« PreviousContinue »
both the Socinians and Proteftants do fpeak as Mr. Barclay reports; will it follow from thence, that either the Proteftants or the Socinians do recur to immediate Revelation in the Quakers fenfe, in which Mr. Barclay understood it, and had been in that propofition endeavoring to prove the neceffity of it, and for the farther Confirmation of which he brings this as an Argument? Nothing lefs. For thô we do indeed make the Scriptures our Rule, becaufe they contain God's will immediately revealed to the Apoftles, &c. tho' we believe what they contain, not barely because they were written by their respective Authors, but because we know that their respective Authors were divinely inspired; and tho' our faith is indeed built upon that immediate Revelation which was granted to them: yet furely this will never prove that we recur when we are preft, to the neceffity of Every true Chriftians being immediately infpired as thofe Writers were. Now this was what our Adverfaries affert, and what I have with the greatest reafon denyed.
I confefs, there may be fome unwary Proteftant Writers, who have upon occasion said, that the reafon (or at least one reafon) why we are to believe that the Holy Scriptures do contain the Will of God, and confequently are to be received as our Rule, is because of the testimony of the Spirit to our Souls, that they are fuch. Now whether what these Perfons do understand by the Teftimony of the Spirit, will amount to an immediate Revelation, I fhall not determin. But granting it to be fuch, fhall the affertion of thofe Men be charg'd upon all of the fame Communion? 'Tis true, if we did believe, as our Adverfàries do of the Writers of their own party, that what is published by Perfons
of our refpective Communions, is given forth by the Spirit of God, and confequently must be true; then we should be obliged either to difown these Writers, or to maintain what they have afferted. But alas! We confefs our felves to be fallible Men; and dare not embrace every opinion of thofe, whom we do notwithstanding acknowledge to be in the Main Excellent Authors. Wherefore, if the this or that Teftimony be objected, every one may reply, as Mr. Barclay (c) does with Refpect to the authorities alledged by his Adverfary, Did I undertake to fubfcribe to all these Authors writings? He must give me a reason why,
e're I do it.
35. If it be faid, that in the Established Liturgy we pray thus, (d) Grant to us thy humble fervants, that by that holy inspiration we may think thofe things that be good, &c. and (e) we humbly. befeech thee, that as by thy Special grace preventing us thon doft put into our minds good defires, fo by thy continual help, &c. and (f) Cleanfe the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy holy Spirit, and (g) Mercifully grant, that thy holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, and (b) Grant us by the fame spirit to have a right judgment in all things; I fay, if thefe or the like paffages be objected, I anfwer, that there is nothing like immediate Revelation contain'd or imply'd in them.
For, 1. There is no doubt but that the Spirit of God does raife good defires, that is, good
(c) Apol. Vindic. Sect. 4. p. 757.
(d) Collect for the 5th Sund. after Eafter.
(e) Collect for Eafter. (f) Firft Collect in the Commun. Service. (g) Collect for the 19th Sunday after Trinity. (b) Collect for Wbitfuntide,
109 purposes and intentions, in the minds of Men; and this is what our Church calls thinking (that, is, purpofing and intending) thofe things that be good by God's holy inspiration, and God's putting into our minds good defires by his preventing grace: but will it follow from thence, that he vouchfafes immediate Revelation to us? I fay, will any Man conclude, that because God makes Men design to do well, therefore he teaches them their duty by immediate Revelation? Certainly God can caufe Men to intend the obfervation of his Laws, whether those Laws be made known to them by immediate Revelation, or that which is mediate only. For God's making his Law known, and his inclining Men to observe it, are two actions as really different as can well be conceiv'd. And confequently immediate Revelation, which is one way of manifefting his Will is really different from his creating in us purposes of obedience. 2. God does expel Evil Thoughts out of our Minds, and this is what our Church calls Cleansing the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of his holy Spirit: but furely he may drive things out of our Minds without an immediate Revelation of any thing to them. 3. The holy Spirit does direct and rule our hearts, by fubduing the ftubbornness of our evil affections, and inclining us to obey God's Laws. He does alfo help us to a right Judgment in all things relating to our duty, by removing thofe Prejudices, Lufts and Paffions, which hinder our preception of those things which make for our Eternal wel. fare. But tho' there is much of the Spirit's affiftance, yet there is nothing of immediate Revelation in all this. And confequently it cannot be faid, that in our prayers we acknowledge that neceffity of immediate Revelation, which I have in fo many Chapters been difproving. 36. I
36. I cannot think of any one Objection more, unless perchance it fhould be faid, that the Holy Spirit fuggefts good Thoughts, and that such a fuggeftion is immediate Revelation. Now if by good Thoughts be meant good Defires, Purposes, or Intentions; then the Objection is already anfwered. But if by good Thoughts be meant the bare thinking upon good Matters, confidered as diftinct from good Defires of them, or good Pur poses and Intentions concerning them; I fay, that the holy Spirit does indeed fuggeft, that is, raife, in our Minds, or caufe us to think fuch good Thoughts; but the Spirit's fuggeftion is fo wrought, that we cannot diftinguish it from the ordinary and natural Operations of our Souls. I mean, that we cannot tell by any difference we difcern in the Thoughts themselves, when the Spirit raifes good Thoughts, or when they arife otherwife. And had not the Scriptures affured us, that the Spirit does operate in our Minds; we cou'd never have known or fufpected it. And how then can fuch fuggeftions of the Spirit be thought immediate Revelations; when we are not able to fay, that this did, or that did not, proceed from him? Befides, as the Spirit fuggefts good Thoughts, fo does the Devil fuggeft evil ones to all Men: and yet I am perfuaded our Adverfaries will not fay, that all Men have immediate Revelations from the Devil.
A brief Account of what the Quakers mean by the Univerfal Light within, and of what they teach concerning it.
ND now, having finished what I defigned to write concerning the Neceffity of imme diate Revelation in order to a faving Chriftian Faith, I proceed to give an account of what the Quakers mean by the Universal Light within, and of what they teach concerning it.
By the Light (which they do alfo (a) call the feed, the Spirit, the grace, the word of God, Chrift within, vehiculum Dei, or the Spiritual body of Chrift, the flesh and bloud of Christ, which came down from Heaven, &c.) they do not mean the Effence of God. For Mr. Barclay (b) faies, By this feed, grace, and word of God, &c. we underStand not the proper Effence and Nature of God precifely taken. Nor do they by the Light mean the
(a) By this feed, grace, and word of God, and light, wherewith we fay every Man is inlightened, &c. Barclay's Apol. prop. 5, 6. p. 333. And this we call Vehiculum Dei, or the Ipiritual body of Chrift which came down from heaven, ibid. This is that Chrift within, which we are heard fo much to speak and declare of. ibid. p. 334, the Light of Chrift is fometimes called Chrift. ibid. p. 336. For this end God hath communicated and given unto every man a measure of the light of his own Son, a measure of grace, or a measure of the fpirit, &c. ibid. p.330. a measure of which Divine and glorious light is in all Men, as a feed, &c. ibid. p. 333. this word, feed, and light, and faving voice, &c. ibid. p. 351.
(b) Apol. prop.'5, 6. P. 333.