« PreviousContinue »
is true, he was once darkness, but now « Light in " the Lord,'" because he hath been turned from darknefs to the light, and from Satan's power unto God, who is light itfelf, and with him is his fellowship continually.
This is the man, who, in the way of the light of the Lamb of God, hath met with inward cleansing; for having been purged by the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning (otherwise called the severe reproofs, strokes, and terrors of the light in the conscience) he has ever a watch set up in his heart. A thought must not pass which has not the watch-word; but at every appearance to the mind, he cries, < Stand:' if a friend, and owned of the light (who is the great leader, given of God for that purpose) then he entertains it; otherwise he brings it to the commander of the conscience, who is to fit in judgment upon it. Thus is Christ the Light, King, Judge, and Lawgiver. And by this he grows strong, and increaleth with the increases of God. Yet he often reads the blessed scriptures, and that with much delight; greatly admiring the exceeding love of God to former ages, which he himself witnesseth to be true in this; where also many things are opened to his refreshment: so is the light the “ juft man's path,” that in every age still « Thineth brighter and bright« er,k" in which the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ is felt to cleanse from all fin. Thus doth he bridle his thoughts, fo that his words and actions offend not. Above all, he is often retired to the Lord, loves fellowship with him, waits for daily bread, which he alks, not in his own words, strivings, or will; but, as one empty of his thoughts, and jealous of the peace or comfort that is drawn from thence, he filently waits to feel the heavenly substance brought into his soul by the immediate hand of the Lord. For it is not fetching in this thought, or remembering the other passage in scripture, or designedly calling to inind
i Eph. v.
1 John i. 5,6.
Jam. iii. 1, 2, 3.
what has been formerly known, that gives right peace; but “ every immediate word that proceeds out of the * « mouth of God,” that can satisfy him. In short, he that obeys the light, is thereby taught to deny una < godliness, and worldly lusts, and to be sober, right« eous, patient, humble, meek, upright, merciful, « forbearing, forgiving, peaceable, gentle, self-deny<ing, constant, faithful, and holy, because the Lord < his God is holy.
Thus have I given a brief account as well what he is not, as what he is, who is obedient to the light within, which is Christ's fpiritual appearance in the heart, whose holy blood is sensibly felt to cleanse, atone, and save, all those who believe and abide therein, both from the guilt and pollution of fin.
CH A P. XXIII.
The 'discourse hitherto summed up, and concluded,
with an exhortation to all professors of religion, efpecially our opposers.
I Will sum up the whole of this discourse in these I few heads :
1. That salvation is to be saved from sin first, and wrath consequently : “ He shall save his people from " their fins.” Matt. i. · II. That Christ, the WORD-God, has lighted all mankind, not only after his coming in the flesh, but before: and thať the light has ever been sufficient, as well as universal, to lead to God all such as have obeyed it, as by its properties and effects is demonstrated.
III. That the difference betwixt the time of the law and that of the gospel, as generally diftinguished, was rather in manifestation than in nature. God might be as much more propitious and bountiful to
the last ages (be it that they were better able to receive such extraordinary discoveries, or that it was the alone good pleasure of his fovereign will) as he was to the former ages; yet that he gave them a suffi. ciency of the same divine light to conduct them through the world to eternal blessedness.
IV. That Jews and Greeks, Heathens and Christians, agree in this.
V. That still the pre-eminence is given to Christ's manifestation in the flesh, both generally and particularly; that being both the fulness of time, and fulness of discovery, which put an end to the types and figures, and carnal commandments, by thewing forth an abrogation and consummation of them all, in Chrift, the substance itself: in which state they are not needed; but, in comparison thereof, they are (though once they were as calendars, for weak people to read some mystical glory by) but beggarly elements now.
VI. That not only in that flesh did the eternal light preach forth itself the end of these things, by revealing and becoming the author of a more plain and perfect way, though less easy to flesh and blood (placing the stress of all upon an evangelical righteousness, whereof he became the first minister, and our most holy example); but he also appeared in that publick body, so peculiarly prepared, a general Saviour, by his life, doctrine, miracles, death of the cross, and resurrection; in and by all which he obtained “ a name above every name."
VII. That nevertheless, not to the body, but the holy light of life cherein, is chiefly to be ascribed the salvation; and to the body, however excellent, but inftrumentally; for that it was the eternal light and life, which gave the weight to all the actions and fufferings of the body.
VIII. That the benefit then procured is not wit. nelled by any, but as they come to believe in Christ the light, as he doth appear in the heart and conscience, to « save from sin, destroy the works of the
es devil, finish transgreffion, and bring in of his ever« lasting righteousness.” Wherefore to imagine one's felf entitled to a state of falvation, whilft in rebellion against the light within, which is Christ's inward knocking and appearance, must needs be a delusion, molt pernicious, and destructive to the souls of men.
IX. That, upon the whole, it is determined and concluded, that « Christ is that light which shineth " in the conscience."
X. That the light is proved, by reafon, both univerfal and sufficient: the first, from the consent of mankind, and the goodness and rectitude of God: the fecond, both from experience, and that it were inconfistent with the goodness and wisdom of God to give a light to his creature insufficient for the work for which he gave it.
Thus, in short, have I given the heads and results of most of the matter contained in the whole difcourse upon the light: and I entreat our adversaries they would seriously weigh the whole, before they either reject it, or pretend to reply to it. But lec them be advised to try the virtue of the light, before they sentence it to have none; and, in the love of God, be once prevailed upon to consider, if something in thene doth not really condemn them for evil; and, amongst other things, for these brišk: attempts against it, and unreasonable undervaluings of it.
o why should men covet to know so far beyond what they do faithfully practife! Let them firft outlive the juft and holy requirings of the light, before they put these barbarous affronts upon it; as a Willa, in-the-whisp, a dark-lanthorn light, natural, insufficient, ignis fatuus, the Quakers idol, and abundance of such like frothy, profane, and indeed blasphemous cpithets, which some have wickedly bestowed upon it, as if they were its proper names: when the scriptures they would oppose to it plainly tell them, that the whole work of the apostolical ministry was, « to turn “ people from darkness to the light, from the power
« of Satan unto God, that they might have remiflion « of sins.” As much as to say, "Such as are turned ! to the light, are turned to God, who is light; and & those who abide there, both have remission of the
punishment, and purgation from the defilement, of
And whatever any may think of us, we both be. lieve, assert, and will maintain, against men and devils, “ That God is light:' and that out of the light, or void of his divine illumination, no man can know him, and consequently not worship him, unless they should worship an unknown god : that such as receive this illuminacion, and rebel not against it, but improve this heavenly talent, they have fellowship with the pure eternal God, and experience the blood of Jesus Christ to “ cleanse them from all unrighteous. « ness.”
If any think to arrive at glory another way, and will not be admonished, let them proceed: we speak what we know, and can but declare what we have felt of the work of God in our hearts. The scriptures we highly value: but we believe not the things we often quote thence to be true only because there, but for that we are witnesses of the same operation, and bring in our experimental testimonies to confirm the truth of theirs; and such truly honour the scriptures: all others are at best but empty scribes, and pharisaical babblers. · So with God I leave my labour in this particular, desiring that this heavenly light may yet more abundantly arise upon the dark hearts of mankind, and awaken them to repentance: that since it hath so long shined in darkness uncomprebended, till even darkness itself is grown so impudent as to impute it to the infufficiency of the light, he would be pleased to cause it to shine out of darkness, that it might plead the excellency of its own divine nature in the consciences of men and women, against the scorns and detractions that even too many of the great professors of Chrifti
for that were experimentah truly honov