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but the first we utterly deny. Once more, he (s) faies, we never compared the Scriptures to a mutilated and dim Copy. They are a clear and perfect Copy as to all Effentials and Neceffaries of Christian Religion. How confiftent thefe Expreffions are with his denying the Scriptures to be an adequate, that is, a complete Rule of Faith, 'tis worth our Adverfaries while to thew. For my part I confefs, I cannot but think, that that Body of divine Revelations, in which all the Doctrines of Chriftianity are contained, and befides the Doctrines contained in which no new Doctrines are revealed by God, and which is a clear and perfect Copy as to all Effentials and Neceffaries of Chriftian Religion; I fay, I cannot but think, that such a Body of divine Revelations is a complete Rule of Faith. For what I pray is wanting? Would a Man defire more than all, or more than is neceffary? If fo; he deserves to want what he already enjoys: but if not; his Rule is fufficient and complete already.

I hope it appears from what has been faid that the Scriptures are the only, and adequate or complete, Rule of Faith. But there are some inconfiderable Objections against this Truth, which remain ftill to be taken notice of.

1. 'Tis faid, that the Scriptures are not the Univerfal Rule, and therefore are not the only and complete Rule of Faith. Now 'tis true, that the Scriptures are not a Rule to those that are ignorant of them: nor is there any neceffity they should. They are the Univerfal Rule to all fuch as have had the Gospel outwardly preached to them, and that is fufficient. And to them they are, 1. the only,

(s) Quakerism confirmed, se&t. 1. p. 603.


because I have fhewn they have no other, 2. añ adequate or complete Rule, because I have fhewn that they are defective in no refpect.

2. 'Tis faid, that the Scriptures were not alwaies a Rule of Faith, for time was when they were not. And if they were not alwaies a Rule of Faith, then they are not now the only Rule of Faith. Now 'tis true the Scriptures once were not; and confequently were not a Rule of Faith: but what then? Were there not then divine Revelations? if fo, then those divine Revelations were the Rule of Faith. And we do not account the Scriptures a Rule of Faith for any other reason, but only because they contain divine Revelations. And fince they do contain all the divine Revelations which we now enjoy, therefore they are to us the only Rule of Faith.

3. 'Tis faid, that the Canon of Scripture is, 1. uncertain and imperfect, fome infpired Books being lot, and probably abused in the transcribing, and the infpiration of fome others questioned, 2. obfcure; and therefore the Scriptures are not the only adequate Rule of Faith. For answer to this Objection, I refer, not only to what I have elsewhere (t) faid, but also to those Writers who treat of the Canon of Scripture, and the Integrity of our Modern Copies. For the prefent I shall only obferve two Things.

First, that how uncertain, imperfect, and obfcure foever our Rule be, yet 'tis the only one we have; and we must be content with what God has given us. But in my judgment the Confideration of God's readiness to furnish us with all things that tend to our real happiness, is a much better

(t) Confut. of Popery, part 1. ch. 10, 11. p. 61, &c.


Argument for us to depend upon our Rule, than all
the Cavils of our Adverfaries are to make us di-
ftruft it. And furely, by the way, 'tis no Credit
for our Adverfaries to join with profeffed Liber-
tines and Deifts in undervaluing the Scriptures, and
to furbish up their vile Arguments to abate our Ve-
neration for them. For I appeal to any under-
ftanding Perfon, whether any Libertine or Deift did
ever argue more ftrenuously against the Authority
of the Bible, than Mr. Penn does in what follows.
I ask (faies (u) he) how are they affured, that they
(viz. the Scriptures) are not MISERABLY ABU-
SED by carlefness or
carlefness or defign? fince we fee, that (n-
fing utmost diligence) both Tranflation, Transcription,
and Printing, are fubject to numerous Mistakes, and
thofe fometimes very Material, against which the
Scripture can be no Fence.

But admit there were no ground for any fuch Objection, I further demand of our Adverfaries, if they are well affured of thofe Men, that first collected, embodied, and authenticated them by a Public Canon, which we read to have been in the Council of Laodicea, 360 Years after Chrift, tho' not as they are now received; during which time they had been tof fed and tumbled, fome received, fome rejected, doubtI lefs many hundred times tranfcribed, and IT IS


NOT IMPROBABLE THAT THEY WERE ALSO ABUSED. If they mifs in their Fudgment here, they are gone, till they come to us. I fay, how do they know, that these Men rightly difcerned true from Spurious? Either their Fudgment was infallible in the matter, or it was not. If it were, then there was fuch a thing as infallibility fince the Apostles daies,

(u) Chriftian Quaker, part 1. appen. p.141,142.



which is a Contradiction to your felves. But be it So, that they were infallible; how came you to be affured they were fo? Not by Inspiration; That is dangerous Doctrine with you. Which way was it then? Not by Tradition. Was it by the Scripture? That were to fay, that the Scripture tells you, that thofe Men that collected it for true, were right, in their Judgment. But we are yet to find any such place, and that is to beg the Question. I cannot see any other ground, befides your very great kindness to their Choice; which you call Popery, and believing as the Church Believes, in other Folks. But if thefe Men are fallible, as your own Principle makes them, and their own Determinations prove them; what then? Doubtless your condition will be defpe


Now certain it is, that fome of the Scriptures taken in by one Council for Canonical, were rejected by another as Apocryphal; and that which was left out by the former for Apocryphal, was taken in by the latter for Canonical. Now visible it is, that they contradicted each other; and as true, that they both erred, refpecting the prefent Belief. For your Canon and Catalogue varies from theirs; and, let me fay without Offence, from any Catalogue you can produce. Behold, the Labyrinth of uncertainties you run your felves into, who go from that heavenly Gift in your felves, by which the Holy Scriptures are truly discerned, relifhed, and diftinguished from the Inventions and Abufes of Men.

Somewhat after the fame ftrain Mr. Barclay fpeaks. Laft of all (faies (w) he) there is no less difficulty even occurs to thefe skilled in the Origi

(w) Apol. prop. 3. p. 302, 303.


nal Languages, who cannot fo immediately receive the mind of the Authors in thefe Writings, as that their Faith do not at least obliquely depend upon the Honesty and Credit of the Tranfcribers; fince the Original Copies are granted by all not to be now ex


Of which Tranfcribers Jerom in his time complain ed, faying, that they wrote not what they found, but what they understood. And Epiphanius faith, that in the good and correct Copies of Luke it was written, that Chrift wept, and that Irenæus doth cite it ; but that the Catholics blotted it out, fearing left Heretics fhould have abused it. Other Fathers alfo declare, that whole Verses were taken out of Mark becaufe of the Manichees.

But farther, the various Lections of the Hebrew Character by reafon of the Points, which fome plead for as coevous with the firft Writings, which others with no less probability alledge to be a later invention; the Disagreement of diverfe Citations of Chrift and the Apostles with thofe Paffages in the old Teftament; the appeal to the great Controversy among the Fathers, whereof fome most highly approve the Greek Septuagint, decrying and rendring very doubtful the Hebrew Copy, as in many places vitiated and altered by the Jews; otherfome, particularly Jerom, exalting the certainty of the Hebrew, and rejecting, yea, even deriding the Hiftory of the Septuagint, which the Primitive Church chiefly made use of, and some Fathers that lived Centuries before him affirmed to be a most certain thing; and the many various LeƐtions in diverfe Copies of the Greek, and the great Altercations among the Fathers of the three Centuries, who had greater Opportunity to be better informed, than we can now lay claim to, concerning the Books to be admitted or rejected, as above is obferved; I say,

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