Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

you, but Jesus Chriji and him Crucified; and my Speech and my Preaching was, not with enticing Words of Man's Wisdom, but in Demonstration of the Spirit and of 'Power, that your Faith should not stand in the Wisdom of Men, but in the Power ofGvd. b Strains of Rhetorick, whereby the Passions are raised to a great Height, are some times necessary to gain a present Point, and carry a Cauie by a violent and sudden Transport, be-» fore Reason can interpose: But since Religion was to be propounded upon reasonable Motives, there was no need for any Art of this kind, when the Evidence of the Miracles, by which it was established (here called the DemonJiration of the Spirit and os Power) afforded so many other more certain and convincing means of Persuasion. It cannot be denied however (as a c learned Critick has declared) but that St. Paul, in some kind, and upon Jbme Subjects, is as eloquent as ever Man was, not inferior to Demosthenes, (in whole Writings he iupposes him to have been very conversant,) or Æschines, or any other Ancient the most admired. Tho' therefore God, in Condescension to the Infirmities of Men, has been pleased to convey some

Parts

* Jenlin's Reasonableness; Vol. z, 'Mer. Casanb. of Enthu. c. 4.

Parts of the Holy Scriptures to us, in lucYi a Stile and Method, as, for its own lake, is greatly to be esteemed and admired; yet it was highly requisite, that other Parts of it should have the bare Force and Evidence of Truth only to convince Mankind j that thereby it might appear, that the Propagation of our Religion was owing, not to any Arts of humane Eloquence, but to its own intrinfick Worth and Excellency.

But there is another way of accounting for the want of Elegance, as well as Uniformity, in the Stile and Method of the Evangelical Writers, and that is by supposing, that, tho' the Spirit of God took Care to direct and over-rule them a\l along, so as to make it impossible for them to record any thing, but ■what was consonant to Truth, and expressive of his meaning; yet he might nevertheJels leave them to their own Words and Manner of Expression, which, considering the difference of their Parts and Education, must necessarily occasion a great variety of Stile, and some times Solxcisms or Confusion of Method in their Compositions: d which Soheci/ms, if they were but expressive of their meaning, were, in that respect, as valuable, as the greatest Propriety of

Lan* Jenhni Reasonableness, Vol. i.

Language; and which Confusion the Holy Spirit might the rather allow of, because it might be of use to prevent the Scriptures being corrupted or falsified, as they might have been, if either their historical Part had been digested into Diaries or Annals, or their preceptive Part reduced to several distinct Heads, and placed according to the Rules of Art. The Ex- Ist short, the Extent and Measure of tent and the Inspiration of these holy Penmen

bflthdir* seems to ** statea\ according to the inspira- Subject they were inditing, whether it tion. was Matter of Fa0, Matter of ReaJony or Matter of Revelation. c If they were inditing Matters of Fatf, their Memories were then assisted and confirmed, so as to enable them to relate what was really done, though they might not perhaps all relate it in the fame Order of Time. If inditing Matters of Discourse, and reasoning either from their own natural Notions, or some antecedent Revelation, their Understandings were enlightened, and their Judgments strengthened: In both these Cases, they had always the use of their Faculties, and seem to be left to their own Words, though under the infallible Conduct and Direction of the Holy Ghost. But if they -were inditing Things of an higher Nature, which were above their Faculties, and of which they could have no Knowledge but by Revelation, it seems most reasonable to believe (as the best expedient to secure the Church in all Ages from Errors) that not only the Things, but the Words likewise, wherein they were expressed, were immediately iuggested to their Minds; for so St» Paul seems td declare, when he tells us, that f they spake the things which were given them of God, in the Words, which the Holy Ghojl taught them.

they 'JfMtby's general Preface,

But though the measure of Inlpirati- The *#. on, communicated to the sacred Pen- A'ff'»« men, extended thus far; yet it can be *mitati. no Prejudice to the Authority of their om of it. Writings, to suppose, that it was hot habitual, and continually residing in them; and therefore St. Paul might very well tell us of some Things, about which he had no command, wherein he * gave his Judgment and Advice only, and so distinguish between what he him" self spake, and what the Lord spake: That it was not communicated all at once, but at such Times, in such Measures, and upon such Occasions, as were most conducive to the Edification of the Church -, and therefore St. Peter might, D without

fl Cor, ii. 12, 13. *aCor. vii. 1$.

without blame, be ignorant of the Call of the Gentiles into the Covenant of Grace, h A My fiery (as St. Paul speaks) which, in other Ages, was not made known unto the Sons of Men, that the Gentiles Jbould be Fellow-Heirs, and of the fame Body, and Partakers of his Promise in Chris} by the Gospel: That it did not debar the Writers from making use of the common and received Forms of Speech ; and therefore, when we find them expressing themselves in indefinite Terms, 'tis not because they were doubtful or uncertain in the Particulars so expressed, but purely in Compliance to the general Custom ' of omitting Fractions, and inserting whole Numbers only, when an. Author finds it not material to his purpose to insist upon every little Circumstance: That it did not restrain them from any Instances of Civility and Respect, and therefore the Salutations of St. Paul to particular Persons, at the End of his Epistles, might not only be of this Nature; but as they included his Benediction likewise (which was the Exercise of his apoftolich Office in one great Branch of it) might be directed by God, in order to revive their Spirits, and encourage them to Perseverance under the Trials and Afflictions, that

were

'Eph. iii. 3, &c. 'Jenkins Reason. Vol. z.

« AnteriorContinuar »