A Brief ANSWER TO A False and Foolish LIBELL, CALLED, The QƲAKERS Opinions, For their sakes that Writ it and Read it.

By W. P.

Being Defamed, we Entreat,

1 Cor. 4. 13.

Printed in the Year 1678.

Sober Reader,

THe end of Controversie with good men, is the Advancement of the Truth; with ill men, of themselves and their base Interests; in all which God is Judge, who judgeth righteous­ly, and will reward every one according to their works, nor doth his Judgment slumber.

Most Parties in Europe boast themselves of being Christians, an excellent Character indeed; but the worst is, there is little more then a Boast in it. I am not incharitable; I have first judged my self. Let none deceive themselves. To be like Christ, is to be a Christian, and not else; and Christians are in Con­cord; for Christ is not divided, neither is that Body, of which he is truly Head, at Variance; how much Discord, so much Degeneracy from God; for he is one, and so are those that are born of him; the Chil­dren of God are not divided, because one and the same holy Spirit leads them.

That which is the Guide of one, is the Guide of all; and by this shall it be known who are Gods Chil­dren, if they bring forth the Fruits of his divine Spi­rit, which, saith the Apostle, are these, Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, against such there is no Law. And they, sayes he, that are Christs have crucified the Flesh, with the Affections and Lusts; this only will avail in the great Judgment of the Lord. Therefore I beseech all vain Contenders to consider of their own Standing, what their Work is, who Employes them, and what their Wages will be.

Tell me thou vain Disputer and Vitious Liver, what is Religion without Holy Love? what is Faith without Good Works? what is Worship without [Page 4] Godly Fear and Christianity, without true Self-deny­al? it is not he that cryes, Lord, Lord, but he that does the Will of my Father, said Christ, shall be accepted. There is a great talk of mans Laps in Adam, and Re­storation in Christ, but they serve only for a sound with too many: For did people sincerely believe that they are fallen from true Love, Meekness, Patience, Humility, Mercy, Justice, Purity, &c. and did they but consider, that they are not restored to those Heavenly Qualifications, but that they live in fleshly lusts of one sort or other, some in Voluptuousness, others in Envy; and therefore not really restored or redeemed by Christ, nor truly in a state of Salvation, but in peril of eternal Misery, certainly they would not pass away their little span of precious time in so much worldly Pleasure, neglect of God, and Carelesness of the o­ther World, if they have any the least hope of it.

Reader, the Petulancy of some Adversary or other has given occasion for this little Treatise: The design of which is both to reprove him, and to hinder others from being abused by him, that so the Innocency of a People, whom God hath raised by his own Power and Wisdom to glorify him in their Bodies Souls and Spirits (which are his) may be delivered from the mistakes of his Ignorance, and the reflections of his Malice.

And truly, my servent Prayers to Almighty God are, that he would yet more and more send forth his Light and his Truth to inform the Understandings, and overcome the Hearts of all People, that they may experimentally know the Redemption of their Sou's from the prevalency of Sin, and the power of the God of this World's Lusts by the Blood of Jesus, who is the Lamb of God that takes away the Sin of the World; then shall Love, Faith and Holiness encrease, and all Unrighteousness come to an End,


W. P.

AN ANSWER TO A False and Foolish Libel, CALLED, The QƲAKERS Opinions.


THe Quakers deny the Authority of holy Scriptures, as the Rule of Faith and Practice unto Christians.

Answer, This we flatly deny, and charge our Adversary to make it good in terminis, in so many words, or retract his Charge. For the Authority of the Scripture is the Spirit This was the Do­ctrine of Lu­ther, Zwing­lius, Calvin, Oecolampadius, Beza and Marlorat abroad; and of W. Tindal, D. Barns, John Frith, John Bradford, J. Woodman, Philpot, Fox, Jewel, Whittiker, &c. at home, that the Scriptures Au­thority to us stood in the inward Testimony of the Spirit of God. See my Quakerism a New Nick-Name for Old Christianity, and my Rejoynder in defence of the same, from pag. 24. to pag. 101. and from pag. 31. to pag. 186. and Power of God, which we say is our Rule and Guide, as it was the Rule of the holy Men of God both before the Scriptures were written, and when they spoke and writ them. And [Page 6] to say we deny it to be our Rule, is to say we deny our own Principle, for owning of which you are angry with us. Mo­ses is taken on all hands to have been the first Penman of Sacred Story, and that we cannot rise higher then his time for Scrip­ture, consequently then the Scripture must take date; but who will deny that Abel had a Rule to worship God by, Enoch to walk with God by, Noah to preach by, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to believe by? if they had none, say so; if they had, what was it, if not the Spirit of Truth and Holiness, that strove with the old World, but was resisted? And if the Spirit of God was the Rule of Faith, Worship and Practice then, have we got another Rule in the room of it now? No such matter; those that loved & feared God in all Ages were ruled and guided by the Spirit of God; & though many Helpers have been afforded men by the Father of Mercies and Lights, yet still the Spirit of Truth is the great Rule in and through them all. This is the Rule of all Rules, as God is the Light of all Lights; yea, this is that Rule of the New Creature; for the walking of the true Christian is in and after the Spirit; yea, 'tis the Mark of being a Child of God to be led and gui­ded Gal. 6. 15. Rom. 1. 14. by the Spirit of God, this is the Scripture's Testimony. There is no Condemnation to those that walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the Sons of God. The Argument is plain, and altogether as unanswerable; That which is to lead Christians, is to rule Christians; but the Spirit of Truth is to LEAD CHRISTIANS, consequently the SPIRIT OF TRUTH is to RULE CHRISTIANS. So that to deny that the Spirit of Truth is the Guide and Rule of Christians, is to gainsay the Testimony of Scripture, and the very Tenure and Nature of the second, new and everlasting Cove­nant of Life and Salvation; for in that state the Jer. 35. 33, 34. Hebr. 8. 13. Law is writ in the Heart, and the Fear and Spirit put in the inward Part; and what for, if not to rule and guide the Soul in the Path of Life?

To conclude, As the Spirit of Truth revealed to the Prophets things to come, and was a Rule to them in discerning, receiving, [Page 7] declaring and writing those things, so is the same Spirit of Truth the Rule and guide to all God's People in their reading and un­derstanding of them now written? and blessed are they that read with a good Understanding.

And that the Simplicity of none may be abused, we declare, as we have frequently done, that the Scriptures of Truth were gi­ven forth by the holy men of God, as they were moved by the Spirit of God; and that they are a Rule, yea, an Excellent Rule for Instruction, Reproof and Doctrine, and 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. all true Christians ought to embrace and practice the holy Mind and Will of God thereby declared. And they are those that truly and substantially de­ny Chap. 3. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. the Scriptures, who in Words own them, but in Works deny them, and in their Conversations walk not according to the godly Rules therein contained; such are Whoremongers, Fornicators, Gal. 5. 19, 20, 21. Drunkards, Lyars, Back-biters, Slanderers, such as the Author or Authors of this Impious Libel, Envious Persons, Rioters, Sporters, Vain Persons, Lovers of Pleasures more then Lovers of God: These and such like are they that deny the Authority of holy Scripture; yet as the Devil used Scripture against Christ, so do his Children use Scrip­ture at this day against the Disciples of Christ.


The Quakers deny the Resurrection of the Body.

Answ. The Quakers deny no Resurrection, Luke 20. 35, 36, 37, 38. Joh. 11. 25. 1 Cor. 15. 34, 35, 36, 37, 38. Rev. 20. 5. that is according to Scripture; we own the Re­surrection both of the Just and Unjust; and that our Adversaries shall know one day to their Con­fusion, if they repent not. And as the Charge is laid down, we literally deny it, and require our Adversaries to prove it: for we declare to all people, we own the Resurrection of the Body [Page 8] according to the Pleasure of God: and every Seed shall have its own Body; and Wo to the Wicked in that day.


The Quakers deny the Person of Jesus Christ.

Answ. If by Person of Christ is meant the Man Christ Jesus, we deny the Charge; for there is Acts 4. 12. 2 Tim. 1. 10. Rom. 3. 25. 1 John 2. 2. 1 Tim. 2. 5, 6. Heb. 8. 6. Chap. 12. 24. no other Name given under Heaven, by which Salvation can be obtained. 'Tis Christ alone that hath brought Life and Immortality to light: he is the Propitiation, the Mediator and Intercessor; and by him only can man come to God: and no man can come to him but such as come to his Spi­rit in their own Hearts. And such as have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, are none of his. And these are they that deny Christ, that deny his Cross, break his Law, and live not ac­cording to his Example, who is meek and lowly, pure and undefiled, and separated from all Sinners. So that the Antichrists of our dayes are those that Rom. 8. 34. live according to the Lusts of the Eye, the Lusts of the Flesh, and Pride of Life, without God Heb. 7. 25. in the World, that is, without a sense of God upon their Hearts: but their Minds run after the 1 John 2. 16. things that are seen, which are temporal, neg­lecting the things that are eternal. And though Mat. 7. 23. such may profess Christ in words, yet it shall be said unto them in the great Day of Account, De­part from me ye that work Iniquity.

I would have our foolish and envious Adversaries look at home, and prepare for the Day of their Account to God, and leave off their Envy and Bitterness, and mind God's Fear, which will teach them to be meek and loving, sober and vertuous, that they may provide for their Latter-end: For pure Religion [Page 9] stands not in accusing and slandering, reviling and persecuting, but in keeping unspotted of the James 1. 27. John 8. 23. Chap. 15. 18, 19. Chap. 18. 36. Mat. 5. 11. World; for they who are of the World, are not of Christ; they who love the Pride, Plea­sures, Honours and Lusts of this World deny Christ, they are the Antichrists indeed; for Christ saith, I am not of this World, neither is my Kingdom of this World, nor are his Follow­ers of this World, therefore it is the World hates them; but not under the Name of Christ's Disci­ples, Christians or Children of God, by no means; for such the World nominally owns; but as Here­ticks; 1 Cor. 4. 10, 13. Blasphemers, and the like, which hath al­wayes been the Devil's Policy: For the Woolf with the Sheeps-skin on him, has in every Age been worrying the Sheep that hath been covered with the Wolf's-skin; such have called Light Dark­ness, and Darkness Light.


The Quakers hold, that the Light in every man is a sufficient Guide unto Salvation.

Answ. This is unfairly laid down; but we say, that the Light of Christ in every man is a sufficient Guide to Salvation; and who dares deny it? I am John 8. 12. the Light of the World, faith Christ, they that fol­low me shall not walk in Darkness, but have the Light of Life. And saith John, If we walk in the Light, 1 John 1. 7. the Blood of Jesus Christ shall cleanse us from all Unrighteousness. And it was the Doctrine in old time, The Path of the Just is as the shining Light, Proverbs 4. 18. Isa. 2. 5. that shines more and more unto the perfect Day. And the Prophet Isaiah prophetically writes of the latter dayes thus, Come, let us walk in the Light of the Lord, and by the same Prophet saith the [Page 10] Lord, I will give thee (Christ) for a Light to the Gentiles, that thou may'st be my Salvation to the Chap. 49. 6. ends of the Earth. And the Apostle Paul had that good Opinion of the Light, that he advised the Saints of old, to put on the Armour of Light, that Rom. 13. 12, 13. 14. they might walk honestly as in the day, not in Rio­ting and Drunkenness, not in Chambering and Wantonness, not in Strife and Envy; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not Provision for the Flesh, to fulfil the Lusts thereof. And it is no­thing else, but the old Jewish Darkness, that John 9. 14, 16. spurns against the Light of Christ in our day: for the same Spirit that rejected that Light, Grace and Truth, with which he was filled in the day of 1 Cor. 12. 7. his Bodily Appearance, is the same that resists and sleights that Light, Truth and Grace, which from his Fulness is distributed to the Children of men; but as it was then, so it is now the Condemnation John [...]. 19. of the World, that Light is come into the World, and that men love Darkness rather then Light, and the Reason is plain, because their Deeds are Evil. Every thing loves its like.


They hold that Perfection is attainable in this Life.

Answ. This also is not fairly laid down, being without distin­ction; and did not Compassion to the well-minded incline me to deliver our Judgment in these matters, I would have put our Adversary upon the proof of his Assertions, without giving him the least help by a sight of our true Principles, till he had first seen and acknowledged his own Ignorance and Inadvertency. We own Perfection according to the Scriptures; Walk thou before me, said God to Abraham, and Gen. 17. 1. be thou perfect: who dare quibble this into an Im­perfection? or who dare charge God with com­manding [Page 11] what was impossible to be done? Noah was a just man, and perfect in his Generation, and Gen. 5. 22. & 6. 9. Job 1. 1. Matthew 5. 48. Noah walked with God; so did Enoch. Job also was a perfect man, and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. This Christ exhorted his Disciples to, Be ye therefore PERFECT even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. This also the Apostle Paul prayes for, That they might 1 Thessal. 5. 23. Ephes. 4. 13. be sanctified THROUGHOUT, in Body, Soul and Spirit. Again thus, And the very God of Peace sanctifie you WHOLELY; and I pray God your Spirit, and Soul, and Body be preserved BLAMELESS unto the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet further, Till we all come in the Unity 1 Timoth. 3. 17. of the Faith, and of the Knowledge of the Son of God unto a PERFECT man. Again, That the Man of God may be PERFECT. And to the Hebrews saith the Author of that Epistle, Let us Heb. 6. 1. & 13. 21. go on to PERFECTION; and once more in the same Epistle he saith, The God of Peace make you PERFECT in every good Work to do his Will. This also was the Apostle Peter's Prayer for the ho­ly Strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Gall [...] ­tia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythinia, The God of 2 Pet. 5. 10. all Grace, who hath called us into his eternal Glory by Christ Jesus, make you PERFECT. I will con­clude with the Doctrine of the Beloved Disciple, that lay in his Lord's Bosome, and can give a bet­ter account of his Mind and Doctrine then any of our Adversaries can do, thus, If we walk in the 1 John 1. 7. Light as (God) is in the Light, we have fellow­ship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all Sin. Again, I write Chap. 2. 13. unto you Young Men, because ye have OVER­COME the Wicked One. Again, Whosoever Chap. 3. 9. abideth in Christ, SINNETH not; whosoever is born of God, doth NOT COMMIT SIN; for [Page 12] his Seed remaineth in him, and hē CANNOT SIN, Chap. 4. 12, 16, 17. because he is born of God. Again, If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his Love is PER­FECTED in us; God is Love, and he that dwelleth in Love dwel­leth in God, and God in him: Herein is our Love made PERFECT, that we have Boldness in the day of Judgment, because as he is, so ARE WE in this World. What say Rioters and Envious Per­sons to this, such as revile, waste and destroy their Neighbours for the Exercise of a peaceable Conscience? Doth the Love of God abide in them? are they like unto the God of Love in this World? can they hope for his Mercies in that World which is to come, who are cruel and abusive to their honest Neighbours in this? But more of that another time. Yet a­gain, Whosoever is born of God overcometh the World, and sinneth not; but he that is begotten Chap 5. 4, 18. of God keepeth himself that the Wicked One tou­cheth him not. What think the Enemies of Per­fection to this?

To Conclude, They that deny Perfection from Sin, deny the End of Christ's Coming, if this Chap. 3. ver. 4, 5, 8, 9. beloved Disciple may be Judge; for saith he, Christ was manifested to take away our Sins; and whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not: for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil; and whatsoever is born of God, doth not commit Sin. And without Offence let me say, Our Adversaries may better employ themselves, then to turn Advocates for the Devil and his Kingdom, as they seem to do, by charging the Doctrine of Per­fection upon the Quakers as an Evil Opinion; for no man in his Wits can believe they intend us any Reputation or Credit when they set the Mark of Perfection upon our Creed. But is it not a great shame that men, who profess themselves to be Christians, the Disciples of that self-denying Jesus, should make their Lord's Office our Reproach, and the End of his blessed Coming a Mark of Heresie? Why, Was he sent but to save? and how does he save, if people must necessarily live in Sin, that eternally lo­seth them, and to save them from which he is come? And [Page 13] thou shalt call his Name Jesus, said the Angel, be­cause he shall save his People from their Sins. Alas Mat. 1. 21. what have Men to be saved from, if not from sin? for sin set aside, man is good, and all his good; if then sin loses men Heaven and Happiness, men must be saved from it, on they will be eternally lost; for in that state Christ will profit them nothing.

To the Quotations I shall make a brief Return.

The first Quotation; G. Whitehead saith, That the Light within must be God, because to deny it so to be, is to deny the Omni­presence of God.

To what is here alledged, this brought to disrepute our Ho­ly Religion, I answer, That this Adversary has not told us whether they were words spoken or written: if spoken, where be the Witnesses? if written, where is the Book or Paper? However, the words are not 1 John 1. 5. Acts 17. 27, 28. indefensible; For God is Light, and in him is no Darkness at all; and he is Omnipresent, there­fore in man: and in him we live, move and have our being, yea, more especially; for it is he that Jer. 23. 23, 24. Iob 25. 3. searcheth the Heart, and tryeth the Reins, and that telleth unto man his Thoughts. Upon whom, said one of old, doth not his Light arise?

To the second Quotation, viz. It is damnable Heresie to deny the worshipping the Measure of Light in every man. And that the Spirit which God breathed in Adam, was not Man's Spirit, but another; the Breath of our Nostrils, the Anointed Lord; this is that true Light which lighteth every man that comes into the World: see Rob. West's Book, called, Damnable Heresies discovered, p. 6.

I answer, 1st, That I have not the Book cited, or cannot find, 2dly, That the Man is not entirely in Society with us, but there has been some Dissatisfaction in the Minds of our Friends about him in several respects, and particularly this Book was not recei­ved or printed by us. Yet lastly, I know not but many good [Page 14] things may be in it; but if in any thing it be unsound, it will not lie at our Door: nor do I believe that the Passage it self may not be vindicated, and that by Authority of Reason, Scripture and the Consent of Ancient and Modern Authors. I will only say, that every Appearance of God is God; the Light that comes from God is God; for God is Light, and God cannot be divided from himself, and the word Measure of Light relates to our ca­pacity, that receive and know only by Measure, and not to God, who, properly speaking, is immeasurable. And true it is, that the Breath God breathed into Genesis 2. 7. Adam was Divine, if the learned Rabbies Com­mentators on that Scripture be of any credit, as may be seen in my Rejoynder to Iohn Faldo; for a meer humane Soul could not make Adam live to God, much less make him the Image of his Creator. And if it was the Divine Life, I hope none will que­stion if that Life be Christ, who says expresly of himself, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; who also says, I am the Light of the World; and this is Iohn's Testimony, In the Word (that made all things) was Life, and that Life is the Light of men; and his (says he) is that true Light which enlightens every man that comes into the World. So much to that Passage.

To the third Quotation, out of G. Fox and R. Hubberthorn's Book, called, Truth's Defence, pag. 101. I answer.

1st, That the Quoter has wrong'd the Passage, and falsified the Book; for there is that quoted which is not there. The words are these, as given by our Adversary in the Name of G. F. and R. H. We do deny the Scriptures to be the word of God, and also to be a Standing Rule; and that it is dangerous for ignorant People to read them: see Fox and Hubberthorn, in Truth's De­fence, pag. 101.

I answer, All these words [We do deny the Scriptures to be the Word of God, and also to be a standing Rule] are not to be found there, they are added; which is a great piece of injustice; for the last part, which lies as if we would deny that ignorant peo­ple should read the Scriptures, hear the words themselves:

‘Query. The Priest asks, Whether the Scripture being carnal, [Page 15] and the Letter killing, as you (Quakers) say, we may read them without Danger?

To this G. Fox and R. Hubberthorn answer:

‘The Letter which killeth is dangerous; for thou takest it her to war with against the Saints with thy carnal Mind and Exposi­tions—Again thus, Here you read with Dānger, who speak of them, and speak a Lye; and its dangerous to read that and make a Trade of that which the Prophets, Christ and the Apo­stles spoke forth freely; and you wrest the Scriptures to your Destruction; and to you 'tis dangerous to read, &c.

Now let all people of Cander, yea, common Sense judge, if this sort of reading and using the Scripture be not dangerous: thus the Pharisees and Iews used the Scripture against Christ. But does this give ground to our Adversary to say, We hold it dan­gerous for ignorant people to read the Scripture, because we say that a Covetous, Persecuting or Malicious End or Use of Scripture is dangerous? O the perversion that is made of the words and sense of this passage! the Lord forgive him or them that deal thus with us. Hear what the same page says, But I say, Blessed is he that doth read and doth understand. This I have else where observed more at large.

To the fourth Passage, viz. That J. N. in answer to the Iews says, It is the Devil that contends for the Scriptures to be the Word of God.

I can say the less because I have not the Book out of which it is pretended to be quoted. But certain it is, that the Devil, that loves not the very Form of Godliness, but to exalt it against the Power, and shelter himself for a Saint, has more then once on the same score pleaded for the scripture against Christ, and the letter against the spirit; not that he loveth the Scripture, or that the Scripture opposeth either Christ or the Spirit, but that he hath subtilly used the very Scripture, as little as he loves it, both to tempt and oppose even Christ himself. This is plain in his tempting Christ in Scripture-Language, and in the Persecutions of the Iews both against Christ Mat. 4. 6, 12. and his Disciples, for which they urged Scripture; [Page 16] they relyed upon them for Life eternal, and not upon Christ; him they set at nought then, as Iohn 5. 9. and 19. 7. & 5. 39, 40. much as the false Christians sleight his Light now. And it was Christ's Complaint then, In them you think (said he) to have eternal Life, but you will not come unto me that you may have Life. Thus the outward Iew set up the scripture against Christ in the flesh, and thus the outward Christian sets up the scripture against Christ in the spirit, or in his spiritual appearance in the soul, insomuch that a man runs the hazard of being proclamed a Blasphemer that speaks but of Christ within, yet it is express Scripture; and of being stigma­tized for an Heretick that calls Christ only that Word of God, to whom only that Name is given in the Evangelical Writings, though at the same time a man confess the holy Scriptures to be given forth by Divine Inspiration, and that they are the Words of God. That the Word is his Name John will be our Warrant in the beginning of his History; Iohn 1. 1. Revel. 19. 13. and that his Name is called the Word of God Iohn also affirms in his Revelation. I will end with this, that Luke the Evangelist in his Dedication of his Luke chap. 1. History to his excellent Theophilus, now part of the sacred Scripture, calls it, A Declaration of those things that were most surely believed among them, and not the Word of God. We take him for our Pattern; when he is confuted, it will be time enough for us to confess our Mistake.

To the fifth Quotation, viz. that G. Fox says, The Soul is part of God, of his Being, without Beginning, and Infinite, Gr. Mystery, p. 68, 9 [...], 29. I answer briefly:

That G. F. speaks of the Divine Soul, or Life of Man, that comes from God, by which Man liveth to God, so Augustine calls it, anima animae, the Soul of the Soul, or Life of man's Soul; so Rabbi Nunchmanni and Hiskuni, in the Comment of Paulus Fagius take it, saying, its of the Being of God, his own Breath. This is without Beginning, respecting God, and Infinite; or without End, respecting Man. Where is the Heresie of this?

[Page 17] To the sixth Quotation out of the Works of G F. junior, viz. We own the Scriptures as a true Declaration of the Saints Conditions.

I answer, The Allegation is frivolous on the side of our Ad­versary; for he doth not deny what G. F. asserts, nor does G. F. deny but that there are many Scriptures which are Promissary, Threatning and Prophetick; does our owning the Scriptures to be an account of the Experiences of the Saints of God of old time, exclude any farther Character? or say that they are no more? What! have people lost their senses, or must any thing serve to blemish Quakers; What Injustice is here? For shame do as you would be done by.

To the seventh Passage, alledged out of Geo. Whitehead's A­pology, pag. 49. viz. That what is spoken from the Spirit of Truth in any is of as great Authority as the Scriptures, yea and greater.

I answer in G. W's own words, which are these, ‘That which was spoken from the Spirit of Truth in any is of as great Au­thority as the Scriptures or Chapters are, and greater, as pro­ceeding immediately from that Spirit, as Christ's words were of greater Authority when he spoke then the Pharisees reading the Letter; and they and their speaking we deny: thi [...] [...]ays he, was my Answer.’

Now I appeal to the just Witness of God in every Conscience, if this Adversary was not very disingenuous to take no notice of this Distinction: for, in short, two things are in our Friend's words; first, That what comes from the same Spirit of Truth, is of the same Authority; and who denies that? no body that is in his senses. Next, That what is spoken by the immediate Mo­tion, Life and Power of the Spirit, is of more Authority (that is, Force and Efficacy to move, quicken, enliven or operate up­on the Hearers) then the bare reading of a Chapter in the Scrip­ture, especially by such as the Pharisees were, as a Letter can­not give that Impression which we may justly suppose the lively Presence, Mind and Voice of the Person that writ it might. [Page 18] But the End of our Adversary plainly is this, to make us under­value the Truth of the Scripture, and to debase the Authority of the Scripture with relation to its Verity; as if what was said now by the Spirit of Truth in any godly Man, were more true then that which was spoken by the same Spirit in former ages, which is a gross suggestion. The difference lying in these two things; [...]st, Whether Christ's words, spoken by his own Mouth, were not of greater force, vigour and authority to influence or quicken an Auditory, then the same words written and now read. 2dly, Whether the words of Christ, when spoken by his own Mouth, were not of more Life and Authority then the Scriptures read by the Pharisees. The first is true, and much more the last: let this Adversary then be ashamed of his Injustice. Christ said of the words that he spoke, The words Iohn 6. 63. that I speak, they are Spirit, and they are Life; that is, [...] they proceeded from his gracious Lips, and as they were uttered from that Divine Power, Glory and Authority which dwelt in him.

To the eighth Quotation, That Richard Stubbs a Quaker should say, That the Christ born of the Virgin, and that dyed at Jerusa­lem, was a False Christ, and an Antichrist.

I answer, There was never any such man a Quaker that I know of, nor did ever any owned by us utter so horrid a Blasphemy; we detest allsuch Impiety: besides, the story I suppose came out of an idle Pamphlet, printed about seven years since by a foolish Person in London, to get Money; a Fiction like to that of the Island of Pines, &c. But if true, where's the Witnesses? shall the SAY-SO or Authority of an Enemy prevail? what must any stuff serve to bedirt the Quakers, no matter what, nor from whom? There is a Righteous God that will have the Judgment of these things.

To the nineth Passage cited out of G. F's Great Mystery, pag. 206. viz. If there be any other Christ then he that is crucified within, he is a False Christ.

I answer, I have not the Book by me, but I will stand by the [Page 19] Passage; for either there is no such thing as a Christ within, or if there be, there must be two Christs; or lastly, it is the same Christ that suffered without, which is also crucified by sin within. Now I leave our Adversary to chuse which of these three he will accept of. Is there no Christ within? or is there two Christs, one within, and another without? or is there but one Christ both without and within? chuse him whether. But I would tell our Adversary, that a Christ was revealed in Paul, and forming in the Hearts of the Galatians, and was in Gal. 1. 16. & 4. 19. the holy Antients the Hope of Glory, and so he is in his People in this day, blessed be the Name of the Lord. Yea, 'twas the Apostolical Exhor­tation. Examine your selves, whether ye be in the 2 Cor. 13. 4. Faith, prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be Reprobates. So that such as deny Christ within are out of the Apostolical Faith, and Reprobates. It was both Christ's Promise and Prayer; for sayes he to his Disciples, Let not your Hearts be John 14. 1, 3, 18, 19, 20. troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you, I will come again. Yet a little while and the World seeth me no more, but ye see me: Be­cause I live, ye shall live also: At that day ye shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. That Christ prayed for this Fellow­ship is as clear; Neither pray I for these alone, Chap. 16. 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26. but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the World may believe that thou hast sent me: and the Glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one. I IN THEM, and they in me, that they may be made perfect in one: And that the World may know, that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. O Righteous Father! the World hath not known [Page 20] thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me; and I have declared unto them thy Name, and will declare it, that the Love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I IN THEM.

This is the Blessedness of the Righteous, even in this World, the true Disciples of Jesus, that forsake all for his Name, that take up his Cross daily to their Matthew 10. 38. Chap 16. 24. Mark 8. 34. Luke 9. 23. Revelat. 3. 20. vain Affections and Lusts, and boldly confess him before all men by a Life of true Self denyal. O that all people would receive him into their hearts, that is, into their Love & Affection.: Behold he stands at the Door and knocks; shut not thy Door upon him; let him in, entertain him in thy Soul, that he may wash thee & cleanse thee by his own spirit, & by his own water, & by his own blood, that bear wit­ness for him on Earth, and these three are but one; 1 John 5. 8. then shall the Love of God abound in thy Soul towards God and towards thy Neighbour; this is Christianity indeed: and the truth is, 'tis want of Christ being known more within people, to purge their Hearts, and purifie their Consciences, that so much Vanity & Ungodlines are to be found among Christians: People can let the Devil be within them, but they will not allow Christ to be within them. But I would ask them and you, How the strong Man of Sin must be bound, that Matthew 12. 29. keeps the House (the Heart) and his Works de­stroyed, if Christ, the stronger then he, have not entrance and sway in the Conscience? for this know, that from within proceed Evil Thoughts, Chap. 15. 19, 20. Murders, Adulteries, Fornication, Thefts, False Witness, Blasphemies; these and such like are the things which defile the Man. Now, who shall purge this Heart, and with what? Must not Christ do it, he that baptizes with Fire and with the Chap. 3. 11, 12. holy Ghost, whose Fan is in his Hand, and who will [Page 21] thorowly purge his Floor? This was John's record, that was sent of God for that End. Now let those that call themselves Chri­stians, consider seriously and in the Fear of God, if their Floors, their Hearts, be purged, if the Dirt and Chaff be swept away, if Christ's Baptism of Fire has burnt up their Vain Thoughts, Lusts and Affections, or not; for by Fire will God plead with all flesh. And let such consider, if they have been yet baptiz'd with the holy Ghost, that makes people alive to God, and whether they live to God, and meditate in his pure Law; or rather if they be not car­nally-minded, which is Death, let them see if Pride don't profess Christianity, & if Wantonness, Vanity, Covetousness, Passion, Envy, Wrath, Malice, and such like don't make Profession of Religion, read, pray, preach, go to Church, and the like: I say, in the Fear of Almigh­ty God, let all that profess him and the Christian Religion exa­mine themselves, and prove themselves, whether Jesus Christ live in them and rule in them, or another Nature, Principle and Spirit; for God will not be mocked, such as men sow such must they reap in the terrible Day of Judgment.

To the tenth Quotation, out of G. F's Way to the Kingdom, viz. That the four Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are not the Gospel.

I answer, If this be a piece of Heresie, we have good Com­pany; for Paul, Ignatius, Justine Martyr, O­rigen, Chrisostom, and some of our English Mar­tyrs Rom. 1. 16. are of this Mind. Paul sayes, The Gospel is the Power of God; but it were Blasphemy with a witness to call these four Narratives or Declarations, the Power of God; in which there are the Sayings and Actions of the Devil and Wic­ked Jews and Persecutors recorded, as well as the Expressions and Deeds of Christ and his Disciples.

Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Philadelphians, calleth it very near to Paul's Expression of the Gospel, [...], The Perfection of Incorruption, which these four Books are not, that are composed of Paper and Letters, containing meer reports and Records, though never so true; or the Consequence would be, [Page 22] that the Writings of the Prophets (because Ignatius saith in the same Epistle, that the Prophets have anounced and declared the Gospel) are the Gospel in our Adversaries account, if he receives Ignatius, that lived soon after. But its clear that our Adversa­ries refuse the Prophets Writings that Title, and do not give it even to the Apostolical Epistles, yet are displeased with our Tenderness in not stiling these four Books or Histories the Go­spel.

When Justin Martyr speaks of those four Books, especially when he citeth out of them the mocking of Christ, prophesied of in the Psalms, and of Christ's Silence to Pilate, he saith, [...] & [...], it is written and expressed, not in the Four Evan­gelists, or in the Four Evangelia, or in the Gospel, or in the Writings of the Four Evangelists, as they do commonly now; but, saith he, [...] in the Records or History of his (Christ's) Apostles: Yea, he is so far from calling the Books of Scriptures either the Law or Gospel, that he saith, Christ Jesus is [...], the eternal Law and the New Testament, which accord­ing to the Prophecy should come forth to the universal World.

Chrysostom not only refused an Oath, but deny­ed those four Books to be the Evangile or Gospel, Ephes. 6. 19. & 3. 3. though he refused not to call them, The Wri­tings of the four Evangelists. So said William Thorp, as may be seen in the Book of Martyrs. Col. 1. 26. Besides, the Gospel is called, A Mystery hid from Ages and Generations, which four Books were 1 Tim. 1. 11. not; and it is still hid from all Envious, Proud, Lustful, Vain and Evil-minded People.

To Conclude; The Bible it self declares of the Gospel, but is not that Gospel; it declares of the Spirit, but is not that Spirit; it declares of the Light, but is not that Light; and it declares of the Eternal Power and Word, but it is not that Eter­nal Word and Power of God: neither is the Light, Power and Spirit in the Scripture, though they were in those that gave them forth, and live and abide forever in him, who is the Fulness [Page 23] of all Wisdom, Life and Truth, who is Lord and Author of the holy Scriptures given forth by divine Inspiration.

To the last Citation and Exception, viz. that G. F. sayes, That we ought not to pray to God to give us a sight of our Sins.

I answer, That this Adversary misgives his words, and suggests by those he cites another thing then is plainly and honestly inten­ded by G. F. in his own words; they are these, And to you that tempt God and say, The Lord give us a sight of our Sins; mark, he speaks to those that tempt God, and let me add, mock God too; for to such he speaks, as what follows declares, viz. ‘Priests and People (sayes G. F.) does not the Light which Christ hath enlightned you with, let you see your Sin? that Lying and Swearing, Cursed Speaking, Theft, Murder, Whoredom, Covetousness, Pride, Lust and Pleasures, all these things to be the Works of the Flesh and Fruits of Darkness? Mark now, this Light within you lets you see it, so you need not tempt God to give you a Sight of your Sins; for ye know e­nough, and waiting in the Light, Power and Strength will be given to you.’

Now, let the Impartial judge if the Consequence of these words be, That we must not pray to God to give us a sight of our Sins that we don't see, which must be our Enemies suggestion or nothing, or not rather, that we should not tempt and mock God by praying for a sight of our sins, whilest we see, and that there is not a forsaking of the sins that we do already see. I ask, Does it follow, that because we should not tempt or mock God in pray­ing for a sight of the sins we have a sight of, and yet don't for­sake, that therefore we must not pray to God for a sight of those sins that we have no sight of, having first renounced those we have had a sight of? Well, the Lord keep our Lives out of the Power of a Jury that would take this Latitude of Constructi­on.

The following words of that good man are these, and very sa­voury and Christian they are; ‘For they that wait upon the Lord, their strength shall be renewed (but for what, if not to’ [Page 24] forsake sin, and serve the Lord God) ‘and living in the Light, and walking up to God, it will bring you to true Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness, that you may receive the Blessing from God, and give over tempting of God to give you a sight of your sins. And why? because you see more then you for­sake;’ forsake what you see, before you pray for more sight; for all such Prayer in such Disobedience is a meer Mockery, and God will not be mocked: and be Psalm 109. 7. Prov. 28. 9. Isa. 1. 13, 14, 15. it known to all, that God has determined not to hear the Prayers of the Wicked; for they are, sayes the Prophet, an Abomination unto him. This yet appears to be his sense by the following Paragraph; ‘And to all ye that say, God give us Grace and we shall refrain from our Sin; there ye have got a tempting customary word; for the free Grace of God has ap­peared to all men, and this is the Grace which shews you Un­godliness and Worldly Lusts: Now, thou that livest in Ungod­liness, Lying, and Swearing, and Theft, and Murder, and Drunkenness, and Filthy Pleasures, and lusting after the World, thou art he that turns the free Grace of God into Wantonness, and casts his Laws behind thy back, and walkest despightfully against the Spirit of Grace. Oh vain man! yet thou canst say, God is merciful, and live in thy Wickedness, passing on thy time without the Fear of God, sporting thy self in thy Wick­edness.’

What think you now? Does this man say, the people ought not to pray for a sight of their sins, which they see not in order to Repentance, or can he mean so? let Candor speak. For that I said before must be the meaning of this Adversary, or he means nothing, because in the other sense all must grant that men ought not to tempt, provoke and mock God by praying for a fight, when they have it and don't use it. What then is the Conclusion of this Matter? why plainly this, that from G. F. saying, that those who say the Lord give us a sight of our sins, that have a sight of them already and forsake them not, do therein tempt God: This Enemy of ours, makes no scruple of Conscience to infer and conclude that G. F. [Page 25] says, that we ought not to pray to God to give us a sight of our sins at all, without any regard to the Distinction of having the sight al­ready, be it that such have forsaken what God has given them a sight of, or that they have Sins they have yet no sight of, yet G. F. says, we must not pray for a sight of our sins, if this Adversary may be credited. Well, the Lord God Almighty, who is the Searcher of all Hearts, knows the end of this Person in writing and spreading these Calumnies and Perversions, and with him I leave him and his Work, but so, as that I sincerely desire, that he may have a sight of his sin against God and an harmless People, if he acts ignorantly; and that he may sincerely repent, and find Mer­cy with the Lord, if he acts maliciously, before he goes bence and be no more seen; for its not a sleight thing to mischarge, and that so peremptorily too, an entire People, about matters of the World that is without end.

I shall conclude this Defence with these three things, the first is, that most of the Opinions he calls ours are not so evinced, or so much as attemp­ted to be proved by the Author of the Libel against us. 2dly, Those that are endeavoured to be fastened on us, have not their due proof, one Person it may be is produced to make good a Charge against a Body of People; would our Adversaries be thus used? would they be concluded by the Word or Act of any one Member of their numerous Communion? certainly no: Besides, the Proofs that are brought, are some lame, others perverted, and some forged, which looks very dishonourable on the part of our Accuser, first to mis-charge, then mis-cite, and lastly wrack words, well intended, to extort, if possible, a Conses­sion of guilt: but the truth is, Error can only be main­tained by Error, and therefore there is no wonder in the case. This is the Usage we have mostly met with [Page 26] put thanks be to God we are neither surprized nor unqrepared.

Lastly, I do hereby offer a fair and free Conference with the Author or Authors of the Libel, or any o­ther that can soberly pretend to a Conscientious Dis­satisfaction about our Faith or Practice, at such time as shall be mutually agreed upon to be convenient.

And this I offer, not out of Vanity or Oftentation, but in Duty to God my great Lord and Master, and in good will to all such Persons; and did not these Considerations prevail, and carry me to this Conde­scention, my manifold Affairs and the many and large Books I have already writ on occasion of these and the like Imputations, would have disswaded me from any fresh undertaking of this nature, and sufficient­ly guarded me against all Reflections upon my Si­lence.

I am a Friend to Mankind William Penn.

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