« IndietroContinua »
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ aug.
ment your desire after truth, give you clearer difcerning of the truth, and enable you both more readily to receive, and with greater resolution to maintain the truth, I am
Τ Η Ε
CHRISTIAN QUAKER, &c.
CH A P. I.
The introduction. Three questions proposed, stating
the matter to be treated upon. First, what is falvation ? Anf To be saved from fin, as well as from wrath ; and not from wrath without sin.
EING to write of the light of Christ within, the
great principle of God in man, the root and spring of divine life and knowledge in the soul; that by which falvation is effected for man, and which is the characteristick of the people caled Quakers, their faith and testimony to the world; I choose to consider it under these three following questions, as stated by none of the meanest of our adversaries, being comprehensive of the principle, its force, and friends; wherein I endeavour to solve those objections, as they naturally arise, which either have been, or may be, advanced against what is asserted by us, in favour of this divine principle, and its effects upon mankind: which I recommend to my readers serious consideration; desiring that patience and impartiality may keep them company in
in the perusal thereof; it being writ for their advantage, as well as our vindication, that they may have a nearer and clearer prospect of that way the blessed ever trod to glory.
1. What is that falvation, which the light leads to ?
2. What is this light, and how does this light lead to it? And,
3. Who this he or they are, that obey this light; and, in obeying, attain salvation ?
I. By salvation, we understand, as by scripture is delivered to us, “Man's being saved from sin here, ' and the wages of it,' which is wrath to come.. Whereby we are taught, utterly to renounce and reject the cominon acceptation of it, as the full and complete force of the word, viz. barely to be saved from punishment hereafter : in which security, through a vain expectation of salvation, whilst not really and actually saved from the power of sin, through the invisible power of Christ, thousands die. In short, we call salvation, · Christ's making an end of sin; def
troying the works of the devil; finishing of transgreffion; binding the strong man, and spoiling of
his goods in the hearts and consciences of men and ' women; and bringing in his everlasting righteous
ness into the soul, whereby to cleanse, wash, regenerate, renew and refresh the foul;' in one scripturephrase, “ to save his people from their sins.”
These are the times of refreshment, and this is the day of reftitution; and thus is he King, to reign; Prophet, to give vision; and High Priest, to anoint with the holy unction, that leadeth his people into all truth, whose lips alone preserve knowledge; and there.. fore it is the unchangeable gospel-rule to believers : and those who are thus freed, or saved here, from the power, nature, and defilement of fin, are the alone persons that are or shall be hereafter saved from eter
nal wrath and vengeance; the heavy recompence of } fin. All this we understand by that word salvation;
and in this center the great and glorious prophecies and performances of Christ.
CHA P. II.
The second question stated: particularly what is meant
by light. It is a principle that discovers the state of man, and leads to blessedness.
THE second question runs thus: what is that light
which leadeth to salvation, and how doth it lead to salvation ?
By light, I understand not the metaphorical use of the word; as when Christ said to his disciples,
are the lights of the world ;” or, as the apostle speaks, “ Now are ye light in the Lord ;” nor yet the mere spirit or reason of man ; but Chrift, that glorious Sun of righteousness, and heavenly luminary of the intellectual or invisible world, represented, of all outward resemblances, most exactly by the great fun of this sensible and visible world : that as this natural light ariseth upon all, and gives light to all, about the affairs of this life; fo that divine light ariseth upon all, and gives light to all that will receive the manifestations of it, about the concerns of the other life. Such a light I mean by “ that light which light“ eth every man that cometh into the world,” and that leadeth those that obey it to eternal falvation,
The seripture says no less, John i. 4, 9. « In the « Word of God was life, and that (very) life was « the light of men, that enlighteneth every man that « cometh into the world."
But to demonstrate it the most obviously that I can, to the lowest capacities, I shall evidence the nature and virtue of this principle, light, by the holy effects of it, which is the how, or the which way, it leadeth to salvation. This is so necessary in order to explicate the other, that as the tree is known by its fruits, so is the true Saviour by his salvation. If then I can make it appear, that the light, as obeyed in all its discoveries and requirings, is sufficient to salvation; all muft yield to the efficacy of the light within.
I shall then, by the properties of this light, prove it saving: in order to which, I shall begin with the firft step towards salvation, viz. a sight of the cause of damnation; and that this is given us by the light wichin, the scripture is very plain, which is the great record of saving truth, and of that blessed testimony Christ has left to his flock.
CHA P. III.
apoftacy, or fin in any, is no argument against the
HE light, with which Chrift lighteth all men,
manifests sin, as these words import; “ For every one that doth evil, hateth the light, neither “ cometh to the light, left his deeds should be re« proved:a” implying, that if they would have brought their deeds to the light, the light would have detected them, and tried them; which makes the light the touchstone, rule, and judge of conversation and practice. To which the apostle Paul bears express testimony, in his epistle to the Ephesians, “ that whatsoever is
reproved, is made manifest by the light; for what
foever makes manifeft, is light:b” where the univerfality of the apostle's affertion shews, that nothing that is reproved, as all fin is, is or can be excluded from the search or knowledge of this light: which takes in as well thoughts, as words and deeds. So that nothing being reproved, which the light doth
* John tii. 20. • Eph, . 13