Page images
PDF
EPUB

evil, much more that which cometh of evil: upon this ac count they dare not swear at all. So that it is for Christ's sake, and the tender respect they bear to his evangelical, positive and general precepts, that they cannot swear; who is the truth, and has taught them to speak the truth without an oath.

Now if this would be admitted (and often they have prayed that it might be, and, for want of it, are not only less serviceable to their neighbours, than otherwise they could be, but are great sufferers in their persons and estates) and that the government would be pleased to accept their yea, yea, and nay, nay, instead of an oath, as other countries do in the like cases, they would be ready to submit to the same punishment in case of untruth, that is due by law to perjury and upon all occasions would be glad to help and serve their neighbours with all their hearts. Wherefore let not that be made their fault, that is so much against their will, and their great unhappiness and affliction.

:

6

Thus, sober reader, thou hast a brief account of this people, their principles and practice; and therefore thou mayest see, if thou pleasest, with how little reason they are despised by some, and abused by others; which hath been' their lot, in a large measure, ever since they have been a people though the whole bent of their spirits and testimony, since God, by his grace, hath distinguished them, has been, To promote the experimental and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the world, by turning the minds of all people from the darkness that is in them, to the light of Christ which is in them, as the great, singular, and necessary agent and principle, by which, only, man is enlightened, and enabled to see and do the will of God.'* For, until men receive, and are quickened by, this divine principle, they are hypocrites, and not Christians; bastards, and not sons. Neither can they have true and living faith, whatsoever they profess; nor can they truly and acceptably worship God, whatsoever they perform.

O then, let the poor Quakers, and their abused principles, have better entertainment with thee, reader: and do not conclude, because they direct people to the light of Christ in them, that therefore it is a mere natural, and not a divine light: or because they assert Christ to be the Word of God, and that he is revealed in the heart, according to the scripture, and that the scripture, in that excellent sense, is not so; that therefore they deny the divine authority of the scriptures, and that the mind and truth thereof, as declared

[ocr errors]

2 Cor. xiii. 5. Acts xxvi. 18. 1 John i. 7. ch. ii. 20, 27, Rom. viii. 1, 42. John i. 4, 5.

6

by them, is not, in any sense, the Word of the Lord to men or because they do not receive the schoolmen's Trinity, that therefore they deny the Scripture-Trinity of Father, Word, and Spirit: or that therefore they deny the divinity of Christ the Word: or that they deny Christ without them, who was the Son of Man, in a suffering state on earth, and is now the Son of Man in glory, because they exalt and press an experimental knowledge of Christ within, as the truth, substance, and excellency of the "hope of the glory" that hereafter shall be revealed, as being the "riches of the glory of the mystery revealed, and to be revealed, in these latter days," according to the scriptures of truth. Neither do thou say, they hope to be saved by their own works, because they press the necessity of well-doing toward acceptance with God; since they maintain, That no works that are not wrought by the Spirit of God are acceptable with him or that they hold even such works to be meritorious, because they say, good works are necessary and rewardable:' or that they are forgiven for what they do, and not for what Christ did: or that they deny the use of means, because they reject ungospel ones: or that they deny bap-' tism and the supper, because they say, they are but signs of the spiritual grace, and that they served but for a time, and that they experience their accomplishment.' Neither say, that they are uncivil, and honour no man, because they forbear such titles and ceremonies, in which true honour and civility do not consist: or, that they are against government, because they cannot, out of tenderness, and not obstinacy, conform to it in matters relating to religion and conscience; in which Christ only is Lord and King: since, reader, thou plainly seest, that they believe the light to be divine, and the scriptures to be of divine authority that they own the Scripture-Trinity, or Holy Three, of Father, Word, and Spirit, to be truly, and properly, One: that Christ is God, and that Christ is man that he came in the flesh, died, rose again, ascended, and sits on God's righthand, the only Sacrifice and Mediator, for man's happiness : that truly gospel-means and ordinances are requisite, and to be reverently practised: that good works are necessary and rewardable: that all men are to be honoured in the. Lord, according to their degrees: and that government, in church and state, is God's ordinance, and both requisite and very beneficial.

Now, reader, that which remains, is to recommend thee to this divine principle of light and life, which they make the root and spring of all true sense of God and religion in

* Col. 1, 26, 27, 28, 29. 2 Cor. xiii. 5.

man; even the light within, which they began with, and comes from Christ, and indeed is Christ, the eternal Word, and which brings all, that follow the convictions and leadings of it, to Christ; that is, to his nature, which is meek, patient, loving, humble, harmless, self-denying, and holy; and thereby to know him "in themselves," according to scripture, to be the "hope of their eternal glory:" who, as he is of Abraham after the flesh, so is he God, the true Light, over all, blessed for ever; and lighteth all, in order to life and blessedness. Unto the manifestation of whose most holy and blessed light within, thou, reader, art earnestly exhorted. Bring thy deeds to it, and love it, and walk in it, and thou wilt assuredly have the light of life; and thy "fellowship shall be with God, and with his Son and saints, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son shall cleanse thee from all sin." And "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think fon these things."+ Which, reader, is, I know, most earnestly desired on thy behalf, by this despised and most abused people, called Quakers. So be it. Amen.

POSTSCRIPT.

Being an Exhortation to all people, to turn speedily to the Lord, and seek him while he may be found, whatever persuasion they are of, or forms they are under, before the dreadful day of God's vengeance overtake them.

O YE inhabitants of the world, but more especially you that know this people, and among whom the testimony, which they bear, hath been held forth; hear, and be intreated, for your souls' sake! O that ye knew God, your Creator, to be also your Redeemer! Who does as certainly visit you by the Spirit of the Second Adam, as ever he created you in the nature of the first Adam: that as in one you fell, in the other you may arise out of your fallen and foul estate, and become a reformed, regenerate, and chosen people to God.‡

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him;" said God the Father. And what says Christ the Son? "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." For out of Christ,

*

* John v. 6, 7. Rom. v. 10, 12, 18, 19, 22. lvii. 21.

VOL. III.

+ Phil. iv. 8.
Mat. iii. 17.

T

1 Cor. xii. 7. Tit. ii. 11, 12. chap.x vii. 5. Mat. xi. 29, Isaiah

out of his Spirit and nature, verily we cannot have peace. ઠંડ No peace to the wicked," no peace to the proud and ungodly, saith the Lord. O friends, you must take up your cross daily, and follow him, or ye cannot be his disciples; his followers, his people, his friends; those in whom he is well pleased. Whose doctrine is not so much the good words you read in creeds and catechisms, as it is the living teaching of his Spirit in your own hearts; and whose religion is not opinion, but experience; not notion, but enjoyment life from death, conversion, regeneration in short, undefiledness and holiness, "without which no man shall see the Lord."

Here is the faith of Jesus; a faith that overcomes the world, and works by love, not violence: where zeal and charity are companions, and knowledge doth not puff up, but lives and works by obedience. This is the faith and religion of Jesus: all others are the faith and religion of hypocrites and devils; which they may have, and be hypocrites and devils still: for though they believe, their faith works not by love; and though they know the truth, they obey it not.

Wherefore, friends, it stands you much upon to see what faith and religion you have; and not flatter yourselves on to perdition. If it be the true, the pure, the undefiled, according to the apostle, James i. 27. then you will have light hearts, and easy consciences, and "an hope that will not make you ashamed:" else, believe it, heaviness, an guish, and tribulation will (whatever be your profession) overwhelm you, in the day that God shall enter into judg ment with you. For which cause, O my dear country-folks and people, be intreated, "while it is to-day," to turn unto the Lord with all your hearts, and "hearken to his voice," in your own consciences, that calls you to holiness, and harden not your hearts against his reproofs, for "the reproof of instruction is the way to life;" endless life. Did you but see that God sees you every where, and in every thing, and that continually, it would abundantly after the case with you. Then would you say, as one of old, "The Lord was here, and I knew it not."+ Certainly, fear, holy fear, would take hold of you, an awe of the Omnipresent Majesty would seize you, and you would not do that before

Rom. viii. 1,3 5, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. Gal. v, 24. 1 John in. 3, 8. chap. v. 4. Jam. i. 27. Rom. vi. 19, 20. 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18. chap. vii. 7. Eph. iv. 34. I Thes. iii. 13. Heb. xii. 14. 1 John v. 4. 2 Cor. ii. 19, 20. Gal. vi. 7, S. chap. v. 22. chap. ii. 8, 9. + Psalm xciv. 7. Heb. iii. 7, 8, 13. 2 Cor. v.10 Psalm xliv. 21. Psalm cxxxix. 7. Jer. xvii. 22, 23. 2, 3. Rom. vi. 21.

x. 5. James

Prov. i. 23.
chap. xxiii. 24.

chap. vi. 23.

Âmos ix.

God, which you would be ashamed men should see you do. For no place is secret to Him: "the light and darkness are alike:" his witness is with you as much alone, as in company; and may perhaps be better heard by you.

Sin not, then, in the face of God, in contempt of his witness, in despite of his Spirit that is in you; but hear it, receive it, and love it, and you will be born of it, and become the children of him whose eye penetrates the darkest coverts, and findeth out the secretest corners. Even He that "searches the heart, and tries the reins of man, and sets his sins in order before him, and telleth unto him his most inward thoughts."*

This being the case, what manner of persons ought ye to be, O ye children of men! Do not satisfy yourselves with outsides, with a name, a profession, a church-membership, &c. For it is not what you say, but what you do. But turn in and examine your own hearts, see how they stand affected towards God, and his law and truth in your inward parts. Be strict and true in the search, as you would save your souls. If your minds be set on heavenly things, and that holiness and charity be the zealous bent thereof, well will it be with you for ever: to live, then, will be Christ, and to die will be your eternal gain. "For blessed is that people and nation whose God is the Lord."+ But if the love and spirit of the world prevail: if pride, covetousness, and luxury, envy, bitterness, and vain-glory, that are so very opposite to the will and nature of God, and his holy Lamb; if these things have power over you, flatter not yourselves, you cannot be true Christians, nor in favour with God, for you take his name in vain and your very prayers and oblations are an abomination to the Lord, in that state. God calls for the heart: "My Son give me thy heart." he has given man the rest; but that God will have for himself, if man will have him for his God and friend. Cozen not yourselves, therefore, O ye sons and daughters of Adam! For. believe it, "Such as you sow, such you must reap; and "there is no repentance in the grave." And a short, but great work will God do in the earth; and great judgments, of divers kinds, will begin it, and they are at the door. Yea, they are begun, if ye could but see them.'

:

* Psalm xciv. 12. Psalm cxxxix. 8. Amos iv. 13. 2 Pet. iii. 11. + Isa. li. 6. Jer. xxxi. 33. Heb. viii. 10, 11, 12. Phil. i. 12. Psalm cxiv. 15. Prov. xv. 8, 9. Isa. i. 15, 16, 17, 18. Prov. xxiii. 26. Gal vi. 7, 8. Rom. xiii. 11. 1 Cor. xv. 34. Ephes. v. 14. 2 Tim. ii. 26. Joel ii. 3. Mal. iii. 2. chap. iv. 1. Mat. xxiv. 42, 43, 44, 46. chap xxv. 13. chap.i. 21. 1 John. iii. 5,8. 1 Pet. ii. 9, 21. Mat. v. 8. Isa. liv. 12. chap. xxii. 12. Jer. xxxi. 9. Psalm xxxiv. 18. Psalm li. 10. Zech. xii. 11. Rev. i. 7. Mat. vii. 21. Rom. ii. 13. Mat. xiii. 46. Prov. viii. 18, 21. Isa. xlv. 3. Acts iii. 10. chap. 1. 6, 7,8. Psal. xlv. 6. Heb. i. 8. Isa.ix. 6, 7. Rev. xxii. 26.

« PreviousContinue »