A VINDICATION OF GOSPEL TRUTHS OPENED;
ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES,
AND THE OPPOSITION MADE AGAINST IT BY EDWARD BORROUGH, A PROFESSED QUAKER, BUT PROVED AN ENEMY TO THE TRUTH, EXAMINED AND CONFUTED BY THE WORD OF GOD.
The things that were then laid down, and declared to the World by me, are a second Time borne witness to, according to truth: With the Answer of Edward Borrough to the Queries then laid down in my Book reproved. And also, a plain Answer to his Queries, given in Simplicity of Soul; and is now also presented to the World, or who else may read, or hear them; to the end (if God will) that Truth may be discovered thereby.
'I have found David - - a man after mine own heart,' (saith God) Acts 13:22.
'Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus': (saith the Apostle) 23.
'And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre': 29.
'But God raised him from the dead': 30.
'And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the Promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again': 32, 33.
'Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins': 38.
'And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses':39.
TO THE READER.
Since it hath pleased the Lord to work in my soul by his holy Spirit, and hath translated me in some measure from darkness to light, I have seen and heard, that such things have been done by those who did once pretend themselves to be the servants of Jesus Christ, that it hath made me marvel: Partly, while I have beheld the vile conversation of some, and also the seeming legal holiness of others, together with their damnable doctrine; which have, notwithstanding their professions, made shipwreck of the faith, both to themselves, and their followers. I having had some in-sight into such things as these, was provoked to publish a small treatise touching the fundamentals of religion, supposing that God might add his blessing thereto, both for the establishing of some, and the convincing of others; which things I doubt not but they have been accomplished; and will be still more and more. But, as it was in former days, so it is now: That is, some in all former age have been on foot in the world, ready to oppose the truth: So it is now, there are certain men newly started up in our days, called quakers, who have set themselves against the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and do in very deed deny, that salvation was then obtained by him, when he did hang on the cross without Jerusalem's gate. Now these men do pretend, that they do verily and truly profess the Lord Jesus Christ; but when it comes to the trial, and their principles be thoroughly weighed, the best that they do, is to take one truth, and corrupt it, that they may thereby fight more stoutly against another. As for instance:
FIRST, They will own that salvation was obtained by Christ, this is truth, that salvation was obtained by Christ; but come close to the thing, and you will find, that they corrupt the word, and only mean thus much, That salvation is wrought out by Christ as he is within; and by it (though not warranted by the scripture) they will fight against the truth: Namely, that salvation was obtained for sinners, by the man that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, between two thieves, called Jesus Christ. I say, by what he did then for sinners in his own person or body, which he took from the Virgin Mary, according to the word of God.
SECOND, They will own the doctrine of Christ within. This is truth, that Christ is within his saints: But this doctrine they will take to fight against the doctrine of Christ without, ascended from his disciples into heaven, by whom salvation was obtained, 'neither is there salvation in any other.' (Acts 4:12)
THIRD, They will own the resurrection of the saints, but their meaning is only thus much, That the saints are raised from the state of nature to a state of grace, and herewith they will fight against this truth; namely, the resurrection of the bodies of saints out of their graves, into which they were laid, some thousands, some hundreds of years before. And if they do say, they do own the resurrection of the saints out of their graves, they do mean out of the grave of sin only, and nothing else.
FOURTH, They will say, they do own the second coming of Christ to judge the world; but search them to the bottom, and you will find them only to own him in his coming in spirit, within, in opposition to the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus, the Son of Mary, from heaven in the clouds, with all his mighty angels, to raise the dead, and bring them to judgment, according to the scripture. And so for the intercession of Christ, and the truths of the gospel, they only own them to be within; in opposition to the glorious intercession, and mediation of the man Christ Jesus in his own person without, now in the presence of his Father, between us and him, pleading and making intercession for his children. These things, together with many more, I might mention, but now I forbear, knowing that none shall be lost, nor altogether carried away by them, nor any heretics, but the sons of perdition. Now that they might the better make their doctrine take place in the hearers, they endeavour to make a fair shew in the flesh, that thereby they might now, as did their fathers in time past, compel and constrain them who are not by the Lord's right hand planted into the truth of Jesus, to follow their covered errors, as it is written. (Gal 6:12) 'As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh,' That is, according to works of the law; do 'by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.' (Rom 16:18) And indeed it doth clearly appear, that those that are carried away, are such as are not able to discern between fair speeches declared by heretics, and sound doctrine declared by the simple-hearted servants of Jesus.
First, Now I shall lay down several grounds, not only why errors are broached in the world; but also, why so many are carried away with them.
1. One ground, why so many errors do from time to time come into the world, is because those that are not indeed of the planting of the Lord's right hand, might be rooted out. (Matt 15:13) Now these are many times carried away by deceivable doctrines: And truly in this our God hath both a care of his own glory, and of his church's welfare. For first, should they not be swept away by some heresy or other, there might be great dishonour brought to his name by their continuing among his people: And secondly, that he might take away such grievances as such may bring, had they continued still in the society of his children.
2. Another ground why the Lord doth suffer such errors to come into the world is, because, those that are Christians indeed, might be approved and appear. (1 Cor 11:19) 'For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest.' Should not the Lord go this way to work (sometimes) there would be many that would make people believe that they are Christians, and yet are not. And again, that he might make it appear, that though there be heretics, yet he hath a people, enabled by his Spirit, to contradict, and oppose them, and plead to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his glorious gospel against them.
3. Another ground why the Lord doth suffer, yea, even send delusions among the people, is, That those who were so idle and slothful, as not to seek after the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, might be taken away, and violently possessed with error, and be made to run greedily after the same; that they might smart the more for their neglect of the truth. For always, those who were lazy in seeking after the truth when it was proffered, and afterward hasty after the doctrine of devils, when that is declared to them, shall be sure to have their latter behaviour to rise up in judgment against them, in that when the truth was proffered to them they were idle and did not receive it, and yet when delusion did proffer itself, they were industrious, and labouring. Now mark, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness; because they received not the truth in the love of it, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they might believe a lie, and be damned. (2 Thess 2:10-12)
Second, Now in the second place, why so many are so easily carried away with errors in this day: The grounds are these that follow.
1. Because men count it enough to be professors of the truth, without seeking to be possessors of the same. Now because men are but only professor of the truth, not having it in their hearts in reality, they are carried away with an error, if it come in never so little power, more than the truth they profess. And this is the reason why so many are carried away with the errors that are broached in these days, because they have not indeed received the Lord Jesus by the revelation of the Spirit, and with power, but by the relation of others only; and so having no other witness to set them down withal, but the history of the word, and the relation of others concerning the truths contained therein, (though the knowledge of the truth this way shall abundantly aggravate their damnation) yet they having not had the Spirit of the Lord to confirm these things effectually unto them, they are carried away with delusions.
2. Another reason why so many are carried away with delusions, is, those differences that are among the children of God about smaller matters. O Friends! how is the hand of the enemy strengthened by our carnality, while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; many a poor soul is carried away with delusion. And why so? They are not satisfied that this is the truth, because the children are at difference among themselves, about some outward things. And again, it makes those that are not so desperately possessed with a spirit of delusion, as are others, but are mere moral men: I say it makes them to say within themselves, and one to another; There are so many sects and judgments in the world, that we cannot tell which way to take. And therefore you that have the spirit, pray that these things may cease, least you blush for our folly, at the appearing of Jesus our Lord.
3. The pride, covetousness, and impiety of hypocrites, and carnal professors, are great stumbling-blocks to the poor world; and the cause why many at this day do drink down so greedily a deluding doctrine, and especially if it come with a garment of pretended holiness. But as for these, they shall go to their place in their time, with the curse of the Almighty poured out upon them, for their casting of stumbling-blocks before the simple by their loose conversations, if they do not hastily repent of their wickedness, and close in reality with our blessed Lord Jesus.
4. Another reason why delusions do so easily take place in the hearts of the ignorant, is, because those that pretend to be their teachers, do behave themselves so basely among them. And indeed I may say of these, as our Lord said of the Pharisees in another case, all the blood of the ignorant, from the beginning of the world, shall be laid to the charge of this generation. They that pretend they are sent of the Lord, and come, saying, Thus saith the Lord; we are the servants of the Lord, our commission is from the Lord (by succession) and the like; I say, these pretending themselves to be the preachers of truth, (but are not) do by their loose conversation, render the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, (by whom the saints are saved) contemptible, and do give the adversary mighty encouragement, to cry out against the truths of our Lord Jesus Christ, because of their wicked walking. Now shall not his soul be avenged on such a nation as this, who pretend to be teachers of the people in goodness, when, as for the most part of them, they are the men, that at this day do so harden their hearers in their sins by giving them, even their hearers, such ill examples, that none goeth beyond them for impiety. As for example; Would a parishioner learn to be proud? he or she need look no farther than to the priest, his wife and family; for there is a notable pattern before them. Would the people learn to be wanton, they may also see a pattern among their teachers. Would they learn to be drunkards? they may also have that from some of their ministers; for indeed they are ministers in this, to minister ill example to their congregations. Again, would the people learn to be covetous, they need but look to their minister, and they shall have a lively, or rather a deadly resemblance set before them, in both riding and running after great benefices, and parsonages by night and by day. Nay, they among themselves will scramble for the same. I have seen, that so soon as a man hath but departed from his benefice as he calls it, either by death or out of covetousness of a bigger, we have had one priest from this town, and another from that, so run, for these tithe-cocks and handfuls of barley, as if it were their proper trade, and calling, to hunt after the same. O wonderful impiety and ungodliness! are you not ashamed of your doings? If you say no, it is (perhaps) because you are given over of God to a reprobate mind. Read Romans 1 towards the end. As it was with them, so (it is to be feared) it is with many of you, who knowing the judgments of God, that they who do such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have (as I may so say) pleasure also in them that do them. And now you that pretend to be the teachers of the people in verity and truth, though we know that some of you are not: Is it a small thing with you, to set them you say are your flock such an example as this. Were ever the Pharisees so profane; to whom Christ said, ye vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell; doth not the ground groan under you? surely, it will favour you no more than it favoured your fore-runners. Certainly the wrath of God lies heavy at your doors, it is but a very little while, and your recompense shall be upon your own head. And as for you that are indeed of God among them, though not of them; separate yourselves. Why should the righteous partake of the same plagues with the wicked? O ye children of the harlot! I cannot well tell how to have done with you, your stain is so odious, and you are so senseless, as appears by your practices. But I shall at this time forbear, having in some measure discharged my conscience according to the truth against you; hoping if God do give me opportunity, and a fair call, that I shall a second time in this world give testimony against your filthy conversations, though now I shall say no more, only thus much; Be ashamed of your earthly-mindedness, if you can; and be converted, or else you shall never be healed.
Here might I also aggravate your sin by its several circumstances, but I shall rather forbear; supposing that you may entertain wrong and harsh thoughts of me, though I have spoken the truth; therefore I shall at this time rather keep silence, and wish you to amend, than to rake in your sores; for thereby would your stink go more abroad in the world, Therefore I say, I forbear. And now to the reader, I beseech thee to have a care of thy soul, and look well to the welfare of it: And that you may do so, have a care what doctrine it is that thou receivest. Be not contented until thou in deed and in truth, in the light of the Spirit of Christ, see thy sins washed away in the blood of that Lamb, who did offer up himself a ransom on the cross on Mount Calvary, for the sins of thy soul and body, together with the rest of the saints of God.
And let not the legal holiness of the one, nor the loose profane conversation of the other, beat thee off from pursuing after the truths of Jesus, as the truth is in Jesus, (and so laid down in this my discourse) neither let the plausibleness of the other beguile thy simple heart. And now to you that are carried away with the delusions at this day broached in the world, by the instruments of Satan, and that after a profession of the truth: I say to you, Turn again, (if you can) peradventure there may be hope, and that you may escape that wrath which justly you have deserved: But if you shall still refuse the Lord that speaks now from heaven in mercy to you, you shall not hereafter escape the Lord, that in his own time will speak to you in his wrath, and vex you in his sore displeasure.
And now a few words to you that have indeed closed in with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary, and they are these that follow. (1.) Be of good cheer, all 'your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake' (1 John 2:12). (2.) Know, he that hath begun the good work of his grace in you, will perfect it, even to the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6). (3.) Know that though your Lord Jesus, who is in you by his Spirit, be absent from you touching his bodily presence, yet he is not forgetful of you, but is preparing a place for you (John 14:1-3). (4.) Consider, That he is also at this very present, in his very person in the presence of his Father now in the heavens, praying and making intercession for you, that you may be brought safe to glory (Heb 7:24). Father, I will (saith he) that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory (John 17:25). (5.) Know also, That he hath overcome in his own person (when he was in the world) devil, death, sin, hell, the curse of the law, the power of the grave, and all other evils, in the body of his flesh for you (Heb 2:14). (6.) Believe also, that while you are in the world, all things shall fall out for your good at the end, whether they be temptations, doctrines of devils, workings of corruptions, all things shall fall out for your good, who love our precious Lord Jesus (Rom 8:28). (7.) Be assured, that all your enemies shall very suddenly be under your feet, even Satan and all (Rom 16:20). (8.) Consider, That there shall not temptations befall you in the days of your pilgrimage, but God will enable you to bear it; Ay, and make a way also for you to escape the destroying danger of it (1 Cor 10:13). (9.) When the time of your dissolution shall come, your Jesus will deal with you, as he did with blessed Lazarus, that is, he will send his angels to fetch your souls away to glory (Luke 16:22). (10.) Believe also, and know assuredly, that at the last day, he will also raise your bodies out of their graves, and make them also for ever vessels of his glory (Rom 8:23 compared with John 5:28; 1 Thess 4:14-18). (11.) And lastly, consider, That though now by the world, and heretics, you be counted as not worth the looking after; Yet you have your day a coming, when as the Dives's of this and all other ages, would be glad if they might have but the least favour from you, one drop of cold water on the tip of your fingers. O you despised begging Lazarus' (as in Luke 16:24). For the world, for all their stoutness, must be forced to come to judgment, before your Lord and you (1 Cor 6:2). 'This honour have all his saints' (Psa 149:9).
Now seeing that these things be so, I beseech you by (those) the mercies of God, (1.) That you do give up your bodies, as hands, tongue, strength, health, wealth, and all that you have and are, to the service of God, your God (Rom 12:1). (2.) 'Let your moderation [in every thing] be known unto all men. [for] The Lord is at hand' (Phil 4:5). (3.) Study to walk as like the Lord Jesus Christ, as ever you can, for your lives (Matt 11:29). (4.) Let that you strive for, be the faith of the gospel of your precious Lord Jesus (Phil 1:27). And not any earthly advantages. (5.) 'Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel' (Phil 1:27). (6.) Let your hearts be always in heaven, where our Lord Jesus is (Col 3:1-3). (7.) Forbear and forgive one another, in love, and with all our hearts, as God for Christ sake hath forgiven you (Eph 4:2). (8.) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt 5:16). (9.) You are the salt of the earth, have a care you lose not your savour (Matt 5:13). (10.) Be forward to distribute to those that are in want, for this is well-pleasing to your most glorious loving Father (Heb 13:16). (11.) Learn all one of another the things that are good, for this is the command of God, and also commendable in saints (Phil 3:17). (12.) And lastly, O brethren, consider what the Lord hath done for you; he hath bought you, and paid for you with his blood, and he doth now also make it his business to pray for your safe conduct to glory (Heb 7:25). He hath delivered you from those that would have been your ruin, and hath promised to you everlasting life. Let the love of Christ constrain you, let the love of God win upon your souls. What! he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all: How shall he not with him freely give us all things. Hold out my brethren, hold out, for you have but a little while to run: Hold fast unto the death, and Christ will give you a crown of life (Rev 2:10). Farewell, dear brethren; the mighty God of Jacob preserve and deliver you from every evil work; and all the days of our pilgrimage let us pray one for another, that our God will count us worthy of this rich and glorious calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power, to whom be glory now and ever.
And now reader, before I make an end of this discourse, I think it meet to let thee understand, that though there hath been a book put forth by Edward Borrough, in seeming opposition to that of mine, called, 'Some Gospel Truths opened according to the scripture.' Yet the substance of my discourse then published by me, standeth uncontrolled by scripture, as from him or others. I do not say he doth not wrangle with them, but I say, he doth not by any one plain scripture contradict them. As for instance:
1. The first great thing that I do hold forth in that discourse, is this: That that babe that was born of the virgin Mary, and that at that time did give satisfaction for sin, was the very Christ of God, and not a type of anything afterward to be revealed for the obtaining redemption for sinners within them. Which thing my adversary can find no ground in scripture to build an opposition upon, see his book, but is forced to confess it in word, though he do deny the very same in doctrine. And where in answer to this question of mine; Why did the Man Christ hang on the cross on Mount Calvary? All the answer he gives, is this; Because they wickedly judged him to be a blasphemer; and as in their account (saith he) he died as an evil doer. And this is all the ground he giveth: See his answer to my second query in this my book, taken word for word as he laid them down.
2. The next thing I do prove in that book is, That that light which every one hath, is not the Spirit of Christ; because the scripture saith, Some have it not (Jude 19). But Edward Borrough saith, It is given to every one; And he saith, They have it within them too; in answer to my first question, though he hath no scripture to confirm the same, as I have had to contradict it.
3. The next thing I prove, is, That Jesus Christ did fulfil the law in his own person without us for justification, and that his blood then shed, hath washed away the sins of the children of God, as aforesaid. Which thing he would oppose, but finds no footing for his discourse. See his book where he saith, The law is not fulfilled: (read the latter end of that page) [which is] contrary to scripture (Col 2:14; Rom 10:4) which saith, 'For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.' Another thing I prove in that book is, That Christ is ascended into that heaven without, above the clouds and stars; and that I prove by eight several scripture demonstrations, of which not one is confuted by scripture, though secretly in his book smitten against. Read his whole book.
4. The next thing I prove, is, That the same Jesus that was born of Mary, laid in the manger, who is the Saviour, is at this day making intercession in that body he then took of Mary; which thing also is not confuted by him, by the scripture; though cunningly smitten against in his discourse, where he saith, It is only necessary to salvation to preach Christ within, laying aside all that Christ did when he was in his own person in the world.
5. Another truth I prove, is, That the very same Jesus that was born of Mary, that very Man (that was also hanged on the cross) will come the second time, and that shall be to save his children, and to judge the world at the last day, that great day of judgment. And though they will not own, that he shall so come as he went away, which was a very Man without; yet they could not at all by the scripture contradict it. But the very sum of his discourses is a wrangling with the thing laid down, as a dog with a bone; but hath not, nor cannot by scripture overcome the same. This have I written, that the reader into whose hand this book may come, may have the more certain information concerning the things before published by me, and also concerning the opposition made against them by the adversary. And here, because I am loath to be too tedious, I do conclude, and desire thy prayers to God for me (if thou be a Christian) that I may not only be preserved to the end in the faith of Jesus, but that God would enable me to be an earnest contender for the same, even to the last; and rest,
The servant of the Lord JESUS,
We, whose names are here under-written, having (through grace) some blessed faith and experience of the truths declared in this book, and knowing them so to be; having tried them by the scriptures in the light of the Spirit, thought it our duty to bear witness thereunto, together with our brother, desiring the blessing of God may go along with these endeavours of his, for the doing good to our Christian brethren, or any other who may read it. Farewell.
Yours in the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, for which faith we desire to contend,
A VINDICATION OF GOSPEL TRUTHS, &.
It is very expedient that there should be heresies amongst us, that thereby those which are indeed of the truth might be made manifest; and also that the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, might the more cast forth its lustre and glory. For the truth is of that nature, that the more it is opposed, the more glory it appears in; and the more the adversary objects against it, the more it will clear itself; which doth give me, and all that stand for it, and doth plead on its side in the wisdom of the Spirit, much boldness and encouragement, to venture without any slavish fear upon those that have already, or shall hereafter, stand up to oppose it. I did some few weeks past, put forth a small book, called, Some Gospel Truths opened, and so forth; and the thing I looked for from them was, namely, opposition from the adversary, which hath been accomplished in that, namely, as I did look for it, so did it happen; not that it daunted me; for if it had so done, it might have made me kept those truths within my breast, which are now made manifest by me (as well as others) to the world. Now I have not only met with some opposition from others face to face in secret, but there is one Edward Burrough (as I heard his name is so, by some of themselves) that hath ventured to stand up against the truth, with the rest of his companions, and hath published a book, called, 'The true faith of the gospel of peace contended for, &c.' In which book of his there is a very great number of heresies cunningly vented by him, and also many things there falsely reported of me, which things in this my discourse I shall very plainly discover; and the way that I shall take, shall be by laying down some of thy expressions, and also some of mine; and by inquiring into the truth of one, and the error of the other, through the assistance of the Spirit of Christ, and according to the scriptures. Only by the way, I think good to mind thee of thy clothing thyself with the words of the prophets and apostles, against whom thou dost fight (as will appear in my following discourse) and also of thy endeavouring to wrest the sword out of the hands of the saints, and art fighting against them bitterly, with a parcel of scolding expressions. But I wish thee to learn, (if thou canst) to be sober, and to keep under thy unruly spirit; and do not so much appear, at least not so grossly, a railing Rabshakeh; but contrariwise, if you would be looked upon to be holy, which (we know and believe that) as yet, many of you are not. Let at the least some appearance of moderation be manifest among you. After many words that are flung into the wind by thee my adversary, in the first and second page of thy book, thou couldst not be contented therewith, as being too few to vent thyself withal; but thou breakest out in page 3 with a small testimony of John Burton, and his fellow, saying, 'They have joined themselves with the broken army of Magog.--And have shewed themselves in the defence of the dragon against the Lamb, in the day of war betwixt them.' When alas! poor soul we do know, and are bold to declare, in the name of the Lord Jesus the Son of Mary, that our God hath owned us, with others of his servants, in his own work against the devil's devices and false doctrine; as instruments both for the comforting and establishing of his own, and also for the convincing and converting of some of them, who aforetime was not converted. And friend, why dost thou say, that we join with Magog in the defence of the dragon against the Lamb, when thou seest the whole drift both of my brother's epistle, and also of my writing, is to exalt and advance the first-born of Mary, the Lord of glory, and to hold on his side, notwithstanding there are so many tempests go through the world. And the rather, because we know that it is he, and he alone, that did bear our sins in his own body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24) for it is he that hath taken away the sins of the world. Now I say therefore, do not thou thus accuse the brethren, for speaking good of the name of Jesus, lest thou be troubled at thy end for thus spending thy beginning in taking part with the devil to accuse God's children.
Then in the same page thou sayest, thou hast numbered up part of our work, and the sum is, A corrupted grain of Babylon's treasure, &c. Ans. Friend, The sum of our discourse is of the birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and second coming of the Son of Mary the virgin, by which righteousness, blood, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and intercession we are saved. And dost thou count this a corrupted grain of Babylon's treasure? Have a care what thou sayest, least thou utter that with thy mouth now, which will lie heavy on thy conscience for ever.
Then, as though this thy unwise speaking were too little, thou breakest out with a taunt, or a jeer, saying; A larger portion, and more to the purpose might have been brought in, but with such as you had, or could procure from your neighbours are you come. Ans. Friend, Who hath despised the day of small things? But again, we desire not to bring to others, no nor to know ourselves, anything else but Jesus Christ (the Son of Mary) and him crucified for our sins (1 Cor 2:2). Then thou sayest further in the same page, That though thou hast not seen our faces, yet our spirit is tried, and we are clearly described to thee, (sayest thou) to be of the stock of Ishmael, and of the seed of Cain, whose line reacheth to the murdering priests, &c. Ans. Friend, thou art very censorious, and utterest many words without knowledge. We bless God, for the most part of our line, we do labour to stretch it out, either in building up and exhorting the saints of the most High, to cleave close to their Jesus, or else as much as in us lies, we labour to convince poor souls of their lost condition, according to the word of God, and not to murder any. Nay contrariwise, we desire through grace, if at any time we chance to see any of Christ's lambs in the teeth of any wolf or bear, be they never so terrible in appearance; I say, we desire, we labour, we strive, and lay out ourselves, if it be possible, to recover the same, though with the hazard of our lives, or whatsoever may befall us in doing our duty. And whereas thou sayest in the 4th page, That we are found enemies to Christ, revealed in his saints. Ans. Thou dost us wrong, for we labour all that we may to countenance the same, where he doth indeed appear: and if at any time we do see or discern, that any soul hath any breathing after the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are so far from disowning or discountenancing of the same, that we give them all the encouragement we may: Nay, and we are so far from discountenancing the doctrine of God, and his Son Jesus Christ, that we say plainly, some have not the Spirit of Christ in them, and they are reprobates, according to that scripture (Rom 8:9), 'If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' And again, Some are 'sensual, having not the Spirit' (Jude 19). And again, we are so far from being against the doctrine of the Spirit of Christ in his saints, we bless God that we say, It is the distinguishing character of a true believer, from others: All which things do I also affirm in my book, and hold forth, as doth also my brother in his epistle. Therefore, I marvel, that you should be overseen, as to utter so many false things together, in less than four sides of paper, I wonder what will be the end of your discourse.
Well, now thou dost come and fall a wrangling with some of the words of my brother Burton, which are to this purpose, (he speaking before of the doctrine of Jesus) and this is quite contrary (saith he) to those commonly called Familists, Ranters, Quakers, and others, who on the other hand either deny Christ to be a real man without them, blasphemously fancying him to be only God manifest in their flesh; or else make his human nature with the fulness of the Godhead in it, to be but a type of God to be manifested in the saints. Now first of all, the great offence thou takest of some of these words, is, because he doth join in his discourse Familists, Ranters, and Quakers together. Friend, what harm is it to join a dog and a wolf together? A fawning dog and a wolf in sheep's clothing; they differ a little in outward appearance, but they can both agree to worry Christ's lambs. But again, friend, let us a little compare the principles of a Ranter and a Quaker together, and it will clearly appear, that in many of their principles (at least) they agree, or jump in one: As.
1. The Ranters will own Christ no otherwise, than only within; and this is also the principle of the Quakers, they will not own Christ without them. 2. The Ranters, they cry down all teaching, but the teaching within: and so do the Quakers (witness thousands) and yet condemn their principles by their practice, as the Ranters also did and do. Now the apostle saith the contrary, saying, 'He that knoweth God heareth us; [meaning himself with the rest of the apostles and servants of Christ]. He that is not of God heareth not us' (1 John 4:6). Again, 3. The Ranters are neither for the ordinance of baptism with water, nor breaking of bread. And are not you the same? 4. The Ranters would profess that they were without sin: and how far short of this opinion are the Quakers? 5. The Ranters would not own the resurrection of the bodies of the saints after they were laid in the graves: And how say you, Do you believe that the very bodies of the saints, as the very body of Abraham, and the body of Isaac, with the bodies of all the saints, notwithstanding some of them have been in the graves thousands of years, others hundreds, some less: I say, Do you believe the resurrection of these very bodies again, which were buried so long since; or do you hold, as the Ranters do, nothing but the resurrection from a sinful to an holy state in this life.
And really I tell thee (reader) plainly, that for the generality, the very opinions that are held at this day by the Quakers, are the same that long ago were held by the Ranters. Only the Ranters had made them threadbare at an alehouse, and the Quakers have set a new gloss upon them again, by an outward legal holiness, or righteousness. But again, Why should you be so angry with my brother, for joining of a sinner and a liar together? Is there any great harm in that? Surely no. And the joining Ranters and Quakers together, is but so. The Quakers themselves confess, the Ranters are to be disowned. Nay if they would not, yet God hath disowned them in the open view of the nations. Now that the Quakers are liars, I shall prove from their own mouth. As first, from the several things that I did oppose even now, page 1-4, of this book, called, 'The true Faith of the Gospel of Peace,' &c. Now lest they should be slighted and set at nought, I shall shew you clearly this man's lies manifestly laid down in his book against me. As first, he saith of me in his book, That I said positively, the blood of Christ was shed before the world began. Whereas I said only this, That in the account of God (mark it, in the account of God) his blood was shed before the world was, according to that scripture (Rev 13:8), 'The lamb slain from the foundation of the world.' Secondly, he saith, that I cry aloud against Christi within. And again he saith, 'That all my work is an obscure shooting against the manifestation of Christ within.' Where he speaks very falsely of me, for I confess and own God's Christ within as well as without. And in the epistle to my book you may find the same held out by me for two or three leaves together; besides, many other places of my book doth testify of the same; therefore, doth not he lie miserably in this also?
Again, he saith, that I am one of those that do preach for hire, through covetousness, making merchandise of souls, which is also an untruth, as I shall shew further when I come to the place.
Again he saith that I said 'Christ's coming in the Spirit was no coming.' Here also he uttereth falsehood. I never said so, as many of our brethren can witness. But of this also in its place, when I come to it, with many other things which he hath very untruly vented of me, which fear not but they shall be cleared, both now, and also at the second appearance of the man Christ Jesus. And therefore friend (I say to thee) be not so pharisaical as to say within thine heart, 'I am not as this publican.' Why am I reckoned with the Ranters? Thou art, both thou and thy fellows, of the same mind with them in many things, and shall assuredly partake of the same plague with them, if they and you repent not speedily.
Again, thou wouldest make us believe, that the Quakers do really and truly lay the Christ of God, God-man, for their foundation. Saying, 'We prize the Lord Jesus Christ, God-man, to be precious to us, and to all that do believe, and have owned him to be the foundation,' &c. Now friend, this is fairly spoken; but by words in general we may be deceived, because a man may speak one thing with his mouth, and mean another thing in his heart; especially it is so with those that use to utter themselves doubtfully; therefore we will a little enquire what it is to lay Christ, God-man for a foundation.
1. Then, To lay God's Christ, God-man, for a foundation, is to believe that man that was born of the Virgin Mary, to be the saviour.
How he was and is the saviour, and therefore if you do indeed lay him for your foundation, then you do believe that when the man Christ did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, that then your sins were satisfied for at that time, as it is written, 'Who his ownself bare our sins in his own body on the tree' (1 Peter 2:24).
2. If the Christ of God, God-man, be indeed your foundation, then you do believe, that that very man in that very body, did fulfil all the law, in the point of justification, as it is written, 'Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth' (Rom 10:4). So that now, believe aright in what the Son of Mary hath done without on the cross, and be saved.
3. If you have laid Christ that man aright for your foundation, then you do believe, that when he was raised out of the sepulchre into which Joseph had laid him, then at that time was accomplished your justification (Rom 4:25). How say you to these things, Do you make an open profession of them without dissembling? Or do you not (notwithstanding your talk of Christ) in very deed deny the virtue of the death and blood of Christ without, as for justification and life? If so, you have not laid him for your foundation.
4. If you have indeed laid Christ, God-man, for your foundation, then you do lay the hope of your felicity and joy on this, That the Son of Mary is now absent from his children in his person and humanity, making intercession for them and for thee, in the presence of his Father (2 Cor 5:6). And the reason that thou canst rejoice here-at is, because thou hast not only heard of it with thine ear only, but dost enjoy the sweet hope and faith of them in thy heart; which hope and faith is begotten by the Spirit of Christ, which Spirit dwelleth in thee, (if thou be a believer) and sheweth those things to thee to be the only things. And God having shewn thee these things, thus without thee by the Spirit that dwelleth in thee, thou hast mighty encouragement to hope for the glory that shall be revealed at the coming again of the man Christ Jesus, of which glory thou hast also greater ground to hope for a share in, because that that Spirit that alone is able to discover to thee the truth of these things, is given to thee of God, as the first fruits of that glory which is hereafter to be revealed, being obtained for thee by the man Christ Jesus' death on Mount Calvary, and by his blood that was shed there, together with his resurrection from the dead, out of the grave where they had laid him. Also, thou believest that he is gone away from thee in the same body which was hanged on the cross, to take possession of that glory, which thou, through his obedience, shall at his (the very same man's) return from heaven the second time, have bestowed upon thee, having all this while prepared and preserved it for thee, as he saith himself: 'I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also' (John 14:2,3). Again,
5. If thou hast laid Christ, God-man, for thy foundation, though thou hast the Spirit of this man Christ within thee, yet thou dost not look that justification should be wrought out for thee, by that Spirit of Christ that dwelleth within thee, for thou knowest that salvation is already obtained for thee by the man Christ Jesus without thee, and is witnessed to thee by his Spirit which dwelleth within thee. And thus much doth this man Christ Jesus testify unto us where he saith he shall glorify me; mark, 'He shall glorify me'; (saith the Son of Mary) but how? Why, 'he shall receive of mine [what I have done, and am doing in the presence of the Father] and shall shew it unto you' (John 16:14). I have been a little the larger in this, because it is of weight.
But again, thou sayest further, The rest of this first epistle I shall say little to; only thus much is the mind of the penman's spirit, secretly smiting at the doctrine of true faith and salvation, (to wit) Christ within. Ans. My friend, by saying that my brother doth strike at the doctrine of true faith and salvation, thou dost him a great deal of wrong; for it is so far from him so to do, that he telleth souls plainly, that without true faith in the blood of the Son of Mary, who was crucified on Mount Calvary, there is no remission; for saith he, it is only through that one offering then given up to the Father, that you must be justified. And that is according to the whole stream of scripture: For by one offering, What was that? Why, the offering up of the body of Jesus once for all (Heb 10:10), he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 'But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down.' Mark it: 'This man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God' (v 12).
And as for thy saying, that salvation is Christ within; if thou mean in opposition to Christ without; instead of pleading for Christ, thou wilt plead against him; for Christ, God-man, without on the cross, did bring in salvation for sinners. And the right believing of that, doth justify the soul. Therefore Christ within, or the Spirit of him who did give himself a ransom, doth not work out justification for the soul in the soul; but doth lead the soul out of itself, and out of that that can be done within itself, to look for salvation in that man that is now absent from his saints on earth (2 Cor 5:6). Why so? For [because] it knoweth that there is salvation in none other (Acts 4:12) And therefore I would wish thee to have a care what thou dost, for I tell thee, that man who is now jeered by some, because he is preached to be without them, will very suddenly come the second time, to the great overthrow of those, who have spoken, and shall still speak against him (Jude 14,15).
Thou sayest also the next thing thou mindest, is this in the second epistle, where a question is asked, Who are the men that at this day are so deluded by the Quakers, and other pernicious doctrines, but they that counted it enough to be talkers of the gospel, &c. This man, saith the Quaker, is of the same Spirit with his fellow, and will more abound in lies, &c. And why? because he saith the Quakers are those deceivers that at this day beguile poor souls by their doctrine. Alas poor man, why shouldest thou be angry for my speaking the truth, in saying: The Quakers are deceivers, this will easily appear.
1. They deny the man Christ to be without them, and own Christ no otherwise, but as he is within, contrary to that scripture, which saith, for 'while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.' This is touching his bodily presence. And again, he was parted from them, 'and a cloud received him out of their sight.' And he was carried away from them, and so received up into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). Now he that denieth this, is a deceiver, as is clear, in that he doth speak against the truth laid down in the scripture.
2. The Quakers are deceivers, in that they persuade souls that Christ is crucified in them, dead within them, and kept down with some thing within them, which was never taught by those that spoke the scripture from the Spirit of God. Shew me a scripture to confirm such a doctrine as this, which hath been avouched over and over by the Quakers.
3. The Quakers are deceivers, because they do persuade souls, that that man that was born of the Virgin Mary, is not above the clouds and the stars, when the scripture saith, 'a cloud received him out of the sight of his saints.' And again, that he is above the highest heavens, which must needs be above the stars, for they are not the highest.
4. The Quakers are deceivers, because they persuade souls not to believe, that that man that was crucified, and rose again flesh and bones (Luke 24:38-40), shall so come again, that very man, in the clouds of heaven to judgment as he went away; and at the very same time shall raise up all the men and women out of their graves, and cause them to come to the valley of Jehoshaphat; because there will he, that very man, sit to judge all the heathen round about. I say, they strive to beat souls off from believing this, though it be the truth of God witnessed by the scripture (Joel 3:11,12 as also Acts 1:10,11), 'This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come [mark, the very same] in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.' 'And his feet shall stand in that day [the day of his second coming] upon the Mount of Olives' (Zech 14:4). Where is that? Not within thee, but that which is without Jerusalem, before, it on the east side. I say now, he that persuades souls not to believe this, but makes them believe there is no such thing, as the Quakers do, he is a deceiver. Again, the Quakers make no difference between that light wherewith Christ, as he is God, hath enlightened all; and the Spirit of Christ he gives not to all, which I shall show by and by to be a deceit.
5. The Quakers are deceivers, because they say, That every one hath that which is like the Spirit of Christ, even as good as the Spirit of Christ, which is desperate blasphemy. The scripture saith plainly, 'That some are sensual, having not the Spirit.' And yet though they have not that, they have, says the Quakers, that which is as good as that. O wonderful deceit, as I shall farther show by and by when I come to the place. But to cover himself, and so his deceit, he doth apply that to himself that should be applied for the encouragement of the children of God: saying, the children of God was always counted deceivers, we (saith he) have a cloud of witnesses. Answer, friend, they were called deceivers, and were not so; but you are rightly called so, as I have already showed, and shall show farther by and by. In the meantime know, that the devil knows how to take children's bread, and cast it to the dogs.
Then the next thing that he is grieved with, is, because I said, there are none but a company of light notionists, Ranters, with here and there a legalist, that was shaking in their principles, that were carried away by the Quakers, &c. When this appears in all men's sight that can see, though you would not have it so (it is like). And as for your saying, because all sorts of people are brought to God, I am offended therewith; I answer, No friend, I bless God my soul can rejoice that souls come in to Jesus Christ, though it grieves me to see, how some with a spirit of delusion are deceived, and destroyed, by its coming unto them as an angel of light. And whereas thou sayest I am like the Pharisees, who said, none believe, but a company of poor people, which know not the law. Ans. I bless God, I do know they are the poor that receive the gospel; but friend, I must tell you, that you and your fellows may seek for justification from the law, and yet have no better recompense, than to be condemned by the law.
Now passing many railings, I come to the next thing that thou dost stumble at, which is in that I say, some of those delusions the devil doth deceive poor souls withal, is first, in that he doth persuade them, that salvation was not completely wrought out for sinners by the man Christ Jesus, though he did it gloriously upon the cross without the gates of Jerusalem. Now these words, 'he did it gloriously on the cross, without the gates of Jerusalem' thou leavest out. Therefore I ask, do you believe that at that time, when he did hang upon that cross on Mount Calvary, that he did by that death he died there, redeem all his elect from eternal vengeance? If not, whatever thou sayest, thou wilt certainly see, that Satan hath caught thee in his snare, notwithstanding thy railing against the Lord Jesus. And friend, thou mayest call thy conscience the man Christ Jesus, or the light (as thou callest it) in thy conscience the man Christ Jesus; which if thou do, this is a delusion, and a dangerous doctrine. For a Spirit hath not flesh and bones, and so hath the man Christ Jesus. Now it may be, you think farther that the church, with the Spirit of Christ, is the man Christ Jesus, which is also a damnable heresy. Therefore, speak plainly; Dost thou believe that the man Christ Jesus is ascended from his people in his person? And again, dost thou believe that he which ascended from his disciples, did bring in everlasting salvation for them, in that his body which ascended from them? An answer to this might give great satisfaction to souls, if also it might be made in words easily to be understood. Again,
Thou art also offended with the second deceit which I lay down in my epistle, which is (say I) for the devil to bid souls follow that light which they brought into the world with them, telling them, that that will lead them to the kingdom. Now thou seemest gravelled, because I said, which they brought into the world with them. If thou art offended at that, show me when, and at what time every soul receives a light from Christ after it comes into the world. Now this I say, That every man hath not the Spirit of Christ within him (Jude 19). And that there is nothing that can show the soul the things of Christ savingly, but the Spirit of Christ (1 Cor 2:11). Then will not you yourself confess, that he is deluded, that is persuaded to follow that light that cannot reveal Christ unto him? But I must mind you of one filthy error also which thou layest down. Corrupting the scripture to make it good, but in vain; where thou sayest, That light which every man is lightened withal, will lead unto the kingdom of peace and righteousness. And then thou addest, for saith Christ, 'I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not [abide in darkness, or] walk in darkness.' Pray mark. First, thou callest it the light of Christ, wherewith he hath lightened every one; and here thou comest a step higher, and callest it, Christ himself; and then corruptest that scripture, where the Son of Mary saith, 'I am the light of the world,' &c. Here thou wouldest very willingly have room to broach thy folly, but it may not be; for though Christ be the light of the world, yet he is not in every one in the world. But secondly, I pray where was Christ when he spake those words? was he I say, within his disciples, or without them, when he said, 'I am the light of the world?' He was without them, and walked up and down in the world with them from place to place, a very man. Therefore, he did not mean at that time any light within, but himself who was without. And indeed, they who will follow Christ aright, must follow him without, to the cross without, for justification on Mount Calvary without, (that is, they must seek for justification by his obedience without). To the grave without, and to his ascension and intercession in heaven without; and this must be done through the operation of his own Holy Spirit, that he hath promised shall show these things unto them, being given within them for that purpose (John 16:14). Now the Spirit of Christ that leads also, but whither? It leads to Christ without, which said, being without, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life' (John 8:12). Deny this, that Christ was without when he spake those words (I am the light of the world:) if you can.
But to come more close, to the thing. That light wherewith Christ, as he is God, hath lightened every one that cometh into the world, is the soul of man, which is the life of the body, and yet itself is but a creature, and made by the creator of all things (Isa 57:16), and is not the Spirit, as some do think it is. This creature hath one faculty of its own nature, called conscience, which hath its place in the soul, where it is as a judge to discern of things good or bad, and judge them accordingly, as the apostle saith, speaking of the heathens, 'Their conscience also bearing witness and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another' (Rom 2:14). This conscience is that in which is the law of nature (1 Cor 11:14), which is able to teach the Gentiles, that sin against the law, is sin against God: And yet it is called but even nature itself, as he saith there, 'Doth not even nature itself teach you?' &c.
Now this conscience, this nature itself, because it can control, and chide them for sin, who give ear unto it, therefore must it be idolized, and made a God of. O wonderful! that men should make a God and a Christ of their consciences, because they can convince of sin. But thou goest ramping on, and sayest, there is nothing but the light of Christ that will convince of sin, and thou biddest me, mind that. Now dost thou mean the Spirit of Christ? dost thou say that that which thou callest the light of Christ, is the Spirit of Christ? If so, then there is conscience which is not the Spirit of Christ, but a poor dunghill creature, in comparison of the Spirit of Christ; yet will convince of sin, as is clear, from that 8th of John. Where the woman is mentioned, who was taken in adultery by the Pharisees, or others, who when they had brought her to Chirst, and began to accuse her, Christ said, 'He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.' And what then? When they heard that, they were convicted by their own consciences. Mark, he doth not say, by the light of Christ in their consciences, as some would have it be; No, but by their own consciences they were convinced, and went out one by one. And were they all served so? Yea, from the eldest, even to the last; for they all had consciences, though not the Spirit of Christ. So that friend, here is something beside the Spirit of Christ, that can and doth convince of sin, even a man's own conscience, the law of nature; nay nature itself, which no man will say is as good as the Spirit of Christ, except they are guided by a deluding Spirit. Again, thou sayest, He that convinceth of sins against the law, leads up to the fulfilling of the law. Friend, thy conscience convinceth of sins against the law, follow thy conscience, it may lead thee under the curse of the law, through its weakness; but it can never deliver thee from the curse of the law by its power. For if righteousness come by the obedience to the law, or by thy conscience either, then Christ is dead in vain (Gal 2:21).
Again thou sayest, 'That I and my generation would leap over the law.'
Ans. For justification we look beyond it to the Son of Mary; yet we know that the law is good, if it be used lawfully; but if it be used unlawfully, as those do use it, who seek to be justified by their obedience to it, it is made an idol of, and a saviour, though it were given to no such purpose: For if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have come by (thy obedience to) the law (Gal 3:21). Now at thy conclusions, sometimes thou dost utter thyself in this wise, Learn what this means.
Ans. Indeed thy words are dark, and enough to deceive the hearts of the simple; but blessed be God, he hath given me to understand, that thou dost all along in the drift of thy discourse, disown Christ without, by pretending to a Christ within; whereas hadst thou indeed the Spirit of Christ within thee, it would be thy great business to extol and magnify the Son of Mary, the Christ of God without thee, because it is the nature of the same Spirit so to do, even to glorify Christ without, who went away from his disciples into heaven, to prepare a place for them (Luke 24:50,51).
Then thou further sayest (with a kind of disdaining spirit) 'Many things more thou passest by in my book, as being not pertinent to the thing in hand.' But I believe they are so pertinent, that neither thou, nor thy friends or fellows are able to contradict without blaspheming, in the view of all them that have eyes to see: for if they could, it should have been done by thee. And whereas thou sayest, 'Fools must be meddling.' Answer, It must needs be, that the saints of God should be called fools by the enemies of the man Christ Jesus without, because that the doctrine of the man Christ Jesus, crucified without for the sins of poor sinners, is also held to be foolishness by them; although it be the wisdom; and also the power of God, unto every one that believeth (1 Cor 1:23,24).
And further, thou sayest, that the Pope can speak as much of Christ without, as I. Answer, friend, dost thou put no difference betwixt the speaking of Christ without, and believing in Christ without? I tell thee, though there may be many that can speak of the Christ of God without, yet there are but very few that can, or do believe indeed in him without, by the mighty operation of his Holy Spirit within. Nay, you yourselves do testify this, who deny that the salvation of sinners was completely wrought out by that one offering of Jesus Christ without upon the cross on Mount Calvary, and that he is ascended from his disciples above the clouds, touching his bodily presence, as in 2 Corinthians 5:6 compared with Acts 1:9-11.
Then again thou sayest, 'I do ask myself a question, and do also answer it myself deceitfully.' The question is, Do not the scriptures make mention of a Christ within? And thou sayest, I answer it deceitfully myself. But I answer again, that I am not ashamed of that answer I then gave, because I know it is truth; and whereas thou sayest it is deceitful, and yet canst not find fault with any point thereof, it confirms me, that had there been falsity in it, such an enemy to the truth, as thou art, would have taken that advantage, as to have discovered, that thereby thou mightest have rendered the truth the more odious. The answer I shall leave to the Christian reader, which is so indeed; yet am confirmed myself concerning it, and shall give thee an answer to thy question, which is, Doth not the scriptures say, or witness, that all that have not Christ within are reprobates? Answer: Yes, the scripture saith so, and it is true, they that have not the Spirit of Christ in them, are reprobates. But there are some that are reprobates, that you will confess. Then by your own argument you must grant, that some have not the Spirit of Christ in them. Pray take notice, they that have not the Spirit of Christ in them are reprobates. There are some who are reprobates; therefore there are some who are sensual, 'having not the Spirit of Christ in them.' (See thy folly how it is made manifest.) (Ju 5:19) The next thing thou art offended withal, is, because I say, the devil deceives poor souls by persuading them to follow the light within which all men have. Answer, friend, I say, again, and again, That there is nothing less than the Spirit of Christ, that can give a soul a sight of justification by the blood of the man Christ Jesus without, by following of it. Now as thou sayest thyself, some are reprobates, and have not the Spirit of Christ.
Then is it any heresy to say, that it is of the devil to persuade a soul to follow that light which is no better than conscience, or nature itself (Rom 2:14), which are not able to lead to Christ his things, being foolishness to it; or is conscience, which every one is lightened withal, the Spirit of Christ? give an answer in sincerity.
Then thou sayest, that my whole purpose is a secret smiting at the light wherewith Christ hath lightened every man. I answer, my whole design in my book, is, and was, these following things:--
1. To show souls, where salvation is to be had. Namely, in Christ without.
2. To show souls how they should lay hold of this salvation; namely, by the operation of the Spirit of Christ, which must be given within.
3. To forewarn poor souls, that they should not deceive themselves, neither by conscience, nor the law; which are both inferior, and much below the Spirit of Christ; even as much as he that buildeth the house, hath more honour than the house (Heb 3:3).
4. To show how poor souls should know, whether they had the Spirit of Christ, or not, within them, or whether the Spirit of the devil had exalted himself above the Spirit of Christ, by transforming himself into an angel of light.
Farther, thou thinkest I contradict myself, because I admonish poor souls to beg of God to convince them by his Holy Spirit; and thou sayest, This is my confusion. When alas, confusion is of, and from thyself, who wouldst make a defiled conscience, the law and the Spirit of Christ to be all one; as I shall further clear to the reader by and by.
But I tell thee friend, there are many who have not the Spirit of Christ, and yet are convinced of sin by their own consciences (Ju 8:9). He doth not say, 'by the light of Christ in their consciences,' that is a saying of your own, without warrant from the word of God, but 'by their own consciences.' Mark that: Now I knowing, that a man may be convinced, and yet not by the Spirit of Christ (for he may be without that) but by nature itself (1 Cor 11:14). I do admonish every soul, if they love themselves, to beg of God for Jesus Christ his sake, that he would not only let them be convinced by these poor, low, empty, beggarly things (their consciences) in respect of the Spirit of Christ, but that he would convince them by that Spirit of his effectually, which is not only able to show their lost state because of sins against the law, but also, to lead them to the right Saviour, and plant them into him, which all other things are not able to do. And thus much in answer to thy scolding against my epistle the truth of which I bless God through the strength of Christ, I could be willing to seal with my blood.
And now friend, in love to thy soul, I say, have a care of thyself, that thou do not satisfy thyself with anything, until thou seest by the operation of the Spirit of Christ (which thou must have given thee from heaven, as being without it before conversion) that the blood of that man Christ Jesus that was crucified on Mount Calvary, did at that same time, when it was there shed, wash thee from all thy sins, and be not so stout, and so stern against the truth, because it suits not with thy beguiled conscience. (Bear with me in patience) and seriously inquire into the truth of things according to the scriptures. 'For they are they that testify of Christ,' and how salvation doth come by him.
In thy entering upon my book, the first thing I find thee wrangling with, is by corrupting my words, and then by calling me liar.
Thou corruptest my words saying, That I said, 'The blood of Christ was shed before the world began.' Whereas I said, that in the account of God, (mark, in the account of God) the blood of Christ was shed before the world began. Friend, art thou not able to distinguish, betwixt a thing being done in God's account, or according to his foreknowledge, and a thing that is really and actually done? Surely it was either thy folly to speak evil of the thing thou knowest not, or else thy madness doth much appear, in that though thou understandest these things, yet for to wrangle by corrupting my sayings here, as also in other places, as will afterwards appear.
Then thou goest on and quotest the place where I say, How horribly are those deceived who look on Jesus (but thou leavest out those words, the Son of Mary) to be but a type; which thing you say, you know none that do. And again thou sayest, that I say, he is of something afterwards to be revealed. My words thou corruptest; thou wouldst fain gather thus much out of my words, by corrupting them. That though I denied Christ Jesus the Son of Mary to be a type, yet I myself say, He was a type of something afterward to be revealed. Which thing, as there in my book, so here again I do most positively deny, and I quote the same words again, for a second confirmation of the same, saying as then I did; 'How horribly are those deceived, who look on Jesus the son of Mary to be but a shadow, or type of something that was afterwards to be revealed.' Whereas the scriptures most lively hold him forth to be the Christ of God; and not a type or shadow of a Spirit, or body afterwards to be revealed, but himself was the very substance of all things that did any way hold forth, or type out, Christ to come: And when he was indeed come, then was an end put to the law for righteousness or justification to every one that believeth (Rom 10:4). And therefore, friend, though thou hast, or wouldest corrupt my words, yet have a care of corrupting Christ's words, lest thou dost even heap up wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. And whereas thou sayest, 'Thou deniest not but Jesus is the substance.' Answer, I doubt thou dost not speak thine heart plainly, but hidest thyself with so saying, as with an apron; if we inquire into what it is to hold forth Jesus the Son of Mary to be the substance. Therefore he that holds forth Jesus the son of Mary to be indeed the substance, and not a type; holds forth and believes, that that Jesus that was born of the Virgin Mary, did in his own body of flesh fulfil the law, and impute the righteousness of his obedience unto them that he accomplished then without them; and that his blood that was shed without on the cross, doth, and hath washed away all sin past, present, and to come, from him that believeth this; as it is written, 'For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, [that is, through our flesh:] God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh': That is, he was condemned in the flesh that he took on him of the Virgin Mary (Rom 8:3). And again, he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, which was the cross on Mount Calvary.
Jesus also (saith the apostle) that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered: Where? Not in any believer, but without the gate of Jerusalem (Heb 13:12). How say you, do you really believe that at that time when Jesus did hang on the cross without Jerusalem's gate, even at that time he did give the justice of God a full and complete satisfaction for all the sins of all believers, that have been formerly, or are now, or hereafter shall be? Or do you look upon Jesus at that time to be but a shadow, or type of somewhat that was afterwards to be done within? Answer plainly, yea, or no; that the simple may understand you.
Now I come to answer thy query laid down in these words; 'Did Christ Jesus put an end to the law, for them who live yet in the transgression of the law? Or doth he justify that which the law condemned?' Indeed a right answer to this will be great satisfaction to some, though I think some trouble to others. And therefore in answer to thy question I shall lay down these following things:
Ans. 1. Christ Jesus did put an end to the law for righteousness, for all that the Father hath given him; as it is written, the body of Jesus was offered once for all, for all that shall be saved; for he shall not be offered a second time: No, 'But once for all' (Heb 10:10). Once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; and he hath done it once by himself for all (Heb 9:26). Otherwise he must have often suffered since the world began: But that must not be; for he 'dieth no more' (Rom 6:9). But say you, 'Did he put an end to the law for them who still live in transgression?'
Ans. 2. There are many poor souls that are given unto Christ, who yet live in their sins. But Christ did at that time, when he hanged on the cross, give a full and complete satisfaction for them. 'In due time Christ died for the ungodly: For scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.' Ay, 'But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' While we were yet sinners, yet ungodly (Rom 5:6-8). Nay, he did not only die for those who still live in sin, but he also makes intercession now at the throne of his Father's grace for them. 'And he made intercession for the transgressors' (Isa 53:12). 'Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; - and received gifts for men.' For what men? Even 'for the rebellious also.' To what end? 'That the LORD God might dwell among them' (Psa 68:18).
And whereas thou askest; 'Doth he justify that which the law condemneth, before the work of the law be finished?' I answer:
Ans. 3. That at that very time when Jesus Christ did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, was buried, rose again from the dead, and ascended above the clouds from his disciples, at that very time was all the law fulfilled for righteousness. He is the end of the law, mark; he is the end of the law for righteousness. But if there were anything yet to be done for justification, which was not then done; there could not be an end put to the law for righteousness, for every one that believeth. But in that there is an end put to the law for righteousness by Jesus for all the elect of God, Christ having once fulfilled it for them: It is manifest, that there was not anything then left undone by Christ at that time, which was afterward to be done by his own Spirit in his children for justification, only believe what the man Christ, at that time did do, and be saved (Acts 13:29-39); and whereas thou asketh, whether Christ did justify that which the law condemneth?
Ans. 4. I answer, Fourthly, That though Christ Jesus did not justify sins of ungodliness, yet he justifieth the ungodly. 'Now to him that worketh is the reward [given, or] not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, [mark the ungodly] his faith is counted for righteousness' (Rom 4:4). He is he that justifieth, having finished the righteousness of the law in his own person for them. 'Mine own arm brought salvation,' saith he, but how? Even by his bleeding on the cross; 'we have redemption through his blood' (Eph 1:7) which was shed without the gate (Heb 13:12). Ay, and though the law condemneth a sinner, yet let but that sinner believe in Christ, in what he hath done in his own person, and he shall be 'justified from all things, from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses' (Acts 13:39).
And whereas thou asketh me the meaning of that scripture, 'not one tittle of the law shall fail till all be fulfilled.' I answer, That the law hath already been fulfilled for justification, for every one that believeth: And a believer is to do nothing for justification, only believe and be saved; though that law be a rule for every one that believeth to walk by, but not for justification. But if you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without, and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ, within; teaching believers their duty to their God, for his love in giving Christ; you are not able to divide the word aright: but contrariwise, you corrupt the word of God, and cast stumbling-blocks before the people; and will certainly one day most deeply smart for your folly, except you repent. Here is a plain answer that may satisfy the simple. The Lord God grant that they may lay it to heart effectually.
Now this I say further, that if God enable any to receive this doctrine aright (namely what I said even now) it will more engage the soul to God, than all the threatenings, thunder-claps, and curses that come from the law itself. And a soul will do more for God, seeing itself redeemed by the blood of the Lamb the Son of Mary (John 1:29), than if he had all the conditions of the law to fulfil, and might be sure to have heaven for the fulfilling of them. Now as to the assurance thou speakest of at the end of thy question. I know in the first place, that though believers themselves do sin, yet they have 'an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous' (1 John 2:1). And though the doctrine of the gospel be to abstain from all appearance of evil, yet our Lord Jesus Christ is so pitiful, as not altogether to deprive his children of an assurance of their salvation, though sometimes through weakness they do transgress. And whereas you would lay an assurance on our obedience to the law; I say, our assurance comes through our believing, and our obedience to the law is a fruit of our believing; for every one that hath this hope, that he is one of the children, or sons of God, by faith in Jesus (1 John 3:3), 'purifieth himself, even as he is pure.' Holiness of life, if it be right, flows from an assurance of our being justified by Christ's death on the cross, on Mount Calvary; as it is written again, that he might sanctify his people with his own blood, he suffered without the gate.
But again, thou seemest offended, because I say, 'They are deceived, who think to obtain salvation by following the law, which they call Christ, though falsely.' Why shouldst thou be offended at this, when the scripture saith plainly, 'That by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin' (Rom 3:20). But this is thy frothy argument, 'The law convinceth, and is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; therefore the law is not taken away,' sayest thou. Friend, what is this to the purpose? must we seek for justification by the works of the law, because the law convinceth? you may as well say, we must seek for justification from our consciences, because they do convince: Now where the scripture saith, the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; do you think it means, we must be first fitted by purification of ourselves by, or according to the law, before we can be saved by Christ from the curse of the law? If you say, yea; then doth not this follow, that Christ Jesus did not come to save sinners, but to save the righteous; and if so, then you must say, that Christ, Peter, Paul, and all the servants of the Lord are liars, who have testified that Christ died not for the godly, but for the ungodly and sinners.
But where the scripture saith, The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ: I ask again, is it the ceremonial law, or the moral law that is meant in this place? If you say the moral, or the ten commandments, I answer; That doth not lead to life and so not to Christ; but is properly the ministration of condemnation (2 Cor 3:6-11). That is, the proper work of the moral law, or ten commandments, is to condemn, if it be not obeyed; and yet not to bless, until it be every jot fulfilled, which is impossible to be done by any man for justification, in that exact and severe way which the law calls for; which makes the Apostle say as many as are of the works of the law, are under the cruse. Mark, he doth not say, as many as are of the works of sin, are under the curse, though that be true; but as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse: 'for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith' (Gal 3:10,11).
If it be meant of the ceremonial law, as I am most inclinable to believe, because he saith it was our schoolmaster; he doth not say it is, but it WAS our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, being tutor or governor; holding and significations forth, Christ to come by its types until the time appointed of the Father, which appointed time (and so that law) was to have an end, when God sent forth his Son made of a woman, Jesus the Son of Mary, who was made under the law, to redeem those that were under the law.
Now the ceremonial law did bring or lead to Christ these two ways: First, In that it did continue in full force until he did come into the world, and had done that which was by it held out for him to do.
Secondly, In that the several types and shadows, as the blood of bulls and lambs, with diverse other services did lead to, or hold forth Christ that was to come: But the moral law, or ten commandments, is so far from leading us to Christ by our following it, that it doth even lead those that are led by it under the curse. Not because the law hath an evil end in it, but because of our weakness and inability to do it; therefore it is forced, as it is just, to pass a sentence of condemnation on every one, that in every particular fulfils it not.
In the next place, thou art offended because I said, 'It is not of works least any man should boast, as those fond hypocrites, called Quakers would do.'
Thou art offended it seems, because I call you boasters. you need not, for I do not know your fellows for boasting under heaven, in that you, (Pharisees like) do cry up yourselves to be the men, and condemns all others; when you are THE MEN that are the greatest enemies to the Christ of God without (who is the Saviour) of any men under heaven. And in that you pretend you are perfect, when you are the notablest liars and corrupters of the sayings of the people of God, yea, and of the scriptures also, that ever I came near in all the days of my life; and I doubt not but before I have done with you, I shall make it appear to them that read or hear my lines aright. The query runs thus, 'Will that faith which is without works justify?' I answer, No, neither will those works which are without faith sanctify. What then, Is it faith and works together that doth justify? No, it is only faith in the blood of the man Christ, that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, that doth justify in the sight of God and the soul, and it is the fruits of faith, good works, which do justify in the sight of men. So that when it is said, we are justified by works; it is not meant that works will justify in the sight of God. No, but shew me (or shew men) thy faith, or justify thy faith to be true and right before men by thy works. Shew men thy faith by thy works, it is in the sight of men. So that we conclude a man is justified by faith without the works of the law in the sight of God, and so his own soul also, and his faith is justified, or made manifest to be indeed that which is right, both to believers, and to the world by its works. Though I must confess, that both Paul and Peter, and the rest of the saints, may sometimes be deceived in the truth of the faith of others by their works.
Again thou seemest to be offended, because, I say 'living by faith, is to apply the Lord Jesus Christ, his benefits, as birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession, together with the glorious benefits of his second coming to me, as mine, and for me, &c.' (Gal 2:20).
Friend, methinks thou shouldest find no fault with this, but that the Man Christ Jesus, the Son of Mary, is not very pleasant to thee, because thou hast swallowed down secretly another doctrine; but friend, I speak of applying these things, and thou speakest of talking of them, I know that there are many who talk of Christ, that will fall short of heaven and glory.
But tell me, what sayest thou to him that doth apply all these things to his soul, is there not enough in them to justify him, that doth really and truly in the power of the Spirit, believe this to be true which I have said? or dost thou deny it and preach another gospel? and whereas thou sayest, the word of the gospel saith not, who shall ascend, to fetch Christ from above for salvation. Though there is never a scripture that saith these words, word for word; yet the scripture saith, 'The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart'; but mark, it is the word of faith, not the Man Christ Jesus, but faith which layeth hold on him (Rom 10:8), read the 9th verse, which is this, 'That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, [who was born of the Virgin (Matt 1:21)] and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' These great and precious scriptures, with which by corrupting of them, the Quakers have beguiled many, have this meaning, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus; that is, in profession and practice, own him, and believe him to be the anointed Saviour. And shalt believe in thine heart, there is the word of faith, if thou shalt believe in thine heart, that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; 'for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.' But what should men believe with the heart? Namely this, that God raised him (that is Christ) from the dead (v 10). And therefore, I wonder thou shouldest so scold, as thou dost, against the truth: If this be not truth, blame the scriptures which do testify of these things for truth. For I am ruled and would be ruled by them through the Spirit.
But farther, thou art offended that I should say, 'They are deceived who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began.' This question, I briefly ask thee, 'Had Christ a body of flesh before the world began?' If you say no, as you must, if you say true; then do not I say true, when I say, they are deceived who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began? because they own him not with that body of flesh which he took of the Virgin Mary; and so are antichrists, as the scripture saith. And how say you? Do you believe that the same Christ who was before the world, without a body, did in time come into the world and take a body from the Virgin, and in that body did obtain everlasting redemption for sinners? and is gone with that very body into the presence of his Father above the clouds into heaven, from his saints on earth, though in them by his Spirit. A plain answer to this would unlock your double meanings. Again, thou sayest the saints drank of the spiritual rock that followed them.
Friend, I confess, that that spiritual rock that did follow the fathers, and long after, was from the same loins with them, even from the loins of Abraham, and the rest of the children of the promise, according to the promise, was the meat and drink of saints (Rom 9:4,5). But to look upon Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world was, which was a Spirit only, and not to own him now clothed with a body, absent from his children touching the same body, I dare be bold to say, they are no Christians, but antichristians, yea antichrists. He that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist, and of antichrist. Again,
At this also thou wranglest, because I said that 'every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the world was, did in the appointed time of the Father, come into the world, take a body upon him, and was very Man as well as very God: and did in that very body suffer what did belong to the sons of men, &c.' So my book, page 42, 43, 44. I answer, if thou didst indeed believe the truth, thou wouldest own these things. But being deceived, rather than thou wilt let this pass for truth, though thou darest not oppose it with open face, yet thou wilt put on a vail, and venture upon it thus, saying, 'If every spirit were of God, which doth confess in words this, then is not the Pope himself antichrist.'
Ans. Friend, it is one thing to confess the things in words and another thing to believe them, and to make a life out of them; and therefore is thy life made out of Christ without thee, by the operation of his Spirit within thee, yea or no?
Then in answer to my bidding people receive no Christ except God's Christ, thou sayest thus, 'That Christ is a mystery, and unto him is light, and shall be salvation where his person never came.' This question I ask thee, Did or doth Christ obtain salvation for any, without that body which he took of the Virgin? And yet thou sayest, it cannot be said, here is the place where the Son is not.
I answer: As the Son of God is also very Man, so it may be said, here is the place where he is not, and there is the place where he hath not been, though as he is God it is otherwise: let him that reads understand.
And now passing by many things that I might justly examine, and also many unseemly expressions, I come to the next thing, and that is, where you say, you wrest not the scriptures in Ju 1:9. But it is evident, that you do most horribly wrest it, in that you, though you seem to take it in the plain words, yet would hold, that that light is the Spirit of Christ, notwithstanding here is no such thing mentioned in that scripture. For mark, as I have sometimes said, and now also will say, that that light wherewith Christ, as he is God, hath lightened every one with, is not the Spirit of Christ, as is clear, in that some are sensual having not the Spirit, which they must needs have, if it were given to every one that comes into the world, and therefore, in that you say, I say you lay down that scripture false; I say again, that you say many things which I do know to be blasphemy, as I shall prove clearly anon, as also I have already. And therefore, to take thee off from this, I shall say, that Christ as he is a mediator, a Man between God and man, so he doth not lighten every man that comes into the world, though as he is God he doth. And this is manifest, where he often, (as he was Man) saith, These things are spoken to them that are without in parable; 'that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand' (Luke 8:10). And again, where Judas (not Iscariot) said; Lord, how is it, that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world? He saith, 'If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we [I as mediator, and my Father as reconciled in me] will come unto him, and make our abode with him' (John 14:23). And again, 'No man knoweth the Father but the Son': That is no man knoweth him as a Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him (Matt 11:27). But above all, take that scripture where the Son saith, 'I thank thee O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes' (v 25). Here the Son and the Father are speaking one to another; the Father he hides the glorious things of the gospel from the world (Matt 11:25-27), and the Son he rejoices in so doing. At the same hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, 'I thank thee, O Father,' &c. Therefore understand thus much, that though Christ as he is God, doth give to every man a light, which is conscience, otherwise called nature (Rom 2:14; 1 Cor 11:14), yet it doth not follow, that every man hath enlightening from Christ as his mediator. No, Christ as he is mediator doth neither pray for the world (John 17:9), neither doth he give his Spirit to all that are in the world; for some are sensual, and have it not. But now the argument that thou dost bring to colour the contrary with, is this; for what the Father doth, sayest thou, the Son doth also. Ans. Though this be true, that the Son doth what the Father doth; yet it doth not appear that either the Father or the Son hath given the Spirit to every one that comes into the world (Jude 19).
Again thou sayest, thou deniest those that say, 'That light which every one hath as he comes into the world, is conscience; though some call it Christ falsely.' Ans. Friend, What wilt thou have it called; Christ. No, if not conscience, then call it nature itself; for all have not the Spirit.
But another great argument thou bringest in is, 'The light of Christ doth convince of sin.' Now do you call conscience the light of Christ? that will convince of sin (John 8:9). And they being convinced by their own consciences, &c. if thou dost call the law the light of Christ, that also will convince of or make known sin; For by the law is the knowledge of sin (Rom 3:20). If thou dost call even nature itself, the light of Christ; That also doth shew, that sins are a shame, even those sins which some leap over (1 Cor 11:14), and ruffian-like they will wear long hair, which nature itself forbiddeth, and is commended for the same by the apostle. The Spirit of Christ also will convince of sin. What, because these several things will convince of sin, therefore will they needs be the Spirit of Christ? Or do they altogether make but one Spirit of Christ? Dost thou profess thyself to walk in the light, and art not able to know these things; Or, if thou dost know them, art thou so unfaithful as not to tell poor people of them, who are some of them at their wits end, by reason they are not enlightened into these things.
Another of thy arguments is, 'They saw the eternal power and Godhead, by that which was made manifest of God in them.'
[I reply] The scripture say not so word for word, but thus: 'Because that which might be known of God, was manifested in them.' But how? for he hath shewed it unto them. But how? why the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, (which words in thy charge against me thou didst leave out) but mark: The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. But how then doth it say, that the knowledge of God is manifested in them? Why, because God hath shewed it unto them by the things that are made, even by the creation of the world. So that this scripture holdeth forth thus much; that the invisible things of God, as his power, holiness, and common goodness to the sons of men are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. But how feeble an argument is this, to prove such a doctrine as this: That every one hath the Spirit when this light discovers God only by his works in the world. Friend, if they that know God, because he doth shew himself to them by his works in the world, have the Spirit of Christ, then the same argument will serve to speak thus much; that the devils themselves have the Spirit of Christ, which would be wonderful blasphemy once to affirm. And friend, the very devils, both for the knowledge of sin, and also for the knowledge of God's eternal power and Godhead, have more experience than all the unregenerate men in the world; and yet have not the least spark of the Spirit of Christ in them.
Other lame arguments thou tumblest over, like a blind man in a thicket of bushes, which I pass by. But one thing more thou hast, and that is this,
Thou askest me 'whether I do know this light which God and Christ hath given to every man?' (Rom 2:14; 1 Cor 11:14). First, I deny that Christ as he is mediator, hath given to every man his Spirit. And Secondly, I deny, that Christ as he is God hath given to every one his Spirit; but this I say as I have often said, it is conscience of nature itself that every one hath, take it in either of these scripture terms, as I have proved at large. And whereas thou askest me, 'Whether that light, which Christ as he is God hath lightened every one with that comes into the world, be sufficient in itself for life and salvation.' I answer plainly, no; for then Christ Jesus needed not to have come into the world to die for sinners; for every one had that light before Christ did come into the world.
2. And secondly I answer, it is not able, for then it would have been a needless thing for Christ to tell his disciples of sending them his Spirit, to lead them into all truth. They might have said, why dost thou talk of sending us thy Spirit, who have that that can do the deed already, if that could have done it.
3. Because the scripture saith, 'Some are sensual, not having the Spirit.' Now a man cannot lay hold on Christ, nor believe in him savingly without the Spirit, because faith is the work of the Spirit.
4. Because then it had been in vain for the Lord to have given the scriptures to teach men out of, either concerning himself or themselves: Why? because without it, they had a sufficient light to guide them: that thing must not be so.
And whereas thou askest, whether the fault be then in God, or in that thou callest his light, or in the creature? I answer; What if God willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore (before the world was (Eph 1:4)) ordained unto glory? And secondly, O vain man! What is that to thee if God should make some vessels to dishonour: hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to do therewith as he pleases (Rom 9:16-22).
And where I say, 'Christ as he is God hath lightened every one that cometh into the world': to it thou givest a glavering answer; but having touched on this before, I pass it by.
To the next thing, where I say, 'men's neglecting this light, or law, will be sure to damn them, though their obedience to the law will not save them.' Here thou sayest I have confessed truth, (and I know it is true by experience) and thou commentest on those things laid down by me thus: 'Then surely [sayest thou] It is good not to neglect it'; that is, not to neglect following the law. To which I answer, as their obedience to the law will not save them, so their neglect of obedience to the law will be sure to damn them; these things thou canst not deny. But is this all the wit thou hast? Because the neglect of the law will be sure to damn them; therefore wouldst thou put poor souls to follow that which will not save them? (O wonderful ignorance.) Nay, but thou shouldest have said, then surely the best course is, for a poor soul in this case, to fly to the Lord Christ, even the Man Christ Jesus, who was slain on Mount Calvary for the sins of poor sinners. And the rather, because he did so willingly, of his own accord lay down his life for them. Methinks, I say, thou shouldest rather have said, then let us follow the Son of Mary, the Man Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, by his blood on the cross; who is now also at his Father's right hand making intercession for all those that do come to the Father by him; but they that are not for the truth, will advance anything but the truth. And as for that which thou callest the second clause, which is, The law (sayest thou) must be obeyed.
I answer, Christ Jesus hath done that in his own person, and justified me thereby, and for my part, I will not labour now to fulfil the law for justification, least I should undervalue the merits of the Man Christ Jesus, and what he hath done without me: and yet will I labour to fulfil, if it were possible, ten thousand laws, if there were so many: and O! let it be out of love to my sweet Lord Jesus (2 Cor 5:14) 'for the love of Christ constrains me.' And thus much to thy 16th page.
In the next place, thou art offended with this, because I say, though Christ doth give a light to every one that comes into the world, yet it doth not therefore follow, that this conscience, (or light) is the Spirit of Christ, or the work of grace wrought in the heart of any believer. This I shall pass also, as having spoken to it already, only mind thee of thy weakness, in that thou shouldest make this conscience, that Christ hath given to every man, to be the same with the Spirit of Christ. And thou sayest further, that the light, that Christ hath lightened every one with, is the same in nature with the Spirit of Christ. O wonderful! that a man should be so foolish, and so much besides the truth, as to compare that nature, or conscience, that is given to every man; equal to the Spirit of Christ: nay, thou sayest that it is one with it in nature. Didst thou not blush when thou laidst it down? if thou didst not, thou mightest have done with shame enough. As I said before, because thy conscience will convince thee of sin, therefore thou wilt call it Christ, or as good as Christ. What! because the law will convince of sin, therefore the law must be called Christ. What ignorance is this? Nay, nature itself, that must have the pre-eminency, even as high as Christ Jesus, because it can tell a man that it is a shame for him to wear long hair.
Then thou askest me, can there be a surer thing for the creature to walk by, than by the light of Christ, which thou confessest every one hath, that cometh into the world. Answer, Friend, to the law, and to the testimony (sayeth the scriptures) for they testify of Christ. And if thou or any else, shall leave the scriptures, to follow the convictions of their own conscience; ye are not like to know Christ Jesus the Lord, for they may be defiled. And again, it is through the promises laid down in the scriptures, 'that we might be partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4), and not by our following of the law, or conscience (Gal 3:1-4).
But again, where I say, Heathens, Turks, Jews, Atheists, &c. have that which doth convince of sin, and yet are so far from having the Spirit of Christ in them, that they delight to do iniquity; and to serve their lust. Upon this thou movest this query; Do they, or I, or any other, serve sin and lust, because Christ hath not given us light, or because we hate this light.
Ans. This I do really confess, that every Heathen, Turk, or Jew, in this world, hath a conscience within them, that doth convince of sin; for the Gentiles which have not the law, that is, not the law in tables of stone, or written as we have; these do by nature, the things contained in the law; these having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing them witness, &c. And all men and women shall be left without excuse, even by the convictions of their own consciences, or the law. But now that these things are the Spirit of Christ, that I deny. For conscience is but a creature, a faculty of the soul of man, which God hath made. Neither is the law the Spirit of Christ; for the law is not of faith. They that are of the works of the law, are under the cruse, but they that have the spirit of Christ they are the children of God, and under grace, and delivered from the curse, as it is written (Gal 3:10), 'As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.' But what is it to be of the works of the law, or under the law? Ans. Why to seek to be justified by their obedience to the law. 'Israel which followed after the law of righteousness,' mark. They that follow after righteousness, do not attain to the law of righteousness; if they seek it not by faith: but as it were by the works of the law (Rom 9:30,31). But 'Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being [in our nature] made a curse for us' (Gal 3:10-13).
But whereas thou sayest, this conscience or law, which you would fain have called the Spirit of Christ, works in all men either to justify, or condemn. I do plainly deny, that either conscience, or the law can justify, though they can condemn. Mark, The law is called the ministration of condemnation, but not of life.
The gospel is called the ministration of life, but not of condemnation (2 Cor 3:9). The law was given that sin might be discovered. The gospel was sent, that sin might be taken away. The law worketh wrath; but the gospel is a gospel of peace (Rom 10). 'The law made nothing perfect' (Heb 7:19). But Christ justifieth from all those things from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:39).
And whereas thou askest me whether any thing doth convince of sin contrary to, or besides the Spirit of Christ.
I answer. There is conscience, and the law, yea, and nature itself that doth convince of sin; as before I have proved at large. Yet neither is conscience, the law; or nature itself the Spirit of Christ; no, but are much inferior to it, as being things of no glory in respect of it.
And again, that something doth convince of sin besides the Spirit of Christ, it is evident, for the law saith, 'Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in it to do them' (Gal 3:10). But the Spirit convinceth men of their unbelief, together with other sins. Now mark, The law also convinceth to work for life, the Spirit convinceth to believe for life; the law saith, He that doth not fulfil me, shall be damned. The Spirit saith, He that believeth in Christ shall be saved. Now observe the terms of the law and of the gospel, are different one from another as to justification. If men seek for life by the law; then the law saith, Fulfil me perfectly, and thou shalt live. The Spirit saith, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save those that by transgression had broken the law. For, for this cause saith the Spirit 'He [Jesus the Son of Mary, the Man Christ between God and us (1 Tim 2:5)] is the mediator of the New Testament.' For what? 'That by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance' (Heb 9:15). Now I would not be mistaken; I do not say, that the Spirit of Christ doth give the least liberty to sin; God forbid. But its convictions are of a more saving and refreshing nature than the convictions of the law, and do more constrain the soul to holiness than that.
The law saying, Work for life; the Spirit saying, 'Now to him that worketh not, [for life] but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness' (Rom 4:5), as thus, if I should owe to two creditors ten thousand talents; the one should say unto me, thou owest me five thousand talents, pay that thou owest; the other should say, thou owest me five thousand talents, and I frankly and freely forgive thee all. Now these expressions are contrary one to another: even so is the end of the convictions of the law, not according to the end of the convictions of the Spirit of Christ; the one saying, pay me that thou owest, the other saying, thou art frankly and freely forgiven all.
The next thing thou utterest is, where I say, 'Those that are alive unto sins, have not the Spirit of Christ.' But sayest thou, it is given to every man. Mark, thou sayest, It is given to every man. The Apostle saith, some are sensual, having not the Spirit (Jude 19). Who must we now believe, the Apostle or you? Certainly your doctrine is not according to truth, but a lie; as is clear, in that you will affirm, that which the Apostle doth deny.
Then thou sayest, I bring other vain arguments to prove that every one hath not the Spirit of Christ. This one is enough to prove it, that the Apostle saith, Some men have it not. But that which thou callest vain, I am sure neither thou nor any of thy fellows, are able to answer. One is to this purpose; the devils are so convinced of sin, that they did fear the torment that was to come upon them for their sins; and did fear also that the Son of Man was come to torment them for their sins, and yet the devils have not the spirit of Christ. So that it is evident, that we may be convinced of sin, and yet not by the Spirit of Christ. A second argument which thou callest vain, is this, Man in his coming into the world, hath his conscience given him, which doth convince of sin (John 8:9), yet man in his coming into the world, or as he cometh into the world, hath not the Spirit of Christ given him, for that must be received ordinarily afterward by the preaching of the word, which is preached by the minsters and servants of Jesus Christ (Acts 10:44), 'While Peter yet spake' to the people, 'the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.'
But farther, thou sayest, 'Until I prove the light of Christ contrary to the Spirit of Christ, thou wilt say, that every man hath that which is one in union, and like the spirit of Christ, even as good as the Spirit of Christ in its measure.'
Answer. Friend, I have proved already that every man hath not the Spirit of Christ, though they have that which thou dost call the Spirit of Christ, which is conscience and nature itself. And this I say again, that thou hast laid open thy weakness very much, to say that every man hath that which is as good as the Spirit of Christ. Friend, seeing the scriptures say, some have not the Spirit of Christ, how durst thou so blaspheme, as to say, then it is as good as the Spirit of Christ in its measure. Was there ever such a deal of ignorance discovered at one time by man, as to say, that every man hath the Spirit, or that which is as good as the Spirit; though the Spirit saith plainly, that some have not the Spirit, as I have proved plainly (Jude 19). Friend, what is there besides the Spirit that is as good as the Spirit. Be silent, and say no more so, lest thou dost through ignorance, or presumption, set up thy conscience or nature, as high and as good as the Spirit of Christ, when indeed they are not worthy to be compared with it, being weak, and not able to do that which is and hath been done by the Spirit of Christ.
Then thou art offended, because I said the devil doth deceive poor souls by bidding them listen within, and see if there be not that which doth convince of sin. Friend, all men have not the Spirit, though they have that conscience that doth convince of sin (John 8:9). Now seeing all men have not the Spirit, is it not a great deceit of the devil to persuade poor souls, that because they are convinced for sin by their own consciences, therefore they have the Spirit of Christ: surely it is from the devil. Because he would make thee believe that conscience, which is but a creature, is the Spirit of Christ, by whom the world was made. Again, because the soul, being persuaded that it hath the Spirit (when it hath it not) as all men naturally are without it (Eph 5:13,14), it is kept off from seeking and begging for it, being already persuaded (falsely) that it hath it.
And whereas thou sayest, the voice of the gospel is to bid listen within the hearts, as Paul preacheth. I deny that Paul biddeth listen within. But the scripture that you would fain make shelter for your error is this, where he saith, 'The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart' (Rom 10:8). That is, The word of faith which we preach. Now, Friend, faith is that which layeth hold of, or believeth the gospel. And that this is the meaning read the next verse: That (saith he) 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' So that it is clear that the word of faith, is to believe assuredly from the very heart, that God hath raised up Jesus from the dead, out of the grave into which he was laid by Joseph; and that he was raised again for my justification (Rom 4:25), as it is written (1 Cor 15), 'Moreover brethren [saith he,] I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you' at the first, 'which also you have received, and wherein ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory, [or assuredly believe,] what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.' But what was that gospel you preached? why, saith he (v 3), 'I delivered unto you first of all, that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: and that he was seen of - - the brethren after his resurrection,' &c. The word of the gospel, my friend, is, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he rose again according to the scriptures, and that he is ascended from his disciples, to prepare a place for them according to the scripture.
That he ever liveth to make intercession in his own person without, as mediator between God and man, according to the scripture (Heb 7:25).
That he will come again in the clouds with all his mighty angels, and before him shall all nations be gathered, according to the scriptures (1 Thess 4:16,17; Matt 25:31,32), after which time, his saints shall be ever with him according to the scriptures.
Again, thou art offended in that I said, Now the poor soul finding this to be so (that it is convinced of sin) all in haste (if it be willing to profess) through ignorance of the gospel, claps in with the motions of its own conscience, which doth command to abstain from this evil, and to practise that good. Which words of mine thou corruptest, and wrestest, and layest down in another form, as are to be seen in thy book. But now, friend, is not he ignorant of the gospel, which thinks his own conscience will lead him to eternal life, by commanding to abstain from this evil, and practise that good? Surely, if salvation comes by our conscience, or by the convictions or commands thereof, Christ Jesus died for nothing (Gal 2:21).
And whereas thou askest, what, and how doth the light of the gospel work, if not in the conscience. I answer, Though the light of the Spirit of God and the gospel be in the hearts of the elect of God; yet the gospel light is hid, and doth not shine so much as unto, much less into the consciences of some of them that be lost (2 Cor 4:3,4), that though the light of the gospel doth shine, and that gloriously too in the hearts of God's elect, yet it doth not follow, that the convictions of conscience is the gospel; no, nor the convictions of the law neither. And again, though every one of God's elect have the light of the glorious gospel shining in them, what argument is this to prove all men have the light of the gospel shining in them. No, saith Christ, 'I thank thee, O Father, because thou hast hid these things [the things of the gospel] from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes' (Matt 12:25). And whereas thou sayest (as I gather by thy words) that I call conscience the light of Christ, I say, if thou meanest by these words (the light of Christ) the Spirit of Christ, I do deny that every man hath it: but if thou callest conscience the light of Christ, or the highest light that is an unconverted man the light of Christ; then, I say, that the highest light that is in a natural or unconverted man (which you call the light of Christ) is not able by all its motions and convictions, nor yet by all the obedience that a man can yield to these convictions; I say, they are not able to deliver him from the wrath to come; for deliverance from that is obtained by the blood of Jesus, which was shed on the cross, without the gate of Jerusalem (as I have often said) (Eph 1:7 compared with Heb 13:12) and not any light within a natural man.
And whereas thou sayest that I said, the devil counterfeits the new birth by persuading to follow the light of the world. I answer, Thou hast most naughtily belied me. The words that I said (speaking of the devil before) are these; Now he counterfeits the new birth (said I) by persuading them that it is wrought by following the light that they brought into the world with them; as is clearly seen in my book. Friend, I wonder that you should so boldly profess yourself to be led by the Spirit of Christ, when you make it manifest that you are guided by the spirit of Satan. Was not he a liar? and hast not thou been led by a lying spirit also, in wresting of my words as thou hast done?
But I do freely declare again, that Satan doth deceive those souls, whom he persuades the new birth is wrought in, by following the light they brought into the world with them; for men as they come into the world, do not receive the Spirit, for it is given to the elect afterwards; neither have all men the Spirit. And he that hath the new birth, must have it by, and through the Spirit; as it is written, 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' Therefore, if men do not bring the Spirit into the world with them; and if nothing without the Spirit, or nothing but the Spirit, will or can work the new birth in a man: it must needs follow, that they who think the new birth is wrought by that light or conscience which they brought into the world with them, must needs be beguiled by Satan.
I do pass by many of thy raging expressions, which I might justly charge with much unrighteousness; but I know the time is short, and then whatsoever thou hast done in secret, shall be laid open upon the house tops, therefore I forbear them.
Again, thou art offended because I said, now Satan makes the soul believe he is its friend, and that he is a gospel minister (2 Cor 11:14), and if the soul will be led by what shall be made known to it, from the light or conscience within, it shall not need to fear, but it shall do well. I said it then, and I say it now; and I know that he that doth think to be born again by following his conscience, or any other light that is in an unregenerate man, will be deceived, and shall one day know, that there is a difference between conscience and Christ; between the light of nature, and the Spirit of God.
Quest. But you may say, how can you prove that conscience is not of the same nature, of the Spirit of Christ?
Ans. 1. They that are unbelieving, even their conscience is defiled ( Titus 1:15). But so cannot be the Spirit of Christ.
Ans. 2. Conscience is not of the same nature with the Spirit of Christ, for conscience may be hardened or seared with an hot iron: as it is written (1 Tim 4:2). But so cannot be the Spirit of Christ.
Ans. 3. Our consciences naturally are evil, 'having [saith the scripture] our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience' (Heb 10:22). But so is not the Spirit of Christ.
But again whereas you said, that I said, they will not speak except the Spirit move them, &c. thou dost falsely speak of me, and again dost corrupt my words; for I said, How they will not speak except their spirit move them, (I do not say the Spirit of Christ) (said I) Friend; if you can be lead to life by your own spirit, if your own spirit will learn you the things of the Spirit of God; and if you can speak them with and in your own spirit, in that demonstration that they are spoken, when they are spoken in the Spirit of Christ; (which all men have not) then say that I speak false things; but till that time hold your peace. Thus I pass by, leaving many of thy scolding terms to thyself. The next thing thou sayest is, that I did run but was not sent, like unto my forefathers: and therefore sayest thou, I do not profit the people at all. Ans. Which accusation of thine, I shall leave to be taken notice of by the people of God in the country where I dwell, who will testify the contrary for me, setting aside the carnal ministry, with their retinue; who are as made against me as thyself.
But farther, thou art somewhat distempered, and discontented that I said, 'Many sad and horrible doctrines are vented by you.' And you said, I named nothing. Ans. I need not, thine own speech betrayeth thee, that thou art one of them, that do such things; and I need go no further than thy own mouth and doctrine. But if it will be more satisfaction to tell you wherein, they of your society do hold sad doctrine I shall.
1. Therefore your society do hold and affirm, that that man which was hanged on the cross between two thieves, called Jesus; in his person is within you, contrary to the scripture (Acts 1:11).
2. You say that Christ is crucified within, dead within, risen and ascended within; which also you have no word of scripture to prove.
3. Your Society affirm, that the coming of the Spirit into the hearts of believers, is Christ his second coming, when the scriptures do plainly hold forth, that the coming of Christ in the Spirit was before his coming in the flesh; as in 1 Peter 1:10, 11 where the apostle speaking of the prophets inquiring into the great salvation which was afterwards to be accomplished, saith, 'Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.' Mark, here is the Spirit of Christ in the prophets, long before the first coming of Christ in the flesh, which was when he was born of Mary the Virgin, the Spirit of Christ, saith he, did testify before hand the suffering of Christ, to the prophets, which were before Christ came in the flesh, as the scriptures hold forth plentifully.
4. But again, you deny the second coming of that very Man, with that very body, which was born of the Virgin Mary; and say, his second coming is not his coming again personally, but his coming in the Spirit only; and that is all you look for, when the scripture saith; That same Jesus (who appeared to his disciples after his passion (Acts 1:3)) shall so come, even as they did see him depart from them into heaven; which was a very Man, as well as very God. And will come again, a very Man, as well as very God, at the end of the world. For it is that Man; namely, he that was crucified, whom God raised again, must be the judge of quick and dead (Acts 10:39-42) seriously compared.
5. Again, you say, that every man hath the Spirit of Christ, which is a sad doctrine, because contrary to the scripture (Jude 19). And you say, there is that in every man which is as good as the Spirit of Christ; which is a blasphemous doctrine. Besides many other things which they of your own spirit have most sadly spoken; which I shall not mention, being so commonly known to the saints of the Lord, before whom you have openly, and without fear (at least in shew) spoken. Which will doubtless be laid open to your sorrow and great amazement, at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then thou art offended because I said, I wonder that the Lord doth not either cause the ground to open her mouth and swallow you up: or else suffer the devil to fetch you away, to the astonishing the whole world. Certainly, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did not so horribly transgress, as you have done. Yet his hand on them (no question) was as it were the astonishment of the world. Therefore I may well wonder that you are not served so. Only this I consider, it may be, you have not yet filled up the measure of your wickedness; therefore is not the hand of God as yet upon you.
The next thing I take notice of is, that thou findest fault with mine answer to this question. 'But doth not the scripture say, that it is the Spirit of Christ that doth convince of sin?' Thou sayest it is a good question, but I have confounded it in the answer, and not answered plainly. Wherefore I shall not at all stick at the pains, to give the reader in brief some of the heads of the answer I then gave to it word for word, or to the same purpose. The answer was, yes, the Spirit doth convince of sin; but for the better understanding of this place, I shall lay down this, said I, That there are two things spoken of in scripture, that do manifest or convince of sin. First, the law (Rom 3:20), 'For by the law is the knowledge of sin.' Secondly, the Spirit of Christ doth also the same, as it is written, 'And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin' (John 16:7-9). Now say I, sometimes the law itself, by its own power doth manifest sin, as in the case of Judas, who was so far from having the Spirit of Christ, that the devil had very great possession of him. Which things my adversary doth wrangle at, yet dares not affirm the contrary: only saith this, he had the righteous law of God written in his heart: which thing is not the Spirit of Christ. The law is not of faith. The law is not the comforter, but rather a tormentor: yet the Spirit of Christ is a comforter. Again say I, the Spirit of Christ doth take the law, and doth effectually convince of sin, &c. Then I put forth another question, saying, 'But how should I know whether I am convinced by the law alone, or whether the law be effectually set home by the Spirit?' To which I answer, when the law doth convince by its own power, it doth convince only of sins against the law; as lying, swearing, stealing, &c. pronouncing an horrible curse against thee if thou fulfil it not, and there leaves thee, but gives thee no power to fulfil it completely and continually, which thou must do, if thou be saved thereby. With which my adversary is much offended; also saying, that I am confounded in my discourse, and so leaves me, confuting none of my words by holy scripture, but falls a railing, because I reckon Pharisees and Quakers together.
Only this much he saith; That I make it a light thing to be convinced by the law, and then brings in that scripture; 'This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light'; cunningly corrupting of it, and would fain have you understand it as spoken of the law, when the Son of Mary speaks it of himself, which was not the law, but the Saviour. And that he might the better go away undiscerned, he saith, and the law is light, therefore the light is the law (saith he). But I perceive that he doth not yet understand the difference between the light of the law, and the light of the gospel; but would fain make the law and Christ one Saviour: the one being but only a condemning light, and nothing else; the other a saving comfortable light. And whereas thou sayest, I make it a light thing to be convinced by the law, I answer; the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; and I honour it in its place; yet if they make a Saviour of it, they make an idol of it, and wrest it out of its proper place. Also, if they think that it is Christ, they are much deceived.
But farther, he put me to prove any such distinction in scripture as that there is anything made mention of therein that doth convince of sin, beside the Spirit of Christ: which thing I have already answered, where I said the scripture saith, 'By the law is the knowledge of sin' (Rom 3:20). And again, doth not even nature itself teach you, that it is a shame for a man to wear long hair (1 Cor 11:14), and also conscience, which are neither of them the Spirit of Christ, but much inferior to the same; yet this also convinceth of sin (John 8:9).
But to the other thing, which is the answer that I give in my book to this objection: But I am not only convinced of my sins (may some say) but have also some power against my sins; so that I do in some measure abstain from the sins forbidden in the law. And because I say, this thou mayest have and do, as thou thinkest, perfectly too [as thou thinks, mark that] as those fond hypocrites, called Quakers [think] that they also do, and yet be but a natural man. Here my adversary is very much offended, and calls me perverter of the right way of the Lord; and saith, Shew me any natural man in the scripture that hath done it. Whereas had he been but willing to have laid down the scripture I brought to prove it, he needed not to have looked for a second answer. But because he would have it again, I will therefore shew you, that natural men merely by nature may be convinced, and abstain from those things forbidden in the law, and think they do it perfectly, nay, they do the things contained in the law. For saith the apostle (Rom 2:14), 'When the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature [mark, do by nature] the things contained in the law, these [the Gentiles] having not the law, are a law unto themselves.' Mark; the Gentiles do by nature the things contained in, or held forth, or made mention of by the law; the light also that they have, it is themselves, being a law to themselves; that is, their consciences (being of themselves) bearing them witness and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one another (v 15), though they cannot be saved thereby.
Again, when Paul was a natural man, and a persecutor of Jesus Christ, he saith of himself, that then he was, 'touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless' (Phil 3:6). And whereas thou sayest, thou hadst rather choose to be one of those who abstain from those things forbidden in the law, and to have power over sin, than to live in the transgression of the law; this is fair spoken, and it doth shew that thou art under the convictions of the law; and if it be no worse, I fear thy state other less, though it be bad enough; yet this I say, If thy soul be not saved freely by the blood of that man who was crucified on Mount Calvary, and by his merits alone done by himself in his own person, thou, notwithstanding wilt fall short of eternal life. For by the works of the law, shall not flesh living be justified (Rom 3:20). Though by it be the knowledge of sin, and a command to abstain from the same. And thus have I spoken to thy 21 page.
But farther thou sayest, that thou fearest I worship the name Mary, because I mention her name so much.
[I reply] If thou hadst said, I worship her Son, thou hadst said truly (I hope) But is not thy spite more against her Son, than her? I doubt it is; for neither thou, nor thy companions can endure that one should say, he is still the same that was born of Mary, flesh and bones, a very man, now absent from his people, though in them in his Spirit.
Again, thou sayest I said, 'That as he is God, Christ lighteneth every man that comes into the world'; which thing again I say. What then? Then say you, I will mind you of one scripture which you yourself have quoted, which saith 'The law is light' (Prov 6:23). Therefore sayest thou, 'The light is the law.' Give me leave here to take thy words in twain:--
First, if when thou sayest, then the law is light, thou mean, the light of the law is the light of the law, and no more, thou sayest right. But if thou mean the light of the law, is the light of the gospel, or the Spirit of Christ, I must needs reprove thee. For I tell thee again, the law is not of faith, the law makes nothing perfect (Heb 7:19). The law is but a weak and unprofitable thing, as to justification (Heb 7:13), though as I said before, it is good if it be used lawfully; which is, not to seek or look for justification thereby, nor yet to say, it is the Spirit of Christ.
Then farther thou art offended, because I said, when the Spirit of Christ convinceth, it convinceth of more sins than the sins against the law. Friend, will the law shew a man that his righteousness is sin and dung? No, for though the law will shew a man that his failing in the acts of righteousness is sin; yet I question, whether the law will shew, that a man's own righteousness is sin. For there is in scripture [that which] saith it doth, or can.
Secondly, shew me, if thou canst, that the sin of unbelief is spoken against in all the ten commandments, or that called the moral law. But now the Spirit of Christ convinceth of unbelief, that is, it sheweth, that if men do not believe, that they have redemption by the obedience of that man who was laid in the manger, hanged on the cross, &c. I say, it sheweth, that those who do not lay hold on what he hath done and suffered without them in his own body on the tree (through the operation of his Spirit, which he hath promised to give to them that ask him) or else they have not yet been convinced of the sin of unbelief, and so are still in a perishing condition; notwithstanding their strict obedience, to the light within them, or to the law. And now tell me, you that desire to mingle the law and the gospel together, and to make of both one and the same gospel of Christ: Did you ever see yourselves undone and lost, unless the righteousness, blood, death, resurrection and intercession of that man Christ Jesus (in his own person) was imputed to you? and until you could by faith own it as done for you, and counted yours by imputation, yea, or no? Nay rather, have you not set up your consciences, and the law, and counted your obedience to them better, and of more value, than the obedience of the Son of Mary without you, to be imputed to you? and if so, it is because you have not been savingly convinced by the Spirit of Christ, of the sin of unbelief.
Other things thou dost quarrel against, but seeing they are in effect the same with the former, I pass them by; and shall come to the next thing thou dost think to catch me withal, and that is; because I say, that 'God only is the Saviour, there is none besides him.' Therefore sayest thou, how contrary is this to that where I say, How wickedly are they deluded, who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began. Now this is no contradiction as thou wouldst have it; for though I say there is none but God our Saviour, yet I did also then in my book shew how he was our Saviour, namely, 'in that he came into the world, being born of a virgin, made under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, by his obedience in that nature, by suffering in that nature, by his rising again in that nature, and by carrying that nature into heaven with him,' as the scriptures at large declare; and therefore, though I say God is our Saviour, and none besides him; yet they that own him to be the Saviour no otherwise than as he was before the world began, are such was deny that he is come in the flesh, and so are of antichrist (1 John 2). For before God could actually be a Saviour, he must partake of another nature than the divine, even the nature of man (Heb 2:14,15).
Again, thou sayest, it is a slander put upon the Quakers, to say, they slight the resurrection: Ans. What say you, Do you believe the resurrection of the body after it is laid in the grave? Do you believe that the saints that have been this four or five thousand years in their graves shall rise, and also the wicked, each one with that very body wherein they acted in this world; some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt? Answer plainly, and clear yourselves, but I know you dare not, for you deny these things.
But if you speak doubtfully, or covertly in answer thereunto; I doubt not but God will help me to find you out, and lay open your folly; if I shall live till another cavil by you be put forth against the truth.
The next thing thou cavillest at is, that query raised from Ephesians 4:10 and thou sayest I have not answered it. You should have answered it better, or else have confuted that answer I gave unto it, and then you had done something: But the great thing that troubles thee is, because I say, (further in my book) he that ascended from his disciples, was a very man, 'Handle me and see; saith Christ, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.' Now let the adversary shew by the scripture (said I) that there is in them any place called heaven, which is able to contain a man of some four or five foot long (or a competent man of flesh and bones) for the space of fifteen or sixteen hundred years, but that above the clouds, which troubles thee so, that it makes thy tongue run thou canst not tell how; but know, that when the son of man shall come from heaven to judge the world in righteousness, that which thou callest foolishness now, thou wilt find a truth then to thy own wrong, if thou close not in with him, who said, 'Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have' (Luke 24:39).
Another thing that thou art troubled at, is, in that I do reckon the Quakers to be of the deluding party; when alas, all men that have eyes to see; may easily discern, that you are of that generation, as will appear in part by your own expressions, both now, and also at other times. But that you may take off the brand from yourselves, you say, that the false prophets and antichrist, were in the apostle days, as though there should be no false prophets now, when the very time we live in doth manifestly declare, and hold forth, that there are many, who at this day seek to beguile unstable souls, of which sort you are not the least, though for ought I can learn as yet, you are the last, (that are come into the world) but that you may the better shift it from yourselves, you say, that in those days there was not a Quaker heard of; namely, in the days of John. Friend, thou hast rightly said, there was not a Quaker heard of indeed, though there were many Christians heard of then. By this you yourselves do confess, that you are a new upstart sect, which was not at other times in the world, though Christian saints have been always in the world. Friend, here like a man in the dark, in seeking to keep thyself out of one ditch, thou art fallen into another; instead of proving yourselves no false prophets, you prove yourselves no Christians, saying, There was not a Quaker heard of then. But if quakers had been Christians, then they would have been heard of to the glory of God, and his Christ.
Again to defend thyself thou throwest the dirt in my face, saying; If we should diligently trace thee, we should find thee in their steps, meaning false prophets, through fained words, through covetousness making merchandise of souls, loving the wages of unrighteousness.
Friend, dost thou speak this as from thy own knowledge, or did any other tell thee so? However, that spirit that led thee out this way, is a lying spirit. For though I be poor, and of no repute in the world, as to outward things; yet through grace I have learned by the example of the apostle to preach the truth; and also to work with my hands, both for mine own living, and for those that are with me, when I have opportunity. And I trust that the Lord Jesus, who hath helped me to reject the wages of unrighteousness hitherto, will also help me still, so that I shall distribute that which God hath given me freely, and not for filthy lucre's sake. Other things I might speak in vindication of my practice in this thing: but ask of others, and they will tell thee that the things I say are truth: and hereafter have a care of receiving anything by hearsay only, lest you be found a publisher of those lies which are brought to you by others, and so render yourself the less credible; but be it so.
And as for your thinking, that to drink water, and wear no hatbands, is not walking after your own lusts; I say, that whatsoever men do make a religion out of, having no warrant for it in the scripture, is but walking after their own lusts, and not after the Spirit of God. Thus have I passed thy 23d page.
And lest you should think that the Quakers are not such as condemned me and others for preaching according to the scriptures; as you would fain clear yourselves of this charge laid against you in my book, by your saying, you deny the accusation to be true upon any of the Quakers. I shall therefore tell you of your sister Anne Blackly, who did bid me in the audience of many, 'To throw away the scriptures.' To which I answered, 'No, for then the devil would be too hard for me.'
And again, because I said, The man Christ Jesus was above the clouds and the heavens, now absent from his people in the world, touching his bodily presence; she said, I preached up an idol, and used conjuration and witchcraft. Which things I should rather have desired her to repent of, than to make her a public example for others to take warning by; but that it is expedient that your folly be laid open, that others may fear to do as you have done.
But farther, thou chargest me with a loud crying out against Christ within. This is thy throwing of dirt in my face again, for I have said it often, that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.
Again thou sayest that I do take in hand to prove or discover that the doctrine of Christ within, is a false opinion.
Thou dost also here speak falsely of me, for all that I take in hand to prove, is this, That they hold a false opinion (and principles too) who hold up a Christ within, in opposition to Christ without, who is the Saviour; as doth plainly appear by my following discourse, if you read from page 203 to the end of my book.
But in the next place, after much railing, thou comest to the place where I again ask this question, 'Doth not the scripture make mention of a Christ within?'
To which I answer, Yes, and he that hath it not is none of his. But to lay open my folly at last thou sayest, Doth not the scripture say, Christ is within you, except ye be reprobates? and is not this thus much, are not all they reprobates (say you) but they in whom Christ is within?
Ans. they are indeed reprobates who have not Christ within them; but now, how is thy folly manifest? that in one place thou shouldest confess some are reprobates, who have not Christ within; and yet thou sayest, it is given to every man. And thou sayest, that a measure of the Spirit is given to every man, and is given within him too, though the scripture declareth the contrary, and thyself also now at last. It is well thou dost recant so much, as to eat thy first words at the last, or at least to show thyself unstable in judgment: Friend, thou mayest see, the more thou dost fight against the truth, the more thou foilest thyself: Partly by helping of it, and partly by contradicting thyself.
One thing more thou dost befool thyself with; and that is, in that thou in the first place sayest thou ownest the words in my book, and yet hath spent some four sheets of paper to vent thy thoughts against them.
But peradventure thou wilt say; those words that I own are not those that I speak against, but the other. To which I answer, There are many things in my book spoken of by me that are truth, which if you own, you must leave professing yourself a Quaker. As,
1. That that man that was born of the virgin Mary, called Jesus (I say you will not own) that he in his own person, by himself without us, did completely bring in everlasting life for us, by offering up himself once for all upon the cross.
2. That Christ who wrought out redemption for his children, did after he had wrought it out, go away from them, and not into them in his person.
3. That he ever liveth, that very man to make intercession in his person, in the presence of his Father without, until the end of the world.
4. That that very man who did go away from his disciples into heaven, will come again personally the same man the second time, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall judge them for their sins: and take his to himself, who shall soul and body be with him to all eternity; these things (I say) thou couldest not own, though they are the truth of God. But leaving thee to the great God, who will give thee according to thy works, in this as in other things: I shall come to thy answers to my queries.
Query. 1. The first query that I propounded is, If thou sayest that every man hath a measure of the Spirit of Christ within him, why say the scriptures, 'Some are sensual, having not the Spirit.' And when Christ telleth his disciples, of sending them the Spirit, he saith, the world cannot receive it. Here in the first place thou hast not only answered deceitfully, but hast also corrupted my words in laying down the query, in that thou didst leave out some words, for thou didst lay it down thus: 'If thou sayest that every man hath a measure of the Spirit of Christ within him, why say the scriptures, some are sensual, having not the Spirit': and Christ saith, 'The world cannot receive it.' (Reader, compare them both together.)
Now thy answer, is, 'Some are sensual, having not the Spirit, because they receive it not, and some cannot receive it, because they believe not on him from whence it comes.' Yet sayest thou, 'The measure of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal,' as the scriptures say: when there is no scripture faith, a measure of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. But again, see here thy strange confusion. 1. To say, some have it not. 2. To say every man hath it. But you would make a difference between having and receiving: but I tell thee, he that hath it hath received it (Gal 3:2), and he that hath not received it, hath it not (Jude 19).
Query 2. My second query was, 'What is the church of God redeemed by from the curse of law? Is it by something done within them, or by something done without them?' If you say, it is redeemed by something that worketh in them, then why did the man Christ Jesus hang on the cross on Mount Calvary, without the gate of Jerusalem, for the sins of his children? And why do the scriptures say, 'That through this man is preached to us the forgiveness of sins?'
The answer thou givest is, 'The church of God is redeemed by Christ Jesus, which is revealed in all believers. And Christ Jesus wrought in them mightily; And it was he that wrought in them to will and to do.'
This is plain scripture, and the man Christ Jesus (sayest thou) hanged on the cross on Mount Calvary: because, they wickedly judged him to be a blasphemer, and through their envy persecuted him to death; because he bare witness against them, and as in their account he died, and hanged on the cross, for an evil doer. And this is one ground (at least) why he hanged on the cross, &c.
Ha Friend? I had thought thou hadst not been so much hardened; art thou not ashamed thus to slight the death of the Man Christ Jesus on the cross; and reckon it not effectually for salvation, but sayest, the church is redeemed by Christ Jesus which is revealed within. And to confirm it, thou dost also corruptly bring in two scriptures.
The one saith, 'Whereunto I also labour according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.' By which words Paul signifies thus much, 'That as God was with him in the ministry of the word, so did he also strive according to his working which wrought in him mightily.' What is this to the purpose? See Colossians 1:26-30. And also, the other scripture makes nothing to prove, that the church of God is redeemed by Christ within, as he is within. Only you must corrupt the scriptures, and be transformed (though ministers of darkness) into an angel of light, if you will do any mischief.
And now, that thy answer is false, I shall clearly prove. First, because thou deniest that redemption was wrought out for sinners by the Man Christ Jesus on the cross, or tree, on Mount Calvary; when the scripture saith plainly, that when he did hang on the tree, then did he bear all our sins there in his own body (1 Peter 2:24). And secondly, In thy saying it is redeemed by Christ within, by being within; when the work of the Spirit of Christ in believers, is to make known to the soul by dwelling within, which way and how they were redeemed by the Man Christ Jesus on the cross. And this I prove farther, because when thou art forced to answer to these words, Why did the Man Christ Jesus hang on the cross on Mount Calvary for the sins of his children? Thou sayest, because they wickedly judged him to be a blasphemer. Friend, I did not ask thee why the Jews did put him to death? But why was he crucified there for the sins of his children? But thou willing to cover over thine error, goest on cunningly saying, and through their envy they persecuted him to death, for an evil doer. This is one ground at least, &c.
Friend, but that thou art ashamed to own the gospel of Jesus Christ, thou wouldest have said, he was crucified there for the sins of the world; and by his offering up of himself upon the cross, he did for ever perfect them that are sanctified. Nay, thou wouldest have studied to exalt his dying there; first, by shewing what a sad condition we were in without it; Secondly, by holding forth the manifold and great privileges that we have by his dying for us there. But thou art at enmity against the things of God, as is clearly seen by those that have indeed the Spirit of God in them, and are enabled thereby to discern you. And though you say, there is no other that can forgive sin, nor the blood of any other that can take away sin, but the blood of God. Yet thou deniest, that the blood of him, who was, and is truly God as well as Man, Christ Jesus: I say, thou deniest that his blood that was shed without Jerusalem Gates, doth wash away sin from the saints of God: and cunningly (though not at this time uttered) concluding that the blood of God was shed for sin on a cross within. If it be not so, then call me liar; but it will clearly appear so to be in your answer to my third query.
Query 3. What scripture have you to prove, that Christ is, or was crucified within you, dead within you, risen within you, ascended within you?
Thy answer is, There is no scripture that mentions every of our names in particular. And thy query (sayest thou) is raised from a misunderstanding of us, so I judge. But Christ is within us, that we do not deny, and he is the Lamb that was slain in the streets of the great city, which is spiritually called Sodom, and Egypt (mind spiritually) and he is now risen, and ascended; this we know, and leave thee to receive a further answer from them that are led by a spirit of delusion.
Friend, How dost thou run about the bush, seeking to scrabble up an answer, but findest not a right one, and wouldst also fain hold out, that Christ is, or was crucified within, dead within, risen and ascended within; but seeing thou canst not with or by the scriptures give an answer; then seeing thyself left of them, through the strength of carnal reason, thou goest about this way. Is there any of our names made mention of in scripture, or to that purpose, and wouldst fain infer from thence, that because we have names, though not mentioned in scripture, therefore, Christ is, and was crucified within, though not mentioned in the scriptures. Friend, Thy sophistry deceives thee.
The second Argument, which is like the first, is this, He is the Lamb slain in the streets of the great city, spiritually called Sodom and Egypt. Now from the word 'spiritually,' thou wouldest willingly infer also, that Christ is and was crucified within, dead within, and risen within you, and therefore thou sayest, mind spiritually. Friend, I may well mind thy spiritual wickedness, by which thou wouldest willingly cover thy heresy, but it will not be. Though thou dare not speak plainly in so many words, yet the thoughts of thy heart are made manifest, by the words that flow from thee.
Ah Friend! That thou couldest but close with the truth, and venture thy soul upon what was done by Jesus on the cross without the gates of Jerusalem, for it is by and through that blood that was there shed that we have redemption (Heb 13:12 compared with Col 1:20), and remission of sins (Eph 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24).
Query 4. My fourth query was, Is that very Man that was crucified between two thieves, whose name was Jesus the Son of Mary, is he the very Christ of God, yea, or nay?
Thy Answer is, Yes, he is the very Christ of God, which was before the world was, by whom the world was made, who was made manifest from Mary's womb, and was persecuted to death by the Scribes and Pharisees, in whose steps thou treadest in asking subtile questions to ensnare the innocent, as they did. Read thy example (sayest thou) and thyself to be an enemy to God's Christ.
This Answer is doubtfully given, I did not ask thee whether he was the Christ of God, that was before the world was; but I asked thee whether he was the Christ of God, that did hang between two thieves on Mount Calvary. Now I know the Christ of God was before the world was; but thou art afraid to look upon him, as suffering on the cross on Mount Calvary, between two thieves for our sins. But contrary-wise, wouldst willingly own him to be no otherwise, but as he was before the world, which thing is very dangerous; for he that doth so, doth lay aside all things, that in his own person he did in the flesh that he took from the Virgin Mary, as to justification and salvation; only supposing him to be but an example, and so bespatters all his merit and righteousness, by your false conclusions, which in his own person he accomplished for our justification.
And Friend, hadst thou not been afraid of thyself, thou wouldst have been so far from calling these my queries, subtil questions, that thou wouldst have owned them, and have given a sober Christian answer to them, instead of a railing accusation. But it matters not, it hath but made thee shew thyself the more, which peradventure for a time might otherwise have lien hid.
Query 5. My fifth query was, 'Is that very man with that very body within you, yea, or no?' To which thou answerest: 'The very Christ of God is within us, we dare not deny him; and we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, as the Ephesians were: They that are led with a spirit of delusion, shall answer the rest of this thy query, if they will.'
Thy answer is nothing to the question, for I did not ask, whether the Spirit of Christ was in thee? (though I question the truth of that) But I asked you whether that very Man, with that very body, (or the body of Christ that was hanged on the cross) be within you? But I see you are minded to famble, and will not answer plainly. But thou answerest, saying, 'We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, as the Ephesians were.' This is nothing to the purpose neither; for it is one thing for a man to be a member of the flesh and bones of Christ, and another thing to have the flesh and bones of Christ within him. What, because believers are members one of another, must they therefore be also one in another? No. Even so, though a believer be a member of the body, flesh and bones of Christ; it doth not therefore follow, that Christ, flesh and bones is within him. But thou art loth to discover thyself in plain terms, though thou art made manifest full sore against thy will; for thou dost here also, though very cunningly, signify, that thou ownest Christ no otherwise, but as he is within. And to own him no otherwise, is still against the gospel and faith of the Apostles, who said, they were absent from him while they were at home in the body, or here below (2 Cor 5:6).
Query 6. My sixth query was this, 'Was that very Jesus, that was born of the Virgin Mary, a real man of flesh and bones after his resurrection out of Joseph's sepulchre, yea or nay. The scriptures say he was; and if so, then did that man go away from his disciples, and not into them, as the scriptures declare; or did he with that body of flesh go into his disciples, as some fond dreamers think.'
Thy answer is, What the scripture speaks of Christ, we own to be truth, and own him to be what the scriptures speak of him; and all men's imaginations of him we deny, and their false interpretations of the scripture concerning him. And let the fond dreamers, who err in their thoughts, be reproved; for we dare own nothing but what the Spirit of the Lord bears witness of according to the scriptures. And thus far I answer in behalf of the Quakers; and let them that are led with a spirit of delusion answer the rest, which concerns themselves.
This answer hath some pretended fairness in it. But yet we know you, that you can wrest the scriptures to your own destruction; and that is clear, in that though you say you own him as the scriptures speak of him, yet you deny him as the scriptures speak of him in part. And if at any time you plead one truth, it is that you might by your corrupt dealing with that, clash against another: as for instance: You profess you own Christ within, but withal, with that doctrine you will smite against the doctrine of Christ Jesus in his person without, and deny that, though that is a truth, as is also the other. You do use the truth of the resurrection of saints, from a state of nature, to a state of grace, to fight against that truth of the resurrection of the bodies of saints out of their graves; together with other things that I might add, as your holding forth the intercession of the Spirit of Christ within, in opposition to the intercession of Christ in his person without in the heavens. Which things being thus done, they shew forth a great deal either of ignorance or presumption, knowingly to fight against the truth. And in this that thou answerest so generally, and not particularly to the question, it is evident that thou dost not plainly declare thy mind, but dost keep that in thy bosom, which thou darest not manifest to the world.
Query 7. My seventh query was, 'Hath that Christ that was with God the Father before the world was, no other body but his church?' If you say No, as it is your wonted course; then again I ask you, 'What was that in which he did bear the sins of his children? If you say, in his own body on the tree; then I ask, Whether that body in which he did bear our sins, was, or is, the church of God, yea, or no?' Again, if you say he hath no other body but his church, then I ask, What that was that was taken down from the cross? But here thou puttest a stop to the rest of my words, with an &c.
Thy answer is, In this thou hast not only queried, but slandered; therefore thy slander (sayest thou) I do remove. It is our wonted course, sayest thou, to say, That Christ hath no other body but his church. Thou art here a false accuser. But we say, the church is Christ's body; and it is sufficient for salvation to know Christ Jesus to be head in us, and over us, and ourselves to be members of his body; which thou sayest is his church. And what thou intendest by making so many foldings in one query, sayest thou, it may be judged it is to insnare; and in that thou answerest, thou answerest thyself for us in some things, that thou mightest have a further ground to lay a deeper snare; we do deny thee and thy spirit, and see thee to be only feeding in thy imaginations upon the report of things, without the life: And thy religion stands in disputes and controversies, and queries, and many words. But our religion stands in the exercise of a pure conscience towards God, and towards man; whether we speak, or be silent: These are thy words.
Now in my query thou sayest I slander, in that I say, you Quakers allow of no other body of Christ; but the Church of Christ; yet dost thou not clear thyself at all, only thou wouldest say something to dazzle the eyes of the ignorant. But friend, if thou wouldest have made it appear that I slandered in saying, you own no other body but the church; you should have said yes, we do own this, That Christ hath a body that is now in glory, ascended from his disciples, according to the scripture (Acts 1:3 compared with verses 9-11). But thou dost only fling up a few words into the air, that thou mightest thereby puzzle thy simple reader. But I bless God, for my part I do see thee, that thou dost, like a beguiled man, seek by all means to beguile others. And whereas thou sayest, It is sufficient to salvation, to know Christ Jesus as head in us, and over us. To this I answer, whatsoever thy meaning is by these words, yet there are none shall be saved, but those who through the mighty operation of the Spirit of Christ, are enabled to apply what the man Christ Jesus the Son of Mary hath done and suffered, and is now a-doing for sinners and saints, (and for him) in the presence of his Father, now ascended in his body of flesh and bones, from his children which are alive in this world. I say, there are none shall be saved, but those that are thus established, or shall be so, as is clear (1 Peter 1:18,19, 2:24, 3:18,22, 4:1; 2 Peter 1:17; Heb 7:24,25, 10:7,9, 13:12; 1 Tim 2:5,6; Eph 1:7; Acts 13:37-39) with many other scriptures. And again, when you say, I answer you in something, if you mean, that the body in which he did bare the sins of his children, is his church (for that is partly my query,) then I do say, that your doctrine is desperate and devilish; and you do thereby undervalue the death, blood, resurrection and ascension, intercession and second coming again of that man for salvation; and therefore for a better satisfaction to all who may read your book, I entreat you to answer, 'Did he bear our sins in that body which is his church, or did he bear our sins in that body that did hang on the cross on Mount Calvary?' Answer plainly I beseech you.
And now friend, passing by the rest of thy brawlings, I shall come to thy several queries, and shall answer to them in the simplicity of my soul, not laying down any doubtful expressions, but in all plainness, and not as you do. For the better understanding of them, by those that read them.
These be the Quaker's Queries, and my Answers to them.
Query 1. 'Is any man justified in the sight of God, but he that followeth Christ; and is it not a work to follow Christ, yea or nay, and what is the sight of God.'
Ans. He that followeth Christ aright, must first believe in Christ; for how shall they follow him, in whom they believe not. Now then the scripture saith, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life (John 3:16-18) so then we are justified by believing; and if so, then to follow Christ is rather a fruit of our believing, than justification itself. And whereas you ask, What is the sight of God? I answer, To be justified in the sight of God by Jesus Christ, is for God to look on such poor creatures as we are; as complete, without spot or wrinkle, in the obedience of the man Christ Jesus; who otherwise could not behold them in love, because of their iniquity (Habb 1:3).
Query 2. 'Whether will that faith justify a man which hath not works, seeing the scripture, or the Apostle saith, faith without works is dead; and what is that which worketh faith; and where is it, within, or without?'
Ans. That faith that hath not works is dead, being alone. Yet it doth not follow, that all that have works, have faith. No; but contrary-wise, men may have works, yea, the works of the law of God too, and yet be under the curse (Gal 3:10-13); which they could not be if they had saving faith. So then, if faith without works is dead; and again, if men may have works, and yet no faith, no saving faith, I mean: Then it will be good to inquire, what it is to have a right faith, which doth bring forth right good works; and who have works without a right faith. And.
(1.) A right saving faith, is, for a man to be enabled of God's holy Spirit, to lay hold on what the man Christ hath done in his own person, when he was in the world? as his birth, righteousness, death, blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession; and to apply the virtue and merit thereof to himself, so as to see himself saved thereby (Rom 4:24,25). Being justified freely by his grace: How? Even through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, or reconciler, through faith in his blood, &c. Again, 'Be it known unto you, - - that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe: [Mark, all that believe; namely, in his blood which was shed on Mount Calvary] are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses' (Acts 13:38,39). If the faith that applies these things be of the operation of God, it is very much accompanied with good works. 'For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live [namely by the faith of this, that Christ died for all (Gal 2:20)] should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them' (2 Cor 5:14,15). But
(2.) They that deny the merits of the birth, death, righteousness, blood, &c. of the man that was born of Mary, which he fulfilled in his own person, by himself (Heb 1:3). I say, they that do not venture their souls on these glorious, mysterious truths, but deny the belief of them to be sufficient of themselves to save from hell, and all other things, and doth expect that salvation should be obtained by something that worketh in them, by working in them. It is impossible that these, though they may be, touching the righteousness of the law blameless, (as Paul was while he was a persecutor (Phil 3:6)) to be saved hereby. Wherefore? because they seek it not by the faith of Christ, but as it were by the works of the law (Rom 9:30,31).
And whereas you ask me, 'What is that which worketh faith? And where is it, within or without?' I answer, That which worketh saving faith, is the holy Spirit of God, which is renewed through the hearing of the word, preached by the Apostles or ministers of Jesus Christ: Now the Spirit when it doth work, it entereth into the soul, and as I said before, doth enable the soul to believe, and lay hold on the merits of the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ. For saith he, when he is come, he shall glorify me, for he shall take of mine, and shew it unto you (John 16:14).
Query 3. 'Whether any be justified but he that is born of God? And whether doth he that is born of God commit sin? And is that within the creature, or without, that worketh the new birth?'
Ans. Justification may be taken two ways, (1.) either in the sight of God, or in the sight of the soul, or creature; my meaning is, that all that are or shall be saved, are justified in the sight and foreknowledge of God before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, &c. Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself. And again, 'Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified' (Rom 8:30). Mark, all these things are spoken as being already done; predestinated, called, justified, glorified. He doth not say, they shall be, but he hath done it, that is, in and according to the foreordination of God. (2.) Saints are said to be justified in their own sight or knowledge, as when God doth make manifest to the soul, what he had determined before should be done. 'Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee.' This is justification in the sight of the creature. And whereas you ask me, 'Do they that are born of God commit sin?' To this I answer,
They shall never commit the sin against the Holy Ghost, as is the meaning of that place (1 John 5:16-18). There is a sin unto death, and there is a sin not unto death.--He that is born of God sinneth not, but keepeth himself; and that wicked one, (mark, that wicked one, the sin unto death,) toucheth him not: But they that are born of God notwithstanding, do daily sin, as it is evident (James 3:2), 'In many things we offend all,' saith he, I and you, all of us. And again, if we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and (instead of having no sin) the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). And who can say, my heart is clean? There is none righteous, no not one. And again, 'There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not' (Eccl 7:20). And I am confident, that while some would persuade others that they have no sin, their own consciences tell them they lie; and if it be not so in the rest, it is because they are hardened, and given to believe a lie.
As to the latter part of your query, I answer; The new birth is wrought through hearing of the word preached. And yet not by conscience, nor by the obedience to the law, or dictates of nature; but by the Spirit coming into the soul, and shewing its lost condition without the obedience of the Son of Mary, the Son of God; and his freeness and willingness to communicate, or give himself, and all his things unto it; which being done, the man is thereupon given up to God, and is become a new creature. I might spend much time in speaking to this, but I forbear, because of itself it is enough to fill up a small volume.
Query 4. 'If Christ hath enlightened all men as he is God [as thou confessest] then hath he not enlightened all men as he is the Son of God? and is not the light of God sufficient in itself, to lead to God all that follow it, yea, or nay?'
Ans. (1.) Christ as he is God, doth enlighten every man that comes into the world, which light is conscience, or otherwise nature itself, which doth also convince of sin (John 8:9). Yet Christ as he is God; doth not give unto every man that spirit that doth lead to eternal life, for all men have it not (Jude 19). (2.) Christ as he was and is the Son of God before the world was, being one in power, and being with his Father, hath enlightened every one that comes into the world, as aforesaid; but hath not so neither given them his spirit. 'Some are sensual,' &c. (3.) Christ as God-man, or as he came into the world to die for those whom before as God he knew and loved; I say, he doth not in this way neither enlighten every man with the saving light of life, or give unto them his holy Spirit. No, they that have been, and now are believers, do know and can remember, that all the time of their unregenerate state, they were without Christ (Eph 2:12). So that here is no way or room for your doctrine, take it how you will, Christ hath not given to every one his Spirit.
Second Part of the Query. Is not the light of God sufficient in itself, to lead to God all that follow it, yea, or nay?
Ans. (1.) As I said before, some are sensual, and have not the Spirit of Christ. (2.) No man can come to God as a Father by adoption, but by Jesus Christ; then it must needs be that all men, though they do follow that light which is given to every man, it is not able to lead to God as a Father in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet this light that every man hath, will shew a man there is a God, and that this God is eternal; and also will clear out something of him, to them, by the things that are made. But now, if this light would lead to everlasting life, then might the devils also be delivered from everlasting damnation; seeing they also do know God as a creator, and revenger of sin, more perfectly than any natural man in the world, though not as a Father by adoption.
But you say, Doth it not lead to God all that follow it? Ans. (1.) Not to be saved, though to be condemned, through the weakness and unprofitableness of that light, or conscience, or the law, call it either, and I clear it thus: Because, if that light that every man receives, were able by our following it, to save us, then Christ needed not to have suffered, seeing all men had that light. (2.) If that light that every man hath, which is conscience, were able to lead a man to justification by following it; that promise was made in vain by Jesus the Son of Mary, when he said, 'I will send you; [Mark, I will send you] the Spirit, and he shall lead you into all truth': for they had a light before. But it is evident, that that was not sufficient, because they must have another sent them by Jesus Christ, and that must be the Spirit.
Query 5. 'Whether is not the same light in him that hates it, as it is in him that loves it (John 3). If there be a difference in the light, show it wherein; whether in the nature, or otherwise?'
Ans. (1.) That scripture quoted in John 3, 'Light is come into the world,' &c., is not meant of that light, or conscience, that every man hath; but the Man Christ Jesus is speaking there of himself, as God-man, come into the world, born of the Virgin, if thou compare 19-21 with 14-18 of the same chapter, it is clear, for they all do speak of the same thing; namely, the Son of Mary. And again, saith he, 'I am the light of the world.' Now the man Christ, though he was then in the world, and walked up and down in the same, yet he was not within any man in the world as man, (though he calls himself the light thereof) though he was in some; I say, in some, as God by his Spirit. Now the light, which was the Man Christ, was the very same, whether loved by some, or hated by others; but if you conclude every man hath Christ, or that light spoken of there (John 3) within him; that I deny, having proved the contrary. But (2.) Whether is there a difference in the light? Ans. There are more lights than one, there is a light that may be suspected to be darkness, where he saith, 'if the light that is in thee be darkness,' &c. Again, there is the light of the law (Prov 6:23). Again, conscience also will convince of sin. Now there is none of these that can save a sinner from the evil of his ways. Take the best of them, which is the righteous law of God, that cannot. For had there been a law given, which might have given life, then verily righteousness had come by the law: But if you conclude that righteousness, or everlasting life cometh by the law, you must conclude this again; that Christ did die in vain (Gal 2:21). So then these things being not able to save the soul, the next thing is, the Son of God, the Son of righteousness arising with healing under his wings; he is also a light, and indeed the saving light, far surpassing all the other mentioned.
Now though Christ doth not differ in himself, yet there is a difference in the power of these lights; the law and Christ, the one not being able to save, the other being able. And again, there is also a difference in the nature of them; the one being a condemning light, the other a saving light. It is Moses that accuseth you (saith Christ) even Moses in whom ye trust: But do not think, saith Christ, that I will accuse you to the Father: No, saith he, it is Moses, or the law given by him. But again, where Christ speaks for himself as a Saviour, he saith 'God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved' (John 3:17). So that I say, (a) That light spoken of (John 3), which is the Man Christ, is not in every man that comes into the world. (b) That the Man Christ, or the light spoken of there, is not against himself. (c) There is the light of the law, conscience, and nature itself, which are in all men, which things are altogether insufficient to save a man from death, by his seeking of justification thereby. Again, there is Jesus Christ, he is the Saviour, but not in all men. And again, neither is the Man Christ Jesus the condemning light.
Query 6. 'Whether is it possible, that any can be saved, without Christ manifested within? If no, then whether is not the doctrine of salvation, which is only necessary, to preach Christ within: And is not the whole mystery of salvation, God manifest in the flesh?'
Ans. There can none be saved, but they that have the Spirit of Christ given unto them. But it is not the Spirit of Christ given to the elect, that doth work out the salvation of their souls within them, for that was obtained by the blood of the Man Christ Jesus on the cross (Heb 9:12 compared with Heb 13:12).
Again, every one that is, or shall be saved, must, and shall have the Spirit of Christ within them; yet doth it now follow, that to preach Christ (only) within, is the only doctrine of salvation. For then also the preaching of the blood of Christ shed on the cross, as I said before, must be of none effect. But he that doth preach the doctrine of salvation aright, must first begin to preach that doctrine that Paul preached in 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, 'For I delivered unto you [saith he] first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.' Now Christ, or the Spirit of Christ, is received by such preaching as this is, as is clear from that scripture (Acts 10:38-44). Where Peter speaking of the word that was published throughout all Judea: 'How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth [or which dwelt at Nazareth] with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; [saith Peter] whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him, after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.' And is that all? No, But 'to him give all the prophets witness, [to him, even Jesus of Nazareth whom the Jews crucified on the tree] that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission [or forgiveness] of sins.' Now mark. And 'while Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.' While Peter spake these words, that by Jesus of Nazareth forgiveness of sins was preached to them that believe in his name, 'the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.' Namely, which Peter spake: This is the way in which the Spirit is given? namely, by preaching a crucified Christ.
But now, no man can be saved without Christ, or the Spirit of Christ be given to him, because he cannot be able to lay hold savingly of, and to hope for that glory that Christ as he is God-man hath accomplished in his own person without, unless he have the Spirit. But farther, thou sayest; Is it not the whole mystery of salvation, God manifested in the flesh?
Ans. Truly, to know that God out of love to poor sinners, did in the fulness of time send forth his only begotten Son, who is equal with his Father, to be born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem them that are under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons; this is to know the mystery of godliness. Therefore, when the scriptures say, God was manifested in the flesh, they mean, God sent forth his son, which was and is the word of God, God himself, and he was made flesh (John 1:14). And so in the nature of man he did become the Lamb of God, or the sacrifice of God, that doth take away the sins of the world (v 29). Now here I might enlarge abundantly, but that I would not be tedious.
Query 7. 'Whether is it not possible, that many may profess as much of Christ without, as thou hast said of him, and yet be damned; and if this be the faith to profess him born, dead, risen and ascended without; then is there any unbeliever in England? seeing all in the outward sound believes, and professes as much as thou hast said. Yea, or nay?'
Ans. 1. I know there are many that do profess in word, that Christ was born, dead, risen, and ascended without, and yet may be damned. Yet he that doth really, with the faith of the operation of God, believe these things, and doth also apply the virtue and merit of the same to themselves for justification and life, shall be saved. 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved' (Rom 10:9) And also (1 Cor 15:2), 'By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you.' What was that? why, 'how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and rose again,' &c.
(2.) It is not faith, only to talk of him with the mouth, but as I said before, to believe the same by the operation of the Spirit in our hearts. If this be faith, (sayest thou) to profess him born, dead, risen and ascended without, then is there any unbeliever in England? [I reply} All that profess this do not truly believe it; for to profess in word alone, and believe in heart, are two things. Secondly, If to profess this were the Faith, yet were there a good many Unbelievers in England, for the Quakers will not profess him ascended without, neither making intercession without, but contrarywise strike at this doctrine.
Query 8. 'Whether hath that man faith in Christ that is not changed in the nature, and is not the liar and slanderer an unbeliever, and of the cursed nature, yea or no?'
Ans. He that hath faith in Christ is a new creature: and the liar and slanderer is an unbeliever: and if he live and die in that condition, his state is very sad, though if he turn there is hope for him; therefore repent and turn quickly, or else look to yourselves, for you are the men, as is clear by your discourse.
Query 9. 'Whether [doth] and [man] receive Christ, who receives him not into him? if not, show how Christ can be received, and whether many professes him not which never received him.'
Ans. Christ as he is Man, as he was a sacrifice for sin, cannot be received really and personally into any, but yet, he that doth indeed receive the gospel, and believe that he was a sacrifice upon the cross for his sins, doth and hath also received his Spirit into him, which giveth him the comfort of these things (John 14:26). And there are very many that profess him, that at the day of judgment will fall short of eternal life, notwithstanding all their profession; for as I said before; it is not the professor, but the sound believer that shall be saved by him. But let the reader mark, how thou condemnest thy own doctrine by this query, for thou grantest many profess Christ that never receive him. How then hath every man Christ, or the light of Christ within him? If it be within him, either he must receive it, or snatch it by force against the will of another, however the scripture saith, what is it that thou hast not received; (yet all men have not received that) (Jude 19).
Query 10. 'Whether to preach for hire, for gifts and rewards, and to divine for money, and to make merchandise of the people for so much a year for preaching to them, be not true marks and signs of false prophets? or can any give truer signs of false prophets than Isaiah and Micah give, yea or nay?'
Ans. There are a company of dumb dogs that are crept into the nation, that love give ye, and desire to bear rule by their means; and they are every one for his gain from their quarter. There are a company of wolves crept out also, having wrapped themselves about with sheep's clothing, and these are both alike abominable to the Lord. Neither can a man give a more right description of a false prophet, than the prophets and Christ with his apostles did give, therefore examine yourselves.
Query 11. 'Whether must not the devil be chained before Christ reign, and what is that which chains him, and whether art thou come to one of the days of the thousand years, yea, or no?'
Ans. Christ hath two several times wherein Satan must be bound by him, one is at the conversion of sinners, the other when he shall come the second time, and personally appear, and reign, in the world to come. Again, 'Whether I am come to one of the days of the thousand years?' [I reply] No, because he that doth reign with Christ one of these days, shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years (Rev 20:4). But there is never a believer in the world, that doth, or in any likelihood shall live half so long, before they die or be changed at the coming of the Man Christ Jesus.
Query 12. 'Whether dost thou know any Christ, preach or profess any Christ who hath not lightened every man that comes into the world with the light of life, or of condemnation; And is he not a deceiver that exhorts people for salvation to any other thing than the light of Christ, yea, or no? And how hath Christ lightened every man if not within him?'
Ans. That Christ I preach, is the Christ of God, who as he is God hath enlightened every man that comes into the world with conscience, and the law, which is the light of condemnation, but not of life; For the law is the ministration of condemnation (2 Cor 3:7,8). And all men have the law and conscience: but these will not save them. Again, there are some that do indeed enjoy the light of life. And whereas thou askest, is not he a deceiver, that exhorts people to anything else than the light of Christ? Ans. He that telleth any man that the ministration of condemnation will save him, which is the law, he is a liar, and a deceiver: but he that exhorts people to lay hold on what the Man Christ Jesus hath done in his own person for sinners, and presseth souls to venture upon that for salvation, preacheth the truth. Christ hath given to every one the law, and conscience within him: yet these are not able to save him, but let him follow the righteousness of the law never so much, yet if he be not directed of God to fly to Jesus the Son of Mary, and to what he hath done in his own person for them, he shall never be saved (Acts 4:12).
Friend, Thus have I with all plainness of speech answered thy queries, and I fear not at all, but I have spoken the truth as it is in Jesus. And as for committing them to the judgment of others, as thou wouldst have me; let others say what they will, I am sure I have spoken the truth of God; and I make no question but at the second coming of my Lord Jesus from heaven to judge the world, these things I shall not be ashamed of; neither am I now; but am ready, if God shall give me life, to speak the same things to any man, face to face; and I desire thee, and all, even as many as shall read or hear this treatise, to consider, and look to themselves, lest they sin against God so much in their lifetime by rejecting these truths, that it shall never be forgiven them to all eternity, though they repent them of their rejecting the same. There is one thing more to which I shall speak a few words, and that is to a few words written at the end of thy book, which is called the postscript, wherein is several charged against myself and some others, which I shall speak somewhat to.
The first is against John Burton, thus: John Burton said in a discourse with some friends, that Christ had two bodies, and one of them is out of the sight of the saints. My brother Burton being absent, I shall answer for him concerning the charge laid against him. And therefore, that Christ, who is and was before the world began, God equal with his Father, did in the fulness of time take upon him a body from the Virgin Mary, which was so prepared by God his Father, it is evident in scripture; and in it after he had lived a while in the world, he did hang on the cross, was taken down thence again, and laid in Joseph's sepulchre, was raised again, and ascended away from his disciples therewith into glory (Acts 1:3,9-11).
Again, he hath another body, and that is his church (Eph 1:23). Now that he is out of the sight of his saints in one of the bodies; namely, that which did hang on the cross, it is also evident (1 Tim 6), where Paul speaking of that very Jesus, who did bear a faithful witness before Pontius Pilate, saith in verse 16 'who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.' That is, not with their mortal eyes, in that glory as yet. If you say still, notwithstanding this, that Christ as he was before the world began, hath but one body, and that to be his church. I ask you what that was that was taken down from the cross, and laid into Joseph's sepulchre (Luke 23:53).
The second charge is against myself, and is this; John Bunyan said, Christ's second coming is not his coming in Spirit, for his coming in Spirit is no coming.
The former part of the words, namely, Christ's second coming is not his coming in the Spirit, those I own. But the other, namely, For his coming in Spirit is no coming, is a lie, made of me by the Author, Edward Borrough.
The former words were spoken at a meeting in Bedford, some Quakers being present contradicting and blaspheming: And now they could not be content with that; but they must make up all with a lie, and publish it in print. A Quaker there and I had some discourse concerning Christ's second coming, and he would affirm, that his coming in Spirit, was his second coming spoken of in scripture. Then I asked him which was his first coming? He answered, when he was born of the Virgin, and took flesh upon him from her. Then said I, I shall easily prove, that his coming in the Spirit is not his second coming, for I will prove that his coming in the Spirit was before that which the scripture and you also do call his first coming; and proved it by that plain scripture, where Peter speaking of the prophets, saith, 'Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them [the prophets] did signify, when it testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow' (1 Peter 1:11, 3:19), where speaking of Christ's being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit. 'By which Spirit also he went and preached unto the spirits [now] in prison'; but when was this, only 'when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah' (v 20). Which was long before the first coming of Christ, so called in scripture, for that was, as I said, when he took a body from the Virgin Mary.
But it seems clearly by these words that you do look for no other coming but his coming in Spirit. O! how suddenly and unexpected of you, will the Son of Man break down from heaven, with all his mighty angels in flaming fire, and call you, together with all nations to judgment. And though now peradventure you are ready to slight the personal appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, that Man to judgment, only looking for a judgment within, yet you will I am certain, very suddenly be made to pass under another judgment, which will be more exceeding great than any judgment you shall have here, and more terrible. As for the latter part of the charge, which is a very lie; though I shall not trouble myself to lay it to your charge (you have so manifestly declared yourselves already what you are) yet I beseech you, that hereafter you would not be so ready to receive lies from others, and publish them to the view of the world, least you appear to all men (as you do to some) to be such as are of an accusing lying spirit.
But farther, That Christ's coming in the Spirit is not his second coming, it is evident; partly, in that the coming of Christ in Spirit, was before that called in scripture, his first coming. Secondly, he that comes the second time is he that came the first time. Now he that came the first time was very God and very Man, and not a Spirit only; for handle me, saith he, a Spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me have (Luke 24:39). Now this same Jesus that was very God and very Man, so born of Mary, saith, 'I go and prepare a place for you; and I, [the very same as also (Acts 1:10,11)] will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also' (John 14:3). Here I might spend many words, but it needs not; the whole current of scriptures do confirm this thing; and therefore I shall forbear, and content myself with this, He that will be filthy let him be filthy, for the day is at hand.
The Third Charge is also against me, saying, 'I said there was nothing in me, nor any man to be taken notice of.'
Though in some sense I do not deny these words, yet I know, and am sure, that directly in this form of words, I did never lay them down, but I pass that. Now in this sense I do not deny them, there was nothing in me, as I was in my unregenerate estate; nor in any man else in the same estate, that is worthy to be taken notice of for justification. Because every unregenerate man is without Christ, before he be converted (Eph 2:12). Wherefore remember, that ye being Gentiles in the flesh (unconverted) that at that time ye were without Christ. Now a man that is without Christ, and hath not his Spirit in him, as some, yea, most men are (Jude 19). What is there in that man, that is worth the taking notice of to justify him.
Also converted Paul saith, 'I know that in me, [that is, in my flesh,] dwelleth no good thing' (Rom 7:18).
As for others that are charged with things, because their names are not also mentioned, I shall pass them by; only thus much I shall say further to the last charge. That there is nothing in any man by nature, before he be converted, that is worth the taking notice of, as to seek justification thereby. And that that light which every man hath, being at the best but conscience, nature, or the law, let a man take notice of it, follow it, obey it never so much, it is not able to justify the soul: For if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. And as I said before, every man hath not Christ to take notice of, though every man hath conscience, or th light of nature in him, which is also able to convince of sins against the law of God, yet is not able to deliver from that curse pronounced by the Lord, against them that disobey the law. Nay the law itself is not able to save them that do follow it, being too weak for such a thing. And indeed God did not give it to that end, that saints should have life by it. No (compare Galatians 3:21 with Romans 5:20), you may clearly see why God gave the law, namely, that sins or offences might abound. But how? By discovering sin by its workings. Now then you that follow the law, and seek life by it, this is all you are like to have of it: You shall see your transgression against it, made known to you by it (Rom 3:20) and an horrible curse pronounced against you, because you cannot give a complete continual obedience to every tittle of it.
And now friend to thee, who hast taken in hand to answer my queries laid down in the end of my book; I say, thou hast only wrangled and quarreled at them; but hast not given one plain and right answer to any one of them. Therefore I shall leave them still to be answered by you, or others of your spirit. You will find them at the end of the foregoing discourse: And I beseech you to answer them in all plainness of heart, and with as moderate a spirit as you may. It is like there may be some addition to them: But as I have dealt plainly and sincerely with yours, so do you deal uprightly and plainly with mine, for the satisfaction of those who shall read them. And here I shall draw towards a conclusion, only speak some words to those who unawares to themselves may be carried away with the doctrines of the Quakers: And I shall be brief in speaking to it. The way that I shall take, shall be very plain to be understood; for I shall not lay down any doubtful sentence in my speech to them, nor others. First, I shall shew you that the doctrine of the Quakers is an error, and how. Second, Who they are that are carried away with it, and why. Third, The way Satan takes to make this delusion, or filthy doctrine to take place in the soul.
First, That the doctrine of the Quakers is false, or an error, I shall shew,
1. By discovering the doctrine itself. Now the doctrine of the Quakers is plainly this; namely, that every man that comes into the world, hath the Spirit of Christ in him. Now that this is an error is clear, because the word of God saith plainly, that some are 'sensual, having not the Spirit' (Jude 19). And again, The unregenerate man, in the time of his unregenerate state, is without Christ (Eph 2:12).
2. He that will but observe the motions of that light which every man hath within him (say they) so as to obey and close in with it to follow it, shall undoubtedly be saved from the wrath to come. Now this is clearly a gross error; for first, If all men have not Christ, as they have not, then is it not an error to press men to seek for life, by following that which is not able to give life. Yet this they do, who labour to persuade men, yea, the souls of men, that it is no less than the very Spirit of Christ in every man, that doth convince of sin, when the scriptures say plainly, 'the law' (Rom 3:20). 'Conscience' (Rom 2:15) and nature itself (Rom 2:14; 1 Cor 11:14) will and doth convince of sin, yet none of these is the Spirit of Christ. And the great argument that they bring to prove that it is the Spirit of Christ, is, because the Spirit doth also convince of sin. Now what a poor argument is this, to say, That because the Spirit of Christ doth convince of sin, therefore whatsoever doth convince of sin, must needs be the Spirit of Christ. As much as to say, because the saints are called 'the light of the world' (Matt 5:14). Therefore the saints are the Saviour of the world, seeing Christ also doth call himself the light of the world (John 8:12), or because the moon hath, or is light, therefore the moon is the sun. This is but sophistical arguing, and doth beget most damnable errors and heresies in the world; but this is the way that they take, to entangle poor souls with their sad and erroneous doctrine. They say, that it must be Christ within them, that must within them work out justification for them; when it is evident from the whole current of scripture, that the Son of Mary was delivered to be crucified for our offences, and his resurrection, through faith in it, is our justification; as all along, through grace, I have declared and cleared. And the work that the Spirit doth in point of justification, is, to shew us what the Son of Mary hath done and suffered in his own body on the tree, and is now doing in the presence of his Father, in the highest heaven.
And to help us to apply this to our souls by faith now, for a preservative against these and the like delusions, observe, (1.) As I said before, all have not the Spirit of Christ (Jude 10; Eph 2:12). (2.) That the law, with all our obedience to it, is not able to save, or justify any poor soul (Rom 3:20). For by the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified, though it gives the knowledge of sin. (3.) That there is none other way to be justified in the sight of God, but by laying hold of what the Son of Mary (Jesus) did do and suffer in his own person, when he was in the world. For it is by him (and what he hath done in his own person by himself (Heb 1:3)) that any man is justified from his sins, and the wrath of God due to the same, by believing that his blood was shed for their sins; as it is written, 'With his stripes we are healed' (Isa 53:5), as if their own blood had been shed for their own sins; and that his righteousness is theirs by imputation, as if they themselves had actually fulfilled all the law of God for their own justification (Rom 10:4).
Second, The second thing is, who are they that are carried away with this delusion, and why?
1. Not one of God's elect whom he foreknew, shall be utterly destroyed thereby; (I do not say they shall not be led away for a time; but they shall not be utterly destroyed) for they are kept by the mighty power of God through faith unto salvation. But they are such as are not indeed the elect of God, nor chosen in Christ before the world began. Though Hymeneus and Philetus fall away, and overthrow the faith of some, yet 'the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his' (2 Tim 2:17-19).
2. They are such as in time past, for the generality of them were either but light, frothy professors, or else were shaken in their principles, and unstable therein, as saith the scriptures, They that are deceivers do beguile unstable souls. Or if they were such as were in appearance sober and serious in the account of others, it was either from those convictions they had from the law, or else from high notions they had of the gospel; which have both such influence at some time on the soul (though not savingly) that the soul will go very far in obedience to them; as for example, Herod who was an enemy to the truth, yet for a time had such heart-workings, being convinced by the preaching of John the Baptist, that he feared him, and observed him, and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly (Mark 6:20).
Now the reason why such people are carried away with such heresies as these, or the like, is,
(1.) That as they were not of the elect of God, so God by suffering them to be carried away finally, may make it appear, that they were not of his elect. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. But they went out from us, that it might be made manifest (or that men might see) that they were not all of us (1 John 2:19).
(2.) Because God will not have his church so disturbed always with such as are not of the truth. Now there are some men that have their time to walk with the church of God by permission, and these men are ever and anon ready to broach their errors, even while they are among the saints, to their trouble. Now God having a care of his church, hath a time to suffer the devil to run through the world with some erroneous doctrine or other, which when these men taste, being spirited beforehand for that purpose, do presently close in with the same, to the purifying of the church, and the manifestation of themselves. And thus every branch which the Lord's right hand hath not planted, shall and must have a time to be rooted up (Matt 15:13).
(3.) Because others that are of the right graffing in, may notwithstanding not presume but fear, lest they also fall through the same example of others who are already fallen, or may fall hereafter (Heb 4:1,2,11).
(4.) Because others may see, that it is not by their own strength that they do stand, but freely by the grace of God, and his power and love towards them in the Lord Jesus Christ. God hath chosen some before the foundation of the world. Now to manifest this, though they are even as bad as the worst by nature, yet I say, because God will shew his power and his love, he doth preserve some to eternal life, though others fall into eternal damnation. Of all that thou hast given me, saith Christ, have I lost none but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled (John 17:12). Many other reasons might be given why these things must and shall be; but I rather choose to forbear. Only thus much I have spoken, because I know it is my duty to speak a few words unto you, that you may either close in with the truth, or else the more clearly be left without excuse at the great day.
Third. The third and last thing, is the way that Satan takes to make those delusions take place in the soul.
Now the way whereby he makes these or any other delusions to take place in the soul, is, 1. to persuade the soul that they are the truth; and 2. to stir up in the soul an enmity to any thing or person that shall declare the contrary.
1. They are given over to believe a lie; that is, to believe false doctrine to be the doctrine of God and of Christ. And that he might bring this to pass, he goeth about to change the names of things; and because the law, conscience, and nature itself can convince of sin, therefore he calleth them Christ, or the light of Christ; saying to a natural man, one that is not yet converted, 'Mind the light within you.' If they ask what light? say they, That which doth convince of sin. If they farther ask, why, what is that? They say, 'It is the light of Christ, the light of life, or Christ within.'
Now these things are nothing else but conscience, nature, or the law, for a natural man hath nothing else that dwelleth within him to convince him of sin; only these things have a new name put upon them. And poor creatures hearing the name Christ, being ignorant of the nature of Christ, do presently close in with these things, supposing, nay, verily believing that these are the Spirit of Christ. Which things being thus received, if at any time one come and oppose them, and tell them that it is an error that they have taken up, to think that that which is in an unregenerate man is the Spirit of Christ, and contrarywise telleth them plainly, that it is but their own conscience that doth convince them, or the law written in their hearts by nature. Nay, say they, it is the light of Christ in the conscience, when there is no scripture hath any such manner of expressions, only a fancy of their own, taken up without ground from the word.
2. But the soul being possessed with this doctrine, presently its heart riseth against anything that doth contradict it, and is filled with a secret enmity against it. Now the way that Satan takes to bring this about, is to persuade poor souls, that all these thoughts that do any wise contradict the principles received, is but a temptation of the devil. And if at any time there be the doctrine of Jesus held forth in truth, his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and intercession; now without in the presence of his Father for sinners, and that there is salvation nowhere else but in the merits of the firstborn of Mary, which is Jesus Christ, without the works of the law (Rom 3:28). Presently with envy they are enraged and cry, 'Dost thou not know that every man hath a measure of the Spirit given to him? Follow that, listen to that, turn thy mind to that, and walk in the light of that.' When alas, there is no such thing as the Spirit of Christ in every man, as I said, and proved before at large; only the devil hath gotten this way to call conscience Christ, the law Christ; and hereby to entangle the soul with the name of a thing, without the thing itself.
But now the soul is set down in its principles, and he that doth any way confute that spirit, presently it falls a raging, and cries out, serpent, liar, wolf, dragon, devil, be silent with thy serpentine wisdom, and smoke of the bottomless pit. Now in this the devil is wonderfully cunning; for least he should indeed be discovered, he doth set the face hard against the truth, and counteth it such a deadly enemy, that he will not, cannot bear it; but lets fly against it all the hellish words and madness he can: And now he begins first to cry, avoid Satan. All which is only to harden him in whom he doth dwell, more and more against the truth. Now he doth also harden souls in delusions, by presenting the ugly and base conversations of a company of covetous wretches, who do profess themselves to be the ministers of the gospel, but are not; now poor creatures being shaking and doubtful what way to take, seeing the conversation of these men to be wicked, and the doctrine of these deluders covered with a seeming holiness; they presently embrace it, saying, surely these men are in the right way; they cry down the priests, whose lives we also see to be profane, they are very strict in their ways, and if such be not good men, who are? But yet that which is most taking is (through the corruption and pride that is naturally in the heart of man) these men propose such a way to salvation, as is in the compass of a man's own ability, even works of righteousness done by him, which is very agreeable to man's nature, which would willingly be saved, but would not be altogether beholden to God for it: and these works not being wrought by the priests or national ministers, but by the other, though in opposition to the righteousness of Christ, the Messias God-man, poor souls not only such in these erroneous principles, but are hardened in them against the doctrine of God and his Son Jesus Christ, by their ungodly conversation; and thus dishonour the Son of God. But come brethren, let us be patient, stablish our hearts, wait but a while, and I doubt not but you will see that those who dishonour our Jesus shall soon be brought down, both Ranters, Quakers, priests, and people also, that shall continue in opposing him either in doctrine or practice; for our God hath said, 'Ah! I will ease me of my adversaries.'
Now, a few words more to those who do believe in Christ aright, and lay him for their foundation.
First, Bless God that you are not carried away with the delusions that are on foot in this generation. Secondly, See that you are labourers after a more experimental knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; fly more to his birth, death, blood, resurrection, ascension and intercession; and fetch refreshing for your souls more and more from him without, through the operation of his Spirit within; and though the fruits of the Spirit be excellent, and to be owned where they are found; yet have a care you take not away the glory of the blood of Christ shed on the cross without the gates of Jerusalem, and give it them; which you will do, if you do content yourselves, and satisfy your consciences with this; that you find the fruits of the Spirit within you, and do not go for peace and consolation of conscience to the blood of Jesus shed on the cross.
Therefore learn of the saints, or rather of the Spirit (Rev 5:9), who teacheth to sin this son, 'Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.'
And as for you that cannot yet well endure to think you should be justified by the blood of the Son of Mary shed on the cross without the gate, I say to you, 'Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him' (Psa 2:12).
1. Bunyan's epistle to "Some Gospel Truths Opened."
2. See margin of the bible.--Ed.
3. There is nothing new under the sun. It appears from this that there was a tee-total movement in the time of the Commonwealth. For the meaning of hatband, see editor's advertisement.--Ed.
4. 'To famble,' to falter, or stammer in speech; obsolete.--Ed.