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And no meitude again hade it their of the cofiel
character, but the Bereans of that age (for that they both searched after truth impartially, and when they found it, embraced it readily, for which they were entitled noble); therefore it is that to you, the offspring of that worthy stock, and noble Bereans of our age, I, in behalf of the so much calumniated abettors of the cause of truth, chose to dedicate this defence of our holy profession from the injurious practices of a sort of men, who, not unlike to the Jews of Thesfalonica, that, envying the prosperity of the gospel among your ancestors, made it their business to ftir up the multitude against the zealous promoters of it. And no matter what it be, provided they can but obtain their end of fixing an odium upon the Quakers: they do not only boldiy condemn what they esteem worst in us (how deservedly we will not now say) but insinuate what is best to be criminal.
The sobriety of our lives, they call a cheat for custom; and our incessant preachings and holy living, a decoy to advance our party : if we say nothing to them when they interrogate us, it is sullenness or inability; if we say something to them, it is impertinency, or equivocation. We must not believe as we do believe, but as they would have us believe, which they are sure to make obnoxious enough, that they may the more securely inveigh against us. Nor mult our writings mean what we say we mean by them, but what they will have them to mean, left they should want proofs for their charges. It was our very case that put David upon that complaint, « Every day " they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against « me for evil.” But to David's God we commit our Nandered cause, and to you the Bereans of our age.
Degenerate not from the example of your progenitors; if you do, you are no longer true Bereans, and to such we inscribe this work: if you do not, we may affure ourselves of the justice of a fair enquiry and an equal judgment.
The The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ auge ment your desire after truth, give you clearer discerning of the truth, and enable you both more readily to receive, and with greater resolution to maintain the truth, I am
CHRISTIAN QUAKER, &c.
CH A P. I.
The introduction. Three questions proposed, stating
the matter to be treated upon. First, what is salvation ? Anf. To be saved from fin, as well as from wrath ; and not from wrath without sin.
the meanelt. Olinle, its forcesions, as they
D EING to write of the light of Christ within, the
D great principle of God in man, the root and fpring of divine life and knowledge in the soul ; that by which salvation is effected for man, and which is the characteristick of the people caled Quakers, their faith and testimony to the world; I choose to consider it under these three following questions, as stated by none of the meanest of our adversaries, being comprehensive of the principle, its force, and friends; wherein I endeavour to solve those objections, as they naturally arise, which either have been, or may be, advanced against what is asserted by us, in favour of this divine principle, and its effects upon mankind: which I recommend to my readers serious consideration; defiring that patience and impartiality may keep them company in the perusal thereof; it being writ for their advantage, as well as our vindication, that they may have a nearer and clearer prospect of that way the blessed ever trod to glory.
1. What is that falvation, which the light leads to ?
2. What is this light, and how does this light lead so it? And,
3. Who this he or they are, that obey this light; and, in obeying, attain salvation ?
I. By salvation, we understand, as by scripture is delivered to us, "Man's being saved from sin here, " and the wages of it,' which is wrath to come. Whereby we are taught, utterly to renounce and reject the cominon acceptation of it, as the full and complete force of the word, viz. barely to be saved from punishment hereafter: in which security, through a vain expectation of salvation, whilst not really and actually saved from the power of sin, through the invisible power of Christ, thousands die. In short, we call salvation, « Christ's making an end of sin; def( troying the works of the devil; finishing of tranf- . "gression; binding the strong man, and spoiling of « his goods in the hearts and consciences of men and ( wonen; and bringing in his everlasting righteous.
ness into the soul, whereby to cleanse, wash, rege(nerate, renew and refresh the soul;' in one scripturephrase, “ to save his people from their sins.”
These are the times of refreshment, and this is the, day of reftitution; and thus is he King, to reign ; ... Prophet, to give vision; and High Priest, to anoint
with the holy unction, that leadeth his people into all truth, whose lips alone preserve knowledge; and there. . fore it is the unchangeable gospel-rule to believers : and those who are thus freed, or saved here, from the power, nature, and defilement of' fin, are the alone
persons that are or shall be hereafter saved from eterE nal wrath and vengeance; the heavy recompence of
sin. All this we understand by that word salvation; and in this center the great and glorious prophecies and performances of Christ.
C HA P. II. The second question stated: particularly what is meant
by light. It is a principle that discovers the state of man, and leads to blessedness.
"THE second question runs thus: what is that light
I which leadeth to salvation, and how doth it lead to salvation ?
By light, I understand not the metaphorical use of the word; as when Christ said to his disciples, « Ye “ are the lights of the world;" or, as the apostle speaks, “ Now are ye light in the Lord;" nor yet the mere spirit or reason of man; but Chrift, that glorious Sun of righteousness, and heavenly luminary of the intellectual or invisible world , represented, of all outward resemblances, most exactly by the great fun of this sensible and visible world : that as this natural light ariseth upon all, and gives light to all, about the affairs of this life; so that divine light ariseth upon all, and gives light to all that will receive the manifestations of it, about the concerns of the other life. Such a light I mean by " that light which light“ eth every man that cometh into the world,” and that leadeth those that obey it to eternal falvation.
The seripture says no lefs, John i. 4, 9. « In the « Word of God was life, and chat (very) life was «c the light of men, that enlighteneth every man that « coineth into the world.”
But to demonstrate it the most obviously that I can, to the lowest capacities, I shall evidence the nature and virtue of this principle, light, by the holy effects of it, which is the how, or the which way, it leadeth to salvation. This is so necessary in order to explicate the other, that as the tree is known by its fruits, so is the true Saviour by his falvation. If then I can make it appear, that the light, as obeyed in all its discoveries and requirings, is sufficient to salvation; all must yield to the efficacy of the light within.