« AnteriorContinuar »
a few, that on sundry accounts, which ! shall not mention, may possibly be exposed unto disadvantage and prejudice thereby; it hath been thought meet by fome, that the facred truths which these men oppofe, should be plainly and briefly afserted and confirmed from the scripture; that those of the meanest sort of professors, who are sincere and upright; exercising themselves to keep a good conscience in matters of faith and obedience to God, may have somewhat in a readiness, both to guide them in their further enquiry into the truth, and also to confirm their faith in what they have already received, when at any time it is fhaken or opposed by the cunning fleights of men that lie in wait to deceive.
And this compriseth the defign of the ensuing discourse.
It may poslibly be judged needless by fome, as it was in its first proposal by hin by whom it is writ.. ten, and that because this matter at present is by an especial providence cast on other hands, who both have, and doubtless, as occasion shall require, will well acquit themselves in the defence of the truths opposed. Not to give any other account of the reasons of this small undertaking, it may suffice that in publica difcrimine omnis
homo miles eft. Every man's concernment lying in a common danger, it is free for every one to manage it as he thinks belt, and is able, so it be without prejudice to the whole, or the particular concerns of others. , If a city be on fire, whose bucket, that brings water to quench it, ought to be refused? The attempt to cast fire into the city of God, by the opinions mentioned, is
open and plain, and a timely stop being to be put unto it, the more hands are order
ly employed in its quenching, the more fpeedy and secure is the effect like to be.
Now, becaufe the affertors of the opinions mentioned do seem to set out themfelves to be fome great ones, above the ordinary rate of men, as having found out, and being able publicly to maintain fuch things, as never would have entered into the minds of others to have thought on, or conceived, and also that they seem with many to be thought worthy of their confideration, because they now are new, and fuch as they have not been acquainted withal; I shall in this prefatory entrance, briefly manifest that those who have amongst us undertaken the management of these opinions, have brought nothing new unto them, but either a little contemptible fophiftry and caption of words on the one
hand, hand, or futilous, affected, unintelligible expressions on the other; the opinions themselves being no other, but such as the church of God having been opposed by, and troubled with from the beginning, hath prevailed against, and triumphed over in all generations. And were it not that confidence is the only relief which engaged impotency adheres unto, and expects fupplies from, I should greatly admire that those ainongft us who have undertaken an inforcement of these old exploded errors, whofe weakness doth fo openly discover and proclaim itself in all their endeavours, should judge themselves competent to give a new spirit of life to the dead carcass of thefe rotten heresies, which the faith of the faints in all ages hath triumphed over; and which truth and learning have, under the care and watchfulness of Christ, so often baffled out of the world.
The Jews in the time of our Saviour's converfe on the earth, being fallen greatly from the faith and worship of their forefathers, and ready to fink into their last and utmost apostacy from God, feem amongst many other truths, to have much lost that of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and of the perfon of the Meffiah. It was indeed suited in the dispensation of
God, God, unto the work that the Lord Jesus had to fulfil in the world, that before his passion and resurrection, the knowledge of his divine nature as unto his individual person, should be concealed from the most of men.
For this cause, although he was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with God; yet he • made himself of no reputation, by taking
on him the form of a fervant, and was • made in the likeness of men; that being • found in the fashion of a man, he might • be obedient unto death,' Phil. ii. 6, 7, 8. whereby his divine glory was vailed for a · feafon, until he was declared to be the • Son of God with power, according unto the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead,' Rom. i. 4. and then was glorified with that glory, which he had
with the Father before the world was, John xvii. 3. And as this difpenfation was needful unto the accomplishment of the whole work, which as our Mediator he had undertaken; so in particular he, who was in himself the Lord of Hosts, "a sanctuary to them that feared him, became hereby a stone of stumbling, and ca rock of offence to both the houses of • Israel, for a gin and for a fnare to the + inhabitants of Jerusalem,'lsa. viii. 13, 14.
See Luke ii. 34. Rom. ix. 33. 1 Pet. ii
. &. Ifa. xxviii. 26. But yet notwithstanding, as occasions required, suitably unto his own holy ends and designs, he forbare not to give plain and open testimony to his own divine nature, and eternal pre-existence unto his incarnation. And this was it, which of all other things most provoked the carnal Jews with whom he had to do. For having, as was said, lost the doctrine of the Trinity and person of the Messiah in a great measure; whenever he asserted his deity, they were immediately enraged and endeavoured to destroy him.
So was it plainly, John viïi. 56, 57, 58, 59. Saith he,
Your father Abraham rejoiced to fee my day, and he saw it and was glad. Then ' faid the Jews unto him, thou art not yet fifty years old, and haft thou seen Abra
ham? Jesus said unto them, verily I say ' unto you, before Abraham was, I am. • Then took they up stones to cast at him.' So also, John x. 30, 31, 32, 33. "I and 'my Father are one. Then the Jews took • up stones again to stone him. Jesus an• swered them, many good works have I • shewed you from my Father, for which
of those works do you ftone me! The • Jews answered him saying, for a good * work we stone thee not, but for blaf