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And that covenant is not only a covenant of forgiveness, but therein sin is taken away, as God hath promised, Jer. xxxi. "I will cleanse them from all their iniquity," Jer. xxxiii. 8.Ezek. xxxvi. 25. All things are possible with God;" and "we can do all things through Christ that strengthens us,” (Phil. iv. 13.) who commanded, "Be ye perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." And it is possible through his power and aid to keep his commands; otherwise for what end are they given out to his church and people, and for what end should they pray to take away all iniquity? We believe he does not impose impossibilities, but to such as dwell in the love of God, his commands are not grievous but joyous.
XV. THE LIGHT WITHIN ABOVE AN HISTORICAL KNOwledge.
To undervalue the light within, which all men have, H. G. affirms, ..that none can make appear that ever any heathen, Ethiopian, Moor, or infidel, in any remote parts, that never heard the scripture, &c. did attain, merely by that light within, to the knowledge of one Jesus of Nazareth that was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, or that merely by the help and guidance of that light within, came to find out so much as the name or historical knowledge of a crucified Jesus." p. 70.
Answer. 1. As an historical knowledge and profession concerning Christ, and his sufferings in the flesh, cannot save you, so it is very uncharitable in you Baptists to condemn all nations that have it not, merely for want of the history, or that historical knowledge. 2. Though you have a historical faith and profession of Jesus, as he came and suffered in the flesh, I deny that this faith will either save you, (for they have as much faith at Rome,) or that you have from thence any real knowledge of Christ, either as in the flesh or in the spirit, either as crucified, as put to death, or as living and reigning. It is still your mistake to count your dark opinions and literal notions, the light of the Son of God. Nay, if you have no further faith and knowledge of him, than what is merely historical and literal-if you have not a spiritual and Divine knowledge of Christ, as inwardly revealed, you will die in your sins, and perish for lack of knowledge. And many of those called heathens, who follow the help and guidance of the light of Christ within, shall come from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom, as children of faith and heirs of promise, who have believed God, and obeyed his light in them, when you and such like literal professors shall be utterly rejected, unless you return to Christ's light within, and believe and wait in it to know Christ's inward and spiritual appearance
and revelation. 3. In the gospel preached to Abraham, (in whose seed all nations should be blessed,) it was foreseen that God would justify the heathen through faith. And accordingly, Christ was absolutely promised and given "for a light to the Gentiles, to be God's salvation to the ends of the earth, that he might say to the prisoners, go forth, and to them that are in darkness, show yourselves." Isa. xlii. and eh. Ixix. Now observe, that the promise of Christ, both for a light to the Gentiles, and salvation to the ends of the earth, and himself to speak to the prisoners to go forth, &c. is absolute, and not restrained or limited to the spreading of scripture; nor to any such condition, as to be a light and salvation only to such as have the scriptures or an historical knowledge and profession of Jesus Christ. But he is given both for a light to the heathen, and salvation to the ends of the earth, and so, to call forth the prisoners where the scriptures are not; he being in himself absolute and perfect, and so able to be whatever he is promised of God. And this salvation is absolutely placed upon the Son of God, who is given both for a light, a leader, God's covenant, and salvation; and therefore he is to be followed, obeyed, and depended on for life and salvation. 4. Moreover, it is possible to have both the sufferings and glory of Christ revealed by his light and spirit without the scriptures, seeing the spirit of Christ showed and testified beforehand, to the prophets, of his sufferings, and of the glory that should follow. 1 Pet. i. 11. To be sure, they who wrote of these things beforehand had them first discovered or opened to them by the spirit. 5. And when Nebuchadnezer said, "Lo, I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God," (Dan. iii. 25.) how came this heathen to have any such impression or similitude of the Son of God in his mind, as thus to speak of the Son of God, or of the fourth, as represented to him like the Son of God? And pray what scripture could he have for this? Or for Nebuchadnezer and Darius to speak so truly and admirably as they did of the kingdom and dominion of the most High God. Dan. iv. 3. and chap. vi. 26. Let the narrow-spirited literalists, and partial predestinators, who would place all true knowledge upon the letter, and confine it within the compass of a few professors of scripture, consider these things. 6. But seeing that Christ died for all men, tasted death for every man, and gave himself a ransom for all; God doth, therefore, no doubt, afford a way for the universal conveyance of the virtue and blessed effects inwardly of his death and blood to mankind, and that is his Divine light, though many have not the outward description thereof.
XVI. HIS UNLEARNED QUESTION.
As to H. G.'s question, (p. 70.) viz. "What things and other signs were those which Jesus did that are not written? John xx. 30, and John xxi. 25." To this I say, it is an easy matter for intruders to ask unlearned and unnecessary questions, whereof this is one. Of those many other signs and things that Jesus did, it is said, "If they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books," (John xx 25,) how then should this queriest be capable of containing them? I suppose he does not think himself able to contain more than the world itself. If he saith, it is an hyperbolical expression, then is his question hyperbolical. And if we cannot give him an account of all those signs and things in particular, while we are not solicitous to know them, nor do we think it needful, is that any valid plea or proof against the sufficiency of the light within, or spirit's teaching? Would such an argument against the scriptures being the rule please him, because they contain not all that was done? God gives us to know what is sufficient and necessary for life and salvation, by his light within. But if the word contain, (Xwęnous of Xwęśw.) be taken for, to understand, as Mat. xix. 11-to comprehend, John xxi. 25, then in that sense there is far more written in the scriptures already, than our opposer or his brethren can either comprehend or understand, (and therefore it is a busy intrusion and cavil in them to query for more,) while they oppose the true light within, and will not believe in it, nor depend upon the immediate teachings of the Spirit of truth, from whence the holy scriptures proceeded. But dark they are, and more grossly dark and confused they are like to be, who persist in that gainsaying spirit of prejudice and enmity against the light of truth, which I desire the Lord to give them a sight and sense of to repentance, rather than they should perish in their perverse gainsayings.
THE ANGRY ANABAPTIST
TO HENRY GRIGG'S PAMPHLET, STYLED THE BAPTIST NOT
Wherein, whilst he endeavours to reconcile his contradictions, (in his book entitled Light from the Sun, &c.) charged upon him in a paper, entitled
THE BABYLONISH BAPTIST,
He runs into more contradictions, absurdities, and false accusations against the people of God, called Quakers, and their principles.
Ex ore tuo te judicabo.
H. Grigg pretends he has set down my animadversions upon his contradictions, in order exactly, after my own fashion." (p. 1.) This is not true, he has left out the latter part of five of them which, it appears, pinched him. I shall therefore represent to the reader his contradictions, with my animadversious, and the stress of his exceptions, whereby he would endeavour to make people believe he hath not contradicted himself, but that we must refer to the impartial readers to judge of in the light of truth.
1. Of the light of the eternal Word in man, and the Anabaptist confounded about it.
H. G. saith, "I utterly deny that this light which all men have from the glorious Creator, is a saving light," p. 8, of his book called, "Light from the Sun of Righteousness."
In contradiction he saith, "I really believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, as the eternal Word, hath given light to, or enlighteneth, all men and women that come into the world." p. 8.
G. W.'s animadversion. The light or life of the eternal Word, which is the light of men, (John i. 4.) is spiritual and divine, as is that Word, and therefore saving to all that truly obey it.
H. G. replies, "It seems to me as if this man had lost his common reason-because I deny that the light which is in all
men is a saving light, and yet say, I really believe all have a light in them from Christ, considered as Creator-this cannot be a contradiction, unless he can prove there is no light proceeding from the eternal Word, as Creator, but what is saving." P. 2.
G. W. answers. Whilst he would insinuate that the light in every man is created, or a creature, he merely begs the question, and still remains in his self-contradiction; for he dare not say, that as the eternal Word Jesus Christ is a creature. Neither is his light that proceedeth from him, as that Word, created, any more than that life which was in him, which life was the light of men. Will they say this is either created or natural? As the eternal Word is divine, so is the light or immediate shining thereof in man's conscience.
H. G. "What though it be granted, that the light with which all men that come into the world are lighted, flows from the eternal Word, and so is spiritual; must it needs therefore be a saving light? Was not the law given forth on Mount Sinai, a light of, or come from the eternal Word, and doth not Paul say, that the law is spiritual, (Rom. vii. 14,) and yet a ministration of death, (2 Cor. iii. 7.) and that killed, and in other places that there was no justification by it?"
G. W.'s answer. 1. If it be a spiritual light in man, proceeding and flowing from the eternal Word, it must therefore be the eternal Word that immediately shines in man's heart, (which is not created nor natural,) for all have not the law in the letter, or as outwardly written. And if this immediate light be not of a saving property, what light is? And for what end is it given universally to mankind? That they may be saved?-or only to condemn them?
2. Christ's enlightening all men, as the eternal Word, and that with a spiritual light flowing from himself, (as the eternal Word enlightening,) is not with the letter, which killeth and cannot give life, but with an immediate illumination or influence of light from himself, which can both kill and make alive. It has both the law, or sentence of death, in it to the transgressor, and quickening virtue and gospel in it to make alive to God, and minister life and justification from God to them that truly obey it.
3. This immediate light or shining from Jesus Christ, as the eternal Word, is neither the letter of the law, nor created, nor yet natural, as Anabaptists use to say; but as the eternal Word enlightening man. And the life which was in him being the light of men, is therefore a light and law which can give life, (which the law, as in the letter, could not,) it being the life itself that was in the eternal Word.
H. G. "The great darkness of these men who cry up light and power within; this wile of satan, and cheat of anti-christ."