Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > Works of James Nayler > A Vindication of Truth
Thou says thou shall present a view of that spirit that is in the Quakers, having obtained a more perfect understanding of that way, and sum of our faith and profession, which, thou says, is come forth signed by James Nayler. And this, thou says, thou wilt do in love to us.
To which I say, that which is come forth by James Nayler was presented already, and hadst thou been able to have said something against it, as by me presented, and proved it in plainness, not to have been the faith and Spirit that was in the holy men of God, then hadst thou done something to purpose. But in that thou hast left what truth I presented, and instead thereof hast presented a heap of falsehoods and deceits out of thy own bosom, as like my words as thou well could make a lie, to the truth; and hast made people believe thou hast disproved something of mine, <208> when thy work hath but been to fight with thy own falsehood, and so confound thyself instead of confuting me: this makes it appear that thou art not perfect in thy understanding of our way and Spirit, the sum of our faith and profession, or else wickedly ignorant, that thou mayst take occasion to cast thy reproach upon us and the truth and faith we profess. Indeed who reads my book and thy slanders gathered from thence (as thou pretends) will say the latter is the more like, seeing thou hast so often repeated over thy own wicked slanders, fathering them on me, which hath no footing at all in my book—as that I deny the person of Christ, the death of Christ, the blood of Christ, the once offering of Christ for all, &c.; that I say the light in every man is God, and Christ, and redemption, is the baptism of Christ, is God's righteousness, and many suchlike abominable lies, never spoken by me, which thou often over accusest me that I say, so that any moderate man may wonder that ever any who have but a show of religion should be so void of the fear of God, or have so little bridle for the tongue, as thou hast showed in this thy work.
But that conceit thou hast of being justified before thou wast born, and before either faith or works hath given thee such a dispensation, as that thou matters not much what thou sayest, being justified beforehand, naught thou dost can condemn thee; Christ hath borne away all thy sins before thou was begotten or born, and thou shalt never bear them, nor they be charged upon thee; a principle of wickedness, called faith, to cheat the souls of people and keep them bold in their sins, at which all that knows the righteousness of God, and his terrors against sin, may weep to think on.
And in all which, instead of discovering our spirit, thou art discovered, thy spirit and foundation; but what is come forth signed by James Nayler stands as it was, thy lies being taken away; which some of them I shall lay open, with thy confusions thereupon, as to the later part of thy book, which pretends an answer to my writing in Love to the Lost.
The other part (though a heap of confusion) I shall not much meddle with as to answer, the substance thereof falling within the other part, nor shall I write much to any of it; truth is tried and stands not by words.
So to the first particular as followeth.<209>
And in this thou tells of the sum of things spoken by me, but sums up thy own lies amongst it, not having matter from my words to accuse me with.
Doth my words say that God's own wisdom and Spirit remains in fallen man, but as a captive? and that that was his fall? or do I say that by looking and turning not to anything without, but to that of God lying under and covered within him, and that that is the blood of the cross, and his redemption? Art thou not ashamed, instead of answering to my words, to become an accuser openly? Had it not been thy wisdom rather to have been silent, if thou durst not have entered upon my words as they stand, than to have made thyself way with lies? and then to disprove thy lies thyself? And not anything that I have said dost thou appear against; only in thy seeming answer or mist which thou casts, thou adds more lies, saying, that I say that there is that in the natural man, which being turned into and followed, can redeem and make atonement, a thing never spoken by me, nor never entered into my heart, for it is in the spiritual man that the atonement is made, and not in the natural.
Thou further says, that "the obedience of Christ was not the righteousness of one"; which is as false concerning Christ as the other concerning me, as whoever reads Rom. 5:18-19 shall read there in plain words.
Other things thou says, as that "we are not made righteous by looking back and turning to the first Adam," &c. A thing never spoken by me nor intended, only thou dost disprove thy own deceitful slander cast on my words, and so in the most places of thy book, which I shall not much mention, seeing they touch not my words, as he that reads my words may see, not one sentence of mine hast thou disproved in this answer.
Thou adds a piece of false doctrine, which I shall discover; thou says "by looking out of everything in man to the second Adam." I say, he whose eyes is without and not within cannot see the second Adam, for he cannot be seen but by revelation, and in Spirit he is known and seen since his ascension, and hath been to all his, as these Scriptures will plainly prove (Gal. 1:16; Col. 1:27).
And I demand of thee and all thy generation to make it appear <210> how the second Adam is now seen, but in the Spirit by faith within; till then blame me not for saying this of thine is false doctrine. I know there is a sort of you who have conceited a carnal sight, and have run in your carnal expectations from year to year therein, till you are become spiritually blind, but if that be it thou here intends, thou must reckon thyself for the present amongst those who have neither seen him, nor known him, who denies his revelation in Spirit; and so being intruding into that which the eye hath not seen, no marvel though thou speak so darkly of him as thou dost in this thy book, and would lead men from the Spirit to seek Christ the Lord, who is that Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18), and would lead without to seek him whom none of you can find, but within.
And this also thou dare not enter on as it stands, but that thou may be seen to say somewhat as though thou opposed me, thou makes a lie of thy own, saying that I say "that the light shining in every man is Christ"; a thing never written nor intended by me. And when thou hast set up this lie, thou falls in hand to confute it, to make people believe thou was confuting my words, when thou art but declaring in print what deceit hath long been hid in thy own bosom, and that the liar and deceiver is one in thee, so having laid thee open I have no more to do in that quarrel, having denied the lie and its founder, what I have writ stands as it was.
Only another error I shall reprove thee of; that is, thou says that "all false religions and errors are bottomed upon the law in the conscience." And this is false and contrary to Scripture, for the great mystery of faith that discovers all errors and false religions is held in the conscience (1 Tim. 3:9). And the apostles' rejoicing was the testimony of their conscience, and they did not rejoice in the ground of errors; and by the answer of a good conscience the saints are saved by the resurrection of Jesus (1 Pet. 3:21), and they are not saved by the ground of errors. And the law that is written in the conscience is that which God hath written, and the law of the new covenant of life and light which discovers all errors, and which leads to know God, as is plain (Heb. 8:10-11). And thou that teaches people that the law which God hath written within man is the ground of errors, teachest blasphemy. And this law in Spirit is that perfect law of liberty, that <211> whosoever looks unto and continueth therein, he being a doer of the work, that man shall be blessed in his deed (Jas. 1:25). And by this spiritual law of life was the saints made free from the law of sin and death; and the righteousness of this law it was that Christ fulfilled in the saints, who walked after the law of the Spirit and not after the letter of the law (Rom. 8:1-4). And this righteousness which the saints believed and waited for to be fulfilled in them is that which thou art preaching against, and would have all to shut it out, and then the devil might dwell safe within; and they that did wait for this righteousness of the law fulfilling in them did not deny the blood of Christ, as thou falsely would accuse us, who witness the same righteousness of faith within, and not of the letter without, for we know (and so did they) that none can have this righteousness of faith fulfilled in them, but who believes that one offering once for all, and by his blood we have access to that faith, by which is declared that everlasting righteousness of God for justification, to which till then we was strangers and could not come, but now have an inheritance therein.
And as we know that none can come to have this righteousness wrought in them unless they believe in his blood and sacrifice once offered, so also we know that none by taking of what was done at Jerusalem, and say they believe in it, without this work can be saved, as the Scripture saith in plain words (James 2:14 to the end of the chapter), which Scriptures may serve to show thy spirit and what nature thy work is of, and thy faith that denies God's righteousness within, to be mere imagination, and such a faith none of God's people ever preached or professed.
Another piece of confusion I shall mind thee on, here in this thou confesseth Christ to be the same word as the Spirit of revelation in us, and that so he is the light within us: and in thy last thou denied any to look to the glory of the Godhead shining forth on man, but they must look off from everything in man; so by thy own doctrine we must not look to the glory of the Godhead shining forth on us, nor to the Spirit of revelation, nor to Christ the light within us, these thou hast forbidden, and yet thou would make people believe thou was a minister for God and Christ. A blind way hast thou made for such as will follow thee, who must neither look to glory of the Godhead shining on them, nor to Christ in them, but they that are wise may compare thy doctrine <212> with Christ's and his apostles' in these Scriptures (Luke 17:21; 2 Cor. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:9-12,14) where you may see to what the saints looked, and when it was, and where their hope and faith was, and whether without or within (Col. 1:27); and where their faith and hope was, there was their righteousness, wherein they walked, and to which they became servants, and whereby they became free from sin (Rom. 6); but God's righteousness in man the devil likes not, but to talk on and let him keep possession, that likes him well and his servants, for he that serves God's righteousness in his heart can be no servant of sin, for his servants you are to whom you obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Rom. 6:16). And as out of the heart of the wicked proceeds that which defiles, because of the blindness of their hearts (Eph. 4), so he that keeps his heart with all diligence, from thence are the issues of life (Prov. 4:23); and he that hath not righteousness in his heart hath none at all, but where the word of faith is known in the heart, that man's righteousness is not at a distance, nor his salvation to seek. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; but is not that a blind doctrine which preaches God and Christ within, but that righteousness that justifies not in them? It seems thou imagines that God, when he comes to dwell in man, leaves his righteousness behind him, or that righteousness, that then is in him, is not able to justify him; but the saints that knew justification knew the gift of righteousness for it (Rom. 5). And justification by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11). And everlasting righteousness brought in, whereby transgression is finished (Dan. 9:24). But a generation there is who "turn judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock" (Amos 6:12). "Hearken you stout-hearted who are far from righteousness, I will bring near my righteousness, and it shall not be far off" (Isa. 46:12-13). And what I have said may answer to the next also.
And in this, like the rest, thou first makes a lie of thy own to confute, but my words thou canst not enter. Thou says, the sum of our faith is "that the imputed righteousness that justifies is the light within," a thing by me never spoken or written. Secondly, thou says that "nothing is said by me of Christ manifest in flesh, <213> or his crucified body, or righteousness that way." Poor man, how hath wickedness overrun thee to add lie to lie? Are not these my words: "That righteousness that God accepteth is but one, which is his own, perfectly fulfilled, and manifest in the world in Jesus Christ, the light and savior thereof, and that none inherits it further than they receive the Son of Righteousness." And is this nothing of Christ? but it is no new thing to me, to see the refuge of lies, with that spirit which now opposeth; nor for me to be called a railer because I'll not either say they are truths or find out some finer name to call them than lies. But to leave them and go on to thy doctrine: thou says, "We are justified without works only through faith," which is as false as the Scripture is true, for saith the apostle, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (Jas. 2:24). And Christ saith, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matt. 12:37). "And not the hearers of the law, but the doers are just before God" (Rom. 2:13). Now if these Scriptures be true then thine is false, but such is thy blindness, that because the Scriptures doth exclude the works of the law for justification, therefore thou wilt exclude the works of faith which are wrought in God also. A fine easy way to salvation, and well pleasing to you that love your lusts, but that neither God nor Scripture knows it, nor the saints' practice.
Further thou says, "He that can but believe this is perfectly purged, and there is no more conscience of sin, though yet the feeling of sin." I say, what is thou now intends? feeling of sin but make no conscience—is not this plain ranting, to commit sin and feel it, and make no conscience of it? this indeed is the ready way to murder the witness, to stop the ear at his reproof, and to make shipwreck of a tender conscience, and so in time to get it seared, and so no more conscience of sin. Do what you will do, but imagine all is pardoned, past present and to come; let the light in the conscience say what it can, hope against hope. Sayest thou, "The righteousness of Christ is a covering upon sin," &c. I say, I know who repents and turns to him he doth. But doth Christ's righteousness cover sin to come, and whilst men are committing it? One day thou wilt find that it is not covered, but thou that hast seared thy conscience, it will appear when thou <214> shalt cease to deal treacherously with the witness that would have dealt truly with thee; but how is Christ's righteousness a covering on thy sin when thy sin is in thy heart, and thy cover no nearer than above the stars. If ever God look down upon the earth thou wilt be found naked, and the day is upon thee, look to it, thy ranting faith hath not long to last, and thy cover will be but deceit. Woe to thee that art covered, and not with the Spirit.
In this, like the rest, thou enters with a lie, saying that "we say the light within all men is the word," not minding at all to speak truth; thou tells of sin being covered, but the liar is openly seen and shames not. And when thou hast made one lie, thou infers another from it: "If the light within every man be the word, then all ages have had the gospel in equality, &c." Then thou adds another as false as the rest, saying that "truth says, the light is the remaining sparkles of the law, and represents God only under a veil." When truth saith the life is the light of men, and this is that true light that lighteth every man that comes into the world (John 1). And Christ saith, "I am the light of the world, he that follows me shall not abide in darkness but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). And the saints came to the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus, by the light within; and this was not only under the veil which was in the face of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:6), though veiled to thee, who denies the light of the Spirit, and saith "truth says it," when truth denies thee therein, nor hast thou one Scripture that saith so.
And when thou hast showed thy spirit by thy works, then thou art forced to confess him to be within his in Spirit the word of revelation, yet would make two words: a word of reconciliation and a word of revelation; and in dividing this word into two thou confounds thyself:
First, thou says, "these two are not one without the other"; then thou says, "the one must finish his work before the other could come"; and such blind muddy stuff thou art tewing in, but what I write in my book stands as it was.
Yet thou adds two lies more: the first is that we "believe not the word of reconciliation," which thou calls thy first word, which is false, for though we believe not two words, yet we <215> believe that one word, which is the word of reconciliation and revelation, and there is not another. Thy second lie is of the light, in saying it knows Christ in neither.
In this thou says that I affirm "that the Spirit of life from God, wherein is the mind, will and love of God, the name, power and wisdom of Christ, wherewith alone God can be acceptably worshipped, is in every man." A thing that never entered into my heart, but surely friend, thou matters not what thou says, thus to add thy wickedness and false accusations because I say none must follow the traditions of others, but as every creature is moved by the presence of the living God; do I therefore say that the Spirit of God is in every man? this conclusion is more wickedness than weakness. But to thy doctrine.
Thou says, "The word of faith says, that the law without, or spirit in every man, that says do this and live, are the veil," &c. I say, where doth the word of faith say that the Spirit within is a veil? Or where doth it call the Spirit within the law without? Thou must find a new word for this, for the true everlasting word saith not so, but saith, "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8), but doth not say that that Spirit of God is the veil, of which spirit I am speaking, whatever thou pervert it to; but is all thy spiritual teaching come to this? that the Spirit, in which God will be worshipped, becomes a veil; and that to abide in any law or light whatsoever, either from within or without, and to be exercised therein, as to be redeemed or perfected thereby, this, they say, is to worship God as in the flesh. Hast thou not here wholly excluded the light of Christ, as to be exercised therein for freedom and perfection? Before thou did but deny it within, but now thou hast denied all light whatsoever, both from within and without, for bringing to freedom or perfection. So that henceforth all that will own thy doctrine must believe to be perfected in the dark; for all light whatsoever thou hast excluded; so that a Christ without light must now be believed by all that own thy faith or doctrine. And indeed it suits well with thy practice: witness thy many lies in thy book, which are not works of the day.
Further thou says that "the light within every man is not the <216> way to the Spirit of Christ," which I need not think strange, seeing thou hast denied all light.
Also thou sayest that "the works of the law and the waiting of the light within, are all one," if any man will believe thy blind testimony.
Thou sayest, "That principle may lead to a spirit of activity for God, in the contemplations of him, as a pure and holy God, but it is a far other principle, that is, Christ crucified for us, and the faith of him that leads unto that Spirit of peace." And so by thy doctrine there are two principles that leads to God, the one far off the other. But must we believe this because thou sayest it? when not one of the holy men of God thou canst instance, who ever said that that Spirit that led to contemplations of the pure God was a far other principle than that of Christ that leads to peace. Christ saith, "No man knoweth the Father, but he to whom the Son reveals him" (Matt. 11:27). But thou says, "It's a far other principle that brings to contemplations of a pure God." That blind spirit of thine clearly shows what thou knows of contemplations with God, who denies the principle of Christ to lead thereto, but it is like the rest of thy blind stuff, who would make people believe that the light of Christ leads to blot out the healing in the person of Christ, surely a blinder piece of work hath not been seen, but it must needs be so with thee, who hath denied all light, and art fighting against it.
Here thou tells us thy former lie over again, saying that I say that "the light within every man is the Spirit of truth"; and then thou tells how thou hast disproved it before. And so staidly falls into another discourse, not at all to the purpose as to my words, yet adds another lie, saying that we "believe in God, as by the light in men, redeeming from sin; but not as in the man Jesus, having done it already"; and that we "deny the witness of the Son"; and that we "have neither Son nor Father"; which is but thy threefold cord of wickedness. Thou adds another in thy conclusion, and says, "It is not an error to divide from the light within"; so by thy doctrine we may divide from the spiritual light of Christ and not err. But how shouldst thou count it an error to divide from the light within, who hast excluded all manner of light within, and without also whatever, to be exercised in as the way to perfection. <217> If it be not an error to divide from the light, then it must be an error to divide from the darkness, for there is but these two, and the one must needs be an error. But it is easily seen whose word thou drives, who art set to oppose the light; such a work as none of God's was ever found in, wert thou not blind thou might suspect thyself, who cannot produce one of thy faith in the Scripture.
In this accusation also is two lies, first, that I say "that the light in every man is God's righteousness, perfection." Secondly, thou says I "say not a word of the faith in the person of Christ, or the operation of God in him for us." The first never spoken of by me. To the second, my words are these, that the living faith is in Christ Jesus, and that true faith lays hold on God's righteousness, and by it comes to be created in Christ Jesus unto good works, God's workmanship. Is this not a word of the person of Christ, nor the operation of God in him? Can one own Christ Jesus, and deny faith in the person of Christ? Or can one witness God's workmanship in him, and not one word of the operation of God in him? O shameless man, how dost thou bend thy tongue for lies and slanders.
Further thou sayest that "the scope of our doctrine, in the height and depth of it, seems plainly this: that a measure of the eternal divinity is in every man, by turning whereunto out of all sayings, operations, Scriptures, or Christ without, the same doth purge away sin and redeems unto God." All which is no more but thine own wickedness heaped up, from thy foregoing lies.
Then thou comest to thy doctrine, and that is: to look away from all voices of conscience within, and from all things in the heart, whether good or evil, and to look to Jesus without though we be in bondage. And this, thou says, "is to receive the righteousness of Christ by faith." But where dost thou receive this righteousness, or with what is it seen, or what effect hath it, seeing thou hast denied all voices in the conscience, all things in the heart, and conclude the creature in bondage? They are blind indeed who cannot see this righteousness of thine thou lookest to (without anything in the heart or conscience) to be but mere imagination, a talk of righteousness which thou hast not in thee.
And in thy next, having forgot thy doctrine, says that "by him <218> all that believe are justified from all things, by the law of the Spirit, according to the conscience from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses." And also says, that "the answer of a good conscience in the resurrection of Jesus will be found to be that which saves before God and brings forth the true glory within." What confusion is here? Must all voices of the conscience be denied, and yet justified by the law of the Spirit, according to the conscience, and saved by the answer of a good conscience? And must we be justified by the law of the Spirit, and the works of the law written within be denied and called the flesh? And must we be set free and justified from all these things by the law of the Spirit and the answer of a good conscience, and yet in bondage? And after thou hast said, "We must be justified by the law of the Spirit, according to the conscience, and saved by a good conscience," then thou confutes that again, and saith, "The law in the conscience, which is holy, just and pure, is the same with the covenant of works"; and says "how holy and pure soever it be, it shall not preserve blameless." Was there ever such a heap of confusion and contradictions gathered together? Are these thy balance, with which thou art weighing us, which thou tells of? Or is this a standing measure, which staggereth to and fro like a drunken man, contradicting and confounding thyself, till there be not a word thou says will stand which is unconfounded from thy own mouth? Is not here Babel's foundation discovered to the weakest eye opened in any heart? But this is brought to pass by the Lord, for the nations must not long be deceived with your witchcrafts, whoredoms; therefore he is laying open to the people, with what you have fed them, and wherewithal you have covered them, and how you have made them to trust in confusion and brought forth a lie for their salvation, wherein you have made them to rejoice over the slain and to trust in emptiness, putting the Lord afar off and casting the law of his covenant behind your backs. But now your skirts is laying open, and your filthiness appears; your hearts void of righteousness, your tongues must needs utter confusion.
One thing more of thy false doctrine before I pass from this particular, and that is that "men are justified and sin washed away before either faith or works"; and this thou affirms in plain words, which is a strange doctrine and indeed a doctrine of devils, which <219> denies the faith and sets up an imagination in its stead. For if we be justified and sin washed away before either faith or works, then are we not justified by faith; for we cannot be justified by that which is not. And if this doctrine be true, that men are justified before either faith or work, then is not faith of absolute necessity; a man may be saved without it, for he that is justified and his sin washed away cannot be damned. He that will believe this doctrine of thine need not matter much what he do; this faith is that with which you lead people without faith of God to make no conscience of sin, but believe that they are purged, though they feel themselves servants of sin and in bondage thereto.
And the thing thou charges me with in this is, that I say, "to hope that that of God in every man, or a Christ, may be revealed to take away sin, to give freedom from sin in this life, is the pure, the reasonable hope, that makes not ashamed." In this thou hast mixed a truth and a lie together; and they must be severed, that the truth may be owned, and the lie returned to the founder. "That of God in every man can take away sin," that is thine own, take it again; but that "Christ may be revealed in this to take away sin" that hope I own, and am not ashamed thereof, which thou seems to oppose.
Another charge thou lays upon me is that I say "To hope salvation, while the witness in the conscience condemns of sin, is the devil's hope"—which accusation is utterly false, and the words not so spoken by me, for I own a hope before the conscience be wholly purified, which hope leads to the purifying, and that is holden forth by me several times, and therefore am far off from calling that the devil's hope. But my words are these: But the devil hath begot another hope, as like this as may be in his servants, which stands in another ground and brings forth another fruit, and that is, though they be servants of sin yet there is hopes of salvation, and such hopes as may not be judged nor questioned, although the witness of God in the conscience doth testify the contrary; yet it must not be heeded, lest they be deluded; so where the devil is become a teacher, a tender conscience must be resisted; and such a hope set up as holds that to hope in Christ within is to deny the presence of Christ, &c., and many such expressions there is, <220> which clearly shows how thou hast perverted my words, contrary to all reason and honesty to slander withal, that because I condemn that hope to be of the devil which hopes not freedom from sin, as well as freedom from hell, that therefore I condemn him that hopes for salvation, while yet the conscience is not wholly purged.
But to come to thy doctrine, thou sayest, "To rest in hope that thou art saved already from sin and wrath in Christ the head, whilst conscience condemns thee of sin, this is the hope of faith against the hope of the law and conscience." I say, to hope for freedom from sin, whilst yet the conscience condemns for sin, this hope I own, which is not against the conscience, but leads to a pure conscience. But thou that hopes that thou art already saved from sin and wrath whilst thou art a servant of sin, and the wrath of God appears to condemn thee for sin in thy conscience, thou art he that hopes in a lie, for he that is the servant of sin is not already freed from sin; thou may well say this hope is against the conscience, and against the law of God also, such a hope as none of the children of God never hoped in, whose rejoicing was the testimony of their conscience, and their hope was according to a good conscience, but never hoped against their conscience (2 Cor. 1:12).
Didst thou not in thy last say that men must be justified by the law of the Spirit according to conscience, and saved by the answer of a good conscience? And dost thou now tell them that the hope of grace and faith is against law and conscience, or sense and feeling? Is not this to make the law void by that which thou calls grace? and to make shipwreck of a pure conscience, and so become past feeling? like those thou may read on (Eph. 4:18-19).
Further thou goes on and says that "hope is begotten not by the letter, but by the inhabiting or abiding Spirit, there it is a hope beholding the glory of the Lord, and changing the creature into his image; that hope sees the love of the Father shed forth upon us in the blood of atonement," &c. But how apt art thou to forget thyself! Didst thou not in thy last forewarn all for looking to anything, whether good or evil, in the heart and conscience within? And is it now by that inhabiting and abiding Spirit that reveals the blood of atonement and finishes all sin? So by thy doctrine it is within in the inhabiting and abiding Spirit that sees the blood of <221> atonement, but thou hast forewarned all not to look at it, nor at anything within, good or evil. And yet says, "We are saved through faith according to the inward man," and much suchlike confused stuff, which is weariness to repeat after thee, were it not for the seed's sake, that they may be led out of thy deceit.
Is not this a strange doctrine, to say that we are saved through faith, according to the inward man, and yet must not look to anything in the heart or conscience (be it good or bad?). Is not that like to be a blind salvation, which is within and must not be looked at? But it seems thou hast followed thy doctrine in thy practice, for hadst thou looked to anything of God in thy heart, or to the answer of a good conscience, it would have put a stop to the numberless number of thy lies and confusion in thy book; but a large liberty the devil hath, when nothing must be looked to in the heart or conscience (either good or bad) to believe in or follow for salvation out of sin, and yet thou says, "We must be saved according to the inward man," which inward man must only be for you to talk on, but must not be looked at.
Thou further says, that "to know Christ only as within (is an error)." Yet doth not show how a man might know him, otherwise than he is revealed within, nor is he known as he ought to be, since his ascension, any other way, but only as he revealeth himself in Spirit within, only you imagine you know him, who never saw him, heard him, felt him, or understood him, otherwise than by his Spirit within; and what a knowledge that is, which is void of all these, is easily seen to them where he is revealed, though hearsay teachers with their literal knowledge was ever blind.
But seeing thou sayest, "It is an error to know him only within"—what sayest thou of the apostle doctrine, who exhorts to know Christ no more after the flesh (2 Cor. 5:16)? Must not their knowledge then be only after the Spirit, which must be no more after the flesh? But however he be known, thou hast denied him, if he be light, either within or without, who says, "To abide in any light whatsoever, either from within or without, and to be exercised therein as to be perfected thereby, or redeemed from sin, is to worship God in the flesh."
And thy charge in this is, that I say, "It is the love of God to <222> the world, whereby he hath given every man a light, to condemn sin in the flesh, and take it away through walking after the Spirit, and that this love of God in the creature doth not flatter sin in others," &c.
This charge is not altogether so false as the rest, though not wholly true. For I do not say that the light in every man is God's Son, though I own it to be the light of the Son, that lighteth every man that comes into the world; therefore my words are that God so loved the world, that he gave his Son into the world, a light to condemn sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of God might be fulfilled in the creature, and my witness for this is Christ and his apostles (John 3:16-22; Rom. 8:1-4), and this thou seems to oppose, but dare not plainly deny it, only thou hast power over that of the charge as far as thy own lie reacheth and no further. And to that, thou says, "was this great and abounding love in sending his Son, no more but God giving a light in all men," as though I had said so, which is but thine own deceit, to set up a lie of thy own to fight with. But I say, God's great love is more than the light, for he hath given his Son, who is not only that light, but to all that believe therein and follow it, he leads them out of darkness thereby, and gives them the light of life (John 8:12), who doth not only condemn sin in the flesh, but fulfills the righteousness of the law in them who walk after the Spirit, and this is my testimony of the love of God, which was Christ's testimony and his apostles', and so thy lie be upon thy own head; and what I have written stands still unshaken; only thou mutters that anybody should be told of their sin, and would have us tell people their sins are forgiven, and that they are justified and saved, and that Christ is come down in your flesh, and therein hath quenched anger, enmity, sin and death, with all things that may separate from God. And this we may tell to such as thee, who openly denies Christ in thy flesh, yea, and in all other, now to do any such thing for salvation from sin; so how can we say that Christ is come in your flesh and therein through death hath done all this (and not lie)?—especially seeing that you do not only deny him within you in words, but also see the anger, enmity, sin and death unquenched, which hath so far separated thee from God that thou denies God, Christ and his righteousness, and all that may be called light in thee, for salvation. Should not we be abominable liars, like thee, if we should say <223> Christ had done all this in thy flesh; thou thyself would prove us liars, who denies it both in word and practice.
And when thou hast thus been teaching us to cry peace, even whilst sin is in them, to confound thyself in this as in the rest, thou sayest, "There is a generation that flatters and spares in sin them whom the Lord condemns; this," thou says, "is to justify the wicked." To which I say, were thou not heart-blind, and so knows not what thou speaks, thou would never set us on crying peace, where God cries woe, in the conscience for living in sin, lest we justify the wicked, and be guilty of that abomination thou tells of.
Thy charge in this is, that my "words summoned up are, that the light in every man condemning sin is the ministration of judgment and condemnation, and as it is received is salvation and redemption from all uncleanness," &c.
To which I answer: deceit hath summed them up and hath thrust in itself amongst them as in the rest. Have I said "that the light in every man is salvation and redemption"? Let them that reads what I have said judge of thy dealing herein; for my words are, that true judgment, as it is known to men, is a gift from the Spirit of God, set in the heart of everyone that dwells in the light of Christ; and this is far from thy sayings, who would make people believe that I say that the light, as it is in every man, is salvation and redemption. For there be many that will not be led to the redeemer therewith, nor to the Spirit of judgment, but deny all light within and without as thou dost, and to these it is condemnation, and not salvation: but to all that own the Spirit of judgment, which passeth upon that which is contrary to the life of God, such come to be redeemed with judgment, and to such as abide therein doth light and salvation spring up, to the redeeming the heart from all uncleanness; as I have writ in my book, which thou canst not contradict.
And in thy doctrine thou sayest, "That as Christ in every age hath come forth more or less, so in this age he will come forth in righteousness and salvation, and that he will judge the works of the law, as well as the lusts of the flesh, and that the Spirit of Christ in his people shall judge both angels and men's spiritual and fleshly wickedness."
<224> To which I say, some of this is truth, and we shall try the rest.
First, what work of the law is it that God will judge? Dost thou intend that law by which, thou confessed before, all that believe are justified from that from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses? If thou intend that law, I deny thy doctrine, for the works of that law of the Spirit of life, by which we are justified, are the works of Christ, wherewith he fulfills the law in his saints, and so are works of the Spirit and shall never come into judgment; and if thou mean not that law, to me it matters not, I shall not contend with thee about any other of thy imaginations.
And whereas thou tells of Christ's coming forth in this age in righteousness and salvation, and to judge, and that it is the Spirit of Christ in his people that must be the judge both of angels and men in this his appearance: hast not thou in the rest of thy book, as much as in thee lies, done what thou canst to oppose this his appearance, who hast all along denied anything within to be looked unto for righteousness, salvation and judgment? yea, and ere thou get out of the same thing, thou art contradicting it again, and says, "Law or form, or light within are the principles of judgment with most." But sayest thou, "It is a small thing for the spiritual man to be judged by any of these." What confusion is this of thine thou bringest forth in opposition to the light. Must the Spirit of Christ in his people judge both angels and men spiritual and fleshly? and yet thou speaks scornfully of the light within, and thrusts it in with law and form to make it odious. It seems thou canst not endure that the Spirit of Christ should be called light in his people; it must be darkness there (it seems) or else not owned by thee.
Another lie thou tells of John, saying "that he did not call to the light within every man"; and sayest, "no prophet spake of him by the light," &c.
But it seems thou hast not much read the prophets, or else art wickedly ignorant, for all that read them may find them prophesying of a covenant of light; and John saith, who saw him, "this is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
And after thy usual manner, thy first work is a lie, saying that my "principal matter is, that perfection is that gift or light in <225> every man." Another lie is, that I say, "Imperfection came in by the ministry of antichrist." When the matter of my words are, that God and Christ is perfection; and do not say the gift is perfection; yet I own that every gift of God is perfect, yet God himself the perfection of all. I also say that imperfection came in by the devil, and maintained by his ministers, who uses all means to supplant truth where it is, and to keep up imperfection in the world. And thy lies being taken away, the truth stands untouched, though many words thou usest, yet dare not deny what I have written in the least particular.
Only thou asks some questions, which thou hast raised out of thy own brain, not at all what I say,
Thy questions are, first, "Was Christ in the flesh no more than a preacher or example of perfection?"
2. "Was that fullness of the Godhead in him no more than such a light as God hath set up in every man?"
3. "Or was his bearing of our sins, and the wounds for our iniquities no more but to show how we should bear them in ourselves."
I say, Yes: He was more than all these three, for he in himself alone wrought redemption, broke through all difficulties, opened the way of life for all creatures, became a sacrifice acceptable to the Father, and triumphed openly over death, the grave and hell, and much more that may be spoken of him, which he did in his own person, and not only so, but is now an everlasting offering, from generation to generation, an everlasting light preached in every creature, whereby they may receive the faith (which without it they cannot) whereby to see him in themselves, appearing from heaven in Spirit, as leader and teacher, judge and lawgiver, and in his light to lead, and his life to strengthen all that believe in the same way, wherein he walked in his own person, who left an example, when he ascended, for all to follow, which will be saved, which none can follow nor be saved but who are led by his light and quickened by his Spirit within them, though they talk never so much of him at Jerusalem without them. And this is that which the devil is an enemy to, to wit, that Christ should be owned in the hearts of any, as leader, teacher, king and lawgiver, and with his light to enlighten every dark part thereof, so that every motion <226> of God is seen and received, and every motion of the devil is seen and resisted even unto blood, here is little hope for the devil's kingdom: where this light is received and followed, there the soul is redeemed from the deeds of the devil's darkness, therefore he sets on work all his instruments wherein he hath any interest, to cry out against this light within, for if this light shine in the heart, then his seat must be discovered, and the knowledge of God seen in the face of Jesus; and as any come to know God in the light they will be led out of his service; so you stand up from all quarters, who wear his dark livery, crying out against the light of Christ within, charging all not to hearken to any voice within nor mind anything there good nor bad, that he may keep that place for his kingdom. And to him you are faithful to the uttermost of your power, who are all gathered together in this day of battle to fight against the light, of which thou art not the least, who criest out against all light whatsoever, either from within or without, for any to be exercised in for freedom from sin.
But are you not blind above all that ever was before you, who have so many Scriptures declaring the Lamb's war against all sorts of spirits, yet never find them warring against the Spirit of light, but with that Spirit of light in them did they make war against the prince of darkness, and all his dark principles in his children. Foolish men, how long will it be before you look at your feet, and what way you are going, and try yourselves whose message you carry, who are preaching that which none of you have seen for salvation. The saints' message was the light both for fellowship and to lead to the blood of cleansing (John 1:6-7). But thy message is not anything which is called light whatsoever, either from within or without for redemption; and here thou art seen to be he that preaches another gospel. They preached the gospel of light, and thy gospel is no light whatsoever, so thou art accursed and they that follow thee in that faith, which denieth all light whatsoever.
In this thou makes divers things of thine own, never spoken nor thought by me; thou says, "They are the sum of things spoken by me," which indeed are but the foam of thy slanderous spirit.
As first, as "to be guided in obedience to the Spirit or light within us, as Christ was by the Spirit of the Father in him, that <227> is the righteousness of Christ, that the Father calls for the same obedience of the believer as of Christ," and that I say "we are perfectly justified by Christ's obedience when we perform obedience in the same measure he did." And divers other untruths hast thou forged, thereby to slander the truth, as though I held forth two obediences, as one of Christ's and another of the creature's. And that the creature must come up as high in his obedience as Christ did in his, and suchlike wicked stuff thou utters, as one having sold thyself thereto, bending thy tongue like a bow for lies, to shoot at the truth in secret, but thy arrows must pierce thy own bowels, and the archer into the wilderness must be driven; but the truth shall stand forever. And all that reads what I have written may see that I have denied all sorts of obedience, from Scriptures or others, wrought by man, or in man's will, and owns only that everlasting obedience that is in Christ, to which everyone must give up themselves, as is oftentimes repeated by me: that "it is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us"; and no further than we partake of his obedience in us are we accepted with the Father, as obedient children, which might have stopped the mouth of the liar, hadst thou not done it wickedly.
And when thou hast done thou pretendest to reprove thy lying slanders with the same spirit of slander, giving out filthy words of thine own, as though I had lifted up myself equal with the person of Christ, to perform the same obedience for the purging away of sin, &c. O thou full of all subtlety and wickedness, where did I ever set up myself equal with Christ? or ever set up any obedience of mine distinct from his, or ever spoke of self-obedience for the purging away of sin? Canst thou behold this thy wickedness and not be ashamed? or didst thou think ever to account for thy words, thy heart could not but tremble at this wickedness; but the devil having set up an opinion in thee of being justified without faith, or repentance for all thy sins past, present and to come; like the pope, hath given thee a dispensation to wickedness, so that there is now no stop to thy tongue, whatsoever he moves thee to say, for to advance his kingdom of darkness, thou art ready at his command.
Thou says, "Thou art one of the least in thy Father's house." But it seems by thy language thou hast been an apt scholar and <228> very diligent in his service, and thou must look for thy wages when thy work thou hast finished.
Thou calls them pagans who design not to know another way to divine glory than Christ did, and says, "That way is but the depth of Satan." Oh thou blasphemer! Is it the depth of Satan to follow Christ in his way, and not to design another? Sure the other way thou has designed is lying and deceit, for that way I find thee in; but the way Christ Jesus I own, and so far as I am led therein by the same power, so I walk; and it is not I but Christ in me, who is the way and the life, whose way is not without a mediator, as thou would make it, to cover thy blasphemy for calling it a depth of Satan, for if that way he walked in was without a mediator, then was there a time when he was not a mediator.
Thou asks me, if I "have not the fullness of the Godhead in myself?" I say, in self it is not, but of Christ I receive of the same fullness. And many other questions thou asks, which are all in him, wherein is my treasure, walking in the same way, who is the mystery to be believed, and example to be followed, which is not two things, as thou falsely says, but one.
Thou says, "He put an end to the enmity and all evils in himself." I say, that is true; but he hath not put an end to it in thee, there it lives and reigns, as thy lying and confusion may witness.
Thou says, "As thou art in the second Adam, thou neither knows law, reason, nor sense." I say, it seems so by thy practice.
Thou says, "Nothing brings forth Christ more as a Spirit of wisdom, power and holiness within thee unto good works, than when thou beholds him, as made righteousness and sanctification to thee without works." I say, stop thy mouth and utter not thy confusion; is Christ made righteousness and sanctification to some without works? And is he now become the Spirit of holiness within thee unto good works, who hath so often denied anything within to be minded in heart or conscience?
Other lies thou tells, of "dyings and obedience in us, being made the way to justification in Christ, and that by my doctrine we are justified as much by the obedience of Paul as by the man Christ." And suchlike filthy things, which follow thy own brain, and not my doctrine, neither can any honesty gather any such thing therefrom, but the unclean spirit is vexed that I deny a <229> justification before faith and without righteousness.
And here thou charges me falsely also, as that I should "hold out the creature obedience unto the light which reproves of sin and is bringing forth the fruits of it for good works and for redemption," which is utterly false, for my account is that all should wait in the light of Christ and abide in it until the living word they come to hear and receive in their hearts, whereby the dead comes to be raised to life, which was dead in trespasses and sins; and that spiritual man being quickened, the power of the Spirit brings forth in him the work of God's righteousness, which was from everlasting; and this is another thing than the creature working, only from that light that reproves sin; so that my words doth exhort such to stand still till they see the salvation of God, and the word of his power revealed therein, by which he must be created or wrought into the good work, that he may walk therein.
Another thing thou says, that I say, "the obedience or righteousness in Christ for justification and good works in us are one thing." I say, that the works of God and righteousness in Christ are one thing from the beginning of the world, in Christ, in whomever he is, according to its several measure and ends, but if thou intend creature works (though the most refined that ever was) I utterly deny them, and thy accusation, as false like the rest, and so having cleared the truth from thy slanders, and set it where it was, I shall come to thy doctrine.
And thou speaks of the everlasting only righteousness upon all that believe, and that "it is as a spiritual heaven, large enough to take in and cover the second creation." I say, that is true; but what is that to thee that art in the first creation? It doth not cover thee, thy wickedness is seen, thy lies are laying open, thy nakedness appears, and thy folly to all men. Only thou sayest, "thou reckonest thyself to be so, though it be not so felt." I say, I know it, there were ever a generation that justified themselves but were not just before God, and thine will be found no other, who reckons thyself justified by that which thou hast neither seen, felt nor handled.
And thou says, "Thou thinks it necessary to give warning, that all approaches unto, or converses with the majesty and glory of God, by any redemption or operation, of whatsoever spirit or <230> light within, where the redemption in the person of Christ is excluded." To which I say, thou shows thy dark busy mind, and what thou knows of approaches to God, or converses with his majesty and glory, who imagines that that can be, where the redemption of Christ is excluded.
Thou says, "But if any ask, how thou art redeemed while sin is in thee?" thou sayest, "the Father he laid your sins upon Christ to take them away, and the Spirit bears witness that all things are finished." I say, that is true where repentance and faith is, whereby the creature denies himself and comes to Christ; there Christ takes the sins away. But thy sins are there yet, and thou a servant thereof, and the Spirit bears witness in the conscience against thee for it, and the best way thou hast to peace, is to stifle the witness of the Spirit in thy conscience, and exhort others not to heed it.
Thou says, "Through faith thou receives Christ into thyself, and thou art received into him, and through this oneness art made righteousness, life and light." But how oft hast thou denied this, or anything within to be looked unto? Art thou now become righteousness, life and light thyself, and was condemning it, as great error in me, in thy last, to witness good works in Christ? Art thou become righteousness thyself, light and life, and wilt thou not allow another to testify the works of Christ in him? Thy charity is either selfish, or thou knows not what thou says, and ere thou go out of that page, thou contradicts it thyself again, denies redemption by the operation of that Spirit that is within us, so that which makes thee righteousness, life and light, by thy doctrine cannot work redemption; and thus thou tottereth to and fro, having undertaken a business, and would seem to say something, and so being out of the light makes up a heap of confusion.
And as thou begins with a lie, so thou ends, saying that I say, "that all the works and measures performed by the creature in obedience to the light within, do but all complete the one work of the creature redemption." And when thou hast told this falsehood, thou sets down a story of Luther, wherein he divides Abraham and his righteousness as far asunder as between heaven and earth. So to answer thee and thy story, I shall produce one plain Scripture from James 2 from the 14th to the end of the chapter. Was not thou even now telling of being made righteousness into <231> thyself? and now brings a story to divide Abraham's righteousness as far from him as heaven from earth, and much such staggering thou makest, but the end of all is to keep righteousness out of the door, that thy master may have liberty within.
And this thou begins to lay a foundation with a lie, and what thy building is like to be may be easily judged. Thou sayeth I say "that the light in every man which reproves of sin is Christ." And when thou hast told that lie, and denied it again, then thou confessest what I say, that "Christ is the elect seed," but dare not say that anyone is elected who is not in that seed, only thou tells a blind story, that "thou was redeemed before thou was born"; but art yet a servant of the devil, who was a liar from the beginning, and his works thou art doing, only thou conceits thou art redeemed, and such a redemption the profanest I know in the nation claims it with thee (upon the same ground) and hath as good right as thou hast for anything yet thou hast made manifest.
Here thou sets on work in thy old manner, as one that cannot cease from sin:
First, thou chargeth me to say that "by abiding in the seed or light within every man, thereby the old man is put off with his deeds."
Secondly, "that I call the light the eternal Spirit."
Thirdly, "that I make the body and blood of Christ no more but a figure of the body and blood within, that is the light within all men."
Fourthly, "And that my end is to press through unto God by an atonement and mediation to be made in our bodies, that is, obedience to the light within."
And when thou hast told these four horrible lies on me, then thou goes on in thy doctrine, but dare not gainsay one word of what I have written, but runs into thy old confusion, and says, "The new creature is not a Jew, seeking salvation in the letter or conscience, nor a Gentile, worshipping God by the light"; and says, "the world's light is a candle from the Lord, saying do this and live. And divers more such confusions, which hath no truth in them, neither hast thou any proof for them; with sundry <232> accusations and slanders thou goes on, which are nothing to the purpose as to the thing in hand; and having formerly denied them, I shall not here rake in them, but let them rot with thee.
Then thou speaks of persecution: thou sayest, "They that followed after the Spirit and teachings thereof were always persecuted by the children of the letter." Where thou might read thyself, were not thou blind, who art breathing out all these lies against us, for owning Christ & his light within us for our teacher & guide, for which thy mischievous mind would make people believe we deny the person of Christ because we own him in Spirit, when in truth none can own his person but who sees him in the light; the rest are the children of the letter and hath no ministration else to know Christ by; who can imagine from the history, but are void of the mystery, which is held in a pure conscience, and not in a book without, which mystery thou that denies all in the conscience art void on, who falsely says, "The light in the conscience is the same with the law in the letter."
And thou says, my profession herein is, "that the baptism of Christ thou understands the light within all men." But from what dost thou understand it? for by me it was never spoken nor thought: so that it's from thy dark spirit that cannot understand to speak true, and so given to lies; was there ever such a pack of lies heaped together? as though thou hadst resolved not to speak a true sentence, in whatever thou speaks of me; for this shall appear, that not one of thy charges hitherto are truth, or what I spoke, but thou hast made lies and then disproves them, showing thy art and trading to be only there, for the truth I write stands still untouched.
And notwithstanding all this filth, thou tells us of a mystery we know not, that is, that "you were washed, sanctified and justified before you were." Which indeed is nonsense and a lie, to say that which is not can be washed or sanctified or justified; and in that sense it is a mystery indeed. But whatever was before thou were, thou art now a servant of Satan, and his work thou dost, and art not washed from thy wickedness. And if the washing and justifying of a thing that is not can justify thee in thy wickedness, this is a large faith; it's no wonder though thou be so bold in thy wickedness. Yet this I say, it's a late invented faith (to wit) that washing <233> nothing will make thee clean. For the saints' washing, sanctifying and justifying was when they had forsaken their sins, and without washing from their sins which they had committed, they could not enter into the kingdom of God (read 1 Cor. 6:9-11). And their way to washing was to walk in the light (1 John 1:7), a thing the devil and his dark born brood loves not above all that can be named. Any other conjurations or imaginations they will own, but away with the light; that's an error, that deserves not to live.
But the believing of this, thou says, "sprinkles from your hearts an evil conscience"; that is, indeed though you sin it troubles not your hearts, you believe that you was washed and justified before you was begotten or born, and once justified always justified, and so you make no conscience what you do, that is the evil that troubles your conscience when you sin; but your faith hath sprinkled you from that evil conscience, and now you have no more conscience of sin; for that in the conscience, that is pure and testifies against sin, is but legal, and you are not under the law but under grace. And this is a mystery that tender consciences knows not, and so are but weak and foolish, and under bondage; but you are grown Christians, grown in the faith above such folly; when indeed it is but the ranter that is got up and joined with the devil, in a design to cast off the yoke and get liberty for the beast that cannot endure the cross, and so hath devised a way with the old murderer to slay the witnesses, and then make merry over them. You have a mystery none know but yourselves; other fools, that knows not your faith, stands to repent of their sins if they sin, and cannot be at peace till God speak peace in their conscience; but your sin was pardoned before you was born, and you are not so foolish to make conscience of it now; you will have no more of that conscience for sin; you was once purged from sin, when you were not, and can sin now under that which God once did in Christ; to think so was to deny the person of the man Christ Jesus who hath done all that belongs to you one thousand six hundred years since. And now to fear that anything you can do in your persons can make that ineffectual were great unbelief, and legal, and bondage of spirit; and if this be not your faith and the effects of it, let both thy judgment in thy book, and thy practice witness.<234>
And in this I must not escape thy tongue, charging me to say that I have not spoken; yet not so quite contrary to my intent as in the others; yet things that are utterly false hast thou cast on the truth, as that we "esteem the eating the flesh of Christ but a moral thing," and that "the gospel mystery is with us become a doctrine of bare morality," &c. Things devised in thy own heart. And thou says, "To see God in all things, to discern him as the body and virtue of all creatures, and to use all things in moderation, is no more than pagan divinity. Is this all the effect and end of the blood of Christ?" I say, that is not all the end and effect of his blood, but it is one good effect, and a great deal more than yet it hath wrought in thee. Thou dost not yet see God in all things, unless thou wilt say thou sees him in lying, slandering and cursed speaking. And that thou and thy proselytes are not come to use all things in moderation, let your pride, covetousness and excess be a witness against you, & be thou a witness against thyself, and the rest of thy ranting crew, who use the blood of Christ for an occasion to the flesh, and a cloak for your liberty therein, that pagan divinity is better than yours; and if the pagan divinity bring forth these fruits which your divinity doth not, I shall say as Paul said concerning the Gentiles, they are the believers who bring forth the fruits of faith, and you are the infidels who justify yourselves before either faith or works, and without them. But did the apostle teach pagan divinity when he said, "Let your moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand" (Phil. 4:5)? And did Christ teach pagan divinity when he said "Take heed lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares" (Luke 21:34)? Was these pagans that taught this, or are they pagans who see God in all things? I shall rather choose to be numbered amongst those pagans than to be one of thy believers, self-justified without either faith or works.
Thou sayest, "Whoever looks into the mystery of Christ's death may see the first Adam, with all his deeds, and the world, with all its works, & all old things done away." I say, be witness against thyself that thou never saw that mystery in whom the first Adam, with the world's works and old things, are yet alive.
Thou sayest, "The Lord ordained the supper for a rudiment <235> to all that should have need thereof." It seems thou judges some to have no need of it; but was not thou condemning me even now for saying, discerning him to be the body and virtue of all creatures, and to see God in all things, and looking at this as too base to be the effects of that supper? and is the supper itself now become a rudiment with thee?
And thou goest on to tell what this rudiment must be, and that "therein is not a bare speculation of Christ or the divinity, as filling all things, for the natural man may know so much," thou says, "but to discern the law and all perfection, to be already buried and abolished in his grave, and yourselves raised up into liberty," &c. I say it is true, lawless liberty is the thing that thy ministry preaches, and to bury perfection; but the end why Christ sent forth his ministers was for perfecting the saints, not to bury perfection (Eph. 4:11-13). And the saints preached Christ for their lawgiver, and the law for their hearers to look into and continue therein, not to be hearers only but doers of the work; and said they should be blessed in that deed, and said the law was perfect and did endure forever; these did not bury it but preach it and live in it, and was set free by it (Jas. 1:25; Rom. 8:2). But thy way is to bury it out of the sight, and all perfection with it, lest it trouble thy liberty, and this is the end of thy rudiment, and yet sayest, the natural man may know the speculation of Christ or the divinity; I say, could he know that (which is false as Scripture witnesses, 1 Cor. 2:14), I should choose the natural man's estate, far before thine and thy liberty, for all thou hast got with thy rudiment, wherewith thou hast buried the law and all perfection.
Another piece of thy doctrine is "that Christ revealed in man is not to reconcile the creatures unto himself." I say, the devil would have the creatures act his command, to spend upon his lust, and therefore would exclude Christ in man to be but as some cipher or something to take on, not to have any power in the heart, to take the creatures from their lust and bring them into the place and covenant wherein they were created, and that in the heart of every man particularly (which is not done where he is not in the heart); he would be content to allow him a name or a talk of reconciling people, before they be begotten or born (as thy faith is), but after they come into the world and be able to do him any service, then <236> must he have the ordering of all within, and to own Christ for a redeemer in the heart, daily to free him from his sins, while the creature lives, that must go under the name of an error, if the devil be teacher. And to affright simple people the more from it, he tells them that to wait upon Christ in Spirit every day, to redeem them from their present sins, and enlighten them, and let them see his present wiles with which every day he besets them, this is to deny his person and what he did at Jerusalem, and is but a spirit of fear, they need not trouble themselves withal. It's enough that Christ reconciled the world in himself, and ruled over the devil in his own person, he need not do the same in him, that is but to do the work over again; and with such deceits as these he deceives the simplicity and sets the beast at liberty, and having got up in one, and the false prophet thereon, which hath told the lies, there antichrist goeth out into the world to oppose the word of reconciliation, or the government of Christ in the hearts of all the rest.
Thou sayest that "my saying Christ was not born in the disciples when the supper was appointed is contrary to truth." But truth saith that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus Christ was not yet glorified (John 7:39); neither was Christ born in all the churches, for some was carnal, and they was but waiting for his appearance, and many of them knew not the table of the Lord from the table of devils, and so was not come so far as those thou calls pagans, to see God in everything.
And here thou begins first to make a lie as formerly, to make thyself work, saying that I say, "Redemption is not of sinners, but of the light within," which is but the falsehood of thine own heart, for I speak of that seed that lieth slain in trespasses and sins, and in redemption of that is the sinner redeemed, who was captivated into sin and condemnation with the other seed of the devil, which is not to be redeemed but destroyed.
And after this lie, thou tells of my darkness, and cries out, "how are the abundant riches of grace, the fullness of the mediator, and the power of the cross resolved at once into the light?" I say, blind man, when was they out of it? yet doth none see them there but as they follow in the light, come to see the life, <237> as saith Christ (John 8:12), so that everyone that sees the light sees not them; but he that follows the light sees and receives them therein, which are not to be received in anything else. But how shouldst thou know what is in the light, who denies all light, both within and without, whatsoever, to be exercised therein? Children of darkness could never judge what was in the light, who in thy blind mind art telling, that the seed needs no redemption: what was that that was redeemed in the Ephesians, which was dead in trespasses and sins, in which they walked before they received the apostle's doctrine (Eph. 1:1-2); was they naturally dead, or the seed of God was slain in them? but when thou knows what that is that is dead in thee, whilst thou art alive in the devil's works, denying anything in thee to save thee therefrom, then thou shalt know what seed that is I speak of, which is not the seed of the evildoer; till then stop thy mouth from speaking thou knows not what, who hast denied all light whatsoever; what art thou like to know, but what darkness teacheth thee?
Thou goes on in thy confused mind, and tells of a greater law that came forth, "Christ in flesh," and of "an end put both to law and flesh by the body of Christ," and that "you are joined to Christ alone according to the inward man; ye dwell in the curtains of Solomon, and liberty and rest of Christ, but according to the flesh, you are in the tents of Kedar." And yet thy greatest work in thy book is to deny Christ according to the inward man, and to set up the knowledge of him according to the flesh; and thus with thy drunken dark spirit thou confounds thyself, and staggers to and fro at noonday, vomiting out thy own shame and confusion.
Thou tells also that thy "redemption, no law nor light of conscience can discern, but the light of Christ shining into the heart." So in thy opinion the light of Christ in the heart is no law, nor light of conscience. What is the law of the Spirit of life, if not the light of Christ in the heart? And what is that which is good in the conscience, the answer whereof saves, if not the light of Christ? And dost not thou say in thy 55th page, that "all that believe are justified from all things, by the law of the Spirit according to the conscience, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses?" And is it now become that no law nor light of conscience can discern it? So people must be justified by they do not know what; and much like according to <238> thy doctrine, who affirms they are justified before they be begotten or born; then are not like to discern what their redemption is, nor what it is that is redeemed, from what nor by whom, further than by a talk from a drunken spirit.
Thou says further, "There is no mystery in the light within." I say, where was that mystery that was held in a pure conscience, which the apostle speaks on (1 Tim. 3:9); was not that within? But thou hast found out a greater mystery than the mystery of faith; that is, that the thing that is not, may be washed, sanctified and justified; thou may well say this is above all the mystery within, and indeed beyond all faith that is of God, only thy imaginations hath no limit, whose foundation is in the air. Thou tells of a greater and better estate than Adam in his innocency, which is no more but in thy imaginations; for thou that never knew the life of innocency in thyself, as it was in Adam, art far unlike to know a greater, wherefore stop thy mouth, vain babbler, out of which comes all this confusion, smoke and darkness, and with the light of thy conscience find thy own measure, and boast not above it; so will thou see thyself for all thy boasting to be as dumb as those Isaiah speaks of, as to the state of innocency, or any state above it witnessed in thee, or thou in it, further than an airy notion.
And this is not without a slander like the rest, but thy lies are so many I am weary with raking in them; so to thy doctrine.
And thou tells of a justification already prepared and wrought for sinners upon the cross, when he bare away your sins and death and all the evils of this world, and thou sayest, "He that can but truly believe this, according to his faith, so is it done." But art thou not now become partial, who hast assumed a privilege to thyself that thou wilt allow nobody else? who sayest, thou thyself art justified, and sin washed away, before either faith or works, yea before thou thyself were, and now hast put others upon believing for justification, and sayest, "so it is done, according to their faith," and thine done without faith, yea, before either faith or works.
And seeing thou limits the time of this work of justification only to that time when Christ was upon a carnal cross, and sayest, "Thou wert justified before thou wast"; then when was all <239> justified that died before the outward crucifying of Christ? If there was not justification in Christ before that time, then either must it follow that the saints that died before was justified since they died, or else are all condemned? But if every particular saint was justified in their time by that everlasting righteousness of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, and all that departed from that righteousness was to perish (Ezek. 18), then must it either follow so now, or justification is not the same that it was, which do thou show if thou canst wherein it differs further than they (by faith) in him that was to come, whom they saw by faith, and we in faith of him that did come, whom we now see by faith in a clearer manifestation, but both in the same everlasting righteousness of God, without which righteousness by faith in them, and they in it, without which neither they nor we can enter into the kingdom.
A question thou asks: "But can there be rest and liberty where there is a groaning for it?"
Thy answer is, "Yea, O man, as well as Paul could be present in spirit where he was absent in body."
I say, thy comparison will not hold; for Paul was really present in spirit, and he need not groan for it, but he that imagines a liberty and yet is the servant of sin, is not so; and how being at rest, and travailing and groaning to come to rest, can stand together, a little simplicity may judge thereof.
Thou sayest, "The love of God, and righteousness of Christ, are not more or less for the believer."
I say, that is the ground of all the ranters, and as they are in God himself, without relation to any particular, they are no more or less.
But in relation to man's salvation, he that believes not shall never have benefit by them, according to his faith so shall he receive, as thou thyself, but now, confessed, with whom it's no new thing to say and unsay, both with a wind.
Thou tells of thy being justified by Christ thy head, but the manifestation of it in thyself, therein, is thy sanctification; and before thou said, thou "was sanctified before thou was born, and before thou wert." Thus thy potsherds are clashing one against another, who art lifting up thyself against the iron rod, and in opposition to the light of the world.<240>
Thy charge here is made up most of thy own words, and not mine, and so as thy own, and not mine, I shall pass it.
And thou begins thy doctrine with a deceit also, saying, "Are the law and gospel the same?" As though I had said they was. And thus with deceit and falsehood thou carries on thy work, saying that I say "They know not his commands in Spirit, who say that Christ fulfilled the law for us in his own person."
Another deceit is, that "whereas I say the blood of bulls and goats made nothing perfect," &c., this thou turns to the blood of Christ, as though I denied it to make perfect; and so runs on from one false deceit to another; for if thy deceit fall, thy works is at an end, the whole body being little else.
And when thou hast cast out thy lies, then thou comes to thy faith, that is, "that Christ hath sustained all the law hath to charge upon you," &c.
But let me ask thee one question with thy large faith, who was redeemed and justified before thou was born: Suppose thou commit adultery, or murder, will not the law charge that sin upon thee, that law God hath written in thy heart? Yea, and so as, without new washing, to condemn thee at the day of judgment? If thou say yea, then thy justification and washing before thou were born may be disannulled, and stand in need of the blood now. If thou say no, I say I should be loath to have to do with any one of thy opinion: I am sure no Ranter hath a larger.
Thou tells a story of being dead in Christ unto the first Adam, "with all his deeds and all the evils that come in by him." And as thou beholds Christ thou art "changed into the same image from glory to glory." I say, if lying and deceit be a deed of the first Adam, then, I say, thou art alive to that, and it reigns in thee. And whereas thou says, "As thou beholds him thou art changed into his image," &c., I say, even so, for thou who hast denied him in thee never beheld him, and so art the same thou wast, and deceit is thy glory, and from one deceit to another is thy charge. And thou that was pure before thou wast born, and says that is thy state thou stands in, what needs thou any more changing?
Another way thou would take to defraud the Scripture, that thereby thou mayest keep any from looking for washing or justifying now, says thou, "When it is said we are justified by God <241> and by grace, by the name of Christ, by the Spirit of our God, we are to understand that these went out against our sins in the blood of Christ"; and so would make all these of no use now in our age, as to sanctify now; but who reads the saints' testimony (1 Cor. 6:11) may find that they was washed, sanctified and justified after they had sinned and not before, as thou imagines thou wast before thou was born; and so thy washing so far beforehand leaves thee filthy still; but they was washed from their filthiness and knew no liar nor false accuser must enter into the kingdom of heaven, how clear soever they was before they was born and before they were, a washing and justification thou so much boasts on; but it's clear they and thou art not of one justification; for theirs was present, thine before thou wast; theirs by faith, thine before faith; theirs by the Spirit, thine by imaginations, without either Spirit, faith, or knowledge.
This is the first charge that is made up of truth.
And thou says my faith is "that Christ humbled himself and became obedient unto death, that he might become a living example," &c. And this thou opposes as an error, which are the words of Scripture. And though thou have said true in thy first charge, yet it must not pass without a lie in thy answer, that is, as though I had said, "that the mystery of faith is become no more with us than a lofty imagination of reason," when there is not one word by me to that purpose, but thy own vomit cast out upon us to make the truth odious, which thou canst not otherwise disprove. So thou adds a confusion or two and leaves what I have said as it was.
First, thou says, "Not the light within is that which leads to Christ Jesus," and so would make Christ a liar like thyself (John 8:12). And then thou says, "It must be known by the Spirit," and so makes thyself a liar if the Spirit be light within, which none that ever knew it will say otherwise of it.
Thou says also, that "the Scriptures are the image of Christ." A thing they may believe that will, for aught thou proves of it.
Thou asks, "Would the light within have showed you the atonement," &c. I say, the true atonement it will, and no other thing can show it to every particular person; but thy atonement, that was before thou was born, and is yet in thy sin, it will not; <242> it shows no such lies; but blind man, may not all that have any experience of atonement see what thy atonement is, that is not seen within? Hadst thou been reconciled to God in thy heart and spirit, the liar's mouth had been stopped; but if thou should own such an atonement, thou would lose thy master's service.
But didst thou know what atonement or unity with God is, thou could not feed thyself with lies, taking conceits for atonement, while that of God within thy conscience condemns thee, but thy atonement would be to see the light of his countenance shining in thy heart in the face of Jesus, and see him speak peace, who wounds.
This charge is true also: that I say "the ministers of Christ have the word in them, that they preach not for hire, that they are persecuted," &c., and this thou likes not for truth.
And to oppose it thou says, first, I say rightly, "but ministers of righteousness are of Satan or of Christ, zealously to affect, to preach freely, suffer labor, stripes, imprisonments," &c. I say, are ministers of righteousness of Satan, and do the ministers of Satan preach freely, &c.? Then take notice, that thou liar and hireling never yet came so far as a minister of Satan in thy own account; and thus instead of weighing us thou hast weighed thyself, and all thy brethren the parish masters with thee, and are found wanting of ministers of Satan; for shame now cease calling yourselves ministers of Christ, if by your fruits you may be known, and Christ hath said you must (Matt. 7:16,20), but this thou denies and says "Nay, by their spirits they must be judged, and their spirit by their words." So the devil would come in for a minister, who can get words enough, but fruits he cannot, therefore he loves not that trial.
Thou further says thou art "jealous that we are ministers of darkness." Yet not so dark but we can through the light of Christ see the devil's deceits, and that's thy punishment at present.
This charge is falsely made up, not as I have spoken all the words in it, yet somewhat of truth there is in it.
First, "The light within which reproves the evil deeds is the will of God, by which will we are sanctified. That in every man <243> which shows sin and reproves for it, is free grace. This light in every man is free will." Which is utterly false, for I have not said that every man that sees this light hath free will, but with the light he may see the will of God, which is free, from his own will. But none hath free will but who denies their own wills.
Thy answer is, that "if the first be so, then is the death of Christ of none effect." So that by thy doctrine, if it be the will of God that men should be reproved of sin by the light of Christ, and if it be by the will of God that we are sanctified and saved (for that is the thing I affirm), then Christ died in vain; this is thy consequence; so I shall prove what I affirm and then see all men what thy doctrine of consequence is.
That it is the will of God that all men should be reproved for their evil deeds by the light, read Eph. 5:13; John 16:8. And that by the will of God we are sanctified and saved, Heb. 10:9-10, 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Tim. 2:4. These with many other scriptures will prove what I have said, prove thy consequence as thou canst.
Thou says also, "If the second be so, then the law and free grace is the same."
So by thy doctrine and consequence, if that comforter Christ speaks on, which reproves the world of sin, and the light of Christ, be free grace, then the law and free grace are the same; a strange consequence, like the former. Is not the light of the world free grace? (John 8:12; 16:8) and the Spirit of God free grace? If that be not, then what is, seeing Christ and the Spirit is denied?
Further sayest thou, "If the light God hath put into all men be the gift of grace, the gift of heavenly righteousness by Christ, wherein is the end of the law and sin heeded?"
I say, what thou intends by thy consequence, & by sin heeded, let the reader judge if he can; but that the light is the gift of grace, that I own, and wert not thou blind, thou would not imagine any light of God given to man which is not the gift of grace; it must either be of grace or of works; and what work hast thou done to obtain the gift of Christ's light?
Thou says, "If the third be so, then there is that in the natural man whereby he is able to know and receive the things of the Spirit."
<244> I say, thy charge in this is a lie, not my words, and thy consequence is of the same vote, and so to thee I leave them, being thy own work, to say and gainsay; but that the light of Christ, whoever minds it and follow it, is able to lead to receive the things of the Spirit, that I have proved (John 8:12 and divers other places).
Another deceit to cast a mist over the light is: thou says, "The deep things of God, his grace in Christ, sparkling in the old time now in one promise, now in another, and foretold by the prophets (whereof the righteousness of the Jews, philosophers and Greeks knew nothing), this cannot be discovered by the clearest light in the natural man."
I say, here are two deceits covered in this: first, as though none of the Jews or saints did discern this before Christ came at Jerusalem; the second, as though the clearest light with which Christ enlighteneth men within could not lead to the discerning of him; which are both contrary to Christ's words, who saith, "Abraham saw my day," and to the prophets he was born (Isa. 9:6). And saith Christ, "I am the light of the world; he that follows me shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). And so with the words of truth thy mist is driven away, and the truth cleared from thy deceits.
And then as thou begun thy work with lies, so thou ends with two lies more thou casts upon us. That we "level the mystery of the second Adam, and the restoring of all things in him, to be no other thing but law and reason." Secondly, that we "make the death of Christ of none effect, and the whole mystery of grace in him."
But seeing thou dost falsely slander us herein, I shall state the case truly as it is in this question: whether they that believe Christ died at Jerusalem, and witness his blood in them, whereby their hearts are sprinkled, and washed from lying, deceit and pride, and uncleanness, by the indwelling of Christ in them, so kept according to the measure of Christ revealed in Spirit? Or they who say that Christ died at Jerusalem, but deny him in them to redeem and save them from the power of sin, or his blood in them to sprinkle and wash them daily from dead works? Or any light of his whatsoever, either within or without, to be exercised in, to freedom and perfection, but say, they were washed, sanctified and justified before they came into the world, but in the world are found liars <245> and false accusers, and deceitful teachers; this being the true case between thee and us, I leave it to the wise to judge who it is that denies Christ Jesus the everlasting priest, which abideth forevermore, to every generation, and who it is that makes his blood of none effect, as to wash away sin and to restore all things to God; and whether the effect of the blood of Christ be to take away sin or to talk on, whereby to plead for sin against the present being and effect thereof (to wit) to keep out of the devil's works? Now who owns the blood of Christ let the effect manifest to all men. And know thou that the blood of Christ is not words nor imaginations, of what thou never see before thou was born, but a living substance, which is to be known, with its effect, to every particular saint in every generation, and such who say they are saved by the blood of Christ before they were, but now are found in their sins, are such as deny the blood of Christ, and to them they make it of none effect, who are not washed; and they who say they was purged, sanctified and justified before they were, and now when they are, are unclean, boasts of that they never saw, and trusts in a lie, for talking what Christ was by the history is one thing, which all have and believe, and yet abide in condemnation, and without further may perish; but to learn Christ in the mystery of faith, which is held in a pure conscience, is another, and only such know him aright, both what he did at Jerusalem and the end of it, who follow him now in spirit and have fellowship in his death and sufferings, and so attains to his resurrection in the Spirit and life, and so follow in his life and righteousness, such only confess him and shall not therein be condemned.
Much more might be said to lay open thy deceits in thy other part of thy book, but my life is not to rifle in such heaps of confusion, were it not that I am forced to it for clearing the truth from false teachers, who are wholly ignorant of the mystery of faith which is held in a pure conscience, and so know naught but in the natural comprehensions, as brute beasts, judging of the great mystery of God and his redemption to stand in visibles and carnal things, times and places, which things in their carnal wisdom they make use on to fight against the spiritual appearance of Christ in the creature without which there can be neither life nor redemption. No, Christ himself, only known after the flesh, <246> brings no man to God, but Christ revealed in Spirit from heaven, that everlasting light and glory of the Father, the eternal Spirit and comforter, that could not come till he went away in the flesh. And if his presence was not the full accomplishment of the great promise of the Father and the Son, but he must go away in the flesh, out of their carnal sight, no more to be in the world carnally, but in them spiritually, which is the comforter, even the Spirit of truth, to guide them into all truth; and this Christ holds forth as their greater power and comfort. Yea, and when they had received him so, they said, though they had known Christ after the flesh, they knew him so no more: how much less is a talk of him whom you never see, neither without nor within, with his presence in spirit, which is the main end why he came in the flesh in his own person, that through faith in him who was the first begotten from the dead, he might appear in Spirit in all his, and dwell in them, guide and govern in them forever, as his dwelling place in this world from generation to generation forevermore, in which body he is veiled from the world's wisdom now as ever he was, and in whom he now suffers as he hath ever done. I say, how much short such are of the knowledge of a living Christ, his presence or redemption, these times may judge, and the fruits thereof, for where Christ is the body is dead because of sin, and the Spirit is life because of righteousness; but where a talk of Christ only is, the body of sin lives, such would murder him where he is come under a pretense of their denying Christ at Jerusalem, when they do not only believe what he did there but also witness him in them their savior at present from sin and the power of Satan, which is the end why he came at Jerusalem, and without which the other saves not.
And for this hast thou set up thy horn against it, and hast brought out this heap of confusion to show thyself blind, with the rest of thy earthborn brethren, who are at strife one with another, but now joined together in open battle against the light of the Lamb, which is risen to reveal your dark foundation, and that your curious Babel may become a heap of rubbish, till there be not left a way in, nor out, nor a place to hide you.
And such a heap thereof is in the other part of thy book as might fill a volume to repeat and answer; but the substance thereof <247> being answered in this foregoing, or in other books, I shall say little, only give thee and the world a view of some few of thy errors, and let the Scripture reprove them, such as these following.
That there are three way to know God, when as there is but one way, even Christ from the beginning, though in several ministrations (John 14:6).
That the knowledge of God, according to the law, is idolatry, whereas God hath said, "I will write my law in your hearts, and you shall know me," which is the new covenant, neither was it ever idolatry to know God after the law (Heb. 8:8-11; Jer. 31:32,34; Jas. 1:25).
That the doctrine of devils doth preach a Jesus, gospel, and Spirit (2 Cor. 3:16-17).
That all men know God according to his Godhead (Matt. 11:27; 1 Cor. 15:34; 2 Thess. 1:8).
That a man, while enclosed up in a body of sin and death, is at the same time raised up into the heavenly righteousness, immortality and freedom, above all sin or shadow of evil (Matt. 6:24; Rom. 6:16; John 8:34-36; Rom. 8:12).
That Christ cannot be seen by the obedience of the Spirit within us (1 Cor. 12:3; Rom. 8:14).
That those whose root and foundation is what Christ is and hath done in himself, but the way to partake of the benefit of it is their union with him; such do (by lust) crucify his Spirit and grace within (John 15:4-5).
That the gospel, being a mystery of things hid in Christ, is neither written nor to be seen in the heart of man (1 Tim. 3:9; Rom. 10:8-10).
That the gospel, as a commandment and piece of morality, may be read and believed by every man, and yet says in another place, the gospel is hid from all principles of flesh (2 Cor. 4:3-4).
That the mystery of God in Christ is not to be known by his enlightening within men (2 Cor. 4:6-7).
That the Spirit set up asunder from the letter brings forth a twofold error, both perilous and hurtful (2 Cor. 3:6; Rom. 7:6).
That affirming the light in the conscience the way or guide to <248> Christ is a darksome and fleshly principle, wherein Christ and his redemption is forgotten forever (1 Tim. 1:19 and 3:9).
That all just laws of nations are beams from Christ, as he is the light and word of God to the natural man, but not as he is a redeemer (John 1:9 and 5:33).
That the light within for matter and substance is the same with the law of Moses and was not given for righteousness, nor can reveal life (Rom. 10:7-10; 2 Cor. 4:6).
That Christ came to deliver us from the light within (Luke 11:34-36).
That Christ is no giver of laws (Isa. 33:22; 1 Cor. 9:21; Jas. 4:12; Rom. 8:2),
That Christ set forth as the word, the light, the truth, the Spirit, as a man holy, spotless, separate from sinners, as a living example to the world of perfect obedience to the law of the Spirit and life of God so denies and blots out the glory of his grace, as being the end of the law (Rev. 19:13; John 8:12; 14:6; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:21; Rom. 8:2).
That a man may see himself dead and buried with Christ, and raised up together with him, and not by any obedience to Christ within (1 Pet. 1:2,22).
That the light within is the spirit of this world, that hath formed all false resemblances of Christ (Luke 11:34-36).
That the true likeness and image of Christ is not known to the light within (1 Cor. 12:3).
That the conception of Christ as a lawgiver and work is an idol and the root of all idolatrous religions (Jas. 4:12; Isa. 33:22).
That the law in the conscience arose against Christ (1 Pet. 3:21).
That a man is justified from sin while the light within condemns of sins (1 John 3:19-21).
That Jesus Christ came forth and took the work of the law out of the heart (Rom. 2:15-16).
That the light within accusing for sin pertaineth only to the flesh (John 16:8,13).
That Christ comes not down into our persons as a light accusing for sin (John 16:8,13).
That light within which leads to know God as God, and <249> glorify him as God, and returns to God obedience thereto just and perfect, as God is just and perfect, this knows nothing of the gospel ministry, God manifested in flesh (2 Cor. 4:6).
That this light was not given for righteousness, which will do all this before mentioned.
These need no answering to any who have received and felt anything of God; they can all witness that not anything of God did they ever see, feel or know but within, for it is the Spirit that searcheth and reveals all things, even the deep things of God. Now is there any man that knows anything as he ought to know, but by Christ enlightening his understanding within; that work thou opposing shows thy blindness and opposition to Scripture, as may be seen.
Many more suchlike errors hast thou, which are directly opposite to the Spirit of God and plain Scripture, such as indeed give Christ a name to have lived and died in his own person at Jerusalem, but doth wholly strike at his eternal life and the everlasting offering, his long suffering, his death, and the fellowship of it, and his resurrection, his enlightening, leading and salvation in Spirit within, without which no man can be saved, nor know Christ, but as the devil may know him; and in plain truth strikes at his everlasting name, as he is an everlasting king and savior in his people, to wash, to order, to judge, to give laws and statutes, to save and redeem from every particular sin, in every one of his, from one generation to another, by his present indwelling, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, where he is manifest in flesh to take away sin.
And by talking of his blood at Jerusalem makes his blood of none effect, as he is an everlasting priest, by an everlasting priesthood, not as in one generation, but forever, stands offered up to the Father, with his blood in the everlasting covenant an atonement making, and besprinkling the hearts and consciences of every one of his by the blood of his everlasting covenant, which not being done by faith within, makes that at Jerusalem of none effect as to that person.
And this is the same Spirit that in the law cried "the temple, the temple," but to withstand him who was the everlasting temple and substance of the visible, which now cries, "the body and <250> blood at Jerusalem," but to withstand the end of that blood, which is to wash and cleanse from all sin, and to purge every conscience from dead works, without which that at Jerusalem is made void and without its effect; and as the devil could keep then them blind in the temple worship, but he in their hearts and they doing his work, so doth he now by crying the death at Jerusalem, and keeping from the fellowship of it within; he keeps sin alive, and the creature captivated therein at his will, and makes them believe they were cleansed before they were born, but still in the same iniquity the Jews was in (if not worse) and cries up a great benefit they have by Christ's coming, and that they are under grace, but still in the power of Satan, and his works done in the body where Christ should dwell; so that in truth this is all the benefit that is found in such, more than the Jews had, but a talk of Christ at Jerusalem, as the other did of the temple at Jerusalem, but both without that in them which is the life of all visibles and invisibles, even the indwelling of Christ to redeem them from the power of sin and the world; but these cry, we are redeemed by the blood of Christ before we were, though we commit sin, that cannot hinder our redemption; we are delivered, though we be enclosed up in a body of sin, yet are we in Christ at the very same time in the heavenly righteousness, far above all sin (as thou says), which indeed is no more but an imagined freedom and a lie, and is found no more in substance, nor before God is there any difference at all between a servant of sin in the Jews' time and a servant of sin now, but only that you cause the name of Jesus to be evil spoken on through the world, and sin against his light and grace more than they did; and make the sufferings of Christ at Jerusalem a cloak for the devil to carry his works under, and bring them forth.
Neither did ever any child of light profess such a faith (to wit) that they were washed and justified when they were not, which is a mere fiction of the brain, and no faith, but a piece of nonsense, to say we were justified, sanctified and washed before we were; as though that which is filthy may be made clean by washing a thing that is not, and by justifying a thing that is not, you are just before God, in all manner of filthiness, and so in an airy conceit of justifying of naught, you imagine you are saved.
Neither did ever any of the children of light say that they <251> was justified before faith, as thou dost. Produce thy brother amongst all the saints that was of this faith: thou talks of papists and false opinions; I say, none like this, not a Ranter in England hath a larger faith, nor hath the devil such a way in all the world to keep people out of the fear of God, repentance for sin, or being guided by the light and Spirit of Christ, out of the devil's work, and so redeemed out of condemnation.
Was there ever such a deceit as the devil hath blinded you withal, to live in your sin and bondage to Satan, denying the light of Christ in you, and when he lets you see your bondage and his enemy, and what way you should escape the pollutions of the world, and his wrath that is against you, by his light in your consciences, then you call that a spirit of bondage and say you are not under that, you are redeemed from minding anything within in the conscience, and thus at once make shipwreck of a pure conscience and the mystery of faith therein, and run in hand with the devil to believe lies: that you was clean before you was born, & shall be clean when you are dead; and your sins now cannot change God's purpose nor make his love more or less to you; and so with a brazened face set up a way and faith, and preach it, that though you be closed up in sin, and wicked in your life, soul and body, and all you are, yet you are righteous before God, and that which you now love and live in must not be charged upon you.
And when the enemy hath got you into this deceit, and thereby slain the witness of God in you, which should reprove you of sin and keep you in his fear, and your hearts tender, then are you fit instruments for his work, to withstand the spiritual appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ in his saints; and for that purpose hath he fill'd your hearts with lies and deceits, to cast in the way of the truth and upon them that profess it, as thou hast done in this thy book, slandering us to deny the person of Christ, for no other thing but because we witness the end of his appearance in person, which is his indwelling forever in our hearts by faith, there to sit as king and priest to all generations, taking dominion over whatever in the heart is contrary to him, which is his seat and kingdom in this world, wherein alone he is known, only in the hearts of his people; without which none knows him, nor are reconciled to God by him, and this is not to deny his person, but <252> to exalt him as king in the heart and conscience forever, for he is worthy, whose kingdom is righteousness.
I know what Christ did in his own person, and do own and believe it, and that righteousness he therein wrought, and how therein he became the only way to the Father, the truth and the life, and the light of all the world, set up forever to lead to God, and that therein he is the first and the last, and there is none besides him with the Father, an advocate, mediator, and intercessor, given of the Father into the world, to that end that all men through him might believe and be saved; this I own and know, and much more. But that any can be saved by him without faith and obedience to him, and walking in him who is the way, light and life, only by thinking they believed what he did at Jerusalem, that I deny, and that faith which is without works is no more than what the devils hath, which will not save them nor any else; but in him is the redemption, not in a talk of him; and he that is in sin is not in him; for he that abides in him sins not; nor hath any the benefit of what he is to a believer, but as they receive his light that shows them sin, and so turn to him by repentance, till then what he is in his own person, or hath done, is so far from saving any, that it is their condemnation that he is come a light into the world, and they still walk in darkness, and not in him.
And also whatever the Scripture doth declare of him I own, and so do all who in the light dwell, from which the letter was given forth; and therefore be ashamed of thy lies that thou hast cast upon us in this part of thy book also, which are not worth answering, being most of them answered and denied in my answer to the other part of thy book, to which also thou hast added in this such things as never entered into our hearts to do nor speak, which thou most falsely accusest us withal, as that we say:
"That the light which enlightens every man, accusing of sin, is Christ and God, the eternal and just one, and so the redeemer and savior, and the all to be known and believed."
"That the returning into the light again, man is restored and redeemed as at the beginning." When we say, it's the light that leads to the blood of cleansing, &c. (1 John 1:6-7).
"That this light, as condemning of sin, is the blood and death of the cross, the resurrection and second coming of the Son <253> of God."
"That the law and gospel, faith and obedience, death, resurrection, redemption, justification and sanctification are not things distinct, but one and the same within us."
"That we deny the person of Christ as the object of faith."
"That we deny faith itself as the evidence of things not seen."
"That we affirm in effect that Christ is divided."
"That we affirm that Paul and every Christian are crucified and made an offering for himself."
"That we say the light in every man is Christ the redeemer."
"That the law, from which Christ came to deliver us, is called and worshipped by us as the redeemer and Spirit."
"That the Quakers say that Christ took on him our nature, but not our judgment and sin."
"That Christ died at Jerusalem but as an example, but not as a sacrifice."
"That he did not the work by himself at once, but only showed the way."
"That we reckon Christ to be such a one as was the priest and Levite that passed by the wounded man."
"That we deny the dead body and flesh of Christ to be the only way into the inward life."
"That nothing will serve us, but to tear out of your faith, and knowledge, and profession, the blood of atonement, redemption and reconciliation by that our sacrifice once forever."
"That we deny that Christ in the body of his flesh, through that obedience to death, he crucified our old man, purged away sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and perfected forever all that are sanctified." Which thing we do not deny to all that are sanctified, but to you, who are yet in your sins, we do, else we should lie as you do.
"That we agree with the papists in this, that works or obedience to some law or rule is the way to redemption, perfection and God."
"That we deny the Jesus that died, and therein by blood and Spirit perfected us forever by himself."
"That we affirm that God requires the same obedience of ourselves as he did of Christ, and so we conclude we must be <254> justified by the works of the law": slandering us, that we teach Christ only as an allegory.
"That we make faith void, and the blood of Christ of none effect."
And divers more deceits out of thy own blind heart hast thou made up into lies and laid upon us, as though we said them, when they are but thy own blindness of heart and wilful wickedness; in all which it is clearly seen that thou dost not mind anything of God in thee to guide thy tongue, or to lead thee to do as thou wouldst be done by. And therefore because thou hast rejected the light of Christ, and set thyself by thy lies to oppose it, therefore art thou given over to blindness of heart, and to make lies thy covering, and as thou hast chosen them against the light, so shalt thou be filled therewith, and covered with thick darkness, so into thy bowels be they returned and the truth cleared.
And as for thy whole work, it is judged by all who have the knowledge of the life of God and its workings in them, and who hath a love to righteousness, such as know his work, and who it is as works it, will not change that faith that reveals the workings of redemption and freedom from every particular sin, in their measures daily, and peace thereby from condemnation, by the presence of him that works all their works in them, such will not change their faith for a fancy, of what thou imagines was done for thee, thou knows not when where, nor doth the effects thereof appear further than a talk with all the world.
Only thy doctrine will be acceptable to such as would be saved, but the way of God is too strait, who likes not to bear the cross by which living redemption is now wrought, a redemption in a talk is very pleasing to such, that they may live with the world while they live, and be separated from them when they die.
Also such as have got a wound from the Lord in their hearts and consciences for their selfish wicked ways, to such thy salve of justification from sin before they commit it, will serve to heal the heart deceitfully, as the false prophets ever did, who cried peace where God cried not peace, but that peace will break out again when you stand in most need; it will only serve you while you can please yourselves in the things of this world, and forget your later end, but if ever you remember Christ's justification, <255> spoken on Matt. 12:36-37, it will mar yours; to wit, that for every idle word you must answer for at the day of judgment, and then by your words you must be justified, and by your words condemned, you that live and die in your sins will find it in vain at that day to plead your justification before you was born, or had committed sin, so to that day I leave you, who will not be reconciled to God, but choose your own delusions.
Quer. 1. Seeing thou affirms that Christ hath quite taken away sin before people are born; then, whether doth any come into the world without sin or no?
2. If Christ took away all sins before you were born, as though it had never been, how is it you say you expect his appearance again to salvation? must you be twice saved? and when there is naught to be saved from?
3. Whether he that believes that all his sins are taken away before he be born, as though they had never been (as thou sayest) and yet commits sin, and hath the root of it in him, doth not believe a lie, yea or no?
4. Whether he that hath his sin done away, as though it had never been, needs to repent of anything he doth, as sin, or grieving of the Spirit of God, yea or no?
5. Whether he that believes his sins are washed away before he be born, and after he be born doth commit sin, whether he doth stand in need to be washed again? and if he be not washed again, whether he shall die in his sins or no?
6. Suppose thou that calls thyself a believer should commit a sin, as covetousness, which is idolatry, or the like; if one thou calls an unbeliever do the same, whether is thy sin as great as his, and stands need of washing as he, or else perish with him without repentance, or what is the difference, as to the root, matter and offense?
7. Whether did not Christ wash, sanctify and justify all mankind in the same manner he did thee before thou wast? and if not, what is the difference, and the cause, and the ground of it?
8. Is there any creature living, that if they mind the light of <256> Christ, and so come to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, improving what power God hath given, but they shall be saved? And on the contrary, is there any, though they pretend faith, yet commit sin, and die therein without repentance and washing, that shall be saved? And whether the purpose of God doth not stand with the creatures, as they own or disown the righteousness of faith in Christ Jesus? can any be condemned that receives it, or can any be saved without it, yea or no?
1. Whether thy Christ thou speaks on be the same with that which the Scriptures speak of? If the same, where is thy testimony from Scripture for such a Christ as is no lawgiver? If another (as in truth it is) then why dost thou begin thy book with a lie, calling it A Testimony to the True Jesus?
2. Whether dost thou own this to be a prophecy of Christ, Deut. 18:15-19 (which the apostles applied to him, Acts 3:22-23), where it's said, "I will raise up to thee a prophet from the midst of thee," &c., "unto him shall ye hearken, according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more that I die not. And the Lord said, they have well spoken, I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." If thou own these words to be spoken of Christ, whether dost thou not see them to hold out him as a lawgiver to his people? and such a lawgiver as that whosoever did not hearken to his words should be cut off, or the Lord would require it of him. Whether dost thou own the new covenant, the law to be put in the heart and writ there, instead of giving it forth in tables of stone on Mount Sinai in thunder and lightnings and fire, which the people could not bear? And whether dost thou own Christ to be the minister of that new covenant or new law promised, which <257> the people were to hear, or be cut off? Or whether dost thou own Christ to give the Spirit into the hearts of his people to be their law and teacher, to teach them all things, and to lead into all righteousness? In a word, whether dost thou own him to give forth either precept or Spirit, seeing thou denies him to be a lawgiver? For the giving forth of either makes him a lawgiver.
3. Whether dost thou own these sayings following to be precepts or laws given out by Christ, or disown that Christ that gave them forth, namely (Matt. 5:29-30): "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee," &c., "and if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee," &c. Again, "I say unto you, swear not at all." "I say unto you, that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt." "Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul." "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart," and suchlike? Are these precepts or laws given forth by Christ, yea or no? seeing thou disowns him as a lawgiver.
4. Whether dost thou own this to be Scripture? Or this Christ that gave this commandment (John 13:34): "A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another?"
5. Seeing thou disowns Christ a lawgiver, whether dost thou own him to be king and Lord and master? If so, whether only titular, or in truth and power? If in power, where lies it, if he cannot give forth a command or law and so be a lawgiver to his people?
6. Whom hast thou hitherto served? and whom hast thou hitherto obeyed? seeing thou owns not Christ to be thy lawgiver. Art thou lawless and disobedient? or hast thou thy law from thyself, or from Satan, or some other? Whose law followest thou, seeing thou owns none from Christ?
And seeing thou disowns Christ also as a worker—Query: Who is it that works all our works in us (Isa. 26:12) and without whom we can do nothing (John 15:4-5)? and who was it that wrought in Paul mightily (Col. 1:19)?
a. Thomason date: 9 Sept.