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Scripture, or written Word, is evident by that Diftinction of Paul our Opponent mentions, viz. Our Gofpel came not unto you in Word only, but also in Power; plainly intimating, that without the Power of the Spirit accompanying them, his Writings were but mere Words and of no Efficacy.
Page 172. OUR Opponent tells us, that, It is an Ordinance of God, that the Scripture fhould be publickly read in our folemn Affemblies for publick divine Service, and Christian Inftruction.' And Inftances in the Law of Mofes being read in the Jewish Synagogues. As if the Practice of the Jews under the Law were sufficicient to prove a Thing an Ordinance of God under the Gofpel. But, there is, fays he, the
fame Reafon for the publick Reading of the Gospel or Chriftian Law, in Chriftian Affemblies, as there was for the Reading of the Law of Mofes, and the Prophets in the Jewish Temple and Synagogues, and it is accordingly frequently commanded to be done. Col. iv. 16. 1Theff. v. 27. Let us hear what those Texts say, for 'tis ufual with our Adverfary to cite Texts without tranfcribing them; as if he had Evidence on his Side, which if examined, are really against him.
Col. iv. 16. And when this Epifle is read among you, caufe that it be read alfo in the Church of the Laodiceans, and that ye likewife read the Epistle from Laodicea. Our Adversary's calling this an Ordinance of God is but an empty Pretence, feeing himself practises it not. When does he read to the People the Epiftle of Paul to the Laodiceans? He is fo far from it, that I fuppofe, he esteems it no part of Canonical Scripture, though here, he fays, commanded to be read in the Church; yet
fuch Command being but a particular Precept to a particular Church is no Proof of a Gospel Or
I Theff. v. 27. I charge you by the Lord that this Epiftle be read unto all the holy Brethren.
THIS alfo being a particular Precept concerning that Epiftle, does not imply a Gofpel Ordinance. 'Tis a Rule in Logick. Ex particularibus non eft Syllogizare. Any reafonable Man may fee the Weakness of this Conclufion, viz. The Apoftle directed his first Epistle to the Theffalonians to be read in the Church there, therefore all the Scriptures of the old and new Teftament are appointed, by God's Ordinance,to be read in all Chriftian Affemblies for publiek Worship..
BUT what particular Precepts will not prove, he endeavours to infer from general Practice; and therefore boldly afferts, That from the Apo
ftles Days, the holy Scriptures, both of the • old and new Teftament, have been always read • in publick Chriftian Affemblies for divine Wor
fhip and Service, and Christian Inftruction.' An Affertion too extenfive for him to prove, and which we certainly know to be untrue, having been present in many publick Chriftian Affemblies where they have not been read, though frequently cited by way of Confirmation to living Teftimonies given forth agreeable thereto. But the Vicar's faying p. 173. That the Quakers never read them in their Meetings in any Language at all,nor fuffer a Bible to be seen in them,' is a grofs Calumny, in Confutation of which we are able to prove by many Witnesses, that the Scriptures have been read in their Meetings, and that, in fome of their Meeting Places, the Bible
is always to be feen, being publickly placed there for any Man's Infpection.
BUT he adds, And yet juftify their filent Meetings, and often read their Friends Epiftles and Writings, and call them the Word of the Lord to them, a Title they will not give to the Scriptures; and while they call the Scriptures dead Letters, they call their own Books living divine Teftimonies."
THAT we juftify our filent Meetings is true; but that we prefer our Friends Writings to the Scriptures, is not fo, for we are ready to give the Title of the Word of the Lord to the Scriptures, in the fame Sense any of our Friends have called their Writings fo; and will freely give our Friends Epiftles and Writings the Title of Dead Letters, in the fame Sense any of them have fo called the Scriptures; and we do, as we often have done, declare, that we prefer the Scriptures before any of our Friends Books, or any other Writings whatsoever.
Pag. 173. THE Viear cites James Parnel's Shield of Truth pag. 11. to authorize this Query, • Is not he that faith, the Letter is the Rule and • Guide of the People of God, without, feeding upon the Hufks, and ignorant of the true Light wich was before the Letter was
Now, James Parnel's Words are, pág. 10, They who are never fo learned without, and can read and understand all Tongues and Languages without, and do not read the Scripture within, only feed upon the Hufk. Pag. 11. But Drunkards and Swearers, and proud, and wanton, and covetous, luftful, envious ⚫ ones,
ones, and all manner of unrighteous Per· fons, will take the Letter to talk of, and call it their Rule and Guide, but are out of the Life thereof, and fo by it are condemned; and thofe are the Swine that are feeding upon the Husk without, and have gotten the Form, but are out of the Life and Power, and put the • Shadow for the Subftance.'
In thefe Words of James Parnel, there is not the leaft difparaging of the Scripture or Doctrine contained therein; nor could our Adversary have drawn any fuch Confequence, had he not falfly cited them; much lefs could he have inferred that J. P. charges the Obfervers of the Scriptures with the Ignorance of Chrift the true Light, when 'tis plain his Words are directed againft those who did not obferve, nor live the Life of them.
As to preaching from a Text of Scripture, which he treats of, p. 174, 175. we have nothing against it, provided fuch Preaching proceed from the Motions of the Spirit of Chrift, as all true Preaching does; and 'tis well known, that fome of our Ministers do frequently begin their Teftimonies with reciting a Text of Scripture, and preach from it.
THE reft of this Section, concerning immediate Infpiration, is but a Repetition in part of what he has before faid in Sect. iv. and v. and which we have there already answered.
THIS Section begins with the following
Quest. Is any outward vocal Prayer, in conformity to the external Letter of the Law, or any outward Command or Example in Scrip<ture, ever acceptable to God, or fuch as he requires, but only when we have an inward and immediate Motion of the Spirit moving us thereto ?"
To this Query, the 13th Article of his own Church, before recited, gives him a direct Answer, Works done before the Grace of Chrift and the Infpiration of his Spirit, are not pleasant to God.
He queries yet farther, And is not all that is ⚫ done without the immediate Motion of the Spirit, done in Man's own Will, or the Product • of his own natural Will and Abilities? To which we reply; All that is done, as an Act of Religion, without the immediate Motion of the Spirit of Chrift, is not done according to the Will of God; but are fuch Works, of which the 13th Article aforefaid exprefly fays, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded, we doubt not, but they have the Nature of Sin.
As to what our Opponent fays, pag: 180, o ufing outward vocal Prayer in Obedience to the ⚫ outward Commands, and Examples, and Ex