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made man rational, capable, in some measure, of the knowledge of his Creator; which his bare capacity would never have given him, unless God had pleased to have made some discovery of himself, suitable to that created capacity in the creature. Certainly then, since God desires not that the creature should receive a wrong impression of him, while he requires universal fear and reverence, he must needs have given some certain and sufficient discovery and measure to the creature, in order to it, by those lively manifestations, and most sensible touches of the light to and upon the soul, which cannot but be true, clear, and, if minded, efficacious : for that God should require men to serve him, and not give them what is sufficient, is worse than not to give at all; since man's not obeying such discoveries, is not so great an aggravation of his neglect, as the imperfection of them is, either of the insufficiency, or unwillingness of him that made them, do otherwise. What is this but to say, that God expects homage from men, as their sovereign Lord, and that they live uprightly in the world, and yet he has not given them ability to do it? He pronounces such miserable who conform not themselves to an holy life, but gives no power to avoid the curse? In sliort, though reason tells us he made none purposely to destroy them, but rather that he might be glorified in their salvation, which he also is said to invite men to ; yet that he designs nothing less, by leaving all mankind under the faint. ings of an impossible success. But as such dismal conses quences belong not to the truth, so we are well assured, the light, of which we speak, has ever been sufficient to the end for which it has been given, in every age, both to manifest evil, condemn for it, and redeem from the power and pollution of it, hy the holy operation of its power, all those who are the diligent disciples of it. For it seems most unreasonable that the spirit of darkness should be sufficient to draw into sin, and yet that the spirit and light of Christ should not be sufficient to redeem and save from it. Since therefore we cannot admit of any insufficiency in the light within, but at the same time we must suppose, Ist, That whilst God would be rightly worshipped, he has too darkly discovered the way how to do it aright; and 2dly, That his gift is impotent; and 3dly, That man is required to do what he has no power to perform; and 4thly, That whilst God re: quires man to serve him, he hath not so much as shewn him what way he ought to do it (which are consequences most unworthy of God); we rather chuse to sit down contented with this belief, “That God, who made man, and has given fint a soul capable of knowing and serving his Maker, hath
also endued him with divine knowledge, by a super-added light and power, and enabled him thereby to live subservient to that knowledge: that God's gift is perfect and sofficient for that work, and that such as are led by it, must needs be led to God; unto whom the divine light naturally tends, and attracts, as that from whom it came; which is certainly a state of blessed immortality.'
In short, accept, reader, of these few arguments, comprehensive of these two chapters, and indeed of most of what
1. God requirés no man to do any thing he has not given him first light to know, and then power to do. But God requires every man to fear him, and work righteousness : therefore he has given every man both a discovery of his will, and power to do it.
2. No man ought to worship the true God' ignorantly: but every man is commanded to worship God: therefore he is to do it knowingly.
S. No man can know God, but God must discover it to him, and that cannot be without light : therefore every man has liglit.
4. This light must be sufficient, or God's gifts are imperfect, and answer not the end for which they were given. But God's gifts are perfect, and can perform what they are designed for : therefore since the light is his gift, it must be sufficient.
The sum is this: Every man ought to fear, worship, and obey God. No man can do it aright, that knows him not. No man can know him but by the discovery he makes of himself. No discovery can be made without light. Nor can this light give that discovery, if imperfect or insufficient in nature : there, fore all have a sufficient light to this great end and purpose, viz. to fear, worship, and obey God; and this light is Christ.
CHAP. XXII. The question, Who he is, or they are, that obey this divine
light, &c. considered and answered; being the character of a true Quaker.
I am now come to my last question, viz. "Who this he is, or they are, that obey this light, and in obeying attain salvation?' Or, what are the qualifications of those that obey this light ? Not what are their names; but what manner or kind of people are they? In short, “What is it to obey the light?"
'I think I have so fully expressed myself already in this matter, that, with an ingenuous reader, I might be saved the pains of farther considering it; but that nothing may be thought to be shunned as unanswerable, which is so easy to be answered, I must tell him and all men, and that not without some experimental knowledge of what I such obey the light, wbo refrain from all that the light manifests to be evil, and who incline to perform all that it requires to be done. For example : When the light shews that it is inconsistent with a man fearing God, to be wanton, passionate, proud, covetous, backbiting, envious, wrathful, unmerciful, revengeful, prophane, drunken, voluptų. ous, unclean ; which, with such-like, are called in scrip: ture “ the fruits of the flesh, and the works of darkness;". and persons so qualified, “ the children of wrath, such as delight not to retain God in their knowledge,s" &c. I say, when the light discovers these things to be inconsistent with a man féaring God, he who truly obeys the light, denies and forsakes them, however cross it be to flesh and blood, and let it cost him never so dear: though relations do both threaten and entreat, and the world mock, and that he is sure to become the song of the drunkard, and a derision to his ancient companions. No, he dare not conform himself any more to the fashions of the world, which pass away, and which draw out the mind into vain and unprofitable de lights, by which the Just in him had formerly been slain; neither to gratity" the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life",” which are not of the nature of his Father, who has begotten better desires and resolutions in him. He rejects the conversation he once had in the world; and, in the eye of its children, seems a man forlorn and distracted. He takes up the cross, despises the shame, and willingly drinks of the cup of bitter mockings, and yields to
s Gal. v. Ephes. V. Rom. i.
Jam. v. 6. 1 John ii. 15. 16.
be baptized with the baptism of deep trials, that Christ Jesus his Lord drank of, and was baptized with.
He is as well taught to deny the religions, as cares and pleasures of the world. Such as profess religion from what they have been either taught by others, or read and gathered after their carnal minds out of the scriptures, intruding into the practices of either prophets or apostles, as to the external and shadowy things, not being led thereto by the same power they had, he can have no fellowship with. He counts all such faith and worship the imagination of men, or a mere lifeless imitation : he prefers one sigh begotten from a sense of God's work in the heart, beyond the longest prayers in that state : " he leaves them all, walks as a man alone, fearing to offer God a sacrifice that is not of his own *preparing.' He charges all other faiths and worships with - insufficiency, and mere creaturely power, which are not held and performed from an holy conviction and preparation by the angel of God, the light of his presence, in the heart and conscience : therefore it is that he goes forth in the strength of his God against the merchants of Babylon; and woes and plagues are rightly in his mouth against those · buyers and sellers of the souls of men. He is jealous for
the name of the Lord, and therefore dares not speak peace · unto them, neither can he put into their mouths, but testi' fies against all such ways: " Freely he received, freely he gives.
Thus is this man unravelled, unreligioned, and unbottomed as to his former state, wherein he was religious upon letter, form, mens traditions, education, and his own imagination. He is as a man quite undone, that he may be made what the Lord would have him to be. Thus is he convinced of sin, and of righteousness too; and the joy he once had when he girded himself, and went whither he listed, is now turned into sorrow, and his rejoicing into howling. He has beheld God in the light of his Son, and abhors himself in dust and ashes. Sin, that was pleasant once in the · mouth, he finds bitter now in the belly; and that which the world esteems worthy of their care, he flies as a man would do a bear robbed of her whelps. Sin is become “ exceeding sinful” to him, insomuch that he cries out, “who shall delirer me ?” He labours greatly, and is very heavy laden. Yet he is not willing to "fly in the winter,” but is resolved - to stand the trial; for this man not only brings his former deeds to the light, and there suffers judgment to pass upon them, but patiently takes part in that judgment, who was so great an accessary to them. Nor doth his obedience conclude with the sentence given against past sins, and himself that committed them; but most patiently "endures the hand of the Lord till his indignation be overpast," and till that which condemned sin (the fruit) hath destroyed the very root of it, which bath taken so deep hold in his heart, and that the same spirit of judgment that condemned sin, is brought forth into perfect victory over the very nature and power of sin. This judgment is found and felt in the light; therefore do the “Sons of the night” reject the knowledge of its ways, and the children of the day rejoice greatly in its appearance.
But neither is this all that makes up that good man who obeys the light: for a complete son of light is one that has conquered and expelled the darkness. It is true, he was once darkness, but now “Light in the Lord,'" because he hath been turned from darkness to the light, and from Sa. tan's power unto God, whois light itself, and with him is his fellowship continually.
This is the man, who, in the way of the light of the Lamb of God, hath met with inward cleansing; for having been purged by the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning (otherwise called the severe reproofs, strokes, and terrors of the light in the conscience) he has ever a watch set up in his heart. A thought must not pass which has not the watch-word; but at every appearance to the mind, he cries, • Stand :' if a friend, and owned of the light (who is the great leader, given of God for that purpose) then he entertains it; otherwise he brings it to the commander of the conscience, who is to sit in judgment upon it. Thus is Christ the Light, King, Judge, and Lawgiver. And by this he grows strong, and increaseth with the increases of God. Yet he often reads the blessed scriptures, and that with much delight; greatly admiring the exceeding love of God to former ages, which he himself witnesseth to be true in this : where also many things are opened to his refreshment: so is the light the "just man's path,” that in every age still “shineth brighter and brighter,k” in which the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ is felt to cleanse from all sin. Thus doth he bridle his thoughts, so that his words and actions offend not. Above all, he is often retired to the Lord, loves fellowship with him, waits for daily bread, which he asks, not in his own words, strivings, or will; but, as one empty of his thoughts, and jealous of the peace or comfort that is drawn from thence, he silently waits to feel the hea. venly substance brought into his soul by the immediate hand of the Lord. For it is not fetching in this thought, or remembering the other passage in scripture, or designedly
Eph. v. 1 Jolin i. 5. 6. Jam. üi. 1, 2, 3.