and the truth and its innocent friends rightly represented.
To which is prefixed a Memoir of Penn,By James M. Brown,
This reprint gives much of the Scripture which is referred to in the original.
Primitive Christianity Revived. By William Penn. 1696.
Penn's "Epistle to the Reader"
I have taken in hand to write this small tract of the nature and virtue of the light of Christ within man, and what and where it is, and for what end, and therein of the religion of the people called Quakers...
CHAPTER I. § 1. Their Fundamental Principle. § 2. The Nature of it. § 3. Called by several names. § 4. They refer all to this, as to Faith and Practice, Ministry and Worship.
CHAPTER II. § 1. The evidence of Scripture for this Principle, John i. 4-9. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. § 2. Its Divinity. § 3. All things created by it. § 4. What it is to Man as to Salvation.
CHAPTER III. § 1. How this Scripture is wrested. § 2. That it is a Natural Light. § 3. That it lighteth not all. § 4. That it is only the Doctrine and Life of Christ when in the Flesh. All answered, and its Divinity and Universality proved.
CHAPTER IV. § 1. The virtue of the light within; it gives discerning. § 2. It manifests God. § 3. It gives life to the soul. § 4. It is the apostolic message. § 5. Objection answered about two lights. § 6. About natural and spiritual light: not two darknesses within, therefore, not two lights within. § 7. The Apostle John answers the objection fully : the light the same, 1 John ii. 8, 9. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him, and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
CHAPTER V. § 1. The Light the same with the Spirit. It is of God; proved by its properties. § 2. The properties of the Spirit compared with those of the Light. § 3. The Light and Grace flow from the same principle, proved by their agreeing properties. § 4. An objection answered. § 5. Difference in manifestation, or operation, especially in Gospel times, but not in principle, illustrated.
CHAPTER VI. § 1. An Objection answered: All are not Good, though all are lighted. § 2. Another Objection answered, That Gospel truths were known before Christ's Coming. § 3. Another: The Gentiles had the same Light, though not with those Advantages: Proved by Scripture.
CHAPTER VII. § 1. An Objection answered about the various Dispensations of God: The Principle the same. § 2. God's Work of a piece, and Truth the same under divers Shapes. § 3. The Reason of the Prevalency of Idolatry. § 4. The Quaker's Testimony the best Antidote against it, viz. Walking by a divine Principle in Man. § 5. It was God's End in all his Manifestations, that Man might be God's Image and Delight.
CHAPTER VIII. § 1. The doctrines of satisfaction and justification owned and worded according to Scripture. § 2. What constructions we can't believe of them, and which is an abuse of them. § 3. Christ owned a Sacrifice and Mediator. § 4. Justification twofold, from the guilt of sin, and from the power and pollution of it. § 5. Exhortation to the reader upon the whole.
CHAPTER IX. § 1. A confession to Christ and his work, both in doing and suffering. § 2. That ought not to make void our belief and testimony of his inward and spiritual appearance in the soul. § 3. What our testimony is in the latter respect: that it is impossible to be saved by Christ without us, while we reject his work and power within us. § 4. The dispensation of grace, in its nature and extent. § 5. A further acknowledgment to the death and sufferings of Christ. § 6. The conclusion, showing our adversaries' unreasonableness.
CHAPTER X. § 1. Of the true worship of God in what it stands. § 2. Of the true ministry, that it is by Inspiration. § 3. The Scripture plain in that case. § 4. Christ's ministers, true witnesses, they speak what they know, not by report. § 5. Christ's ministers preach freely; it is one of their marks. [§ 6. Of the sufficiency and glorious privilege of inward and spiritual teachings.]
CHAPTER XI. § 1. Against tithes. § 2. Against all swearing. § 3. Against war among Christians. § 4. Against the salutations of the times. § 5. And for plainness of speech. § 6. Against mixt marriages. § 7. And for plainness in apparel, &c. No sports and pastimes after the manner of this world. § 8. Of observing days. § 9. Of care of poor, peace and conversation.
APPENDIX. A brief account of those things that are chiefly received and professed among us, the people called Quakers, according to the testimony of the Scriptures of truth, and the illumination of the Holy Ghost, which are the double and agreeing record of true religion. Published to inform the moderate inquirer, and reclaim the prejudiced to a better temper; which God grant, to his glory and their peace.
— William Penn, Thomas Story, Anthony Sharp, and George Rook. Dublin, 3d m. 1698.
A Brief Memoir of Penn, written by James M. Brown. 1857.
Acknowledgments and remarks.
To the public, but more especially to the followers of William Penn, George Fox, and Robert Barclay: If it be made a question why a member of the M. E. Church should interest himself so much as to reprint a work of William Penn's more than one hundred and fifty years after its first publication, and a short memoir of the man, let the answer be...Chapter I.
An era of religious intolerance. William Penn, Sr., 1621-1670, named Commissioner of the Admiralty after the restoration of monarchy. William Penn the son born 1644; his early education and first encounters with Friends.
Chapter II. Conflict between Penn the father and Penn the son. Further education and training. The son openly espouses the cause of the Quakers. What his father makes of it, upon reflection. Penn compared with Moses. Extracts of Penn's writings show his response to troubles and his religious temperment.
Chapter III. The purchase of Pennsylvania. Penn's letter to the Indians, 1681. A new frame of government. The 'Exodus of the Quakers' to Pennsylvania.
Chapter IV. Penn and the royal succession in England. James II overthrown in 1688. Penn accused of continuing to support him, and for many years is unable to travel to Pennsylvania. Trials and tribulations. Penn dies in 1718, having spent just a few years in Pennsylvania. Comments on his character and his accomplishments by Edmund Burke, Montesquieu, and Dr. Marsillac.
Chapter V. "The Macaulay Charges"—a detailed response to charges made by TB Macaulay in his History of England, 1849, excerpted from Dixon's Life of Penn, 1851.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
James M. Brown,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Virginia.
Stereotyped by L. Johnson and Co. Philadelphia.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Table of Contents | Chapter OneTHEEPISTLE TO THE READER.
BY this short ensuing treatise, thou wilt perceive the subject of it,—viz.: The Light of Christ in Man, as the Manifestation of God's Love for Man's Happiness. Now, forasmuch as this is the peculiar testimony and characteristic of the people called Quakers,—their great fundamental in religion,—that by which they have been distinguished from other professors of Christianity in their time, and to which they refer all people about faith, worship, and practice both in their ministry and writings,—that as the fingers shoot out of the hand, and the branches from the body of the tree,— so true religion, in all the parts and articles of it, springs from this divine principle in man. And because the prejudices of some are very great against this people and their way; and that others, who love their seriousness and commend their good life, are yet, through mistakes, or want of inquiry, under jealousy of their unsoundness in some points of faith; and that there are not a few in all persuasions which desire earnestly to know and enjoy God in that sensible manner this people speak of, and who seem to long after a state of holiness and acceptance with God, but are under doubts and despondings of their attaining it, from the want they find in themselves of inward power to enable them, and are unacquainted with this efficacious agent which God hath given and appointed for their supply.
For these reasons and motives, know, reader, I have taken in hand to write this small tract of the nature and virtue of the light of Christ within man, and what and where it is, and for what end, and therein of the religion of the people called Quakers; that, at the same time, all people may be informed of their true character, and what true religion is, and the way to it, in this age of high pretenses and as deep irreligion ; that so the merciful visitation of the God of light and love, (more especially to these nations,) both immediately and instrumentally for the promotion of piety, (which is religion indeed,) may no longer be neglected by the inhabitants thereof, but that they may come to see and say, with heart and mouth, this is a dispensation of love and life from God to the world; and this poor people, that we have so much despised, and so often trod upon, and treated as the off-scouring of the earth, are the people of God and children of the Most High. Bear with me, reader; I know what I say, and am not high-minded, but fear; for I write with humility towards God, though with confidence towards thee; not that thou shouldst believe upon my authority nothing less, for that's not to act upon knowledge, but trust, but that thou shouldst try and approve what I write; for that is all I ask, as well as all I need for thy conviction and my own justification. The whole, indeed, being but a Scriptural experiment upon the soul, and therefore seeks for no implicit credit, because it is self-evident to them that will uprightly try it.
And when thou, reader, shalt come to be acquainted with this principle, and the plain and happy teachings of it, thou wilt with us admire thou shouldst live so long a stranger to that which was so near thee, and as much wonder that other folks should be so blind as not to see it, as formerly thou thoughtest us singular for obeying it. The day, I believe, is at hand that will declare this with an uncontrollable authority, because it will be with an unquestionable evidence.
I have done, reader, with this preface when I have told thee:—first, that I have stated the principle and opened, as God has enabled me, the nature and virtue of it in religion, wherein the common doctrines and articles of the Christian religion are delivered and improved, and about which I have endeavoured to express myself in plain and proper terms, and not in figurative, allegorical or doubtful phrases, that so I may leave no room for an equivocal or double sense; but that the truth of the subject I treat upon may appear easily and evidently to every common understanding. Next, I have confirmed what I writ by Scripture, reason, and the effects of it upon so great a people, whose uniform concurrence in the experience and practice thereof, through all times and sufferings since a people, challenge the notice and regard of every serious reader. Thirdly, I have written briefly, that so it might be every one's money and reading; and, much in a little is best, when we see daily that the richer people grow, the less money or time they have for God or religion; and perhaps those that would not buy a large book may find in their hearts to give away some of these for their neighbour's good, being little and cheap. Be serious, reader, be impartial, and then be as inquisitive as thou canst, and that for thine own soul, as well as the credit of this most misunderstood and abused people; and the God and Father of lights and spirits so bless thine, in the perusal of this short treatise, that thou may'st receive real benefit by it, to his glory and thine own comfort, which is the desire and end of him that wrote it; who is, in the bonds of Christian charity, very much and very ardently, Thy real friend,
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Epistle | Table of Contents | Chapter TwoChapter I.
§ 1. Their Fundamental Principle. § 2. The Nature of it. § 3. Called by several names. § 4. They refer all to this, as to Faith and Practice, Ministry and Worship.
§ 1. That which the people called Quakers lay down as a main fundamental in religion is this— That God, through Christ, hath placed a principle in every man, to inform him of his duty, and to enable him to do it; and that those that live up to this principle are the people of God, and those that live in disobedience to it, are not God's people, whatever name they may bear, or profession they may make of religion. This is their ancient, first, and standing testimony: with this they began, and this they bore, and do bear to the world.
§ 2. By this principle they understand something that is divine; and though in man, yet not of man, but of God; and that it came from him, and leads to him all those that will be led by it.
§ 3. There are divers ways of speaking they have been led to use, by which they declare and express what this principle is, about which I think fit to precaution the reader-viz., they call it, The light of Christ within man, or, light within, which is their ancient, and most general and familiar phrase, also the manifestation or appearance of Christ, the witness of God, the seed of God, the seed of the kingdom, wisdom, the word in the heart, the grace that appears to all men, the spirit given to every man to profit with, the truth in the inward parts, the spiritual leaven that leavens the whole lump of man: which are many of them figurative expressions, but all of them such as the Holy Ghost hath used, and which will be used in this treatise, as they are most frequently in the writings and ministry of this people. But that this variety and manner of expression may not occasion any misapprehension or confusion in the understanding of the reader, I would have him know, that they always mean by these terms or denominations, not another, but the same principle, before mentioned ; which, as I said, though it be in man, is not of man, but of God, and therefore divine: and one in itself, though diversely expressed by the holy men, according to the various manifestations and operations thereof.
§ 4. It is to this principle of Light, Life, and Grace, that this People refer all: for they say it is the great Agent in Religion; that, without which, there is no Conviction, so no Conversion, or Regeneration; and consequently no entering into the Kingdom of God. That is to say, there can be no true sight of sin, nor sorrow for it, and therefore no forsaking or overcoming of it, or Remission or Justification from it. A necessary and powerful Principle indeed, when either Sanctification nor Justification can be had without it. In short, there is no becoming virtuous, holy and good, without this Principle; no acceptance with God, nor peace of soul, but through it. But on the contrary, that the reason of so much irreligion among Christians, so much superstition, instead of Devotion, and so much profession without enjoyment, and so little Heart-reformation, is, because people in religion, overlook this Principle, and leave it behind them.
They will be religious without it, and Christians without it, though this be the only means of making them so indeed.
So natural is it to Man, in his degenerate state, to prefer sacrifice before obedience, and to make prayers go for practice, and so flatter himself with hope, by ceremonial and bodily service, to excuse himself to God from the stricter discipline of this Principle in the soul, which leads Man to take up the Cross, deny self, and do that which God requires of him: and that is every man's true religion, and every such man is truly religious; that is, he is holy, humble, patient, meek, merciful, just, kind, and charitable; which they say, no man can make himself; but that this principle will make all men so that will embrace the convictions and teachings of it, being the root of all true religion in man, and the good seed from whence all good fruits proceed. To sum up what they say upon the nature and virtue of it, as contents of that which follows, they declare that this principle is, first, divine; secondly, universal; thirdly, efficacious; in that it gives man, first, the knowledge of God and of himself, and therein a sight of his duty and disobedience to it. Secondly, it begets a true sense and sorrow for sin in those that seriously regard the convictions of it. Thirdly, it enables them to forsake sin, and sanctifies from it. Fourthly, it applies God's mercies in Christ for the forgiveness of sins that are past, unto justification, upon such sincere repentance and obedience. Fifthly, it gives to the faithful, perseverance unto a perfect man, and the assurance of blessedness, world without end.
To the truth of all which, they call in a threefold evidence: First, the Scriptures, which give an ample witness, especially those of the New and better Testament. Secondly, the reasonableness of it in itself. And lastly, a general experience, in great measure; but particularly, their own, made credible by the good fruits they have brought forth, and the answer God has given to their ministry: which, to impartial observers, have commended the principle, and gives me occasion to abstract their history, in divers particulars, for a conclusion to this little treatise.
[Continued, Chapter II.]
NOTES and COMMENTSDivers ways of speaking, by which they declare and express this principle:
^ light of Christ within man, or, light within John i. 9. That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ^ manifestation or appearance of Christ Rom. i. 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. Titus iii. 4. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared. Acts xvii. 28. For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 2 Peter i. 4. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world ^ witness of God Rom. viii. 6. For to be carnally minded, is death ; but to be spiritually minded, is life and peace. 1 John v. 10-12. He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life ; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. ^ seed of God 1 Peter i. 23. Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. 1 John iii. 9. Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. ^ seed of the kingdom Matt. xiii. 19-23. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which receiveth seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while : for when tribulation or persecution ariseth, because of the word, by-and-by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns, is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundred-fold, some sixty, some thirty. ^ wisdom Prov. i. 20-23. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn ye at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Prov. viii. 1-4. Doth not wisdom cry ? and understanding put forth her voice ? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors: Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. ^ word in the heart Deut. xxx. 12-14. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldst say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it ? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. Rom. x. 6-8. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven ? (that is, to bring Christ down from above;) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead:) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart; that is, the word of faith, which we preach. Psalm cxix. 10. With my whole heart have I sought thee: 0 let me not wander from thy commandments. ^ grace that appears to all men Titus ii. 11, 12. For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. ^ spirit given to every man to profit with 1 Cor. xii. 7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. ^ truth in the inward parts Psalm li. 6. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Isaiah xxvi. 2. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. John xiv. 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. ^ spiritual leaven that leavens the whole lump of man Matt. xiii. 33. Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
| Table of Contents | CHAPTER II.
§ 1. The evidence of Scripture for this Principle, John i. 4-9. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. § 2. Its Divinity. § 3. All things created by it. § 4. What it is to Man as to Salvation.
§ 1. I SHALL begin with the evidence of the blessed Scriptures of Truth, for this divine principle, and that under the name of light, the first and most common word used by them, to express and denominate this principle by, as well as most apt and proper in this dark state of the world.
John i. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,
Verse 3. All things were made by him.
Verse 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men,
Verse 9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
§ 2. I have begun with him that began his history with him that was the beginning of the creation of God; the most beloved disciple, and longest liver of all the apostles, and he, that for excellent knowledge and wisdom in heavenly things, is justly entitled John the divine. He tells us first, what he was in the beginning, viz. The Word, In the beginning was the Word,
And though that shows what the Word must be, yet he adds and explains, that the Word was with God, and the Word was God; lest any should doubt of the divinity of the Word, or have lower thoughts of him than he deserved. The Word then, is divine, and an apt term it is, that the evangelist styles him by, since it is so great an expression of the wisdom and power of God to men.
§ 3. All things were made by Him. If so, he wants no power. And if we were made by him, we must be new made by him too, or we never can enjoy God. His power shows his dignity, and that nothing can be too hard for such a sufficiency as made all things, and without which nothing was made, that was made. As man's maker must be his husband, so his Creator must be his Redeemer also.
§ 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. This is our point. The evangelist first begins with the nature and being of the Word: from thence he descends to the works of the Word: and lastly, then he tells us, what the Word is, with respect to man above the rest of the creation, viz. The Word was life, and the life was the light of men. The relation must be very near and intimate, when the very life of the Word (that was with God, and was God) is the light of men: as if men were next to the Word, and above all the rest of his works; for it is not said so of any other creature.
Man cannot want light then; no not a divine light: for if this be not divine, that is the life of the divine word, there can be no such thing at all as divine or supernatural light and life. And the text does not only prove the divinity of the light, but the universality of it also, because man mentioned in it, is mankind: which is yet more distinctly expressed in his 9th verse, That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Implying, that he that lighteth not mankind is not that true light; and therefore John was not that light, but bore witness of him that was, who lighteth every man ; to wit, the Word that took flesh: so that both the divine nature, and universality of the light of Christ within, are confirmed together.
***************************Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
| Table of Contents |
§ 1. How this Scripture is wrested. § 2. That it is a Natural Light. § 3. That it lighteth not all. § 4. That it is only the Doctrine and Life of Christ when in the Flesh. All answered, and its Divinity and Universality proved.
§ 1. BUT though there be no passage or proposition to be found in Holy Scripture, in which mankind is more interested, or that is more clearly laid down by the Holy Ghost, than this I have produced, yet hardly hath any place been more industriously wrested from its true and plain sense: especially since this people have laid any stress upon it, in defence of their testimony of the light within. Some will have it to be but a natural light, or a part of man's nature, though it be the very life of the Word, by which the world was made; and mentioned within those verses, which only concern his eternal power and Godhead. But because I would be understood, and treat of things with all plainness, I will open the terms of the objection as well as I can, and then give my answer to it.
§ 2. If by natural be meant a created thing, as man is, or any thing that is requisite to the composition of man, I deny it: the text is expressly against it; and says, the light with which man is lighted, is the life of the word, which was with God, and was God, But if by natural is only intended, that the light comes along with us into the world; or that we have it as sure as we are born, or have nature; and is the light of our nature, of our minds and understandings, and is not the result of any revelation from without, as by angels or men; then we mean and intend the same thing. For it is natural to man to have a supernatural light, and for the creature to be lighted by an uncreated light, as is the life of the creating word. And did people but consider the constitution of man, it would conduce much to preserve or deliver them from any dilemma upon this account. For man can be no more a light to his mind, than he is to his body: he has the capacity of seeing objects when he has the help of light, but cannot be a light to himself, by which to see them. Wherefore as the sun in the firmament is the light of the body, and gives us discerning in our temporal affairs ; so the life of the word is the glorious light and sun of the soul: our intellectual luminary, that informs our mind, and gives us true judgment and distinction about those things that more immediately concern our better, inward and eternal man.
§ 3. But others will have this text read thus, not that the word enlightens all mankind, but that all who are enlightened, are enlightened by him, thereby not only narrowing and abusing the text, but rendering God partial, and so severe to his creatures, as to leave the greatest part of the world in darkness, without the means or opportunity of salvation; though we are assured from the Scriptures that all have light, that Christ is the light of the world, and that he died for all; yea, the ungodly, and that God desires not the death of any, but rather that all should repent and come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved; and that the grace of God has appeared to all men, &c.
§ 4. There is a third sort that will needs have it understood, not of any illumination by a divine light or spirit in man, but by the doctrine Christ preached, and the life and example he lived, and led in the world; and which yet neither reached the thousandth part of mankind, nor can consist with what the apostle John intends in the beginning of his history, which wholly relates to what Christ was before he took flesh, or at least, what he is to the soul, by his immediate inshinings and influences. 'Tis most true, Christ was, in a sense, the light of the world, in that very appearance, and shined forth by his heavenly doctrine, many admirable miracles, and his self-denying life and death: but still that hinders not, but that he was and is that spiritual light, which shineth more or less, in the hearts of the sons and daughters of men. For as he was a light in his life and conversation, he was only a light in a more excellent sense than he spoke of to his disciples, when he said, Ye are the lights of the worlds But Christ the word enlightened them, and enlightens us, and enlightens all men that come into the world; which he could not be said to do, if we only regard his personal and outward appearance: for in that sense it is long since he was that light, but in this he is continually so. In that respect he is remote, but in this sense he is present and immediate, else we should render the text, That was the true light which did lighten, instead of which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And that the evangelist might be so understood, as we speak, he refers to this as an evidence of his being the Messiah, and not John; for whom many people had much reverence, for in verse eighth he saith of John, He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light: now comes his proof and our testimony, that was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world; which was not John, or any else, but the word that was with God, and was God.
The evangelist did not describe him by his fasting forty days, preaching so many sermons, working so many miracles, and living so holy a life; and, after all, so patiently suffering death, (which yet Christ did) thereby to prove him the light of the world; but, says the evangelist, That was the true light, the word in flesh, the Messiah, and not John, or any else, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. So that Christ is manifested and distinguished by giving light: and indeed so are all his followers from other people, by receiving and obeying it. There are many other Scriptures, of both Testaments, that refer to the light within; either expressly, or implicitly; which, for brevity's sake, I shall waive reciting; but the reader will find some directions in the margin, which will guide him to them.
The Scriptures referred to are as follows.
Job xviii. 5, 6. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.
Chap. xxi. 17. How oft is the candle of the wicked put out? and how oft cometh their destruction upon them? God distributeth sorrows in his anger.
Chap. xxv. 3. Is there any number of his armies ? and upon whom doth not his light arise.
Chap. xxxvlii. 15. And from the wicked their light is withholden, and the high arm shall be broken. Psalm xviii. 28. For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will lighten my darkness.
Psalm xxvii. 1. The Lord is my light and my salvation; who shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm xxxiv. 5. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
Psalm xxxvi. 9. For with thee is the fountain of life : in thy light shall we see light.
Psalm cxviii. 27. God is the Lord, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
Psalm cxix. 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Prov. xiii. 9. The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Prov. xx. 20, 27. Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Prov. xxiv. 20. For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
Isa. ii. 5. 0 house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
Isa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Isa. xlii. 6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles:
Isa. xlix. 6. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
1 Peter ii. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 John ii. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him, and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
[Continued, Chapter IV.]Notes and Links
^ all have light John i. 4, 9. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. ^ Christ is the light of the world Chap. viii. 12. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. ^ he died for all; yea, the ungodly Rom. v. 6. For when we were yet without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. 2 Cor. v. 15. And that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. ^ that all should repent and come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved 1 Tim. ii. 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. ^ the grace of God has appeared to all Tit. ii. 11, 12. For the grace of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
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§ 1. The virtue of the light within; it gives discerning. § 2. It manifests God. § 3. It gives life to the soul. § 4. It is the apostolic message. § 5. Objection answered about two lights. § 6. About natural and spiritual light: not two darknesses within, therefore, not two lights within. § 7. The Apostle John answers the objection fully : the light the same, 1 John ii. 8, 9. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him, and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
§ 1. THE third thing, is the virtue and efficacy of this light for the end for which God hath given it, viz. To lead and guide the soul of man to blessedness. In order to which, the first thing it does in and for man, is to give him a true sight or discerning of himself: what he is, and what he does ; that he may see and know his own condition, and what judgment to make of himself, with respect to religion and a future state: of which, let us hear what the word himself saith, that cannot err, as John relates it, chap. iii. 20, 21. "For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."
A most pregnant instance of the virtue and authority of the light. First, it is that which men ought to examine themselves by. Secondly, it gives a true discerning betwixt good and bad, what is of God, from what is not of God. And, lastly, it is a judge, and condemned or acquitteth, reproveth or comforteth, the soul of man, as he rejects or obeys it. That must needs be divine or efficacious, which is able to discover to man, what is of God, from what is not of God; and which gives him a distinct knowledge, in himself, of what is wrought in God, from what is not wrought in God.
By which it appears, that this place does not only regard the discovery of man and his works, but, in some measure, it manifesteth God, and his works also, which is yet something higher; forasmuch as it gives the obedient man a discovery of what is wrought or performed by God's power, and after his will, from what is the mere workings of the creature of himself.
If it could not manifest God, it could not tell man what was God's mind, nor give him such a grounded sense and discerning of the rise, nature, and tendency of the workings of his mind or inward man, as is both expressed and abundantly implied in this passage of our Saviour. And if it reveals God, to-be-sure it manifests Christ, that flows and comes from God. Who then would oppose or slight this blessed light ?
§ 2. But that this light doth manifest God, is yet evident from Rom. i. 19. Because that which may be known of God, is manifest in them: for God hath showed it unto them. An universal proposition ; and we have the apostle's word for it, who was one of a thousand, and inspired on purpose to tell us the truth: let it then have its due weight with us. If that which may be known of God is manifest in men, the people called Quakers cannot, certainly, be out of the way in preaching up the light within, without which, nothing can be manifested to the mind of man; as saith the same apostle to the Ephesians, Eph. v. 13.
But all things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light. Well then may they call this light within a manifestation or appearance of God, that sheweth in and to man, all that may be known of God. A passage much like unto this, is that of the Prophet Micah, chap. vi. 8. God hath shewed thee, 0 man, what is good ; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ? God hath shewed thee, 0 man ! It is very emphatical.
But how hath He shewed him? Why by his light in the conscience, which the wicked rebel against, Job xxiv. 13. Who, for that cause, know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof: For its ways are ways of pleasantness, and all its paths are peace, to them that obey it.
§ 3. But the light giveth the light of life, which is eternal life to them that receive and obey it. Thus, says the blessed Saviour of the world, John viii. 12, I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Now he is the light of the world, because he lighteth every man that cometh into the world, and they that obey that light obey him, and therefore have the light of life. That is, the light becomes eternal life to the soul: that as it is the life of the word, which is the light in man, so it becomes the life in man, through his obedience to it, as his heavenly light.
§ 4. Furthermore, this light was the very ground of the apostolic message, as the beloved disciple assures us, 1 John i. 5, 6, 7. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Which is so comprehensive of the virtue and excellency of the light, in reference to man, that there is little need that more should be said upon it; forasmuch as, first, it reveals God, and that God himself is light. Secondly, it discovers darkness from light, and that there is no fellowship between them. Thirdly, that man ought to walk in the light. Fourthly, that it is the way to obtain forgiveness of sin and sanctification from it. Fifthly, that it is the means to have peace and fellowship with God and his people; his true church, redeemed from the pollutions of the world.
§ 5. Some, perhaps, may object, as indeed it hath been more than once objected upon us, That this is another light, not that light wherewith every man is enlightened. But the same apostle, in his evangelical history, tells us, that in the word was life, and the life was the light of men, and that that very light, was the life of the word, was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, John i. 4, 9. In him was life ; and the life was the light of men. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Where is there so plain a text to be found against the sufficiency, as well as universality of the light within; or a plainer for any article of faith in the whole book of God ? Had the beloved disciple intended two lights, in his evangelical history, and his epistles, to-be-sure he would have noted to us his distinction: but we read of none, and by the properties ascribed in each writing, we have reason to conclude he meant the same.
§ 6. But if any shall yet object, That this is to be understood a spiritual light, and that ours is to be a natural one, I shall desire them to do two things: First, to prove that a natural light, as they phrase it, doth manifest God, other than as I have before explained and allowed; since whatever is part of man, in his constitution, but especially in his degeneracy from God, is so far from yielding him the knowledge of God, that it cannot rightly reprove or discover that which offends him, without the light we speak of: and it is granted, that what we call divine, and some, mistakingly, call natural light, can do both.
Secondly, if this light be natural, notwithstanding it doth manifest our duty, and reprove our disobedience to God, they would do well to assign us some certain medium, or way, whereby we may truly discern and distinguish between the manifestations and reproofs of the natural light within, from those of the divine light within, since they allow the manifestation of God, and reproof of evil, as well to the one, as to the other. Let them give us but one Scripture that distinguishes between a natural and a spiritual light within. They may, with as much reason, talk of a natural and spiritual darkness within.
It is true, there is a natural proper darkness, to wit, the night of the outward world; and there is a spiritual darkness, viz. the clouded and benighted understandings of men, through disobedience to the light and spirit of God: but let them assign us a third, if they can. People use, indeed, to say, improperly, of blind men, they are dark, we may call a natural or idiot so, if we will; but where is there another darkness of the understanding, in the things of God ? If they can, I say, find that, in and about the things of God, they do something.
Christ distinguished not between darkness and darkness, or light and light, in any such sense; nor did any of his disciples : yet both have frequently spoken of darkness and light. What difference, pray, doth the Scriptures put between spiritual darkness and darkness mentioned in these places,
Luke i. 79. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Mat. iv. 16. The people which sat in darkness, saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
John i. 5. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John iii. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John viii. 12, 31, 46. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; which of you convinceth me of sin ? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe on me ?
1 Thes. v. 4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1 John i. 6. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
Acts xxvi. 18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Rom. xiii. 12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
2 Cor. vi. 14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness ?
Eph. v. 8. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of the light:
Col. i. 18. "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son;
Upon the strictest comparison of them I find none. It is all one spiritual darkness. Neither is there so much as one Scripture that affords us a distinction between light within and light within; or that there are really two lights from God, in man, that regard religion.
Peruse Mat. iv. 16. The people which sat in darkness, saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
Luke ii. 32. A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Luke xv. 8. Either what woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently, till she find it ?
John i. 4, 5, 7, 8, 9. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness ; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that light, but was sent to bear witness of that light. That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Chap. iii. 19, 20, 21. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.
Chap. viii. 12. Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Acts xxvi. 18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Rom. xiii. 12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
2 Cor. iv. 6. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Chap. vi. 14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with darkness ?
Eph. v. 8, 13. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. But all things that are reproved, are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest, is light.
Col. i. 12. Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light;
1 Thes. v. 5. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness.
1 Tim. vi. 16. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
1 Pet. ii. 9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
1 John i. 5, 7. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Chap. ii. 8. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him, and in you; because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
Rev. xxi. 23, 24. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
Chap. xxii. 5. And there shall be no night there: and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light;and they shall reign forever and ever.
And we believe the greatest opposer, to our assertion, will not be able to sever light from light, or find out two lights within, in the passages here mentioned, or any other, to direct man in his duty to God and his neighbour: and if he cannot, pray let him forbear his mean thoughts and words of the light of Christ within man, as man's guide in duty to God and man.
For as he must yield to us, that the light manifesteth evil, and reproveth for it, so doth Christ himself teach us of the light, John iii. 20. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, neither cometh unto the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
And the Apostle Paul plainly saith, Eph. v. 13. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light; therefore there are not two distinct lights within, but one and the same manifesting, reproving, and teaching light within. And this the Apostle John, in his first epistle, makes plain, beyond all exception, to all considerate people:
First, in that he calls God, light, chap. i. 5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you. that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. Secondly, in that he puts no medium or third thing between that light, and darkness, verse 6. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, &c. Intimating, that men must walk either in light or darkness, and not in a third, or other state or region. I am sure, that which manifests and reproves darkness, cannot be darkness. This all men must confess.
§ 7. And, as if the Apostle John would have anticipated their objection, viz. 'Tis true, your light within reproves for evil, but it is not therefore the Divine Light which leads into higher things, and which comes by the gospel; he thus expresseth himself, 1 John ii. 8, 9: The darkness is past, and the true Light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now; which is not another light than that mentioned before, chap. i. For as light is put there, in opposition to darkness, so light here, is put in opposition to darkness.
And as the darkness is the same, so must the light be the same. Wherefore we may plainly see, that it is not another light, than that which reproves a man for hating his brother, which brings a man into fellowship with God, and to the blood of cleansing, as the next verse speaks: therefore that Light which reproveth a man for hating his brother, is of a divine and efficacious nature.
In short, that light which is opposite to, and reproves spiritual darkness, in a man and woman, is a spiritual Light; but such a Light is that which we confess, testify to, and maintain: therefore it is a spiritual Light. It is also worth our notice, that the apostle useth the same manner of expression here, chap. ii. 8, The true Light shineth, that he doth in his Evangelical History, chap. i. 9: That was the true Light; intimating the same divine Word, or true Light now shineth; and that it is the same true Light in his account, that reproveth such as hate their brethren: consequently, that Light that so reproveth them is the true Light.
And strange it is, that Christ and his disciples, but especially his beloved one, should so often make that very light, which stoops to the lowest step of immorality, and to the reproof of the grossest evil, to be no other than the same divine light, in a farther degree of manifestation, which brings such as follow it to the Light of Life, to the blood of cleansing, and to have fellowship with God, and one with another: Nay, not only so, but the apostle makes a man's being a child of God, to depend upon his answering of this light in a palpable and common case, viz.
Not hating of his brother: and that yet any should shut their eyes so fast against beholding the virtue of it, as to conclude it a natural and insufficient light, is both unscriptural and unreasonable. Shall we slight it, because we come so easily by it, and it is so familiar and domestic to us? Or make its being so common an argument to undervalue so inestimable a mercy? What is more common than light, and air, and water?
And should we therefore contemn them, or prize them ? Prize them, certainly, as what we cannot live, nor live comfortably without. The more general the mercy is, the greater, and therefore the greater obligation upon man to live humbly and thankfully for it. And to those alone that do so, are its divine secrets revealed.
***********************Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
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§ 1. The Light the same with the Spirit. It is of God; proved by its properties. § 2. The properties of the Spirit compared with those of the Light. § 3. The Light and Grace flow from the same principle, proved by their agreeing properties. § 4. An objection answered. § 5. Difference in manifestation, or operation, especially in Gospel times, but not in principle, illustrated.
§ 1. BUT some may say, We could willingly allow to the Spirit and grace of God, which seemed to be the peculiar blessing of the new and second covenant, and the fruit of the coming of Christ, all that which you ascribe to the light within; but except it appeared to us that this light were the same in nature with the Spirit and grace of God, we cannot easily bring ourselves to believe what you say in favour of the light within.
Answ. This objection, at first look, seems to carry weight with it: but upon a just and serious review, it will appear to have more words than matter, show than substance: yet because it gives occasion to solve scruples, that may be flung in the way of the simple, I shall attend it throughout. I say, then, if it appear that the properties ascribed to the light within are the same with those that are given to the Holy Spirit and grace of God; and that those several terms or epithets, are only to express the divers manifestations or operations of one and the same principle, then it will not, it cannot be denied, but this light within, is divine and efficacious, as we have asserted it.
Now, that it is of the same nature with the Spirit and grace of God, and tends to the same end, which is to bring people to God, let the properties of the light be compared with those of the Spirit and grace of God. I say, they are the same, in that, First, The light proceeds from the One Word, and One Life of that One Word, which was with God and was God. John i. 4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And John i. 9 : That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Secondly, It is universal, it lighteth every man.
Thirdly, It giveth the knowledge of God and fellowship with him. Rom. i. 19: Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. John iii. 21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. 1 John i. 5, 6: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
Fourthly, It manifesteth and reproveth evil, John iii. 20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Eph. v. 13: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
Fifthly, It is made the rule and guide of Christian walking, Psalm xliii. 3: 0 send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. John viii. 12: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. Eph. v. 13, 14: But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.
Sixthly, It is the path for God's people to go in,
Psalm cxix. 105 : Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Prov. iv. 18 : But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Isa. ii. 5: 0 house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.
1 John i. 7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Rev. xxi. 24: And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the nations of them that are saved, shall walk in the light (of the Lamb.)
Lastly, It is the armour of the children of God against Satan,
Psalm xxvii. 1: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
Rom. xiii. 12: The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
§ 2. Now let all this be compared with the properties of the Holy Spirit, and their agreement will be very manifest. First, It proceedeth from God, because it is the Spirit of God,
Rom. vi. 11: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Secondly, It is universal.
It strove with the old world, Gen. vi. 3: And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Then to be sure with the new One: Every one hath a measure of it given to profit withal, 1 Cor. xii. 7.
Thirdly, It revealeth God, Job xxxii. 8: But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
1 Cor. ii. 10, 11: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Fourthly, It reproveth sin, John xvi. 8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
Fifthly, It is a rule and a guide for the children of God to walk by, Rom. viii. 14: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Sixthly, It is also the path they are to walk in, Rom. viii. 1: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Gal. v. 16 : This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Walk in the Spirit.
Lastly, This is not all; it is likewise the spiritual weapon of a true Christian.
Eph. vi. 17: Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. After this, I hope none will deny that this Light and this Spirit must be of one and the same nature, that work one and the same effect, and tend evidently to one and the same holy end.
§ 3. And what is said of the Light and Spirit, may also, very well be said of the Light and Grace of God: in that,
First, The grace floweth from Christ, the Word, that took flesh, as well as the light; for as in him was life, and that life the light of men, so he was full of grace and truth, and of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace, John i. 4, 9,14,16:
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Secondly, It is universal; both from this text, and what the apostle to Titus teacheth: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, Teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, Titus ii. 11,12.
Thirdly, It manifesteth evil, for if it teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, it must needs detect them, and so says the text.
Fourthly, It revealeth godliness, and consequently it must manifest God.
Fifthly, it is an instructor and Guide; for, says the apostle, It teaches to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, and herein a rule of life, Tit. ii. 11, 12, Sixthly, It is to all that receive it, all that they can need or desire. 2 Cor. xii. 9:
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. An high testimony from Heaven, to the power of this teaching and saving grace, under the strongest temptations.
§ 4. Obj. But there is a little mention made of the Spirit, and none of the Grace, before Christ's coming, and therefore the Spirit, as spoken of in the writings of the New Testament, and especially the Grace, must be another, and a nobler thing than the light within.
Answ. By no means another thing, but another name, from another manifestation or operation, of the same principle. It is called light from the distinction and discerning it gives. Let there be light, and there was light, said God in the beginning of the world; so there is first Light in the beginning of the new creation of God in man.
It is called Spirit, because it giveth life, sense, motion and vigour: and it is as often mentioned in the writings of the Old as New Testament; which every reader may see, if he will but please to look into his Scripture Concordance.
Thus God's Spirit strove with the old world, Gen. vi. 3: And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
And with Israel in the wilderness, Neh. ix. 30: Yet many years didst thou forbear them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit in thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the people of the lands.
And David asked, in the agony of his soul, Psalm cxxxix. 7, Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
And the prophets often felt it. It is styled grace, not from its being another principle, but because it was a fuller dispensation of the virtue and power of the same divine principle: and that being purely God's favour and mercy, and not man's merit, is aptly, and deservedly called the grace, favour, or good-will of God to undeserving man. The wind does not always blow fresh, nor heaven send down its rain freely, nor the sun shine forth clearly; shall we therefore say, it is not of the same kind of wind, rain, or light, when it blows, rains, or shines but a little, as when it blows, rains, or shines much?
It is certainly the same in nature and kind; and so is this blessed principle, under all its several dispensations, manifestations and operations, for the benefit of man's soul, ever since the world began.
§ 5. But this is most freely, humbly and thankfully acknowledged by us, that the dispensation of the Gospel was the clearest, fullest, and noblest of all other, both with regard to the coming of Christ in the flesh, and being our one holy offering to God for sin, through the eternal Spirit; and the breaking forth of his light, the effusion of his Spirit, and appearance of his grace in, and to man, in a more excellent manner, after his ascension.
For though it was not another Light, or Spirit, than that which he had given to man in former ages, yet it was another and greater measure; and that is the privilege of the gospel above former dispensations. What before shined but dimly, shines since with great glory. 2 Cor. iii. 18 : But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Then it appeared but darkly, but now with open face. Types, figures and shadows vailed its appearances and made them look low and faint; but in the gospel time, the vail is rent, and the hidden glory manifest. John i. 5,17 : And the Light shineth; in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
It was under the law but as a dew, or small rain, but under the gospel, it may be said to be poured out upon men; according to that gracious and notable promise of God, by the prophet Joel, chap. ii. 28: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions."
Thus we say when it rains plentifully, look how it pours, so God augments his light, grace, and Spirit to these latter days. They shall not have it sparingly, and by small drops, but fully and freely, and overflowing too. And thus Peter, that deep and excellent apostle, applies that promise in Joel, on the day of Pentecost, as the beginning of the accomplishment of it. This is grace, and favour, and goodness indeed.
And therefore well may this brighter illumination, and greater effusion of the Spirit, be called grace; for as the coming of the Son excelled that of the servant, so did the manifestation of the light and Spirit of God, since the coming of Christ, excel that of the foregoing dispensations ; yet ever sufficient to salvation, to all those that walked in it.
This is our sense of the light, Spirit, and grace of God: and by what is said, it is evident they are one and the same principle, and that he that has light, need not want the Spirit or grace of God, if he will but receive it, in the love of it: for the very principle, that is light to show him, is also spirit to quicken him, and grace to teach, help, and comfort him. It is sufficient in all circumstances of life, to them that diligently mind and obey it.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Five | Table of Contents | Chapter SevenCHAPTER VI.
§ 1. An Objection answered: All are not Good, though all are lighted. § 2. Another Objection answered, That Gospel truths were known before Christ's Coming. § 3. Another: The Gentiles had the same Light, though not with those Advantages: Proved by Scripture.
§ 1. BUT some may yet say, If it be as you declare, how comes it, that all who are enlightened, are not so good as they should be; or, as you say, this would make them?
Answ. Because people don't receive and obey it: all men have reason, but all men are not reasonable. Is it the fault of the grain, in the granary, that it yields no increase, or of the talent in the napkin, that it is not improved? It is plain a talent was given ; and as plain that it was improveable; both because the like talents were actually improved by others, and, that the just Judge expected his talent with advantage; which else, to be sure, he would never have done. Now when our objectors will tell us, whose fault it was the talent was not improved, we shall be ready to tell them, why the unprofitable servant was not so good as he should have been.
The blind must not blame the sun, nor sinners tax the grace of insufficiency. It is sin that darkens the eye, and hardens the heart, and that hinders good things from the sons of men. If we do his will, we shall know of his divine doctrine, so Christ tells us. Men not living to what they know, cannot blame God, that they know no more. The unfruitfulnessis is in us, not in the talent. 'Twere well indeed, that this were laid to heart. But, alas ! men are too apt to follow their sensual appetites, rather than their reasonable mind, which renders them brutal instead of rational.
For the reasonable part in man, is his spiritual part, and that guided by the divine Logos, or Word, which Tertullian interprets reason in the most excellent sense, makes man truly reasonable; and then it is that man comes to offer up himself to God a reasonable sacrifice. Then a man indeed; a complete man; such a man as God made, when he made man in his own image, and gave him Paradise for his habitation.
§ 2. Obj. But some yet object, If mankind had always this principle, how comes it that gospel-truths were not so fully known before the coming of Christ, to those that were obedient to it.
Answ. Because a child is not a grown man, nor the beginning the end; and yet he that is the beginning, is also the end: the principle is the same, though not the manifestation. As the world has many steps and periods of time towards its end, so hath man to his perfection. They that are faithful to what they know of the dispensation of their own day, shall hear the happy welcome, of Well done, good and faithful servant. And yet many of God's people in those days, had a prospect of the glory of the latter times, the improvement of religion, the happiness of the church of God.
This we see in the prophecy of Jacob and Moses, concerning the restoration of Israel by Christ. Gen. xlix. 10 : "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
Deut. xviii. 15, 18. "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him."
So David, in many of his excellent Psalms, expressing most sensible and extraordinary enjoyments, as well as Prophecies; particularly his 2, 15, 18, 22, 23, 25, 27, 32, 36, 37, 42, 43, 45, 51, 84, &c. The Prophets are full of it, and for that reason have their name; particularly Isaiah, chap. 2, 9,11, 25, 28, 32, 35, 42, 49,50,51,52,53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 63, 65, 66. Jeremiah also, chap. 23, 30, 31, 33. Ezekiel, chap. 20, 34, 36, 37. Daniel, chap. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Hosea, chap. I, 3. Joel, chap. 2, 3. Amos, chap. 9. Micah, chap. 4, 5. Zachariah, chap. 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14. Malachi, chap. 3, 4. This was not another principle, though another manifestation of the same principle, nor was it common, but particular and extraordinary in the reason of it.
It was the same Spirit that came upon Moses, which came upon John the Baptist, and it was also the same Spirit that came upon Gideon and Samson, that fell upon Peter and Paul; but it was not the same dispensation of that Spirit. It hath been the way of God, to visit and appear to men, according to their states and conditions, and as they have been prepared to receive him, be it more outwardly or inwardly, sensibly or spiritually. There is no capacity too low, or too high, for this divine principle: for as it made and knows all, so it reaches unto all people. It extends to the meanest, and the highest cannot subsist without it.
Which made David break forth in his expostulations with God, Psalm cxxxix. 7, 8, 9, 10. "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there : if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me." Implying it was everywhere, though not everywhere, not at every time alike. If I go to heaven, to hell, or beyond the seas, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
That is, there will this divine Word, this Light of men, this Spirit of God, find me, lead me, help me, and comfort me. For it is with me wherever I am, and wherever I go, in one respect or other; Prov. vi. 22: "When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee:" and I can no more get rid of it, if I would, than of myself, or my own nature ; so present is it with me, and so close it sticks unto me. Isa. xliii. 2: " When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." David knew it, and therefore had a great value for it.
"In thy light shall we see light," or we shall be enlightened by thy light. "Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will lighten my darkness." Again, "The Lord is my Light, whom shall I fear." It was his armour against all danger. It took fear away from him, and he was undaunted, because he was safe in the way of it. Of the same blessed word he says elsewhere, "It is a lamp unto my feet, and a lanthorn to my paths." In short, a light to him in his way to blessedness.
§ 3. Obj. But if the Jews had this light, it does not follow that the Gentiles had it also; but by your doctrine all have it.
Answ. Yes, and it is the glory of this doctrine which we profess, that God's love is therein held forth to all. And besides the texts cited in general, and that are as full and positive as can be expressed, the apostle is very particular in the second chapter of his Epistle to the Romans, verse 7 : "To them who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life:
"But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath. Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good: to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For there is no respect of persons with God.
"For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law ; and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, 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 conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." [Rom. ii. 8-16]
That is, they had not an outward law, circumstanced as the Jews had; but they had the work of the law written in their hearts, and therefore might well be a law to themselves, that had the law in themselves. And so had the Jews too, but then they had greater outward helps to quicken their obedience to it; such as God afforded not unto any other nation: and therefore the obedience of the Gentiles, or uncircumcision, is said to be by nature, or naturally, because it was without those additional, external, and extraordinary ministers and helps which the Jews had to provoke them to duty.
Which is so far from lessening the obedient Gentiles, that it exalts them in the apostle's judgment; because though they had less advantages than the Jews, yet the work of the law written in their hearts, was made so much the more evident by the good life they lived in the world. He adds, " their consciences bearing witness (or as it may be rendered, witnessing with them) and their thoughts, meanwhile, accusing, or else excusing one another, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of all hearts by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." Which presents us with four things to our point, and worth our serious reflection.
First, That the Gentiles had the law written in their hearts. Secondly, That their conscience was an allowed witness or evidence about duty. Thirdly, That the judgment made thereby shall be confirmed by the apostle's gospel at the great day, and therefore valid and irreversible. Fourthly, That this could not be, if the light of this conscience were not a divine and sufficient light: for conscience truly speaking, is no other than the sense a man hath, or judgment he maketh of his duty to God, according to the understanding God gives him of his will.
And that no ill, but a true and scriptural use may be made of this word conscience, I limit it to duty, and to a virtuous and holy life, as the apostle evidently doth, about which we cannot miss, or dispute; read verses 7, 8 and 9: "To them who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil; of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile."
It was to that therefore the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ desired to be made manifest, for they dared to stand the judgment of conscience, in reference to the doctrine they preached and pressed upon men. The beloved disciple also makes it a judge of man's present and future state, under the term heart. 1 John iii. 20, 21: "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God."
Plain and strong words: and what were they about, but whether we love God, in deed and in truth: and how must that appear? Why, in keeping his commandments, which is living up to what we know.
And if any desire to satisfy themselves farther of the divinity of the Gentiles, let them read Plato, Seneca, Plutarch, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and the Gentile writers. They will also find many of their sayings, collected in the first part of a book, called The Christian Quaker, and compared with the testimonies of Scriptures, not for their authority, but agreeableness.
In them they may discern many excellent truths, and taste great love and devotion to virtue: a fruit that grows upon no tree, but that of life, in no age or nation.
Some of the most eminent writers of the first ages, such as Justin Martyr, Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, &c., bore them great respect, and thought it no lessening to the reputation of Christianity, that it was defended in many Gentile authors, as well as that they used and urged them, to engage their followers to the faith, as Paul did the Athenians with their own poets.
*****************************Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Six | Table of Contents | Chapter EightCHAPTER VII.
§ 1. An Objection answered about the various Dispensations of God: The Principle the same. § 2. God's Work of a piece, and Truth the same under divers Shapes. § 3. The Reason of the Prevalency of Idolatry. § 4. The Quaker's Testimony the best Antidote against it, viz. Walking by a divine Principle in Man. § 5. It was God's End in all his Manifestations, that Man might be God's Image and Delight.
§ 1. Obj. BUT it may be said, If it were one principle, why so many modes and shapes of religion, since the world began? For the patriarchal, Mosaical, and Christian, have their great differences ; to say nothing of what has befallen the Christian, since the publication of it to the world.
Answ. I know not how properly they may be called divers religions, that assert the true God for the object of worship; the Lord Jesus Christ, for the only Saviour; and the light, or Spirit of Christ, for the great agent and means of man's conversion, and eternal felicity, any more than infancy, youth, and manhood, make three men, instead of three growths or periods of time, of one and the same man. But passing that, the many modes, or ways of God's appearing to men, arise, as hath been said, from the divers states of men, in all which, it seems to have been his main design to prevent idolatry and vice, by directing their minds to the true object of worship, and pressing virtue and holiness. So that though mediately he spoke to the patriarchs, mostly by angels, in the fashion of men, and by them to their families, over and above the illumination in themselves ; so to the prophets, for the most part, by the Revelation of the Holy Ghost in them, and by them to the Jews ; and since the Gospel Dispensation, by his Son, both externally, by his coming in the flesh, and internally, by his spiritual appearance in the soul, as he is the great Light of the world; yet all its flowings mediately through others, have still been from the same principle, co-operating with the manifestation of it immediately in man's own particular.
§ 2. This is of great weight, for our information and encouragement, that God's work, in reference to man, is all of a piece, and, in itself, lies in a narrow compass, and that his eye has ever been upon the same thing in all his dispensations, viz. to make men truly good, by planting his holy awe, and fear in their hearts: though he has condescended, for the hardness and darkness of men's hearts, to approach, and spell out his holy mind, to them, by low and carnal ways, as they may appear to our more enlightened understandings: suffering truth to put on divers sorts of garments, the better to reach to the low state of men, to engage them from false gods, and ill lives; seeing them sunk so much below their nobler part, and what he made them, that, like brute beasts, they knew not their own strength and excellency.
§ 3. And if we do but well consider the reason of the prevalency of idolatry, upon the earlier and darker times of the world, of which the Scripture is very particular, Gen. xxxi. xxxv.; Exod. xx.; Levit. xxi.; Deut. xxix. xxx. xxxi. xxxii.; Josh. xxii. xxiii. xxiv., we shall find that it ariseth from this: That it is more sensual, and therefore calculated to please the senses of men; being more outward or visible, or more in their own power to perform, than one more spiritual in its object. For as their gods were the workmanship of men's hands, they could not prefer them, that being the argument which did most of all gall their worshippers, and what of all things, for that reason, they were most willing to forget. But their incidency to idolatry, and the advantages it had upon the true religion with them, plainly came from this, That it was more outward and sensual: they could see the object of their devotion, and had it in their power to address it when they would. It was more fashionable too, as well as better accommodated to their dark and too brutal state. And therefore it was that God, by many afflictions, and greater deliverances, brought forth a people, to endear himself to them, that they might remember the hand that saved them, and worship him, and him only; in order to root up idolatry, and plant the knowledge and fear of him in their minds, for an example to other nations. Whoever reads Deuteronomy, which is a summary of the other four books of Moses, will find the frequent and earnest care and concern of that good man for Israel, about this very point; and how often that people slipt and lapsed, notwithstanding God's love, care, and patience over them, into the idolatrous customs of the nations about them. Divers other Scriptures inform us also, especially those of the prophets, Isa. xliv. xlv.; Psalms xxxvii. cxv.; and Jer. x., where the Holy Ghost confutes and rebukes the people, and mocks their idols with a sort of holy disdain.
§ 4. Now that which is farthest from idolatry, and the best antidote against it, is the principle we have laid down, and the more people's minds are turned and brought to it, and that they resolve their faith, worship, and obedience into the holy illuminations and power of it, the nearer they grow to the end of their creation, and consequently to their Creator. They are more spiritually qualified, and become better fitted to worship God as he is: who, as we are told, by our Lord Jesus Christ, Is a Spirit, and will be worshipped in spirit and in truth, and that they are such sort of worshippers which God keepeth to worship him, in this gospel-day. " The hour cometh," saith he, " and now is." That is, some now do so, but more shall. A plain assertion in present, and a promise and prophecy of the increase of such worshippers in future. Which shews a change intended from a ceremonial worship, and state of the church of God, to a spiritual one. Thus the text: "But the time cometh, and now is, when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Which is as much as to say, when the worship of God shall be more inward than outward and so more suitable to the nature of God, and the nobler part of man, his inside, or his inward and better man: for so those blessed words import, in " spirit and in truth." In spirit, that is, through the power of the Spirit. In truth, that is, in realities, not in shadows, ceremonies, or formalities, but in sincerity, with and in Life, being divinely prepared and animated ; which brings man not only to offer up right worship, but also into intimate communion and fellowship with God, who is a Spirit.
§ 5. And if it be duly weighed, it will appear, that God in all his manifestations of himself, hath still come nearer and nearer to the insides of men, that he might reach to their understandings, and open their hearts and give them a plainer and nearer acquaintance with himself in spirit: and then it is that man must seek and find the knowledge of God for his eternal happiness. Indeed, all things that are made shew forth the power and wisdom of God, and his goodness too, to mankind; and therefore many men urge the Creation to silence Atheistical objections: but tho' all those things shew a God, yet man does it, above all the rest. He is the precious stone of the ring, and the most glorious jewel of the globe; to whose reasonable use, service, and satisfaction, the whole seems to be made and dedicated. But God's delight (by whom man was made, we are told by the Holy Ghost) is in the habitable parts of the earth, with the sons of men, Prov. viii. 31. And with those that are contrite in spirit, Isa. lxvi. 1, 2: "Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool : where is the house that ye build unto me ? and where is the place of my rest ? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." And why is man his delight, but because man only, of all his works, was of his likeness? This is the intimate relation of man to God: somewhat nearer than ordinary; for of all other beings, man only had the honour of being his image; and, by his resemblance to God, as I may say, came his kindred with God and knowledge of him. So that the nearest and best way for man to know God, and be acquainted with him, is to seek him in himself, in his image; and, as he finds that, he comes to find and know God. Now man may be said to be God's image in a double respect. First, As he is of an immortal nature ; and, next, as that nature is endued with those excellencies in small, and proportionable to a creature's capacity, that are by nature infinitely and incomparably in his Creator. For instance, wisdom, justice, mercy, holiness, patience, and the like. As man becomes holy, just, merciful, patient, &c. By the copy he will know the original, and by the workmanship in himself he will be acquainted with the holy workman. This, reader, is the Regeneration and New Creature we press, (Gal. vi. 15, 16: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God,") and according to this rule, we say, men ought to be religious, and walk in this world. Man, as I said just now, is a composition of both worlds; his body is of this, his soul of the other world. The body is as the temple of the soul, the soul the temple of the Word, and the Word the great temple and manifestation of God. By the body the soul looks into and beholds this world, and by the Word it beholds God, and the world that is without end. Much might be said of this order of things, and their respective excellencies, but I must be brief.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Seven | Table of Contents | Chapter NineCHAPTER VIII.
§ 1. The doctrines of satisfaction and justification owned and worded according to Scripture. § 2. What constructions we can't believe of them, and which is an abuse of them. § 3. Christ owned a Sacrifice and Mediator. § 4. Justification twofold, from the guilt of sin, and from the power and pollution of it. § 5. Exhortation to the reader upon the whole.
§ 1. THOUGH there be many good things said, how Christ appears and works in a soul, to awaken, convince and convert it; yet you seem not particular enough about the death and sufferings of Christ: and it is generally rumoured and charged upon you by your adversaries, that you have little reverence to the doctrine of Christ's satisfaction to God for our sins, and that you do not believe, that the active and passive obedience of Christ, when he was in the world, is the alone ground of a sinner's justification before God.
Answ. The doctrines of satisfaction and justification, truly understood, are placed in so strict an union, that the one is a necessary consequence of the other, and what we say of them, is what agrees with the suffrage of Scripture, and for the most part in the terms of it; always believing, that in points where there arises any difficulty, be it from the obscurity of expression, mis-translation, or the dust raised by the heats of partial writers, or nice critics, it is ever best to keep close to the text, and maintain charity in the rest. I shall first speak negatively, what we do not own, which perhaps hath given occasion to those who have been more hasty than wise, to judge us defective, in our belief of the efficacy of the death and sufferings of Christ to justification : as
§ 2. First, we cannot believe that Christ is the cause, but the effect of God's love, according to the testimony of the beloved disciple John, chap. iii.: God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son into the world, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Secondly, we cannot say, God could not have taken another way to have saved sinners, than by the death and sufferings of his Son, to satisfy his justice, or that Christ's death and sufferings were a strict and rigid satisfaction for that eternal death and misery due to man for sin and transgression: for such a notion were to make God's mercy little concerned in man's salvation ; and indeed we are at too great a distance from his infinite wisdom and power, to judge of the liberty or necessity of his actings.
Thirdly, we cannot say Jesus Christ was the greatest sinner in the world, (because he bore our sins on his cross, or because he was made sin for us, who knew no sin,) an expression of great levity and unsoundness, yet often said by great preachers and professors of religion.
Fourthly, we cannot believe that Christ's death and sufferings so satisfies God or justifies men, as that they are thereby accepted of God : they are indeed thereby put into a state capable of being accepted of God, and, through the obedience of faith and sanctification of the Spirit, are in a state of acceptance: for we can never think a man justified before God, while self-condemned: or that any man can be in Christ who is not a new creature, or that God looks upon men otherwise than they are. We think it a state of presumption and not of salvation, to call Jesus Lord, and not by the work of the Holy Ghost: Master, and he not yet master of their affections : Saviour, and they not saved by him from their sins: Redeemer, and yet they not redeemed by him from their passion, pride, covetousness, wantonness, vanity, vain honours, friendships, and glory of this world: which were to deceive themselves ; for God will not be mocked. Such as men sow, such they must reap. And though Christ did die for us, yet we must, by the assistance of his grace, work out our salvation with fear and trembling : as he died for sin, so we must die to sin, or we cannot be said to be saved by the death and sufferings of Christ, or thoroughly justified and accepted with God. Thus far negatively. Now, positively, what we own as to justification.
§ 3. We do believe that Jesus Christ was our holy sacrifice, atonement, and propitiation; that he bore our iniquities, and that by his stripes we were healed of the wounds Adam gave us in his fall; and that God is just in forgiving true penitents upon the credit of that holy offering Christ made of himself to God for us; and that what he did and suffered satisfied and pleased God, and was for the sake of fallen man, that had displeased God ; and that through the offering up of himself once for all, through the eternal Spirit, he hath forever perfected those (in all times) that were sanctified, who walked not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. viii. 1. Mark that.
§ 4. In short, justification consists of two parts, or hath a twofold consideration, viz., justification from the guilt of sin, and justification from the power and pollution of sin, and in this sense justification gives a man a full and clear acceptance before God. For want of this latter part it is, that so many souls, religiously inclined, are often under doubts, scruples, and despondencies, notwithstanding all that their teachers tell them of the extent and efficacy of the first part of justification. And it is too general an unhappiness among the professors of Christianity, that they are apt to cloak their own active and passive disobedience with the active and passive obedience of Christ. The first part of justification, we do reverently and humbly acknowledge, is only for the sake of the death and sufferings of Christ: nothing can we do, though by the operation of the Holy Spirit, being able to cancel old debts, or wipe out old scores: it is the power and efficacy of that propitiatory offering, upon faith and repentance, that justifies us from the sins that are past; and it is the power of Christ's Spirit in our hearts, that purifies and makes us acceptable before God. For till the heart of man is purged from sin, God will never accept of it. He reproves, rebukes and condemns those that entertain sin there, and therefore such cannot be said to be in a justified state ; condemnation and justification being contraries : so that they who hold themselves in a justified state by the active and passive obedience of Christ, while they are not actively and passively obedient to the Spirit of Christ Jesus, are under a strong and dangerous delusion; and for crying out against this sin-pleasing imagination, not to say doctrine, we are staged and reproached as deniers and despisers of the death and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. But be it known to such, they add to Christ's sufferings, and crucify to themselves afresh the Son of God, and trample the blood of the covenant under their feet, that walk unholily under a profession of justification: for God will not acquit the guilty, nor justify the disobedient and unfaithful.
Such deceive themselves, and at the great and final judgment their sentence will not be, Come, ye blessed, because it cannot be said to them, Well done good and faithful, for they cannot be so esteemed that live and die in a reprovable and condemnable state; but, Go ye cursed, &c.
§ 5. Wherefore, 0 my reader I rest not thyself wholly satisfied with what Christ has done for thee in his blessed person without thee, but press to know his power and kingdom within thee, that the strong man, that has too long kept thy house, may be bound, and his goods spoiled, his works destroyed, and sin ended, according to 1 John iii. 7: "Little children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous." "For which end," says that beloved disciple, "Christ was manifested, that all things may become new : new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells." Thus thou wilt come to glorify God in thy body and in thy spirit, which are his, and live to him and not to thyself. Thy love, joy, worship and obedience; thy life, conversation, and practice; thy study, meditation, and devotion, will be spiritual: for the Father and the Son will make their abode with thee, and Christ will manifest himself to thee; for "the secrets of the Lord are with them that fear him:" and an holy unction or anointing have all those, which leads them into all truth, and they need not the teachings of men.
They are better taught, being instructed by the divine oracle: no bare hearsay, or traditional Christians, but fresh and living witnesses: those that have seen with their own eyes, and heard with their own ears, and have handled with their own hands, the word of life, in the divers operations of it to their souls' salvation. In this they meet, in this they preach, and in this they pray and praise. Behold the new covenant fulfilled, the church and worship of Christ, the great Anointed of God, and the great anointing of God, in his holy high-priesthood, and offices in his church!
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Eight | Table of Contents | Chapter TenCHAPTER IX.
§ 1. A confession to Christ and his work, both in doing and suffering. § 2. That ought not to make void our belief and testimony of his inward and spiritual appearance in the soul. § 3. What our testimony is in the latter respect: that it is impossible to be saved by Christ without us, while we reject his work and power within us. § 4. The dispensation of grace, in its nature and extent. § 5. A further acknowledgment to the death and sufferings of Christ. § 6. The conclusion, showing our adversaries' unreasonableness.
§ 1. AND lest any should say we are equivocal in our expressions, and allegorize away Christ's appearance in the flesh; meaning only thereby, our own flesh; and that as often as we mention Him, we mean only a mystery, or a mystical sense of Him, be it as to his coming, birth, miracles, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, mediation and judgment; I would yet add, to preserve the well-disposed from being staggered by such suggestions, and to inform and reclaim such as are under the power and prejudice of them, that, we do, we bless God, religiously believe and confess, to the glory of God the Father, and the honour of his dear and beloved Son, that, Jesus Christ took our nature upon him, and was like unto us in all things, sin excepted : That he was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, was crucified, dead, and buried in the sepulchre of Joseph of Arimathea; rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of God, in the power and majesty of his Father; who will one day judge the world by him, even that blessed man, Christ Jesus, according to their works.
§ 2. But because we so believe, must we not believe what Christ said, "He that is with you shall be in you" ? John xiv. "I in them and they in me," &c.: chap. xvii. " When it pleased God to reveal his Son in me," &c.: Gal. "The mystery hid from ages, is Christ in the Gentiles the hope of glory :" Col. i. "Unless Christ be in you, ye are reprobates:" 2 Cor. xiii. Or must we be industriously represented deniers of Christ's coming in the flesh, and the holy ends of it, in all the parts and branches of his doing and suffering, only because we believe and press the necessity of believing, receiving and obeying his inward and spiritual appearance and manifestation of himself, through his light, grace, and Spirit, in the hearts and consciences of men and women, to reprove, convict, convert, and change them ? This we esteem hard and unrighteous measure; nor would our warm and sharp adversaries be so dealt with by others : but to do as they would be done to, is too often no part of their practice, whatever it be of their profession.
§ 3. Yet we are very ready to declare to the whole world, that we cannot think men and women can be saved by their belief of the one, without the sense and experience of the other ; and that is what we oppose, and not his blessed manifestation in the flesh. We say that he then overcame our common enemy, foiled him in the open field, and in our nature triumphed over him that had overcome and triumphed over it in our forefather Adam and his posterity: and that as truly as Christ overcame him in our nature, in his own person, so, by his divine grace, being received and obeyed by us, he overcomes him in us: that is, he detects the enemy by his light in the conscience, and enables the creature to resist him and all his fiery darts; and finally, so to fight the good fight of faith, as to overcome him, and lay hold on eternal life.
§ 4. And this is the dispensation of grace, which we declare has appeared to all, more or less; teaching those that will receive it, "to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ; looking for (which none else can justly do) the blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ," &c.: Tit. ii. 11, 12, 13. And as from the teachings, experience and motion, of this grace we minister to others, so the very drift of our ministry is to turn people's minds to this grace in themselves, that all of them may up and be doing, " even the good and acceptable will of God, and work out their salvation with fear and trembling, and make their high and heavenly calling and election sure;" which none else can do, whatever be their profession, church, and character ; for such as men sow they must reap; and his servants we are whom we obey. Regeneration we must know, or we cannot be children of God, and heirs of eternal glory: and to be born again, another spirit and principle must prevail, leaven, season, and govern us, than either the spirit of the world, or our own depraved spirits ; and this can be no other spirit than that which dwelt in Christ; for unless that dwell in us, we can be none of his. Rom. viii. 9.: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And this Spirit begins in conviction, and ends in conversion and perseverance; and the one follows the other. Conversion being the consequence of convictions obeyed, and perseverance a natural fruit of conversion, and being born of God. "For such sin not, because the Seed of God abides in them." John iii. 7, 8 : "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind floweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." But such, through faithfulness, continue to the end, and obtain the promise, even everlasting life.
§ 5. But let my reader take this along with him, that we do acknowledge that Christ, through his holy doing and suffering, (for being a Son he learned obedience) has obtained mercy of God his Father for mankind, and that his obedience has an influence to our salvation, in all the parts and branches of it, since thereby he became a conqueror, and led captivity captive, and obtained gifts for men, with divers great and precious promises, that thereby we might be partakers of the divine nature, having (first) escaped the corruption that is in the world, through lust. I say, we do believe and confess, that the active and passive obedience of Christ Jesus affects our salvation throughout, as well from the power and pollution of sin, as from the guilt, he being a conqueror as well as a sacrifice, and both through suffering. Yet they that reject his divine gift, so obtained, (and which he has given to them, by which to see their sin and the sinfulness of it, and to repent and turn away from it, and do so no more; and to wait upon God for daily strength to resist the fiery darts of the enemy, and to be comforted through the obedience of faith in and to this divine grace of the Son of God) such do not please God, believe truly in God, nor are they in a state of true Christianity and salvation. "Woman," said Christ, to the Samaritan at the well, "hadst thou known the gift of God, and who it is that speaketh to thee," &c. People know not Christ, and God, whom to know is life eternal, John xvii., because they are ignorant of the gift of God, viz., a measure of the Spirit of God that is given to any one to profit with. 1 Cor. xii. 7 : "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." Which reveals Christ and God to the soul; 1 Cor. ii. 1: "And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech, or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written,
'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.'
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.
For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
'For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?'
But we have the mind of Christ." [1 Cor. ii. 2-16.]
Flesh and blood cannot do it, Oxford and Cambridge cannot do it, tongues and philosophy cannot do it: for they that by wisdom knew not God, had these things for their wisdom. They were strong, deep and accurate in them; but, alas! they were clouded, puffed up, and set further off from the inward and saving knowledge of God, because they sought for it in them, and thought to find God there. But the Key of David is another thing, which shuts and no man opens, and opens and no man shuts; and this key have all they that receive the gift of God into their hearts, and it opens to them the knowledge of God and themselves, and gives them a quite other sight, taste and judgment of things than their educational or traditional knowledge afforded them. This is the beginning of the new creation of God, and thus it is we come to be new creatures.
And we are bold to declare, there is no other way like this, by which people can come into Christ, or be true Christians, or receive the advantage that comes by the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore we say, and upon good authority, even that of our own experience, as well as that of the Scriptures of truth, Christ will prove no saving sacrifice for them, that refuse to obey him for their example. They that reject the gift, deny the giver instead of themselves for the giver's sake. Oh that people were wise, that they would consider their latter end, and the things that make for the peace thereof! Why should they perish in a vain hope of life, while death reigns? Of living with God, who live not to him, nor walk with him?
Awake, thou that sleepest in thy sin, or at best, in thy self-righteousness! Awake, I say, and Christ shall give thee life! For he is the Lord from heaven, the quickening Spirit, that quickens us, by his Spirit, if we do not resist it and quench it by our disobedience, but receive, love and obey it, in all the holy leadings and teachings of it. Rom. viii. 14, 15, 16: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God. [Rom. viii. 15, 16.]
To which Holy Spirit I commend my reader, that he may the better see where he is, and also come to the true belief and advantage of the doings and sufferings of our dear and blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who saves from the power and pollution, as well as guilt of sin, all those that hear his knocks, and open the door of their hearts to him, that he may come in and work a real and thorough reformation in and for them; and so the benefit, virtue and efficacy of his doings and sufferings without us, will come to be livingly and effectually applied and felt, and fellowship with Christ in his death and sufferings known, according to the doctrine of the apostle; which, those that live in that which made him suffer, know not, though they profess to be saved by his death and sufferings. Much more might be said as to this matter, but I must be brief.
§ 6. To conclude this chapter, we wonder not that we should be mistaken, misconstrued and misrepresented, in what we believe and do to salvation, since our betters have been so treated in the primitive times. Nor indeed is it only about doctrines of religion; for our practice in worship and discipline have had the same success.
But this is what I earnestly desire, that however bold people are pleased to make with us, they would not deceive themselves in the great things of their own salvation: that while they would seem to own all to Christ, they are not found disowned of Christ in the last day. Read the 7th of Matthew; It is he that hears Christ, the great Word of God, and does what he enjoins, what he commands, and by his blessed example recommends, that is a wise builder, that has founded his house well, and built with good materials, and whose house will stand the last shock and judgment.
For which cause we are often plain, close and earnest with people to consider, that Christ came not to save them in, but from their sins; and that they that think to discharge and release themselves of his yoke and burden, his cross and example, and secure themselves, and compliment Christ with his having done all for them (while he has wrought little or nothing in them nor they parted with any thing for the love of him)
will finally awake in a dreadful surprise, at the sound of the last trumpet, and at this sad and irrevocable sentence, "Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, I know you not:" which terrible end may all timely avoid, by hearkening to wisdom's voice, and turning at her reproof, that she may lead them in the ways of righteousness, and in the midst of the paths of judgment, that their souls may come to inherit substance; even durable riches and righteousness in the kingdom of the Father, world without end.
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Nine | Table of Contents | Chapter ElevenCHAPTER X.
§ 1. Of the true worship of God in what it stands. § 2. Of the true ministry, that it is by Inspiration. § 3. The Scripture plain in that case. § 4. Christ's ministers, true witnesses, they speak what they know, not by report. § 5. Christ's ministers preach freely; it is one of their marks. [§ 6. Of the sufficiency and glorious privilege of inward and spiritual teachings.]*
§ 1. As the Lord wrought effectually, by his divine grace, in the hearts of this people, so he thereby brought them to a divine worship and ministry: Christ's words they came to experience, viz.: That God was a Spirit, and that he would therefore be worshipped in the Spirit, and in the truth, and that such worshippers the Father would seek to worship him. For, bowing to the convictions of the Spirit in themselves, in their daily course of living, by which they were taught to eschew that which was made manifest to them to be evil, and to do that which was good, they, in their assembling together, sat down, and waited for the preparation of this Holy Spirit, both to let them see their states and conditions before the Lord, and to worship him acceptably; and as they were sensible of wants, or shortness, or infirmities, so in the secret of their own hearts, prayer would spring to God, through Jesus Christ, to help, assist and supply: but they did not dare to awake their Beloved before. his time; or approach the throne of the King of Glory, till he held out his sceptre; or take thought what they should say, or after their own or other men's studied words and forms, for this were to offer strange fire; to pray, but not by the Spirit; to ask, but not in the name, that is, in the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who prayed, as well as spoke, like one having authority, that is, power, a divine energy and force to reach and pierce the heavens, which he gives to all that obey his light, grace and Spirit, in their solemn waitings upon him. So that it is this people's principle, that fire must come from heaven; life and power from God to enable the soul to pour out itself acceptably before him.
And when a coal from his holy altar touches our lips, then can we pray and praise him as we ought to do. And as this is our principle, and that according to Scripture, so it is, blessed be God, our experience and practice: and therefore it is we are separated from the worships of men, under their several forms, because they do not found it in the operation, motion and assistance of the Spirit of Christ, but the appointment, invention and framing of man, both as to the matter, words and time. We do not dissent in our own wills, and we dare not comply against his that has called us, and brought us to his own spiritual worship; in obedience to whom we are what we are, in our separation from the divers ways of worship in the world.
§ 2. And as our worship stands in the operation of the Spirit and Truth in our inward parts, as before expressed, so does our ministry. For as the holy testimonies of the servants of God of old, were from the operation of his blessed Spirit, so must those of his servants be in every age, and that which has not the Spirit of Christ for its spring and source, is of man, and not of Christ. Christian ministers are to minister what they receive: this is Scripture; now that which we receive is not our own, less another man's, but the Lord's: so that we are not only not to steal from our neighbours, but we are not to study nor speak our own words. If we are not to study what we are to say before magistrates for ourselves, less are we to study what we are to say for and from God to the people. We are to minister, as the oracles of God; if so, then must we receive from Christ, God's great oracle, what we are to minister. And if we are to minister what we receive, then not what we study, collect, and beat out of our own brains, for that is not the mind of Christ, but our imaginations, and this will not profit the people.
§ 3. This was recommended to the Corinthians by the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. xiv., that they should speak as they were moved, or as any thing was revealed to them, by the Spirit, for the edification of the church; for, says he, ye may all prophesy; that is, ye may all preach to edification, as any thing is revealed to you, for the good of others, and as the Spirit giveth utterance. And if the Spirit must give Christ's ministers their utterance, then those that are his are careful not to utter any thing in his name to the people, without his Spirit; and by good consequence, they that go before the true guide, and utter words without the knowledge of the mind of the Spirit, are none of Christ's ministers: such, certainly, run, and God has not sent them, and they cannot profit the people. And indeed, how should they, when it is impossible that mere man, with all his parts, arts and acquirements, can turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, which is the very end and work of the gospel ministry. It must be inspired men, men gifted by God, taught and influenced by his heavenly Spirit, that can be qualified for so great, so inward, and so spiritual a work.
§ 4. Ministers of Christ are his witnesses; and the credit of a witness is, that he has heard, seen or handled: and thus the beloved disciple states the truth and authority of their mission and ministry; 1 John i. 1, 3: That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, that declare we unto you, that your fellowship may be with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. I say, if Christ's ministers are his witnesses, they must know what they speak; that is, they must have experienced and passed through those states and conditions, they preach of, and practically know those truths they declare of to the people, or they come not in by the door, but over the wall, and are thieves and robbers. He that has the key of David comes in at the door, Christ Jesus, and has his admission and approbation from him, anointed by him, the alone high-priest of the gospel dispensation. He it is that breathes, and lays his hands upon his own ministers; he anoints them, and recruits their cruse, and renews their horn with oil, that they may have it pure and fresh for every occasion and service he calls them to, and engages them in.
§ 5. Nor is this all, but as they receive freely, freely they give: they do not teach for hire, divine for money, nor preach for gifts or rewards. It was Christ's holy command to his ministers to give freely, and it is our practice. And truly we cannot but admire that this should be made a fault, and that preaching for hire should not be seen to be one; yea, a mark of false prophets, when it has been so frequently and severely cried out upon, by the true prophets of God in former times. I would not be uncharitable, but the guilty are desired to call to mind, who it was that offered money to be made a minister, and what it was for; if not to get money and make a trade or livelihood by it; and what answer he met with from the Apostle Peter, Acts viii. 18, 19, 20: "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostle's hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."
The Lord touch the hearts of those that are giving money to be made ministers, in order to live by their preaching, that they may see what ground it is they build upon, and repent, and turn to the Lord, that they may find mercy, and become living witnesses of his power and goodness in their own souls; so may they be enabled to tell others what God has done for them, which is the root and ground of the true ministry; and this ministry it is that God does bless. I could say much on this subject, but let what has been said suffice at this time, only I cannot but observe, that where any religion has a strong temptation of gain to induce men to be ministers, there is great danger of their running faster to that calling, than becomes a true gospel minister.
Page 137, giving a Section 1 after Section 5.§ [6.]* Obj. But does not this sort of ministry, and worship, tend to make people careless, and to raise spiritual pride in others, may it not give an occasion to great mischief and irreligion?
Answ. By no means, for when people are of age, they, of right, expect their inheritances; and the end of all words is to bring people to the great Word, and then the promise of God is accomplished, "They shall be all taught of me, from the least to the greatest, and in righteousness (pray mark that) they shall be established, and great shall be their peace." To this of the evangelical prophet, the beloved disciple agrees, and gives a full answer to the objection: These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you: but the anointing, which ye have received of him, abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you, of all things, and is truth, and is no lie: and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him: In which, three things are observable. 1st. That he wrote his epistle upon an extraordinary occasion, viz. to prevent their delusion. 2dly. That he asserts a nearer and superior minister than himself, viz. the anointing or grace they had received; and that not only in that particular exigency, but in all cases that might attend them. 3dly. That if they did but take head to the teachings of it, they would have no need of man's directions, or fear of his seducings. At least of no ministry that comes not from the power of the anointing: though I rather take the apostle in the highest sense of the words: thus also the Apostle Paul to the Thessalonians: "But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another," 1 Thess. iv. 9. But helps are useful, and a great blessing, if from God, such was John the Baptist's; but remember he pointed all to Christ. John i. 26: " Lo, the Lamb of God! I baptize you with water, but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire," Matt. iii. 11. And so the true ministry does. And while people are sensual, and under such an eclipse, by the interposition of sin and Satan, God is pleased to send forth his enlightening servants to awaken and turn them from the darkness to the light in themselves, that, through obedience to it, they may come to be children of the light. John xii. 36: And have their fellowship one with another in it, and an inheritance at last, with the saints in light forever.
And as it is the way God has taken to call and gather people, so a living and holy ministry is of great advantage to watch over, and build up the young, and comfort and establish the feeble and simple ones. But still I say, the more inward, the less outward; the more people come to be taught immediately of God, by the light of his word and Spirit in their hearts, the less need of outward means, read Isa. lx. 19, 20: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended." Which is held by all to be a gospel promise, and the sun and moon there are generally understood to mean the external means in the church.
Compare them with John i. 13: " Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." And Rom. i. 19: "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them: for God hath shewed it unto them." And 1 Cor. ii. 11-15: "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." And 1 Thess. iv. 9: " But as touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another."
And 1 John ii. 20-27: "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth; but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (BUT HE THAT ACKNOWLEDGETH THE SON HATH THE FATHER ALSO.) Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing, which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, find is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." And Rev. xxi. 22, 23, 24: "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it."
All which places prove what we assert of the sufficiency and glorious privilege of inward and spiritual teachings. And most certainly, as men grow in grace, and know the anointing of the Word in themselves, the dispensation will be less in words (though in words) and more in life; and preaching will in great measure be turned into praising, and the worship of God, more into walking with, than talking of God: for that is worship indeed, that bows to his will at all times, and in all places: the truest, the highest worship, man is capable of in this world. And it is that conformity that gives communion, and there is no fellowship with God, no light of his countenance to be enjoyed, no peace and assurance to be had, further than their obedience to his will, and a faithfulness to his word, according to the manifestation of the light thereof in the heart.
I say, this is the truest and highest state of worship; for set days and places, with all the solemnity of them, were most in request in the weakest dispensation. Altars, arks and temples, Sabbaths and festivals, &c., are not to be found in the writings of the New Testament. There every day is alike, and every place is alike; but if there were a dedication, let it be to the Lord. Rom. xiv. 5, 6, 7, 8, 17: "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regarded the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. Be that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." 17th ver. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
1 Cor. viii. 6: " But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him." Col. ii. 16, 17: " Let no man therefore, judge you, in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new-moon, or of the sabbath-days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
Phil. i. 21: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Gal. ii. 20: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth, in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Thus the Apostle, but he plainly shows a state beyond it, for to live (with him) was Christ, and to die was gain; for the life he lived, was by the faith of the Son of God, and therefore it was not he that lived, but Christ that lived in him; that is, that ruled, conducted, and bore sway in him, which is the true Christian life, the supersensual life; the life of conversion and regeneration; to which all the dispensations of God, and ministry of his servants have ever tended, as the consummation of God's work for man's happiness. Here every man is a temple, and every family a church, and every place a meeting-place, and every visit a meeting. And yet a little while and it shall be so yet more and more; and a people the Lord is now preparing to enter into this Sabbath or degree of rest.
Not that we would be thought to undervalue public and solemn meetings: we have them all over the nation where the Lord hath called us. Yea, though but two or three of us be in a corner of a country, we meet, as the Apostle exhorted the saints of his time, and reproved such as neglected to assemble themselves. But yet show we unto thee, 0 reader, a more excellent way of worship: for many may come to those meetings, and go away carnal, dead and dry; but the worshippers in spirit and in truth, whose hearts bow, whose minds adore the Eternal God, that is a Spirit, in and by his Spirit, such as conform to his will, and walk with him in a spiritual life, they are the true, constant, living and acceptable worshippers; whether it be in meetings or out of meetings; and as with such, all outward assemblies are greatly comfortable, so also do we meet for a public testimony of religion and worship, and for the edification and encouragement of those that are yet young in the truth, and to call and gather others to the knowledge of it, who are yet going astray; and blessed be God, it is not in vain, since many are thereby added to the church, that we hope and believe shall be saved.
[Continued, Chapter XI.]Notes and Links
Page 125, listing of section titles for chapter 10.* - The above section, marked "§ 6" in this web edition, is marked "§ 1" in Brown's 1857 reprint edition, without a corresponding section title at the top of the chapter. Penn's 1699 second edition (which presumably had the benefit of inspection by the author) shows that indeed a section toward the end of the chapter was numbered "§ 1," while at the top of the chapter there's no blurb for it.
Page 137, section "1"This anomaly is treated here in a separate page, including digital photos and thoughts about how it came to be. It wouldn't be so interesting except that this section, more than any other in the book, forecasts a dynamic that has surfaced in the Religious Society of Friends in the centuries since Penn wrote his book. If anyone has some insight or actual information about this subject, please let me know. - KW
Primitive Christianity Revivedin the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.by William Penn.
Chapter Ten | Table of Contents | Brown's Memoir of PennCHAPTER XI.
§ 1. Against tithes. § 2. Against all swearing. § 3. Against war among Christians. § 4. Against the salutations of the times. § 5. And for plainness of speech. § 6. Against mixt marriages. § 7. And for plainness in apparel, &c. No sports and pastimes after the manner of this world. § 8. Of observing days. § 9. Of care of poor, peace and conversation.
§ 1. AND as God has been pleased to call us from an human ministry, so we cannot for conscience' sake support and maintain it, and upon that score, and not but of humour or covetousness, we refuse to pay tithes, or such like pretended dues, concerning which, many books have been writ in our defence: we cannot support what we cannot approve, but have a testimony against; for thereby we should be found inconsistent with ourselves.
§ 2. We dare not swear, because Christ forbids it. Matt. v. 34-37: " But I say unto you, swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King: neither shalt thou swear by thy head; because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." And James, his true follower. It is needless as well as evil, for the reason of swearing being untruth, that man's yea was not yea. Swearing was used to awe men to truth-speaking, and to give others satisfaction, that what an oath is answered and therefore the use of it is needless, superfluous and cometh of evil. The Apostle James taught the same doctrine, and the primitive Christians practised it, as may be seen in the Book of Martyrs; as also the earliest and best of the Reformers.
§ 3. We also believe, that war ought to cease, among the followers of the Lamb Christ Jesus, who taught his disciples to forgive and love their enemies, and not to war against them, and kill them; and that therefore the weapons of his true followers are not carnal but spiritual; yea, mighty, through God, to cut down sin and wickedness, and dethrone him that is the author thereof. *And as this is the most Christian, so the most rational way; love and persuasion having more force than weapons of war. Nor would the worst of men easily be brought to hurt those that they really think love them. It is that love and patience must in the end have the victory.
§ 4. We dare not give worldly honour, or use the frequent and modish salutations of the times, seeing plainly, that vanity, pride and ostentation, belong to them. Christ also forbade them in his day, and made the love of them a mark of declension from the simplicity of purer times; and his disciples, and their followers, were observed to have obeyed their Master's precept. It is not to distinguish ourselves a party, or out of pride, ill-breeding or humour, but in obedience to the sight and sense we have received from, the Spirit of Christ, of the evil rise and tendency thereof.
§ 5. For the same reason we have returned to the first plainness of speech, viz. thou and thee, to a single person, which though men give no other to God, they will hardly endure it from us. It has been a great jest upon pride, and shewn the blind and weak insides of many. This also is out of pure conscience, whatever people may think or say of us for it. We may be despised, and have been so often, yea, very evilly entreated, but we are now better known, and the people better informed. In short, it is also both scripture and grammar, and we have propriety of speech for it, as well as peace in it.
§ 6. We cannot allow of mixed marriages, that is, to join with such as are not of our society; but oppose and disown them, if at any time any of our profession so grossly err from the rule of their communion; yet restore them upon sincere repentance, but not disjoin them. The book I writ of the rise and progress of the people called Quakers, is more full and express herein.
§ 7. Plainness in apparel and furniture, is another testimony peculiar to us, in the degree we have bore it to the world: as also few words, and being at a word. Likewise temperance in food, and abstinence from the recreations and pastimes of the world: all which we have been taught, by the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be according to godliness; and therefore we have long exhorted all, that their moderation may be known unto all men, for that the Lord was at hand, to enter into judgment with us for every intemperance or excess; and herein we hope we have been no ill examples, or scandal unto any that have a due consideration of things.
§ 8. We cannot, in conscience to God, observe holy days (so called) the public fasts and feasts, because of their human institution and ordination, and that they have not a divine warrant, but are appointed in the will of man.
§ 9. Lastly, we have been led by this good Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, of which I have treated in this discourse, according to primitive practice, to have a due care over one another, for the preservation of the whole society, in a conversation more suitable to their holy professions.
First. In respect to a strict walking both towards those that are without, and those that are within; that their conversation in the world, and walking in and towards the church, may be blameless. That as they may be strict in the one, so they may be faithful in the other.
Secondly. That collections be made to supply the wants of the poor, and that care be taken of widows and orphans, and such as are helpless, as well in counsel, as about substance.
Thirdly. That all such as are intended to marry, if they have parents, or are under the direction of guardians or trustees obliged, first, to declare to them their intention, and have their consent before they propose it to one another, and the meeting they relate to, who are also careful to examine their clearness, and being satisfied with it, they are by them allowed to solemnize their marriage in a public select meeting, for that purpose appointed, and not otherwise: whereby all clandestine and indirect marriages are prevented among us.
Fourthly. And to the end that this good order may be observed, for the comfort and edification of the society, in the ways of truth and soberness; select meetings (of care and business) are fixed in all parts, where we inhabit, which are held monthly, and which resolve into quarterly meetings, and those into one yearly meeting, for our better communication one with another, in those things that maintain piety and charity; that God, who by his grace, has called us to be a people, to his praise, may have it from us, through his beloved Son, and our ever-blessed and only Redeemer, Jesus Christ, for he is worthy, worthy, now and ever. Amen.
Thus, reader, thou hast the character of the people called Quakers, in their doctrine, worship, ministry, practice and discipline: compare it with Scripture, and primitive example, and we hope thou wilt find, that this short discourse hath, in good measure, answered the title of it, viz.:—
Primitive Christianity Revived, in the principles and practice of the people called Quakers.