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a real, spiritual, heavenly, invisible Substance or Principle, such as they suppose their pretended Universal Light to be? Or do we any where read, that such a real, spiritual, heavenly, invisible Subftance or Principle, did ever descend 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 less. What Grounds then have our Adversaries for this interpretation ? None that I can find, besides the Strength of their Fanfies, and the Confidence of their Assertions.
But had they been acquainted with the Notions of the Jewis Writers, had they observed the Occasion of our Savior's discourse, or considered the Context; they might easily 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. Besides, 'twas usual with our Savior to fute his Allegories in his Preaching to those accidental Circumstances which occasioned it. Thus in his Conversation with the Woman of Samaria in the foregoing Chapter, he carries on his Discourse under an Allegory taken from the Water which she went to draw. And accordingly in this Chapter, because the Discourse 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 observed, our Savior's meaning is very plain, as might appear from fuch a Paraphrase of all that part of this Chapter, which I should have offered to the Rcader here, had I not already done it
(a) elsewhere. And farther, that our Savior does by eating his Aeth and drinking his bloud, mean nothing else but Faith, appears by comparing che 47th with the 53d Verfe. He that believeth or me, hath everlasting life, faies he, v. 47. and verse the szd he faies, Except ge eat the flesh of the fors of man, and drink his blond, ye have no life in you. in these places believing on Christ, and eating his flesh and drinking his bloud, are one and the same thing, to which Eternal life is promised. Besides, no sooner has our Savior said, I am the bread of life, V. 35. but he adds immediately, He that cometh to me mall never hunger, and he that believeth on me fall never thirst. From whence it is manifest, that coming to Christ, and believing on him, are phrases of the same 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 said to have come down from Heaven, and consequently cannot be the bodily ftesh which he took of the Virgin Mary; I answer, that by coming down from Heaven in this place is meant being begotten by the immediate power of God. For our Savior's flerh, tho' born of the Virgin Mary, was conceived in Her by the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. 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 said to come down from Heaven with
(a) Confut. of Popery, part 2. chap. 4. p.113---122.
respect 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 said, Is not this Jesus the Son of Joseph, whose Father and Mo. ther we know? How is it then, that he faith, I came down from Heaven? v. 41, 42.
CHA P. XIII.
Refle&tions upon diverse Quaker Doctrines.
Aving shewn, that there is no such thing, as 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 disproving, and in which God, as Father, Son, and Spirit, is by them supposed to dwell, is immediately united to the (aóy@) Word of God, whom we generally call the second Person in the Trinity; and that it belongs to him, as he is the fecond Adam or Man-Christ. They tell us also, that the very fame Light is in every individual perfon born into the World, whether Jew,Turk, In. dian, Scythian, Barbarian, &c. of whatsoever Nation, Country, or Place; and for this reason they call it the Universal Light within. Now I shall not object against any of these particulars, or endevor to shew the inconsistency or improbability of these A sertions, upon supposition that there were such a Light as they talk of; because 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 said 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 person, or in some particular persons only; or in what manner, measure, or the like, it be in Men; I say, it matters not, which way our Adversaries determine these or the like Questions. For they are equally true every way; that is, they are an Enthusiastical Romance.
2. They tell us, that this pretended Universal Light within strives with all Men for to save 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 practise the other. Now it must be granted, that that which discovers and reproves every thing that is evil, teacheth every thing that is good, and endevors to make Men avoid the one and practise the other; that that, I say, may most properly be said to strive with Men for to save them. But then, there being no such Universal Light within, as our Adverseries pretend, tis plain, that their pretended Universal Light within does not strive with Men, much less with all Men, for to save them; and particularly, that it does not discover and reprove every thing that is evil, teach every thing ihat is good, and endevor to make them avoid the one and practise the other.
I must add, that the pretended Universal Light within is supposed by our Adversaries to discover and reprove every thing that is evil, and teach eve. ry thing that is good by immediate Revelation;
which, as has been already shewn, they affirm to be absolutely necessary in order to a Saving Chriftian Faith, and of which they affirm the pretended Universal Light within to be the instrument. For Mr. Barclay (à) faies
, that it is the agent or instrument of God, by which he worketh in us, and stirreth up in us these Ideas of Divine things. But, T. I have proved, that there is no Neceflity of immediate Revelation in order to a faving Christian Faith, and that there is no warrant from Scripture for any Man to expect or lay claim to immediate Revelation in these daies. And therefore, tho'it : were granted, that there is such an Universal Light within, as our Adversaries contend for ; yet it is not the instrument of immediate Revelation. I have proved, that there is no such Universal Light within, as our Adversaries contend for. And therefore, tho’ it were granted, that there is a Necessity of immediate Revelation in order to a saving Chriftian Faith, and that Men are warranted by the Scriptures to expect and lay claim to it; yet the pretended Universal Light within cannot be the inItrumcnt of it.
But then, since I have shewn, that the pretended Universal Light within does not strive with all Men for to save 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 practise the other; I may perhaps be asked these two Questions, 1. Whether there be not fomething, which does strive with all Men for to fave them; and whether in particular it doth not discover and reprove every
(a) of the Polibil. and Neces. of inward immediate Rçvel. p. 901