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a real, fpiritual, heavenly, invifible Subftance or Principle, fuch as they fuppofe their pretended Univerfal Light to be? Or do we any where read, that fuch a real, fpiritual, heavenly, invifible Subftance or Principle, did ever defcend from Heaven, or that 'tis eatable and drinkable, and that Men are obliged to eat of it, and that it was given for the life of the World? Nothing lefs. What Grounds then have our Adverfaries for this interpretation? None that I can find, befides the Strength of their Fanfies, and the Confidence of their Affertions.
But had they been acquainted with the Notions of the Jewish Writers, had they obferved the Occafion of our Savior's difcourfe, or confidered the Context; they might eafily have understood, that by eating our Savior's flesh, and drinking his bloud, is meant believing on him. For nothing is more common amongst the Jewish Writers, than to speak of Doctrine under the Metaphors of Meat and Drink, and of believing under the Metaphors of Eating and Drinking. Befides, 'twas usual with our Savior to fute his Allegories in his Preaching to thofe accidental Circumftances which occafioned it. Thus in his Converfation with the Woman of Samaria in the foregoing Chapter, he carries on his Difcourfe under an Allegory taken from the Water which she went to draw. And accordingly in this Chapter, becaufe the Difcourfe was occafioned by the Loaves where with he fed the Multitude, he carries it on under the Allegory of Eating and Drinking. These things being obferved, our Savior's meaning is very plain, as might appear from fuch a Paraphrafe of all that part of this Chapter, which I fhould have offered to the Reader here, had I not already done it (a) elsewhere.
(a) elsewhere. And farther, that our Savior does by eating his flesh and drinking his bloud, mean nothing elfe but Faith, appears by comparing the 47th with the 53d Verfe. He that believeth on me, hath everlasting life, faies he, v. 47. and verse the s3d he faies, Except ye eat the flesh of the fon of man, and drink his blond, ye have no life in you. In these places believing on Chrift, and eating his flesh and drinking his bloud, are one and the fame thing, to which Eternal life is promifed. Befides, no fooner has our Savior faid, I am the bread of life, v. 35. but he adds immediately, He that cometh to me fhall never hunger, and he that believeth on me Shall never thirst. From whence it is manifeft, that coming to Christ, and believing on him, are phrafes of the fame importance; and that both of 'em do denote eating the flesh of him who is the bread of life.
If it be objected, that that flesh of Christ, which is the living bread, is faid to have come down from Heaven, and confequently cannot be the bodily flesh which he took of the Virgin Mary; I anfwer, that by coming down from Heaven in this place is meant being begotten by the immediate power of God. For our Savior's flesh, tho' born of the Virgin Mary, was conceived in Her by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghoft. And thus the Jews understood our Savior. For they knew, that by his pretending that his flesh came from Heaven, he meant that he was not born of the Will of Man; and therefore they objected his having earthly Parents, and could not understand how he could be faid to come down from Heaven with
(a) Confut. of Popery, part 2. chap.4. p.113--122.
refpect to his outward Man. This is plain from the Text, which faies, The Jews then murmured against him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from Heaven. And they faid, Is not this Jefus the Son of Jofeph, whofe Father and Mother we know? How is it then, that he faith, I came down from Heaven? V. 41, 42.
Reflections upon diverfe Quaker Doctrines.
Aving fhewn, that there is no fuch thing, as what the Quakers mean by the Univerfal Light within; I proceed now to make fome Reflections upon what they teach concerning it.
1. They tell us, that that Light which I have been difproving, and in which God, as Father, Son, and Spirit, is by them fuppofed to dwell, is immediately united to the (6) Word of God, whom we generally call the fecond Perfon in the Trinity; and that it belongs to him, as he is the fecond Adam or Man-Chrift. They tell us also, that the very fame Light is in every individual perfon born into the World, whether Jew, Turk, Indian, Scythian, Barbarian, &c. of whatfoever Nation, Country, or Place; and for this reason they Now I fhall call it the Univerfal Light within. not object against any of thefe particulars, or endevor to fhew the inconfiftency or improbability of thefe Affertions, upon fuppofition that there were fuch a Light as they talk of; becaufe the whole is a Dream, without one word of Truth or Reality in it. And therefore it matters not, whether this
pretended Light be affirmed by them to be united mediately, or immediately, to the Father, Word, or Spirit; and if united to the Word, whether it belongs to him, as God, or Man, or God-Man; whether that light which is faid to be united to the Word, be the very fame with that which is faid to be in Men, or different from it; whether it be in every individual perfon, or in fome particular perfons only; or in what manner, meafure, or the like, it be in Men; I fay, it matters not, which way our Adverfaries determine thefe or the like Queftions. For they are equally true every way; that is, they are an Enthufiaftical Romance.
2. They tell us, that this pretended Univerfal Light within ftrives with all Men for to fave them. For that, 1. it discovers and reproves every thing that is evil, 2. it teacheth every thing that is good, 3. it endevors to make them avoid the one and practife the other. Now it must be granted, that that which difcovers and reproves every thing that is evil, teacheth every thing that is good, and endevors to make Men avoid the one and practife the other; that that, I fay, may moft properly be faid to ftrive with Men for to fave them. But then, there being no fuch Univerfal Light within, as our Adverferics pretend, tis plain, that their pretended Univerfal Light within does not strive with Men, much lefs with all Men, for to fave them; and particularly, that it does not difcover and reprove every thing that is evil, teach every thing that is good, and endevor to make them avoid the one and practife the other.
I muft add, that the pretended Univerfal Light within is fuppofed by our Adverfaries to discover and reprove every thing that is evil, and teach every thing that is good by immediate Revelation;
Chap. XIII. which, as has been already fhewn, they affirm to be abfolutely neceffary in order to a faving Chriftian Faith, and of which they affirm the pretended Univerfal Light within to be the inftrument. For Mr. Barclay (a) faies, that it is the agent or inftrument of God, by which he worketh in us, and stirreth up in us thefe Ideas of Divine things. But, r. I have proved, that there is no Neceffity of immediate Revelation in order to a saving Christian Faith, and that there is no warrant from Scripture for any Man to expect or lay claim to immediate Revelation in thefe daies. And therefore, tho' it were granted, that there is fuch an Universal Light within, as our Adverfaries contend for; yet it is not the inftrument of immediate Revelation. 2. I have proved, that there is no fuch Univerfal Light within, as our Adverfaries contend for. And therefore, tho' it were granted, that there is a Neceffity of immediate Revelation in order to a faving Chriftian Faith, and that Men are warranted by the Scriptures to expect and lay claim to it; yet the pretended Univerfal Light within cannot be the inftrument of it.
But then, fince I have fhewn, that the pretended Univerfal Light within does not strive with all Men for to fave them, and particularly, that it doth not discover and reprove every thing that is evil, teach every thing that is good, and endevor to make them avoid the one and practife the other; I I may perhaps be asked thefe two Queftions, 1. Whether there be not fomething, which does ftrive with all Men for to fave them; and whether in particular it doth not difcover and reprove every
(a) Of the Poffibil, and Neceff. of inward immediate Revel. p. 901.