Imágenes de páginas

we do not use to use, “and liars, who should say, that the Scriptures reveal God, and affirmed it the greatest error in the world, and the ground of all errors, to say the Scriptures are a rule for Christians." Answer. Though the Scriptures say, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him," yet the Scriptures are a declaration of Him; and I never read in any Quaker's book, nor heard any one affirm, as I remember, that it is the greatest error in the world (much less the ground of all errors) to say the Scriptures are a rule for Christians; for we always allowed them to be a rule, and wish all that call them their rule were ruled by them; though not the only or principal rule, as excluding the Spirit of God, from which they were given forth, and without which they cannot be understood or known, as Erasmus, Luther, Peter Martyr, John Bradford, Calvin, Beza, Tindal, Jewel, and many more, expressly affirm. See William Penn's Christian Quaker, second edition.

Cotton Mather, Ibid.-" That the Scriptures do not tell people of trinity, nor three persons in: God, but that those three persons are brought in by the Pope.” Answer. That the term, "three persons in God," was brought in by the Pope or apostate Christians is true enough, for the Scriptures do not speak of it that I can find; and if Cotton Mather can show where they do tell of a trinity of three persons in God, we will own it for an error, and, in the mean time, charge it on him as one till he prove it. Yet the “ three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost," &c., we own.-—"That justification by the righteousness which Christ fulfilled in His own person without us is a doctrine of devils." Answer. The words were,.“wholly without us," which, to be sure, is little less as excluding any in us, and so encouraging people in their sins, as if all was done without them, and which is contrary to the agreement of John Cotton, and the synod he sets down, chap. ii., page 17, “That God's effectual calling of the soul unto the Lord Jesus Christ, and the soul's apprehending by an act of faith the offered righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, is in order of nature before God's act of justification upon the soul,”. &c., so not wholly without us; yet we own the righteousness of Christ without us as the efficient or procuring cause, and that wrought in us as the formal cause of our justification. Again, “They held that they that believe in Christ are not miserable sinners." Answer. They that believe to the saving of their souls" are not miserable sinners, nor do those things they ought not to do; though a bare believing in Christ is not sufficient to exclude all from being sinners; yet to such as “are in Christ are new creatures, old things are passed away, and all things are become new.".

Ibid.-" They said if the bodies of men rise again, then there is a pre-eminence in the bodies of men above the bodies of beasts, which is to give Solomon the lie.Answer. Who said so? Must we still be imposed upon without proof? I urge him to tell who ever said so; for though we do not grant the same earthy numerical bodies of men shall rise again, but with the apostle to such as say, “How are the dead raised, and with what bodies do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die. And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be," &c., “but God giveth it a body as it pleaseth Him, and to every seed its own body;" yet we do not say that there is no pre-eminence in the bodies of men above the bodies of beasts; nor is that of Solomon, in Eccles. iii. 19, so to be understood, but only as to death, "as the one dieth, so dieth the other," &c., and “all turn to dust again,” verse 20, but distinguisheth further, verse 21, between “the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth;" for, as the apostle says, “all flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts," &c.; “there are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. So is also the resurrection of the dead: it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption," &c., “it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."

Ibid.“They said, they are like to be deceived who are expecting that Christ's second coming will be personal.” Answer. We never denied, but always asserted, Christ's second coming; but that it is anywhere said in Scripture it will be personal, I do not remember, nor cannot find by Newman's Concordance, and, if Cotton Mather can show me where it is so said, he will greatly oblige me; yet, that He shall come in His glorified body without us, “and all the holy angels with Him” to judgment, even in the true nature of man, and therefore called “the Son of man, before whom shall be gathered all nations," &c., this we own and confess, and if it will not satisfy the captious, we cannot help it; sufficient it is to us that we own it, according to Scripture, and that we will abide by.

Cotton Mather, Ibid.“They said, those things called ordinances, as baptism, bread and wine, rose from the Pope's invention.". Answer. This is false; whatever they said of some of those things, which they called ordinances, as sprinkling of infants, and the word sacrament, &c., was stated in general terms as rising from the Popes' and apostate Christians' invention, which indeed is no other than the invention and tradition of men. And does he not say, Ibid., chap. i., page 27, “Infant baptism hath been scrupled by multitudes in our days, who have been in other points most worthy Christians, and as holy, watchful, fruitful, and heavenly people as, perhaps, any in the world”? So, it is no wonder, it seems, to scruple that; and why then might not George Fox do so, as well as other good men, and say it rose from the Pope's invention, being but man's invention without any ground or foundation, precept, or practice in Scripture? Yet we never said that the true “ordinances of the Lord," as the “ baptism," truly so called, and the “Supper of the Lord," "rose from the Pope's invention," no, nor“ bread and wine," neither in itself or place, though the idolizing of it did, but we own it in its time, and the mystery of it at this day, according to Christ's “ordinance, as baptism with the Holy Ghost" as aforesaid, and the supping with Him spiritually, eating the Bread of Life, and drinking “the wine new with Him in the Father's kingdom.”

Ibid.--" They said, as for that called the Lord's day, the people

did not understand what they said; every day is the Lord's." Which is true enough, and the fairest of most that he says; and it is like enough, people did not understand what they said, in calling one the Lord's day above the rest, though we set apart one in seven for the worship of God, in a more peculiar manner, and in that respect it may be called “the Lord's day, as regarded to the Lord,” but not as chosen or set apart by the Lord, above the rest, that we can find in Scripture. Ibid., And for prayer, that all must cease from their own words, and from their own time, and learn to be silent until the Spirit give them utterance," is very true, as it is not performed only in their own wills and times, but as they wait to feel the Spirit of the Lord moving thereunto, and I wonder how he could set down these last so near the truth, and that he should be so blind, to oppose them, or reckon them for errors.

Thus have I gone through his list of what he calls errors, owning what is true, and denying that which is false, so that he may keep the heresies he tells of to himself; however, he is astonished, as he pretends, which he hath cause enough to be, as well as we, at his wickedness and abuse of a sincere people, in things they never said, though he says they said so, or entered into their hearts to think, and is as false in these and in many other things he charges us with, as the story he tells of the Puritans, that some charged on them, as to their meetings, Book III., chap. ii., page I as aforesaid. “But this we confess unto him, (as I said before,). that after the way which they call heresy, so worship we the God of our fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and the prophets,”' &c.; but that after all, he should have the confidence to say, that “in all of which, I solemnly protest unto the reader, that I have not wronged them at all, but kept close to their own printed words;" this shows the height of obdurateness and regardlessness of what he says, for he can never prove it all out of their printed words, and if he could, why did he not cite book and page? Which, therefore, I return to him again as a wilful falsehood, and resolute abuse, so that he may well wonder, as he does, and lament, to what time and state he is reserved, and repent if he can find a place.

Cotton Mather, Ibid.-" The zeal of the Massachusetts colony, to preserve themselves from the annoyance of such a blasphemous and confused generation of men, caused them to make sharp laws against them." Answer. Their zeal therein was “not according to knowledge," as he said by R. Williams, and it was their own persecuting spirit that caused them to make such laws against an innocent people, for fear their followers would come to be convinced of the evil of their ways, and so turn from their blind guides, to the Light of Christ, the free teacher, and not their “ blasphemous confusion," that is only his false charge without proof, as well at his own state, as above, and their innocency making them bold. Their hopes, page 23, “that the terror thereby given to these evil-doers (as he falsely calls them, but I demand wherein) would keep them from any invasion upon the colony," proved vain and ineffectual, as coercion and persecution use to do; though the word invasion is not proper in the case, as applicable to them. And therefore his words, “They must needs go whom the devil drives,”' are applicable to themselves, for I know none else drove them to it. Who drove them to imprison at such a rate, so close that none should come at them, and deny them food, except they would have it of the jailer, and that but four pence in a shilling of what they did earn at his work, and without fire in Winter or air in Summer; and to whip men and women at such a merciless rate, almost to death, with their many-folded whip with knots; to cut off ears, banish, and force them to pay a man to banish them if they could; and to put to death in such a barbarous manner with beat of drum, to prevent their being heard, and many other barbarous actions; I say, who drove them to do this but the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning? Therefore his following words, “ these devil-driven creatures did but the more furiously push themselves on the government," do but still show his wickedness and injustice, in railing at and reviling the people of God at such a rate without any cause, and thereby condemning all the righteous sufferers in all ages, that dissented in point of religious worship, and justifying their persecutors. The Greeks, the Romans, and many nations might have

« AnteriorContinuar »