« 上一页继续 »
ions of fuch a number of men, pretending they were diinely infpired; and not only fo, but to believe the doctrines hat are diametrically oppofite to your reafon, and the comon fenfe and experience of the whole world. As for exmple they teach, and you muft believe, that one can be ree, and three can be one, contrary to the first principles f natural reafon; that God is man, and man is God; at a virgin could conceive a fon, without the help of men, nd, after her child-birth, remain; with many more opi. ions of the like nature, inconfiftent with themselves, and ith other fundamental principles of nature. Tender-con. If all be true that this man fays, then, for ught I fee, we are guilty of downright Popery; for I have eard many wife and learned men fay, That the great feret of that religion is to make its profelytes believe, by a lind implicit faith, things directly contrary to common enfe and reafon; and if we are guilty of the fame error, wherein do we differ from the Papifts? For my part, I am wonderfully taken with this man's difcourfe, he speaks home to the purpose; and I cannot fee what can be objected against it, nor how he can be answered.
Spiritual-man. Be not carried away with every wind of alfe doctrine, but let your heart be eftablished in truth. Be not credulous, but examine well his difcourfe, and you will find it all sophistry and deceit, as I fhall make apparent, if you will give me the hearing,
In the first place, therefore, he goes upon a wrong ground, in fuppofing our reafon to be perfect in exercising itself upon its proper objects. Before the fall of Adam indeed it was fo; but now it is imperfect and frail. It was then one intire fhining diamond, but now it is shattered into pieces; we only retain fome fragments or fparkles of the original jewel; we can boast of nothing but fome broken remnants of reaton, elcaped from that fatal fhipwreck of buman na-ture, which fill float up and down in a fea of uncertainties. We grope as in the dark, and can hardly difcern the things that are familiar with us. Our notions of things natural are to a thousand mistakes, our inferences loofe and incoherent, and all our faculties turned upfide down. Our difcourfe commonly is rather rhetoric than reafon, and has either a fmatch of the ferpent's fubtle fophiftry or the woman's foft and infiuuating eloquence: Thefe generally fup
ply the place of true and mafculine reafon, while the fe phit does but mimick the philofopher, and both they and the orator at the divine, as this man has done in his fpecious and formal accufation of the Shepherds, and vindication of his own way. For,
In the fecond place, Suppofe we grant his ground to be good, and that reafon is its exercifing itself on in proper objects; yet his inferences from thence are but the effor of his eloquence and fophifry, while he would endeavour “ to perfuade us, that divine and fupernatural things are the objects of natural reason also. It is just the fame thing 2 if he would go about to convince us, that we may hear with our noses, and fee with our ears; we may as well do this, as difcern divine and fupernatural things by natural and human reafon. God hath endowed us with different faculties, fuitable and proportionable to the different objects that engage them. We discover fenfible things by our fenfes, rational things by our reason, things intellectual by our understanding; but divine and celeftial things he has referved for the exercise of our faith, which is a kind of divine and fuperior fenfe in the foul. Our reason and en derstanding may at fometimes fnatch a glimpfe, but cannot take a steady and adequate profpect of things fo far above their sphere. Thus, by the help of natural reason, I may know there is a God, the first caufe and original of all things; but his effence, attributes, and wil, are hidden within the veil of inacceffible light, and cannot be difcerned by us but by faith in his divine revelation. He that walks without this light, walks in darkness, though he may arike out fome faint and glimmering sparkles of his own; and he that, out of the grofs and wooden dictates of his natural reason, carves out a religion to himself, is but a more refined idolator than thofe who worship ftocks and ftones, hammering an idol out of his fancy, and adoring the works of his own imagination. For this reafon God is no where faid to be jealous, but upon the account of his worship. To this end was he fo particularly nice, if I may fo fpeak with reverence, in all those strict injunctions he laid on the children of Ifrael as to his worship. He gave to Mofes, in the mount, an exact pattern of the tabernacle, and its vessels, inftruments, and appurtenances: He prefcribed the particular times and seasons, the peculiar manner, rites, and ceremo
ies of his worship, not a tittle of which they were to tranfrefs, under pain of death. What needed all this caution nd feverity, if it were a matter fo indifferent, as this man akes it, how God is worshipped; he that thinks, if by arching up half a dozen natural reafons together, he can rove a Deity, and pay fome homage and acknowledgment > him as fuch, that all is well with him; nay, that he is
the readieft and nearest way to heaven; in the mean hile concluding, that we go round about, if not a quite ontrary way, who take up our religion on no lefs credit nd authority than that of divine revelation. This he calls ying afide our fenfes and our reason to believe, by a blind nplicit faith, the doctrine and opinions of a certain numer of men pretending to be divinely infpired; and not onfo, but believing doctrines diametrically oppofite to our eason, and the common fenfe and experience of the whole world. But tell me, O vain man, how do we lay afide our enfes and our reafon, when we ufe both in a due fubordiation to faith? Faith comes itself by hearing, which is one four fenfes: We hear the glad tidings of the gefpel preachd unto us, and our hearts are brought into fubjection to the hower thereof; natural reafon taught us to believe there is God, but faith teaches us to believe him, and how to worhip him. The things which we believe of him are indeed ar above our fenfes and reafon, but not contrary to them: Nay, in this our fenfes and reafon are inftrumental to our faith, that when we read or hear of any of the miracles done by Chrift and his apostles, our reafon tells us they could no be done but by the mighty power of God, and that God would not by fuch miracles give teftimony to a lie; therefore, confequently, our reafon teaches us to believe that Chrift and his apostles were really fuch as they profeffed #themselves to be; he the fon of God, they his fervants, & men inspired by the Holy Ghoft, and confequently that all their doctrines were true. How then can I ftumble at the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation of Chrift, his be ing conceived without the help of a man, and brought forth of a virgin, the remaining a pure virgin? Thus far my reafon is ferviceable to my faith: The one leads me by the hand to the veil, the other draws it back, and difcovers all the facred myfteries. Yet ftill let reafon keep her diftance, he is but the handmaid, faith the mistress: Senfe and rea
fon attend in the outer courts of the temple, but faith enters into the holy of holies.
Now, without faith, it is impoffible to pleafe God: Faith is the evidence of things not feen, the fubftance of things hoped for. This is that faith which thou, O Human rea fon, haft fo much contemn d and vilified. This is that faith which the hepherds recommened to us: This is that per fpective glafs through which we faw the glories of the celltial Jerufalem; therefore ceafe henceforward to speak wil of the way of the Lord; ceafe to pervert the fouls of fuch as feek the Lord in fincerity, and with an humble faith,
When he had made an end of these words, Tender-confeience burt out in tears for grief and joy; for grief, that he had fuffered his mind to be warped by the feducing clo quence of Human-reason; and for joy, that Spiritual-man had fo well answered and confuted his argument, which made him addrefs himself thus to Spiritual-man.
Tender-con. I am heartily forry that my foolishness should have hindered all the company of fo much time, while we might have been a good way on our journey: Now I am fully?atisfied that Human-eason is but an ignis fatuus to the mind, a falfe light, a deceiver; and therefore let us leave him to his den of fhadows, and profecute our journey. Then I faw in my dream that they went forward, while Tender-confcience fang,
Vain Human-reafon boafts himself a light,
Celeftial truth drills in th' abyss of light,
Reft then. my fonl, from endlef anguish freed,
Now as they went along, they came to the place where he Flatterer had feduced Chriftian and Hopeful out of the Oad into a bye-way, which might be eaffly done; for tho' it was a bye-way, yet it feemed to lie as ftraight before them as the true way. But, however, our pilgrims had the good fortune to escape the way that led to the nets, by means of Spiritual man's company, who had a fhrewd infight into
Now I faw in my dream, that they had not gone far be fore they began to be very drowsy; infomuch that Weary'-the-world began to talk of lying down and taking a nap: At which Convert, who had not spoken a word fince they parted from the cave of Reformation till this time, fetcht a deep figh, and wept bitterly; but amidst his tears he called out very earnestly to Weary-o'-the-world, warning him not to fleep in that place. This fudden paflion and extraordinary carriage of Convert, who had been filent all the way before, made every body curious to learn the occafion of it; and Spiritual-man defired him to acquaint the company with the occafion of this motion. Then Convert telling them if they would efcape death, or very near danger of it, they must not offer to fleep on that ground; promifing to give them an account of his life in hort, and defired them to give good attention to his words, which would be a means to keep them waking: So he began.
Convert, You may remember the shepherds, at parting, among other good and whole fome advices, bid us have a Special care not to lep on the inchanted ground. Now when I law fome of the company inclined to fleep, I called to mind the fhepherds exhortation, and alfo my own former mifcarriage in this point, which made me burft forth in