A VINDICATION OF The DOCTRINE Concerning the Light Within, Against the OBJECTIONS OF George Keith.

In his Book, Entituled, The Deism of W. PENN, and his Brethren Expos'd.


London, Printed and Sold by T. Sowle, in White-Hart-Court, in Gracious-Street, and at the Bible in Leaden-Hall-Street, 1699.

A VINDICATION OF THE DOCTRINE Concerning the Light Within, &c.

I Desire that G. Keith, for his own Souls sake, would give me some Publick Satisfaction, for the Publick Injury he has done me, in endeavouring to make the World believe, that I am one of that sort of Men, who call themselves Deists. It is my Resolution by the Grace of GOD, to shew All Meek­ness to G. K. and to All Men. But I wou'd have it observ'd, that it is not inconsistent with Christian Meekness, to express our selves with the greatest Severity in our Authoritative Re­flections on any thing most grosly and notoriously Impious. I shall say no more to induce the Candid Reader to such Re­spects towards Me, as are requisite for a due Reception of what I shall here deliver in Defence of that most important Truth, which G. K. p. 3. plainly declares that he hath Re­nounced, viz. that ‘The Inward Evidence of the Spirit, as touching the great Matters of the Christian Faith, is the PRIN­CIPAL Rule of Faith, and Life.’

[Page 4]By the Inward Evidence of the Spirit I understand, that TRUTH, which the Spirit of TRUTH has Written in the Hearts of All Men, together with all the Influences of the Spirit upon the Hearts of Men, Exciting them to a due Reflection on the Law of GOD Written in their Hearts: ‘Thou shalt Love the Lord thy GOD with All thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and thy Neighbour as thy Self.’ The Inward Evidence of the Spirit in this Sence I Aver to be the PRINCIPAL Rule of Faith and Life: All External Revelations, Teachings, and Instructions, are to be Receiv'd in a way of Subordination thereunto. This is the Rule, or Measure, which we Ought Chiefly and Princi­pally to Follow; or be Led by, in all our Inquiries what we Ought to believe for our Soul's Health, for the Improvement of our Sanctification: The Cause that any Man Refuses to yield his Assent to any Sanctifying Truth, is, that he Acteth Contrary to this Rule. G. K. discovers his gross Ignorance of the Truth I here Assert, in that he affirms in his Narrative, that the Jews and the Pagan Philosophers, who Blasphem'd against the Man Jesus of Nazareth, did own, and confess to the Light Within:’ To which in my Publish'd Reflections on that Narrative, I gave this Answer: ‘The Jews, and Pagans wou'd most certainly have Believ'd the Gospel Preach'd unto them, if they had Own'd the Light within, that is to say, if they had been Ready to yield their Assent to any Doctrine Preached unto them, to which they could have no Reason to Deny their Assent.

These words of W. Penn, which G. Keith Recites, p. 9, & 12. I highly Approve. ‘By General Rule, we understand that constant Measure, by which Men in all Ages have been en­abled to judge of the Truth and Error of Doctrines, and the Good, or Evil, of Thoughts, Words, or Actions.’

‘By Faith, we understand an Assent of the Mind, in such manner to the Discoveries made of God thereto, as to resign up to God, and have dependence upon him, as the great Creator, and Saviour of his People.’

But says G. K. p. 10. ‘This General Rule did not extend, nor doth, to be the Rule, or a Rule of the Faith of Remission of Sin, by the Blood of the promised Seed of the Woman, [Page 5] the Lamb of God that was to be Slain, and should take away the Sin of the World.’ To this I Answer, That whosoever Observes this Rule, does Virtually or Implicitly Believe all the Truth Delivered in the Holy Scriptures, in that he is in a Readi­ness to Receive it, whenever it shall be Proposed unto him in Terms which he clearly understands.

P. 25. ‘Seeing the Light Within, says G. K. gives them not this Faith (the Faith of Christ the great Sacrifice) nor teach­eth it them, it evidently follows that the Light Within every Man is not the Rule of the Christian Faith.’ To this I An­swer, That the Light Within every Man gives to every Man, that does not Rebel against it, the Faith of Christ the great Sa­crifice; so that when any thing Relating to our Saviour shall be duly Proposed to him, as the Object of his Faith, he will most certainly embrace it, or yield a sincere Assent unto it.

P. 48. ‘Nothing can be a Rule of Christian Faith, as in re­spect of the peculiar Doctrines of the Christian Religion, but that Doctrine, which sets before our Minds certain Propositi­ons of Truth, to which the Mind can, and ought to Assent, from sufficient Motives of Credibility.’

Answ. We ought not to Assent to any Affirmations Externally Proposed, as Objects of the Christian Faith, unless we can Ap­prehend in them a Suitableness, or Correspondence with That which the Spirit of TRUTH has Written in the Hearts of All Men. The Quakers Acknowledge that upon this Account they are Obliged to Believe all the Doctrine Contain'd in that Form of sound Words, which we call The NICENE CREED. B. C. one of W. Penn's Brethren, in his Book Entituled, The Quakers clear'd from being Apostates, hath these Words, "The Quakers Believe "the Substance of the Nicene Creed. I earnestly Request all Per­sons, who Profess themselves to be True Members of the Church of England, to observe these words in the same Book, p. 57. ‘I say, He would have as truly represented the Presbyterians, as he hath done the Quakers: If he had said of them, that they held Universal Grace, and that there was never any such Thing in the World, as the Solemn League and Covenant, and no such Man as the Bishop of St. Andrews Murdered, or that King Charles the First cut off his own Head, or that they [Page 6] never Hanged Men only for being Quakers, or that their Bre­thren in SCOTLAND were for Univresal Liberty, not­withstanding their Barbarity to the EPISCOPAL Clergy, and their Design to Excommunicate all Persons that should Buy, or Sell with, or Entertain a Quaker, which had took ef­fect, had not the Clemency of the King Interposed, to break their Mischievous Designs.’

P. 59. G. K. exclaims against W. Penn for calling The Spirit, The Rule of Faith, The Spirit being the Principal Efficient of Faith, and not the Instrumental Cause of it. To this I Answer: That 'tis Evident when W. Penn calls The Spirit the Rule, he under­stands our Participations of the Divine Spirit, the Impressions of Truth, that The Spirit of TRUTH has made upon our Hearts. That this is W. Penn's Meaning appears most evidently, in that he allow'd his Son (who was a Wonderful Ingenious Young Man) to Publish a short Treatise of mine, Entituled, "Vindi­ciae Quorundam R. Barclaij Noematum, &c. with His own Tran­slation, in which are these words: ‘If we by the Holy Ghost understand GOD, viz. the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, I confess we ought not to call Him the Rule i. e. in a Strict Logi­cal way of Speaking. of Faith, and Man­ners; since the Rule of Faith is that Instrument by which we rightly Examine what is the Object of the Christian Faith, or what that is, that Christ hath laid down for us to Believe: But we may also understand by the Holy Ghost [I should have Translated it, The Divine Spirit] our Partaking (my word is Participatio) of the Divine Spirit, with which Every Rational Soul is endu'd by an Idea of the most Great and most Good GOD, Ingrafted in its Nature: In which sence we by right ought to say, The Spirit is the Principal, or Chief Rule of our Faith, to which the Scriptures themselves are Subordinate. For we only Perceive they carry a Divine Sence, as far as we feel their Congruity with the Idea, or Impression of the Divine Being, which God himself hath fixed in our Hearts.’

R. BARCLAY's Protestation, of which his Learned Adver­sary speaks, p. 226. pleases me much. That he, with those of his Religion, are willing their Doctrines and Practices should be Try'd by the Holy Scriptures, and to admit as a positive, and certain Maxim, that whatsoever any do, pretending to be [Page 7] led by the Spirit, which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, should be reputed a Delusion of the Devil.’

P. 66. ‘Excepting the common Principles of Justice and Temperance, all other things relating either to Faith, or Life, with respect to the peculiar Doctrines, and Precepts of the Christian Religion, are not to be found at all in the Light Within every Man, abstractly, and by it self consider'd.’

Answ. It implies the grossest Contradiction, that The Light Within should be consider'd abstractly from CHRIST, since by that Light we understand Christ himself, and all that Comes "from Him, Tending to the Conviction, and Conversion of "Sinners. In Jesus Christ, The Light Within, The True Light that Enlighteneth Every Man, are Hid All the Treasures of Wis­dom, and Knowledge: So that whosoever does not Rebel against The Light Shining in some Measure in his own Heart, does Virtually Believe all the Truth, the Belief whereof is necessary for his SALVATION.

P. 135. ‘Whether the Spirit of Christ (whose Judgment and Determination is all one with that of Christ, and the Fa­ther) doth give his Judgment to the Church, and the Mem­bers of it, by any other Law, or Rule, Measure, or Standard, than what is already to be found in the Holy Scriptures, whe­ther relating to Articles of Faith, or positive Precepts of Re­vealed, and Instituted Religion, by Christ, and his Apostles in the New Testament?’

To this I Answer, That in Matters that Concern the Whole Church, or any Particular Congregation, or any Single Person, in that it is his Duty to Demonstrate to another, that this, or that, is his Duty; in these, and the like Cases, the Spirit of Christ gives his Judgment by no other Law or Rule, Measure or Stan­dard, than what is already to be found in the Holy Scriptures: But as to Particular Matters, that Concern my own Soul, in re­ference to the Fundamental Divine Law, "Thou shalt Love the "Lord thy God with all thy Heart, &c. where I have no Obli­gation to Demonstrate to others that I should Sin, if I should not Do this, or that, the Spirit of Christ will give his Judgment by the Particular Illuminations I receive from Him, which im­ply such Notices of Persons, and Things, and of my own Parti­cular [Page 8] Abilities, and Inabilities, together with the Remembrances of such and such Reflections upon my own Experiences of the Divine Justice, and Mercy, &c. from which, through the In­fluence of the Spirit of Truth and Love, there arises a Lively Sense of an Obligation to such Performances, which it may be no Person upon Earth can clearly Perceive by any Text of Scripture, that it is my Duty to undertake. No Man living can say, It was my Duty to Do what I have Done in Defence of the Do­ctrine concerning the Light Within: But yet it is so Evident to Me that it was My Duty, that I Rejoyce, and am Exceeding Glad, whenever I Hear My self Reproach'd (as I have been by Many, particularly by G. Keith) for this Consciencious Undertaking: And I would rather lay down my Life, than Promise, or Ingage my self Not to Publish this present Writing, being thereunto Call'd by HIM, who Searcheth the Heart, and Tryeth the Reins: And will bring Every Work into Judgment, with Every Secret thing, whether it be Good, or whether it be Evil.


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