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thority of parliament: nor should I believe it one jot the lefs, if the efforts of their Arian and Socinian adversaries were to fuc-'• ceed, and the parliament was to declaro their obligation upon men's confciences, as well as the articles themfelves, and all things contained therein-“ null and void " to all intents and purposes whatsoever ;

any law or usage to the contrary not" withstanding

There is a fatute which has been before mentioned, viz. 31 Hen. VIII. c. 14. which makes it felony, without benefit of clergy, to assert that the communion in both kinds is neceffary to the laity, or ought to be administered or received but this law could have no effect upon the nature of the ordinance as in God's fight. So i Jac. e. 11. makes a man a felon, and to suffer death, for having two wives together-but can this be proved to affect such a marriage, or to make it null and void or sinful in God's fight? The only way to prove that either of thefe laws are binding on men's consciences, is, to prove that they harmonize with God's truth as revealed in the scripture, otherwise one is just as much unauthorized as the other.

As to mere circumstantials, which respect outward order and decency, as they are no part of the ordinances themselves, they may be under the appointment and con


troul of man. So when our Rubric says, that there shall be “ a table with a fair " white linen cloth upon it” at the administration of the facrament of the Lord's Jupper--and again, with respect to baptism:

that “ without great cause and neceffity, " the people shall be warned that they

procure not their children to be baptized at home in their houses”-I fee no sort of harm in all this; but if the act of parliament, which confirmed the Rubric, had gone on-" And be it enacted, that if “ the sacrament of the Lord's supper be “ administered without such fair white. linen cloth upon the table, or baptism be. " administered in private houses, unless “ for such great cause and necesity afore“ faid, such sacraments of the Lord's supo

per, and baptism, so administered, shall be ci

utterly null and void to the receivers of “ the same, to all intents and purposes what-, Joever"-this had been an attack upon the ordinances and truths of scripture-not a lawful and authorized statute. Let this reasoning be applied to the question of marriage, as it is a * civil contract, and as such the object of buman laws — and as it is a divine institution, and as such not the oba ject of human laws-then it may easily be determined how far these ought to be binding on the consciences of men, where marriage is concerned.


* The outward contract between the parties, is certainly of a civil nature, and ought to belong to the civil magistrate. In this respect, the clergy have no more to do with it than they have with fines and recetveries, or any other temporal causes. The pay


ment of the 177 or dowry (see before, vol. i. p. 26.) among the Jews, which was in nature of a civil contract, was transacted between the man and the damsel's father ; but had nothing to do with the priests and Levites, nor was it any part of the Temple fervice,


C H A P. divine


Of SUPERSTITION, more especially relating

to the Subjects treated in this Book.


HEN man fell from God. by diso

bedience, in striving to make him felf wiser than God, had made him, and that by a means which God had forbid den, he lost that image of knowledge and wisdom in which he was originally created. (Comp, Gen. i, 26. Col. iii. 10.) The only means of any restoration to this, must be by revelation ; for as man by transgresfion had brought darkness into his soul, as well as guilt, this could never have been removed by any powers of the human will or understanding; He alone who created the material light, could dispel the clouds in which the human mind was involved, and cause once more the light of the knowledge of the glory of God to shine into the desolate and benighted heart of man. Nothing could have * discovered any traces of the divine mind and will, but those gracious declarations of them, for which fallen man stands solely indebted to the free and gratuitous 'interposition of divine mercy and goodness. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even to the things of God none (odels) knowethbut the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. ii. 11.-Who hath known the mind of the LORD, and who hath been His counsellor ? Rom. xi. 34.-My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, faith the LORD ; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. If. lv. 8, 9.-Canst thou by searching find out God, canst thou find out the ALMIGHTY to perfection? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do ?---deeper than bell, what canst thou know ? Job xi. 7, 8.

* " God hath giyen out to us the whole of His mind and counsèl concerning us in writing, as a $6 merciful and stedfast relief against all that confu5 fion, darkness, and uncertainty, which the va,

¢ nity,

This is giving us fair warning of our deplorable ignorance with respect to God and His will and ways.-Still - vain man would be wise, though man be born like a

“ nity, folly, and looseness of the minds of men, “ drawn out and heightened by the unspeakable al“ terations which fall out amongst them, would “ otherwise certainly have run into.” Dr. Owen on the Scriptures, p. 28. to which we may add—which they have run into by leaving the written word.




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