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gelift and Apoftle of our Lord Jefus Chrift, They that walk in the Light have Fellowship one with ano ther, 1 John i. Whence it is easy to couclude, they that go out of the Fellowship, go out of the Light; but if they that walk in the Light, have Fellowship one with another, what fhall we fay of those that plead being left to the Light, to justify their not having Fellowship one with another? And which is yet worse, who fuppofe People may conscientiously and juftifiably diffent within themselves, and that by reason of the Variety of the Degrees of the Spirit and Grace that are given of God unto them; as if the leffer Degree may diffent from the greater, because of its not being able to comprehend it. And to make this Principle more authentick, fuch tell us, This is the ancient Principle of Truth; and object, How will you elfe be able to maintain the Quakers Principles? The Fallacy of all which lieth, as I faid before, in not rightly diftinguishing between Diverfity and Difagreement, Variety, and Contrariety; for this Diversity hath Concord, and this Variety hath Unity: And it is a Blindness that hath too much of late happened to fome, by going from the one Life and Spirit of our Lord Jefus Chrift, first to fall into Difagreements, and then plead for it, under the Notion of Diversity of Measures. I would afk all fuch Perfons, who arrogate to themselves fuch a peculiar Knowledge of the ancient Principles of Truth, or the Quakers first Principles, ift, Whether they believe there be a Chriftian Body? 2dly, Whether this Body hath a Head? 3dly, Whether Chrift be not this Head? 4thly, Whether this Head be without Eyes, Ears, Smell, and Tafte, and this Body without Senfe and Feeling? If not, Whether this Head feeth, heareth, smelleth, tasteth differingly and contrarily to itfelf? And whether this Body hath a contrary Feeling at the fame Time about the fame Thing? And if it be true, that the Church of Chrift, redeemed by his moft precious Blood
Blood to live to him, fee with the fame Eye, hear with the fame Ear, fpeak with the fame Mouth, live by the fame Breath, and are led by the fame Spirit, where is this Difagreement, Contrariety, or Diffent, about the Things of his Church?
Quelt. But the Members of Chrift's Church in the Primitives, bad different Apprehenfions; as the Apostles, and the People gathered by them.
Anfw. Pray let me know who they were, and in what Cafes?.
Queft. The Perfons were Paul and Peter, and those Chriftians that differ'd about Meats; and the Scripture is plain in the Cafe.
Anfw. The Difference between Peter and Paul, in the Acts, teftifies the Weakness of Peter, and the Place juftifies Paul's Reproof of his too great Compliance with the Jews in fome of their Rites; which makes against Liberty of various Practices in the Church of Chrift, and not for indulging them. That Inftance about the Difference of Chriftians as to Meats, &c. has nothing in it to the End for which it is alledged for this related not to Church Order or Communion, but private and perfonal Freedoms, what each might do with refpect to themfelves; that is, they might make Laws to themselves, in Things that only concern'd private Persons, and it centered there: Here, What I will eat, When I will eat; Things to myself, and for myself, as a Man having Power over my own Appetite: This Liberty in Things private, perfonal, and indifferent, makes nothing for diffenting about Church Matters, in Things of Communion and Society, and that alfo are not indifferent, as to eat Filh, or eat Flefh, or eat Herbs, plainly is: But neceffary; as to be careful and orderly about the external Bufinefs of the Church: Thefe are no Jewish Rites, nor fhadowy Ceremonies, no Meats nor Drinks that are private and perfonal, where Weakness is apt to mistake, that were an unneceffary and an unchriftian
Yoke to bear, but Things comely, orderly, and of good Report, that tend to Purity, Peace, and Diligence, in Things acceptable to God, and requifite among his People in their temporal Chriftian Capacity. And herein the Apoftle Paul exercised his godly Authority; and we find that not only those that opposed themselves to it, as thinking, he took too much upon him, demanding a Mark of Chrift's fpeaking in him, are in Scripture branded with Contention. But the true Believers, that had in themselves a Mark of Chrift's speaking in him, were of one Mind, and avoided fuch as were given to Contention; for it was not the Custom of the Churches of Chrift. Thus were Chrift's People of one Heart, in Things relating to their Communion. Yet a little further; they that have the Mind of Christ, are of one Mind; for Christ is not divided: They that have Chrift for their Head, have One Counsellor and Prophet, One Seer and Bishop, they disagree not in their Judgments in Things relating to him, and the Good of his Church; they have one and the fame Guide: For the one Spirit, into which they have all drank, and by it are baptized into one Body, leads them all. Now to every Member is a Measure of the fame Spirit given to profit with; and though every Member is not an Eye, nor an Ear, nor a Mouth, yet every Member hath Unity with the Eye, with the Ear, with the Mouth, in their proper and respective Acts, and they one with the other: The Eye fees for the Mouth, the Mouth fpeaks for the Eye, and the Ear hears for both; this Variety hath no Difcord, but in this Diversity of Gifts and Offices, each Member is fenfible of the other, and moves and acts by one and the farne Life, Spirit, and Guidance, which is Omniprefent proportionable to every Member in its diftinct Office. It must be granted, that there are Helps in the Church, as well as that there is a Church at all; and the Holy Ghost has compared thofe Helps, as is P before
before-mentioned, to feveral Members and Senfes of Man's Body, as an Eye, an Hand, a Foot, Hearing, Smelling, &c. All then cannot be the Eye, neither can all be the Hand, for then they would confound their Office, and act difagreeably to the Ordination of the great Orderer of his Church. And if I will not comply with him that God hath made an Eye, because I am not that Eye, or an Hand, because I am not that Member myself, nor a Party to the Action, or Performance of that Member, I refift the Lord, though under Pretence of refifting Man for the Lord's Sake. And truly, this is the Rock that fome of our own Time, as well as Perfons of former Ages have split upon; they have not been contented with their own Station in the Body, they have not kept to their own Gift, nor been taken up with the Duty of their own Place in the Church. If he that is a Foot would be an Hand, and the Hand covets to be an Eye, envying others their alloted Station, through Heighth of Mind, and walking loose from the holy Cross, there can be no fuch Thing as Concord and Fellowship in the Church of Christ.
Furthermore, fince the Spirit of the Lord is one in all, it ought to be obeyed through another, as well as in one's Self; and this I affirm to you, that the fame lowly Frame of Mind that receives and anfwers the Mind of the Spirit of the Lord in a Man's Self, will receive and have Unity with the Mind of the fame Spirit through another, and the Reafon is plain: Because the fame Self-evidencing Power and Virtue that arifeth from the Measure of the Spirit of Truth in one's Self, and that convinceth a Man in his own Heart, doth alfo attend the Discovery of the Mind of the fame Spirit, when delivered by another; for the Words of the fecond Adam, the quickening Spirit through another, are Spirit and Life, as well as in thy own Particular; this is difcerned by the fpiritual Man that judgeth all Things, altho
the carnal Man pleadeth, Being left to his Freedom; and it may be talks of being left to the Spirit in himself too, the better to efcape the Senfe and Judgment of the spiritual Man. It is my earnest Defire, that all that have any Knowledge of the Lord, would have a tender Care how they ufe that Plea against their faithful Brethren, that God put into their Mouths against the perfecuting Priefts and Hirelings of the World, namely, I must mind the Spirit of God in myfelf; for though it be a great Truth that all are to be thereunto left, yet it is as true, that he whofe Soul is left with the Spirit of Truth in himself, differs not from his Brethren that are in the fame Spirit; and as true it is, that those who err from the Spirit of Truth, may plead, being left to the Spirit in themselves, against the Motion and Command of the Spirit through another, when it pleaseth not his or her high Mind and perverse Will; for a Saying may be true or falfe, according to the fubject Matters it is fpoken upon, or applied to; we own the Affertion, we deny the Application: There lies the Snare. 'Tis true, the People of God ought to be left to the Guidings of the Spirit of God in themselves; but for this to be fo applied, as to difregard the Preachings or Writings of Christ's enlightened Servants, because by them applied properly to the Preaching or Writing of false Prophets and Seducers, will by no Means follow. I fay the Doctrine is true, but not exelufively of all external Counsel or Direction; therefore falfe in Application, where Men are allowed to have had the Fear of God, and the Mind of his Spirit, and are not proved to have acted in their own Wills and Wisdom, or without the Guidance of the Spirit of God, about the Things of his Church and Kingdom.
Queft. But though this be true, which hath been alledged for heavenly Concord, yet what if I do not presently fee that Service in a Thing that the rest of my