Thomas Ford, (1667), Scripture’s Self-Evidence: To prove its Excellence, Authority, and Certainty in itself

The former part,

Shewing the Rational Grounds upon which Protestants believe Scripture to be inspired of God, etc.

Scripture is (as it calls itself) s Light, and therefore is best seen in ,and by, and of itself, though there be nothing else to show it. Hence it is, that when we have said as much as we can, to prove its Divine authority, we must leave it to be seen in its own Light, and to prove itself the manifestation of God’s mind and will made to the sons of men. And upon due consideration it will appear so, to any that are judicious and impartial. For how can it be proved to be what it is by any argument, besides the attestation given it by God, and his Spirit, and the evident tokens of God speaking in it? And so proves itself, just as a Learned man proves himself as Scholar by his Exercises, when he is called to them; or as God proves himself to be what he is, by what he saith and doth.

                However, we are put to prove our Principles, and we are contented so to do, as well as we can. I say as well as we can, because Scholars know that Principles are most hardly proved against such, as have impudence enough to deny them. And here I must in order to my intended work, request the Reader to grant me somewhat which seems very reasonable, and (I Hope) will be supposed such by all that are indifferent and impartial.

  1. That in this Case, I can allege no rational Arguments, other than such as Scripture yields and offers, to prove itself inspired of God; so that my work is to let others see the light wherein Scripture shows itself.
  2. I do not in this undertaking charge the papists, as denying in terms the Scripture to be Divinely inspired. For they grant it in a sort, when they say, The Church’s Testimony makes it not Authentical and Canonical in itself, but, quoad nos, in respect to us, who cannot otherwise be ascertained of its Divine authority.
  3. I hope it will not be expected from me, that I shall prove the Divine authority of Scripture so, as to silence the Gainsayers, since nothing can be so proved as there will not be some to make exceptions. What can be more certain than God’s Existence? And yet how many are there who deny, or question it? Christ came as a Light into the World, and what Christian dare say or think he did not sufficiently prove himself to be (what he was) the promised Messiah? Yet all he could say or do for that purpose, was no enough to satisfy the most of his Countrymen and Kindred, that he was the Lord’s Christ. All that I can reasonably design, is to show, that Scripture is a shining Light, that doth sufficiently prove itself to be inspired of God, thou many have not the eyes to see it.
  4. It must be supposed in this Discourse, that as there is one living and true God, so this God is to be honored and adored by his reasonable Creatures, with that service and worship which may become his infinite and most excellent Majesty. Hence it cannot be denied, that there must be some Revelation made of God himself concerning what way of worship wherein he will have his Creatures to serve him. For who can know what pleases God, but he himself, and they to whom he makes known the good pleasure of his will?

Now supposing some Revelation of God’s will in order to that service which he will accept, and be well pleased with, I may ask this Question, viz. If Scripture be not this Revelation, where is it? And this will lie hard upon all who acknowledge one only true God, that mad Heaven and Earth, to show some other, and better manifestation concerning the will and ways of God, than what he hath made in his written word. But this is to be discussed hereafter; and for the present I am to show how, and wherein Scripture speaks itself the word of God, and by consequence the Rule of Faith.

Thomas Ford, Scripture’s Self-Evidence: To prove its Excellence, Authority, Certainty in itself, and Sufficiency  (in its kind) to ascertain others, That it is Inspired of God to be the Only Rule of Faith, (London: Printed for Edward Brewster, and are to be sold as Mr. Marriotts a Scivener; over against Hicks-Hall, in St. John’s Street, 1667), 3-7.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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