True Old Light EXALTED ABOVE Pretended NEW LIGHT OR TREATISE OF Jesus Christ, He is the Light which enlightens every one that comes into the world.

[...] the sense both of the Quakers, Arminians, and other Assertors of Universal Grace; whose Light is proved to be Darkness.

Delivered in Nine Sermons, by JOHN TOMBES, B. D. And commended to publick view By Mr Richard Baxter.

PSAL. 43. 3.

[...] thy light and thy truth, let them lead me, let them [...] to thy holy Hill, and to thy Tabernacle.

LONDON, by. A. M. for Thomas Underhill at the Sign of the Anchor and Bible in Pauls Church-yard, 1660.

To the Honourable Sr THOMAS WIDRINGTON Knight, Serjeant Teril, & Serjeant Fountain, Lords Commissioners of the Great Seale of ENGLAND.

THe incessant and importunate inculcation of this monition, by the miserably deluded Qua­kers [look to the light within you] not distin­guishing but confounding it with Christ, giv­ing thereby cause to conceive, that they ac­knowledg no other Christ as their Saviour, but such a fancied one, as they have imagined to be in them, being sadly resented by me, as causing one of the most pernicious Schismes of our dayes, in drawing many weak, though perhaps well meaning soules, to neglect Scriptures, Mini­stry of setled Teachers, Christian-Church-Communion (which tends to Atheisme, irreligion, and perdition) moved me at first to Preach, and since to compose for the Press these ensuing Ser­mons. In which I have endeavoured to shew Christ to be, and how he is the true universall lighting Light, and the insuffici­ency of that magnified Light in each, which those forenamed erring persons with the assertors of universall grace and selfe­disposing freewill of man have avouched. It is charged hotly by many on those whom they term Anabaptists, though not rightly, as if they were Authors or Fautors of this delusion of (Quakers and much to that purpose was objected against my self by that Reverend Brother, whose Epistle is prefixed to these Sermons, in his Letter to me, which is Answered by me in the 63d. Section of the 3d. part of my Review intitled Antipoe­do [Page] baptism) But I hope that by our Declaration Printed Decemb. 12. last (to which I find two Quakers have made injurious Answers) and by my Answer in that Section, together with the reading of these Sermons, the truth will be cleared, and my self with those other Brethren who joyned with me in that Declara­tion, will be discharged from those evill surmises and insinuations which heighten our devisions: for the taking away or lessening of which if I were offered upon the sacrifice and service of the faith of Gods Elect, I should count my self happy. The Author of the Epistle hereto annexed imputes the rise or spreading at least of the errors of Quakers, and divisions of the god­ly to a Popish Jesuiticall practice, for the undermining and ruine of the Churches of Christ in those Nations and this Commonwealth, and he feares nothing so much as a tolera­tion of Popery in England, as the meanes to destroy the Protestant Churches now near an utter destruction by the union of Popish Princes and plots of Romishs Agents. I hope the Lord will not so desert the Parliament, your Ho­nours, or any other of the assertors of our just Liberties, as to allow such a Liberty, as will bring the whole State and all the Churches of God into the servitude of the Roman man of sinne. We have had experience of their and Sa­tans devices by them, their implacable hatred of all that Idolize not the Pope and a piece of Bread, to make us wary how we permit such Serpents to lye in our bosomes. Their activity, subtility, perfidiousness, cruelty beyond any sort of men, that ever yet appeared in the world, especially to really godly Persons, should alarm and awaken us to be­think our selves, afore it be too late, of preventing their intrenching among us. And sith Quakerism is but a po­sterne to let in Popery, which English Protestants would undoubtedly fight against to the death, if it marched under its own Colours and Leaders, it is necessary that such an eye be had on Quakers, as that the Preaching of the [Page] Gospell be not hindred by them, nor their growth such as may oppress those, whom they revile and hate without a cause. To shew the falsehood of the chief foundations of Popery the supposed Cathoticism of the Roman Church, the Su­premacy of the Pope, and the truth of their unwritten tra­ditions, I have written a Book now in Press, which hath an Epistle of the same Reverend Brother (whose Epistle is here Printed,) prefixed, by which appeares our union and concurrence in the common cause of Christ against oppugners of it. And having regard to your Honours, and the esteem which is due to you as being a constellation of the first mag­nitude in this our Commonwealth, I presume to offer this Writing to your Honours for your use, and to subscribe my selfe

Your Honours humble Servant in Christ John Tombes.

To the Reader.


IF thou live in England, it's like thou hast heard of (if not seen) that new and strange generation of people called Quakers: And if thou be one that hast not lost thy faith and wit, I may presume that thou art grieved for their folly and impiety, and wonderest at their brazen-faced impudency, and lamentest the dishonour which they bring upon the Christian name, and blushest at them as the Nations shame. But all understand not their originall and tendency: who sends them forth; and what is their designe. Had there been no other discovery of these, they are legible enough in their doctrines and their workes. He that is no stranger to Popery, and is con­versant in the writings of the Fryars and Jesuites, may perceive who taught them their doctrine of universall sufficient light; of Perfection, against imputed righteousness; of the necessity of an infallible judge; that concupiscence antecedent to consent is no sin; their undervaluing the Scriptures, and many the like. The principal work of the Papists and Quakers is to take off the people from the holy Scriptures, and from the Reformed faithfull Mini­sters. This is none of the work of Christ, who teacheth his Disci­pies by his Spirit, Word, and Ministers conjunctly. He that would have no Ministry, would have no Church and no Christ: And he that would have another Church and Ministry, in reason should tell us plainly which is the Church and Ministry which he would have. If it be the Papal, why do they not speak out and say so: doth jug­ling suit with matters of eternall life or death? If it be not the Papal but the Quakers, it cannot be the Church and Ministry of Christ. For the Church and Ministers of Christ have been not only conspicu­ous since his Ascension and sending the Holy Ghost, but also have been that part of the world which providence hath tendered, and for which the earth hath been sustained, and for whose happinesse [Page] all things do conspire. But the Quakers Church (if they have any) is but about ten or twelve years old at utmost: unless the Weigeli­ans, Paracelsians, Behmenists, and the rest of the Fanaticks in Ger­many, or the Familists in England and New-England may be ac­counted their progenitors: And yet their Church will not be found to be of two hundred years continuance. Indeed Stubbe (Sir H. Vane's egregious Vindicator) had neither wit, nor modesty, nor fear enough to restrain him, from telling the world (in his malice, pag. 36.) that it was ignorantly said of me, that [The Quakers had no being in the world, till a few years ago] and the Gnostick adds that [as to the generality of their opinions and deportment, he doth AVOW it out of as sure and good records as any can be produced, that they can plead more for themselves from the first two hundred se­venty years, then Mr. Baxter for the present orthodox Religion laid down in the Saints Everlasting Rest, or the Confession of the Assem­bly.] But when will the undertaker produce these Records? Such a heart and face might have served him to avow, that the holy A­postles were railing lying Quakers, or whatever filthiness had come into his thoughts. Some of their abominable opinions and practi­ces, have troubled the world since the Romish iniquity did abound: but no times were freer from them then the first, and none more unlike to them then Christ and his Apostles, however Satan would gain credit to his impieties, or discredit to the Gospel by his apish imitations. The witness of their late Leader James Nailor is regar­dable, who in his Recantation saith that they are [Unclean Spirits gene out from the unity of the truth and light by which we have been called and gathered into one Christ Jesus, the Head over all his, blessed for ever: whose name hath been greatly dishonoured by many wilde actings, and his innocent Spirit grieved, and many simple souls de­ceived,—and that the work of the murderer and devourer is therein, against the life of God in his Temple: which though they seek entrance under pretence of humility; promising some great things, and more ho­liness in that way, to steal into simple minds, yet being got in, exalts himself above the seed of God, and tramples the meek spirit under foot.—And by this (saith he) you shall all perceive that Spirit, what­ever it pretends, it will secretly withdraw your entire love from the flock of God, already gathered, and cool your affections and zeal towards their present meetings: and if you judge it not there, it will grow on with an evil eye, to spie out for their failings; and to delight to hear of [Page] them with an hidden joy, whispering them to others, and adding there­unto, with a desire to see them broken, and their nakedness laid open, if anything be amiss. And thus it hath wrought in a mystery of wic­kedness in some unjudged, untill it be seated in the throne of open enmi­ty and strife against the Lambs of Light, preferring the society ef the prophane before them, and taking part therewith against them, joyn­ing to any who seek to scatter them. And whatever pretence this Spi­rit covers it sellf with, this I declare against it, (having been kept by the good hand of God, to see it revealed in its ground and end) that it is the old Spirit of the Ranters, which now in a new way makes head against the Light of Christ and life of the Cross, which is the only thing that stands in its way, by condemning its filthiness in every conscience.]

Thus speaks James Nailor, after his lamentable experience, and the Papers he hath written (against me and others) for their way. And yet his followers will not be undeceived, nor follow him in his Recantation.

Had they their will against the Ministry in this Land, would it promote the Gospel, and the salvation of the people? Who would instruct them publikely and privately? As constantly, and diligent­ly, and soundly, as now they are instructed? If there were joyin Hell, what joyfull tidings would it be to the infernal Spirits, to hear of the accomplishment of the desires of the Quakers, and their partakers?

The accusations against us, which the grand accuser of the Bre­thren hath put into their mouthes, are partly from our hearts (un­known to them) and partly from our duties (imputed to us for our crimes) and partly from our afflictions (in which they should rather compassionate us, then reproach us.)

Yesterday in the Congregation and the streets, a stranger that never saw my face before, cryed out [The judgement of the Lord is gone out against thee, thou hypocrite, thou painted Sepulcher, that hast an outside of humility, but an inside of pride; an outside of godliness, but within is envy, wrath, malice, and all wicked­ness: in the day of thy misery thou shalt remember me.] When I heard the man, I blessed God that had caused me to be contented with his own approbation, and given me the testimony of my con­science, that my soul, and life, and all that I have is devoted to him, and that I have a most just heart-searching Judge, that yet [Page] hath the compassions of a Father. And I wondered that sin should ever prevail so far with men, as to harden them to so open and im­pudent an usurpation of the prerogative of God, while they pre­tend to know the hearts of men, as soon as they see their faces. And I thought with compassion on the state of weak unsetled con­sciences, that are like young Horses among Drums and Guns, that are frightened meerly by a noise. As if any man that could but re­peat a Scripture-threatning, and speak terribly, and counter­feit himself a Prophet, should frighten us from our peace and faith.

And it is our very preaching and labours for our peoples souls, that is the principal thing they hate us for: And the more laborious and faithfull any man is, the more maliciously do they oppose him; being incomparably more patient with a Whoremonger, or Drunk­ard, or prophane Worldling, then with such, So that our dili­gence (so strictly commanded us by God) is with them our crime. That we do not (as the old worldly Readers did) follow the Plow and Cart, and labour about earthly business, when we should be doing the spiritual work that we are engaged in, and that our peo­ples souls require, though we are commanded to [meditate upon these things, and give our selves wholly to them] 1 Tim. 4. 15. A good Minister of Jesus Christ, being one that is nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereto they do attain.] vers. 6.

The great word by which they think to make us odious to the people (working on their carnal minds and interests) is that we are Hirelings, because (forsooth) we bargain for so much, or else we will not preach. But Satan is a liar: By Gods assistance, we will preach while we have life, and strength, and liberty, though instead of maintaining us, they spit in our faces. But we dare not encourage our people to be ungratefull Monsters, nor sacrilegious Theeves, to detain the Tithes or Glebe that never was their own, nor they nor their Fathers never paid for, nor had the least pre­tence of title to. For my own part I never took Tithe, by suit or force to my self, and resolved still that I never would do it: but if ever I were put to suit, I give order to the Collectors, to give all that they recover to the poor, with all the damages and addition, that so neither I may have Tithes by Law-suit, nor the wicked worldlings be encouraged to damn their souls by sacriledge, while [Page] I connive at it. And sure I am that it was God that told the Israelites, Mal. 3. 8, 9. They were cursed with a curse, even the whole Nation, for robbing God in Tithes and Offerings. And that Christ saith to the Tithers of Mint and Cummin, Mat. 23. 23. These things ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone: And that the primitive Christians sold all, and laid at the Apostles feet, for the maintenance of themselves and of the poor: And that the Holy Ghost hath fully decided the controversie, 1 Cor. 9. That we have power to forbear working, vers. 6. And not to go on war­fare at our own charges, vers. 7. And that the Law about Church­maintenance is so far from being repealed, that Paul proves he saith not these things as a man, because the Law doth speak the same, vers. 8. The Ox is not to be muzzled that treadeth out the Corn; which God speaks in care of his Ministers and Churches, though Quakers would have more care of Oxen. Do we not know that they which minister about holy things, live of the things of the Temple? (even on a stated maintenance) and they which wait at the Altar, are partakers with the Altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel, vers. 13, 14.

Is it a crime to eat and be cloathed? Or are Ministers most un­worthy of their daily bread? Shall Lawyers and Physicians live on their professions, and only the Preachers of the Gospel be thought unworthy of any competent maintenance in the world? Or will not Christ (that will reward a cup of cold water given to his servants, taking it as done to him) severely one day reckon with these un­thankfull men, that grudged a competent maintenance to his Mi­nisters, and made it their reproach that they live? When he had generally required, G [...]l. 6. 6, 7. [Let him that is taught in the Word, communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things: Be not deceived, God is not mooked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.] And yet we desire none of their communica­tions: but only that they deny us not that which never was their own.

But they say, that their Teachers are content with food and rai­ment; and so should we. To which I answer, we are content with it: Where there is one Minister that hath much more, I believe there is ten, if not twenty that are hardly put to it, to have ordi­nary food and raiment for themselves and families: And yet if [Page] they be enabled to relieve the poor, or to breed up their children (at least) to some honest trade, it would not have been grudged them, if their holy doctrine had not first been hated, and these A­postates proved more ungratefull Monsters, then many Turks or Heathens are.

The Affliction with which they reproach us, is, the unreformed­ness of our people; They tell us, as the Papists do, that none are converted by our Ministry. But how ill the Lord will take it at their hands to blaspheme the workings of the Holy Ghost, and de­ny his grace, that manifesteth it self in thousands of his servants, and to put the name of Satan on the sheep of Christ, these wretch­es are shortly like to know, to their everlasting horror, if repen­tance prevem it not. To our joy, and the praise of the grace of God, we see (though not in all places alike) so many hundreds and thousands of souls converted, within these few years by our Ministry, that all the malicious Spirits in Hell, and slanderous tongues on earth, shall not deprive us of our comfort, nor God of the honour, nor these converts of the happiness hereof.

But what if some Ministers do labour with less encouragement and success? Is that their fault? Or is it long of wicked hearts? And of slanderers that reproach their Ministry? When Christ bid his Apostles shake off the dust of their feet against the refusers of his Gospel, and told them, it should be more easie for Sodom in the day of judgement, then for them; would they have cast this as a re­proach upon the Apostles, which was the sin and dreadfull misery of the people? O what deceivers of poor souls are these? That would turn the eyes of obstinate sinners thus from the observing of their own iniquities. And what! Are we better then the Apostles? And then Christ himself? How few did he convert, that spake as never man spake? How many thousand remained malicious cruel enemies? And how many places did the Apostles preach in, where they converted not one (I think) for a hundred, that some of us see converted in one Parish? And why do not the Papists and Qua­kers observe, how they condemn their own Ministry by this Ar­gument? Do they make Papists and Quakers of all where they come? How few do they win in a whole Countrey? I have here allowed them to dispute in publike; and they frequently preach and rail in the Market place: and yet it is but a few weeks, since they passed through this Town with this Lamentation. [What [Page] miserable places are Kederminster and Bewdeley, that we cannot convert one soul in them!] And yet to make a man a Quaker, is a far easier matter then to make him an honest godly man: as it's easier to make a man an uncharitable railer, then a meek and cha­ritable Christian.

Their great pretence, when they dishonour the Scripture and the Ministry, is to lead men to a Light or Word of God within them; and this is their cry in our Assemblies and our streets [Hearken to the Light and Word within you:] and the sufficiency of this they clamorously defend; and accuse us grievously for contradicting them. But what mean these dark contentious men, when their words are freed from confusion. Do they affirm that all men have the light of Reason? And who denieth it of any, but Ideots and Infants? Do they maintain that Reason by the help of natural evi­dence in the creatures, may know much of God and duty, even so much as to leave men without excuse, at the barre of God? And who denieth this? Do they maintain that this Light is from Jesus Christ, both as the author and restorer of nature? And by whom among us is this denyed? Do they say that repaired or reprived nature, may be fitly called grace? About this also we have no mind to quarrell with them; so they will not with Pelagius exclude supernatural grace hereby. Do they hold that common supernatu­ral light, outward and inward, objective and inherent, is given to many (at least) of the unsanctified, that live under the preaching of the Gospel? And who contradicteth them in this? Do they hold that, as the Sun is appointed in nature, to be the light of e­very man that cometh into the world, though some parts of the earth were never illuminated by it, and blind men partake not of its light, and the night or shutting our eyes or windows may ex­clude it; so Christ is by office the Sun in the world of grace, giving men actually all the gracious light they have, and being sufficient himself to enlighten all, and giving them an illuminating Word, which is sufficient in its own kind, to do its own part; though ma­ny are blind, and many for their sin are deprived of the communi­cation of this light? Why all this we maintain as well as they. Do they say that all this light (within us and without us) is to be hearkened to and obeyed? Why what man did they ever speak with, that's a Christian, that denieth it?

But if they make mans Reason in faculty or act, or any of this in­ward [Page] light, to be Christ personally within us, and deny any Christ but such a one that is essentially one with such a light, (that is, with every wicked man) we abhor this Infidelity and blasphemy, and marvell that such hellish darknesse should have the face to assume the name of light. If they maintain that the common Reason of the world, is sufficient to bring men to the Faith of Christ, with­out any other kind of light, from the Spirit, or written or preached Word; I would fain be resolved in these few Questions.

Q. 1. How comes it to passe that all Nations that never heard the Gospel, are utterly void of Faith in Christ, when the Nations that have the Gospel do generally know him more or lesse?

Q. 2. Why did not the world believe in Christ, even generally, before his coming? if Reason was then a sufficient Light?

Q. 3. Why did Christ preach himself while he was on earth, if the people had all sufficient Light before?

Q. 4. Why did he send his Apostles to preach through the world, if the people had sufficient Light before?

Q. 5. Why did he set Pastours and Teachers in his Church, if all have a sufficient Light within them?

Q. 6. Why do the Quakers go up and down teaching men their own Doctrines, if all men have sufficient Light already?

Q. 7. Why do they cry out against us as being in darknesse, when all men have sufficient Light within them?

Q. 8. Will they pray for more light and grace, or not? If not, they are impiously proud: If yea, then it seems they have not yet light and grace sufficient.

Q. 9. Whereas they say, the light within is sufficient, if obeyed: Our Question is, Whether it be sufficient to make men obey it? For that's the grace that we are speaking of, that causeth men to hearken, believe and obey: For Faith is not of our selves, but it is the gift of God: And mens hearts must be opened, as Lydia's was, Act. 16. to hear and receive the truth revealed. Now to say, that the Light or Grace which is given to cause us to Believe and Obey, is sufficient if we will believe and obey, is ridiculous: as if Christ should have said to Lazarus, [I will raise thee, if thou wilt first raise thyself.]

Q. 10. But how can any Light be sufficient, (were a man ne­ver so obedient,) to reveal that which is not manifested by it, or by any Revelation that doth accompany it? No Light or Revela­tion [Page] among the Heathens in America, doth tell them that Christ was incarnate, dyed, rose, ascended, or intercedeth for us, or is the King, Priest, or Teacher of the Church, or will raise the dead, and judge the world. How then can their light be sufficient to help them to the belief of this? I think it's past controversie, that no man hath sufficient Grace for salvation, till his last breath. For if God adde not more, for his preservation, excitation and perseve­rance, all will be lost.

But this point (which Quakers most insist on) the Reverend Author hath very judiciously handled in this Treatise, and there­fore I shall say no more of it. The truth is here opened (to the shaming of their errours) with great Scripture evidence; which impartially considered, may easily convince all that believe the Scriptures: and make it appear that the Light that is in these men is Darknesse; (Luk. 11. 35.) Though the difference, and too-eager Disputations between the Reverend Author and my self, a­bout the point of Infant-Baptism, be too well known, yet it is our desire that it be as much known, that we desire to hold the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace; as Members of the same Head and Body, uniting our force for the common Truths against the pernici­ous adversaries thereof: And though we own not in each other, or our selves, the discerned errours of doctrine or life, which through humane frailty we may be guilty of; Neverthelesse, whereto we have already attained, we desire to walk by the same Rule, and mind the same things; hoping that if in any thing we be otherwise mind­ed, God shall reveal even this unto us. (Phil. 3. 15, 16.) I think it is time for men that have any sense of the common interest of Christianity and Reformation, to lay by those contentions that have brought us so low, and almost made us a prey to the common Ro­mish adversaries: The Lord grant it be not too late. The two great works of the Jesuites in England, are to procure Liberty for the Profession of Popery, and to weaken, if not take down a fixed a­ble Ministry: They cannot do this work of themselves, without the help of men professing a zeal for Reformation. But how much they have promoted it by such hands, and how much they are like­ly further by them to promote it, I had rather lament with daily tears, than open to a generation of deluded souls, that will not be­lieve they are doing the work of the Devil and the Pope, till they find themselves in Rome, or the Inquisition. It astonisheth me to [Page] foresee, (if a wonder of mercy do not prevent it,) how these con­tetious souls will be worryed by their consciences, and ready e­ven to eat their flesh, when they see (by the conjunction of for­reign and Domestick Papists) the Cause of Christ once trodden down in the hand, and see how they betrayed the Gospel of their Posterity, into the hands of tyrannous Idolaters, and how the fa­milistical Juglers of these times, made use of them to set up Pope­ry: Which [...]ow is the work that is already so farre carried on, that all our endeavours, if united, are like to be little enough to prevent. We are not so childish as 'to fear lest Quaking should become the National Religion: We know these squibs will soon be out. But those that animate them, have Italy and Spain, and Austria, and France, Armies and Navies, and swarmes of Fryers and Jesuites at their backs; and I take their Liberty and Dominion, to be words almost of the same signification. But let the Curse of the Almighty Defender of his Church, yet follow the underminers of his holy Truth, and confound the builders of this Babel! And never let the Deliverances in 88, and from the Powder-plot, be buried in the ruines of an ungratefull apostatized Land! When you hear, that among our Rulers it shall be endeavoured, that Liberty for Popery shall be granted, and secured from interruption from any future Par­liaments, then remember what I say, and let the consciences of those that have betrayed us, be awakened, and let them see then what friends they have been to our Religion, and whither their uncharitable perversnesse hath brought a miserable Land.

I have already told the Episcopal Brethren, that Bishop Usher and I did fully agree in half an hour, and therefore it is not long of us, that our wound is yet unhealed. And (though I never treated with Mr. Tombes about such a matter) I am confident that he and I should agree in one daiestreaty, upon termes of communion, cha­rity, and forbearance, among those of our several waies. And therefore if we yet continue unhealed, let the shame and horror lie on them that are obstinate in their uncharitable waies. And that it should be harder to agree with the Congregational Brethren, is incredible. Why then is there not long ago, a setled concord a­mong all these? That yet there should be a frustration of all Assem­blies and endeavours to these ends, and so easie, so necessary, so Christian a work should be yet undone (yea obstinately resisted) [Page] after so many years experience and opportunity, till we are all rea­dy to be devoured by the common adversary, this is our astonish­ment, and Englands shame, and especially of some that have been the hinderers, and will cost the consciences of some men dear, when God ariseth to judge the earth, and vindicate his honour which they betrayed, by their self-blinding and Church-troubling Pride. Reader, as I invite thee to the perusall of this Treatise for thy edi­fication, so do I most earnestly intreat thee, if thou beest a divider, to study the nature of holy Charity, and Catholick Unity, and fol­low us that desire to lead thee to the Love and Concord of the Saints. And to further this work, I intreat thee also impartially to peruse Mr. William Allen's Retractation of Seperation; which if thou wilt do with a Christian frame of spirit, then go on to de­stroy the Church by divisions, and further their work that would betray us to the Papists, if thou canst. If our wickednesse have not caused God to passe an irreversible Decree, of departing from us, and leaving England to be a stye of Romish abominations, he will yet cause his people to retreat from their divisions, and pre­sently to hear the Voice of Peace: For which I shall daily pray and groan, and labour according to my power; and if God deny it me, and tell me this is not a world that's fit for so great a mercy, I hope I shall long the more for Heaven, and cry and wait, for the glorious appearing of the Prince of Peace. Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Amen.

Richard Baxter.


SERM. I. Christ the Light.
  • SEct. 1. Of the Evangelists scope, method, the reading and meaning of Joh. 1. 9.
  • Sect. 2. Christ is the Light, and the term Light, explained.
  • Sect. 3. Christ is Light as the Prince of life.
  • Sect. 4. Christ is Light as the Lord of Glory.
  • Sect. 5. Christ is Light as cause of Peace and Joy.
  • Sect. 6. Christ is Light in respect of his Purity and Wisdome.
  • Sect. 7. Christ is Light in respect of Truth and Grace.
  • Sect. 8. The application in a double Use, to see the estate of men with­out Christ, and to draw our eyes to him.
SERM. II. Christ the True Light.
  • Sect. 1. Christ no counterfeit Light.
  • Sect. 2. Christ more then a typical Light.
  • Sect. 3. Other Lights not Lights, in comparison of Christ.
  • Sect. 4. Christ the Original Light.
  • Sect. 5. Christ the perfect Light.
  • Sect. 6. Christ the effectual inlightning Light.
  • Sect. 7. Christ was the true Light in respect of the Truth of his Word
  • Sect. 8. Application by way of vindication of our selves, from the accusation of Quakers, as if we denied the Light, John 1. 9. and warning to shun false Lights.
SERM. III. Christ the inlightning Light.
  • Sect. 1. Christ inlightens all things with their natural light as Crea­tour.
  • Sect. 2. Christ inlightens the world with the knowledge of God as the Prophet of the Church.
  • [Page] Sect. 3. Christ as High Priest enlightens with the Light of pea and joy in God.
  • Sect. 4. Christ as King of Saints enlightens with the Light of glory.
  • Sect. 5. Christ enlightens by his natural power as Gods Son, and by special commission as sent of God.
  • Sect. 6. Christ enlightens by his Preaching, Example, Spirit, A­postles, now in this time; by his power and glory in the world to come.
  • Sect. 7. Christ enlightens by reason of his own lustre, and his Fa­thers design to shew him to the world.
  • Sect. 8. Application by way of inference, that we are to bless God for Christs enlightening, and all that are Christs are children of Light.
SERM. IV. Men coming into the world need Light from Christ.
  • Sect. 1. The necessity of Christs enlightening is asserted, because of the blindness which is in all at birth.
  • Sect. 2. Universal corruption at birth, is proved from Joh. 3. 6.
  • Sect. 3. Vacuity of Light without Christ enlightening, is proved from Rom. 8. 7, 8. Rom. 3. 9, 10, 11. 23. 1 Cor. 2. 14. Mar. 7. 21, Jam. 1. 14.
  • Sect. 4. Vacuity of Light without Christ enlightening, is proved from Gen. 6. 5. & 8. 21. Job 14. 4. & 15. 14. & 25. 4, 5, 6. & 11, 12. Psal. 51. 5. Jer. 10. 14. & 17. 9. and experience.
  • Sect. 5. Every man needs enlightening by Christ, by reason of the many evils consequent on sin.
  • Sect. 6. Application to make us sensible of sins evil, and the worlds vanity, and to provoke us to seek a treasure above, and Light from Christ to comfort us.
SERM. V. Every man hath Light from Christ to make him inexcusable.
  • Sect. 1. A natural Light from Christ is yeelded to be in every man, and the opinions of Free-willers of its sufficiency are set down.
  • Sect. 2. The opinion of the Quakers concerning a Light in each man, is enquired into.
  • Sect. 3. Some Light is in the most barbarous, yet the knowledge of the most refined Gentiles, may be conceived to come from some ac­quaintance with the written Law or Tradition from Adam.
  • [Page] Sect. 4. The Light without the written Word which was in the Gentiles, in the utmost extent of it was imperfect.
  • Sect. 5. The Gentiles Light by nature served to restrain from sin and to leave men inexcusable.
  • Sect. 6. Application to justifie us against Quakers, and to warn us, that we act not against our Light.
  • Containing thirty Arguments out of Scripture against the Qua­kers opinion, of the sufficiency of a Light in every man to guide him to God.
SERM. VII. Every mans Light within him is not of it self a sufficient safe guide unto God.
  • Sect. 1. Ten Reasons more are urged against the Quakers opinion, of the sufficiency of the Light in every man to guide him to God.
  • Sect. 2. Objections of the Quakers for the universality and sufficiency of Light in men, are answered.
SERM. VIII. All spiritual saving Light is from Christ.
  • Sect. 1. All spiritual saving Light of knowledge, peace, joy, hope, life, and glory, is from Christ.
  • Sect. 2. Christ enlightens Gentiles as well as Jews with spiritual Light.
  • Sect. 3. There is not sufficient direction in the acts of Gods common providence, to lead men to the knowledge of Gods grace in Christ.
  • Sect. 4. Application to move us Gentiles to rejoyce in this Light, and not to rest in humane reason.
  • Christ is to be chosen and followed as our Light, whereunto we are exhorted to use him as our Light, and Directions given to that end.

Books published by the Author.

CHrists commination against Scandalizers, on Luk. 7. 1, 2. Printed for Ri­chard Royston at the Sign of the Angel in Ivy-lane London.

Jehovah Jireh, or Gods providence in delivering the godly, in two Ser­mons on 2 Pet. 2. 9. on occasion of preserving Bristoll from a plot to deliver it to Prince Rupert, March 7. 1642. Printed for Michael Sparks at the blew Bible in green Arbour London.

Fermentum Pharisaeorum, or the Leaven of pharisaical Will-worship, in a Sermon on Mat. 15. 9. Printed for Andrew Crook at the green Dragon in Pauls Chruch-yard London.

Anthropolatria, or the sin of glorying in men, on 1 Cor. 3. 21. Printed for John Bellamy at the three golden Lions in Cornhill London

Two Treatises concerning Infant-baptisme, to wit an Exercitation and Ex­amen of Mr Stephen Marshall's Sermon, Printed for George Whitington, and to be sold by W. Larnar.

An Apology for the two Treatises, Printed for G. Calvert at the black spread Eagle at the West end of Pauls London.

An Antidote against the venome of a passage of Mr Richard Baxter's Epistle before his Book of Rest, Printed for Thomas Brewster at the three Bibles at the West end of Pauls London.

An Addition to the Apology, in a Letter to Mr Robert Baillee of Scotland, Printed by Henry Hills next door to the Sign of the Peacock in Aldersgate­street London.

Praecursor, or a Forerunner to the Review, Printed for the same.

Antipoedobaptisme, or the first part of the full review of the Dispute concern­ing Infant-baptisme, Printed for Henry Cripps and Lodowick Lloyd in Popes head Ally near Lumbard-street London.

A plea for Antipoedobaptists against Mr John Crag's Dispute and Sermon at Abergavenny, Printed for Henry Hills above named.

Antipoedobaptisme, or the second part of the full review of the Dispute con­cerning Infant-baptisme, Printed for the same.

Joannis Tombes Beudleiensis refutatio positionis Doctoris Henrici Savage Londini typis Henrici Hills.

Antipoedobaptisme, or the third part of the full review of the Dispute con­cerning Infant-baptisme, London Printed for Henry Hills above named.

Felo dese, being a Collection of twenty Arguments against Infant-baptisme, out of Mr Richard Baxter's second Disputation of right to Sacraments, with an Answer to his ten Reasons for his practice of Infant-baptisme, Printed for the same.

A short Catechisme about Baptisme, containing the chief grounds of the Controversies concerning it, in fourty Questions and Answers, Printed for the same.

True old Light exalted, Printed for Thomas Underhill atthe Anchor and Bible in Pauls Church-yard London.

Christ the Light.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. Of the Evangelists scope, method, the reading and meaning of Joh. 1. 9.

THe Gospel of John, the longest liver of the Apostles (as Hierome termes him in his Catalogue of Ecclesiastick Writers) was written last of the four, and, as the matter gives us occasion to conceive, to supply the things omitted by the rest, and so might be termed the Paralipomena, or things left, as the Greeks term the Book by the Hebrews termed the words of daies, by us, the Chronicles or Records of times. That it was written in opposition to the new fancies or haeresies of Ebien, Cerinthus, and other fanatiques, is intimated by Iraeneus lib. 3. adv. haer. c. 1. 11. and others. Against whom he opposeth the Antiquity, Divinity, and Operation of Christ in certain Aphorismes, set down in the first 5 verses. And then to distinguish him from John the Baptist, he declareth 1. Johns Mission, ver. 6. 2. His businesse, ver. 7. 3. His inferiority to Christ, ver. 8. 4. Christs preeminence above him, ver. 9. which words are spoken of Christ Jesus, whom John terms the Word, ver. 1. who is said to be flesh, and to dwell among us, ver. 14. of whom John testified, ver. 15 to have been his Ancient; and, whether they are the words of John Baptist, as is conceived, or the Evangelist, as seems most probable, they shew his excellency above John Baptist, who was denied to be the light, though he were that he might bear witnesse of the light. Heinsius ex­ercit. sacr. l. 4. c. 1. seems to conceive, that the pointing being altered, the words might be read thus; He was not that light, but that he might bear witnesse of the light he was, (referring [...], ver. 9. to the end of ver. 8.) The true light which in­lightneth every man coming into the world, was in this world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not, ver. 9, 10. But the supplement of Beza, [this man] or as our Translators hath it, That was the true light, is better and more agreeable to Johns phrase. But then there is another doubt, whether it should be read thus; That was the true light coming into the world, which inlighten­eth [Page 6] every man, by a trajection: Or as ours read, as the words are placed, That was the true light, which inlighteneth every man which cometh into the world. Gro­tius after Cyril, Augustin, and some others likes the former as best, because Joh. 3. 19. and 12. 46. where he speaks of himself as light, he so expresseth himself as coming into the world as light, and so he would have the sense to be of his coming into the world, not by his birth, but appearing as a Teacher; as when it is said, Joh. 6. 14. This is truly the Prophet coming into the world. But 1. such trajection being without necessity, and so disordering the words, 2. The phrase in these, and John 18. 37. being as fitly interpreted of birth, as of ap­pearing as a Teacher, I rather choose the reading of our Translators. But then there is some doubt about the meaning, what is the light with which, and how he inlightens every man coming into the world. Two waies he may be said to inlighten, and accordingly two sorts of light may be meant, and two waies may the words be expounded. There is a natural light of reason and understanding, which every person coming into the world hath, though not all in the same measure in the exercise, by reason of the different temper and state of the body which the soul dwells in: And this light is conceived to be meant, ver. 4. where it is said, that the life of Christ was the light of men, which expressing what was, when all things were made by him, and without him was nothing made that was made; It can be well understood of no other light then natural reason by the creation of Christ; and to this sense, it seems to make that ver. 10. it follows after ver. 9. Which inlightneth every man coming into the world, the world was made by him. And then the sense is this; That or this person of whom John was to witnesse, was the true or excellent light, which or who inlighteth with natural reason and understanding, every man coming into the world by natural birth, as being made by him. This sense is followed by the most of Protestant Commentators I meet with, and seems to be genuine. The other sort of light is spiritual light expressed thus, 2 Cor. 4. 6. The inlightning of of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person or face of Jesus Christ. And this sort of light is from Christs preaching and Spirit, and is meane ver. 5. where it is said, The light shineth in darknesse, and the darknesse comprehended it not. And of this light Christ is the cause, as the Prophet of his Church, Luk. 1. 79. Joh. 3. 19. & 8. 12, &c. And thus is Christ said to inlighten every man; that is, every man that is inlightened, hath his light from Christ: as when it is said, Psal. 145, 14. The Lord upboldeth all that fall, that is, all fallen persons that are up­held: or he lighteth every man, that is, all sorts of men, as Col. 1. 28. every man, is meant all sorts or Nations of men. And these I confesse are good sen­ses: yet methinks, the addition [Who cometh into the world] doth intimate, that this inlightning is of every man that is born. 2. At his birth, and so is to be extended to every person of humane nature, and the natural light he hath at birth; which I have chosen to handle, that I may clear the mistake of those who are termed Quakers, who have this text almost perpetually in their speeches and writings, insomuch that in the Catechism of G. F. that is, George Fox, a prime leader of them, this text is almost in every answer to the Que­stions there propounded, repeated: And it is the common speech of them, and almost all their preaching, Look to the light within thee. My intent is, therefore to consider what that light is, which is in each person, and to shew that it is not sufficient to be a mans guide without the holy Scripture, and therefore that [Page 7] erroneously they make it Christ and direct men to follow it universally as their rule. To this end, I shall consider, 1. How Christ is light. 2. How he is the true light. 3. How he lighteth. 4. How men come into the world. 5. How farre every man is inlightned that comes into the world with natural light. 6. How all spiritual light is derived from Christ, and in what sense Christ may be said to inlighten every man with it.

Sect. 2. Christ is the Light, the term Light is explained.

The first thing to be considered, is, That the Word, that is Jesus Christ is Light. Thus he saith of himself, Joh. 12. 26. That he was come a light into the world. And Simeon said of him, Luk. 2. 32. That he was a light for the lightning of the Gentiles. To conceive of this point, two things will be to be explained; 1. What is ascribed to Christ by this Appellation of Light. 2. In respect of what nature he is thus termed.

To resolve the former, it is to be considered that the term Light is sometimes applied to lucid bodies, as the fire is termed the light, Mark. 14. 54. where Pe­ter is to be warmed, [...], at the light; that is, the fire. And so Candles are termed lights, Act. 16. 29. as it's usual with us also in our common speech. And thus God is said to have made two great lights, Gen. 1. 16. the Sun and the Moon. Sometime for the quality of light, which is a visive quality, 1. In the lucid body chiefly, as the light of the Sun, Rev. 22. 5. 2. From it in the aire or middle body by which it is carried to the eye, as the light in the aire which shone round about Paul, Act. 26. 13. 3. In the eye by which the objects to be seen are discerned, in which respect the eye is termed the light of the body, Luke 11. 34. Now of all qualities there is none more amiable or desirable. Eccl. 11. 7. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing to behold the Sun. By reason of whose beauty most Nations, who knew not the true God, did imagin the Sun to be God, and accordingly did adore it, and sacrifice to it, which Job disclaimed, Job 31. 26, 27, 28. If I beheld the Sun when it shined, or the Moon walking in bright­nesse, and mine heart hath been secretly inticed, and my mouth hath kissed my hand, this also were an iniquity to be punished by the Judge: for I should have denied the God that is above. By reason of its light, warmth and other influence, the Sun is magnified by writers, as seeing, and hearing all things, as the common Pa­rent of all sublunary bodies; insomuch that the Peripatetick Philosophy makes the Sun with man, to generate man. The Holy Ghost foretelling the coming of the Messiah, Mal. 4. 2. terms him The Sun of Righteousnesse. And Zacharias speaking of Christ, Luk. 1. 78, 79. saith, Through the bowels of mercy of our God, in which the day-spring or Sun-rising from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darknesse, and in the shadow of death. So that what excellency the Sun hath in respect of its light, is to be conceived of Christ in a spiritual way, but in a higher degree; and whatever excellency the light signifies in the Metaphor, is more truly verified of him then any Angels of light, or Chil­dren of light among men.

Sect. 3. Christ is Light as the Prince of life.

1. By [Light] is oft in Scripture signified life: Psal. 36. 9. For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see light. And even in this Gospel saith Christ, John 8. 12. I am the light of the world, he that followeth me, shall not [Page 4] walk in darknesse, but shall have the light of life. And John 1. 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. Job. 33. 28. He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Ver. 30. To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. Psal. 49. 19. The soul shall go to the generation of his fathers, they shall never see light. Psal. 13. 3. Lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death. Hence to sit in darknesse and in the shadow of death, are conjoyned, Mat. 4. 16. Luk. 1. 79. In respect therefore of life in Christ, and communicated by him, he is rightly termed the light Now that he hath life in himself at his disposal, is affirmed by him, Joh. 5. 21. As the Father raiseth the dead and quickneth, so also the Son quickneth whom he will. Ver. 26. For as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he also given to the Son to have life in himself. Joh. 14 6. Jesus saith to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me. Joh. 11. 25. Jesus saith unto her, I am the re­surection and the life. 1 Joh. 5. 11. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: who is termed the Word of life, 1 Joh. 1. 1. That eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifest unto us. Ver. 2. The Prince or Author of life, Act 3. 15. The last Adam was made a quickning Spi­rit, 1 Cor. 15. 45. which being spoken of the resurrection of the body, it ap­pears that he is the light in respect of natural life, as well as spiritual, at the first creation, as well as at the future resurrection. As it is certain that some sort of living creatures are produced by the Sun, so it is certain that the Son of God is the Prince of life, who hath life in himself, and imparts it to other living beings; and in this respect is justly termed the Light.

Sect. 4. Christ is Light as the Lord of glory.

2. By Light is oft meant glory and majesty. There is one glory of the Sun, another of the Moon, and another of the Stars, for one Star differeth from another in glory, that is light, 1 Cor. 15. 41. The light which made the face of Moses shine, Exod. 34. 29. is termed 2 Cor 3. 7. the glory of his countenance, and the shining of Christ at his transfiguration, Mat. 17. 2. is termed glory, 2 Pet 1. 17. and thus Christ is Light, that is full of glory and majesty, the Lord of glory, 1 Cor. 2. 8. Even on earth John saith, Chap. 1. 14. And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. And doubtless however in Christs outward shape there appeared no more then ordinary, or rather less then or­dinary splendour; yet in his preaching there was such glory as made the people astonished, for he taught them as one having authority, Mar. 1. 22. In his Miracles there was glory, so as that Vers. 27. they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And Joh. 2. 11. This beginning of Miracles did Jesus in Cana of Gaiilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his Disciples believed on him, And Vers. 15. When he made a scourge of small cords, he drove out the sellers of Oxen, Sheep, and Doves, and changers of mony, all out of the Temple, and overthrew their tables, and powred out their money; and when Officers were sent to apprehend him, they re­turned answer, Joh. 7. 46. Never man spake like this man. He commanded Lazarus to come forth out of the grave, and he came forth, Joh. 11. 43, 44. He rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm, Mat. 8. 26. These and many more things which appeared in him and were done by him, mani­fested [Page 5] that he was indeed Light, that is a person of splendour, glory, and Ma­jesty, notwithstanding his emptying himself in the forme of a servant Phil. 2. 7.

Sect. 5. Christ is Light, as cause of peace and joy.

3. By Light is oft meant peace, Isa. 45. 7. I form the light and create dark­ness, is expressed in the next words, I make peace and create evil, Jer. 13. 16. While ye look for light, that is peace. In like manner Light is put for joy, as Psal. 97. 11. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart, Prov. 15. 30. The light of the eyes rejoyceth the heart, Isa. 60. 20. The Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the dayes of thy mourning shall be ended. Darkness takes away mirth, but the appearing of the day brings joy: The Sun is that which chears all things by its light, and so doth Christ dispell storms, makes peace, and begets joy. Whence he is stiled the Prince of peace, Isa. 9. 6. our peace, Eph. 2. 14. Peace I leave with you, saith Christ, my peace give I unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you: Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid, Joh. 14. 27. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation: But be of good chear, I have overcome the world, Joh. 16. 33. That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full, 1 Joh. 1. 3, 4. As from the Sun all the light, serenity, and sweetness of the air, whereby the spirits of men are refreshed, the mem­bers warmed, the whole body cheared, is derived; so from Christ are all the pleasant apprehensions of peace with God, all the joyfull tast of his favour, all the quickening hopes of heaven, which a Christian soul partakes of.

Sect. 6. Christ is Light in respect of his purity and wisdome.

4. By Light is meant holiness, purity, or clearness: Nothing more free from defilement then light; all the jakes and dunghills and filthy lakes in the world cannot pollute the light of the Sun, and therefore it is fit to resemble holiness. And accordingly God is said to be Light, 1 Joh. 1. 5. that is pure, as it is said, Chap 3. 3. And thus the Lord Christ is Light, being annointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, as loving righteousness and hating ini­quity, Psal. 45. 7. Heb. 1. 9. He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, 1 Pet. 2. 22. He could challenge his most prying adversaries, Joh. 8. 46. Which of you convinceth me of sin?

5. By Light is meant wisdome: Light is a discovering quality, Eph. 5. 13. All things that are discovered are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Light pierceth through the most narrow chinks into the lowest holes: and so doth wisdome find out the most hidden things through small hints. Daniel is said to have light, and understanding, and wis­dome found in him, in that he was able to interpret dreams, and shew hard senten­ces, and dissolve doubts, Dan. 5. 11, 12. But beyond all, the Lord Christ was light: the Spirit of the Lord did rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdome and under­standing, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord, Isa. 11. 2. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdome and know­ledge, Col. 2. 3. No man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man [Page 6] the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him, Mat. 11. 27. Jesus knew all men, neither needed he that any should testifie of man, for he knew what was in man, Joh. 2. 24, 25. He knew the thoughts of the Seribes, Mat. 9. 4. He knew Judas would betray him, afore Judas had conceived the treason, Joh. 6. 70, 71. He opened the secret counsels of God, foretold the future trou­bles of the Jews, persecutions of his Disciples, his own death and resurrecti­on, the preaching of the Gospel, and gathering of his Church over the world, which are accomplished, and the resurrection of the dead at his return to the final judgement, which will be undoubtedly brought to pass in the day of the Lord: So that of him it is true which we read, Dan. 2. 22. He revealeth the deep and secret things, he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

Sect. 7. Christ is Light in respect of truth and grace.

6. By Light is meant truth, Isa. 8. 20. To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them: that is no truth in them, or no comfort to them, say others. He that doth the truth, saith Christ. cometh to the light, Joh. 3. 21. Light and truth are either the same, or very like, and helpfull to each other, Psal. 43. 3. Oh send out thy light and thy truth. Now light well agrees to Christ under this notion, sith he is the way, the truth, and the life, Joh. 14. 6. All his words were words of truth, his Gospel the Gospel of truth, Jam. 1. 18. Col. 1. 5. If ye continue in my Word, saith Christ, Joh. 8. 31, 32. then are ye my Disciples indeed. And ye shall knew the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

7. By Light, favour, and grace, and goodness, and love are meant, Numb. 6. 35. Job 29. 3 Psal. 4. 7. Prov. 16. 15. In the light of the Kings countenance is life, and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain. Lightsomeness in the face, is a sign of goodness and love in the heart; as on the other side, a lowring grim visage is a sign of a tyrannical and imperious spirit. Light is the most diffusive and communicative of all qualities, and so fitly resembles grace and love. And so it is said of Christ, Psal. 45. 2. Thou art fairer then the children of men: Grace is powred into thy lips, therefore God hath blessed thee for ever, Cant. 5. 16. His mouth is most sweet; yea he is altogether lovely, 1 Pet. 2. 3. If ye have tasted how gracious the Lord is, Luk. 4. 18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath aneinted me to preach the Gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken­hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of fight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are braised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And the eyes of all them that were in the Synagegue, were fastened on him: And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears: And all bare him witness, and wondred at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, Vers. 22. All his words, looks, deeds (except when he had to do with proud hypocrites, and incurably wicked persons) did evidence a dove-like spirit, harmeless, compassionate, kinde, patient, full of love and goodness. He went about like the Sun doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil, Act. 10. 38. And therefore in this respect is to be termed the Light by excel­lency. The Word dwelt among us full of grace and truth. Of his fulness we have all received grace for grace. Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John 1. 14. 16, 17.

[Page 7] 2. This attribute of light is given to Christ, both in respect of his divine nature, in respect of which it is said, Joh. 1. 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men, and in respect of his humane, concerning which it is said, Joh. 9. 5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world: Which I shall shew when I speak of his enlightening.

Sect. 8. The Application in a double Use to see the estate of men without Christ, and to draw our eyes to him.

For present we may hence infer, 1. That they who are unacquainted with Christ, are in darkness: Ye were once darkness saith the Apostle, Eph. 5. 8. minding them of their estate antecedent to their being in Christ. A man without Christ preached and believed, is like a person in darkness. 1. He is in respect of his estate as a man in the dark, in that he cannot discern his own condition, how unclean he is, what danger is near him, what way to avoid it, what help to use. He that is out of Christ, and sees not by his light, dis­cerns not the filth of sin, nor the keeneness of Gods anger, nor how to re­move the one, or to asswage the other. 2. A man without the light of Christ, doth neither know God truly, nor his precepts or counsel, and so knows not how to address himself to God. nor how to observe Gods eye on him, nor what gifts he tenders to him, nor what directions he gives him.

3. A man without Christ his light, is like the Syrians, who were led to Sa­maria when they imagined they were in Dothan. It's easie for Satan or any deceiver to lead them hell-ward, when they pretend to direct them heaven­ward: Any cheat, any errour or delusion may be put on him, that wants Christ to be his light. 4. He that wants light from Christ, is as he that walks in the dark, one while he stumbles here, another time he wanders there: If he be in the way, yet it is more then he knows, and therefore is uncer­tain whether it be best to go forward, or backward, or stand still. How full of uncertainty have been the most witty Philosophers, the most skillfull Rab­bins, the most acute Papists in their way, following their own reason, or tradition of men! How miserably do they stumble and fall, and hurt their souls! How sadly do they wander out of the way, when they think they are in it! 5. Want of light from Christ, leaves men in fears and perplexities what shall befall them. The light of Christ secures the soul, assures its hap­piness; but he that knows not the way of Christ, nor whereto it tends, is a­fraid of death and judgement to come, is doubtfull whether he have any in­terest in God, fears the mention of Hell, of the Devil, of the coming of Christ, turnes Quaker at the sight of an armed man, whines like Adrian the Empe­rour, when his soul was departing. 6. A man without the light of Christ, can do no spiritual work as he should. As he that is in the dark, can neither thresh corn, nor make his clothes, nor plow, nor sowe, nor do other necessary usefull works: So it is with him that's not enlightened by Christ; he can neither pray, nor praise God, nor do any other holy work, or manage any business that pertains to Gods glory, and Christs kingdome. A dark Dungeon is a miserable place to live in, and no less, or rather a thousand times more miserable is it, to be excluded from the light of Christ.

2. If Christ be light, then should our eyes be towards him. Light is at­tractive of our eyes: It is a pleasant thing to behold the Sun, it is that which [Page 8] Infidels adore as God. Should not we magnifie the Lord Jesus as the Sun of Righteousnesse? Should not our eyes and our hearts be drawn after him? Sould not our souls adore him? He is the Son of his Fathers love, Col. 1. 14. and should he not be of ours? The Church, the Spouse of Christ saith, he is all desires, Cant. 5. 16. and so doth every soul that knows him. He is the high­est born Prince, of great Majesty, of most noble disposition, of most loving nature, of incomprehensible beauty, of superlative power, of largest Empire, of most ample riches; there's not the thing to be named which is desirablé, which is not Christs. Oh then, that we could fall in love with Christ, long af­ter him, remember him with delight, hearken after all the tokens of his ap­pearing, inquire into his walking places! Shall people travell far, throng much, be at much cost to see a gracious Queen? Shall besotted Papists, take a long and dangerous pilgrimage, to see Christs pretended Vicar, though sometimes a most horrible monster, more like the Devil then Christ, and shall not our hearts travell after Christ, and converse with him? Sure no excuse will be taken, sith there can be no reason alledged for it, for those that dote on men and wo­men, and gold, and pearles, and yet forget Christ; are inamoured on pi­ctures, and neglect the living beauty of Heaven, the Lord of Glory. Be wise therefore, O ye Princes and people of the world, kiss the Son, worship, love, rejoyce in, wait on, follow the Image of the invisible God, the Heir of all things, in comparison of whom, let all sublunary beauties be as dirt, and all the precious things of the earth be as dung to you.

Christ the True Light.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. Christ no counterfeit Light.

HOw Jesus Christ is Light, hath been shewed, how he is the True Light, is next to be cleared. It is said of him, whose Name is called the Word of God, Revel. 19. 13. that he was called faithfull and true, ver. 11. And in refe­rence to him, it is said, 1 Joh. 2. 8. The true light now shineth. Now Christ is said to be the true light, 1. In respect of his being, which is usually termed Metaphysick truth. 2. In respect of his sayings, which is Logick or Moral truth.

In the first sort of truth Christ is said to be the true light, 1. To distinguish him from those which were counterfeits and feigned lights: For true is op­posed to that which is only in pretence, but not really such. Our Lord Christ saith, Joh. 10. 8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers; that is, were not true lights, meaning this not simply of all, not of Moses, of whom it is said, Isa. 63. 11. Then he remembred the daies of old, Moses and his people, say­ing, Where is he that brought them up out of the Sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Nor of David, of whom it is said, Psal. 78. 72. That he fed Israel according to he integrity of his heart: But of such as the Prophet Zechariah ch. 11. 17. saith, [Page 9] We to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock. Such as were the false Prophets among the Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, and Lawyers, in and asore Christs time, who instead of being sent by God, came of themselves, ran and he sent them not, yet pretended a Mission from God. In like sort Paul saith, 2 Cor. 11. 13, 14, 15. For such are salse Apostles, deceitfull workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvell: for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if his Ministers also be transformed as the Ministers of righteousnesse. But the Lord Christ came from the Father, John 16. 28. was sent by him, Joh. 17. 3. He spake not of himself, but the Father which sent him, gave him Commandement what he should say and what he should speak: whatsoever he spake therefore, even as the Father said unto him so he spake, Joh. 12. 49, 50. So that he was not a light by usurpation, imposture, disguise or trans­formation, but by a true Commission as sealed by his Father, Joh. 6. 27. sanctifi­ed and sent into the world, Joh. 10. 36.

Sect. 2. Christ more then a typical Light.

2. Christ is the true light in contradistinction to those, which were only Types or Shadows, representing Christ to come. The word [true] is used in this sense, Heb. 8. 2. A Minister of the true Tabernacle; that is, not only of that shadowy Tabernacle, which was only a parable or figure for the time present, as the expression is, Heb. 9. 9. but the reall Tabernacle, for an Image of which that Tabernacle was made. Again Heb. 9. 24. it is said, Christ is not entered in­to the holyes made by hand, which were figures or antityps of the true, but into Hea­ven it self, where the holy place of the Tabernacle is made the antitype and re­presentative, and Heaven the true holy place. In like manner there were lights in the Tabernacle, there were lamps and lights of pure oyl burning in the Tabernacle, there was fire at the Altar, which at first came down from Heaven, and these were shadows of things to come, but the body is of Christ, Col. 2. 17. And in this sense also truth came by Jesus Christ, Joh. 1. 17. There is men­tion of seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God, Rev. 4. 5. But this hinders not, but that Christ might be shadowed by the lamps in the Tabernacle, and the fire on the Altar, sith that which was signi­fied by them, the inlightning the people of God, who are the holy Priesthood of God, and the making ready the Sacrifice that it might be accepted with God, was most truly verified of Jesus Christ, through whom we now worship the Father in spirit and truth, Joh. 4. 23, 24. and our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God, 1 Pet. 2. 5.

Sect. 3. Other Lights are no Lights in comparison of Christ.

3. Christ is the true light comparatively, as being the chief light, in compa­rison of whom other lights are not to be so termed. 'Tis true, John Baptist is said to be a burning and a shining light, Joh. 5. 35. And the word of the Prophets is termed a light shining in a dark place, 2 Pet. 1. 19. And Christ saith of his A­postles, Mat. 5. 14. they were the light of the world. Yet they were as no lights in comparison of Christ, who was in the bosome of the Father, and hath declared him, Joh 1. 18. as [...], one that himself saw him, and who received not the Spirit by measure, and therefore spake the words of God above others, Joh. 3. 35. As in like manner we are lights, who now preach the Gospel, yet compara­tively [Page 10] to the Apostles, who could say, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have felt of the words of life we declare unto you, 1 Joh. 1. 1, 3. we are but dark. The Law was a light, and the Commandement was a lamp, Prov. 6. 23. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 119. 105. Yet in com­parison of the Gospel of Glory of Christ, who is the Image of God, 2 Cor. 4. 4. it is scarce to be termed light, but as the Star-light is as no light when the Sun is risen, so even that which was made glorious, to wit, the giving of the Law, had no glory in this respect by reason of the glory that excelleth, 2 Cor. 3. 10. That is, in comparison of the Gospel, which is as the day-star, and Sun-rising, 2 Pet. 1. 19.

Sect. 4. Christ the Original Light.

4. Christ is the true light, as being the Original light, from whom other de­legated lights, which are set up in Christs stead, as it is 2 Cor. 5. 20. do borrow their light. It is true, the Father of our Lord Christ, is termed the Father of lights, Jam. 1. 17. And Christ is light of light, light from the Father of lights, yet all is so fully invested in Christ, that he could say, Joh. 16. 15. All things that the Father hath are mine. And therefore he saith even of the holy Spirit himself, whom he calls the Spirit of truth, that he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, Ver. 13. And he shall glorifie me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you, Ver. 14. And when the Prophets testified before-hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should fol­low, it was the Spirit of Christ which was in them, that did signifie them, 1 Pet. 1. 11. And in like sort, when the Apostles, by their preaching, were lights of the world, yet they received from Christ that which they declared, 1 Joh. 1. 2, 3. And those Believers who were brought to the knowledge of Christ a­mong the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 3. 3. are said to be the Epistle of Christ ministred by the Apostles. So that as the light of the Sun is the true light, because it is the fountain of light, the Moon and other Stars borrowing their light from it: in like manner Christ is the true light, as being he from whom the Prophets, Apostles, and holy Teachers derive their light, which they impart to the world.

Sect. 5. Christ the perfect Light.

4. Christ is the true light, that is, the most perfect light. [True] is ta­ken for that which is perfect, which attains the end, to which nothing is wanting requisite to the use of riches, Luk. 16. 11. opposite to the Mammon of unrighteousnesse, which is defective, not sufficient to make a man happy. Now Christ is the true or perfect light, 1. Because he is the highest light, the rising-Sun, or day-spring from on high, or the height, to wit, of Heaven, Luk. 1. 78. A light placed on high, and that riseth from Heaven, is a greater light then a Beacon fired; and a Beacon on a hill fired, then a Bonfire in a low valley. The Original of Christ being a light, which came from God, that was from above, Joh. 8. 23. makes him the more conspicuous and greater light. 2. The light which is universal, is a more perfect light then that which is a light to one part onely, as the Sun is the most perfect light, because his going forth is from the end of the Heaven, and his circuit to the end of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof, Psal. 19. 6. Now Christ is the light of the world, Joh. 8. 12. Not only [Page 11] the glory of the people of Israel, but also a light to lighten the Gentiles, Luk. 2. 32. Acts 13. 47. 3. That is the most perfect light, which is without any mixture of darknesse. Mow Christ is light, and in him is no darknesse at all. Lord, said Peter, Ioh. 21. 17. thou knowest all things. Surely there was no errour in Chrlst, which might darken his understanding; or nescience, which might disable him from inlightning those, that sit in darknesse, and guiding their feet into the way of peace, Luk. 1. 79. which is the chief use of the heavenly light of Christ. 4. He is a perpetual light. John was a light for a season, Ioh. 5. 35. he was to decrease in his lustre and use, when Christ was to increase, Ioh. 3. 30. The Prophets and Apostles were lights in their time, but they had on earth their eclipses, the Pro­phets could not alwaies declare the mind of God. Nathan, 2 Sam. 7. 3. bid David do all that was in his heart, and yet ver. 4. that night he had a counter­mand. Elisha said, 2 Kings 4. 24. of the Shunamite, her soul is vexed within her, and the Lord hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. Prophetick light was not, as the Schoolmen said truly, in them, in manner of a habit, which might dispose them to reveal the mind of God at any time, but holy men of God spake as they were carried or moved by the holy Ghost, 2 Pet. 1. 21. And the Apostles did not alwaies speak by the Spirit, Peter was to be blamed when he compelled the Gentiles to live as do the Jews, Gal. 2. 11, 14. to him whom Christ said, Mat. 16. 18. Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, he after said, ver. 23. Get thee behind me Satan, thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. But it was otherwise with Christ, his knowledge was habitual, alwaies ready in every thing he was to speak to, never deficient, he needed not that any should testifie of man, Ioh. 2. 25. He spake what he had seen and heard, Ioh. 3. 32. we speak that we do know, and testifie that we have seen, ver. 11. He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the spirit by measure unto him, ver. 34. The Prophets and the Apostles were lights in their time: but their light is set, I mean their personal preaching ceaseth. Zech. 1. 5. Your Fathers where are they? And the Prophets, do they live for ever? 2 Pet. 1. 14. Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. But of Christ it is said, Rom. 6. 9, 10. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God, Eph. 4. 8. When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men, ver. 10. He that descend­ed, is the same also that ascended farre above all Heavens, that he might fill all things, to wit, with his light; as it follows, ver. 11, 12, 13. And he gave some, Apostles: and some, Prophets: and some, Evangelists: and some Pastours and Teachers; for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the e­difying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the know­ledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the ful­nesse of Christ. So that Christ is now not only a permanent light, but also more eminent, shining as he did on the earth to the Iews, so more gloriously, since his ascension, to the Gentiles. And though the man of sin hath much obscured the light of Christ; and the mystery of iniquity that began to work in Pauls time hath prevailed, after the working of Satan with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, yet shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightnesse of his coming, 2 Thes. 2. 7, 8, 9.

[Page 12] And then shall Christ shine more gloriously in his day, and with him the righte­ous shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father, Matth. 13. 43. And then shall the Lord be to them an everlasting light, and their God their glory, Isa. 60. 19.

Sect. 6. Christ the effectual inlightning Light.

Christ is the true light, that is, the effectual light, which doth indeed that which light is to do. As he is termed the true bread which was from Heaven, Ioh. 6. 32. because he giveth life to the world, ver. 33. He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever, ver. 58. And as he is termed the true vine, Ioh. 15. 1. Be­cause he yeilds fruit as a vine, so is he termed the true light, because he doth inlighten effectually. John 8. 12. I am the light of the world, saith Christ: be that followeth me, shall not walk in darknesse, but shall have the light of life. Ioh. 12. 46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darknesse. There are lights, that like ignis fatuus, foolish fire, lead men into dark places, lakes and bogs, whereinto they that follow them perish: There are lights that for a while lead men in the way, and then soon go out, and so leave men in darknesse and perplexity. But the Lord Christ leads al­waies in the right way, even in the way of life; neither is he ever extinguish­ed, but so shines, as that whosoever follows him, shall be directed aright in his way, be guided into the way of peace, Luk. 7. 79. With thee, saith the Psal­mist, Psal. 36. 9. is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. There is an amazing light, that by its brightnesse, doth as it were strike dead, and cast down to the earth, Revel. 1. 16, 17. When Christ appeared to John in his glo­ry, and his countenance was as the Sun shineth in his strength, upon the sight of him John fell at his feet as dead. When Saul journied to Damascus, about noon sud­dainly there-shine from Heaven a great light round about him, so that he could not see for the glory of the light, but was blind for some daies, Acts 22. 6. 11. Acts 9. 9. The Lord Christ is an excelling light, yet not striking dead, nor casting down, nor blinding, but rather an erecting light, a clearing light, a directing light, an enlivening, and inlightning light; which would lead me to the considera­tion of the way of Christs inlightning, but that somewhat more is to be said of the truth of Christ the light.

Sect. 7. Christ was the true Light in respect of the truth of his words.

2. Christ is the true light, in respect of his sayings, he delivered that which was truth, which is Logick truth, and the truth he spake according to his mind, which is moral truth. 1. He could freely say, John 8. 14. Though I bear record of my self, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whe­ther I go. Ver. 16. If I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. Ver. 17, 18. It is written in your Law, that the testimo­ny of two men is true: I am one that bear witnesse of my self, and the Father that sent me beareth witnesse of me. Ver. 26. He that sent me is true, and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. Ver. 28. When ye have lift up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of my self: but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. Ver. 31, 32. If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my Disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Ver. 40. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you [Page 13] the truth, which I have heard of God. Ver. 45. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? Joh. 10. 25. The works that I do in my Fathers Name, bear witnesse of me. Ver. 37, 38. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. Joh. 16. 10. The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of my self: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. In which speeches, our Lord Christ avers the truth of the light, that is Doctrine or Words he taught, in that they were received from God, and witnessed by him, which was proved, 1. By the works which Christ did; which were invincibly proved to be of God, by the greatnesse, frequency, freenesse, and goodnesse of them, being in oppositi­on to Satan, and with such evidence of all freedom from imposture and ac­quaintance with Satan, that even those who followed not Christ, did in his Name cast out Devils, Luk. 10. 49, 50. And by this he refuted, Luk. 11. 19. the Phari­sees, who imputed his casting out Devils, to an assistance of the Prince of the Devils. 2. By the concomitants and consequents of his lifting up, which was his death on the crosse, Joh. 11. 32, 33. For, 1. The prediction of it, with the fulfilling thereof, shewed he spake from God, whose property it is to foretell future contingents as certain. 2. The things themselves proved him to come from God. 1. The wonderfull accidents that hapned at his death, Mat. 27. 54. the renting of the Vcil of the Temple, and of the rocks, and the quaking of the earth, and opening of the graves, made the Centurion and his Souldiers say, Truly this was the Son of God. 2. His Resurrection, not withstanding all the obstruction used by Pilate and the Jews, with the rising of many bodies of the Saints which slept, and appeared to many in Jerusalem, manifest by the many and undoubted signs thereof to many persons many times proves his descent from God. 3. The giving of the Spirit on the great day of Pentecost, in the sight of Proselytes from all Countries, which was also done by Apostles in other places, together with many Miracles in his Name, proved that he taught the truth he received from the Father. 4. The dispossessing of Satan of his Em­pire in the worship of Idols, and the giving of Oracles as from them, and the drawing of the Gentiles to him, as he foretold, Joh. 12. 31, 32. in which was part of the great mystery of Godlinesse, 1 Tim. 3 16. which we at this day see ac­complished, together with many other Prophecies of the destruction of Jeru­salem, its treading down of the Gentiles, the Preaching of the Gospel over all the world, the calamities of the Jews, the persecution of the Christians, with other things, Matth. 24. Luk. 21. and elsewhere, abundantly demonstrate that he was the true light which came down from Heaven, in respect of the Do­ctrine he taught, and words he spake.

His words also appear to be the true light, from the matter of them, and the ends whereunto they tend, and the effects of them. For, 1. The matter of them is pure like God, containing holy Precepts, not amorous Poems, or so­phistical quirks of wit, or curious devices of art, or cunning maxims of State policy, or glorious atchievements of war, or any thing that tends to exalt man, but such Precepts and Revelations as make man spiritual, heavenly, wise, like unto God. There is nothing vain and fabulous, like to the 2 Pet. 1. 16. 1 Cor. 2. 4. 2 Cor. 4. 2. frothy wit of men, nor deceitfull, like to the wily old Serpent, but solid and weighty, concerning peace with God, conversion unto [Page 14] him, denying our selves, taking up our Crosse, following of Christ in patience contentednesse, meeknesse, humility, and such like things, as shew faith in God, and hope of a reward in Heaven; all plain without flattery of men to induce them to follow him in hopes of earthly preferment, and worldly wealth, or pleasure, or praise of men, but the clean contrary: yet are they such things as, when declared, appear so necessary for sinners, so full of goodnesse, and congruity to Prophetical Predictions, that the conscience of men not listed up with pharisaical concei's of self-righteousnesse, nor obstinately addicted to their own lusts, will assent to and embrace them. 2. The ends of them, and the effects, are the salvation of man, and the glory of God. All that Christ spake, it was to comfort the humble and afflicted soul, Luk. 4. 18. to ease the burthen­ed, Matth. 11. 28. to direct them to God, to reform the evils in Gods worship, to take men off from covetousnesse, hypocrisie, and such evils as are pernici­ous, to believe in God, to love each other, to lay up our treasure in Heaven, not to be excessively carefull for the things of this life, with whatever else might bring men nigh to God, and alienate them from this present evil world. And accordingly so were and are the effects, regeneration or new birth, re­joycing in God, mortification of the deeds of the body, comfort in tribulati­on, a life of faith, love to the Brethren in Christ, and everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace. All which, with inumerable other Characters and Symptomes of Christs Doctrine and Testimony, do shew that he was the true light, and that what he spake to Pilate, Joh. 18. 37. was right, To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witnesse unto the truth: every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Lastly, That in respect of his sincerity or moral truth he was the true light, it is manifest in that as he said to the Jews, he sought not his own will, but the will of the Father which sent him, Joh 5. 30. That he sought not his own glory, Joh. 8. 50. Which appears in that he sometimes forbad the spreading of his fame, withdrew himself when they would have made him King, Joh. 6. 15. was con­tent to be deprived of ordinary conveniencies, Luk. 9. 58. In a word, made himself of no reputation, or emptied himself, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likenesse of men, and being in fashion as a man, he humbled him­self, and became obedient unto death, even to the death of the crosse, Phil. 2. 7, 8. that he might give Testimony to the truth.

Sect. 8. Application by way of Vindication of our selves from the Accusation of Quakers, as if we denied the Light, John 1. 9. and warning to shun false Lights.

From that which hath been said, 1. It may appear, that those who go un­der the name of Quakers, do unjustly accuse publique Preachers, as if they did deny the true light, which inlighteneth every man that cometh into the world; that they deny Christ the light: for so in their speeches and books they do frequently charge them. None that I have seen, is more profuse and frequent in these charges then G. F. that is, George Fox, in his Catechism, who saith, p. 7 Toat neither the Jews nor Christians, do believe in the light, which doth in­lighten every man that cometh into the world, though they professe some of Christs and the Apostles words, which the Jews do not. P. 9. he saith, Teachers by the will of man (meaning publique Preachers in England) and Professors say, that Christ [Page 15] doth not inlighten every one that cometh into the world, and they deny Christ. P. 13. That none can confesse Christ, but who confesse the light which every man is inlighten­ed withall. But frequently in the same paper, he terms such as acknowledge not the light, which he imagins every one hath, Antichrists, Deceivers, not Teachers of Christ, but deniers of him, p. 15. But this crimination is but the ra­ving of men, that are used to make clamours and outcries without any proof. Though the text plainly enough distinguisheth the light inlightening, and the light in every man, from that true light inlightning, yet they do not, or will not understand this difference, but confound the light inlightning (which is indeed Christ) with the light within each man, which they term Christ, and therefore make them that deny the light within, to be deniers of Christ; as if a man must deny the Sun to be light, who doth deny the light to be in blind Bartimaeus his eyes And yet we do not deny the light which is in every man that cometh into the world, only we deny the sufficiency of it self, without Scripture, preaching, and learning, to bring us to God, and to direct us in his worship, and to make known Christ to us, and the way of reconciliation and salvation by him. Again, because we call the Scriptures a light, and the Preachers lights, therefore they exclaim against us as if we denied Christ the light, and the light within. Whereas there is no repugnancy between these: Christ is the chiefest and highest light, and yet the Law of God, the Scriptures, the Apostles are lights of the world. Would any man in his wits reason thus? The Sun is the great light in the Heavens, and the Sun inlightens the eyes, there­fore he that calls the Moon a light, or a torch or candle a light, denies the Sun to be the light that inlightens all the world, and the light that is in mens eyes. Sure these men, while they thus, I cannot say argue, but clamour, give occa­sion to sober men, to question whether they be not of those that come into world without light, that have no light in them, sith they cannot discern the want of reason in these sottish speeches, more suitable to idiots and children, then to men of ripe age. But I rather choose to pray God to give them light, then to upbraid them with their darknesse: and to acquit our selves from their charge, rather then discover their folly.

2. However it is necessary, that we be all warned to avoid false lights, and to make use of Christ the true light. There is much affectation and pretence of new light in these our daies. Nor is it to be denied, but that, through the blessing of God, much light, either new or newly appearing, hath shined forth: sundry points in Divinity, sundry texts of holy Scripture, have been lately more cleared then they were in former daies. Neverthelesse, it is to be heeded, that under pretence of new light, many vain fancies are vented and received, and that Satan hath prevailed with many to put darknesse for light, and light for darknesse. Of these none have more manifestly denied Christ, then those that make a Christ within them the true light; and while they ex­cept against the light of the Scriptures, and the Word preached, under pre­tence of Christ being the Word, they put darknesse for light, in that they make the natural light in each man, which is but darknesse in spirituals, as if it were to be heeded as mens rule in all sorts of duties, and knowledge of the things of God. Doubtlesse such men do really deny Christ, who deny the words of Christ to be their Rule: He that rejecteth ms, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him, saith Christ, John 12. 48. And where to find [Page 16] Christs words if not in Scripture I know not, which while men leave, and deny to be the Gospel, but direct men to the light within them, and call that the Gospel, they do plainly reject Christ the light, and follow the false light of mens vain imaginations; nor can it be expected but that they should walk in darkness, and stumble and fall to their destruction. Be perswaded therefore as you desire your safety, to make use of Christ the true light indeed, not in that sense in which Fanaticks call Christ the light in them, which is not the true Christ or true light (who is in heaven, but shines forth in the Scriptures, and the explaining and preaching the doctrine which is contained in them) but a meer phantasme or foolish fire, which serves not to guide but to delude men. The same is to be said of them that follow Ecclesiastick traditions un­written, Popes determinations, Prelates, and Councils Canons, Fathers sayings, as their light: Concerning all whom it is true, that there is no light in them, that they are not derived from Christ the true light, except they agree with the words of Christ in the holy Scripture, whereby the true light doth en­lighten, as is to be shewed in the next point to whch I proceed.

Christ the Enligtening Light.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. Christ enlightens all things with their natural light, as Creatour.

THe next point is, that Christ Jesus is the enlightening light. The day­spring from on high saith Zacharias, Luk. 1. 79. hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and the shadow of death, Luk. 2. 32. Simeon terms him a light to lighten the Gentiles. For explication of which, it will be requi­site that I shew, 1. With what light Christ doth enlighten. 2. Whence it is. 3. By what meanes he doth enlighten. 4. Why he doth enlighten.

1. The light with which Christ doth enlighten is manifold: 1. There is a bodily light in inanimate bodies, such as are the Sun, and Moon, and Stars, of which Moses saith, Gen. 1. 16. And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the Stars also: And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And it is said, Psal. 33. 6. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 2. There is a natural light of crea­tures, which have sight to discern what is convenient for them, and accor­dingly do move towards that which agrees with their nature, or remove from that which they discern inconvenient to them. Of the light or life of these beings, it is to be conceived that the word which was in the beginning with God, was the cause, according to that of the Evangelist, Joh. 1. 3. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 3. There is a rational light of men, whereby they are able to judge of what in duty they do or omit, and have a conscience or privity to their own actions as ei­ther right or wrong. And of this also Christ is the efficient, as the words [Page 17] following Joh. 1. 4. import, In him was life, and the life was the light of men. All these sorts of light the word enlightens with, as Creatour; it being said of him, That by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers, all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist, Col. 1. 16, 17. And to like purpose it is said, Heb. 1. 2, 3. By whom also he made the worlds, and upholding all things by the word of his power.

Sect. 2. Christ enlightens the world with the knowledge of God, as the Prophet of the Church.

There are other sorts of light which are from Christ, as his Fathers Officer sent into the world, and anointed for the recovery of man sallen by sinne. 1. There is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, which is by the en­lightening that is in the face or person of Jesus Christ, as Paul expresseth it, 2 Cor. 4. 6. Whereby it is that we see as through a glass the glory of the Lord with un­veiled face, 2 Cor. 3. 18. Not as it was with Israel, when they could not look on Moses without a veil over his face, as it is ver. 7. 13. Till Christ appeared in the flesh, the Gentiles were darkness. Paul saith of the Galatians, Gal. 4. 8. Howbeit then when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no Gods. Of the Ephesians, Ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord, Eph. 5. 8. Of the Corinthians, Ye know that ye were Gentiles carried a­way unto these dumb Idols, as ye were led, 1 Cor. 12. 2. The Jews also had their mindes blinded, the vail remained untaken away in the reading of the old Testa­ment, which vail is done away in Christ, 2 Cor. 3. 14. The being of the true God was so little known to the Gentiles, till Christ appeared to be a light to the Gentiles, that they were not only without God in the world, Eph. 2. 12. In­somuch that the Athenians themselves, sensible of their ignorance of him, in­scribed their Altar thus, To the unknown God, Act. 17. 23. confessing God was unknown of them: But they were also so vain in their imaginations, that they imagined those things to be Gods which were no Gods, but creatures made to serve them, being imparted unto all nations under the whole heaven by God, Deut. 4. 19. Yea and under divers resemblances, the meaner sort of living creatures, Rom. 1. 23. And dead men, and Devils, 1 Cor. 10. 20. And for the Jews, they understood not the counsel of God in giving of the Law, and the appointing sacrifices and ceremonies; till by the light of Christ the end of these things was revealed. But the only begotten Son which is in the besome of the Father, he hath declared God, Ioh. 1. 18. revealing his true being, and there­by undeceiving the Gentiles, and his counsels in the giving of the Law, and ap­pointing the legal worship, and thereby hath enlightened the Jews. And this enlightening is proper to him who tells us, Mat. 11. 27. All things are de­livered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will re­veal him. This light is derived from Christ as the great Prophet of the Church of God.

Sect. 3. Christ as high Priest enlightens with the light of peace and joy in God

2. There is a light of peace with God, which is by Christ, who is our [Page 18] peace, reconciling both Jews and Gentiles in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby, Ephes. 2. 14. 16, This is that peace which Christ calls his peace, which he promiseth to his Apostles, Joh. 14. 27. where he saith, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you, let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. And again, Joh 16. 33. These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good chear, I have overcome the world. So that this light of peace with God, begets the light of peace and joy in the hearts of those that are Christs; insomuch that being justified by faith, and having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, they rejoyce in the hope of the glory of God, and not only so, but they glory in tribulations also, Rom. 5. 1, 2, 3. This peace of God which passeth all understanding, keeping as a guard their hearts and mindes through Christ Jesus, Phil. 4. 7. Hence it hath come to pass, that even when the wicked are driven away in their wickedness as with a storm, yet the righteous hath hope in his death, Prov. 14. 32. As Oecolampadius when his light failed him near his death, told them about him, that he had light enough within him. Hereby the holy Martyrs and Confessors when the heavens were black over them, the rage, frowns, threats, tortures of tyrants, violently rushed upon them; yet stood unmoved without being shaken by any terrour or grief from them. Who shall separate us saith Paul, Rom. 8. 35, 36, 37, 38, from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay in all these things we are mare then conquerours through him that loved us. For I am perswaded, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor prin­cipalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This light is derived from Christ, as the high Priest of the people of God.

Sect. 4. Christ as King of Saints, enlightens with the light of glory.

3. There is yet a higher and more illustrious light from Christ, to wit the light of glory, which is termed by the Apostle Paul, Col. 1. 12. the inheritance of the Saints in light, and by our Lord Christ, Joh. 8. 12. the light of life, which is that eternal life, which is said to be the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. 6. 23. This is that blessed light of the new Jerusalem, which hath no need of the Sun, neither of the Moon to shine in it, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, and the nation of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it, Rev. 21. 23, 24. Of this light the glorified Saints shall be fully partakers at the resurrection, when the righteous shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdome of their Father, Mat. 13. 43. Their vile body, or body of debasement, shall be changed by the Lord Jesus Christ, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, Phil. 3. 21. which is now more glorious then it was on the Mount, Mat. 17. 2. and yet then he was transfigured, and his face did shine as the Sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And for their spirits, doubt­less they shall then have farre greater light. Now we see through a glass darkly, or in a riddle, but then face to face: Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known, 1 Cor. 13. 12. They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his Temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them, they shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more, neither shall the Sun [Page 19] light on them, or any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Rev. 7. 15, 16, 17. And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, Rev. 21. 4. No night, or gloomy day, but perpetual light and serenity, everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; all clouds of fear, sorrow, ignorance, despair, disquietnesse shall fly away. And this light shall be from Christ as the King of Saints.

Sect. 5. Christ inlightens by his natural Power, as Gods Son, and by his special Commission, as sent of God.

2. The natural light that all creatures have in their several kinds, is from that natural power which Christ Jesus hath as the Son of God, by whom he made the worlds, who being the brightnesse of glory, and the characteo or expresse I­mage of his person or substance, bears or upholds all things by the word of his power, Heb. 1. 2, 3. To this purpose tends the speech of Christ, Joh. 5. 17. My Father worketh hitherto and I work, from whence the Jews gathered, that he termed God his own Father, making himself equal with God, ver. 18. to which Christ answers, ver. 19. Verily, verily, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do, for what things soever he doth, these also doth the Son likewise. Which shew that Christ asserted a coworking with his Father in all his works, and power answerable to it. The light of knowledge of God and his counsel, of peace, and joy, and comfort, of glory and everlasting bles­sednesse, the Lord Christ communicates, as by special Commission delegated by his Father, sealed, sanctified, and sent into the world, whereby he was made the light of the world, according to what he saith, Joh. 9. 5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. And ver. 39. For judgment am I come into this world, that they which see not, might see, and that they which see, might be made blind. The administration of the affairs belonging to the Kingdom of God, was committed to him for inlightening, governing, protecting, delivering, raising up from the dead, and advancing his Church, subduing the devils, reproving and condemning opposers of his Doctrine and work, judging all in his great day. All things, saith he, Mat. 11. 27. are delivered unto me of my Father, Joh. 5. 20. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works then these, that ye may marvell. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickneth them, even so the Son quickneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man: but hath committed all judgment unto the Son, Mat. 28. 18. All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. By reason whereof, and his being made man to do this work, he is said to come down from Heaven, not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him, Joh. 6. 38. And it is said by Zacharias, Luk. 1. 78. The day spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darknesse.

Sect. 6. Christ inlightens by his Preaching, Example, Spirit, Apostles now in this time, by his Power and Glory in the world to come.

3. The inlightening with the later sorts of light, imparted by Christ as sent into the world, is from him in this time now, or in the world to come. That inlightening which is now in thistime, is either by himself or his Deputies, immediately, or by mediation of others. 1. Christ in the daies of his flesh, or [Page 20] as it is expressed John 9. 5. As long as he was in the world, was the light of the world. 1. He was the light of the world by his preaching, wherein he was as the Sun, still moving and inlightening all sorts, and in all places taking occasion to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, to the poor and all sorts of people who resorted to him. After his temptation he went about all Galilee teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sicknesse, and all manner of disease among the people, Mat. 4. 23. When he preach­ed in the house, there was such resort to him, that his Mother and Brethren could not come at him by reason of the presse, but stood without desiring to speak with him, but he preferred the work of reaching the people, before private conference with his Mother, Mat. 12. 47, 48, 49, 50. No sooner was he got out of the house, and come to the sea side, but great multitudes were ga­thered together unto him, so that he went into a ship and sate, and the whole multi­tude stood on the shore, and he taught them many things by Parables, Mat. 13. 1, 2, 3. After he had been in a desert a while, when he came out, seeing much peo­ple, was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a Shepherd, and he began to teach them many things, Mark. 6. 34. He was wont to go to the Mount of Olives to pray, Luk. 22. 39. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him, and he sate down and taught them, Joh. 8. 2. When he was in the way travelling, when he was at meales, he was still teaching his Disciples, or those that were with him. He neglected eating, to prosecute the work of winning souls, and lightening them by his preaching. And this he counted his meat, as he told his Disciples, Joh. 4 34. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. By this means the people which sate in darknesse saw great light: and to them which sate in the region and shadow of death, light sprang up, Mat. 4. 16. Thus Jesus Christ hath abolished death, and brought immortality and life to light by the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1. 10.

2. Christ was a light also by his Example. Good example doth inlighten men, not only directing, but also provoking others to follow their steps. Men as they are sociable, so they love to do as they see others do. Hence it is that they live as much by examples as by Precepts. Wherefore saith Christ, Mat 5. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glo­rifie your Father which is in heaven. Now of all the examples that ever were, there was none more illustrious then Christs: None so full of love, goodnesse, meeknesse, patience, humility, contentedesse, obedience, innocence, quiet­nesse, holy zeal, courage, diligence in his work, self-denial, heavenlynesse, faith, hope in God, and whatever else is amiable and imitable. He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil, Act. 10 33. He did no sinne, neither was guile found in his mouth; when he was reviled, he reviled not a­gain; when he suffered, he threatned not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously, 1 Per. 2. 22, 23. The real of Gods house did eat him up, Joh. 2. 17. It was his meat do do the will of him that sent him, and to finish his work, Joh. 4. 34. He was the good Shepherd, that laid down his life for his Sheep, Joh. 10. 11. Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end, Joh. 13. 1. Though he were their Lord and Master, yet he washed his Disciples feet, ver. 23. 24. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich, 2 Cor. 8. 9. Being in the form of God, he made himself of no reputation, but [Page 21] took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likenesse of men, and be­ing found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the crosse, Phil. 2. 6, 7, 8. He pleased not himself, but as it is writ­ten, the reproaches of them that reproached God, fell on him, Rom. 15. 3. The Son of man came not to be ministred to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransome for many, Mat. 20. 28. In all these things, and in all other his words and deeds he did shine forth so clearly, that even his enemies could not but acknowledge him to have been a holy and just person: even before Pontius Pilate he witnessed so good a confession, 1 Tim. 6. 13. that Pilate who condemned him, yet acquitted him from fault, and the malefactor that suffered with him testified, that he had done nothing amisse, Luk. 23. 4, 14, 41.

3. Christ did inlighten now in this time, as the expression is, Mark. 10. 38. after his resurrection untill the day in which he was taken up, by giving Command­ments through the Holy Ghost unto the Apostles whom he had chosen, to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them fourty daies, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, Act. 1. 2, 3.

2. After his departure out of the world into Heaven, he was and is an in­lightening light, now in this time mediately. 1. By sending of the Holy Spi­rit, whom he promised to send to the Apostles from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, and that he should testifie of him, Joh. 15. 26. And guide them into all truth: that he should not speak of himself, but whatso­ever he should hear, that he should speak, and would shew them things to come: he should glorifie Christ, for he should receive of his, and should shew it to the Apostles, that all that the Father had were his, and therefore he said, he should take of his, and shew it to them, Joh. 16. 13, 14, 15. Which was accordingly accomplished when the holy Spirit was given to them, and those Prophets, and other Teach­ers, whom Christ gave to his Church, were endued with the Holy Ghost after his ascension. To whom and to the rest of Believers, the holy Spirit is given as the earnest of their Inheritance, and thereby the eyes of their understanning are in­lightened, that they may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his Inheritance in the Saints, Eph. 1. 14, 18. Who receive not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that they might know the things which are freely given them of God, 1 Cor. 2. 12. Because they are Sons, God sends forth the Spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying Abba Father, Gal. 4. 6.

2. By the sending of Apostles and other Teachers into all Nations, of whom in that respect he said, Mat. 5. 14, 15. Ye are the light of the world. A City that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Ephes. 3. 8, 9. Paul saith of himself, To me is this grace given, to inlighten all men, as the word [...] signifies, being the same which is used Joh. 1. 9. And indeed, Christ when he ascended up on high, led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men, some A­postles, and some Prophets: and some Evangelists: and some Pastours and Teachers, Eph. 4. 8, 11. who were Angels of light, and being placed on high hills, in great Cities, and on Candlesticks in many Churches, were eminent lights in the world. So that was said of the Heavens, Psal. 19. 4. was verified of them, Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world, Rom. 10. 18. By which light the unfruitfull works of darknesse, to wit, the w [...]les [Page 22] of the powers of darknesse, in their Idolatries and other wickednesse, was discovered, and innumerable souls brought out of the power of darknesse into the Kingdom of the Son of God. From whose light succeeding Teachers, by preaching the Gospel, and baptizing Believers, which the Ancients called in­lightening, many millions of people through the Romane Empire, and other parts of the earth, became Christians, and were added to the Children of light: and these Teachers are termed Starres in Christs right hand, Rev. 1. 20.

Lastly, In the world to come, as the phrase of Christ is, Mark. 10. 30. As the lightening that lighteneth out of the one part under Heaven, shineth unto the o­ther part under Heaven: so shall also the Son of man be in his day, Luk. 17. 24. Then shall he put on his glorious apparel, and deck himself with light as a garment, and being attended with all the Angels of light, shall come in the glory of his Father, and raise up the bodies of all the Children of light, and bring them to the light; so as that those eyes which were boared out for ac­knowledging him, shall see him riding on the clouds of heaven triumphant­ly, and they themselves shine as the Sun in the Kingdom of the Father. And then he shall be our noon-light, we shall know as we are known, 1 Cor. 13. 12.

Sect. 7. Christ inlightens by reason of his own lustre, and his Fathers design to to shew him to the world.

The Reasons why Christ is thus an inlightening light, are 1. From his own property; he being light of himself, is as all light is, apt to communicate his light to the world. As the property of the fire is to burn, and the proper­ty of water to moysten, so it is the property of light to shine forth: Nothing is more diffusive of it self, and apt to shew it self to others, then light: Darknesse hides things, but light makes them appear. As the Prince of dark­nesse disguiseth himself, puts on the form of a Serpent, or Samuel; loves to act in the night, to keep men in ignorance and blindnesse, it being the way most agreeable to his Kingdom, which is the Kingdom of darknesse: so the Lord Jesus, the Lord of glory, loved the light, his Kingdom being the King­dom of light. His birth was manifested by a Starre, Mat. 2. 2. he being the Star that should come out of Jacob, as Balaam foretold, Numb. 24. 17. And there was darknesse over all the Land at his death, so that the Sun was darkned, Luk. 23. 44, 45. Which shewed that then the Sun of righteousnesse was eclipsed. His preaching was in the light, I spake openly, said he, Job. 18. 20. to the world, I ever taught in the Synagogue, and in the Temple, whither the Jews alwaies re­sort, and in secret have I said nothing. His life and practice also was so illustri­ous and open, that he could boldly appeal to his adversaries own testimony of him, Which of you convinceth me of sin? Joh. 8. 46.

2. Christ was the true light inligntening the world by his Fathers special design, 1. Out of special love to his people, for whose sake Christ was a­nointed to preach the Gospel to the poor, sent to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luk. 4. 18. According to the Prediction, Isa. 60. 1, 2, 3. Arise, be inlightened, for thy light cometh, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the darknesse shall cover the earth, and grosse darknesse the peo­ple: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightnesse of thy rising. Which [Page 23] is applied thus by Paul, Ephes. 5. 14. Wherefore he saith; Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 2. Out of spe­cial affection to Christ. For the Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand, Joh. 3. 35. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth all things that himself doeth. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickneth them: even so the Son quickneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, bus hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent him, Joh. 6. 21, 22, 23. To this end it was that the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among men, (and they beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth, John 1. 14. And to this end did he appear to John, Revel. 1. 13. cloathed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire. And his feet like unto fine brasse, as if they burned in a furnase; and his voice as the sound of many wa­ters. And he had in his right hand seven Starres: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged Sword: and his countenance was as the Sun shineth in his strength, ver. 14, 15, 16. His last glorious appearing, as it is termed, Tit. 2. 13. shall be with his mighty Angels in flaming fire, 2 Thes. 1. 7, 8, 10. When he shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, God having highly exalted him, and given him a Name which is above every Name: that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confesse, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father, Phil. 2. 9, 10, 11.

Sect. 8. Application by way of Inference, that we are to blesse God for Christs in­lightening, and all that are Christs, are Children of Light.

From that which hath been said, it follows 1. That there is much cause that we should blesse God for this incomprehensible benefit to men, especially us Gentiles, of raising up Christ to be the inlightening light of the world. Sure all light which shews to inlighten, and not to amaze, is a great gift. They that have been long blind, or kept in darknesse, and after recover their sight, and see the light, how are they over-joyed! When blind Bartimaeus received his sight, he followed Christ glorifying God, Luk. 18. 43. And shall not we glo­rifie God, who receive lightfrom Christ, not only to follow him in the way in which he travelled on earth, but also in the way in which he passed into glory? We sometimes seem to wish, that God would send us the light of Heaven, and will we not praise God who hath sent his Son from Heaven to be the true inlightening light to guide us to Heaven? Zacharias blessed God, that by his tender mercy the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darknesse, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace, Luk. 1. 78, 79. Simeon desired to live no longer, after his meeting with Christ in the Temple, but blessed God that his eyes had seen his salvation, which he had prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel, Luk. 2. 28, 29, 30, 31. Herein we are bound to imitate them, and to be inlarged in our blessing God, and glorifying him for this great injoyment of the true inlightening light.

2. Sith Christ is the inlightening light, they that are Christs are Children of [Page 24] the light, and of the day, not of the night or darknesse, 1 Thes. 5. 5. They there­fore that abide in darknesse, and walk in darknesse, have no communion with Christ. For what fellowship hath righteousnesse with unrighteousnesse? And what communion hath light with darknesse? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? 2 Cor. 6. 14, 15. Now he that hateth his Brother, is in darknesse, and walketh in­darknesse, and knoweth not whether he goeth, because that darknesse hath blinded his eyes, 1 Joh. 2. 11. And what is their practice, but practice of harred of their Brethren, whose tongue; are still venting reviling speeches against their Brethren, as not in the light, because they confesse sin in themselves, and make not the light in their own consciences a sufficient light to guide them, but sollow the light of the holy Scriptures? Surely these are not in the light, who are so full of self-boasting of their own perfection, and Pharisee-like, despising others. Were we in errour, yet in meeknesse those that oppose them­selves should be instructed, 2 Tim. 2. 25. if God peradventure will give them re­pentance to the acknowledging of the truth. Wherein they failing and following the Prince of darknesse in railing accusations, Iude 9. shew themselves not to be in the light of which they brag, but in darknesse. And so likewise they do in not coming to the light of the Scriptures taught by Preachers, whom they contemptuously term Priests. Herein also they shew themselves not to be children of the light, in that they will not disclose plainly what they hold, but hide their opinions in cloudy misty expressions; and when by quistions put to them, there is endeavour to find them out, they shift in answering, and fall to reviling. In a word; all that walk in hatred, pride, ignorance, intemperance, uncleannesse, deceit, and such like evils, shew they are not in the light, nor have communion with christ, but abide in darknesse. You that would approve your selves to be in Christ, must cast away the works of darknesse, and put upon you the armour of light, and have no fellowship with the un­fruitfull works of darknesse, but reprove them rather, Rom. 13. 12. Ephes. 5. 11. But of this more in that which follows.

Men coming into the world need Light from Christ.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. The necessity of Christs Enlightening is asserted, because of the blindnesse which is in all at birth.

COming into the world hath a double sense, either entering on some action or businesse among men, or shewing themselves among men; and so false Prophets are said to come into the world, or to go out into the world, 1 Joh. 4. 1. And in this sense it is a truth, that Christ coming into the world as a Pro­phet, Joh. 6. 14. was the true light inlightening: But I gave Reasons against this sense, Serm. 1. Sect. 1. Or coming into the world is meant of humane birth, in the same sense in which it is said, that a man is born into the world, Joh. 16 21. [Page 25] which I conceive meant by Christs going forth from the Father, and coming into the world, Joh. 16. 28. And his coming into the world, Heb. 10. 5. Grotius it is true, annot. on Joh. 1. 9. argues from the distinction of being born and coming into the world, Joh. 18. 37. that the coming into the world, is still by shewing himself to the world: But that is not cogent, sith the same thing may be meant by two expressions. But however it be meant, when it is said of Christ, that he came into the world, yet here, where it is said of man com­ing into the world, must be meant of humane birth, which seems most probable for the reasons given before, and accordingly, this point is thence deducible, That every that comes into the world, needs light from Christ. Which position is true, 1. Because every man is born destitute of spiritual light in the things of God, concerning his duty and the way of salvation. 2. Because every man is liable to death and trouble, and wrath, and evil from God, as he is born into the world: and Christ came a light into the world, to remove both these sorts of darkness, and none else can do it. The former of these is to be the more fully confimred, because it overthrows the main position of the Quakers, that every man hath a light within him sufficient to guide him, so as that following it, he may please God, and be saved without the light of Scripture, or preaching of publique Teachers. And it also confirms the Doctrine of Original corrupti­on, and particular effectual converting grace, against universal sufficient grace, and power of freewill, in the state man is in before conversion, which Papists. Arminians, Socinians, Freewillers maintain, and the perfection and merit which after conversion Papists and Quakers do assert.

Sect. 2. Universal corruption at birth, is proved from Joh 3. 6.

I shall begin with the words of Christ, Joh. 3. 6. That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit. To understand the force of the argument from hence, it is to be considered, that Christ useth these words in his conference with Nicodemus, as a reason of the necessity of new birth by water and the Spirit, that a person may enter into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God meant Joh. 3. 3, 5. is to be understood of the Kingdom of glory, or that state of everlasting happinesse, which none but those that are clean, sincere and really holy, shall ever be admitted to: in which sense it is taken, when conversion, obedience, humility, and such like qualifications are prerequired to it, and it annexed to them, as Mat. 5. 3, 10, 20. & 7. 21. & 8. 11. & 18. 3. & 19. 14, 23, 24. & 21. 31. Mark. 9. 47. & 10. 14, 15, 23, 24, 25. Luk. 6. 20. & 13. 28, 29. & 18. 16, 17, 24, 25. Act. 14. 22. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. & 15. 50. Gal. 5. 21. 2 Thes. 1. 5. 2 Tim. 4. 18. James 2. 5. 2 Pet. 1. 11. The visible Church doth admit into it many that are proud, and impure in heart, and therefore the qualifications of holinesse and purity here prerequi­red are not necessary for entrance into it. Whence it follows, that the new birth prerequired as necessary, Joh. 5. 3, 5. is of the inward man, to that reall holinesse which is opposite to uncleannesse or unholinesse which was in the first birth; and consequently, when it is said, That which is born of the flesh, is flesh, must be thus expounded, impure and sinfull, or vitious, according to that sense which the term hath, Gal. 5. 16, 17, 19, 24. which is confirmed by the opposition in the other part of the verse, That which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit: For as to be Spirit, is meant of true and reall holinesse, which is [Page 26] the genuine fruit and effect of being born of the Spirit; so the being flesh which is the consequent of being born of the flesh, that is by humane generati­on, Joh. 1. 13. must be meant of sinfull and impure corruption. They that expound it only of doing the actions of natural life without sin, or of meer weak­ness without sinfulness, such as was in Eve before she sinned, reach not to the scope and force of Christs reason; for in respect of these there's no necessity of new birth, for entrance into the kingdome of God. A person may do the actions of a natural life, and be weak without sin, and yet not for that rea­son excluded out of the kingdome of God. A person may be spirit, and yet flesh in that sense, that is weak, and do the actions of a natural life; where­as here he that is flesh, is opposed to him that is spirit, and therefore natu­ral life or Infirmity without sin is not all that is meant by flesh; there's pravity and impurity of minde expressed by flesh, as well as naturality or infirmity. It is true by flesh and blood, 1 Cor. 15. 50. which cannot inherit the kingdome of God, is meant a humane body in its weakness and imperfection. But thus in this life, they that are born of the Spirit are flesh, whereas Christ saith, he that is now born of the Spirit is Spirit; and the new birth which makes us no longer flesh and blood in that sense, is not the birth of water and of the Spirit mentioned, Joh. 3. 5. but the power of God, by which he will raise us up, 1 Cor. 6. 14. the birth of water and of the Spirit, Ioh. 3. 3. 5, 6. is here in this life, the other is not till the resurrection: therefore the same is not meant by flesh and bloud, 1 Cor. 15. 50. And flesh, Ioh 3. 6. but in the one place that weakness is meant which is removed by the power of God, and the voice of Christ at his coming to judgement; the other that sinfull blindeness, igno­rance, concupiscence, which is consequent on humane generation, and is re­moved by the preaching of the Gospel made effectual by the Spirit of God: Whence I argue, If that which is born of the flesh by humane generation, be flesh that is corrupt, ignorant, depraved with proneness to errour and evil con­cupiscence, so as that it must be born again of water and the Spirit, afore it can enter into the kingdome of God; then every man that cometh into the world by meer hnmane generation, is void of light to guide him in his way to God and to salvation, untill Christ enlighten him: But the antecedent is true, as hath been shewed by opening the Text, Joh. 3. 6. therefore also the consequent.

Sect. 3. Vacuity of light without Christ enligtening, is proved from Rom. 8. 7, 8. Rom. 3. 9, 10, 11, 23. 1 Cor. 2. 14. Mar. 7. 21. Iam. 1. 14.

The same thing is further proved from the words of Paul, Rom. 8. 7, 8. Be­cause the carnal minde, or minding of the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. In which speech the Apostle assignes the reason, why the minding of the flesh is death: Now by flesh is to be understood the sinfull pra­vity that is in man, for neither meer natural weakness, such as was in Adam and Eve afore they sinned, nor the doing of natural actions without sin, nor the minding of these are enmity against God or death, or impossible to be subject to Gods Law: But the minding of the innate pravity, whose works are set down, Gal. 5. 19. Now such are all that are not in the Spirit, ver. 9. and that by birth, Joh. 3. 6. Therefore all that come into the world are flesh, [Page 27] and till they be in the Spirit, are void of that light which might bring them in subjection to the Law of God, and so need Christs enlightening. The same may be further confirmed from the allegation of the Apostle, Rom. 3. 9, 10, 11, 12. where to prove that all both Jews and Gentiles are under sin, it is alleadged out of Psalmes the 14. and 53. that it is written, there is none righ­teous, no not one, there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God; they are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable, there is none that doth good, no not one; which cannot be true if understood without limitation, sith then the Scriptures should be false, that say that Noah was a righteous man and walked with God, Abraham was one that God himself testified of to have feared him, Abel obtained testimony that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts, Heb. 11. 4. Of David God said, I have found David the son of Jesse a man after mine own heart, which shall fullfill all my will, Act. 13. 22. Therefore it must be understood of all afore they are en­lightned and converted, and so proves that all without exception are void of saving light, till Christ do enlighten them, and being universal, is to be con­ceived to be from their humane generation. If any say, that many of the things there said, as that with their tongues they have used deceit, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, ver. 13, 14, &c. cannot be said of Infants; it is granted in respect of the actual practice, yet in respect of their disposition, in­clination, and aptitude to commit them, they may; which is further urged from ver. 23. where he concludes, that all have sinned, and are come short of the glory of God. Hereto I shall adjoyn the speech of Paul, 1 Cor. 2. 14. where he saith, that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiri­tually discerned. In which speech he expresly makes natural men not only non­intelligent of the things of God, afore they have the Spirit of God, by whom Christ enlighteneth; but also uncapable of knowing them, because they are discerned spiritually, that is by the Spirit. All the difficulty is, who is meant by the natural man. There are that understand by it, not every man that is unregenerate, but the most sensual, and such as are guided by their senses altogether: But the Text opposeth the natural man to the spiritual, and makes all the inability to be from the defect of the Spirit of God; and there­fore understands the most rational man by [the natural man] if he want the Spirit of God. Nor is the conceit of him, that by [natural man] under­stands the weak Christian, and by spiritual the strong Christian, opposed to babes in Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 1. right. For though the Apostle saith, he could not speak unto them as spiritual, but as to carnal, to babes in Christ; yet doth he neither make babes in Christ an equipollent term to carnal, as all one with it, or deny babes in Christ to be spiritual: But as the Apostle saith, Rom. 7. 14. be was carnal, though he were a strong man in Christ, because he was in part carnal, his flesh did sometimes draw him to fin against his will; so babes in Christ may be spiritual, and yet carnal in part, by reason whereof he could not speak to them under the fin of contentions, as to spiritual per­sons, but as to carnal. But that the term [...] notes a natural man, or one that hath no more then his own soul to guide him, is besides the rea­sons in the Text, made more probable by Jam. 3. 15. where to the wisdome from above, is opposed that from the earth, from the soul, from the Devil, Iude 19. [Page 28] Soalary men are described, such as have not the Spirit; in neither place is the word fitly rendered sensual. But were it yeelded, that 1 Cor. 2. 14. the word translated [natural man] signifie a weak Christian; sure it followes, if a weak Christian cannot know the things of the Spirit of God without Christs enlightening, much less a man not so much as a babe in Christ: Yea the Apostle faith, 2 Cor. 3. 5. he was not sufficient of himself, to think any thing as of himself.

But besides these Texts, when our Saviour Mar. 7. 21. makes evil reasonings, thoughts, and folly, to come from within out of the heart of man, he surely makes mens hearts void of light, till they be enlightened with his light: And when James, Chap. 1. 14, 15. makes every mans sin the issue of his own lust, as every good gift from the Father of lights, who of his own will begets us again with the word of truth, Jam. 1. 17, 18. he intimates there's not light in us to avoid sin, till the Father of lights begets us again with the word of truth.

Sect. 4. Vacuity of light without Christ enlightening, is proved from Gen. 6. 5. & 8. 21. Job 14. 4. & 15. 14. & 25. 4, 5, 6. & 11, 12. Psal. 51. 5. Jer. 10. 14. & 17. 9. and experience.

To these Texts in the new Testament, I shall adde more out of the old: As first the words, Gen. 6. 5. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination, or the whole imagination or frame of the thoughts of his heart, was only evil continually, or every day, which speech is with little alteration repeated, Gen. 8. 21. the imagination of mans heart is evil from his youth; which speech is not a censure only of the Giants that werein the old world, but of all men, even from the youth of man, without any ex­ception of any, and therefore is from their generation. Nor is it to be con­ceived to be an excess of speech, expressing more then was true; for Gen. 6. 5. it is given as a reason of the great wickedness of man, and Gods intended se­vere punishment, and set down as the object of Gods view on his inquisition; in the later to set out the greatness of his patience, by the greatness of mans sinfulness, to which ends those speeches had been impertinent, if they were understood as expressing more then was true. For then they had not ex­pressed a true inquisition, or a just reason of a severe judgement, which is alwayes to be expressed as befits a Judge, whose judgement is according to naked truth, Rom. 2. 2. not with Rhetorical amplifications after the manner of Ora­tours, or a right reason of Gods patience, if the provocation were not as great as the words intimate. Now this being supposed true, we may hence argue thus. If every imagination, or the whole imagination or frame of the thoughts of mans heart, be only evil continually, or every day from his youth or childehood, then every man till he be enlightened by Christ, wants light to guide him in the knowledge of his duty, and the way of salvation, for if the thoughts be not right, the actions are not right, nor the light sufficient, if men stumble and fall, it is an argument they want light; but such is the i­magination of mans heart, as the Texts do express: Therefore every man that cometh into the world, wants light to rectifie his thoughts about the things of God. And that this pravity of mens imaginations, is an hereditary and not meerly voluntary, or an acquired disease by use, custome, or imita­tion, the speech of Job doth intimate, Job 14. 4. where to deprecate Gods [Page 29] bringing him into judgement with him, in a bemoaning plight he thus speaketh, Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one: Wherein Job expres­seth, that it is no marvel that all mens lives are so short and so full of trou­ble, because all being unclean naturally, none by natural generation can be­get a clean childe. And if all are unclean morally as they come into the world, then all are void of light (for that's a chief part of moral unclean­ness) till Christ enlighten them.

The same is confirmed by other passages in the Book of Job, as Chap. 15. 14. What is man that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Job 25. 4, 5, 6. How can he be clean that is born of a wo­man? Iob 11. 12. Vain man would be wise; though man be born like a wild Asses colt: Which speeches do plainly assert mans uncleanness, and unrighteous­ness, and ignorance, as he is born into the world by natural generation.

To which may be adjoyned that speech of David concerning himself, Psal. 51. 5. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me; which is not likely to be meant of any special sin of his mother, of whom no such thing is related; nor is it likely that he would mention it to her reproach, nor would it be pertinent to his confession of his own sin, nor is likely to be an Hyperbole, or excess of speech, as Psal. 58. 3. Joh. 9. 34. For those Hyper­bolical expressions are descriptions of a man notoriously and openly ungodly in the course of his life; whereas David however he sinned in the matter of Urijah, yet in respect of the constant course of his life, was a man after Gods own heart, and therefore it seemes to me to note his original corruption by na­tural conception, as the cause of his great enormity in the matter of Urijah, and to aggravate his sin as springing from himself: Now of such corruption, want of light to guide us in our way to happiness, is a chief part.

That which the Prophet Jeremiah speaks, Jer. 10. 14. Every man is brutish in his knowledge, and Jer. 17. 9. The heart is deceitfull above all things, and desperately wicked, or incurably sick, who can know it? do express such a de­stitution of light, truth, and rectitude, as shew that the heart of man is very evil: Which being spoken of men universally as they are unchanged, can be well imputed to no other reason or cause, then the derivation of sinfull cor­ruption to all mankinde, by natural generation.

To all which allegations from Scripture, experience addes abundant con­firmation, sith the ignorance, unteachableness, frowardness, untractableness of persons, especially in duties of Religion, and the worship of God, untill by Catechizing, Preaching, Discipline, Government, and other meanes, whereby the wildeness of mens spirits is tamed, they be brought to some sense and conformity to their duty: And even then when by such meanes the hearts and lives of men are somewhat fashioned, yet upon every new pro­vocation of fear or hope, they quickly draw back from any good course, and embrace any errour, unless by the Ministery of the word, help of Go­vernment, and work of Gods Spirit, they be strengthened, do fully shew that of themselves persons want light to guide them, and power to uphold them­selves in any thing that is good; but on the contrary are prone to receive im­pressions, and ro hatch devices of sin and errour, till Christ do enlighten them.

Sect. 5. Every man needs enlightening by Christ, by reason of the many evils consequent on sin.

As for the second reason of mans needing light from Christ, by reason of the evils consequent on our natural darkness, which are not to be removed but by Christs enlightening; it is in like manner manifest by Scripture and ex­perience.

For 1. It is plain from Scripture, that by one man sin entred into the world, and so death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that, or in whom all have sinned, Rom. 5. 12. By the offence of one, judgement came upon all men to con­demnation, ver. 18. 1 Cor. 15. 22. In Adam all die. Now it is by Christ, who enlighteneth mens eyes, that this death and condemnation are removed, and by no other meanes. In Christ shall all be made alive, 1 Cor. 15. 22. Even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, Rom. 5. 18.

2. Besides death and condemnation, all mankinde are liable to innumera­ble evils, to lighten the burden of which, the enlightening of Christ is very necessary; for that alone can give support and comfort to the soul in the bear­ing of them. Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks flie upward, Iob 5. 7. Man that is born of a woman is of few dayes, and full of trouble, Iob 14. 1. Sufficient unto the day, saith our Lord Christ, is the evil thereof, Mat. 6. 34.

1. Man of all creatures is born most obnoxious to harm; he is born naked and weak, unable to make provision for his own sustenance: Naked came I out of my mothers womb saith Job, Chap. 1. 21. We brought nothing into this world, 1 Tim. 6. 7. The greatest Prince is born as naked as the meanest Peasant, and all come crying into it, as bewailing their entrance into the world. Though the Parents rejoyce that a childe is born into the world, yet the childe doth not so. Other creatures can quickly help themselves: Many years pass over a childes head ere he can beg bread, much less earn it. He wants a great while both feet to seek it, and tongue to ask it, and hands to take it, and teeth to eat it.

2. To obtain it much care and labour is necessary: It is the doom awarded to Adam, Gen. 3. 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou re­turn to the ground. There is much pains, and cost, and care, and hazard in all employments, whereby a livelyhood is obtained; but in none more then in tillage and husbandry, whereby the provision of bread the staff of mans being is procured; and after all the industry, and skill, and charge, that is used, the ground is cursed for mans sake, thornes and thistles it brings forth to man, Gen. 3. 17, 18. Sometimes the seven lean kine devour the seven fat ones; the years of scarcity exceed the years of plenty, so as that there is no bread to be had, nor seed to so we the ground.

3. Besides, as the Psalmist speaks, Psal. 39. 6. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew, surely they are disquieted in vain, he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. That which a man hath laboured for and gotten to­gether, oft times he hath no use of it: Sometimes it perisheth of it self, some­times it is stolne or plundered from him: He that is as rich as Job was one day, is as poor as he was the next day: Sometimes a man so idolizeth his wealth, that he hath not a heart to use it, but only to look on it, and to talk of it: Sometimes sickness, or death seizeth on him, and then as it was with [Page 31] the vain man, Luk. 12. 20. his soul is taken from him, his projects fail, his goods are as uncertain owners; which caused Solomon to say, Eccl. 2. 18. Yea I hated all my labour which I had taken under the Sun, because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me, and who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and shewed my self wise under the Sun: This is also vanity. Whence he infers, Ver. 22. For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the Sun? For all his dayes are sorrowes, and his travail grief, yea his heart taketh not rest in the night: This is also vanity.

4. There is much more evil consequent on that darknesse, or sinne which is entered into the world, by reason of the frequent annoyances, persecuti­ons, and temptations which are caused by the enmity of the world, and the acting of our adversary the Devil, who continually goeth about like a roaring Lyon seeking whom he may devoure. By which it is that all people are full of trou­bles, civil and forraign wars, which waste people, and their wealth; private quarrels, which undo many to was and houses; Law-suites, and factions, and [...]iulations, and discords, which ruine many persons and families; brawls and jarres, and contentions, which overthrow many houses, and cause perpetu­al vexation. Many secret murders, adulteries, perjuries, idolatries, and o­ther evils, are caused by the Prince of darknesse, which verifie that censure of Solomon, Ecol. 1. 14. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

5. Beyond these, from the darknesse of our own hearts, there do arise so many perturbations of mind, fears, jealousies, dotages, vain hopes, ambi­tious desires, foolish imaginations, inordinate anger, impatience and discon­tent, sometimes by provocations, sometimes causlesse, upon tales, surmises, mistakes, dreams, sancies, impostures, contingencies, and otherwise, as make the mind of man like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt, as the Prophet speaks, Isa. 57. 20.

6. But most of all the conscience of sinne, and the sense of Gods wrath, and the fear of death and judgment to come, over whelm the spirit of man with horrour, make Felix tremble, Cain turn Vagabond, Saul grow desperate, and betake himself to one that had a familiar spirit, Judas become his own executioner. In a word, make many through fear of death▪ all their life-time subject to bondage, Heb. 2. 15. This being of all other the greatest torture of the soul, when God hides his face from a person, which made Job expresse himself in this lamenting ditty, Job 13. 24, 25, 26. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth. For as Solomon saith truly, Prov. 18. 14. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear8

All these things, and innumerable other evils, experience shews to infest the life of man, against which the only remedy is well advised reason, com­posedness of spirit, patience, saith, hope in God, which must be communica­ted from Christ, who enlightens all with natural or supernatural light; of which I am next to speak.

Sect. 6. Application to make us sensible of sins evil, and the worlds vanity, and to provoke us to seek a tredsure above, and light from Christ to comfort us.

In the mean time by that which hath been said, 1. It is necessary for our good, that we should be sensible of these two things.

1. That sin is an imbittering thing, that takes away the relish and pleasure of all the goods we have under the Sun, and of our very lives themselves. Agag thought, if he had escaped death, then bitternesse had been overpassed, and therefore he came to Samuel delicately, 1 Sam. 15. 32. But experience shewed, that there is often more bitternesse in life then in death. Nor is it likely to be otherwise as long as sin remains, for that's a root of bitternesse, Heb. 12. 15. a root that beareth gall and wormwood, Deut. 29. 18. While there is sin in our eating and drinking, there will be bitternesse in our meats and drinks: While there is sin in our nuptials, there will be bitternesse in our marriage so­ciety. All states and conditions here, will have their frets, their gnawing worms, and eating mothes. When God corrects man with rebukes for iniquity, he makes his beauty to consume away like a moth: Surely every man is vanity, Psal. 39. 11.

2. That we have little cause to glory in our birth. It is the property of ma­ny to boast of their birth, it is the manner of all Parents to rejoyce at their childrens birth. But the sense of sinne should take away our glorying in our selves, the sight of our black feet, should abate our high conceits of our white feathers, and the sense of trouble should allay the excesse of our joy in po­sterity, and rather provoke us to imitate them that wept at births, and sang for joy at burials. Were it not that God makes women forget their travell, they would breed no more and were it not that God hides from the eyes of men the evils that accompany life, they would choose strangling rather then life, and were it not for the consolations of Christ, the burdens especially of the godly would be unsupportable, especially when they complain with Paul, Rom. 7. 24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! Earth is but a reall dungeon, though to some it is an imaginary Heaven.

2. It is necessary, 1. That we seek our good in other enjoyments then this world. Who would make his bed upon thornes? Who would choose his dwelling on the mast of a ship, where winds, and stormes, and perpetual tossings take away all rest? Surely our best enjoyments our best habitation here are no better. We project many things, and promise much to our selves in Wealth, Wife, Children, Friends, Houses, Preserments, and other things, but upon a just account we find all but ciphers, which make no summe. How often doth Solomon tell us, when he had cast up his reckonings, that vanity of vanities, all is vanity, Eccl. 12. 8. And why should we set our eyes then on that which is not? Prov. 23. 5. Surely the true light holds sorth better coun­sel, Luk. 12. 33. Provide your selves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no chief approacheth, nor m [...]th corrupteth, a trea­sure of Gospel grace, the new Covenant, the heavenly Promises, the Com­munion of Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit, and the life of Faith, and these will never deceive our expectations. It were a good wish, if righly minded by the users, God send us the light of Heaven.

[Page 33] 2. Let us prize the light of Christ, and make use of it to prevent, lessen, hear, deliver us out of all the present evils. Paul had learned to do so, Phil. 3. 12, 13. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where, and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungery, both to a­bound and to suffer need, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. It is indeed the inlightening of Christ which clears up all to us, in the most stormy and cloudy day; it will make us look abroad, and travell with strength in our journey, and run the race which is set before us, and after Pauls sad complaint, take up with his conclusion, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, Rom. 7. 25. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sinne, and the strength of sinne is the Law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15. 55, 56, 57.

Every man hath Light from Christ sufficient to make him inexcusable.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. A Natural Light from Christ is yeilded to be in every man, and the Opi­nions of Freewillers of its sufficiency are set down.

LIghting every man that cometh into the world, is meant either of such light which is by Christ as Creatour, termed natural, and this is conferred up­on all men without exception of any person; or of such light as is by Christ as Mediatour, and this is conferred, though not on every single person, yet on all sorts and Nations of men, and it is termed supernatural. Concerning the former sort of light, it is yeilded that there is natural light from Christ given to every man who comes into the world by humane birth. 'This light is the light of reason and knowledge agreeable to humane nature, which if it were not conferred on every man, he should not be rational, but should be degraded into the rank of beasts. It is true which the Psalmist saith, Psal. 49. 20. Man that is in honour and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish. But this only shews, that man by extinguishing his light doth brutifie himself, not that he was without all natural light in his originnl. All experience shews, that each person, even the most natural fool, hath some light of reason, by which he can apprehend some things pertaining to humane being, and some way expresse his mind, though in respect of civil or moral, or religious affairs, he be unteachable. All the difficulty is, how farre it ex­tends in all, or may be improved by them that use it best. In this matter there have been various opinions. The Pelagians of old, are said to have held, that each person had so much ability by his own free-will, and by his natural light, as that he might love God, and keep the Law, and resist temptations; though after by Councils, and the writings of adversaries, they were driven to yeild a necessity of teaching and outward proposition of divine [Page 34] truths to men to that end. Some of the Schoolmen, and later Papists do hold, that each man hath so much light and power in him, that if he do what he can, God is ready or bound to give him grace necessary to salvation. And this way go Arminians, and other assertors of the power of free-will in them that never heard of the Gospel of Christ preached to them; conform­ably whereto, in the Pagans debt and Dowry, p. 20. it is said, that by a faith­full and carefull use of those natural abilities, that light of reason, conscience and understanding, which every person of mankind under heaven receiveth from God, he may and shall receive from him yet further, that which shall be of saving import and consequence to him. Not much short of these is that French divine of much note, who maintains universal grace objective, though not subjective, that is, though there be not such an universal working by illumination, or other operation of the Spirit of God, so suf­ficient or effectual as to beget saith in every one, yet there is so much revealed to every man, even those that have not heard of Christ, as might, if they would apprehend it, beget faith in God to salvation.

Sect. 2. The Opinion of the Quakers concerning a Light within each man, is inquired into.

Out of the Principles of these men, whether instilled by Popish Emis­saries, which have crept into the English Armies and Churches, or some o­ther way, that sort of people, who now go under the name of Quakers, from their usual quaking before they began to speak, thereby deluding the peo­ple, as if they waited for a Revelation from God, though most of their speeches of all of them, have been their usual invectives against Preachers, and pressing men to follow the light within them; these people, I say, have drawn their tenet of an universal light in every man that cometh into the world, without Bibles, Preachers, Church-communion, Christian Ordinan­ces, to know his duty so as that he may be perfect: which is indeed the re­viving of old Pelagianism, or worse, and tends to the making of Christian Religion, if not all Religion whatsoever, unnecessary. Those who heretofore or at this day maintain this universal sufficient light, besides these Quakers, are many of them subtile disputants, and do set down their opinion distinct­ly, and argue for it acutely, though they decline the expresse owning of Pe­lagius his grosser expressions, and Puccius his natural faith, and Hurberus his universal election. But the Quakers, as they are for the most part destitute of that art of reasoning, so they decline all conference, in which they may be pressed to state the point in difference distinctly, and to deliver their proofs, and answer objections: but instead thereof by clamour and reproaches, which please their silly followers, they reject all motions tending to a fair debate of the point in controversie. Being desirous to know what they held, one of them brought to me James Nailors Book termed A salutation to the seed of God, and Love to the Lost: which being in many passages obscure, I delivered to him that brought me the Book, fifty five Queries to be answered by them, yea, or no, as the person had required of me to answer his Queries. The Answer, though made by one, formerly known to me, as a person of some in­genuity and learning, yet was framed otherwise then I required, declining to answer affirmatively or negatively to the Question, as by me propounded, but [Page 35] shifting off a plain Answer, and instead thereof, venting personal invectives. Yet to my third Question, which was thus, Do you believe, that those men, who were never taught the Doctrine of the Law, or of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have commonly a light within each of them, which may guide them to the true knowledge of God, and his waies, unto everlasting life? Omitting his words of obloquy, thus he answered; The Law is spiritual, and there is no Nation or people into which the sound of it hath not come; and the Gentiles which had not the letter, were a law to themselves, shewing the effect of the Law written in their hearts. And Christ is the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world with a spiritual light, the one loves this light and brings his deeds to it, and by this light is led from his evil deeds into the knowledge of God, who is life eternal in Christ to know; the other hates the light because his deeds are evil, and loves darknesse rather then light, and there is his condemnation. And their sound who were Ministers of this truth went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world, Rom. 10. 18. In which Answer there is not an expresse resolution of the Question, but sundry shifts to avoid a plain Answer, as 1. Whereas he asserts that the Law is spiritual, Rom. 7. 14. which is the Law of the ten Commandements, or the last Precept of the ten; and the Apostle ver. 9. saith, I was alive with­out the Law once, which intimates that he was once without the Law; that is, without the right knowledge and understanding of it. And Rom. 2. 14. the Gentiles (of whom my Question was) are said twice not to have the Law; yet this Answerer asserts, There is no Nation or people into which the sound of it hath not come: and to avoid the objection arising from the words, useth this expression, And the Gentiles which had not the letter, whereas the words are expresse, they having not the Law. 2. He patcheth together different Scrip­tures, Joh. 1. 9. Joh. 3. 19, 20. as if the light communicated by Christ coming into the world, were the same with that, with which in his sense he lighteth every man that cometh into the world; not heeding, that, if every man that cometh into the world had a light sufficient to guide him, and that even the Gentiles (of whom Paul saith, Gal. 4. 8. that they knew not God) had a spi­ritual light, and that thereby some were led from their evil deeds, into the know­ledge of God, who is life eternal in Christ to know, then none were in darknesse, contrary to Paul, Ephes. 5. 8. none were without Christ, or without God in the world, contrary to Paul, Ephes. 2. 12. then Christ need not come into the world to inlighten men, nor sond Ministers of this truth into all the earth, sith they had this light before. Christ was come into the world to inlighten them with spiritual light, and if Christ doth inlighten with this spiritual light every one that cometh into the world, there are none but come to the light, they having it within them, and it doth reprove their deeds whether they will or no. But it is no marvell, that men that boast so much of light within them, shew so much darknesse of mind in their expressions, it being true of them, as Christ said of the Pharisees, Joh. 9. 41. Because ye say, We see, there­fore your sin, or blindnesse, remains. However it may be hence gathered, that this is their conceit, That every man that cometh into the world, even the Gentiles that had not the letter, (by which he meanes the holy Scriptures or Bible) or any Preacher or Teacher to instruct them out of it, yet had from Christ a spiritual light, and that one loves this light, and brings his deeds to it, and by this light is led from his evil deeds into the knowledge of God, who is life eternal [Page 36] in Christ to know, the other hates the light, because his deeds are evil, and loves darknesse rather then light, and there is his condemnation. Whence it plainly ap­pears, that those two points of Pelagianism, Popery, Arminianism, Socinianism, and the Frecwill way, are their Opinions, that every one hath a light within him, or there is such revelation imparted to every man in the world, that if he would use it, he might come to saving knowledge, and that it is left to every man by his own free­will to difference himself from others. This universal light is so magnified by George Fox in his Catechism, that he tels us, that it shews all the ungodly waies that ever a man hath acted in, and hard speeches; with that light a person will come to see Christ the Saviour of his soul, from whence the light comes to save him from sin; that it brings him to Christ, and to confesse him; that it gives the knowledge of the God of the world that rules in them that are disobedient to this light; that it gives the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the true know­ledge of the Scriptures, which light being one in them all, and they come to the light, and loving the light, they all come into fellowship one with another, and being out of this, they are in jarres and confusions, that it lets see sin and transgression, which hath separated from God, and the Mediatour between God and him, and might have peace with him, and that he might see Gods Covenant of light, and know his recon­ciler with which he is reconciled to God, 1 Tim. 2. 5. 2 Cor. 5. 18. and to see the Kingdom of Heaven, that it brings them to love God above all, and to fulfill the Law, to know their election, their bodies to be the temples of the Holy Ghost; that they must scoff, reproach, backbite none, nor have malice to any, but to be meek and humble; with it they come to see the hope of glory, to sanctifie the Lord in their hearts, that it keeps from error, guile, all distraction and distemper, drunken thoughts, imaginations, conceivings, and his own reasonings. In a word, they ascribe all to it that we ascribe to the Gospel; yea it's termed the Gospel, the first principle of pure religion, they that professe to believe the Scriptures, in God, in Christ, yet not believing in this light they deny Christ; that neither the Jews nor Christians do believe in the light which doth enlighten every man that cometh into the world, though they professe some of Christs and the Apostles words, that none can confesse Christ but who confesse the light which every man is enlightened withall, that they who do not teach this are teachers of the world, Antichrists, Deceivers, that the letter (meaning the Scripture) is not the light, nor the word. He denies them to be Christians that cry up Erras Pulpit, and the Priesthood and the Temple, and the Jews Sabbath, and the Ordinances of the first Covenant, and that take tithes. More to the same purpose is delivered by George Fox, Hubberthorn, and many more, insomuch that Farnworth in his discovery p. 12. saith, Loving the light, it will guide you to God from all men, that you need never look at man more. Which is indeed their aim, that they may draw off people from Scriptures, Preach­ers, Church-fellowship, Ordinances, pay no dues to Ministers, nor submit to any Church-discipline, which is that which they call liberty of conscience; not considering, that if their hearers may be guided by their own light to God, that they need not look at man more, they need not look at themselves, nor meet to hear them, nor entertain them to teach them; yea, that by their reasoning, the Quakers themselves shew they do not believe in the light, that they deny Christ, while they look at Fox, Parker, Goodier, and such Teach­ers, and maintain them: and that the divisions between Fox and Naylor, and others, shew that their light within them is not one, but that they are out of [Page 37] the light. However they assert, 1. That there is a light in every man. 2. That this is sufficient to guide them to God of it self. 3. That it is a rule to shew duty and sin. 4. That there is no need of other teaching of man. 5. That this is one in all. 6. That it is the Gospel. Now because this is the main prop of the new Antichristian Religion, or frenzy of the Quakers, and leads them into the pernicions courses they take; I shall shew, 1. What is to be ascribed to the light that is in each man, whether from the birth, or after imparted to them, in this business of guiding us to God. 2. That neither is it of it self a safe rule for us to follow, in things moral or spiritual; nor by any engagement is God tied, or hath declared himself resolved, to give superna­tural light to him that useth this universal light well. 3. How the Objecti­ons may be answered. 4. In what manner Christ imparts supernatural spi­ritual light to every man.

Sect. 3.

Some light is in the most barbarous, yet the knowledge of the most refined Gentiles, may be conceived to come from some acquaintance with the written Law, or tradition from Adam.

To clear the first of these proposals, it is to be premised, 1. That God hath imprinted in all, even the most barbarous people, some relique of light; though in some of them it is so small, that it can hardly be perceived whether there be any sense of sin or wrath of duty or reward, of God or Devil, hea­ven or hell. Sure such people as are men eaters, do all at the beck of their witches, do seem to have scarce any sense of sin or duty; yet because there is some fear of an unseen power and his wrath, they may be said to have some conscience, though the writing therein be almost defaced. 2. That some people that never had the Gospel nor the Law made known to them, as the Jewes and Christians have had; yet have attained to so much knowledge and practice of moral duties, that in some acts of righteousness, temperance, chastity, fidelity, and such vertues they have equalled, at least in respect of their outward demeanour towards men, if not exceeded not only Iewes, but also most Christians. 3. And in the knowledge of God, though therein they were most defective, yet they attained to so much knowledge and right apprehension of him, as enabled them to correct the vulgar errors concerning God, although they were very blinde about the distinct notion of the true God and his counsels. 4. Nevertheless that it can hardly be avouched, that that knowledge in Morality and Divinity which they attained to, was by meer light of nature, or by their own study and invention; but it may with ve­ry probable reason be conceived, that they had much of their knowledge of these things by tradition from Adam, and acquaintance with the Hebrew peo­ple, and their written laws or unwritten traditions. Sure there are so many footsteps of their rites in their customes, of their writings in their Poets, and Hi­storians and Philosophers works: There are such relations of their Philosophers travail into AEgypt; besides this, that the most understanding people were such as did trade with Phenicians and AEgyptians, next neighbours to Israel; as may give us cause to think that the cream of that knowledge they had, was not from a light within them (for then why should not other people as well as they have attained to it) but from a light without them, darted directly on Israel, but from them yeelding some strictures of light, and glimpses [Page 38] to the Greekes, Italians, and other people.

Sect. 4. The light without the written word which was in the Gentiles, in the utmost extent of it was imperfect

However what the Scripture makes deducible from other meanes then the Scripture, or it or experience proved, that the most barbarous people attain­ed to, we may safely ascribe to this natural light. Of these things, 1. It is certain the being of God, his eternal power and Godhead might be, and was known by the things which God created, as the Apostle, Rom. 1. 19, 20. Be­cause that which may be known of God, is manifest in or to them, for God hath shewed it unto them: For the invisible things of him from the Creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal pow­er and Godhead, Psal. 19. 1. The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the Fir­mament sheweth his handywork.

2. Gods providence ordering and disposing all the motions of the crea­tures with incomprehensible wisdome, for the benefit of the universe, might be discerned from the admirable, and usefull, and constant order, motion, influx, properties and operations, the creatures have. Psal. 19. 2, 3, 4. Day unto day, uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge: There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard: Their line is gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. Act. 14. 16, 17. Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own way; nevertheless he left not himself without wit­ness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitfull seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. From Gods creating and providing for man, not only the holy Psalmist, Psal. 139. 6, &c. Psal. 104. and else­where, but even Philosophers among the Gentiles have taken occasion to magnifie the divine wisdome, power, and goodness: And yet the most witty people knew not distinctly who this God was, but did ignorantly worship him under this title of the unknown God, as Paul sayes of the Athenians, Act. 17. 23.

3. They did or might know that God was invisible, Rom. 1. 20. That he was a Spirit. Aristolle terms him [...], an intelligence or minde; Deus est ani­mus, said the Latin Poet: That he knew and judged thoughts, and discerned the most hidden things was known by them, as their accusing or excusing themselves by their own consciences between themselves, apart from others shewed, Rom. 2. 15. And yet when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkned; pro­fessing themselves wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four footed beasts, and creeping things, Rom. 1. 21, 22, 23.

4. They did or might know that God was to be worshipped. Aristotle in his Topicks saith, To dispute whether God and parents deserve honour, deserves punishment. All nations saith Tully, l. 1. Tusc. quaest. acknowledge a Deity and divine worship, and yet they understood not that God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in Temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with mens hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all things life, and breath, and all things, Acts 17. 24, 25.

[Page 39] 5. They knew that God was to be pacified by prayer, and sacrifice, and vowes, and obedient mindes, and repentance, and executing of judgement, as may be discerned by their carriage, Jonah 1. and 3. Chapters; yet knew not any thing of the great sacrifice which God had prepared to take away sin for ever, and they often applied themselves to pacifie the Devil even by humane sacrifice, instead of seeking peace from the true God.

6. They did or might know the low condition of man in comparison of God, as the Psalmist saith of himself, Psal. 8. 3, 4. When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, the moon and the starres which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindefuil of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him? And infer the absolute soveraignty of God, as the Apostle doth, Rom. 9. 20. Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? And as he doth conclude, Rom. 11. 6. For of him, and through him, and for him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever. And yet men have complained of their hard destiny, and imagined God a debtour to them, and that God should fulfill their pleasures, as well as they do his will; and self-exalring under the name of magnanimity, was by Aristotle made a vertue, vapouring, a mans excellency.

7. They might and should have known that parents are to be honoured, wives to be cherished, children to be nurtured, justice to be administred; yet many thought they might neglect parents commands, to please their com­panions; and deny them maintenance, to keep an undue and rash vow; and put away wives, for light causes; and expose their children; and violate right, to gain preferment and greatness.

8. The Apostle tells us, Rom. 2. 14, 15. For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law, are a law unto themselves, which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, or witnessing with them, and their thoughts the mean while, or between themselves, accusing or excusing one another; which proves that there was some sense of sin and duty in the most barbarous people, and accordingly there was and is some kinde of government and administra­tion of justice among them. Some sins as of murther, adultery, robbery, per­jury, breach of faith and trust, parricide, and some other sins have been judg­ed to be horrible evils, which they durst not commit. Abimelech Gen. 20. 5. durst not use Sarah, when he knew she was Abrahams wife; and yet he thought he should have been innocent, if she had been but his sister. Either by instinct of nature, or by tradition from Adam, adultery was judged a hor­rible crime, when simple fornication, sodomy, and other uncleanness, were reckoned as no faults by the Gentiles, which knew not God, 1 Thes. 4. 5. Par­ricide was counted such a sin as none durst commit; no law therefore was made against it by Salon. Tully pleads for Sextus Roscius Amerinus, that he could not be guilty of it, because he was sleeping at the time of his Fathers death, which the fury of his conscience would not have permitted, if he had been guilty of parricide. And yet self-murther to avoid tyrants rage, was applauded; theft if cunningly acted, was allowed by Lycurgus; drunkenness, and whoredome, and murthering in fence-playes and duels, either made re­ligious services, or matter of glory.

9. They might and did by natural light know, that God did discover and [Page 40] avenge secret murthers, adulteries, perjuries, sacriledge, and other evils, that he had [...], an avenging eye; and hence was there much fear of thunder-claps, stormes, earthquakes, plagues, and many means used to paci­fie the anger of the Deity. Yet they were not sensible of the eternal judg­ment to come, though they imagined punishments to be awarded to Male­factors after death. The Barbarians of Melita, Act. 28. 4. when they saw the Viper hanging on Pauls hand, said among themselves, No doubt, this man is a murtherer, whom though he hath escaped the Sea, yet vengeance, [...], suffereth not to live.

10. They might and did imagin, that God was a rewarder of good deeds; in defence of their Countrey, in doing justice, and such like acts, and some counted it their chief good to do vertuous acts: But they knew nothing of the resurrection of the dead, and the life everlasting, prepared for them that believed and obeyed the truth of the Gospel.

In these, and many more things, the Gentiles, which knew not God, had some natural light, in some it was more clear then in others, in some so dusky and dimme, that it was scarce discernable: but in none such as that it could be a constant universal Rule to direct them in what they were to do, or War­rant to justifie them in what they had done, or means to shew them how to come to God, and enjoy communion with him, and to save them from wrath to come.

Sect. 5. The Gentiles light by nature, served to restrain from sin, and to leave men inexcusable.

Neverthelesse this light, though insufficient to direct for justification and salvation, yet was usefull for two ends: 1. To restrain men from such excesse of sinne, as would otherwise have destroyed humane society. It being the contrivance of God to let men live together, though very evil, till their ini­quities be full, and when sins are ripe, then to put in the sickle, and cut wicked men down, either by a particular or an universal judgment. In the mean time, as he gave the Law to the Jews, because of transgressions, Gal. 3. 19. either to restrain them, or to abate punishments, till the seed came to whom the Promise was made, that there might be a people among whom the Messiah should appear: so to other people he gave a Law in themselves, to prevent the extirpation of the Nations, by bridling mens lusts through conscience of sinne, and fear of punishment, till the time should come of their calling into the Church.

2. Besides this end God hath another, in respect of himself, that they might be inexsusable who sinned against the light in them, and God might be justified in his sentence and judgment upon them. Therefore it is said, Rom. 1. 20. That the eternal power and Godhead, was made known from the Creation of the world, by the things that are made, that they might be without excuse, who held the truth in unrighteousnesse, and when they knew God, glorified him not as God, neither were thankfull: but were filled with unrighteousnesse, though they knew the judgment of God, that they that commit such things are worthy of death, ver. 29, 31. Whence it is, that Gods judgment is proved to be according to truth, Rom. 1. 2. and, God found to be true, though every man be a lyer, as it is writ­ten, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou [Page 41] art judged, Rom. 3. 4. Ignorance of the Law being not to be pleaded by them who did evil against the innate light of their own spirits, forasmuch as that fact must needs be voluntary, which is done against the knowledge and judg­ment of a mans own conscience.

Sect. 6. Application to justifie us against Quakers, and to warn us that we act not against our Light.

From this which hath been said, we may infer, 1. A plea for our selves a­gainst the clamorous, but unjust accusation of the Quakers, who use with loud vociferations even to hoarsnesse, and with continual printed pamphlets, to charge publique Preachers with denying the light within each man: whereas such light is not at all denied by them, but is acknowledged to be a great be­nefit to mankind. That which is denied, is, That the light within each per­son, is alone of it self, without the Scripture, a sufficient direction to bring us to God, and instate us in his savour; or a sufficient warrant of it self to to justifie our actions. It is usefull, but not in such a measure as the Quakers make it, as if persons were to look to it and no other Rule, and that they might well enough be without Scripture, Preachers, Church-discipline, Or­dinances of the New Testament, and such other helpes as God vouchsases to guide his people by into the way of peace. Wherein how much they are mistaken, shall be shewed in that which follows.

2. In the mean time each person is to make use of the light within him so farre as it is indeed light, and usefull. Certainly it concerns every man, so farre to look to the light within him, that he do not as it is said of some, Job 24. 13. rebell against the light. A mans own conscience is so farre a Law to him, that though it cannot of it self justifie, yet it may condemn: My meaning is, a mans own light cannot warrant of it self without the Scripture, a mans actions to be lawfull which he doth according to that light. Our Sa­viour tells there are some that shall think they do God service in killing the A­postles, Joh. 16. 2. Paul told Agrippa, Act. 26. 9. I verily thought with my self, that I ought to do many things contrary to the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. So that herein he followed the light within him, and yet he counted this his great sinne, 1 Tim. 1. 13. The Quakers accuse often falsly, and revile most abominably, others who are no whit inferiour to themselves, and they say they follow their light within them, and yet he that reads and believes such Scriptures as these, 1 Cor. 5. 11. 1 Cor. 6. 10. 1 Pet. 2. 23. Jude 8. 9, 10. can­not but think their practice to be from the Devil, and not from Gods Spirit. If following the dictate of a mans own conscience could warrant his action, the most horrid acts of misted Idolaters, Papists, Pagans, Mahometans, fana­tiques should be free from censure and controul. Yet if a man do that which he thinks to be evil, though it were good or lawfull in it self, it would be sin to him, and so much the greater, in that it is a sign, that he who doth thus, shews, that his principle by which he acts is naught, even then when he does good, and that it is but by accident that he doth it. Yea, that man who do­eth good against his conscience, is but an hypocrite in so doing, though the thing in it self be right and good. But when a man doth evil, which his conscience tells him is so, he commits a sinne of the highest degree, as to him that knows to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sinne, Jam. 4. 17. that is, sin [Page 42] in an high degree. Hence great horrour of spirit hath attended them that have omitted good which their conscience told them they should do, and much more horrour in them that have done evil against their conscience, as in the case of Judas, Spira, and others Instances might be given, and therefore if Quakers intended no more then this by bidding men look to the light within them, that they should take heed that they omitted not the good their con­sciences told them they ought to do, and that they did not the evil which their consciences judged to be so, we should accept of their warning. Sure­ly it will concern you, as to look that your conscience be not erroneous, so that when your conscience is rightly informed to follow it, and when it goes wrong yet to suspend the act which it condemns, if you desire peace. There will be no plea to acquit him before God, or to quiet his own spirit, who proceeds to act against the light of his own conscience. And a sinne against the light of nature is so much the more damnable, in that it is against the most irrefragable evidence. He that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith. For whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14. 23.

Every mans Light within him, is not a sufficient safe Rule of it self to guide him in the way to God.

Containing thirty Arguments out of Scripture, against the Qua­kers Opinion of the sufficiency of a Light in every man to lead him to God.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

YOu have heard how imperfect the light of the Gentiles, in things moral and religious is: and what the Quakers and others ascribe to the light in every man that cometh into the world, and to the free will of man in that condition he now is by nature: It will be my work now to prove the Quakers to erre, in their making each mans own light within him his Rule, yea his compleat safe Rule and Guide, to open the meaning of Scripture, discover all sorts of sinnes, teach all duties, lead to God, to Christ, to Heaven, with­out Scripture, Preachers, and other helps: That it is not such of it self, nor to be followed by it self, I shall prove by many Arguments, and then consider whether God be bound to give men supernatural light to direct men to Christ, to him that shall use well his natural.

The first Argument I take from the point proved in the fourth Sermon be­fore, and the texts therein alledged, which evince, that men as they are born into the world, are destitute of spiritual light in the things of God, that con­cern mans duty, and the way of salvation; whereof some are so expresse, that they do directly oppose the position of every mans having a light in him [Page 43] as fit to guide or warrant his actions. As namely, when it is said, that none understandeth, none seeketh after God, Rom. 3. 11. The natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit of God; for they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2. 14. E­very imagination of the thoughts of mans heart is only evil continu [...]lly from his youth, Gen. 6. 5. & 8. 21. Every man is bruitish in his own knowledge, Jerem. 10. 14. The heart is deceitfull above all things, Jerem. 17. 9. Which could not be true, if mens light of understanding were such, as that each man may follow in all sorts of moral and religious points his own light, as a safe and compleat rule or warrant to direct and justifie his way or action. The Argument in form is this: Their light is not a safe and compleat rule to warrant and guide their actions for pleasing God, who understand not nor seek after God, who cannot know the things of the Spirit of God, whose imaginations of the thoughts of their heart are only evil continually, who are bruitish in their own knowledge, and whose heart is deceitfull above all things. But these things are said of all or some men, Therefore every mans light within him is not a safe and compleat rule to warrant and guide his actions for pleasing of God. The Proposition none will deny, but they that think that a blind man may be a fit guide. The Assumption is the words of holy Scripture, which G. F. saith in his Catechism, p. 56. We are to believe afore learned men. The Conclu­sion then follows of it self.

2. Argument is from that which is shewed Sermon fifth, That the light which without the Scripture was in the most improved Gentiles, in the ut­most extent of it, was imperfect: Whence I argue, their light was not a safe and compleat rule or guide to direct or justifie them in their worship of God, imaginations of God, the knowledge of all sin and duty they owe to God, who confessed God to be unknown, who ignorantly worshipped him, who had a foolish darkned heart about their thoughts of God, who judged many sins to be either no sins, or laudable acts, who took vices to be vertues: who had vain, and uncertain, and contrary conjectures of these things, and many of them from the Devils Oracles, carried away to dumb Idols as they were led, 1 Cor. 12.

2. For a rule and guide should be certain which will not deceive. But the most improved Gentiles confessed God to be unknown, ignorantly worshipped him, with the rest of the things mentioned, as Acts 17. 22, 23. Rom. 21. 22, 23. and elsewhere is manifest, Therefore they had not a light within them sufficient to guide them; and if not they, then much lesse the most barbarous, and by consequent none of the Gentiles, who had not the Scripture, nor such other teaching as Gods people were taught by, had a light within them which might be a compleat and safe rule or guide to them for the pleasing of God.

3. Argument from John 1. 5, 10, 11. near to the text which is so much urged by Quakers, where it is said, The light shineth in darknesse, and the darknesse comprehended it not, ver. 5. The true light mentioned ver. 9. was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own and his own received him not, ver. 10, 11. Which proves many of the Jews were darknesse, and that they knew not the true light, nor received him. Whence we thus argue: They had not a light within them sufficient to be a safe rule and guide to direct and warrant them in their way for pleasing God, who were darknesse, when the true light shined, who knew him not nor [Page 44] received him; for sure they that are such, must be destitute of that light which might safely guide them, who were so dark and ignorant, as not to know the true light which enlightens every man. But so it was with many, even of the Jews themselves, when Christ was in the world: Therefore they had not sufficient light in them, and consequently none; much less every man hath a sufficient light to guide him safely in his way to God, without the Scripture, and the Spirit of God, over and above the common light of reason and understanding, which every man by nature and study attains to without them.

4. Arg. From those Texts of Scripture which do expresly tell us, that afore the preaching of Christ and his Apostles, the people to whom they were sent were darkness, sate in darkness and in the shadow of death: Such are Ephes. 5. 8. Ye were once darkness, Mat. 4. 16. The people that sate in darkness, have seen a great light, and to them that sate in the region and shadow of death, hath the light sprung up. Whence I argue, They had not a sufficient light within them, to be a safe and compleat rule and guide to direct them in their way to please God, and to warrant their actions if they followed it, who were darkness, and who sate in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death; unless we will imagine that darkness is light, and as the Quakers do, put darkness for light, and light for darkness, to whom the Prophet denounceth wo, Isa. 5. 20. But some there were afore Christs and his Apostles preaching to them, who were darkness, who sate in darkness, and in the region and sha­dow of death: Therefore every man had not a sufficient light within him, to be a safe and compleat rule and guide to direct him in his way to please God, and to warrant his actions if he followed it: And if not then, neither have we now.

5. Arg. From Luk. 16. 8. where our Saviour saith, The children of this world are wiser in their generation, then the children of light: The opposition of chil­dren of light, to the children of this world shews, that the children of this world, are not children of light; and if they were the same, the speech of Christ would be foolish in preferring one sort before the other, as wiser in their generation. Hence therefore I thus argue, If every man had a light within him, sufficient to be his rule and guide of it self to direct him how to please God, then every man should be a childe of light; for to be a childe, is all one as to be a person that hath light in him to guide him, so as to please God. But every man is not a childe of light: Therefore every man ha [...]h not a light safe and sufficient within him, to guide him in his way to God, and to be the compleat rule of his actions Godward.

6. Arg. Is from Act. 26. 18. where Paul saith, Christ sent him to the Gen­tiles to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, 1 Pet. 2. 9. Ye are a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Eph. 5. 14. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. From whence I argue, They who are to be turned from darkness to light, called by God out of darkness into his marvellous light, who are to awake and stand up from the dead, that Christ may give them light, had not a light within, as a sufficient safe guide to direct them in their way to God; unless we suppose darkness to be light, men among the dead, fit to guide themselves. But so it [Page 45] is said of both Jews and Gentiles in those Scriptures: Therefore sure they had not such a light within them, as Quakers say is in all. If they had such a light, they should have been directed to follow it, not turned from it, the Apostles should have called them, as the Quakers do, to follow the light in them, and not have called them out of darkness, nor required them to awake and stand up from the dead, that Christ may give them light: Nor should we do, as the Apostles did, bid men leave the darkness in them; but as the Qua­kers do, look to the light in them.

7. Arg. From Rom. 10. 14, 17. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a Preacher? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Heb. 11. 6. Without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Whence I argue, That is not a sufficient guide in our way to God, which cannot of it self make us believers; for that is not sufficient to guide us to God, that is not sufficient to beget faith, sith there is no coming to God without faith, as is told us, Heb. 11. 6. But the light within us cannot of it self make us believers, sith the Apostle saith, How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they bear without a Preacher? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; which were vain speech­es, if there were another ordinary way by a light within us to beget faith: Therefore the light within us is not of it self without preaching, a safe suffici­ent guide in our way to God.

8. Arg. From Rom. 12. 2. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye trans­formed by the renewing of your minde, that ye may prove what is that good, that ac­ceptable and perfect will of God. Eph. 4. 23. And be renewed in the spirit of your minde, Col. 3. 10. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that created him. Whence I argue, They who must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their minde, that they may prove what is that good, that acceptable and perfect will of God; who must put off the old man, and be renewed in the spirit of their minde; who must put on the new man, which is renewed in know­ledge, had not a light within them antecedent to this renewing, which might enable them to prove what was Gods acceptable will, nor be a sufficient safe, rule to guide them to God. For if they had, what need such transforming, renewing, non-conformity to the world, putting off the old man? But all that have access to God must be thus transformed, renewed, put off the old man, as the Texts shew: Therefore they have not a light within them, as a safe sufficient guide to lead them to God.

9. Arg. From Psal. 81. 11, 12. But my people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave them up to their own hearts lust, and they walked in their own counsels. Act. 14. 16. Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own wayes: Whence I argue, That light in man cannot be a safe sufficient guide to a man in his way to God, to which the leaving a person, by God is reckoned as the greatest curse and judgement, for refusing to heark­en to God; but to leave a person to his own imagination, lust, to walk in his own counsel, in his own way, (which is all one as to leave him to the light within him) is reckoned as the greatest curse and judgement to a man from [Page 46] God, for refusing to hearken to Gods voice, as the Texts shew: Therefore the light within each person is of it self no safe guide. The Quakers prescribe to men that as their rule, which God counts their curse.

10. Arg. From Rom. 16. 25, 26. Now to him that is of power to stablish you ac­cording to my Gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revela­tion of the mystery which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the Scriptures of the Prophets, according to the Commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. 1 Cor. 2. 7, 8, 9. But we speak the wisedome of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisedome which God ordained before the world to our glory, which none of the Princes of the world knew; but as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, Eph. 3. 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God. Col. 1. 25, 25. Where­of I am made a Minister, according to the dispensation of God, to fulfill the word of God, even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his Saints. 2 Tim. 1. 9. The purpose and grace of God is now made manifest, by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath brought im­mortality and life to light by the Gospel: Whence I argue, They had not a light in them as a sufficient safe guide to God, from whom the mystery was hid, which concerned the grace and purpose of God, into whose heart the things which God had prepared for them that love him entered not, to whom life and immortality was not brought to light. But from the Gentiles the my­stery of God was hid, life and immortallity was not brought to light, nor did the things God had prepared for them that love him, enter into their hearts: Therefore they had not a light within them, as a sufficient guide to God.

11. Arg. From 1 Cor. 2. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God. Rom. 8. 9. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his. Jude 19. Having not the Spirit. Joh. 14. 17. The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive. Whence I argue, They have not light within them sufficient to guide them to God, who have not the Spirit of God, because they cannot know the things of God without the Spirit. But every man hath not the Spirit of God: Therefore every man hath not a light within, sufficient to guide him to God.

12. Arg. From Mat. 11. 27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. Joh. 14. 6. Jesus saith un­to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me. Whence I argue, They had not a light within them to guide them to God, to whom the Son did not reveal the Father, who did not go by the Son as the way to the Father. But the Son did not reveal the Father to e­very man, nor did every man come to Christ, Joh. 1. 5. 10. & 12. 38. & 5. 40. 43. Therefore every man had not a light within him, sufficient to guide him to God.

13. Arg. From Mat. 11. 25, 26. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee O Father Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the [Page 47] wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. Mat. 13. 11. It is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdome of heaven, but to them it is not given. Whence I argue, If God hide the things of God, which concern the knowledge of himself from some, and reveal them to others; if to some be given to know the mysteries of the king­dome of heaven, not to others, then every man hath not a light within him, as a sufficient guide to direct him to God. But the antecedent is true as the Texts shew, and the consequence is evident of it self: Therefore the conse­quent is also true.

14. Arg. From those Texts which speak of Christ as a light come into the world, Joh. 12. 46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. Joh. 8. 12. Then Jesus spake again to them saying, I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in dark­ness, but shall have the light of life. Joh. 9. 5. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world, Joh. 3. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evil. Luk. 1. 78. Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death. Luk. 2. 32. A light to lighten the Gentiles; which would have been needless, if every man had a light within him befo [...]e Christ his coming into the world, sufficient to guide him in the way to God: Yea the Text sup­poseth persons in darkness before, to sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to have need of another light without them to guide their feet into the way of peace, and that the Gentiles were without light. Whence I ar­gue, That opinion which makes the coming of Christ into the world, to be the light of the world needless, is an errour. But the opinion of the Quakers concerning a light in each man that cometh into the world, sufficient to guide him into the way of peace of it self, makes the coming of Christ useless, and asserts that persons had light, when the Text supposeth they were in dark­ness: Therefore their opinion about the light within each person, is a ma­nifest errour.

15. Arg. From those Texts which make the Scriptures necessary and use­full to give light to men, 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. And that from a childe thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thorowly furnished unto all good works. Rom. 15. 14. For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that wethrough patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope, Mar. 12. 24. And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore erre, because ye know not the Scripture? Joh. 5. 39. Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testifie of me. Whence I argue, That opinion which terms the Scripture the letter, in disparagement of it; that makes it unnecessary; which dehorts from searching it; and directs to follow the light in each man without it, is contrary to the testimony given by Paul and Christ concerning the use, vertue, and necessity of Scripture, to keep from er­rour, to make wise to salvation, to give comfort, to furnish for good works. But such is the opinion of the Quakers, as their words recited Serm. 5. shew: [Page 48] therefore it is contrary to Christs and Pauls speeches. Christ saith, Search the Scriptures, Quakers say, No, but look to the light within you.

16. Arg. From Isa. 8. 20. To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Psal 119. 105. Thy Word it a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Whence I argue: That Opinion which makes supposed light within each man, which is often dis­fonant from the Law and the Testimony, and the Word of God, a safe rule and guide to each man, is erroneous. But such is the Quakers Opinion, which is contrary to the Law and Testimony, and Gods Word, opposing Ordinan­ces, Ministry, and many other things, Therefore it is erroneous, and their speech is without light in it.

17. Arg. From Ephes. 4. 11. When he ascended up on high, he gave gifts to men: And he gave some, Apostles; and some, Prophets; and some, Evangelists; and some, Pastours and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 1 Cor. 12. 28. And God hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers. Are all Apostles? are all Prophets? are all Teachers? Hence I argue, That Opinion and practice is evil, that makes every man a Teacher, and Teachers set by God for the work of the Ministry needlesse, and as if they were no gift but a burden to the Church, cryes them down, is contrary to Gods and Christs way, and so Antichristian. But thus doth the opinion and practice of the Quakers, Therefore it is evil and Antichristian.

18. Arg. From Ephes. 1. 17. I make mention of you in my prayers, that God may give unto you the spirit of wisdome and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightned. Hence I argue: That Opinion which makes it unnecessary to pray for the Spirit to enlighten mens eyes in the knowledge of God, is impious. But thus doth the opinion of Quakers, which makes each mans light in him a sufficient and safe rule and guide in his way to God: Therefore it is impious.

19. Arg. From Psal. 19. 12. Who can understand his errours? Hence I ar­gue: If each mans light within him be a sufficient and safe-rule and guide to each man in his way, and every man follow it (as they do unlesse in pre­sumptuous sins against conscience) then there be no errours or sinnes of igno­rance in man, or they may be understood by each man, but the Psalmist saith there are errours, and so many, that he makes them as not to be understood by any: Therefore each mans light within him, is not a sufficient and safe rule and guide to him in his way to God.

20. Arg. From Acts 17. 30. And the times of this ignorance God wi [...]ked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent. Whence I argue: If each mans light within him be a sufficient safe rule and guide to direct him in his way to God, then he need not repent of his ignorant worship of God, for then he followed the light in him. But God commands men to repent of the ignorant worship of him, Therefore each mans light in him is not a sufficient and safe rule and guide for him to go by in Gods worship.

21. Arg. From Prov. 3. 5, 6, 7. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy waies acknowledge him, and he shall di­rect thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes. Rom. 12. 16. Be not wise in your own conceits. Whence I infer, That which makes a man to lean to his own [Page 49] understanding, to be wise in his own eyes, in his own conceir, is a pernicious Opinion; for it makes a man not to depend on God for teaching him in his waies, but makes him proud and listed up. But the Opinion of the Quakers concerning each mans own light in him, as a sufficient safe rule of it self, to guide him in his way to God, makes him to lean to his own understanding, to be wise in his own eyes, and his own conceit, Therefore it is a pernicious Opinion. These Quakers blesse men in following their own light, when God saith, Isa. 5. 21. Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.

22. Arg From Judges 17. 6. In those daies there was no King in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Psal. 106. 39. Thus they were defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Whence I argue, If to do that which is right in our own eyes, and to follow our own inventions, be the sign of wicked men, and a going a whoring from God, then to look to the light within us, and to follow it, is not a safe way to God, but the way to depart from God. But the Antecedent is true, there­fore the Consequent. The truth is, God forbids the following of our own supposed light, as the greatest impiety, which the Quakers place all their godlinesse in.

23. Arg. From the same text I argue, If each mans light within him were to be his guide, then Kings and Rulers should not restrain men from, or punish them for doing that which is right in their own eyes, but the contrary is sup­posed, Judges 17. 6. where the defect of Government is made the permission of every man to do that which is right in his own eyes, therefore each mans light in him is not to be his rule and guide specially in Religion.

24. Arg. From Prov. 14. 12. There is a way which seemeth right to a man: but the end thereof are the waies of death. That guide is not a safe guide, which may lead a man into a way whose, end is death: But the supposed light in a man may guide him into a way whose▪ end is death, for that way that seems right to him may be the way to death, and a man follows his supposed light, when he walks in that way which seems right to him: Therefore the supposed light which is in each man, is not of it self a sufficient safe guide of a man in his way to God.

25. Arg. From Prov. 22. 615. Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Foolishnesse is bound in the heart of a Child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. Hence I argue, If there were in each man who cometh into the world a light, which might of it self be a sufficient and safe guide to lead him to God, then there should not be foolishnesse so bound in the heart, which hath need of the rod of correcti­on to drive it far from him; there would not be need to train up a child in the way he should go, he might guide himself without such training: But the contrary is manifest from the text. Therefore there is not in each man that cometh into the world, such a light as might of it self be a sufficient and safe guide to lead him to God.

26. Arg. From Joh. 6. 44, 45, 65. No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, [Page 50] he hath seen the Father. Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. Hence I argue, If each mans light within him were of it self a sufficient safe guide to lead him to God, then there would be no need of a further drawing or gift of the Father, that he might come to Christ, his own light without any other help would make known Christ to him. But this is contrary to the words of Christ, therefore each, mans own light, is not of it self a sufficient safe guide to lead him to God.

27. Arg. From 1 John 4. 1. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spi­rits whether they are of God. 1 Thes. 5. 21. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. Hence I argue, If each persons light within him were a sufficient and safe guide of it self to lead him to God, then no man need to try other mens spirits, or prove all things, left he be deceived, sith if he follow his own light he is infallible, nor is any man to be distrusted, unlesse he appear a voluntary deceiver, fith his own light will not misguide him. But these things are ab­surd and contrary to the warinesse Christ prescribeth, Mark. 4. 24. Take heed what you hear: and the Apostles in the places cited, therefore the light within each person, is not of it self a sufficient safe guide to lead him to God.

28. Arg. From Psal. 139. 23. Where David prayes, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. If David had a light within him, of it self a sufficient and safe guide to God, he should not have been jealous of his own heart or thoughts, so as to need God to search, know, and try him, and lead him, he might lead himself: But it is otherwise with David, and therefore he knew he had not a light within him, as a sufficient safe guide to lead him into the way everlasting.

29. Arg. From Deut. 4. 8. And what nation is there so great, that hath Statutes and judgments so righteous as ast this Law which I set before you this day. Ver. 6. Keep therefore and do them, for this is your wisdom, and your understanding in the sight of the Nations, which shall hear all these Statutes and say, Surely this great Nation, is a wise and understanding people. Psal. 147. 19, 20. He sheweth his Word unto Jacob: his Statutes and his judgment; unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any Nation, and as for his judgments they have not known them. Rom. 3. 1, 2. What advantage then bath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? much every way: chiefly because that unto them were committed the Oracles of God. Hence argue, If each Gentile had a light within him as a sufficient guide in the things of God, as the Quakers teach, then they had known Gods Sta­tutes and Judgments, Gods Oracles had been committed to them as well as the Jews, they had had as righteous Statutes, and been as wise a Nation as they. But all these consequents are false and contrary to the texts, therefore each Gentile which came into the world, had not such a light within him, as might be a sufficient safe guide to him in the things of God.

30. Arg. From Rom. 7. 7. I had not known sinne, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Hence I argue, That was not a sufficient safe guide of itself to God, which without the Law neither did nor could discover sinne, the sinne of lust: But the light within Paul, and so much more of other men, neither did, nor could [Page 51] discover sin, even the sin of lust, without the Law: Therefore the light in each person, is not a sufficient safe guide of it self, without the written word, to lead him to God, and to warrant his actions.

Every mans Light within him, is not of it self a sufficient safe guide unto God.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. Ten Reasons more are urged against the Quakers opinion, of the suffici­ency of the light in every man to guide him to God.

HItherto I have argued against the Quakers opinion, of the sufficiency of each mans light within him from Scripture: I shall now argue against it by Reasons; whereof the first is this: If each mans light within him is his rule and a safe guide, then what each man conceives according to his light within him is right and true; for what is according to the rule and a safe guide, is true and right, it being proper to a rule, to be the measure accord­ing to which each thing is to be tried, and that cannot be a safe guide that erres: But what each man conceives according to his light within him, can­not be right and true, for one mans conceits do sometimes contradict anothers. Thus it is reported by Quakers themselves, that George Fox contradicted Jawes Nailor; nor do I think all Quakers are of one minde, when they follow the light in them. And if they should agree, yet he that should say all mens con­ceits, who follow the light in them, were the same, none contradicting a­nother, would appear either monstrously impudent, or extremely mad. Now sure two contradictories cannot be both true; it's resolved on by all that have the use of reason in an ordinary measure, that it is impossible that the same thing, at the same time, in the same respect, should be and not be, be so and not be so: Therefore it is against the very light of nature, and first notions of humane reason, that each mans light within him should of it self be a suffici­ent right rule and safe guide to him, in that which concerns the knowledge and way of God.

2. That which is variable and alterable, cannot be a persons rule: For it is the property of a rule to be invariable, and the same at all times; the rules, measures, and weights, and dials, and squares, and what other things are made if they be varied, they cease to be rules, for rules should be fixed and certain. But there is nothing more variable then mens light in them; that which is this day taken for light, is to morrow judged to be darkness; and that light which is this day in a person, may be lessened to morrow; a person may become frantick and doate, who yesterday was heard speak with applause: There­fore each persons light cannot be his rule, so as that at all times he should be bid look to it, and follow it as a safe guide to him, as Quakers do.

3. If that light which each person hath in him should be his rule, and his guide, then it were unnecessary, and unsafe, and foolish, to trouble himself to [Page 52] seek counsel of another, and to be guided by his light: But this is contrary to all resolutions of wise men, and contrary to all experience of the necessity of taking counsel, and the course of all people that are not wilfull fools. All men magnifie the wisdome of the aged, and others who give counsel, they are ho­noured as the most necessary persons in humane society. It is threatned as the heaviest judgement of a people, to take away from them the counsellour, Isa. 3. 3. The wise woman said, 2 Sam. 20. 18. They were wont to speak in old time, saying, they shall surely ask counsel at Abel, and so they ended the matter. Prov. 11. 14. Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counsel­lours there is safety. Prov. 12. 15. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes; but he that bearkneth unto counsel is wise. Prov. 15. 22. Without counsel purposes are dis­appointed; but in the multitude of counsellours they are established. Prov. 19. 20. Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy later end. Prov. 28. 18. Every purpose is established by counsel; and with good advice make war. Prov. 24. 6. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war; and in multitude of counsellours there is safety. All men in their right wits do condemn rash per­sons as foolish: He is a wise man said Hesiod, that takes good counsell; he is wiser that gives; wisest that gives and takes; but a very fool that neither gives nor takes good counsel, Arist. Ethic. ad incom. l. 1. c. 3. But by Quakers doctrine, they are wisest who follow their own light, for they follow a safe and sufficient guide, which none but men out of their wits do assert, it being contrary to all experience of all men concerning themselves, and others since the Creation, to this day.

4. If that each persons light within him be a sufficient and safe rule and guide to him of it self, then the meetings of Quakers to consult about any af­fairs in common, or to teach each other, or to communicate revelations, is needless and vain, sith each may guide himself by his own light; that's done in vain by more, which may be done by fewer: Would not we censure him as foolish, who would travell far, and bestow much cost for that elsewhere, which he might have without labour and cost at home? Especially if it be as they say, that each man is to look to his own light; and that is it which they most of all tell them, it being in a manner all that they say at those meetings of them, where I have been present; which when I have heard, I have admi­red at the silliness of some hundreds of people, who have come many miles to hear a person in a close of pasture in a hot Summer day on a stage, nothing al­most but brawl against others, and instruct them in nothing, but bid them look to the light within them; and yet they stood a great part of such a day in a crowd, to hear such speech.

5. If each persons own light in him be his guide and rule, then is it in vain to desire and expect revelations and discoveries, which they had not before, sith they have light within them of themselves. Therefore when they com­pose themselves to their quaking fits, that they may have some word of the Lord to speak to people; what is this but either an hypocritical devise, when they pretend some new revelation, and do but repeat again what they have often said; and blasphemous, to term this the word of the Lord, and pretend it to be from the Spirit of God, when it is but their ordinary talk, and some of it false and unrighteous, or else al needless thing, sith they have light within them sufficient to guide them, without other revelation?

[Page 53] 6. That which is the worst of all: By ascribing so much to the light with­in them, Satan hath this advantage, that whatever he can imprint on them as their light (which persons are very apt to take as from God, when it suits with their wills and lusts, or comes into them with force and supernatural impulse) they must receive it without examination, and obey it. By which meanes Satan hath drawn persons to horrid acts, which they have judged ne­cessary duties: As to omit elder instances; the things related by Gilpin of Ken­dal concerning himself; and that which happened nearer to us, concerning the young man that drowned himself in a little puddle in a ditch not farre from Worcester, that he might meet with Christ, not many years since, do give us sad proof how the Devil works on Quakers, who are deluded by this prin­ciple of following the light within them, without Scripture.

7. If every mans light within him be a sufficient and safe guide unto God, then there is no difference to be put between wise and foolish, learned and un­learned ones; it is as safe a way which the unlearned and foolish follow, as that which the wise and learned follow in matters of Religion, and moral be­haviour. He that is counted unlearned and foolish, if he follow his own light, doth as well as he that is never so wise or learned: Whereas Solomon tells, Eccl. 2. 13, 14. Then I saw that wisdome excelleth folly, as farre as light ex­celleth darkness; the wise mans eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in dark­ness.

8. If every mans light within him be a sufficient safe guide in his way to God, then the Philosophers light afore they had the Gospel preached to them, was a sufficient safe guide to them; for sure they had as much light within them without the Scripture as any, and did improve it to the utmost; and the Iewish Rabbins, besides the natural light in them, did by the study of the Law, and tradition of Elders, endeavour to attain to the knowledge of God: Yet saith the Apostle to the Greeks that sought after wisdome, the preaching of Christ crucified was foolishness; insomuch that the Apostle 1 Cor. 1. 20, 21. useth this exprobration, Where is the wise? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdome of this world? For after that in the wisdome of God, the world by wisdome knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

9. If every mans light within him were a sufficient safe guide to him in Re­ligion and morality, then do all Law-makers ill, to put any Laws on them, to restrain them from doing what they like; then do Iudges ill, in passing sen­tences of condemnation of them; then do men ill to reprove them; Parents, Tutors, Schoolmasters, ill to teach them otherwise; then is all Government and Magistracy unprofitable; Rulers are not Ministers of God to us for good, but only to molest and oppress us; then they that set their children to School do foolishly; Universities, and Schools of Arts, to breed them up in literature and good manners, are vain; and all these are to be abolished, which were a way to lay all waste, to level people, as well in manners and knowledge, as estates, to reduce us to barbarism, to make the nation a wilderness, yea to depopulate it, and in fine drive away the Spirit of God from us, and intro­duce unclean spirits to repossess us and our Land. It is such a course as tends to expell all that is excellent, and may better us, and to fill the Nation with a generation of fools, in whom God hath no pleasure, Eccl. 5. 4. and doth by [Page 54] consequent condemn all the men of worth in the world, since the Creation, of folly and blindness.

10. Lastly, If every man have a light within him, which is a sufficient safe guide to him, then I suppose they will grant that I have such a light within me; and if every man is to follow this light, then I am to follow my light in me: Now my light within me shews me, that the Quakers opinion about the light in them is an errour; that they pervert fouls by bidding men follow it; and draw them off from making the Scriptures their rule, terming it dispara­gingly the letter; and oppose Preachers, reviling them, openly thwarting them and molesting them in their work of teaching the people out of the Scripture; and this is not only my light, but the light of millions of men be­sides me: Yea I think all the sober men of the world that ever were, have found by experience their own darkness, and ignorance, and have groaned under it, bewailing it to God, and applying themselves to the use of such meanes, as might bring light into their soules. Out of all which I conclude, that this opinion of Quakers which I have refuted, is the most sottish opinion that ever was hatched, instilled into them by the prince of darkness, not by the Spirit of God, and tends to the dissolution both of religious discipline and civil government; yet they say, or rather brawl somewhat for their opinion, which is now to be considered.

Sect. 2. Objections of Quakers for the universality and sufficiency of light in men, are answered.

That which they most urge, is the Text Joh. 1. 9. which makes not for them, nor against us, who deny not that every man hath a light from Christ; but the kinde of it, that it is spiritual, and the sufficiency of it, that of it self it is a safe guide to God: Of which enough is said before.

They alleadge also Luk. 17. 21. Where it is said to the Pharisees, Behold the kingdome of God is within you: Therefore in every man. Whereto I answer, 1. That the particle translated [within you] may be as well, and to my ap­prehension more truly rendered [among you] which is the translation in the Margin. 2. That the sense is, the kingdome is not to be expected as a fu­ture thing; but as it is Mat. 12. 28. The kingdome of God is come unto you. Luk. 11. 20. The kingdome of God is come upon you. Luk. 10. 9. The kingdome of God is come nigh unto you: Which is not meant of light within, but the preach­ing of the Gospel, or the presence of the Messiah (who was among them, Joh. 1. 26.) without them the light within each man cannot be meant by the kingdome of God: For the kingdome of God is a thing that was not afore Christs appearance in the flesh, and was taken from the Iewes and given to the Gentiles, Mat. 21. 43. which is not to be said of the light within every man. Nor is it said, the kingdome of God is in every man, but within or a­mong you Pharisees or Iewes, to whom the Gospel was at first sent: For John the Baptist preached, Mat. 3. 2. The kingdome of heaven is at hand; and Christ went preaching the Gospel of the kingdome. Mat. 4. 17. and Mat. 11. 12. From the dayes of John the Baptist the kingdome of heaven is forced. Mat. 13. 10. Every one that heareth the word of the kingdome: Which and many Scriptures shew, that the kingdome of God is not extended to every man, nor every hearer, but to those that hear the Gospel, and receive it.

[Page 55] It is alledged that the Apostle saith, Rom. 2. 14, 15. That the Gentiles who had not the law, did by nature the things of the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves: Whereto I answer, that it is true of the Gentiles, that their own consciences were a law unto themselves, but not so far as to con­vert or guide them to God, but to accuse or excuse them to themselves, as the very next words shew: Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences bearing them witness, and their thoughts between themselves accu­sing or excusing.

It is alledged that it is said, Col. 1. 23. That the Gospel hath been preached to e­very creature under heaven; therefore every one hath the light within him, which is the Gospel: To which I answer, the Gospel is not the light with­in each person, but that word without them which was preached to them, of which Paul was a Minister. The light within each person is by creation, and inward work of the Spirit; but the Gospel is the word brought to our ears by Preachers without us, which is never received by many of those to whom it is preached. And when it is said to be preached to every creature, the meaning is not that every particular person heard it; but as when Christ bids them preach the Gospel to every creature, Mar. 16. 15. the command is not that they must preach it to every particular person, even to Infants, for that had been an impossible work; but that they should preach it to any indefi­nitely, not restraining them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, as he did for­merly, Mat. 10. 5, 6. In which sense the Apostle saith, Col. 1. 28. He warned e­very man, and taught every man; that is any without difference who occurred, whether Iew or Gentile.

It is often urged that it is said, Col. 1. 27, Christ in you the hope of glory; there­fore it is Christ within a person which is the hope of glory, which some of them have made their Saviour, and not he who was crucified at Jerusalem; and this fancied Christ within them, they seem to confound with the light within them, and the Gospel. But I answer, 1. That this is a meer phan­tastick delusion, to imagine a Christ in themselves different from that Iesus Christ born of Mary, who is the Saviour of the world; nor is there in the words, Col. 1. 27. any ground for such a distinction: For the term rendered [in] may as well be rendered [to] as it is vers. 23. If not, the meaning is, Christ is in them the hope of glory, that is, Christ who is in them by faith, or Christ who is the hope in them, that is, their hope of glory. 2. However this is certain, that Christ in them, cannot be meant of the light that is in every man, for that is by generation; but this Christ in them was only in the Saints, vers. 26. And by Preaching, whereby God made it known, which had been hid from ages and generations, vers. 25, 26, 27, 28.

It is alledged that Jerem. 31. 34. God promiseth, And they shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his Brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least unto the greatest of them. Therefore e­very man hath a light in him, and needs no Preacher.

To which I answer, 1. That it is manifest from Heb. 8. 10, 11. that this is not a declaration of what all men have upon their birth, but what some shall have under the new Covenant by special grace, and therefore is not meant of the light within each person whatsoever; for that was as well under the first Covenant, but those who are specially called under the Gospel. 2. The [Page 56] meaning is not that they shall have no more teaching at all; then Gods word had been broken, when Paul taught the knowledge of God, 2 Cor. 4. 6. But either the meaning is, they shall not teach by such obscure shadows or pre­dictions as they did before, but so plainly, as that they may with unveiled fact, behold the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. which seems the most genuine mean­ing by Vers. 9, 10. Or in a comparative sense, their knowledge shall be so a­bundant, as that each person who hears the Gospel and believes it, shall be able of himself to know the Lord.

It is urged that Isa. 54. 13 it is said, All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; therefore every man hath a light within him.

Answ. 1. All thy children, cannot be meant of every one that cometh into the world: Our Saviour hath taught us, Joh. 6. 45. to expound it of one sort of persons, those that have heard and learned of the Father, not all. 2. Nor can it be meant of that teaching, which is by the light within a man common to him, with every man besides; but that peculiar teaching of God by his Spirit and his Gospel, whereby a person cometh to Christ; that is believes in him, which is never by the meer light which each man hath in him by humane birth.

It is yet further urged that it is said, 1 Joh. 2. 27. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie; and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him: Whence they would gather, that each mans light within him, or at least each persons light within him, who hath the Spirit of God, is sufficient to teach him without Scripture or Preacher, which is the thing they aime at, that there may be some colour to, make Scrip­tures and Preachers seem needless.

To it I answer, The speech is in opposition to those that seduced them, Vers. 26. who were the Heretiques of those times, whether Ebionites, Cerinthians, Nicolaitans, or Gnosticks, whom he terms Antichrists, Vers. 18, and 22, 23. He mentions their heresie, the denying the Father and the Son; which was done, by pretending a more sublime and refined doctrine then the Apostles taught; of another Creatour then the Father; of the Son, as only in shew and ap­pearance come in the flesh, crucified, risen again; in opposition of whom, he tells them they were armed by the anointing and its teaching, and so they need not any, (that is any of those seducers mentioned Vers. 26.) should teach them, nor that any other doctrine upon any pretence whatsoever should be taught them, but that which they had been taught by that anointing. Now how did that anointing teach them? Undoubtedly by the Apostles, as is ma­nifest by Vers. 24. Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning, which is expressed plainly to be that, which he and other A­postles taught and declared unto them, Chap. 1. 1, 2, 3, 5. To which he saith, The Spirit beareth witness, 1 Joh. 5. 6. And saith, 1 Joh. 4. 6. We are of God, be that knoweth God heareth us, be that is not of God heareth not us; hereby know we the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of errour. Whence it is apparent, 1. That they only, not every man, have no need that any teach them, who have re­ceived the anointing. 2. That it is not meant, that they have no need of any mans teaching any thing at all; but that they have no need of the seducers doctrine, pretended to be more exact and sublime. 3. That the teaching of [Page 57] the anointing was not by peculiar immediate revelation, but by bearing wit­ness to what the Apostles taught. 4. That they only that receive the doctrine of the Apostles, are taught by the anointing. 5. That when it is said, the same anointing taught them of all things; it is not meant of all things simply, for then they should have been omniscient, they should have known the day and hour in which the Son of man cometh; whereas Christ saith, the Father only knowes it, Mar. 13. 32. but of all those things concerning the Father and the Son, of whom the Hereticks pretended a deeper knowledge then the Apostles had. Now these things being premised, this Text is against the Quakers, not for them; for it asserts not a light in every man, but only in those in whom the anointing was; nor a teaching of that anointing by peculiar immediate re­velation, but by the Apostles preaching, which is the same with the doctrine of the Scriptures; and so proves the Quakers not of God, who hear not the Apostles, are not guided by the Scriptures, but by a peculiar light within them, falsely ascribed to the anointing of the Spirit of God, and teach other doctrine then what is received from the Apostles; and so is a warning to us that we should not hear them; and justifies the Preachers who preach the doctrine which the Apostles delivered; and shews those only to have the a­nointing and to be rightly taught by it, who receive their doctrine, which is in the Scriptures.

Sect. 3. The opinions of Gods obligation to the user of natural abilities well and of universal calling, are errours pernicious.

It remains that I should say something of the other opinions mentioned, Serm. 5. concerning the certainty of Gods communicating that which shall be of saving import to every man, that useth his natural abilities faithfully and carefully, and universal calling by that which is termed objective grace. For though my purpose was only to examine the Quakers opinion about a light in every man, yet sith these two opinions do come very near the Quakers opini­on, and did either beget it at first, or do much serve to confirme it, and are the high way to the opinion of the Gentiles salvation, who lived vertuously, though the Gospel were not taught them by any Preachers sent to them; and of those who hold that every man may be saved in his own Religion, if he live honestly; which tends to make Christs coming in the flesh unnecessary; Christian Religion and the preaching of the Gospel more then is simply ne­cessary to salvaiion; which quencheth zeal in propagating the Gospel, profes­sing of Christ, resormation of Religion, and suffering for the Christian doctrine; and fills the Land with luke warm Neutralists, meer Moralists, and Atheists: I shall briefly examine them.

The opinion of Gods engagement to him that useth faithfully and carefully natural abilities doth suppose 1. That there may be, if there never were, a faithfull and carefull use of natural abilities by every person of mankinde un­der heaven: This use is to be conceived to be for the finding out of the know­ledge of the true God, his will and counsel, and the observing them. Now this cannot be conceived to be in any, who hath not a heart to be subject to God, if he might know his will, and to worship him, if he could understand how he should do it, and doth carefully study to finde out these, and en­quires diligently after them. But the Scripture tells us, Vers. 1. that the minding [Page 58] of the flesh is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God, Rom. 8. 7, 8. Now all they are supposed to be in the flesh who are not in the Spirit, Vers. 9. those two members comprehending all men: Now no man is in the Spirit who is not in Christ, Vers. 9, 10. and he that hath only natural abilities is not in Christ; till a man believes in him he is not in Christ: Therefore no man that hath only natural abilities, hath a heart to be subject to God, if he might know his will; nor to worship him, if he could understand how to do it; nor will carefully study to finde out these, and enquire diligently after them; and therefore the supposition of a faithfull and carefull use of natural abilities by e­very or any person of mankinde to come to God, is a supposition of an impos­sibility, as the state of mankinde now is. To this Argument may be added that our Lord Christ tells us, Mat. 7. 16, 17, 18. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit: Which speech though it be understood of the most diminute impossibility, that is a moral impossibility only; yet in that sense it will evince, that none of those men who have only natural abi­lities (by which they can never be made any other then corrupt trees) have or can have an inclination to use faithfully or carefully their natural abilities for God, but only for themselves; so that if they do at any time enquire after God, it is by reason of some kinde of preventing work of God, not by any ap­plication of themselves faithfully and carefully to seek after God. I omit the Arguments which I have used Serm. 4th and 6th before, to prove destitution of spiritual light, and imperfection of natural light to guide us to God, which prove that it is vainly supposed that any man, much less every man, either will or can in his meer natural estate, use his natural abilities faithfully and care­fully to seek after God.

2. It is supposed, that he that doth thus use his natural abilities, shall re­ceive from God yet further that which shall be of saving import and conse­quence. For quicker dispatch, I omit the search both into what a man must do, that he may be said to have thus used his natural abilities; and what that is of saving import and consequence which he shall receive, and say that if it were supposed a man did use his natural abilities thus, yet there is no assurance that he shall receive from God that which is of saving consequence, which I prove thus: 1. If those Jewes and Gentiles who have used as well as they could their natural abilities, have not received from God that which is of sa­ving import and consequence, then there is no assurance given of every mans receiving from God that which is of saving import and consequence, who shall faithfully and carefully use his natural abilities of reason and conscience. But the antecedent is true: Therefore also the consequent. The conse­quence is of it self manifest, and the antecedent is proved by instances. The young man mentioned, Mar. 10. 20. that observed all the Commandments from his youth, insomuch that it is said Christ loved him. Vers. 21. And that he was not far from the kingdome of God. And Israel that followed after the law of righteousness, but attained it not, Rom. 9. 30. used as well as they could their natural abilities, and yet received not that which was of saving import and consequence from God. And the Greeks which sought after wisdome, yet by [Page 59] wisdome knew not God, 1 Cor. 1. 21, 22. Therefore there is not assured that, which is of saving import to the well using natural abilities.

2. If God use a clean contrary way to lay his right hand on the head of E­phraim, and his left on Manasseh; I mean to bless with saving grace the worst of the Gentiles, and to reject Jews most zealous of the law, then he gives not assurance of their receiving that which is of saving import and consequence, who faithfully and carefully use their natural abilities. But the antecedent is true, as Eph 2. 1, 2, 5. Col 2. 13. Rom. 9. 30, 31. Rom. 10. 2. Tit. 3. 3, 4. appears: Therefore also the consequent.

3. If the Scripture do exclude works of righteousness, which men do from being the reason of giving saving grace, and ascribe it entirely to Gods will as the adequate reason, then he doth not assure that which is of saving import and consequence to them, that use natural abilities faithfully and carefully. But the former is true, Tit. 3. 4, 5. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Rom. 9. 16. Mat. 11. 25, 26 Therefore also is the later true.

4. If God were engaged to give to him that well useth natural abilities, that which is of saving consequence, then he is so engaged by the worth of the work, or by some promise he hath made thereto. But neither of these is true; not the former, because no works done by a man in the flesh please God, Rom. 8. 8. Without faith it is not possible to please God, Heb. 11. 6. Not the later; if there be any such promise let it be shewed. I know it is usually ur­ged that Christ faith, Mat. 25. 29. To every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; which is used by many, to prove that God hath promi­sed to give supernatural grace to him that well useth natural light. I will not enter into an accurate discussion of the meaning of this Text, nor ser down the various limitations with which it must be circumscribed, that it may be found true. Dr Robert Abbot in a particular Lecture, Dr William Twisse, Vindic. grat. l. 3. Errat. 2. Digr. 1. Sect. 6. have done much to clear it. It is enough for the present purpose, 1. That the talents cannot be meant of natural abilities. 1. Because both the parables Mat. 25 1. 4. do express the occurrences per­taining to the kingdome of heaven: Therefore the use of the talents is the use of something pertaining to it, not of what is common to all humane kinde. 2. The talents are said to be given to servants, Vers. 14. Luk. 19. 13. There­fore the talents are not natural abilities which every man hath. 2. The speech must be meant of the Gospel, the hearing, understanding, and receiving of it. 1. Because the parable expresseth the occurrences belonging to the kingdome of heaven. 2. Because Mat. 13. 11, 12. it is made the reason why it was given to the disciples of Christ to know the mysteries of the kingdome, but to others it was not given. 3. Because Luk. 8. 18. it is made the reason why they should take heed how they hear; which had not been pertinent, if the pro­mise of giving more were not to them that rightly hear and receive the word. 4. It is more fully cleared by Mar. 4. 23, 24, 25. where Christ having said, If any man have ears to hear let him hear, it is added, And he said unto them, Take heed what you hear; with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you; and unto you that hear shall more be given. For he that hath to him shall be given, and he that hath not from him shall be taken away, even that which he hath. Luk. 8. 18. it is even that which he seemeth to have. 3. The having doth hence also ap­pear to be meant of hearing with a hearing ear, and of obeying the Gospel; [Page 60] it cannot be meant of bare possession, but of right using, because he that had but one talent had possession; yet is said not to have, because he did not well imploy it. The sense then is, To him that hears the Gospel with an hearing ear and an obedient heart, more knowledge, comfort, spiritual abilities, and happiness shall be given; but an unfruitfull disobedient hearer shall lose all the comfort and happiness he seemed to have.

All spiritual saving Light is from Christ.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

Sect. 1. All spiritual saving light of knowledge, peace, joy, hope, life, and glory, is from Christ.

IT remains that I consider the senses in which Christ as the great Officer of his Father, or Mediatour between God and man, enlightens with spiritual light every man that cometh into the world. I said that the Text may be un­derstood of this light two wayes, 1. That all who are enlightened with spi­ritual light to salvation, have it from Christ. 2. That he doth en­lighten all sorts and nations of men with spiritual light. I shall consider both.

1. That all who are enlightened with spiritual light to salvation, have it from Christ, is the same with that which Christ saith, Joh. 14. 6. I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me. And it is proved in the several sorts of spiritual and saving light, that all who have them, have them from Christ. 1. There is the light of the knowledge of the glo­ry of God, as the expression is, 2 Cor. 4. 6. and that is in the face of Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him, Joh. 6. 46. Not that any man hath seen the Fa­ther, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. Joh. 14. 7. If ye had known me, ye should have known the Father also, Vers. 9. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Fa­ther in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of my self, but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doth the works. Mat. 11. 27. All things are delivered un­to me of my Father, and no man knoweth the Son but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. From whence it is apparent, that the light of the knowledge of God and his grace which bringeth salvation, is all from Christ. It was the Spirit of Christ which was in the Prophets, which testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, 1 Pet. 1. 11. 2. There is the light of peace with God, which is derived from Christ and no other. 2 Cor. 5. 18. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ. Vers. 19. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Vers. 21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Heb. 2. 17. Wherefore in all things it beho­ved [Page 61] him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a mercifull and faith­full high Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Isa. 53. 5. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed, 1 Pet. 2. 24. who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead unto sins should live unto righteousness, by whose stripes ye were healed, Col. 1. 19, 20. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell, and (having made peace through the Blood of his Cross) by him to recon­cile all things to himself, by him I say whether they be things in Earth or things in Heaven. All then that have the light of righteousness and peace with God, have it from Jesus Christ, who is therefore termed by the Prophet Isai. 9. 6. the Prince of peace, and was represented by Melchizedeck King of Salem, that is, Heb. 7. 2. first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is King of peace, Isai. 9. 7. of the increase of his governe­ment and peace there shall be no end. 3. There is the light of spirituall joy, com­fort, hope, courage, boldness, and confidence before God, which is derived from Jesus Christ and no other. We are the circumcision salth the Apostle, Phil. 3. 3. who worship God in the spirit, and rejoyce in Christ Jesus, and have no confi­dence in the flesh, Rom. 5. 10, 11. For if when we were enemies we were reconci­led to God by the death of his Son: much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the Atonement, Col. 1. 27. which is Christ in you the hope of glory, Phil. 2. 1. If there be any consolation in Christ, 2 Cor. 1. 5. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ, Eph. 3. 12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him, Eph. 2. 11, 12. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time passed Gentiles in the flesh, that at that time ye were without Christ being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. When they were without Christ they had no hope, 1 Thes. 4. 13. whereby it is evinced that all spirituall joy in God, all the comfort against death and wrath to come, all the courage and boldness and confidence before God, all the hope of the glory of God in which they rejoyce, Rom. 5. 2. all the spirituall strength they have to endure and do is from Christ, Phil. 4. 13. It is the peace of God which passeth all understanding, which keeps mens hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, v. 7. The light of life, as it is termed, John 8. 12. the inheritance of the Saints in light, Col. 1. 12. is from Christ and him only. 1 John 5. 11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternall life, and this life is in his Son, he that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life. John 3. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believ­eth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him. Rom. 6. 23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternall life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 5. 17, 18, 21 For if by one mans offence death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteous­ness, shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judge­ment came upon all men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternall life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Cor. 15. 22. For as in Adam all dye, even so in Christ shall all be made [Page 62] alive. Acts 4. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 1 Cor 1. 30, 31. But of him are ye in Cerist Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisedome and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written, he that glorifieth let him glory in the Lord. Out of all which we may infer, that all the light of spirituall knowledg, whereby we know the way to God, and un­derstand his will and counsell is from Christs irradiation, in whom are hid all the treasures of knowledge and wisdome, Col. 2. 3. that all our light of peace and amity and favour with God is communicated to us by the appearing of Jesus Christ in mans horizon, without which there would have been an eclipse of the light of Gods countenance for ever, that all our joy in the holy Ghost, our everlasting consolation, boldness, courage, and confidence in God is through Christ who strengthens us, without which we had been sick unto death for ever; that our eternall life, glory, salvation, is from Christ his resurrection and appearing, without which an everlasting night of torment and horrour had sci­zed on us, we had been in utter darkness, where is nothing but weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Sect. 2. Christ inlightens Gentils as well as Jewes with spirituall light.

The other sense of the Text is, That the light of Christ is not confined to the Jewes, but extended to the Gentiles, that he doth with spirituall light inlighten all sorts and Nations of Men, according to the prediction of Simeon, Luke 2. 32. Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. A thing which was much gainsaid by the Jewes, who could not brooke it, That the Kingdome of God should be taken from them, and given to a Nation bringing forth the fruites thereof, as Christ speakes, Mat. 21. 43. for which the chief Priests and Pharisees sought to lay hands on him, v. 46. And when Paul had made a Narration of his converson, and how Christ appeared to him and said to him, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles, the Jewes gave him audience unto this word, and then lift up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live, Acts 22. 21, 22. So odious and abominable was the mention of the calling of the Gentiles to be the people of God. And yet (so great was the blindness of the Jewes in reading the Pro­phets) the thing was frequently and plainly foretold by the Prophets, Isa. 42. 1, 4. Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment unto victory. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth, and the yles shall wait for his law, Mat. 12. 18, 19, 20, 21. I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles, and in his name shall the Gentiles trust, Isai. 42. 6. I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand and will keep thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people for a light of the Gentiles to open the blind eyes, to bring out the Prisoners from the Prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the Prison-house, Isa. 49. 9. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou maist be my salvation unto the ends of the earth, from which place Simeon seemes to have taken his expres­sion, Luke 2. 31, 32. and is alleadged by Paul Acts 13. 47. to that end, Isa. [Page 63] 55. 5. Behold thou shalt call a Nation that thou knowest not, and Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of the Lord thy God, and for the holy one of Is­rael, for he hath glorified thee, Isa. 60. 1, 3. Arise, be enlightned, for the light is come. and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee, And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and Kings to the brightness of thy rising. Accordingly our Lord Christ doth often declare himself to be the light of the world not confining his ap­pearing to the Jewes only, but as the Sun of righteousuess he was to inlighten all Nations, John 8. 12. Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 9. 5. As long as I am in the world I am in the light of the world, John 12. 46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not walk in darkness. Whereby the term [world] is meant specially the Gentiles, as the Apostle useth it, Rom. 11. 12. according to that speech of Christ John 12. 31, 32. Now is the judgement of this world, now shall the Prince of this world be cast out, and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Which thing our Lord Christ insinuated in the parables of the invitation of all sorts in the high wayes to the marriage of the Kings Son, Mat. 22. 9, 10. and to the great Supper, Luke 14. 22. and the prodigall Son, Luke 15. 32. and more plainly foretold John 10. 16. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall my voice, and there shall be one flock and one Shepheard. For though our Lord Christ Mat. 15. 24. saith, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and commanded his twelve Apostles Mat. 10. 5; 6. Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any City of the Samari­tans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, yet did he be­gin to Preach to Galilee of the Gentiles, so that the people which sate in darkness saw great light: and to them which sate in the Region and shadow [...]f death light was sprung up Mat. 4. 5, 16. and when the woman of Canaan pleaded for her self and her daughter, that though she were a Dog, yet the Dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their Masters table, Mat. 15. 27. Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt, and our Lord Christ did Preach himself to be Christ to a woman of a City of Samaria, called Sy­char, who was thereby brought to believe on him with many of that City, John 4. 41. And after his resurrection he gave express commission to his Apo­stles to make Disciples of all Nations, Mat. 28. 19. to go into all the world, and to Preach the Gospell to every Creature, Mark 16. 15. appointing all sorts of Disci­ples to be Baptized in all Nations, according to which injunction, they went forth and Preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signes following, v. 20. And when Poter stuck at it to go to the Gentiles when Cornelius sent to him, God resolves him by a vision and a charge of the spirit with the descent of the spirit upon them, that he bad also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, Acts 11. 18. which thing he alleadged in the Councell at Jerusalem, Acts 15. 7. when he said, Men and Brethren, ye know that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the Word of the Gospel and believe, and God which knoweth the hearts bare them witness, giving them the holy Ghost as he did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. To whom James assented adding v. 14, 15, 16, 17. Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name, and to this agree the words of the [Page 64] Prophets as it is written, Amos 9. 11. After this I will returne: and will build a­gain the Tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruines thereof, and will set it up, that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doth all these things. Which thing was also made known to Ananias concerning Paul, when he was told, that he was a chosen vessel unto him to bear his name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the Children of Israel, Acts 9. 15. and to Paul himself, Acts 26. 17, 18. I have appeared to thee, and now send thee to the Gentiles to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan hu­to God. Whence he took it that the Gospel of the uncircumcission was committed to him, Gal. 3. 7. that he was a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity, 1 Tim. 2. 7. which thing he counted his speciall priviledge, Eph. 3. 8, 9. Unto me who am less then the least of all Saints is this grace given that I should Preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and [...] (the phrase in the text) to enlighten all men, or make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. Hence in the setting down the great mystery of godliness 1 Tim. 3. 16. this is one chief point, that God was manifested in the flesh Preach­ed to the Gentiles, and believed on in the world. For which reason it is said Tit. 2. 11. that the saving grace of God hath appeared or shined to all men, and so Christ inlightens every man that cometh into the world with spirituall saving light.

Sect. 3. There is not sufficient direction in the acts of Gods common providence to lead men to the knowledg of Gods grace in Christ.

How all spirituall light is derived from Christ, and how he inlightens all sorts of men with it, hath been shewed before in some measure. Yet it is to be observed, that he inlightneth Jews and Gentiles differently: the Jews by his own personall Preaching and example, the Gentiles by his Apostles and the gift of his Spirit instead of his personall Preaching. There is another way which as I said before, hath been conceived by some, that God vouchsafed to the Gentiles before Christs comming in the flesh; and in like manner he doth now to those who never heard the Gospell, in an universall calling to the know­ledge of his grace in Christ by his beneficence and patience towards all men, and by the ordering of the Heavens and other Creatures in the world, which are objects fit to induce men to enquire after a Mediator and the Gospel, and that thereby men men might find out that which might lead them to faith, and this hath been styled universall objective grace. Against this opinion besides what is before said may be objected.

1. That it is said Acts 11. 18. When they heard these things they held their peace and glorified God, saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life, which shews that they gathered that God had granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles, in that the Gospel was sent to him, and not by any thing that before was vouchsafed to them; therefore they judged not that repen­tance was granted to life by an universall calling, in the view of Gods provi­dence before. If any say Cornelius was a praying believer before, it is gran­ted. But 1. he was but a single person, 2. he was a Proselyte of the gate, and came to the knowledg of God, not meerly by use of naturall abilities, but [Page 65] by the Law and the Prophets, which acquainted him with the promise of Christ. If it be said that Rom. 2. 4. it is said, Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance, it is granted; but it doth not follow therefore that the bare observation of Gods goodness, patience and forbearance was a sufficient direction to lead them unto repentance unto life, which could not be without the intervention of that Mediator and sacrifice, who could not be discerned by that direction alone.

2. If there had been such a direction to come to God, the mystery of the Gos­pel and the grace of God could not be said to be kept secret since the world began, and made manifest to all Nations, then by the Scriptures of the Prophets, Rom. 16. 25, 26. it had not been the hidden wisdome of God in a mystery as it is termed, 1 Cor. 2. 7. Which was from the beginning of the world hid in God, Eph. 3. 9. From ages and generations, Col. 1. 26. but had been revealed before by his patience, goodness, and forbearance, and the frame and ordering of the Creatures con­trary to those texts. If it be said, that the Apostle saith Rom. 10. 18. But I say have they not heard? yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the word. It is answered, that though the words as they are Psal. 19. 4. are meant of the motion and illumination of the Heavens, yet the Apostle by way of allusion makes use of them only to shew that since the Apostles Preached the Gospell, the Word of God was made known to all Nati­ons for the obedience of faith, as it is, Rom. 16. 26. and this to be his meaning appears from v 14, 15, 16, 17. whence the hearing mentioned v. 18. appears to be of the word of faith by Preachers sent, who bring the glad tidings of good things, Preach the Gospel of peace, and their feet are therefore beautifull. If it be said that Col. 1. 23. the Gospel is said to be Preached in every Creature under Heaven, I grant that the particle in the Greek is &, which commonly is trans­lated in, but there it is to be translated to, being redundant, as not only by the use of the phrase Mark 16. 15. to which it is likely the Apostle had reference, but also by the words may appear, sith the Gospell Preached is said to be heard by them, of which Paul was a Minister; and were it to have the sense, which those which read [in] would have, it should not be restrained to eve­ry Creature under Heaven, sith in the Heavens according to their sense the Gos­pell is as much, if not more, Preached, as in every Creature under Hea­ven.

3. If there had been a sufficient direction in the ordering of the Creatures, and acts of divine providence to bring us to God, then the counsell of God might have been found out by man if he had used his naturall abilities faithful­ly and carefully. But the Apostle doth expresly deny this, 1 Cor. 2. 9, 10, 11, 12. saying not only that they have not entered into the heart of man, but also that they are the deep things of God revealed by his Spirit, not to be known but by it, as no man knowes the things of man but the spirit of man, that they are freely given of God, and we receive his Spirit to make them known to us.

4. If there had been a sufficient direction in the acts of divine common pro­vidence towards all men to lead us to the enquiery and knowledg of Gods grace in Christ then there had been an universall calling thereby. But the A­postle denies mens calling to the communion of Gods grace to be universall, 1 Cor. 1. 9, 24, 26. therefore there is not an universall objective grace or suffi­cient [Page 66] direction in acts of common divine providence to lead us to Gods grace. If it be objected that it is said, that the Gentiles held the truth in unrighteousness, because that which ought to be known of God was manifest in them, or to them, for God hath shewd it unto them. I answer it is true, and the next v. 20. shews that if [...] be to be read, not, what may be known, but what ought to be known of God, as that Author would have it, yet v. 19. it is not said, all that ought to be known of God was revealed to them, not the counsell of Gods grace in reconciling them to himself, but only his eternall power and godhead, which are understood by the things that are made, v. 20. and the evill of some sins and ne­cessity of some duties, Rom. 2. 14. and that the effect of these is not conversion to God but inexcusableness, Rom. 1. 20. and 2. 15.

5. If the Scripture term those times wherein the Gospell was not Preached to the Gentiles, nor the written Law or Prophets sent to them the times of igno­rance which God winked at or overlooked, and by the Apostles then commanded e­very man every where to repent, suffering all Nations in times past to walk in their own wayes then he did not by his acts of common providence sufficiently di­rect men to attain to his grace. But the antecedent is true, Acts 14. 16. and 17. 30. Therefore also the consequent. If it be said that Acts 14. 17. it is said, Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave us rain from Heaven, and fruitfull seasons filling our hearts with foode and gladness, and Acts 17. 25. that he giveth to all life and breath and all things, that he made all Nations of one bloud, for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath deter­wined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord, if happily they might seek after him, though he be not farre from every one of us, v. 26. 27. It is granted: but it is denied that the thing witnessed there­by, was that gracious and good affection which he beares unto the world through Je­sus Christ, his inclination unto peace with men upon their repentance, as the said Pa­gans debt p. 12. For those acts of providence do not so much as shew, that by one meanes or other God is taken off from the rigor of his justice and severity of his wrath against sinners, but only that he deferres it; nor is it true that what is related Acts 14. 17. is all the Evangelicall Doctrine Preached at Lystra by Paul, for it is said before v. 7. that they were at Lystra, [...] Preacbing the Gospel. Nor is it consequent, that because the Apostle faith, Heb. 11. 6. He that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently him, that therefore this is all the faith or beliefe that the Apostles makes simply and absolutely necessary to bring a man unto God, i. e. into grace or fa­vour with him; nor is it true. For then many of the Gentiles had been brought into Gods favour without faith in Christ contrary to Eph. 2. 12. John 14. 6. Acts 4. 12. 1 John 5. 11, 12.

6. If the grace of God given us in Christ before the times of ages were manifested by the appearing of Christ who abolished death, and brought life and immortality or incorruption to light by the Gospel, then it is supposed this grace was not to be seen before. But the former is true 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10. therefore also the latter.

7. If it were so that the acts of Gods beneficence Acts 14. 17. testified his gra­cious affection unto the world through Jesus Christ, then we might believe by reasoning without Preaching, but that is contrary to Rom. 10. 14, 15, 17. Ergo

[Page 67] 8. If there were no more faith absolutely necessary to bring a man to God then the belief of Gods being and reward of diligent seeking then a faith short of be­lief in Christ, would purifie the heart and save, yea workes would save; for such a faith would be accepted only by reason of the workes it produceth. But this takes away the main end of the Gospel. Which tels us that we are saved by faith not by workes, that all might be of grace, and boasting might be excluded and Christ might be all in all, Eph. 2. 7, 8, 9. Eph. 1. 3. 1 Cor. 1. 29, 30, 31. 2 Tim. 1. 9, 10. Tit. 3. 4, 5. therefore that opinion is to be rejected as making Christianity unnecessary, and morall Philosophy sufficient to salvation.

Sect. 4. Application to move us Gentiles to rejoyce in this light, and not to rest on humane reason.

As for us Christian Gentiles it concerns us

1. To magnifie the rich grace of God in causing the Lord Christ to come as a light to the Gentiles. Oh let all that love the salvation of God ad­mire, exult, glorifie God for his mercy as it is written, For this cause will I confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, rejoyce ye Gentiles with his people; and again, praise the Lord all ye Gentiles, and laud him all ye people; and again Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust, Rom. 15. 9, 10, 11, 12. There are a company of bastard Christians, or rather Hypocriticall Atheists risen up. who talk (I know not whether they believe themselves) as if every man might be saved in his own religion, or in his own opinion though there be no religion in him, if he live honestly, he of a fair civll debonaier be­haviour, though these secretly follow their own lusts, and when it is for their advantage slight rules of justice, and temperance. These count the knowledge of Christ, preaching of the Gospel, zeal for the purity of Gods worship and service and Doctrine of Christ superfluous, and therefore are so far from mag­nifying the love of God in sending Christ to be a light to the Gentiles, that they rather profanely deride the esteem of it, and hate those Preachers and zealous Christians, who earnestly urge men to follow the light of Christ, as an eyesore to them, disquieting and vexing them, who mind only their own plea­sure and profit, and would not be disturbed by any discourse of God, or Christ, Heaven or Hell, or judgment to come; were such persons sensible of the state of the world afore Christs comming in the flesh, the barbarous rude­ness, the abominable idolatry, the horrible cruelty, the beastly uncleanness, the notorious perfidiousness that the best of those Nations were inured to, they would prize more the light of Christ, and preaching of the Gospell. However it be with such as are either naturally or voluntarily blind, or judicially blind­ed, so as the light of the glorious Gospell of Jesus Christ doth not shine unto them, yet you who have been once enlightned, and have tasted of the good gift of God, and of the powers of the world to come, methinks should take heed how you let the relish of Gods goodness, and memory of his loving kind­ness in giving Christ to be your light, be lost. We may justly, and should if we were sensible of our benefit have a new song in our mouths, even a song of thanksgiving to our God, and joyn in comfort with the Prophet our praecentor Isa. 54. 1. Sing O barren thou that didst not bear, break forth into singing, and cry aloud thou that didst not travel with Child: for more are the children of the desolate [Page 68] Gentiles then the children of the married wife the people of the Jewes.

2. It concerns us to take heed how we doate on our own reason, or the most exact Writers of morality, or the most perfect patterns of civility and in­genuity, and neglect the light which Christ hath brought into the world. There is a good use to be made of the writings of the Gentile Philosophers, Orators, Poets, Historians: I am not so severe, as some ancient Councils were, utterly to forbid the reading of their Books: No not to the younger Students if they read them with a Christian eye, and a sound judgment, which is to be an In­dex Expurgatorius of many passages in them: yet if men rest there and be ina­moured on them and prefer them, as Politian did, before the Gospell, they may justly expect to be lashed by God, as one of the Fathers is said to be for his inordinate affection and immoderate delight in Ciceroes works. I would not altogether forbid society with ingenious, civill, and morall men: there may be much good behaviour learned from them. But if we converse with them, and not with the children of the light, If we conforme our selves to this world, and be not transformed in the renewing of our minds, that we may know what that good ac­ceptable and perfect will of God is in Christ, if we behold not with open face as in a glass the glory of the Lord, nor are changed into the same image from glory to glory e­ven as by the spirit of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. We may be amiable to men, but not lovely in Gods eyes, we may win mens applause, but shall loose Gods fa­vour. Let us be wise therefore so to use Candles that we do not burn day­light, I mean that we so make use of all the reason, and humane wisedome and virtue we have our selves, or discern in others Writings or examples, that yet we chiefly eye and follow the grand light the Sun of righteousness the Lord Jesus learning him, by studying the great counsell of God which he re­vealed and denying our selves take up our Cross and follow him as his Dis­ciples.

Christ is to be chosen and followed as our Light.

Containing an Exhortation to use Christ as our Light.

Joh. 1. 9.‘That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

THe principal Use of all I have said is, That you may be induced to em­brace and follow the Lord Christ as the great light of the world. Be­sides the evidence out of holy Scripture, to prove him to have been sent from God a light into the world, the accomplishment of what he foretold, the suc­cess of his errand which he declared with the great wisdome and holiness in all his sayings and doings, do amply confirm it. It is true, among the Gen­tile Philosophers there was light, but it was dimme; there was light in the Law, but it was imperfect; no light which is truly such is to be rejected, yet in comparison of the light of Christ, it was but darkness. Philosophers light guided men well in some things, in most did lead men into crooked and dan­gerous wayes; in the true worship of God they were wholly dark. The teach­ers of the Law did teach many things aright about Gods being, works, wor­ship; [Page 79] but in the great business of reconciling man to God, erecting the king­dome of heaven, and the coming of the Messiah to judgement, were as blinde as Moles. No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from hea­ven, even the Son of man being in heaven, Joh. 3. 13. No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son which is in the bosome of the Father he hath declared him, Joh. 1. 18. Compare Gospel precepts and promises with the most accu­rate sayings of any other Writers not divinely inspired, and you will finde the former exceed the later in wisdome and truth, as much as gold doth lead; or bread, acornes. Indeed the things are such as none but a holy person would declare, they are so opposite to sin and ungodliness, specially when they did inevitably exasperate mens rage, and procure persecution unto death. They are such as none could declare but he that came from God; they are so agree­able to what the Prophets and holy men of old delivered; so much advancing Gods glory; overthrowing Satans kingdome; and leading men to God: The predictions of things to come concerning; himself, his Apostles, the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, the persecutions of his Disci­ples, the propagating of his Church, the destruction of Jerusalem, the giving of the holy Ghost, his death, resurrection, ascension, the dispossessing Satan of his Empire in the world, the conversion of the Gentiles; which are all ac­complished, besides many other things not yet finished, but yet in fieri, in do­ing (of which the things already done, besides the signes of the nearness of their accomplishment, do give firm assurance) do make infallible proof of Christs being that true light which enlightens the world. Nicodemus, though one of that Sect which most envied his repute, yet was forced to tell him, Rab­bi, we know thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou dost, except God be with him, Ioh. 3. 2. The Devil hath attempted to raise some up, who might as Christs apes make shew of doing such things as Christ and his Apostles did; but their imposture hath quickly appeared. Nei­ther Julian, nor the Iewes of the first ages, nor other adversaries of Christ, though great impugners of Christianity, could ever evince any falshood in the Evangelists relations of Christ and his acts. The witnesses of them though per­sons of understandidg and intergrity, laid down their lives in testimony of them, notwithstanding the sorest tortures used to force them to a denial, in spight of all the practices of the Devil; yet the preaching of Christ crucified, prevailed to pull down the Idols of the Nations, and to bring in a sort the known world to the obedience of the faith. Though the lewes contradicted and blasphemed, the Roman Emperours raged, Lucian jeered, Libanius wrangled, Julian calumniated, Papists corrupt, Gnosticks, Hereticks, Fa­naticks, Quakers, adulterate and cloud the truth of Christ, they do but piss a­gainst the Sun; the light of Christs doctrine, the truth of the Gospel, doth and will shine forth: Nor can all the cavils of modern Atheists, or the dust raised by new Phantastiques, take away the brightness of Christs light, or hinder its enlightening from others then themselves. And shall we after all the argu­ments given of Christs being the true light, follow after ignes fatuos, under pretence of new light? What real comfort, or spiritual help to holiness, or heavenly directions, do they give to lead men to God, better then Christ hath done? May you not discern a vain-glorious spirit, a self-seeking, proud, carnal spirit in them? What do their censures of others shew, but a minde to [Page 80] extoll themselves? Their reviling, but their disturbed passions, and impati­ence of gainfaying? Their affected speech, looks, carriage, but a desire to hide their falshood, and to insinuate into the affections of those unwary souls, whom they would ensnare? What do all the devices of Jesuits, Popes, and their agents tend to, but either by force or subtility to set up the monstrous power of the man of sin, and their own domineeting over mens consciences un­der him? What is there in their conclave but policy? In their Council of Treat but deceit? In their Iesuits and Casuists but juggling? Have not the Jansenists proved them so versatile in their determinations, as to make their resolutions such as might fit all humours? What is there but fraud in their doctrine and practice, about keeping faith with Hereticks, deposing, destroying Princes ex­communicate by the Pope, equivocating answers upon oath with mental re­servations? And shall we go after such Masters, and leave Christ? Remem­ber we that one is our Master, even Christ, Mat. 23. 10. And when any shall sollicite us, either not to adhere to Christ as our teacher, be it under pre­tence of being Christs infallible Vicar; or not to read or hear his Gospel preached, be it under pretence of a sufficient light within them, or a new re­velation; reject them. Forget not that Christ hath warned you, that if any shall say unto you, lo here is Christ or there, believe it not, Mat. 24. 23. Say as Paul, Gal. 1. 9. If any man or Angel preach any other Gospel then is taught, by Christ, let him be accursed. We will not venture our lives upon Mountebanks, and will we venture our souls upon deceivers? Shall we follow our own con­ceits which so often prove foolish, and neglect Christs doctrine which al­wayes proves wise and safe? No, no, let us answer as Peter did for the rest of the Apostles, Lord to whom shall we go, thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ the Son of the living God, Ioh. 6. 68, 69. Oh that I could finde your mindes so established in the truth, so armed against all the wily methods of the Devil, so instructed in the truth, that you may not be as children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every winde of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness; whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking or seeking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head even Christ, Eph. 4. 14, 15. Alas! what can we expect, but if we follow blinde leaders (as all are that teach the things of God, otherwise then Christ and his Apostles did) we should fall with them into the ditch, in­to everlasting perdition? On the other side, there is so much plain and clear light in Christ his doctrine, as will guide our feet into the way of peace. A­way then with all such obtruded or insinuating teachers, us endeavour to hide from us the light of Christ shining in his doctrine, recorded in Scripture. Let the word of Christ dwell richly in us in all wisdome, Col. 3. 16. Let's say as that blessed Martyr did, None but Christ, none but Christ: That Christ which preach­ed, died at Hierusalem, that word of his which is written in my Bible, shall be my light, to the testimony of Iesus, to his everlasting Gospel I stick; if men speak not according to it, it is because there is no light in them, Isaiah 8. 20.

To this end it will concern you to take with you, and observe these Di­rections. 1. To take heed of false lights, under what disguise soever they come. The Lord Christ foretold his Disciples, Mat. 24. 24. That there should arise false Christs, and false Prophets, and should shew great signs and wonders, [Page 81] insomuch that (if it were possible) they should deceive the very elect; concern­ing whom he saith, Vers. 23. If any man shall say unto you, Lo here is Christ or there, believe it not. Of these he had forewarned Christians, Mat. 7. 15. Be­ware of false Prophets, which come to you in sheepes cloathing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves. Paul had foretold, Act. 20. 29, 30. that after his depart­ing, grievous Wolves should enter in among them, not sparing the flock; and that of the Ephesian Christians, themselves should men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away Disciples after them; and thereupon warns the Ephesian Elders to take heed to themselves and to the flock, over which the holy Ghost had made them overseers, Vers. 28. Paul tels the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 11. 13, 14. of false Apostles, deceitfull workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ; and no mar­vel, for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of light. And of such he ad­monisheth the Romans, I beseech you brethren mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, Rom. 16. 17, 18. Peter also tells, 2 Pet. 2. 1. that there were false Prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among Christians, who privily should bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them. 1 Ioh. 2. 18. And as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many Antichrists. 1 Ioh. 4. 1. Be­loved believe not every Spirit, but try the Spirits, whether they are of God, because many false Prophets are gone out into the world. All which passages do demon­strate the great danger of Christians being beguiled by deceivers, who are cun­ning in transforming themselves, as their master Satan doth, into Angels of light, that they may seem Ministers of righteousness. Wherefore it concerns all such as regard the safety of their souls, not to be facile in entertaining such as pretend to hold forth light, but to examine what they suggest, and to try afore they trust. To which end it will be needfull,

1. That we be of discerning Spirits, to know the disposition of persons that pretend light; whether they be proud, arrogant, self-seeking, vain-glo­rious, covetous, more vehement then considerate, obsequious for advantages, but otherwise wilfull.

2. Concerning their proceedings; whether they deal with the weakest, a­fore they argue with the ablest; whether they affect more shew of holiness, then proof of doctrine; whether they love not to conceal their opinions, till they have ensnared men, by raising a high esteem of their persons; whether they practise not to disparage others, that they may engross the esteem and affections of men; whether they be not much in talk, little in deed. These and many more enquiries may much prevent the deceits of those, that with feigned words make merchandize of weak souls. But

3. The chief way is to try what they obtrude upon us by the Scripture. Such Owles will not endure this light; but as Tertullian terms them, they are Lucifuga Scripturarum, they fly the light of the Scripture, and endeavour to make odious the teachers of it. If they cannot prevail to keep it from men in a strange language, they will corrupt it with false glosses; if they cannot sup­press Preachers, they will render them suspected or infamous; if they cannot shut out the light of Scripture and Preaching, they will set something else in competition with it, as the Authority of the Church, a Council, Pope, tra­dition, [Page 82] light within each, or some other thing, to hide the light from shining forth. Therefore it chiefly concerns men in these times, wherein men are exceeding busie to pervert, and thereby to darken the truth, to be very dili­gent and circumspect in examining by the Scripture what they hear; their doctrine is the fruit by which false Prophets are to be known, Mat. 7. 15, 16. If they speak not according to the Scripture, it is because there is no light in them, Is. 8. 20.

4. Use should be made of the Ministers appointed to teach us by him, who ascended up on high, and gave gifts to men, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pa­stors, and Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, and edifying of the body of Christ, that we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every winde of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things unto him, who is the head even Christ, Eph. 4. 11, 12, 14, 15. Certainly nothing more prevents the practices of deceivers, then learning from a solid Ministry, and associating with sober and stable Christians.

2. To move us to make use of Christ as the true light, it is necessary that we should become sensible of our own darkness. If ye were blinde saith Christ, Joh. 9. 41. ye should have no sin, but now ye say we see, therefore your sin remain­eth. Because thou faist I am rich and encreased with goods, and have need of no­thing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and blinde, and na­ked, I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou maist be rich, and white raiment, that thou maist be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou maist see, Rev. 3. 17, 18. They that apprehend a light within them without Christ, are incurably blind; such fond imaginations lock men fast up under invincible ignorance. As he said, that to be incredulous is the sinews of wisdome; so may I say, that to be jealous of our own darkness, is the readiest way to drive us to Christ the true light. Experience will tell us, that they who talk as if they knew as much as Preachers can tell them, are found when tried, the most ignorant sots; and those who are so well conceited of their own strength and wis­dome, as to count the counsel and warning of others unnecessary, bidding them not care for them, are soon caught by cunning deceivers. To become a wise improver of Christs light, it is of great moment to discern our own blindeness; and then a Christian learns most, when he findes his own igno­rance. Such sense of our own emptiness, begets an appetite to wholesome doctrine; when such as conceive themselves full, have no stomack to the most precious truths of Iesus Christ, but are filled with windy vanities.

3. It concerns those to Whom the light of Christ is held forth not to shut their eyes against it when held before them. For this saith our Lord, Joh. 3. 19, 20. is the condemnation that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evill. For every one that doth evill ha­teth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. And indeed it is the signe of a man that is filthy and resolved to be filthy, of a man incurable and marked to destruction, who shuns that light which should direct him to discerne his errour and to learn his way. Nor can there be a greater indignity to Christ then when he is come into the world to be one light to have our minds possessed with a resolution not to receive it.

4. If the light shine into thy soul from Christ, so as that any convictions or [Page 83] discoveries of truth from Christ get into thee, take heed that thou hold it not in unrighteousness nor seek to quench it. The wrath of God, saith the Apostle Rom. 1. 18. is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men that hold the truth in unrighteousness. Where lust imprisons light: Where corrupt affections put out the Lamp of truth there is no entrance of the light of Christ into that soul.

5. The light must be believed, as our Lord Christ saith, John 12. 36. While we have light we are to believe in the light, that we may be children of light. Be­lieving the words of Christ is indeed the reception of Christ as our light. When we entertain the Gospell of Christ, we do behold with open face as through a glass the glory of the Lord, and are transformed into the same image from glory to glory as by the spirit of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. The more steddily we eye Christ the more assimilated we shall be to him. His Doctrine will fashion our minds, his example will direct our practise, so as that in a good sense we shall be christed with Christ, he will be in us and we in him, one with us and we with him, not we live, but Christ live in us. Faith is the Loadstone of the soul which drawes the soul to Christ, and makes a man to be as he was in this world crucified, risen, ascending up with him, dead to the world, living unto God.

6. There must be a love of the light, Its the greatest sign of a man will­fully evill when he hates the light, and its a good sign of a man truly good, when he can delight in that light which discovers his own evils. Christ hath therefore determined this to be the great condemnation, that men love darkness rather then light: for thats the sign they side with the Prince of darkness, and that men that do the truth come to the light, that their deeds may be manifest that they are wrought in God, John 3. 19, 20, 21. The more light is rejected the more purely voluntary any sin is, when men are willingly ignorant they are incurably evill; But the more love and delight there is in the light of truth the more freely it is chosen, and more fully imbraced. Light is a most delight­full quality, unless it be to illaffected eyes, and so is truth to all but such as are of vitiated spirits: the more Heavenly the light is, the more pure, and so the truth of Christ the Lord from Heaven is the clearest truth and most amiable. Moses gave a Law, but in shadowes; Christ the only be­gotten Son which is in the bosome of the Father he hath declared God, and his will without obseurity: He was full of grace and truth, then which nothing is more lovely, and therefore the more the averseness is from the Gospel of Christ the more estrangedness there is from the life of God, and the more the light of Christ is entertained, the more of the love of God dwels in that person.

7. That a man have light from Christ it is needfull he should awake out of sleep, Eph. 5. 14. A careless soul thats heedless of what truth is held forth, that snorts securely, and dreams sweetly of peace when there is no peace is no more capable of benefit by the light of Christ, then a man thats of a drousie sleepy head, that folds his hands, and mindes nothing but his bed and pillow. Of using bodily light, not only sore eyes, but also drousie heads are offended with light. Watching is necessary to the use of Christian light, which being neglected, the Prince of darkness easily bindes the hands and shaves the hair as Dalilah did Sampsons, which makes his strength depart from him. To keep our soules safe it is needfull we keep our eyes waking, and to pray with the Psalmist, Lighten mine eyes that I sleep not the sleep of death, Ps. 13. 3.

[Page 84] 8. To this must be joyned standing up from the dead, Eph. 5. 14. Graves and Vaults for dead bodies are not fit receptacles of light: To be among men who have no spirituall life in their soules, to be associated with meer carnall worldlings, voluptuous Epicures, proud selfish men is as inconsistent with the injoyment of the light of Christ, as for a seeing man to lye among the dead, which are cut off from Gods hand. A child of light will have little but dark­ness from such unholy soules as are full of darkness, yea doubtless such com­pany will by their own reasonings, and Satans sophistry blow out the light of Christ that it shine not where they are. Hence it is that among such persons all discoveries of sin or duty, Gods counsell or Covenant, Christ and his Church, Heaven and Hell are tedious: No talk, or action among such is more acceptable then that which proceeds from an earthly spirit. Scripture truth, holy Ser­mons, spirituall experiences are unsuitable to that mirth they delight in, those contents that please them, those ends they aim at. Whence it is that they put out that light, which crosseth their designes, and wish that neither God did see them, nor Christ judg them, nor Preachers teach them, nor any Saint con­verse with them. Doubtless then a soul that affects these cannot long endure such quench-coales, nor joyn with such extinguishers, but as he is made a child of light so chooseth to be with them in whom is light.

9. It will concerne those who own Christ as their light to judg themselves and their wayes by his light. It is the great benefit of light that it doth not make manifest, Eph. 5. 13. And thus by the light of Christ the evill of our wayes is reproved, the wayes of God approved: we know the righteousness of God, and our unrighteousness. Now this is no small benefit to have light to discerne our own errors, which without light from Christ we should never have un­stood. It is our advantage that God covers our sins, and we discover them. He that is ignorant of them cannot correct them: but walks on in them without shame or sorrow, as a man that walks in the night neither sees how foul his cloathes are, nor knowes how to make them clean. Hence it comes to pass that for want of light the carriage of most is so unhandsome and unlike the Gos­pell that they not only shame themselves, but also cause others to stumble. A wise Christian therefore will be often judging himself by the light of law dis­covering his transgressions, and the light of the Gospel shewing his estate in Christ.

10. It will be needfull not only to use the light of Christ to judg our selves by, but also to order our actions by. I am the light of the world saith Christ, John 8. 12. be that followeth me shall not walk in darkness. There cannot be un­safe walking by Christs light: there is no danger when Christ our light goes before. Walk in the light saith Christ while ye have the light lest darkness come upon you, John 12. 35. How many millions are there of soules perplexed and tortured all their life with feares and doubts for want of walking by the light of Christ in Scripture, and chosing rather to walk by a light and sparkes of their own kindling, which in the end either goes quite out or burnes so dimme as to leave them in darkness of spirit and horrour of conscience. And no mar­vell sith it is Gods just judgment, that such as neglect the light Preached should follow the mares of humane reason, the examples, customes, dictates of men, and in conclusion lye down in sorrow, Isai. 50. 11. such foolish fires will lead to nothing but bogs and praecipices: But Christ the true light when his Gospell [Page 85] is followed guides the feet of men into the way of peace, Luke 1. 79. Oh that then all that talke of the light within them would follow the light about them, even the light of Christs Gospel and example, whereby the greatest security is ob­tained and the surest advancement with God, sith he that followes Christ his light shall be where he is. Then would men walk honestly or decently in good fa­shion, not in banquetings and drunkennesses, not in chamberings and wantonnesses, not in strife and envying, if they would put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not make provision of the flesh unto lusts, Rom. 13. 13, 14.

11. The light of Christ is to be used as our weapons or tooles to defend our selves or to work with. The night is over, the day hath approached: let us there­fore put off the workes of darkness, and put on the armour of light, Rom. 13. 12. The truth is, light is the chiefest instrument for safety and work. If a man be without light he can neither defend himself nor offend an enemy. If any man walk in the day he stumbleth not because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night he stumbleth, because there is no light in him, saith christ John 11. 9, 10. I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh, when no man can work, John 9. 4. As the bodily light is given us by God to fight and work, so spirituall light is given us by Christ to fight the good fight of Christ, and to do the workes of God. He then that would make use of Christs light must be armed with his Doctrine, that he may be able to repel Satans fiery darts, and expel him as Christ did by the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, Eph. 6. 17. And he that would improve the light must be doing that business which the word of Christ directs him to, and to that end it must dwell richly in him in all wisedome, Col. 3. 16. Their own light in men makes them rather wranglers with others sometimes the best (as is seen in Quakers) then contenders against their own lusts, and moves them to disturb others in their work, and to be busie bishops in anothers diocese, rather then to lookinto their own charge: but the light of Christ directs us to steddy to be quiet and do our own business, 1 Thess. 4. 11.

12. And Lastly, Make use of the light of Christ for thy comfort and rejoyc­ing. The light of the eyes rejoyceth the heart, Prov. 15. 30. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the Sun, Eecl. 11. 7. But the light of Christ his Gospel doth far more rejoyce the heart, and is much more delight­full to the soul then bodily light can be to the eyes. It is it which removes doubts, griefs, fears, despair in life and at death. Oh how sweetly might men live, how comfortably might they dye, if they did make use of it? Light with­in you whatever Quakers tell you will leave you in perplexity, when you shall have most need of comfort. But if you believe in the light of Christ as it is held out to you in the Gospel you shall see the light of life. Be perswaded to disclaime the pretended new light within you as your sufficient guide to God, and choose the light of Christ from Heaven in his Gospel to walk by, and it will guide and comfort you surely and sweetly to eternal life.


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