« PreviousContinue »
C HR R I
I S T
, In the MYSTERY and in the OUTWARD, Briefly, plainly, and uprightly Acknowledged, and
For the Satisfaction and Benefit of the Tender-HEARTED,
Desire to Experience the Quickening, Healing, and Cleansing
VIRTUE of it.
A Brief Account concerning the People called QUAKERS,
in reference both to Principle and Doctrine.
Whereunto are added,
Some few other Things, which, by the Blessing of God, may be experi
mentally found useful to the true Pilgrims and faithful Travellers out of the Nature and Spirit of this world.
Written in true Love and Tenderness of Spirit by
ISA A CP EN IN G T O N.
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifest in
the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, be
lieved on in the world, received up into glory, 1 Tim. iii. 16. Of whom are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, wha is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Rom. ix.
P R E FACE.
AVING been lately at London, upon occasion of a meeting between
some of the people called QUAKERS, and some of the people called ANABAPTISTS, and other confederates, wherein I was somewhat concerned, being charged or brought in by Thomas Hicks, in his second book of Dialogues, called Continuation, p. 4. to prove, that the Quakers account the blood of Christ no more than a common thing; and having been at that meeting to clear my innocency in that particular ; but the thing not then coming in question, and I being to return to my habitation in the country (though I staid also a second meeting for that purpose); it was on my heart
, in the clearness and innocency thereof, to give forth this testimony, to take off that untruth and calumny of T. H. both from the People called Quakers, and myself; being both of us greatly therein injured, as the Lord God of heaven and earth knoweth. I have had experience of that despised people for many years, and I have often heard them (even the antient ones of them) own Christ both inwardly and outwardly. Yea, I heard one of the antients of them thus testify, in a publick meeting many years fince, That if Christ had not come in the fieħ, in the fullness of time, to bear our sins in his own body on the tree, and to offer himself up a sacrifice for mankind, all mankind had utterly perished.
What cause then have we to praise the Lord God, for sending his Son in the likeness of sinful hesh, and for what his Son did therein ! O profeffors! do not pervert our words (by reading them with a prejudiced mind) quite contrary to the drift of God's Spirit by us! If ye should thus read the holy scriptures, yea, the very words of Christ himself therein, and give that wisdom of yours which fights against us scope to comment upon them, and perverts them after this manner, what a strange and hideous appearance of untruth and contradiction to the very scriptures of the Old Testament might ye make of that wonderful appearance of God? For the
words of Christ seemed so foolish and impossible to the wise men of that age, that they frequently contradicted, and sometimes derided him.
If we be not of God, we shall come to nought; nay, we had not stood to this day, if his mighty power had not upheld us. We could not have stood inwardly, nor could we have stood outwardly, against the fierce affaults we have met with both ways. And as we have not had by-ends to move us inwardly, so neither have we had by-ends to move us outwardly, as our God knoweth.
Oh! T. H. dost thou believe the eternal judgment at the great day, not outwardly only in notion, but inwardly in heart? Oh! then consider how wilt thou answer it to God, for saying so many things in the name of a people, as their belief and words, which never were fpoken by any one of them, nor ever came into any one of their hearts ! Innocency in me, life in me, truth in me, the Christian spirit and nature in me, is a witness against thee, that thou wrotest thy dialogues out of the Christian nature and Spirit; and thy brethren, William Kiffin and the rest, who have stood by thee to justify thee (or at least seemed so to do) must take notice of these things, and condemn them in thee, or they will expose themselves (and their religion), to the righteous judgment of God, and of all who love truth, and hate forgery and deceit.
I pity thee; yea, I can truly say, I forgive thee the injury thou hast done me (though indeed it is very great, thus to represent me publickly; what thou could not have done, if thou hadst. equally considered the things written in that book); and I also desire that thou mayest be sensible of what thou hast so evilly done, and confess it before God, that he also might forgive thee. Oh!'I would not bear the weight of this sin at the judgmentseat of Christ for ten thousand worlds! And that these books Inould be so long publick, and thy brethren take no notice of them, but rather at last apply themselves to justify thee, oh! how will they answer this thing, when they come to answer it for ever! Oh! why will ye fet up an interest against our Lord Christ (who is the truth, and teacheth truth) and bend all your strength and understanding to make lies, falshoods, and forgeries to appear as if they were truth, and not forgeries ?
If ye will judge yourselves, and repent of these things, ye shall not be condemned of the Lord; but if ye will go on, to cover and hide this great iniquity, ye shall not prosper therein.
As for my particular, I had committed my cause to the Lord, and intended to have been wholly filent, knowing my innocency will be cleared by him in this particular at the great day, and the love, truth, and uprightness wherein I wrote these things owned by him.
But in the love of God, and in the stillness and tenderness of my fpirit, I was moved by him to write what follows. And oh! that it would please the Lord to make it serviceable even to T. H, himself, for his good.
FLESH and BLOOD of CHRIST, &c.
IN the second part of Thomas Hicks's Dialogues called Continuation, p. 4..
maketlv his perfonated Quaker speak thus: Thou sayeft, we account the
blood of Christ no more than a common thing : yea, no more than the blood of a common thief. To which he makes his personated Christian answer thus : Ifaac Penington (who I fuppofe is an approved Quaker) asks this question ; Can outward blood cleanfe? Therefore, faith be, we must enquire, whether it was the blood of the veily that is, of the human nature, or the blood within the veil, viz. of that spiritual man, consisting of flesh, blood, and bones, which took on bim the vèil, or human nature. It is not the blood of the veil; that is but out. ward; and can outward blood cleanse?
Now to satisfy any that desire to understand the truth as it is, and to know what the intent of my heart and words (as spoken by me) was,
I shall first say somewhat to his stating the question, and then open my
heart nakedly and plainly, as it then was, and still is, in this matter.
. First, I answer, thefe were not my words, which he hath set down as mine; but words of his own patching up, partly out of several queries of mine, and partly out of his own conceivings upon my queries, as if he intended to make me appear both ridiculous and wicked at once. For I no where fay, or affirm, or did ever believe, that Christ is a spiritual man, confisting of field, blood, and bones, which took on him the veil of human
Thus he represents me as ridiculous. It is true, Christ inwardly, or as to his inward being, was a Spirit, or God blessed for ever, manifested in fiefh; which (to speak properly) cannot have flesh, blood, and bones
, as man harh. And then, besides his alterations at the beginning, putting in only four words of my query, and leaving out that which next follows (which might have manifested my drift and intent in them) he puts in an affirmation which was not mine, in these his own words : It is not the blood of the veil; that is but outward; and then annexeth to this affirmation of his own, the words of my former query, Can outward blood cleanse? As if these words of mine (Can outward blood cleanse ?) did necessarily infer that the blood of Christ is but a common thing.
Herein he represents me wicked, and makes me speak, by his changing and adding, that which never was in my heart, and the contrary whereto I have several times affirmed in that very book where those several queries were put (out of which he forms this his own query, giving it forth in my name). For in the roth page of that book, beginning at line 3. sitively affirm thus : that Cbrist did offer up the flesh and blood of that body (though not only fo, for he poured out his soul, he poured out his life) a facrifice or offering for fin, a sacrifice unto the Father, and in it tasted death for every man; and that it is upon conhderation (and through God's acceptance of this sacrifice for fin) that the fins of believers are pardoned, that God might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus, or who is of the faith of Fefus. Is this common flesh and blood ? Can this be affirmed of common flesh and blood ? Ought not he to have considered this, and other passages in my book of the fame tendency, and not thus have reproached me, and misrepresented me to the world? Is this a Christian spirit; or according to the law or prophets, or Christ's doctrine ? Doth he herein do as he would be done by? Oh! that he had a heart to consider it! I might also except against those words : human nature (which he twice putteth in) being not my words, nor indeed my sense ; for by human nature, as I judge, is understood more than the body: whereas I, by the word veil, intended no more than the Aeth (or outward body), which' in fcripture is expressly so called, Heb. x. 20. through the veil, that is to say, bis flesh.
Secondly, I cannot but take notice of this, that he hath not cited the place, page, or pages; nay, not so much as named the book, where those words or sayings which he attributech to me are written ; whereby any perfons that are not willing to take things upon bare report (especially in fo deep charges, reflecting not only upon one person, but a whole people), might consult the place, and see whether they were my words or no; and whether the queries I did put (indeed to the hearts of people) had any such drift or no, and might compare the words (if they were mine) both with what went before, and also followed after; and with what was said in feveral other places of the book, which speak of Christ's Aesh and blood as of no common thing, but as that which God makes use of toward the redemption of mankind.
Thirdly, The drift of all those queries in that book was not to vilify the flesh and blood of Christ, by representing it as a common or useless thing, but to bring people from sticking in the outward, to a sense of the inward mystery; without which inward fenfe and feeling, the magnifying and crying up the outward doth not avail. Indeed, at that time, I was in a great exercise concerning profeffors : love was deeply working in my heart; and I was in a very tender frame of spirit towards them, as any may perceivé, who, in the fear of God and in meekness of spirit, shall read that book (it is intituled, A question to the professors of christianity, whether they have the true, living, powerful, faving knowledge of Christ, or no, &c.) And in this KK 2