« PreviousContinue »
} both the Socinians and Protestants do speak as Mr.
Barclay reports; will it follow from thence, that either the Protestants or the Socinians do recur to immediate Revelation in the nakers sense , in which Mr. Barclay understood it, and had been in that proposition endeavoring to prove the necellity of it, and for the farther Confirmation of which he brings this as an Argument? Nothing lefs. For thộ we do indeed make the Scriptures our Rule, because they contain God's will immediately revealed to the Apostles, &co tho' we believe what they contain, not barely because they were written by their respective Authors, but because we know that their respective Authors were dia vinely inspired; and tho' our faith is indeed built upon that immediate Revelation which was granted to them: yet surely this will never prove that we recur when we are prest, to the necessity of Every true Christians being immediately inspired as those Writers were. Now this was what our is Adversaries affert, and what I have with the greatest reason denyed.
I confess, there may be some unwary Prote. ftant Writers, who have upon occasion said, that the reason (or at least one reason) why we are to believe that the Holy Scriptures do contain the Will of God, and consequently are to be received as our Rule, is because of the testimony of the Spirit to our Souls, that they are such. Now whether what these Persons do understand by the Testimony of the Spirit, will amount to an immediate Revelation, I shall not determin. But granting it to be such, shall the aflertion of those Men be charg'd upon all of the fame Communion ? 'Tis true, it we did believe, as our Adverfàries do of the Writers of their own party, that what is published by Persons
of our respective Communions, is given forth by the Spirit of God, and consequently must be true; then we should be obliged either to disown these Writers, or to maintain what they have asserted. But alas ! We confess our felves to be fallible Men; and dare not embrace every opinion of those, whom we do notwithstanding acknowledge to be in the Main Excellent Authors. Wherefore, if the this or that Testimony be objected, every one may reply, as Mr. Barclay (c) does with Respect to the authorities alledged by his Adversary, Did I undertake to subscribe to all these Authors writings? He must give me a reason why, e're I do it.
35. If it be said, that in the Established Liturgy we pray thus, (d) Grant to us thy humble servants, that by that holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, &c. and (e) we humbly beseech thee, that as by thy Special grace preventing us thon dost put into our minds good defores, so by thy continual help, &c. and (f) Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy holy Spirit, and (g) Mercifully grant, that thy holy spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, and (b) Grant us by the same spirit to bave a right judgment in all things; I say, if these or the like palsages be objected, I answer, that there is nothing like immediate Revelation contain'd or imply'd in them.
For, 1. There is no doubt but that the Spirit of God does raise good desires, that is, good
(c) Apol. Vindic. Seet. 4. p. 757.
(e) Collect for Easter. (f) First Collect in the Commun, Service. (g) Collect for the 19th Sunday after Trinity. (b) Collect for wbitfuntide,
purposes and intentions, in the minds of Men; and this is what our Church calls thinking ( that is, purposing and intending) those things that be good by God's holy inspiration, and God's putting into our minds good desires by his preventing grace: but will it follow from thence, that he vouchfafes immediate Revelation to us? I say, will any Man conclude, that because God makes Men delign to do well, therefore he teaches them their duty by immediate Revelation? Certainly God can cause Men to intend the observation of his Laws, whether those Laws be made known to them by immediate Revelation, or that which is mediate only. For God's making his Law known, and his inclining Men to observe it, are two actions as really different as can well be conceiv'd. And consequently immediate Revelation, which is one way of manifé fting his Will is really different from his creating in us purposes of obedience. 2. God does expel Evil Thoughts out of our Minds, and this is what our Church calls Cleansing the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of his holy Spirit: but surely he may drive things out of our Minds without an immediate Revelation of any thing to them. 3. The holy Spirit does direct and rule our hearts, by subduing the stubbornness of our evil affections, and inclining us to obey God's Laws. He does also help us to a right Judgment in all things relating to our duty, by removing those Prejudices, Lufts and Paffions, which binder our preception of those things which make for our Eternal wel. fare. But tho'there is much of the Spirit's allistance, yet there is nothing of immediate Revelation in all this. And consequently it cannot be faid, that in our prayers we acknowledge that necessity of immediate Revelation, which I have in so many Chapters been disproving.
36. I cannot think of any one Objection more, unless perchance it should be said, that the Holy Spirit suggests good Thoughts, and that such a suggestion is immediate Revelation. Now if öy good Thoughts be meant good Desires, Purposes', or Intentions; then the Objection is already answered. But if by good Thoughts be meant the bare thinking upon good Matters, considered as distinct from good Desires of them, or good Purposes and Intentions concerning them; I say, that the holy Spirit does indeed suggest, that is, raise, in our Minds, or cause us to think such good Thoughts; but the Spirit's suggestion is so wrought, that we cannot distinguish it from the ordinary and natural Operations of our Souls. I mean, that we cannot tell by any difference we discern in the Thoughts themselves, when the Spirit raises good Thoughts, or when they arise other
wife. And had not the Scriptures assured us, on that the Spirit does operate in our Minds; we
cou'd never have known or suspected it. And how
did not, proceed from
suggests good Thoughts, so does the Devil suggest evil ones to all Men: and yet I am persuaded our Adversaries will not fay, that all Men have immediate Revelations from the Devil.
CH A P. X.
A brief Account of what the Quakers mean
by the Universal Light within, and of
By the Light ( which they do also (a) call the seed, the Spirit, the grace, the word of God, Christ within, vehiculum Dei, or the spiritual body of Christ, the flesh and blond of Christ, which came down from Heaven, &c.) they do not mean the Essence of God. For Mr. Barclay (6) faies, By this feed, grace, and word of God, &c. we understand not the proper Esence and Nature of God
precifely taken. Nor do they by the Light mean the
(a) By this feed, grace, and word of God, and light, where. with we say every Man is inlightened, &c. Barclay's Apol. prop. 5; 6. P. 333. And this we call Vehiculum Dei, or the Īpiritual body of Christ which came down from heaven. ibid. This is that Christ within, which we are heard so much to speak and declare of. ibid. p. 334, the Light of Christ is sometimes called Christ
. ibid. p. 336. For this end God hath communicated and given unto every man a measure of the light of his own Son, a measure of grace, or a measure of the spirit, &c. ibid. p.330. a measure of which Divine and glorious light is in all Men, as a seed, &c. ibid. p. 333. this word, seed, and light, and saving voice, &c. ibid. p. 351. (6) Apol. prop.'5, 6. P. 333.