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refuse to walk in it; yea, they may be led into the way, yet not abide in it. Will their refusal or defection alter the nature of the light, or prove it is not saving? Would any shutting out of the light, be a proof that it would not shine upon me, or of the contrary? Food is not such to him who refuses to eat it; but is it not food in its nature, because he refuses it? And might it not be food to him, if he would be wise enough to take it ?
8. “ In the beginning was the Word."*
This Divine Word had no beginning. It was no part of the creation. All created things were made by Him, and called from inexistence into being; but the Word is without beginning or end of days. The Word inexpressible by words, and incomprehensible by thoughts and imaginations. The Orthos Logos, or Right Reason, infinite in wisdom, goodness, and power ; from the beginning issuing forth, and acting in the work of creation and providence, and also from the time of the fall, in mediation and regeneration.
As man was the only part of this lower creation designed for immortality, the favors he then received were answerable to the high purpose of his Maker in creating him. The creating and conserving Word immediately became his Illuminator and Quickener. “ All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the Life was the Light of men.”+
After man's transgression and defection from this Divine Light and Life, this gracious Word astonishingly condescended to offer himself to repair the breach, by determining, in due time, to take the nature of man upon him, and to give it up to excruciating pains, and the death of the cross, as a propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Hereby he showed the greatness of divine love and mercy to poor helpless man, and also, by then immediately renewing, and thenceforward continuing to afford a manifestation of his light to man in his fallen estate. For, before his incarnation, • He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”I The generality, though they felt his inward convictions, the reproofs of instruction, they distinguished them not to be his, but might flatter themselves they were only the effects of tradition early instilled into their minds, and not having their habitation in the light, were become as darkness; yet the light shined in their darkness, though their darkness comprehended it not.l. They thought too meanly of this light,
• John i. 1. .t Verses 3, 4. Verse 10. Verse 5.
had no just conception of it, knew it not to be the visitation of the Son of God, and though they were his own, Gentiles as well as Jews, by creation and intentional redemption, they received him not.* “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.”+
The evangelist having spoken of him as the universal, illuminating, effective Word, verse 14, he comes to speak of his incarnation, saying, “ And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.
We are not here to understand that the sovereign Word or Spirit, was transubstantiated into flesh, but that for man's redemption he took the nature of man upon him, and appeared among men, as a man, and undoubtedly in the eyes of most seemed not more than man ; but saith his enlightened follower, “ And we beheld his glory” (had a sense of his divinity, as well as a sight of his humanity) “ the glory as of the only begotten of the Father" (the only One of his own essence and eternity), full of grace and truth—and of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. I
When persons read, and presume to expound, the Scriptures with school and college methods uppermost in their heads, it is no wonder they mistake them. The inspired writers observed no such rules, even those of them who might have a competent share of literature ; which most of them had not. Learned, or unlearned, the light and motion of the Holy Spirit was their guide; not the rules of rhetoric, logic, or grammar. Is not the apostle John's Greek as ordinary as G. Fox's English ; yet who had a deeper understanding given him in divine things than John ? Not schoollearning, but the light of the Holy Ghost gave them a right understanding, and the same is requisite to the right understanding of their writings. They spake not the wisdom of this world ;ll therefore are not to be understood by its wisdom; yet nothing is more busy to explain them. They often treat of things promiscuously; even as our Savior himself spoke, intermixing the internal spiritual sense with the external, both respecting himself, and the matters he touched upon. This John doth in his first chapter, sometimes speaking of Christ as the Word, which respects his divinity, sometimes as man, or as in the flesh, and sometimes comprehending both senses
* S. N. might tell the evangelist here, in like manner as he doth us, that he attributes not this saving Sonship to the grace or gift of God, but to a certain virtuous openness in themselves, which renders their salvation owing to themselves,
† John i. 11, 12. # Veree 16. || 1 Cor. ii. 6.
in the same words. For want of a right understanding properly to distinguish them, men are apt to jumble, and mistake one for another. Hence arise disagreement, clashing, and jangling about the true sense of Scripture; and trying it by the notions of systems they have espoused, instead of trying them by the truth, it is no wonder there is so much controversy. The only way to put an end to it, is for all to come to the Spirit of truth in their own hearts, that they may be led into all truth; which till they do, they never can be.
9. Page 171, S. N. by a perversion, charges Barclay with perversion. He asserts, “ Paul” (in Rom. x. 14, 15), “ is only speaking of the Israelites, as the scope of the chapter demonstrates. This appears to me a mistake. For though the apostle had been speaking particularly of them in divers of the preceding verses, in these he manifestly includes both Jews and Gentiles. His words are, “ There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him. For, whosoever shall call upon
of the Lord, shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed ?!?* &c. The pronoun they hath evidently an equal reference to both Jews and Gentiles ; as the preceding context demonstrates.
Accepting these words, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world,”+ as intended only of the preaching of the apostles, and their companions in travel, and as being literally true when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, S. N., p. 172, asserts, “It is most likely, it was by them, and their adherents, propagated throughout the greatest part of the then habitable world.” Upon which I ask, what probability is there, that any of them ever preached the gospel in China, Persia, Tartary, India, Russia, America, the numerous oriental and occidental islands, or, set legendary tales aside, in Britain, or in short, throughout the far greatest part of the then habitable world ? The assertion appears grounded upon a vulgar error, though too current, and what is built upon it, is improbable conjecture.
10. Page 175, &c., S. N., having cited 1 Cor. iii. 18, and xii. 7, saith, “ These and such like passages are ascribed indiscriminately to mankind universally, and every individual man is declared to be the temple of God, and to have a manifestation of the Spirit, to profit withal.” That the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, we
* Rom. x. 12, 13, 14. † Verse 18.
verily believe, and do not only depend upon this particular text for it. We also believe, that if every man seeketh rightly to profit with it, every man may so grow in grace as in time to become the temple of God. But that every man so profits with it, as really to become God's temple, we no more believe than our accuser.
Great part of what follows, and indeed a large portion of his volume, is made up of repetitions from his letter, with additional suppositions, which are untruly fathered upon us; and which lay scattered in the confuted publications of Hicks, Faldo, Bugg, Lesly, Pickworth, and other party writers in the last century. These have become as magazines of sophistry and abuse, to furnish their warm successors in opposition, who to this day keep retailing them out against us.
11. Page 180, Our examiner presumes entirely to refute everything Barclay's defender has advanced upon Luke xvii. 20, 21. The passage is, “ The kingdom of God cometh not with observation, neither shall they say, lo here, or lo there; for behold the kingdom of God is within you." To suit his purpose, S. N. chose to read these last words is
among you. To this I replied, Observations, p. 74,“ This reading destroys the antithesis evidently intended by our Savior, who was here answering a question put to him by the Pharisees, concerning the coming of an outward kingdom, by informing them, that the kingdom of God is an inward kingdom; and showing the difference between an outward and visible form, which men are capable to point out by their lo here, and lo there, and his own internal spiritual dominion.”
To accomplish my entire refutation, he takes the word entos, out of the original Greek, the proper signification of which is within, as it stands in our translation. It is also rendered in Latin intus by Beza, and intra by Castalio, both which signify within. Instead of this my opponent substitutes en, which is usually rendered in or among. By the like practice the Scripture may be made to teach any doctrine whatsoever. But to common understandings, the taking away an original word from the text, and putting another in its place different in signification, is a direct falsification of Scripture ; which is the more notorious, as there does not appear to be any various reading in the Greek text to afford a pretence for it.* The cause of truth stands in need of no such artifices ; nor can that system be according to truth, which is obliged to falsehood for its support.
* See the Greek Testament, printed at Oxford, 1765; to which are added various readings, collated from above one hundred manuscripts, and from the ancient versions. See also Mill's Greek Testament,
When a writer, who professes so high an esteem for the Holy Scriptures, takes such unwarran table freedoms with them, as openly to falsify them to serve his purpose, his efforts, instead of accomplishing the refutation of others, must terminate in self-confusion. For this, I refer to p. 239, where he vents himself in these opprobrious terms, " To adopt a religious scheme which is contrary to them” (the Scriptures), " though we may borrow the phraseology and terms of Scripture to express it, must be impious daring insolence and atrocious rebellion against the divine government.” Were the most dreadful curses pronounced by the Spirit, upon “any who shall add to, or diminish from the prophecy of one Book.” Rev. xxii. 18, 19. “How unspeakably deplorable must their doom be, if they die without an alteration of mind, who pervert the main sense of the whole New Testament, and introduce another gospel.” If this heavy charge and denunciation belong to those who add to, diminish from, or pervert the sense of Scripture, it behooves our opponent to look to himself, for he appears to be notoriously guilty.
Page 184. He teaches, that the apostolic expression, Christ in you the hope of glory,* only intends, that “Christ should be freely proclaimed among the Gentiles, to give them the hope of eternal glory.” Which is
much like asserting, that the proclamation concerning Christ without them, is Christ in them, or at least all that is meant by it. But presently after, he acknowledges the truth in part, where he says, — “Christ no doubt, dwelt and reigned in their hearts, by his Spirit, through its purifying influence.” He afterward expresses an apprehension that I can not think Paul meant, Christ so dwelt in the hearts of all mankind universally. Certainly I can not; but at the same time I must think, he appeared by his Spirit in the minds of all, either as a Comforter, a Purifier, or a Convictor and Reprover, in order that they might believe in, and obey him under this appearance, through which they would find him to become the hope of glory in them.
In matters of such high concern as relate to our eternal state, it is incumbent upon all, to be more cautious than confident about the exclusion of their fellow-creatures from the grace and salvation of God; lest by asserting the non-existence of that experience in others, themselves have not yet known,
* Col. i. 27.