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of all men, yea, of John himself; and therefore called; « That true light,” that is, the fountain of all light, light itfelf, from whom all derive, but he derives from none.
And to fay nothing at this time of the miserable estate thofe of mankind must labour under antecedently to Chrift's coming in the flesh, let it be considered, that these first nine verses in John relate not in the least to his fleshly appearance, from whence those men would date both his original, and man's illumination; but are a continued series of the higheft proofs of his divinity, that we might as well know what he was before he came, as when he did come; and the one was an introduction to the other. Neither is it fair for these men tò allegorize Christ out of his divinity, and yet deny us any allegory to prove it. If they deny meanings elsewhere, let them do so here: it misbecomes men that have their wits, to rack them to prop fancy.
Farther let me add, that as He who then came into the world, was the same that created that world into which he came, and therefore previous, or before such coming; fo neither can it hold that the world, into which man čomes, is the new creation, fince it is not faid, ' who believe," which is usually joined to things of that importance, y“ believe and be faved,” &c.) Nor can such as do not believe, be totally excluded from being lighted; since the wicked could not rebel against it, if they had it not; neither mens evil actions be reproved without it: so that all such notions are foreign both from scripture and reason.
We shall conclude then, “That Christ, the Word• God, is the light of the world, and that all are enslightened by Him, the eternal Sun of righteousness;
therefore the light of men is Christ, (for to him) & Chrift, or the true light, John testified, who gives
wicked men to see their unrighteoufnefs, and who $ leads good men on in the way of holiness, which,
* Jahr i. 10. John iii. 19. Eph. V. 13.
" persevered in, brings unquestionably to eternal haps piness; and without which, all imputation of gene.
ral acts of righteousness, performed by Christ with. sout us, will avail nothing for salvation in the great cand terrible day of God's inquest and judgment, s when all shall be judged, not by the deeds any other chach done for them (wholly without them) but acr cording to the deeds done in their own mortal 6 bodies.
This subject I shall conclude, with a few reasons for the universality and sufficiency of the light within; that we may not only be seen to have the scriptures of truth, and other authorities, but reason also (which is more universal) on our side too.
CH A P. XX.
of all ages hath plentifully teftified There is nothing more constant now, that can plead either such antiquity, or general confent: not a nation in the world ever knew an agę, in which it was destitute of such a discovery of internal light, as gave them to discern evil from good; that virtue was not ever most commendable, and vice above all things pernicious and damnable. This is matter of fact, which I have already proved, and the most barbarous of nations now inhabited, are a clear demonstration of what I say. I conclude, therefore, since both wicked and good men, in all ages, have confessed to well and ill doing, and that this depends upon the discovery of the divine light of Christ, which manifests every reproveable action; that none of mankind are exempted from this illumination.
But again, it is highly consistent with the goodness of God, and order of his creation; since it seems un. reasonable that men should have the benefit of a na
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tural tural fun, which shines on the just and unjust, by which to direct their steps, and securely transact all temporal affairs; and yet that their souls should be left destitute of a spiritual luminary, or fun of righteousness; when, in comparison of the salvation of a single soul, Christ counts the world of no value. The soul then hath eyes as well as the body; and as men may see, if they please, when the sun is in the outward firmament, unless they wilfully close their eyes, so may all rational souls see, if they will, by their eye of REAson, that spiritual sun, which gives as true discerning and direction to the mind, how to think and desire, as the natural sun doth to the body, how to act and walk aright.
Were not this true, men would miserably charge God with neglect to his creatures; for since it is to be supposed that God made nothing but with a design it should acknowledge a Creator, after its respective na. ture; and that man's duty was peculiar, namely, divine homage and worship, expressed generally by a life corresponding with that Being which made him, it is just that we believe God hath endued mankind with something that is divine, in order to it; since otherwise man would be deftitute of that which should enable him to perform that duty, without which he could not please or rightly acknowledge God. If then all mankind ought to worship, fear, and reverence God, certainly all mankind have an ability from God so to do, or else perfect impossibilities are expected, man of himself being a most impotent creature. But certainly it can never stand with the rectitude and justice of the eternal God, to expect from man what he never gave him power to do, or the improvement of a talent he never had. In short, if we ought to think that God is to be reverenced and worshipped, we must agree that God endued mankind with a di. vine light and knowledge, in order to that end, or say with the man in Matchew, « God is an hard mal" ter, and austere Lord, he reaps where he never “ sowed.” But I am almost afraid that the principles
and prejudice of some incline them rather to think hardly of God, than favourably of the light. How ill doth it become those to object an impossibility of the light's bearing their iniquities, who are daily wounding it with their rebellions?
But they object "Some deny they have it; and < others, by their diffolute lives, shew they are void of rit.' To which I say, it is not impossible for a life of worldly care and pleasures, and downright debauchery, to darken and quite blind that eye which only sees the light of truth, and, being kept fingle, preserves the body full of light; but this makes no alteration in the Light: if, through repentance and contrition, the scales fall off, the light refuses nor itfelf to the eye that can and will see it; the light remains unaltered, it is man that changes. Would the running mad of some men be a good argument to prove mankind irrational ? Neither is it any demonstration against the universality of the light within, because some have; by the ftupefyings of sin, rendered themselves insensible of it.
Nor doth ill living disprove the sufficiency of the light, though it prove disobedience to it. Is it good logick, that because a wicked man will not receive
good advice, therefore he never had it?' And what better reason can it be to say, "Men disobey the light, s therefore they never had it,' whilst that proves they had it, at least as a condemner? A man may be said to be lighted, when he knows and does not his duty; but rather, I confess, when he becomes a better man by such illumination. In the first sense, all are illu. minated; in the last, only such as follow to obey the light; for they will find their understandings illuminated, and their hearts mended, of which the disobedience of others deprives them. In short, all have light to reprove, unless they have quite put out their eyes; but only such have it beneficially, as their teacher and director, who receive it in the love of it,
Since then the consent of mankind, the goodness and justice of God, and the reason of the thing itself,
plead so strongly for the univerfality of this light, I need say the less, and shall descend to consider its sufficiency.
CHAP. XXI. The fufficiency of the LIGHT proved by reason.
D ECAUSE as well the sufficiency, as universality
D of the light, is struck at by our adversaries, it will not, I hope, feem amifs if I say something briefly to it; though much of what I have said about the other may be referred to this,
That the universal light is also sufficient, is a belief so reasonable and necessary, that the opposite opi. nion must needs impeach the justice of God. All grant, that God has 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 fome discovery of himself, suitable to that created capacity in the créature. 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 fovereign Lord, and that they live uprightly in the world, and yet he has not given them