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PLAIN PATH-WAY

OPENED

TO THE

SIMPLE HEARTED,

AND AN ANSWER TO ALL DOUBTS AND OBJECTIONS ARISING IN

THEM, AGAINST THE INWARD APPEARANCES OF

Divine Light and Truth,

WHICH HAVE KEPT MANY FROM OBEDIENCE, AND SO FROM

PEACE TO THEIR PANTING SOULS.

BY SIDEN CHIS!.

BRADFORD:

PRINTED BY HENRY WARDMAN, CHAPEL-LANE.

1834.

(Edit.5,000

C

834 3.55. *VARD COL!" TE LIOFADY

GIFT CF
HAVLU OD QLLLUE LIBRARY

JUL 9 1935
PLAIN PATI-WAY OPENED.

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Friends and People,

My spirit has been deeply exercised concerning many, who are come to feel something which is good stirring and moving in their hearts, to bring them into a serious consideration of their course of life, and of the true inward state of their immortal souls. And when they have sometimes begun to turn their minds to this good thing that stirred in them, many doubts and objections have arisen in them, lest they should be misled, deceived, or deluded; then they have been tempted to slight, and even to think evil of that which works in their own hearts, in order to lead them out of sin and iniquity, and to imagine it to be, what some have dared to denominate it, only a natural light; a common gift of the Spirit, but not a saving gift; conviction of a natural conscience; or a work of the evil one to deprive the soul of its peace, &c. .

And thus, Oh! reader, when thou art brought to slight: that good principle which strives with thee under some such name, thou gettest ease again for a little while, takest liberty to act against it, and to do and say that which this principle doth in secret condemn; then it riseth again, breaks thy peace, and brings trouble and anguish upon thy soul; now arise doubts on the one hand, and doubtings on the other, so that thy poor soul is beset and encompassed with doubts, fears, and jealousies; sometimes thou fearest thou withstandest the truth to thy own destruction, and again sometimes fearest it is a delusion, and that thou art deceived; besides, thou findest many learned and worldly-wise men that tell thee there is nothing good in thee; here thou art in a very great strait, labourest under many sorrowful thoughts, many

doubtful disputations arise in thy mind, the flesh now strongly warreth against that which comes to disturb it, and the Spirit against that which resists and rebels against it; these two are contrary, these contrary things are both in thee, and thou, poor creature, must feel the struggling of them both; thou scarcely knows (or at least with certainty) which is right, owing to thy darkness, doubts, and fears.

Now, in this state and condition, how acceptable would a messenger be, one of a thousand, to shew unto such an one that which might deliver his soul from going down into the pit, and save his life from the destroyer! Job xxxiii. 23, 24.

For the sake of such I am drawn into a deep exercise many times, by day and by night, and my cry to God is, that his glorious power may more and more arise to open these doors which are shut and folded upon many, to bring forth the imprisoned spirits out of the prison-house, and out of the bondage of this spiritual Egypt, where our Lord was and is crucified spiritually; that he may expel the clouds of darkness, in which the fears, doubts, and questionings arise ; and that he may make a clear way in all such for his Light to break forth out of obscurity, in which Light the answer to those doubts and questions arises.

By that same Spirit that labours with you, am I moved to send this forth unto you all, as a word of exhortation and counsel in the name and fear of the Lord God, by which as many as do rightly receive it, and make a true use and proof of it, shall find help and benefit, know the mouth of the questioner stopped, and the answer of peace witnessed to their immortal souls, in the Lord's due time.

Consider this, That every good and perfect gift cometh from above, from the Father of Lights and Spirits, who would not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn and live; therefore hath He out of his infinite love, and tender mercies to the sons of men, prepared a way to draw nigh unto them, even while they are in their sins; which He doth not but through Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, whom He hath freely given to be a Light unto the dark world; and that He should Enlighten every one that

cometh into the world, John i. 9, of which number thou art one ; whoever thou art, thou art enlightened by Christ, though thou be yet darkness in thyself, as the Ephesians once were; yet the Light shineth in thy darkness, or else there would not be two contrary natures and seeds found working in thee as there are; and this Light wherewith thou art enlightened is the life of Jesus, John i. 4, which [life] He hath given a ransom forman.

And know this, thou that art inquiring, that, That in thee which doth make manifest to thee things that are reprovable, is the Light wherewith Christ hath enlightened thee withal, as the Apostle Paul said in his Epistle to the Ephesians, chap. v. 13, 14; and that principle which leads thee to do or say such things as thou art secretly reproved for in thine own conscience, that is the darkness, and the enemy of thy soul's peace, which, who walks in, doth not know whither he goeth; for this doth minister a peace and pleasure to thee, and a delight to thy carnal mind for a season; yet the other, (to wit,) the Light, the reprover, hath power to take it away from thee again, to judge thee, and to make that which was sweet to thee become bitter; and neither the darkness nor vanity of thy mind can deliver thee from this stroke.

Now, that thou mightest be resolved in such a state what to do, consider, thou that hast these strugglings in thee, about the Light in thy conscience, whether it is true or no, or whether thou shalt own it or no, and art thinking in thyself what is best for thee to do; whether to go on stoutly against it, or to submit to it; I say, consider, if thou rebellest against it, thou canst never know whither it would lead thee; as it was said of old, Job xxiv. 13, They that rebel against the Light they know not the ways thereof; so that if thou dost take the course to rebel, that will but increase thy ignorance of the way which the Light leads in, and make it more terrible to thee every time it doth appear in thee, till thou comest to that state spoken of, Job xxiv. 17, That the dawning of the day will be as the shadow of death ; for the more thou rebellest against it, the more dark thou wilt daily grow, and so the less able to resolve thyself in those doubtful things that fill thy mind; but as darkness increaseth in thee, so the power of it will bind thee down as a chain, and smother every good desire in thee; thus by rebellion against the Light, do some men lose the very sense and knowledge of it, grow past feeling, and strangers to it, though it be in them; for the custom of sin taketh away the sense and the feeling of the burden of it.

But to you I write that are not yet come to this state of hardness of heart, but are brought daily into a sense of the burden of sin; and are ready to say, If you were but sure that were the truth and way of God which shews you your sin, you would follow it, and love it, and own it, but are kept off by doubts and questionings. Verily I say unto you, before these doubts be resolved, you must try this, as, to your sorrow, you have tried the other, before you can be effectually informed; for arguments will not do sufficiently in this case; therefore try and prove what this principle can do for you, when ye obey it, which ye know hath power to condemn you, and break your peace, when ye disobey it.

Why should ye always be shut up in unbelief, and in doubts, and so kept from trying and proving the Light, as well as ye have proved the darkness, that so ye might reap the fruit of it to salvation, as well as you have done the fruit of the other unto condemnation ?

Oh, dear people ! consider, ye cannot obey this Light of Christ Jesus in your consciences, but by taking up a daily cross to your own wills, and affections; because it is contrary thereunto; and what leads to obey these, leads to disobey the Light; what leads to obey the Light, crosseth the lusts and vile affections, which are at enmity with the Light, and must by it be judged and condemned ;, and that which leads thee to slight it, is also an enemy to it, and must be judged by it; and so as the Light comes to rule over these things in thee, which are enemies to it, thou wilt know that it will lead thee contrary to thy corrupt nature; for that which is natural leadeth according to nature, but that which is spiritual, leadeth according to the Spirit, which the Apostle said, Is contrary to the flesh, and wars against it.

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