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sake, could not uphold them: which we thought very foreign to a primitive and apostolical spirit; and short of a true and thorough reformation. This is not said with any disrespect to their persons, or yet calling, simply considered; "for he that desires the office of a bishop, certainly desires a good thing," but the Holy Ghost, in those days, had the making of them; and the "good thing" then, was their service, and not revenue, or worldly dignity. They were then not only no lords (one being their Lord) but they lorded it not over God's clergy or heritage, which was the people in those days, for so the word Kang signifies, though it is now ascribed to the ministry. Then, the ground of prophecy, or ministry, was the revelation of the spirit, in those ancient assemblies, as may be read, 1 Cor. xiv. 29, 30, 31, 32. "For all might prophecy," that is, preach, as the spirit of God moved upon their spirit, and gave them utterance, both for reproof, instruction, and consolation: now, study, collection, and memory.
In those days they preached their own experience of the work of God upon their hearts; but most now preach of the experiences of others, recorded in scriptures, but according to their own and others' human apprehensions. To be brief, we ground our conviction, conversion, ministry, prayer, and praise, upon the light and spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the powerful and effectual spring of our religious performances, and that alone which prepares the soul, and enables it to perform those respective services and duties in a manner acceptable to God. And that ministry and worship which stands not in the spirit, and is not performed in the preparation and inspiration thereof, but according to the compilings, traditions, and precepts of men, we cannot allow to be primitive and evangelical, and consequently cannot join in them. And we are satisfied that it is the good pleasure of God, that all who profess the name of his dear, and only begotten, and well-beloved Son, should acquaint themselves with the spirit of his Son in their own hearts, in its reproof, instruction, conviction and consolation, that they may become "spiritually-minded," such as mind spiritual things more than earthly ones; and that daily "sow to the spirit;" that is, bring forth the fruits of the spirit, and become the children of God, who are led by the spirit of God. "Now the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's, have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof. But the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lascivi20
ousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murder, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I told you before, as also in time past, that they which do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God," Rom. viii. 6. 14. Gal. v. 16, to 24. chap. vi. 7, 8. And under these marks and directions all people may examine themselves, and know their birth, family, and inheritance, whether they are the offspring of God, and true Christians, or children of the evil one: those that are born of the spirit, for whom is reserved "an inheritance with the saints in light," or the seed of evil-doers; for whom is reserved the "blackness of darkness for ever." And truly it seems just with God, that those who love darkness better than light in this world, should have their fill of it in the next; from which, God Almighty redeem thee, reader, that thou mayest walk in his blessed light, as he is in the light, then thou wilt have "fellowship with the children of light, and the blood of Jesus Christ (the great atonement) shall cleanse thee from all sin," 1 John i. 5, 6, 7. yea; "from the filthiness both of flesh and spirit;" and being sanctified throughout, in body and spirit, thou mayest live to serve God in the newness of his holy spirit, Rom. vii. 6. and come to be made a new man; that is, another man: from a proud, an humble man; from a passionate, a patient man; from a rough, a meek man; and of a cruel, covetous, unjust, lascivious, intemperate, vain and ungodly man, thou mayest become a merciful, liberal, just, chaste, sober, and godly man. And where this change, this new birth, or new creature, is not known, sacrifices avail nothing, religion is but formality, and the peace of God will never be their recompence of reward. But they that walk after the blessed unerring rule of the new covenant, "peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God," Gal. vi. 15, 16. "who are the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ," Col. iii. 11. even that of the heart, in the spirit, whose praise is not of men, but of God," Rom. ii. 29. And who, therefore, "Worship God in the spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh," Phil. iii. S. that is, in fleshly ordinances, or the observation of figures and signs compounded of outward elements, which represent heavenly things: wherefore the apostle exhorted and commanded, Col. ii. 16, 17. "Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, &c. which are shadows of things to come, but the body is of Christ;" that is, Christ is the substance of all outward representations, and they that have Christ, have the end of
all those things: who, reader, we labour and pray, may be better known, received, and obeyed, by the professors of his holy name and religion. That as he is given of God to be our priest, prophet, and king, we may all know, feel and enjoy him such in ourselves, and then the kingdom of God will be come in us, and his will done in our earth, as it is in heaven which God grant, I most humbly beseech him.
For the conclusion of the bishop's paper, it is either repetition or reflection; the one needs no answer, and the other wants a defence. However, I will not have it said that I either wave or suppress it, and therefore without any reflection I will consider his which should have no weight with my reader, but against him.
He says in his 12th paragraph, He pities us, thinking many of us harmless and well-meaning, but under the power of strong delusions.' And in his 13th paragraph he gives us his sense of the cause thereof, viz, That we make the light within a rule of faith and practice, co-ordinate, if not superior and antecedent, to the holy scripture.' To prove which to be our sentiment, he cites these words out of our gospeltruths, where speaking of the Holy Spirit, and the scriptures, we say, they are the double and agreeing record of true religion.' Now if the light and spirit agree with the scripture, there is no fear of contradicting the scripture, and so we can have nothing to answer for on our account of that expression; for what agrees with the scripture, establishes it, instead of slighting or superseding the authority of it.
And though we used no such words as co-ordinate, much less superior and antecedent, (which is the bishop's gloss, to render our most true and inoffensive expression suspected, and make way to fasten his supposed strong delusions upon us) I will be very frank with him in this matter, that we believe the scripture to be the declaration of the mind of the Holy Ghost, and therefore not superior to the Holy Ghost, but credited, confirmed, and expounded by the Holy Ghost; so that without the illumination of it, the scripture cannot be understood by them that read it. The grammatical and critical sense of the words, and allusions therein, may be understood; but the inside and spiritual signification of them, is a riddle to those that are not spiritually instructed therein, though they were ever such grammarians or linguists.
Again, Christ says "He that loves the light, brings his deeds to the light, to see if they are wrought in God," John iii. 21. which was before the New Testament scripture was in being; and this makes it both rule and judge of the life and deeds of men. What says the bishop to this? Also John 14, 15, and 16th chapters, Christ promises, "The
spirit to lead them, his people, into all truth," and this was not the scripture, but something at least co-ordinate, if not superior and antecedent, to the scripture, which is more than we said before. Also the apostle Paul tells the Romans, chap. viii. "That as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God:" then the spirit is to lead believers, or they cannot be the children of God. And that which leads, rules; and that which rules, is a rule to them that follow it. And the same apostle referred the Galatians, chap. vi. 15, 16. to the rule of the new-creature to walk by, and that must be the spirit, which begets the new-creature viz. "Christ formed in them," of whom he tells them, chap. iv. 19. he "travailed in birth again. "And the beloved disciple expressly says to the Christians in his first epistle, chap. ii. 20. "That they had an unction from the Holy One, and they knew all things;" that is, all things they had to believe, know, and practise. And verse 27. he adds, "But the anointing which ye have received abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth." If the bishop will break through all these scriptures, to undervalue the light and spirit of Christ (for no other light or spirit do we assert, recommend people to, or contend for) that he might render us guilty of strong delusions,' I cannot help it, but must be truly sorry for him. But I beseech him to have a care that he does not, like the Jews of old, undervalue, and indeed blaspheme against, the holy light and spirit of God, by miscalling the fruits and effects of its power, 'strong delusions, and transformations of Satan:' for God will not hold such guiltless, in his great and terrible day of judgment.
And, after all, the best and first reformers and martyrs, as well as fathers, concur in our assertion and testimony: as Zuinglius, Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, Beza, Bucer, Peter Martyr, and Erasmus too: also our own excellent martyrs, viz. Lambert, Rogers, Philpot, Bradford, Hooper, Woodman, &c. That the double and agreeing testimony of the spirit of God within, and the scriptures of truth without, is the rule and judge of faith, doctrine and practice;' yea, 'That the spirit is given to believers, to be the rule and judge, by which they are to understand the true sense and meaning of the scriptures.' Now let the reader judge who gives the truest honour to the scripture, the bishop, or the people called Quakers? They, that say, the scriptures have a double record, that is, the evidence of the spirit of truth in the hearts of believers, as well as their own or the bishop, who, by his way of treating us, and our principle, will allow us no other evidence of their truth, but them
selves? For to say, the evidence of the spirit of God, with that of the scripture, make a double and agreeing testimony, is, with him, to undervalue the scripture,' and the ground, in his apprehension, of our strong delusions.' It must be my turn to pity the bishop, and truly I do it with all my heart, to see him strain so sound, as well as inoffensive an expression, as that which he makes the reason of our delusion, that he might have an occasion to lessen our credit with the professors of Christianity, and especially protestants. Can it dishonour the scripture, to assert the evidence of the principal and author of the scripture, to back the authority of the scripture? Or doth not he rather lessen the authority of scripture, that will not allow us another evidence of the truth of scripture than its own, for fear of coordinacy, which was not so much as once intended to be insinuated by us, nor do the words import any such things yet it had been no strong, nor any, delusion at all, to give the Holy Ghost the preference. But I shall keep to the terms of the paper, whatever the bishop is pleased to do; knowing that whoever concludes an argument in terms not in the question, nor plainly deducible from the premises, is not a fair dealer in controversy: in which the bishop, if he pleases, may reasonably enough think himself more than once concerned.
Blessed be God, we have known the power and efficacy of this holy light and spirit of Christ in ourselves; and being in good measure witnesses thereof, we do not only speak by report, but by experience. We had the scriptures, in the days of our ignorance, and worldly-mindedness; but disregarding the reproofs and instruction of the light of Jesus in our hearts, we never could come to know the power of those truths the scripture declares of. But when it pleased God, in the riches of his love, to cause his blessed light, that had shined in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not, to shine out of darkness, and give us the knowledge of himself in the face (or through the manifestation) of his Son Jesus Christ, we saw and bewailed ourselves, and, by an unfeigned sorrow and repentance, returned, as penitent prodigals, towards our father's house, and in this turn, we were brought to die daily to that love and satisfaction we once had in the glory, pleasures, honours, friendships and diversions of the world, which now became burdensome, more than ever they were pleasing to us.
Hence it was, and from no sinister ends or self-righteous conceits, that we became an altered and distinguished people, in our behaviour, garb and conversation; more retired, watchful, silent, and plain, than formerly; equally avoiding