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ability to do it? He pronounces such miserable who conform not themselves to an holy life, but gives no power to avoid the curse? In short, though reason tells us he made none purposely to destroy them, but rather that he might be glorified in their salvation, which he also is said to invite men to; yet that he designs nothing less, by leaving all mankind under the faintings of an impoffible success. But as such dismal consequences belong not to the truth, so we are well assured, the light, of which we speak, has ever been sufficient to the end for which has been given, in every age, both to manifest evil, condemn for it, and redeem from the power and pollution of it, by the holy operation of its power, all those who are the diligent disciples of it. For it seems most unreasonable that the spirit of darkness fhould be sufficient to draw into sin, and yet that the spirit and light of Christ should not be sufficient to redeem and save from it. Since therefore we cannot admit of any insufficiency in the light within, but at the same time we must suppose, ift, That whilft God would be rightly worshipped, he has too darkly discovered the way how to do it aright; and 2dly, That his gift is impotent; and 3dly, That man is required to do what he has no power to perform; and 4thly, That whilft God requires man to serve him, he hath not so much as shewn him what way he ought to do it (which are confequences most unworthy of God); we rather chuse to sit down contented with this belief, “That « God, who made man, and has given him a soul
capable of knowing and serving his Maker, hath ! also endued him with divine knowledge, by a superC added light and power, and enabled him thereby to
live subservient to that knowledge: that God's gift < is perfect and sufficient for that work; and that such I as are led by it, must needs be led to God; unto
whom the divine light naturally tends, and attracts, ( as that from whom it came; which is certainly a state of blessed immortality.'
In short, accept, reader, of these few arguments, comprehensive of these two chapters, and indeed of most of what goes before.
1. God requires no man to do any thing he has not given him first light to know, and then power to do, But God requires every man to fear him, and work righteousness; therefore he has given every man both a discovery of his will, and power to do it.
2. No man ought to worship the true God ignorantly: but every man is commanded to worship God; therefore he is to do it knowingly.
3. No man can know God, but God must discover it to him, and that cannot be without light: there. fore every man has light.
4. This light must be sufficient, or God's gifts are imperfect, and answer not the end for which they were given. But God's gifts are perfect, and can perform what they are designed for: therefore since the light is his gift, it must be sufficient.
The fum is, this:
Every man ought to fear, worship, and obey God. No man can do it aright, that knows him not. No man can know him but by the discovery he makes of himself. No discovery can be made without light. Nor can this light give that discovery, if imperfect or insufficient in nature: therefore all have a sufficient Jight to this great end and purpose, viz. to fear, worship, and obey God; and this light is Christ.
CH A P. XXII.
divine light, &c. considered and answered; being
TAM now come to my last question, viz. · Who I this he is, or they are, that obey this light, and in obeying attain salvation?'Or, what are the qualifications of those that obey this light? Not what are their names; but what manner or kind of people are they? In short, "What is it to obey the light?
I think I have so fully expressed myself already in this matter, that, with an ingenuous reader, I might be saved the pains of farther considering it; but that nothing may be thought to be shunned as unanswerable, which is so easy to be answered, I must tell him and all men, and that not without some experimental knowledge of what I say, that such obey the light, who refrain from all that the light manifests to be evil, and who incline to perform all that it requires to be done. For example: When the light shews that it is inconsistent with a man fearing God, to be wan. ton, passionate, proud, covetous, backbiting, envious, wrathful, unmerciful, revengeful, prophane, drunken, voluptuous, unclean; which, with such-like, are called in scripture « the fruits of the flesh, and the works “ of darkness;" and persons so qualified, “ the chil“ dren of wrath, such as delight not to retain God in "s their knowledge, 8” &c. I say, when the light discovers these things to be inconsistent with a man fearing God, he who truly obeys the light, denies and forsakes them, however cross it be to flesh and blood, and let it cost him never so dear : though relacions do both threaten and entreat, and the world mock, and that he is sure to become the song of the drunkard, and a derision to his ancient companions. No, he
• Gal. y. Ephef. v. Rom. i.
dare not conform himself any more to the fashions of the world, which pass away, and which draw out the mind into vain and unprofitable delights, by which the just in him had formerly been flain; neither to gratify " the lust of the eye, the luft of the flesh, and « the pride of life",” which are not of the nature of his Father, who has begotten better desires and resoJutions in him. He rejects the conversation he once had in the world; and, in the eye of its children, feems a man forlorn and distracted. He takes up the cross, despises the shame, and willingly drinks of the cup of bitter mockings, and yields to be baptized with the baptism of deep trials, that Christ Jesus his Lord drank of, and was baptized with,
He is as well taught to deny the religions, as cares and pleasures of the world. Such as profess religion from what they have been either taught by others, or read and gathered after their carnal minds out of the fcriptures, intruding into the practices of either prophets or apostles, as to the external and shadowy things, not being led thereto by the same power they had, he can have no fellowship with. He counts all such faith and worship the imagination of men, or a mere lifeless imitation: he prefers one sigh begotten from a sense of God's work in the heart, beyond the longest prayers in that state : « he leaves them all, I walks as a man alone, fearing to offer God a sacri
fice that is not of his own preparing. He charges all other faiths and worships with insufficiency, and mere creaturely power, which are not held and per. formed from an holy conviction and preparation by the angel of God, the light of his presence, in the heart and conscience: therefore it is that he goes forth in the strength of his God against the merchants of Babylon; and woes and plagues are rightly in his mouth against those buyers and sellers of the fouls of men. He is jealous for the name of the Lord, and therefore dares not speak peace unto them, neither
Jam. v. 6,
1 John ii. 15. 16.
can he put into their mouths, but testifies against all such ways: “ Freely he received, freely he gives.”
Thus is this man unravelled, unreligioned, and unbottomed as to his former state, wherein he was religious upon letter, form, mens traditions, education, and his own imagination. He is as a man quite undone, that he may be made what the Lord would have him to be. Thus is he convinced of sin, and of righteousness too; and the joy he once had when he girded himself, and went whither he lifted, is now turned into forrow, and his rejoicing into howling. He has beheld God in the light of his Son, and abhors himself in duft and ashes. Sin, that was pleasant once in the mouth, he finds bitter now in the belly; and that which the world esteems worthy of their care, he flies as a man would do a bear robbed of her whelps. Sin is become " exceeding sinful” to him, infomuch that he cries out, « who shall deliver « me?" He labours greatly, and is very heavy la. den. Yet he is not willing to “fly in the winter," but is resolved to stand the trial; for this man not only brings his former deeds to the light, and there fuffers judgment to pass upon them, but patiently takes part in that judgment, who was so great an ac. čelary to them. Nor doth his obedience conclude with the sentence given against past fins, and himself that committed them; but most patiently “ endures " the hand of the Lord till his indignation be overço paft,” and till that which condemned sin (the fruit) hath destroyed the very root of it, which hath taken so deep hold in his heart, and that the same spirit of judgment that condemned sin, is brought forth into perfect victory over the very nature and power of fin. This judgment is found and felt in the light; therefore do the “ Sons of the night” reject the knowledge of its ways, and the children of the day rejoice greatly in its appearance.
But neither is this all that makes up that good man who obeys the light: for a complete son of light is one that has conquered and expelled the darkness. It