A LETTER TO THE Author of a Book, ENTITULED, An Answer to W.P's KEY, About the Quakers LIGHT WITHIN, &c.

SIR,

I Consider that the Controversie that you and I are ingaged in, is of infinitely greater concern to all Men than all the Contests of all the Kings, and other Potentates in the World about Temporal Power and Dominion: For the Na­tions are as a drop of a Bucket, and [Page 2] are counted as the small Dust of the Balance: But THE TRUE LIGHT, concerning whose In­fluence upon the Souls of Men, we are now to Dispute, is, The High, and Lofty One that inhabiteth Eter­nity, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. I beseech you therefore to consider that you must give account at the Day of Judgment of every word you shall return in Answer, to what I shall here say in vindication of the Truth concerning The Light within, Asserted by W. P. in his small Treatise, Entituled, The Key, &c.

You say, p. 12. ‘Never was any Nation, or any Generation, or any one Man instructed by that Light that is in the Conscience of every Man, that there ever was such a one as Jesus of Nazareth, much less, that he was the Lord, and least of all what he required of his Servants and Attendants: Therefore no light within com­mon to all Mankind, can be the Rule of the Christian Religion. So that the notorious Experience of all Men confutes the pretence of the Quakers, since it was never possible for any Man to learn, the least part of the Christian Religi­on by the Light within that is in every Man's Conscience.’ Answ. Whoever did not Rebel against the Light, which is in the Conscience of every Man, did believe that there was such a one as Jesus of Nazareth, as soon as this Truth was Declar'd unto him by Christ, or His Apostles, or any other that had re­ceiv'd Authority from CHRIST to Preach the Gospel. In a sincere Conformity to the Law of GOD written in the Heart, is implyed a Virtual Assent to all Truth. You say, (p. 26.) That, ‘Our Consci­ence is an inward Sense perceiving immediately nothing but our own Thoughts, which thoughts are therefore its Notices; and the Minds perceptive, Power present­ing these in it self, is the Light in the Conscience of every Man.’ Answ. CONSCIENCE is the KNOWLEDGE of the Law of God in Conjunction with the KNOWLEDGE of the Confor­mity, or Difformity of our own Acti­ons, or Omissions thereunto: By Knowledge here I mean the Inward Man, or the Heart consider'd, as Knowing the Law of God, &c. The Truth of what I say is evident from these Texts of Scripture, Rom. 2.15. 1 John 3.20, 21. This is a gross Falshood that Conscience perceives nothing immediately but our own Thoughts: For it immediately per­ceives the Law of God, viz. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and thy Neighbour as thy self; after that it perceives the Conformity, or Difformity of our own Actions, or Omissions thereunto. In the Law of God written in the Heart, is ma­nifestly imployed the Idea of God; for we cannot have any Perception of the Law of God without some Perception, Notion, or Idea of His Existence. This Innate Idea, No­tion, or Perception of the Divine Being, the one being absolutely infi­nite, is that peculiar Participation of Eternal REASON, The WORD, which was in the begin­ning with God, and which was God, with which our Blessed Creator, the Fountain of all Goodness has endued all Rational Souls. This I suppose is that which W. P. means [Page 3] by His own Light, viz. the imme­diate Emanation of the WORD, or REASON ESSENTIAL upon All Rational Souls. 'Tis ex­cellently observ'd by W. P. Key. p. 2. that, This Light is something else than the bare Ʋnderstanding Man hath as a Rational Creature: For as such, Man cannot be a Light to him­self; but has only a capacity of see­ing by means of the Light, with which Christ, the Word, enlighteneth him.

The Humane Intellect, or Ʋnder­standing is called Reason, because it is the power or faculty of perceiv­ing the Emanations of the Essential Reason, the Fountain of all Truth, and Goodness. You tell us that ‘The Mind's perceptive Power presenting these (our Thoughts) in it self is the Light in the Consci­ence of every Man.’ I suppose upon second thoughts you will re­tract this: What! is the Power, or Faculty perceptive of Light or Truth, the Light it self? I'le grant that the Humane Understanding, or Intellectual preceptive Faculty, being the Eye of the Soul, may be called the Light that is in us; not because we are conscious of our Thoughts, but because we are ca­pable of perceiving the TRUE LIGHT in our own Souls.

You say, ‘This light is the Deity it self, and then the Soul of every Man will be Deified thereby.’ Answ. Not so but the Soul of every Man that Walks in this Light, that adheres to it, as the Principle of all his Actions, may truly be said to be made Partaker of the Divine Nature, [...].. It is a most horrid Error (if not plain Blasphemy,) to say as you do, that ‘It was never possi­ble to learn the least part of the Christian Religion by the Light within, that is in every Man's Conscience:’ For by the Light within we understand CHRIST himself, and that Light which im­mediately Flows from Him, the Fountain of Light, the Sun of Righ­teousness, which we are called to Re­flect upon, and Conform our Will, and Affections thereunto, by all the Notices that GOD gives of him­self by any of his WORDS, or WORKS. Whatever knowledge a Man can have of the sense or sig­nification of any Texts of Scripture, without this Reflexion or immediate Application of the Will and Ʋnder­standing to Christ himself, the Foun­tain of Light in his own Soul, such Knowledge is rather the Picture, Form, or Image of Knowledge, than True Divine Knowledge: 'Tis that Knowledge which puffeth up, and renders Men more like the Devil, the Father of Lies. 'Tis only by obeying the Light within, or by our adherence to the Spirit of Truth in our own Hearts, that we can ever attain to the knowledge of the Truth, as it is in JESƲS; that is, as it saves those that have any apprehension of it, from their Sins. p. 21. you have these words: ‘God is Light, and God is within other things, as well as Men; is then God a Light within to every Tree, or Beast, or Star?’ Answ. GOD, being the ONE absolutely infi­nite, is in every Creature; but He is a Light only to those Creatures, which he has endued with a Capa­city of having some sight, or per­ceivance of Him. I desire you wou'd Peruse all those Papers which [Page 4] have been or shall be Publisht for Me, by Thomas Northcott, in George-Yard in Lumbard-street. If you shall attempt the Confutation of this Pa­per, or of any thing else that I have Publisht, I desire you wou'd not write one Line without this Consideration▪ That we shall all ap­pear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and that our Life is but a Vapour, &c.

I am, Your Servant in the Love of the Truth. Edmund Elys.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Northcott, in George-Yard in Lombard-street, MDCXCV.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.