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As you are the sons and daughters of Adam, and my brethren after the flesh, often and earnest have been my desires and prayers to God on your behalf, that you may come to know your Creator to be your Redeemer and Restorer to the holy image, that through sin you have lost, by the power and Spirit of his Son Jesus Christ, whom he hath given for the light and life of the world. And O that you, who are called Christians, would receive him into your hearts! for there it is you want him, and at that door he stands knocking, that you might let him in, but you do not open to him you are full of other guests, so that a manger is his lot among you now, as well as of old. Yet you are full of profession, as were the Jews when he came among them, who knew him not, but rejected and evilly intreated him. So that if you come not to the possession and experience of what you profess, all your formality in religion will stand you in no stead in the day of God's judgment.
I beseech you ponder with yourselves your eternal condition, and see what title, what ground and foundation you have for your Christianity: if more than a profession, and an historical belief of the gospel? Have you known the baptism of fire, and the Holy Ghost, and the fan of Christ that winnows away the chaff in your minds, and carnal Justs and affections? That divine leaven of the kingdom, that, being received, leavens the whole lump of man, sanctifying him throughout, in body, soul, and spirit? If this be not the ground of your confidence, you are in a miserable
You will say, perhaps, that though you are sinners, and live in daily commission of sin, and are not sanctified, as I have been speaking, yet you have faith in Christ, who has borne the curse for you, and in him you are complete by faith, his righteousness being imputed to you.
But, my friends, let me intreat you not to deceive yourselves, in so important a point, as is that of your immortal souls. If you have true faith in Christ, your faith will make you clean; it will sanctify you for the saints' faith was their victory of old by this they overcame sin within, and sinful men without. And if thou art in Christ, thou walkest not after the flesh, but after the spirit, whose fruits are manifest. Yea, thou art a new creature: new-made, newfashioned, after God's will and mould. Old things are done away, and behold, all things are become new new love, desire, will, affections, and practices. It is not any longer thou that livest; thou disobedient, carnal, worldly one; but
it is Christ that liveth in thee: and to live is Christ, and to die is thy eternal gain: because thou art assured, "that thy corruptible shall put on incorruption, and thy mortal, immortality; and that thou hast a glorious house, eternal in the heavens, that will never wax old, or pass away." All this follows being in Christ, as heat follows fire, and light the sun.
Therefore have a care how you presume to rely upon such a notion, as that you are in Christ, whilst in your old fallen nature. "For what communion hath light with darkness, or Christ with Belial?" Hear what the beloved disciple tells you "If we say we have fellowship with God, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." This is, if we go on in a sinful way, are captivated by our carnal affections, and are not converted to God, we walk in darkness, and cannot possibly, in that state, have any fellowship with God. Christ clothes them with his righteousness, that receive his grace in their hearts, and deny themselves, and take up his cross daily, and follow him. Christ's righteousness makes men inwardly holy; of holy minds, wills, and practices. It is, nevertheless, Christ's, though we have it; for it is ours not by nature, but by faith and adoption; it is the gift of God. But still, though not ours, as of or from ourselves, (for in that sense it is Christ's, for it is of and from him) yet it is ours, and must be ours, in possession, efficacy, and enjoyment, to do us any good; or Christ's righteousness will profit us nothing. It was after this manner that he was made to the primitive Christians, "righteousness, sanctification, justification, and redemption: and if ever you will have the comfort, kernel, and marrow of the Christian religion, thus you must come to learn and obtain it. Now, my friends, by what you have read, and will read in what follows, you may perceive that God has visited a poor people among you with this saving knowledge and testimony; whom he has upheld and increased to this day, notwithstanding the fierce opposition they have met withal. Despise not the meanness of this appearance: it was, and yet is, (we know) a day of small things, and of small account with too many; and many hard and ill names are given to it: but it is of God, it came from him, because it leads to him.
This we know; but we cannot make another to know it, unless he will take the same way to know it that we took. The world talks of God, but what do they do? They pray for power, but reject the principle in which it is. If you would know God, and worship and serve God as you should do, you must come to the means he has ordained and given
for that purpose. Some seek it in books, some in learned men; but what they look for, is in themselves, though not of themselves, but they overlook it. The voice is too still, the seed too small, and the light shineth in darkness: they are abroad, and so cannot divide the spoil: but the woman, that lost her silver, found it at home, after she had lighted her candle, and swept her house. Do you so too, and you shall find what Pilate wanted to know, viz. truth: truth in the inward parts, so valuable in the sight of God.
The light of Christ within, who is the light of the world, (and so a light to you, that tells you the truth of your condition) leads all, that take heed unto it, out of darkness, into God's marvellous light. For light grows upon the obedient:"it is sown for the righteous, and their way is a shining light, that shines forth more and more to the perfect day."
Wherefore, O friends, turn in, turn in, I beseech you : where is the poison, there is the antidote. There you want Christ, and there you must find him; and, blessed be God, there you may find him. "Seek, and you shall find,” Í testify for God. But then you must seek aright, with your whole heart, as men that seek for their lives, yea, for their cternal lives, diligently, humbly, patiently, as those that can taste no pleasure, comfort, or satisfaction in any thing else, unless you find Him whom your souls desire to know, and love, above all. O it is a travail, a spiritual travail, let the carnal, profane world, think and say as it will. And through this path you must walk to the city of God, that has eternal foundations, if ever you will come there.
Well! And what does this blessed light do for you? Why, 1. It sets all your sins in order before you: it detects the spirit of this world, in all its baits and allurements, and shows how man came to fall from God, and the fallen estate he is in. 2. It begets a sense and sorrow, in such as believe in it, for this fearful lapse. You will then see Him, distinctly, whom you have pierced, and all the blows and wounds you have given him by your disobedience, and how you have made him to serve with your sins; and you will weep and mourn for it, and your sorrow will be a godly sorrow. 3. After this, it will bring you to the holy watch, to take care that you do so no more, and that the enemy surprize you not again. Then thoughts, as well as words and works, will come to judgment, which is the way of holiness, in which the redeemed of the Lord do walk. Here you will come to "love God above all, and your neighbours as yourselves." Nothing hurts, nothing harms, nothing makes afraid, on this holy mountain. Now you come to be Christ's indeed; for
you are his in nature and spirit, and not your own. And when you are thus Christ's, then Christ is yours, and not before. And here communion with the Father, and with the Son, you will know, and the efficacy of the blood of cleansing, even the blood of Jesus Christ, that immaculate Lamb, which "speaks better things than the blood of Abel;" and which cleanseth from all sin the consciences of those, that, through the living faith, come to be "sprinkled with it, from dead works, to serve the living God.'
To conclude: Behold the testimony and doctrine of the people called Quakers! Behold their practice and discipline! And behold the blessed man and men (at least many of them) that were sent of God in this excellent work and service! All which is more particularly expressed in the annals of that man of God: which I do heartily recommend to my reader's most serious perusal; and beseech Almighty God, that his blessing may go along with both, to the convincement of many, as yet strangers to this holy dispensation, and also to the edification of God's church in general. Who, for his manifold and repeated mercies and blessings to his people, in this day of his great love, is worthy ever to have the glory, honour, thanksgiving and renown: and be it rendered and ascribed, with fear and reverence, through Him in whom he is well pleased, his beloved Son and Lamb, our light and life, that sits with him upon the throne, world without end. Amen!
Says one that God has long since mercifully favoured with his fatherly visitation, and who was not disobedient to the heavenly vision and call; to whom the way of truth is more lovely and precious than ever; and that, knowing the beauty and benefit of it, above all worldly treasures, has chosen it for his chiefest joy; and therefore recommends it to thy love and choice, because he is, with great sincerity and affection,
Thy soul's friend,
Written in Testimony to the present Dispensation of God, through Them, to the World;
Prejudices may be removed, the Simple informed, the Wellinclined encouraged, and the innocent Friends rightly represented.
BY WILLIAM PENN.
Published in the Year 1696.
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 enquiry, 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