this Scripture, That in it we are only appointed to take heed to the Scriptures, until the day dawn, and the day-Star arise into our hearts, that is (as they ex∣pound) till the Holy Ghost be bestowed on us, but no longer. But contrariwise; First, by this answer, they retract their former Gloss upon the Text, and confess the more sure Word of Pro∣phecy here, to be meant of the Scriptures, and not the Light within. Secondly, By this answer, they overturn one of their own chiefest Principles, viz. That all men ought to follow the Light within: for now they yield, That such as have not receiv∣ed the Holy Ghost, (and these are not few) are exhorted here to follow the Scriptures, and not the Light within them. Thirdly, Hereby they insinuate, That the Scriptures (in their Opinion) serve for nothing to Renewed Men and Believers, who are born of the Spirit and Sealed therewith, (Joh. 3.5. Rom. 8.9. Eph. 1.13.) and so the Scriptures (as they will) are recommended only to Men unrenewed; and so that blessing pronounced upon the Readers, Hearers, and Keepers of the things written in the Scrip∣tures, (Revel. 1.3. and 22.7.) is designed and belongs only to unrenewed Men, seeing the reading, hearing, and keeping of the things written therein, whereunto the blessing is annexed, belongs only to them, as the Quakers will. What? Does not Paul, Peter, and John direct all their Epistles, and the Book of the Revela∣tion to the Churches, the Saints, and them that had obtained like precious Faith with them, delivering them many Rules of Faith and Manners therein? See their Inscriptions (I pray,) and these will inform you better.
Eightly, That must be the Rule of Faith by which we are commanded to try the Spirits, (1 John 4.1.) seeing we cannot try the Spirits or Doctrines without the Rule; for that were to try them by guess: But that whereby we are commanded to try the Spirits, must certainly, be the Scriptures, seeing the Quakers do not as yet openly profess the Popish Lesbian Rule, of Believing as the Church of Rome does; and it cannot be the dictat or light Page 27within, that we are to try them by, seeing, that is as fallible, as their Light whose Doctrines I try; and George Keith (a Ring∣leading Quaker) confesses the possibility of their declining from Infallibility, both in Speaking and Writing, (and consequently in Examining or Judging too) in his Quakerism no Popery, page 33. and beside, the Dictat within hath no Divine Institu∣tion to be the Rule; and if it were the Rule, then the Dictat with∣in every diverse Man would be the Rule to try the Dictat or De∣ctrine proceeding from the Dictat in another, which would make the Dictat of every Man both Superior and Inferior to the Dictat of another; Superior when it tries and examines, and Inferior when it, or its Doctrine is tried and examined, which is repug∣nant.
Ninthly, John shews us, (1 John 4.6.) That the true and sound imbracing of their Doctrine, (now written in the Scrip∣tures) is a manifest evidence of the Spirit of Truth, and the rejecting of it, a manifest evidence of the Spirit of Error; and so their Doctrine written in the Scriptures, must be the Rule of Faith and Manners: For, How shall it be an evidence of the Spirit of Truth, to imbrace a Doctrine that is not the Rule? this is liker to be an evidence of the contrary; Or, How shall it be an evidence of the Spirit of Error, to reject such Doctrine? this also is rather an evidence of the contrary, providing the Rule be retained.
Lastly, God denounces all the plagues mentioned in the Scrip∣tures (quake that dreads then) against every Man that shall pre∣sume to add in matters of Faith and Duty, (for of these its meant) to the Doctrine and Rules written in the Scriptures. Therefore the Scriptures do certainly contain the Rule and whole Rule of Faith and Manners. The antecedent is laid down, Rev. 22.18. where it is peremptorily said, That if any Man shall add unto these things that are written in the Scriptures, (for there is the like reason, and no other, or more reason, against adding to this Book of the Revelation, and the rest of the holy Scriptures, after the Canon is compleated; and this Sanction is added here in the close of this Book, as the close of the whole Scriptures) God shall add to him all the plagues written in the Book. The con∣sequence is also evident: For, if not the Scriptures, but some o∣ther Doctrine were the Rule, then we not only might add to the Page 28Scriptures in matters of Faith and Duty, but we ought, of necessity, to set up that other Doctrine, as the Rule and Directory of both, which is much worse, methinks, than any partial adding; and so we could not be liable to such a doom for a partial adding.
And hence by a few arguments of many that may be produced, we see, that the Scriptures are the infallible Rule of our Faith and Manners, that sure Word of Prophecy whereunto we ought to take heed; and if an Angel from Heaven shall preach another Gospel to us, than that which Christ and the Apostles did, let him be accursed. Every new Dispensation of the Covenant by the Ministery of Men, though it were but only new in the manner, was confirmed by Miracles and Wonders, (Exod. 4.28.30. Deut. 34.11, 12. 2 Cor. 12.12. Heb. 2.4.) much more need hath the Quakers Doctrine of such confirmations, being new, not only in the manner, but also in the matter contrary to the Doctrine formerly dictated by the Holy Ghost, and left upon Record unto us; nor heard we ever of so great a company of Inspired Teachers, as all the Doctors of the Quakers pretend to be, and never one Miracle or Wonder to be had amongst them all, excepting only their extream Infatuation and Brain-sickness, or that they still retain the proportion and features of Human bodies, having quite enervated their rational essence.