« PreviousContinue »
Innocency with her Open Face,
PRESENTED BY WAY OF APOLOGY
FOR THE BOOK ENTITLED, THE SANDY FOUNDATION SHAKEN, To all serious and enquiring Persons, particularly the
Inhabitants of the City of London.
BY WILLIAM PENN, Jun.
« He that uttereth slander is a fool." Prov. x. 18.
Published in the Year, 1668.
Religion, although there be nothing of greater concernment, nor which doth more essentially import the immortal happiness of men ; yet such is the calamity of the age, that there is not any thing they are less solicitous about, or serious in the prosecution of, vainly imagining it to consist in the implicit subscription to, and verbal confession of, mens invented traditions and precepts, whilst they neglect that more orthodox definition of the apostle James, viz.“ Pure religion and undefiled, before God, is, to visit the fatherless, and to keep himself unspotted from the world ;a” and instead thereof, believe they are performing the best of services, in sacrificing the reputation, liberty, estate, if not life itself, of others, to their own tenacious conceptions; because perhaps, though persons of more virtue, they cannot in all punctilios correspond therewith : how much I have been made an instance must needs be too notorious to any that hold the least intelligence with common fame, that scarce ever took more pains to make the proverb good, by proving herself a liar, than in my concern; who have been most egregiously slandered, reviled and defamed by pulpit, press and talk, terming me a blasphemer, seducer, Socinian, denying the divinity of Christ the Saviour, and what not ! and all this about my late answer to a disputation with some Presbyterians ; but how unjustly, it is the business of this short apology to shew, which had not been thus long retarded, if an expee
* Jam. i. 17.
tation first to have been brought upon my examination had not required a suspense; and if I shall acquit myself from the injurious imputations of my adversaries, I hope the cry will have an end; to which purpose, let but my innocency have your hearing in her own defence, who, as she never can detract from her intentions in what she really hath done; so will she as easily disprove her enemies, in mani. festing their accusations to be fictitious : judge not before you read, neither believe any farther than you see.
1. That which I am credibly informed to be the greatest reason for my imprisonment, and that noise of blasphemy, which hath pierced so many ears of late, is, my denying the divinity of Christ, and divesting him of his eternal God-head, which most busily hath been suggested as well to those in authority, as maliciously insinuated amongst the people ; wherefore let me beseech you to be impartial and considerate, in the perusal of my vindication, which being in the fear of the Almighty God, and the simplicity of scripture dialect, presented to you, I hope my innocency will appear beyond a scruple. Thé Proverbs, which, as most agree, intend Christ, the Saviour, speak in this man
By me kings reign, and princes deeree justice; I (wisdom) lead in the midst of the paths of judgment: I was set up from everlasting;\" to which Paul's words allude, “ Unto them which are called (we preach) Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" from whence I conclude Christ the Saviour to be God; for otherwise God would not be himself; since if Christ be distinct from God, and yet God's power and wisdom, God would be without bis own power and wisdom; but inasmuch as it is impossible God's power and wisdom should be distinct or divided from himself, it reasonably follows, tbat Christ, who is that power and wisdom, is not distinct from God, but entirely that very same God.
Next, the prophets, David and Isaiah, speak thus Lord is my light and my salvation. I will give thee for a light unto the Gentiles;" and speaking to the church, « For the Lord shall be thine everlasting light;d" to which the evangelist adds, concerning Christ, that was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all;c” from whence I assert the unity of God and Christ, because though nominally distinguished, yet essentially the same ditine light; for if Christ be that light, and that light be God, then is Christ God; or if God be that light, and Prop. viii. 15, 20, 23. • 1 Cor. i, 24. . Psal. xxvii. 1. Isa. xlix 6.
and chap, lx. 20. • Johni. 9. 1 John i, 5.
that light be Christ, then is God Christ. Again, “And the city had no need of the sun, for the glory of God did lighteu it, and the Lamb (Christ) is the light thereof;” by which the Oneness of the nature of those lights plainly appears ; for since God is not God without his own glory, and that his glory lightens, (which it could never do if it were not light) and that the Lamb, or Christ, is that very same light, what can follow, but that Christ the light and God the light are One pure and eternal light?
Next, from the word Saviour, it is manifest, « I even I am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour: and thou shalt know no God but me, for there is no Saviour besides me. And Mary said, “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour:" and the Samaritans said unto the woman, “Now we know that this is indeed the Christ the Saviour of the world. According to his grace made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Simon Peter to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. For therefore we suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men: to the only wise God our Saviour be glory,” &c.
From wbich I conclude Christ to be God; for if none can sare, or be stiled properly a Saviour but God, and yet that Christ is said to save, and properly called a Saviour, it must needs follow, that Christ the Saviour is God.
Lastly, “ In the beginning was the (AgroE) Word, (which the Greeks sometimes understood for wisdom and divine reason) and the Word was with God, and the Word was God : all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth. He is before all things, and by him all things consist. Upholding all things by the Word of his power,'" &e. Wherefore I am still confirmed in the belief of Christ the Saviour's divinity; for he that made all things, and by whom they consist and are upheld, because before all things; he was not nade nor upheld by another, and consequently is God : now that this aorog, or Word that was made flesh, or Christ the light, power and wisdom of God, and Saviour of men, hath made all things, and is he by whom they only consist and are upheld, because he was before them, is most evident, from the reeited passages of scripture; therefore he was not made, nor is he upheld by any other power than his own, and consequently is truly God. In short, this conclusive argument for the proof of Christ the Saviour's being God, should certainly persuade all sober persons of my innocency, and my adversaries malice ; He that is the everlasting wisdom, the divine power, the true light, the only Saviour, the creating word of all things, (whether visible or invisible) and their upholder by his own power, is without contradiction God;" but all these qualifications and divine properties are, by the concurrent testimonies of scripture, ascribed to the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore, without a scruple, I call and beJieve him really to be the mighty God.
"Rev. xxi. 23. * Isa, xliii. II. Hos. xiii. 4. Luke i. 47. John iv. 42. 2 Tim.i. 9, 10. 2 Pet. i. 1. 1 Tim. iv. 10. Jude ver. 25. Col. i. 16, 17. Heb. i. 3, 10. John i. 14.
h John i, 1. 3.
And for more ample satisfaction, let but my reply to J. Clapham i be perused, in which Christ's divinity and eternity are very fully asserted.
Judge then, impartial readers, (to whom I appeal in this concern) whether my Christian reputation hath not been unworthily traduced ; and that those several persons who have been posting out their books against me (whilst a close prisoner) have not been beating the air, and fighting with their own shadows, in supposing what I never thought, much less writ of, to be the intention of my book; and then as furiously have fastened on me their own conceits, expecting I should feel the smart of every blow, who thus far am no ways interested in their heat.
As for my being a Socinian, I must confess I have read of one Socinus, of (what they call) a noble family in Sene, in Italy, who about the year 1574, being a young man, voluntarily did abandon the glories, pleasures and honours of the great duke of Tuscany's court at Florence, (that noted place for all worldly delicacies) and became a perpetual exile for his conscience ; whose parts, wisdom, gravity and just behaviour, made him the most famous with the Polonian and Transilvanian churches : but I was nerer baptized into his name, and therefore deny that reproachful epithet ; and if in any thing I acknowledge the verity of his doctrine, it is for the truth's sake, of which, in many things, he had a clearer prospect than most of his contemporaries ; but not therefore a Socinian, any more than a son of the English church, whilst esteemed a Quaker, because I justify many of her principles, since the reformation, against the Roman church.
II. As for the business of satisfaction, I am prevented by a person whose reputation is generally great amongst the Protestants of these nations; for since the doctrine against which I mostly levelled my arguments, was, “The impos
See Guide Mistaken.
sibility of God's forgiving sin upon repentance, without Christ's paying his justice, by suffering infinite vengeance and eternal death for sins past, presevt and to come,' he plainly in his late discourses about Christ's sufferings, against Crellius, acknowledges me no less, by granting, upon a new state of the controversy, "both the possibility of God's pardoning sins, as debts, without such a rigid satisfaction, and the impossibility of Christ's so suffering for the world;' reflecting closely upon those persons, as giving so just an occasion to the church's adversaries to think they triumph over her faith, whilst it is only over their mistakes, who argue with more zeal than judgment:' nay, one of the main ends which first induced me to that discourse, I find thus delivered by him, namely, If they did believe Christ came into the world to reform it, that the wrath of God is now revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness; that his love, which is shewn to the world, is to deliver them from the hand of their enemies, that they might serve him in righteousness and holiness all the days of their lives; they could never imagine that salvation is entailed by the gospel upon a mighty confidence, or vehement persuasion of what Christ hath done and suffered for them.!! thus doth he confess, upon my hypothesis or proposition, what I mainly contend for: and however positively I may reject or deny my adversaries' unscriptural and imaginary satisfaction, let all know this, that I pretend to know no other name by which remission, atonement and salvation can be obtained, but Jesus Christ the Saviour, who is the power and wisdom of God, what apprehensions soever people may have entertained concerning me.
III. As for justification by an imputed righteousness, I still say, that whosoever believes in Christ shall have remission and justification : but then it must be such a faith as can no more live without works,” than a body without a spirit; wherefore I conclude, that true faith comprehends evangelical obedience; and here the same Dr. Stilling fleet " comes in to my relief, (though it is not wanting) by a plain assertion of the necessity of obedience, viz. Such who make no other condition of the gospel but believing, ought to have a care to keep their hearts sounder than their heads;' thereby intimating the grand imperfection and danger of such a notion; and therefore (God Almighty bears me record) my design was nothing less, or more, than to wrest those beloved and sin-pleasing principles out of the Stillingfleet contra Crell. pag. 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274.
Jam, ii. 26. Stillingfleet contra Crell.p. 164, 165, 166. VOL. 1.