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A concise View of the chief Principles of the Christian Religion, as professed by the People called QUAKERs.
BY ROBERT BARCLAY.
the FIRST PROPosition. Concerning the true Foundation of Knowledge.
SEEING the height of all happiness is placed in the true knowledge of God, (This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,”) the true and right understanding of this foundation and ground of knowledge, is that which is most necessary to be known and believed in the first place.
THE SECONE PROPOSITION.
SEEING no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him ;t and seeing the revelation of the Sox is in and by the Spirit; therefore the testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge of God hath been, is, and can be, only revealed; who as, by the moving of his own Spirit, he converted the chaos of this world into that wonderful order wherein it was in the beginning, and created man a living soul, to rule and govern it, so h the revelation of the same spirit he hath manifested himself all alon unto the sons of men, both patriarchs, prophets and apostles; whic revelations of God by the Spirit, whether by outward voices and appearances, dreams, or inward objective manifestations in the heart, were of old the formal object of their faith, and remain yet so to be; since the object of the Saints faith is the same in all ages, though set forth under divers administrations. Moreover, these divine inward revelations, which we make absolutely necessary for the building up of true faith, neither do nor ean contradict the outward testimony of the scriptures, or right and sound reason. Yet from hence it .# not follow, that these divine revelations are to be subjected to the examination either of the outward testimony of the scriptures, or of the natural reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule or touchstone; for this divine revelation, and inward illumination, is that which is evident and clear of itself, forcing, by its own evidence and clearness, the well-disposed understanding to assent, irresistibly moving the same thereunto; even as the common principles of natural truths, move and incline the mind to a natural assent: as that the whole is greater that its parts; that two contradictory sayings cannot be both true, nor both false; which is also manifest according to our adversaries' principle; who (supposing the possibility of inward divine revelations) will nevertheless eon. fess with us, that neither scripture nor sound reason will eontradiet it: and yet it will not follow, according to them, that the seripture, or sound reason, should be subjected to the examination of the divine reyelations in the heart. - * - r THE THIRD PROPos ITION,
* * John xvii. 3. +Matt, ri. 27.
Concerning the Scriptures.
FROM these revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints, have proceeded the scriptures of truth, which contain, 1. A faithful historical account of the actings of God’s people in divers ages, with many singular and remarkable providences attending them. 2. A prophetical account of several things, whereof some are already past, and some yet to come. 3. A full and ample account of all the chief principles of the doetrine of Christ, held forth in divers precious declarations, exhortations, and sentences, which, by the moving of God's Spirit, were at several times, and upon sundry occasions, spoken and written unto some ehurches and their pastors: nevertheless, because they are only a declaration of the Fountain,and not the Fountain itself,therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. Nevertheless, as that which giveth a true and faithful testimony of the First Foundation, they are i may be esteemed a secondary RULE, subordinate to the SPIR. rt, from which they have all their excelleney and eertainty: for as by the inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify, that the SPIRIt is that guide by which the saints are led into all truth :" therefore, according to the seriptures, the Spirit is the first and principal leader. And seeing we do therefore receive and believe the seriptures, because they proceeded from the Spirit; therefore also the SPIRIt is more originally and principally the rule, according to that received maxim in the schools, propter quod unumquodgue est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale. Englished thus: that for which a thing is such, that thing itself is more such.
The FOURTH PROPOSITION.
Concerning the Condition of MAN in the FAll.
ALL Adam's posterity (or mankindt) both Jews and Gentiles, as to the firat Adam or earthly man, is fallen, degenerated, and dead, deprived of the sensation or feeling of this inward testimony or Seed
"John xvi. 13. Tom, viii. 14. t Rom. v. 12, 15.
of God; and is subject unto the power, nature, and seed of the serpent, which he sows in men's hearts, while they abide in this natural and • corrupted state; from whence it comes, that not their words and deeds only, but all their imaginations are evil perpetually in the sight of God, as proceeding from this depraved and wicked seed. Man, therefore, as he is in this state, can know nothing aright; yea, his thoughts and eonceptions eoncerning God and things spiritual, until he be disjoined from this evil seed, and united to the Divine Light, are unprofitable both to himself and others. Hence are rejected the Socinian and Pelagian errors, in exalting a natural light; as also those of the papists, and most protestants, who affirm, that man, without the true grace of God, may be a true minister of the Gospel. Nevertheless, this seed is not imputed to infants, until by transgression they actually join themselves therewith ; for “ they are by nature the children of wrath, who walk according to the power of the prince of the air.”
The FIFTH AND Sixth PROPOSITIons.
Concerning the Universal Redemption by Christ, and also the Saving and Spiritual Light, wherewith every JMan is enlightened.
THE FIFTH PROPOSITION.
GOD, out of his infinite love, who delighteth not in the death of a sinner, but that all should live and be saved, hath se loved the world, that he hath given his only Son a Light, that whosoever believeth in him should be saved; who enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, and maketh manifest all things that are reproveable, and teacheth all temperance, righteousness, and godliness of and this Light enlighteneth the hearts of all in a day,; in order to salvation, if not resisted. Nor is it less universal than the seed of sin, being the purchase of his death, who tasted death for every man: for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.S
The sixth Proposition.
ACCORDING to which principle, or hypothesis, all the objections against the Universality of Christ’s death are easily solved; neither is it needful to recur to the ministry of angels, and those other miraculous means, which, they say, God makes use of to manifest the doctrine and history of Christ's passion unto such who (living in those F. of the world where the outward preaching of the gospel is un
nown) have well improved the first and common Grace: for hence it well follows, that as some of the old philosophers might have been
.* Eph. ii. 1. t. Ezek. xviii. 23. Isaiah xlix. 6, John iii. 16, and i. 9. Titus ii. 11. Eph. v. 13. Heb. ii. 9. i Pro tempore, for a time. § 1 Cor. xv. 22. o
saved, so also may now some (who by Providence are east into these remote parts of the world, where the knowledge of the History is wanting) be made partakers of the divine Merey, if they receive and resist not that Grace, a manifestation whereof is given to every man to profit withal. This certain doetrine then o received, to wit, that there is an evangelical and saving Light and Grace in All, the universality of the love and mercy of God towards mankind (both in the death of his beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the manifestation of the Light in the heart) is established and confirmed, against all the objections of such as deny it. ... Therefore Christ hath tasted death for every man;" not only for all kinds of men, as some vainly talk, but for every one, of all kinds; the benefit of whose offering is not only extended to such who have the distinct outward knowledge of his death and sufferings, as the same is declared in the scriptures, but even unto those who are necessarily excluded from the benefit of this knowledge by some inevitable accident; which knowledge we willingly confess to be very profitable and comfortable, but not absolutely needful unto such, from whom God himself hath withheld it; yet they may be made partakers of the mystery of his death (though ignorant of the history) if they suffer his Seed and Light, enlightening their hearts, to take place (in which Light, communion with the Father and Son is enjoyed) so as of wicked unen to become holy, and lovers of that power, by whose inward and secret touches they feel themselves turned from the evil to the good, and learn to do to others as they would be done by ; in which Christ himself affirms all to be included. As they then have falsely and erroneously taught, who have denied Christ to have died for all men; so neither have they sufficiently taught the truth, who affirming him to have died for all, have added the absolute necessity of the outward knowledge thereof, in order to the obtaining its saving effect; among whom the Remonstrants of JHolland have been chiefly wanting, and many other asserters of Uniaversal Redemption, in that they have not placed the extent of this salvation in that divine and evangelical principle of Light and Life, where with Christ hath enlightened every man that eomes into the world; which is excellently and evidently held forth in these seriptures: Gen. vi. 3. Deut. xxx. 14. John i. 7, 8, 9. Romans x. 8Titus ii. 11.
The seventh pro-osition.
AS many as resist not this Light, but receive the same, in them is produced an holy, pure, and spiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, righteousness, purity, and all those other blessed fruits which are acceptable to God, by which holy birth, (to wit, Jesus Christ formed within us, and o: his works within us) as we are sanctified, so are we justified in the sight of God, according to the apostle's words:
But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.t . Therefore it is not by our works wrought in our will, nor yet by good works, considered as of themselves, but by CHRist, who is both the gift and the giver, and the cause producing the effects in us: who, as he hath reconciled us while we were enemies, doth also in his wisdom save us, and justify us after this manner, as saith the same apostle elsewhere.— According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.*
- the eighth PRoposition. Concerning Perfection.
IN whom this Holy and Pure Birth is fully brought forth, the bo. dy of death and sin comes to be crucified and removed, and their hearts united and subjected to the Truth, so as not to obey any snggestion or temptation of the evil one, but to be free from actual sinning, and transgressing of the law of God, and in that respect perfeet.S Yet doth this perfection still admit of a growth; and there remaineth a possibility of sinning, where the mind doth not most diligently and watehfully attend unto the Lord.
\ the ninth PROPosition.
Concerning Perseverance, and the possibility of falling from Grace.
ALTHOUGH this gift, and inward Grace of God, be sufficient to work out salvation; yet in those in whom it is resisted, it both may and doth become their condemnation. Moreover, in whom it hath wrought in part, to purify and sanctify them, in order to their further perfection, by disobedience such may fall from it, and turn it to wantonness, making shipwreck of faith; and after having tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, again fall away.f Yet such an increase and stability in the truth may in this life he attained, from which there cannot be a total apostasy.
The texth Proposition.
As by this Gift, or Light of God, all true knowledge in things spiritual is received and revealed; so by the same, as it is manifested and received in the heart, by the strength and power thereof, every true minister of the gospel is ordained, prepared and supplied in the work of the ministry: and by the leading, of and drawing hereof, ought every evangelist and christian pastor to be led and ordered in his labor and work of the gospel, both as to the place where, as to the persons to whom, and as to the times when he is to minister. Moreover, those
+ 1 Cor. vi. 11. * Titus ili 5.