Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Bunyan-Burrough Debate > Bunyan, Vindication [3 of 4]
And now passing by many things that I might justly examine, and also many unseemly expressions, I come to the next thing, and that is, where you say, you wrest not the scripture in John i.9. But it is evident that you do most horribly wrest it, in that you, though you seem to take it in the plain words, yet would hold that that light is the Spirit of Christ, notwithstanding here is no such thing mentioned in that scripture. For mark, as I have sometimes said, and now also will say, that that light wherewith Christ, as he is God, hath lightened every one with, is not the Spirit of Christ, as is clear, in that some are sensual, having not the Spirit, which they must needs have if it were given to every one that comes into the world, and therefore, in that you say, I say you lay down that scripture false; I say again, that you say many things which I do know to be blasphemy, as I shall prove clearly anon, as also I have already. And therefore, to take thee off from this, I shall say that Christ, as he is a mediator, a man between God and man, so he doth not lighten every man that comes into the world, though as he is God he doth. And that is manifest, where he often, as he was man, saith, These things are spoken to them that are without in parables; that "seeing, they might not see; and hearing, they might not understand." (Luke viii.10.) And, again, where Judas (not Iscariot) said, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world? He saith, If a man love me, he will keep my sayings, and my Father will love him, and we, (I as Mediator, and my Father as reconciled in me,) will manifest ourselves unto him. (John xiv.21-23.) And, again, "No man knoweth the Father but the Son;" that is, no man knoweth him as a Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. (Matt. xi.27.) But, above all, take that scripture where the Son saith, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes." (ver. 25.) Here the Son and the Father are speaking one to another; the Father, he hides the glorious things of the gospel from the world, (Matt. xi.25-27;) and the Son, he rejoices in so doing. At the same hour Jesus rejoiced in Spirit, and said, "I thank thee, O Father, &c." Therefore understand thus much, that though Christ, as he is God, doth give to every man a light, which is conscience, otherwise called nature, (Rom. ii.14. 1 Cor. xi.14,) yet it doth not follow, that every man hath enlightening from Christ, as he is mediator. No, Christ as he is mediator doth neither pray for the world, (John xvii.9,) neither doth he give his Spirit to all that are in the world; for some are sensual, and have it not. But now the argument that thou dost bring to colour the contrary with, is this; for what the Father doth, sayest thou, the Son doth also. Ans. Though this be true, that the Son doth what the Father doth; yet it doth not appear, that either the Father or the Son hath given the Spirit to every one that comes into the world.
Again thou sayest, thou deniest those that say, "That light which every one hath as he comes into the world, is conscience: though some call it Christ falsely." Ans. Friend, What wilt thou have it called, Christ? No, if not conscience, then call it nature itself; for all have not the Spirit.
But another great argument thou bringest in page 15, is, "The light of Christ doth convince of sin." Now do you call conscience the light of Christ, that will convince of sin? (John viii.9.) And they being convinced by their own consciences, &c., if thou dost call the law the light of Christ, that also will convince of or make known sin; "For by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom. iii.20.) If thou dost call even nature itself the light of Christ, that also doth show, that sins are a shame, even those sins which some leap over, (1 Cor. xi.14;) and ruffian-like they will wear long hair, which nature itself forbiddeth, and is commended for the same by the Apostle. The Spirit of Christ also will convince of sin. What, because these several things will convince of sin, therefore will they needs be the Spirit of Christ? Or do they altogether make but one Spirit of Christ? Dost thou profess thyself to walk in the light, and art not able to know these things? Or, if thou dost know them, art thou so unfaithful as not to tell poor people of them, who are some of them at their wit's end, by reason they are not enlightened into these things?
Another of thy arguments is, "They saw the eternal power and Godhead, by that which was made manifest of God in them."
Ans. The Scriptures say not so, word for word, but thus: "Because that which might be known of God, was manifested in them." But how? for he hath showed it unto them. But how? why the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made (which words in thy charge against me thou didst leave out), but mark: the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. But how then doth it say, that the knowledge of God is manifest in them? Why, because God hath showed it unto them by the things that are made, even by the creation of the world. So that this scripture holdeth forth thus much; that the invisible things of God, as his power, holiness, and common goodness to the sons of men are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. But how feeble an argument is this, to prove such a doctrine as this: that every one hath the Spirit when this light discovers God only by his works in the world! Friend, if they that know God, because he doth show himself to them by his works in the world, have the Spirit of Christ, then the same argument will serve to speak thus much; that the devils themselves have the Spirit of Christ, which would be wonderful blasphemy once to affirm. And, friend, the very devils, both for the knowledge of sin, and also for the knowledge of God's eternal power and Godhead, have more experience than all the unregenerate men in the world; and yet have not the least spark of the Spirit of Christ in them.
Other lame arguments thou tumblest over, like a blind man in a thicket of bushes, which I pass by: but one thing more thou hast, and that is this; thou askest me "whether I do know this light which God and Christ hath given to every man?" First, I deny that Christ, as he is mediator, hath given to every man his Spirit: and, secondly, I deny that Christ, as he is God, hath given to every one his Spirit; but this I say, as I have often said, it is conscience of nature itself that every one hath, take it in either of these scripture terms, as I have proved at large. And whereas thou askest me, "Whether that light, which Christ as he is God hath lightened every one with that comes into the world, be sufficient in itself for life and salvation?" I answer plainly, no; for then Christ Jesus needed not to have come into the world to die for sinners; for every one had that light before Christ did come into the world.
And, secondly, I answer, it is not able, for then it would have been a needless thing for Christ to tell his disciples of sending them his Spirit, to lead them into all truth. They might have said, why dost thou talk of sending us thy Spirit, who have that that can do the deed already, if that could have done it?
Thirdly, because the scripture saith, "Some are sensual, not having the Spirit." Now, a man cannot lay hold on Christ, nor believe in him savingly without the Spirit, because faith is the work of the Spirit.
And, fourthly, because then it had been in vain for the Lord to have given the Scriptures to teach men out of, either concerning himself or themselves. Why? Because without it they had a sufficient light to guide them: that thing must not be so.
And whereas thou askest, whether the fault be then in God, or in that thou callest his light, or in the creature? I answer; what if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore, (before the world was, Eph. i.4,) ordained unto glory? And, secondly, O vain man! what is that to thee if God should make some vessels to dishonour? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to do therewith as he pleases? (Rom. ix.16-22.)
And where I say, "Christ as he is God hath lightened every one that cometh into the world:" to it thou givest a glavering answer; but having touched on this before, I pass it by.
To the next thing, where I say, "men's neglecting this light, or law, will be sure to damn them, though their obedience to the law will not save them;" here thou sayest I have confessed truth, (and I know it is true by experience,) and thou commentest on those things laid down by me thus: "Then surely," sayest thou, "it is good not to neglect it;" that is, not to neglect following the law. To which I answer, as their obedience to the law will not save them, so their neglect of obedience to the law will be sure to damn them; these things thou canst not deny. But is this all the wit thou hast? because the neglect of the law will be sure to damn them, therefore wouldst thou put poor souls to follow that which will not save them? Oh, wonderful ignorance! Nay, but thou shouldst have said, then surely the best course is, for a poor soul in this case to fly to the Lord Christ, even the man Christ Jesus, who was slain on Mount Calvary for the sins of poor sinners. And the rather, because he did so willingly, of his own accord, lay down his life for them. Methinks, I say, thou shouldst rather have said, then let us follow the Son of Mary, the man Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world by his blood on the cross; who is now also at his Father's right hand, making intercession for all those that do come to the Father by him. But they that are not for the truth will advance anything but the truth. And as for that which thou callest the second clause, which is, The law, sayest thou, must be obeyed,
I answer, Christ Jesus hath done that in his own person, and justified me thereby; and, for my part, I will not labour now to fulfil the law for justification, lest I should undervalue the merits of the man Christ Jesus, and what he hath done without me; and yet will I labour to fulfil, if it were possible, ten tousand laws, if there were so many; and, oh! let it be out of love to my sweet Lord Jesus, (2 Cor. v.14,) "for the love of Christ constrains me!" And thus much to thy 16th page.
In the next place, thou art offended with this, because I say, though Christ doth give a light to every one that comes into the world, yet it doth not therefore follow that this conscience, or light, is the Spirit of Christ, or the work of grace wrought in the heart of any believer. This I shall pass also, as having spoken to it already, only mind thee of thy weakness, in that thou shouldst make this conscience, that Christ hath given to every man, to be the same with the Spirit of Christ. And thou sayest further, that the light that Christ hath lightened every one with, is the same in nature with the Spirit of Christ. Oh wonderful! that a man should be so foolish, and so much beside the truth, as to compare that nature, or conscience, that is given to every man, equal to the Spirit of Christ. Nay, thou sayest that it is one with it in nature. Didst thou not blush when thou laidst it down? if thou didst not, thou mightest have done with shame enough. As I said before, because thy conscience will convince thee of sin, therefore thou wilt call it Christ, or as good as Christ. What! because the law will convince of sin, therefore the law must be called Christ. What ignorance is this! nay, nature itself, that must have the pre-eminency, even as high as Christ Jesus, because it can tell a man that it is a shame for him to wear long hair.
Then thou askest me, can there be a surer thing for the creature to walk by, than by the light of Christ? which thou confessest every one hath that cometh into the world. Ans. Friend, To the law, and to the testimony, say the Scriptures, for they testify of Christ. And if thou or any else shall leave the Scriptures, to follow the convictions of their own conscience; ye are not like to know Christ Jesus the Lord, for they may be defiled. And, again, it is through the promises laid down in the Scriptures, "that we may partake of the divine nature," (2 Pet. i.4,) and not by our following of the law, or conscience. (Gal. iii.1-4.)
But, again, where I say, Heathens, Turks, Jews, Atheists, &c., have that which doth convince of sin, and yet are so far from having the Spirit of Christ in them, that they delight to do iniquity and to serve their lust; upon this thou movest this query: Do they, or I, or any other serve sin and lust because Christ hath not given us light, or because we hate this light?
Ans. This I do really confess, that every Heathen, Turk, or Jew, in this world, hath a conscience within them that doth convince of sin; "For the Gentiles which have not the law," that is, not the law in tables of stone, or written as we have; these "do by nature the things contained in the law; these having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences also bearing them witness," &c. And all men and women shall be left without excuse, even by the convictions of their own consciences, or the law. But now that these things are the Spirit of Christ, that I deny. For conscience is but a creature, a faculty of the soul of man, which God hath made, neither is the law the Spirit of Christ; for the law is not of faith. They that are of the works of the law, are under the curse; but they that have the Spirit of Christ, they are the children of God, and under grace, and delivered from the curse; as it is written, (Gal. iii.10:) "As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse." But what is it to be of the works of the law, or under the law? Ans. Why, to seek to be justified by their obedience to the law. "Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness," mark. They that follow after righteousness do not attain to the law of righteousness if they seek it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. (Rom. ix.30,31.) But "Christ hath delivered us from the curse of the law, being," in our nature, "made a curse for us." (Gal. iii.10-13.)
But whereas thou sayest, this conscience or law, which you would fain have called the Spirit of Christ, works in all men either to justify or condemn; I do plainly deny, that either conscience or the law can justify, though they can condemn. Mark, the law is called the ministration of condemnation, but not of life.
The gospel is called the ministration of life, but not of condemnation; the law was given that sin might be discovered. The gospel was sent that sin might be taken away. The law worketh wrath; but the gospel is a gospel of peace. (Rom. x.) "The law makes nothing perfect." (Heb. vii.19.) But Christ justifieth from all those things from which we could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts xiii.39.)
And whereas thou askest me whether anything doth convince of sin contrary to, or besides the Spirit of Christ,
I answer. There is conscience and the law, yea, and nature itself that doth convince of sin; as before I have proved at large. Yet neither is conscience, the law, or nature itself the Spirit of Christ; no, but are much inferior to it, as being things of no glory in respect of it.
And, again, that something doth convince of sin besides the Spirit of Christ, it is evidence, for the law saith, "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in it to do them." (2 Cor. iii.10.) But the Spirit convinceth men of their unbelief, together with other sins. Now mark, The law also convinceth to work for life, the Spirit convinceth to believe for life; the law saith, He that doth not fulfil me, shall be damned. The Spirit saith, He that believeth in Christ shall be saved. Now, observe, the terms of the law and of the gospel are different one from another as to justification. If men seek for life by the law, then the law saith, Fulfil me perfectly, and thou shalt live. The Spirit saith, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save those that by transgression had broken the law. For, for this cause, saith the Spirit, "he," Jesus the Son of Mary, the man Christ between God and us, (1 Tim. ii.5,) "is the mediator of the New Testament." For what? "that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." (Heb. ix.15.) Now, I would not be mistaken; I do not say that the Spirit of Christ doth give the least liberty to sin; God forbid. But its convictions are of a more saving and refreshing nature than the convictions of the law, and do more constrain the soul to holiness than that.
The law saying, Work for life; the Spirit saying, Now to him that worketh not (for life), but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness, (Rom. iv.5,) as thus: if I should owe to two creditors ten thousand talents; the one should say unto me, Thou owest me five thousand talents, pay that thou owest; the other should say, Thou owest me five thousand talents, and I frankly and freely forgive thee all: now these expressions are contrary one to another; even so is the end of the convictions of the law not according to the end of the convictions of the Spirit of Christ; the one saying, Pay me that thou owest; the other saying, Thou art frankly and freely forgiven all.
The next thing thou utterest is, where I say, "Those that are alive unto sins, have not the Spirit of Christ." But, sayest thou, it is given to every man. Mark, thou sayest, "It is given to every man." The Apostle saith, "Some are sensual, having not the Spirit." (Jude 19.) Who must we now believe, the Apostle or you? Certainly your doctrine is not according to truth, but a lie; as is clear, in that you will affirm that which the Apostle doth deny.
Then thou sayest, I bring other vain arguments to prove that every one hath not the Spirit of Christ. This one is enough to prove it, that the Apostle saith, Some men have it not. But that which thou callest vain, I am sure neither thou, nor any of thy fellows, are able to answer. One is to this purpose; the devils are so convinced of sin, that they did fear the torment that was to come upon them for their sins; and did fear also that the Son of Man was come to torment them for their sins, and yet the devils have not the Spirit of Christ. So that it is evident, that we may be convinced of sin, and yet not by the Spirit of Christ. A second argument which thou callest vain, is this, Man in his coming into the world, hath this conscience given him, which doth convince of sin, (John viii.9;) yet man in his coming into the world, or as he cometh into the world, hath not the Spirit of Christ given him, for that must be received ordinarily afterward by the preaching of the word, which is preached by the ministers and servants of Jesus Christ. (Acts x.44.) "While Peter yet spake" to the peopple, "the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word."
But farther, thou sayest, "Until I prove the light of Christ contrary to the Spirit of Christ, thou wilt say, that every man hath that which is one in union, and like the Spirit of Christ, even as good as the Spirit of Christ in its measure."
Answer. Friend, I have proved already that every man hath not the Spirit of Christ, though they have that which thou dost call the Spirit of Christ, which is conscience and nature itself. And this I say again, that thou hast laid open thy weakness very much, to say that every man hath that which is as good as the Spirit of Christ. Friend, seeing the Scriptures say, some have not the Spirit of Christ, how dost thou so blaspheme, as to say, then it is as good as the Spirit of Christ in its measure? Was there ever such a deal of ignorance discovered at one time by a man, as to say, that every man hath the Spirit, or that which is as good as the Spirit; though the Spirit saith plainly, that some have not the Spirit, as I have proved plainly? (Jude 19.) Friend, what is there besides the Spirit that is as good as the Spirit? Be silent, and say no more so, lest thou dost through ignorance, or presumption, set up thy conscience or nature as high and as good as the Spirit of Christ, when indeed they are not worthy to be compared with it, being weak, and not able to do that which is and hath been done by the Spirit of Christ.
Then thou art offended, because I said the devil doth deceive poor souls by bidding them listen within, and see if there be not that which doth convince of sin. Friend, all men have not the Spirit, though they have that conscience that doth convince of sin. (John viii.9.) Now seeing all men have not the Spirit, is it not a great deceit of the devil to persuade poor souls, that because they are convinced for sin by their own consciences, therefore they have the Spirit of Christ? Surely it is from the devil. First, because he would make thee believe that conscience, which is but a creature, is the Spirit of Christ, by whom the world was made. Again, because the soul, being persuaded that it hath the Spirit, when it hath it not, as all men naturally are without it, (Eph. v.13,14,) it is kept off from seeking and begging for it, being already persuaded, falsely, that it hath it.
And whereas thou sayest, the voice of the gospel is to bid listen within the heart, as Paul preacheth; I deny that Paul biddeth listen within. But the scripture that you would fain make shelter for your error is this, where he saith, "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart." That is, the word of faith which we preach. Now, friend, faith is that which layeth hold of, or believeth the gospel. And that this is the meaning, read the next verse: That, saith he, "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." So that it is clear that the word of faith is to believe assuredly from the very heart that God hath raised up Jesus from the dead, out of the grave into which he was laid by Joseph; and that he was raised again for my justification, (Rom. iv.25:) as it is written, (1 Cor. xv.) "Moreover, brethren," saith he, "I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you" at the first, "which also you have received, and wherein ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory," or assuredly believe, "what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." But what was that gospel you preached? Why, saith he, (ver. 3,) "I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received; how that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen of the brethren after his resurrection," &c. The word of the gospel, my friend, is, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he rose again according to the Scriptures; and that he is ascended from his disciples, to prepare a place for them according to the Scriptures. That he ever liveth to make intercession in his own person without, as mediator between God and man, according to the scripture. (Heb. vii.25.) That he will come again in the clouds with all his mighty angels, and before him shall all natiions be gathered, according to the scripture, (Matt. xxv.31,32,) after which time his saints shall ever be with him, according to the Scriptures.
Again, thou art offended in that I said, Now the poor soul finding this to be so, (that it is convinced of sin,) all in haste, (if it be willing to profess,) through ignorance of the gospel, claps in with the motions of its own conscience, which doth command to abstain from this evil, and to practise that good. Which words of mine thou corruptest, and wrestest, and layest down in another form, as are to be seen in thy book, p. 18. But now, friend, is not he ignorant of the gospel, which thinks his own conscience will lead him to eternal life, by commanding to abstain from this evil, and practise that good? Surely, if salvation comes by our conscience, or by the convictions or commands thereof, Christ Jesus died for nothing. (Gal. ii.21.)
And whereas thou askest, What, and how doth the light of the gospel work, if not in the conscience? I answer, Though the light of the Spirit of God and the gospel be in the hearts of the elect of God; yet the gospel light is hid, and doth not shine so much as unto, much less into, the consciences of some of them that be lost, (2 Cor. iv.3,4:) that though the light of the gospel doth shine, and that gloriously too in the hearts of God's elect, yet it doth not follow, that the convictions of conscience are the gospel; no, nor the convictions of the law neither. And, again, though every one of God's elect have the light of the glorious gospel shining in them, what argument is this to prove all men have the light of the gospel shining in them? No, saith Christ, "I thank thee, O Father, that thou hast hid these things" (the things of the gospel) "from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes." And whereas thou sayest, as I gather by thy words, that I call conscience the light of Christ; I say if thou meanest by these words, "the light of Christ," the Spirit of Christ, I do deny that every man hath it: but if thou callest conscience the light of Christ, or the highest light that is in an unconverted man the light of Christ; then, I say, that the highest light that is in a natural or unconverted man, which you call the light of Christ, is not able, by all its motions and convictions, nor yet by all the obedience that a man can yield to these convictions; I say, they are not able to deliver him from the wrath to come; for deliverance from that is obtained by the blood of Jesus, which was shed on the cross, without the gate of Jerusalem, as I have often said, (Eph. i.7 compared with Heb. xiii.12,) and not any light within a natural man.
And whereas thou sayest that I said, the devil counterfeits the new birth by persuading to follow the light of the world; I answer, Thou hast most naughtily belied me. The words that I said, speaking of the devil before, are these: Now he counterfeits the new birth, said I, by persuading them that it is wrought by following the light that they brought into the world with them; as is clearly seen in my book, p. 76. Friend, I wonder that you should so boldly profess yourself to be led by the Spirit of Christ, when you make it manifest that you are guided by the spirit of Satan. Was not he a liar? and hast not thou been led by a lying spirit also, in wresting of my words as thou hast done?
But I do freely declare, again, that Satan doth deceive those souls whom he persuades the new birth is wrought in, by following the light they brought into the world with them; for men as they come into the world do not receive the Spirit, for it is given the elect afterwards; neither have all men the Spirit. And he that hath the new birth, must have it by and through the Spirit, as it is written, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." Therefore, if men do not bring the Spirit into the world with them; and if nothing without the Spirit, or nothing but the Spirit, will or can work the new birth in a man: it must needs follow, that they who think the new birth is wrought by that light or conscience which they brought into the world with them must needs be beguiled by Satan.
I do pass by many of thy raging expressions, which I might justly charge with much unrighteousness; but I know the time is short, and then whatsoever thou hast done in secret, shall be laid open upon the housetops, therefore I forbear them.
Again, thou art offended because I said, Now Satan makes the soul believe he is its friend, and that he is a gospel minister, (2 Cor. xi.14;) and if the soul will be led by what shall be made known to it from the light or conscience within, it shall not need to fear, but it shall do well, page 76 of my book. I said it then, and I say it now; and I know that he that doth think to be born again by following his conscience, or any other light that is in an unregenerate man, will be deceived, and shall one day know that there is a difference between conscience and Christ; between the light of nature and the Spirit of God. But you may say, how can you prove that conscience is not of the same nature of the Spirit of Christ?
Ans. 1. They that are unbelieving, even their conscience is defiled. (Tit. i.15.) But so cannot be the Spirit of Christ.
2. Conscience is not of the same nature with the Spirit of Christ, for conscience may be hardened or seared with a hot iron: as it is written, 1 Tim. iv.3. But so cannot the Spirit of Christ.
3. Our consciences naturally are evil: "having," saith the Scripture, "our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." (Heb. x.22.) But so is not the Spirit of Christ.
But, again, whereas you said, that I said, they will not speak except the Spirit move them, &c., thou dost falsely speak of me, and again dost corrupt my words: for I said, Now they will not speak except their spirit move them; I do not say the Spirit of Christ, said I, friend; if you can be led to life by your own spirit, if your own spirit will learn you the things of the Spirit of God; and if you can speak them with and in your own spirit, in that demonstration that they are spoken when they are spoken in the Spirit of Christ, which all men have not: then say that I speak false things; but till that time hold your peace. Thus I pass by thy 19th page, leaving many of thy scolding terms to thyself. The next thing thou sayest, is, that I did run but was not sent, like unto my forefathers: and therefore sayest thou, I do not profit the people at all. Ans. Which accusation of thine I shall leave to be taken notice of by the people of God in the country where I dwell, who will testify the contrary for me, setting aside the carnal ministry, with their retinue, who are as mad against me as thyself.
But, farther, thou art somewhat distempered and discontented that I said, "Many sad and horrible doctrines are vented by you." And you said, I named nothing. Ans. I need not; thine own speech betrayeth thee, that thou art one of them that do such things; and I need go no farther than thy own mouth and doctrine. But if it will be more satisfaction to tell you wherein they of your society do hold sad doctrine, I shall.
1. Therefore your society do hold and affirm, that that man which was hanged on the cross between two thieves, called Jesus, in his person is within you, contrary to the Scripture. (Acts i.11.)
2. You say that Christ is crucified within, dead within, risen and ascended within; which also you have no word of Scripture to prove.
3. Your society affirm, that the coming of the Spirit into the hearts of believers, is Christ, his second coming, when the Scriptures do plainly hold forth, that the coming of Christ in the Spirit was before his coming in the flesh; as in 1 Pet. i.10,11, where the Apostle, speaking of the prophets inquiring into the great salvation which was afterwards to be accomplished, saith, "Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify; when it testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." Mark, here is the Spirit of Christ in the prophets; long before the first coming of Christ in the flesh, which was when he was born of Mary the Virgin, the Spirit of Christ, saith he, did testify beforehand the suffering of Christ, to the prophets, which were before Christ came in the flesh, as the Scriptures hold forth plentifully.
4. But, again, you deny the second coming of that very Man, with that very body, which was born of the Virgin Mary; and say, his second coming is not his coming again personally, but his coming in the Spirit only, and that is all you look for; when the Scripture saith, That same Jesus (who appeared to his disciples after his passion, Acts i.3,) shall so come, even as they did see him depart from them into heaven; which was a very man, as well as very God; and will come again a very man, as well as very God, at the end of the world. For it is that Man, namely, he that was crucified, whom God raised again, must be the judge of quick and dead; Acts x.39-42, seriously compared.
5. Again, you say, that every man hath the Spirit of Christ; which is a sad doctrine, because contrary to the Scripture. (Jude 19.) And you say, there is that in every man which is as good as the Spirit of Christ; which is a blasphemous doctrine; besides many other things which they of your own spirit have most sadly spoken; which I shall not mention, being so commonly known to the saints of the Lord, before whom you have openly, and without fear (at least in show) spoken; which will doubtless be laid open to your sorrow and great amazement at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Then thou art offended because I said, I wonder that the Lord doth not either cause the ground to open her mouth and swallow you up, or else suffer the devil to fetch you away, to the astonishing the whole world. Certainly, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram did not so horribly transgress as you have done. Yet his hand on them, no question, was as it were the astonishment of the world. Therefore I may well wonder that you are not served so. Only this I consider, it may be you have not yet filled up the measure of your wickedness; therefore is not the hand of God as yet upon you.
The next I take notice of is, that thou findest fault with mine answer to this question: "But doth not the Scripture say, that it is the Spirit of Christ that doth convince of sin?" Thou sayest it is a good question, but I have confounded it in the answer, and not answered plainly. Wherefore I shall not at all stick at the pains, to give the reader in brief some of the heads of the answer I then gave to it, word for word, or to the same purpose. The answer was, Yes, the Spirit doth convince of sin; but for the better understanding of this place, I shall lay down this, said I: That there are two things spoken of in Scripture that do manifest or convince of sin. First, the law, (Rom. iii.20,) "For by the law is the knowledge of sin." Secondly, the Spirit of Christ doth also the same; as it is written, "And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin." (John xvi.7-9.) Now, say I, sometimes the law itself, by its own power, doth manifest sin, as in the case of Judas, who was so far from having the Spirit of Christ, that the devil had very great possession of him. Which things my adversary doth wrangle at, yet dares not affirm the contrary: only saith this, he had the righteous law of God written in his heart: which thing is not the Spirit of Christ. The law is not of faith. The law is not the Comforter, but rather a tormentor: yet the Spirit of Christ is a Comforter. Again, say I, the Spirit of Christ doth take the law, and doth effectually convince of sin, &c. Then I put forth another question, saying, "But how should I know whether I am convinced by the law alone, or whether the law be effectually set home by the Spirit?" To which I answer, When the law doth convince by its own power, it doth convince only of sins against the law; as lying, swearing, stealing, &c., pronouncing a horrible curse against thee if thou fulfil it not, and there leaves thee, but gives thee no power to fulfil it completely and continually, which thou must do, if thou be saved thereby. With which my adversary is much offended; also saying, that I am confounded in my discourse, and so leaves me, confuting none of my words by holy Scripture, but falls a railing, because I reckon Pharisees and Quakers together.
Only thus much he saith; That I make it a light thing to be convinced by the law; and then brings in that Scripture, "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light;" cunningly corrupting of it, and would fain have you understand it as spoken of the law, when the Son of Mary speaks it of himself, which was not the law, but the Saviour. And that he might the better go away undiscerned, he saith, and the law is light, therefore the light is the law (saith he). But I perceive that he doth not yet understand the difference between the light of the law, and the light of the gospel; but would fain make the law and Christ one Saviour: the one being but only a condemning light, and nothing else; the other a saving comfortable light. And whereas thou sayest, I make it a light thing to be convinced by the law, I answer; the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; and I honour it in its place; yet if they make a Saviour of it, they make an idol of it, and wrest it out of its proper place. Also, if they think that it is Christ, they are much deceived.
But, farther, he put me to prove any such distinction in Scripture as that there is anything made mention of therein that doth convince of sin, beside the Spirit of Christ: which thing I have already answered, where I said the Scripture saith, "By the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom. iii.20.) And again, doth not even nature itself teach you, that it is a shame for a man to wear long hair? (1 Cor. xi.14;) and also conscience, which are neither of them the Spirit of Christ, but much inferior to the same; yet this also convinceth of sin. (John viii.9.)
But to the other thing, which is, the answer that I give in my book to this objection: But I am not only convinced of my sins (may some say), but have also some power against my sins; so that I do in some measure abstain from the sins forbidden in the law. And because I say, this thou mayest have and do, as thou thinkest, perfectly too, (as thou thinkest, mark that,) as those fond hypocrites, called Quakers, (think) that they also do, and yet be but a natural man. Here my adversary is very much offended, and calls me perverter of the right way of the Lord; and saith, Show me any natural man in the Scripture that hath done it. Whereas had he been but willing to have lain down the scriptures I brought to prove it, he needed not to have looked for a second answer. But because he would have it again, I will therefore show that natural men merely by nature may be convinced, and abstain from those things forbidden in the law, and think they do it perfectly, nay, they do the things contained in the law. For saith the Apostle, (Rom. ii.14,) "When the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature (mark, do by nature) the things contained in the law; these (the Gentiles) having not the law, are a law to themselves." Mark; the Gentiles do by nature the things contained in, or held forth, or made mention of by the law; the light also that they have, it is themselves, being a law to themselves; that is, their consciences (being of themselves) bearing them witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing one another, though they cannot be saved thereby. (ver. 15.) Again, when Paul was a natural man, and a persecutor of Jesus Christ, he saith of himself, that then he was, "touching the righteousness of the law, blameless." (Phil. iii.6.) And whereas thou sayest, thou hadst rather choose to be one of those who abstain from those things forbidden in the law, and to have power over sin, than to live in the transgression of the law; this is fair spoken, and it doth show that thou art under the convictions of the law; and if it be no worse, I fear thy state the less, though it be bad enough; yet this I say, If thy soul be not saved freely by the blood of that man who was crucified on Mount Calvary, and by his merits alone done by himself in his own person, thou, notwithstanding, wilt fall short of eternal life. "For by the works of the law shall no flesh living be justified." (Rom. iii.20;) though by it be the knowledge of sin, and a command to abstain from the same. And thus have I spoken to thy 21st page.
But farther thou sayest, that thou fearest I worship the name Mary, because I mention her name so much.
Ans. If thou hadst said, I worship her Son, thou hadst said truly, I hope. But is not thy spite more against her Son than her? I doubt it is; for neither thou nor thy companions can endure that one should say, he is still the same that was born of Mary, flesh and bones, a very man, now absent from his people, though in them in his Spirit.
Again, thou sayest I said, "that as he is God, Christ lighteneth every man that comes into the world;" which thing again I say. What then? Then say you, I will mind you of one scripture which you yourself have quoted, which saith, "The law is light," (Prov. vi.23;) therefore, sayest thou, "The light is the law." Give me leave here to take thy words in twain:
First, If when thou sayest, then the law is light, thou mean, the light of the law is the light of the law, and no more, thou sayest right. But if thou mean the light of the law is the light of the gospel, or the Spirit of Christ, I must needs reprove thee. For I tell thee again, the law is not of faith, the law makes nothing perfect. (Heb. vii.19.) The law is but a weak and unprofitable thing as to justification, (Heb. vii.18,) though, as I said before, it is good if it be used lawfully; which is not to seek or look for justification thereby, nor yet to say, it is the Spirit of Christ.
Then, farther, thou art offended because I said, when the Spirit of Christ convinceth, it convinceth of more sins than the sins against the law. Friend, will the law show a man that his righteousness is sin and dung? No, for though the law will show a man that his failing in the acts of righteousness is sin; yet I question whether the law will show, that a man's own righteousness is sin. For there is in scripture saith, it doth, or can.
Secondly. Show me, if thou canst, that the sin of unbelief is spoken against in all the ten commandments, or that called the moral law. But now the Spirit of Christ convinceth of unbelief, that is, it showeth, that if men do not believe that they have redemption by the obedience of that man who was laid in the manger, hanged on the cross, &c.; I say, it showeth, that those who do not lay hold on what he hath done and suffered without them in his own body on the tree, (through the operation of his Spirit, which he hath promised to give to them that ask him,) or else they have not yet been convinced of the sin of unbelief, and so are still in a perishing condition, notwithstanding their strict obedience to the light within them, or to the law. And now tell me, you that desire to mingle the law and the gospel together, and to make of both one and the same gospel of Christ; did you ever see yourselves undone and lost, unless the righteousness, blood, death, resurrection and intercession of that man Christ Jesus, in his own person, was imputed to you? and until you could by faith own it as done for you, and counted yours by imputation, yea, or no? Nay, rather have you not set up your consciences, and the law, and counted your obedience to them better, and of more value, than the obedience of the Son of Mary without you, to be imputed to you? and if so, it is because you have not been savingly convinced by the Spirit of Christ of the sin of unbelief.
Other things thou dost quarrel against, but seeing they are in effect the same with the former, I pass them by; and shall come to the next thing thou dost think to catch me withal, and that is, because I say, that "God only is the Saviour, there is none besides him." Therefore, sayest thou, how contrary is this to that in p. 42, where I say, How wickedly are they deluded, who own Christ no otherwise than as he was before the world began! Now this is no contradiction, as thou wouldst have it; for though I say there is none but God our Saviour, yet I did also then in my book show how he was our Saviour, namely, "in that he came into the world, being born of a virgin, made under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, by his obedience in that nature, by suffering in that nature, by his rising again in that nature, and by carrying that nature into heaven with him," as the Scriptures at large declare; and therefore, though I say God is our Saviour, and none besides he; yet they that own him to be the Saviour no otherwise than as he was before the world began, are such as deny that he is come in the flesh, and so are of antichrist. (1 John 2.) For before God could actually be a Saviour, he must partake of another nature than the divine, even the nature of man. (Heb. ii.14,15.)
Again, thou sayest, it is a slander put upon the Quakers, to say, they slight the resurrection. Ans. What say you, Do you believe the resurrection of the body after it is laid in the grave? Do you believe that the saints that have been this four or five thousand years in their graves shall rise, and also the wicked, each one with that very body wherein they acted in this world; some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt? Answer plainly, and clear yourselves; but I know you dare not, for you deny these things.
But if you speak doubtfully, or covertly in answer thereunto; I doubt not but God will help me to find you out, and lay open your folly, if I shall live till another cavil by you be put forth against the truth.
The next thing thou cavillest at is, that query raised from Eph. iv.10; and thou sayest I have not answered it. You should have answered it better, or else have confuted that answer I gave unto it, and then you had done something. But the great thing that troubles thee is, because I say, further in my book, he that ascended from his disciples was a very man. For "handle me and see," saith Christ; "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have." Now let the adversary show by the Scripture, said I, that there is in them any place called heaven, which is able to contain a man of some four or five foot long, (or a competent man of flesh and bones,) for the space of fifteen or sixteen hundred years, but that above the clouds; which troubles thee so, that it makes thy tongue run thou canst not tell how; but know, that when the Son of man shall come from heaven to judge the world in righteousness, that which thou callest foolishness now, thou wilt find a truth then to thy own wrong, if thou close not in with Him who said, "Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as you see me have." (Luke xxiv.38-40.)
Another thing that thou art troubled at, is, in that I do reckon the Quakers to be of the deluding party; when, alas! all men that have eyes to see, may easily discern that you are of that generation, as will appear in part by your own expressions, both now and also at other times. But that you may take off the brand from yourselves, you say, that the false prophets and antichrist were in the apostles' days, as though there should be no false prophets now, when the very time we live in doth manifestly declare, and hold forth, that there are many who at this day seek to beguile unstable souls, of which sort you are not the least, though, for aught I can learn as yet, you are the last that are come into the world; but that you may the better shift it from yourselves, you say, that in those days there was not a Quaker heard of; namely, in the days of John. Friend, thou hast rightly said, there was not a Quaker heard of indeed, though there were many Christians heard of then. By this you yourselves do confess, that you are a new upstart sect, which was not at other times in the world, though Christian saints have been always in the world. Friend, here, like a man in the dark, in seeking to keep thyself out of one ditch, thou art fallen into another; instead of proving yourselves no false prophets, you prove yourselves no Christians, saying, There was not a Quaker heard of then. But if Quakers had been Christians, then they would have been heard of to the glory of God and his Christ.
Again, to defend thyself thou throwest the dirt in my face, saying, If we should diligently trace thee, we should find thee in their steps, meaning false prophets, through feigned words, through covetousness making merchandise of souls, loving the wages of unrighteousness.
Friend, dost thou speak this as from thy own knowledge, or did any other tell thee so? However, that spirit that led thee out of this way is a lying spirit. For though I be poor, and of no repute in the world as to outward things, yet through grace I have learned by the example of the Apostle to preach the truth; and also to work with my hands, both for mine own living, and for those that are with me, when I have opportunity. And I trust that the Lord Jesus, who hath helped me to reject the wages of unrighteousness hitherto, will also help me still, so that I shall distribute that which God hath given me freely, and not for filthy lucre's sake. Other things I might speak in vindication of my practice in this thing: but ask of others, and they will tell thee that the things I say are truth. And hereafter have a care of receiving any thing by hearsay only, lest you be found a publisher of those lies which are brought to you by others, and so render yourself the less credible; but be it so.
And as for your thinking, that to drink water, and wear no hatbands, is not walking after your own lusts; I say, that whatsoever men do make a religion out of, having no warrant for it in the Scripture, is but walking after their own lusts, and not after the Spirit of God. Thus have I passed thy 23rd page.
And lest you should think that the Quakers are not such as condemned me and others for preaching according to the Scriptures; as you would fain clear yourselves of this charge laid against you in my book, by your saying, you deny the accusation to be true upon any of the Quakers, I shall therefore tell you of your sister, Anne Blackly, who did bid me, in the audience of many, "to throw away the Scriptures." To which I answered, "No, for then the devil would be too hard for me."
And again, because I said, the man Christ Jesus was above the clouds and the heavens, now absent from his people in the world, touching his bodily presence; she said, I preached up an idol, and used conjuration and witchcraft. Which things I should rather have desired her to repent of, than to make her a public example for others to take warning by, but that it is expedient that your folly be laid open, that others may fear to do as you have done.
But, farther, thou chargest me with a loud crying out against Christ within. This is thy throwing of dirt in my face again, for I have said it often, that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.
Again, thou sayest, that in page 203 I do take in hand to prove or discover that the doctrine of Christ within is a false opinion.
Thou also dost here speak falsely of me, for all that I take in hand to prove is this, That they hold a false opinion, and principles too, who hold up a Christ within in opposition to Christ without, who is the Saviour; as doth plainly appear by my following discourse, if you read from page 203 to the end of my book.
But, in the next place, after much railing, thou comes to the place where I again ask this question, "Doth not the Scripture make mention of a Christ within?"
To which I answer, Yes, and he that hath it not is none of his. But to lay open my folly at last thou sayest, Doth not the Scripture say, Christ is within you, except you be reprobates? and is not this thus much, Are not all they reprobates, say you, but they in whom Christ is within?
Ans. They are indeed reprobates who have not Christ within them; but now, how is thy folly manifest? That in one place thou shouldst confess some are reprobates, who have not Christ within; and yet in page 18 of thy book thou sayest, it is given to every man. And in page 26 of thy book thou sayest, that a measure of the Spirit is given to every man, and is given within him too, though the Scripture declareth the contrary, and thyself also now at last. It is well thou dost recant so much, as to eat thy first words at the last, or at least to show thyself unstable in judgment. Friend, thou mayest see, the more thou dost fight against the truth, the more thou soilest thyself: partly by helping of it, and partly by contradicting thyself.
One thing more thou dost befool thyself with; and that is, in that thou, in the first place, sayest thou ownest the words in my book, and yet hath spent some four sheets of paper to vent thy thoughts against them.
But peradventure thou wilt say, Those words that I own are not those that I speak against, but the other. To which I answer, There are many things in my book spoken of by me that are truth, which if you own, you must leave professing yourself a Quaker. As,
1. That that man that was born of the Virgin Mary, called Jesus, (I say you will not own,) that he in his own person, by himself without us, did completely bring in everlasting life for us, by offering up himself once for all upon the cross.
2. That Christ, who wrought out redemption for his children, did, after he had wrought it out, go away from them, and not into them in his person.
3. That he ever liveth, that very man, to make intercession in his person, in the presence of his Father without, until the end of the world.
4. That that very man who did go away from his disciples into heaven, will come again personally the same man the second time; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall judge them for their sins; and take his to himself, who shall, soul and body, be with him to all eternity: these things, I say, thou couldst not own, though they are the truth of God. But leaving thee to the great God, who will give thee according to thy works, in this as in other things, I shall come to thy answers to my queries.