A New Way of Reading the Bible, According to the Three Norfolk Clergy-Men, THOSE Champions against the QUAKERS.


Edward Beekham, D. D. and Rector of Gayten-Thorpe. , • Henry Meriton, Rector of Oxborough. , and • Lancaster Topcliffe, L. B. sometimes Sen. Fell. of Gon. and Caius College, Cambridge. 
Inferr'd from an Instance of Theirs, in a Book Entituled, A Brief Discovery of some of the Blasphemous and Seditious, Principles and Practices of the People called Quakers, taken out of their most noted and approved Authors: Humbly Offered to the Consideration of the King and both Houses of Parliament.

UPon sight whereof I was curious to peruse a Book that carried so rare and extraordinary a Title: And to be brief in my Observation thereupon, shall only consider their first Paragraph, and therein shew how Egregiously these Scholars and Divines stumbles at the Threshould: And that I may be just to them, take the Paragraph at large; a Justice they have not observed to­wards [Page 2] the Quakers; They say, George Fox, the first Foun­der, and great Apostle of this Sect, Great Mystery, Pag. 209. saith against his Opponent thus, This Light, that doth enlighten every one that cometh into the World, which he (viz. G. F's Opponent) calls Conscience, is not Con­science. And in Pag. 331. (G. F. further faith.). The Light which every one that cometh into the World is enlightned withal, is Not Conscience; for the Light was before any thing was made, or Conscience named. And again, to aggravate the supposed Blasphemy upon them, they make this Marginal Note, viz. The Quakers teach, that the Light within, by which they are guided is not Conscience.

Now this being in the Front of their Book, to be sure it was not intended for one of the least of the Quakers Blas­phemies; though they might as well have called it Sedi­tion (the other Crime they lay to their Charge) as to make it Blasphemy, to say, That the Light within is not Con­science. But if this be Blasphemy, pray let us hear how the Scripture will Read after their new way of Translating Conscience for Light, which the Quakers, according to the Holy Evangelist, &c. call Christ, and they call Conscience. John 1. 4, 9. In him (meaning the Divine Word) was Life, and the Life was the Conscience of Men: And the Conscience shineth in Darkness, and the Darkness comprehendeth it not. There was a Man sent from God, whose Name was John, the same came for a Witness, to bear witness of the Conscience, that all Men through him might believe. He was not that Con­science, but was sent to bear witness of that Conscience: That was the true Conscience, that lighteth every Man that cometh into the World. John 8. 12. I am the Conscience of the World, he that followeth me, shall not walk in Darkness, but shall have the Conscience of Life. And also, 1 John 1. 2. 5, 6, 7, 8. This then is the Message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, That God is Conscience, and in him is no Darkness at all: If we say we have fellowship with him, [Page 3] and walk in Darkness, we Lye, and do not the Truth; but if we walk in the Conscience, as he is in the Conscience, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all Sin. Again, Rom. 13. 12. Put on the Armour of Conscience. Lest the Conscience of the Glorious Gospel, &c. 2 Cor. 4. 4. God, who commanded the Conscience to shine out of Darkness, hath shined in our Hearts, to give us the Conscience of the Knowledge, &c 2 Cor. 4. 6. Lastly, The Nations of them that are saved shall walk in the Conscience of the Lamb.

But to read those Scripture Quotations truly, leave out the word Conscience, and read the word Light instead thereof.

It is to be lamented, that Men that wear so Religious a Character, and would pass for the Key and Keepers of the Holy Scripture to the People, should be so much too hard for themselves, by letting their Mistake of the Qua­kers Principles carry them into so great an abuse of the Scriptures, as to be guilty of the Crime they would fasten upon them; as certainly they all are, who degrade the Di­vine Light of Christ, in alledging it to be Conscience, which may as well be Blind and Defiled, as Knowing and Pure.

Besides, it is to be admired, that these Three Clergy-Men, who by vertue of their Function, are obliged frequently to read the Common-Prayer, should be ignorant of a Principle so Emphatically Exprest therein, as may be read in that Book, viz. The Gospel on Christmas Day. The Collect. on John the Evangelist, and the Epistle on the same Day, with the Col­lects on Whitsunday and Munday; and many other places, too tedious to mention, considering my intended Brevity. And why they should Brand the Quakers, that agree with the Church of England in so great a Principle, I know not, unless in Reallity they are not what their Character be­speaks them to be.


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