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We find also among his manuscripts this year the following poem, entitled,
"Christ dwelling in his people, is their light, life, strength, and confidence; Christ the same for ever. Man's mutability and
"The mighty God in pious hearts commands,
In holy souls his sacred empire stands.
Turn then to God; this wretched world detest;
Peace with thy God, to wicked men denied,
Thy king, thine husband, and thy guardian be.
In men repose thy confidence no more.
Men subject are to changes, only he
Doth never change, but is eternally
The same; men vary as the veering wind,
To all delusive arts and tricks inclined;
To-day they're loving, and to-day they're kind,
Trust then in God, my soul, for shelter fly
To him alone, on him alone rely."
"In imitation of Milbourn's Thomas à Kempis's Christian
Pattern, book 2, Part ii.
In the year 1709, he wrote somewhat by way of
counsel and caution concerning public testimony, in an epistle to a Friend, being as follows.
"There is a liberty in the truth, which one friend or brother may use with or towards another, and no offence should be taken at it.
"I have had at times a concern upon my mind for some months past to speak to thee in love and gentleness, and tenderly to advise thee about thy public ministry: but either convenient opportunities have been wanting; or fears of being counted forward or censorious, have stopped me hitherto from prosecuting that good and necessary intention. But now be pleased to attend unto it in writing, and accept it as friendly as I offer it to thy consideration: for I can truly say, it proceeds from unfeigned love to thee.
"I am persuaded that thou hast received a measure of that divine gift which fits and qualifies for the gospel ministry, and that the Lord hath made thee a witness of the substance of what thou deliverest in testimony.
"I fear, when thou hast in waiting upon the Lord received a little, thou dost sometimes enlarge of thyself, and launchest forth beyond the bounds of the opening, and so runnest into multiplicity of words in thy own wisdom, which proves a burden to many, and is an hurt to thyself.
"I do therefore, in tender love advise thee, to keep close to the opening, and to be content with thy measure; and thou wilt be preserved from unprofitable tautologies and burdensome repetitions, and thy gift and testimony will be acceptable.
"I have not the meaner thoughts of thee, because thou art poor or illiterate, for I believe the Lord is no respecter of persons upon any outward accounts; but doth call the poor and unlearned, as well as the rich and learned, and send them forth to labour in his harvest; yea, both Scripture and experience inform me, that he often passeth by wise men after the flesh, and chooseth the foolish things of this world to confound the wise: and therefore I glorify God for his gift in thee. But that which hath opened, and doth still open upon my mind, is, by way of tender advice, counsel, and exhortation, that thou keep to the immediate teachings of the Spirit of truth in thee, neither staying behind nor running before thy guide, but as thou receivest
from the Lord, so deliver thy declaration or testimony. That
"Thy real Friend and Brother,
In or about the year 1710, he wrote a treatise, published since his decease, (namely, 1724,) entitled, "Tractatus Hierographicus: or, a Treatise concerning the Holy Scriptures:" wherein, having first asserted the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, he proceeds to an exhortation to the diligent reading of them; and afterwards confirms, by numerous authorities, both ancient and modern, the necessity of the inward and immediate illumination of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, in order to a true and saving perception of the divine mysteries therein contained. A work, which for its usefulness is recommended as worthy the perusal of the reader.
We find also penned by him about this time, a short manuscript in Latin, expressing an humble dependence on Christ alone for salvation, which we think proper to translate, and insert.
"Forasmuch as I certainly know, though uncertain when, that I must either later or sooner die, and render an account of all my thoughts, words, and actions, unto God my Creator, Witness, and Judge; I do with most earnest supplications beseech him both night and day, that I may always lead my life in his sight, by the assistance of his divine grace, which is never
wanting unto those, who through Jesus Christ in faith and humility, do seek the same.
"I attribute nothing to my own merits, which are none; but ascribe every good thought, word, and deed, unto the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
"I acknowledge no saviour, no mediator, or advocate, but Jesus Christ, nor any propitiation for my sins, and the sins of the whole world, but him, who is the way, the truth, the light, and the life, neither is there salvation in any other: nor is there any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, Acts, iv. 12. For he is the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world, John, i. 9. And they that believe in the light and walk in it, are made the children of the light, and true disciples of Christ, and shall never come into condemnation, but shall pass from death unto life, John, v. 24. Because he is in them a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, John, iv. 14.
"As often as I err, slip, or offend, I am reproved, judged, condemned, and, through the Spirit of God exciting and enabling me, do seriously repent; whence I receive remission of sins, by the free grace of God through Jesus Christ; and forgiveness of the sins of my past life being freely granted, and confirmed in my heart by the testimony of the Holy Spirit; I earnestly pray unto God, that I may watch always, and by the grace and power of God, through faith, may be preserved, that I fall not again into sin. I also most fervently pray, that I may abstain from every appearance of evil; and that God would sanctify me wholly, and that my whole spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Thess. v. 22, 23, and that I may be perfect, as our Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matt. v. 48."
We shall next insert four manuscripts penned about this time, namely,
1. An answer to one that had charged the Quakers with denying priests, preaching, and ordinances. 2. An answer to a letter about tithes.
3. An exhortation to a faithful obedience to the light of Christ.
4. The duty of children toward their parents.
"An Answer to one that had charged the Quakers with denying priests, preaching, and ordinances."
"The testimony of truth is not simply and indefinitely against all priests, preaching, and ordinances; for, first, we believe in him who is a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec.' Heb. vii. 21, the apostle and high-priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.' Heb iii. 1. And we also own all such priests as are made by him, spoken of in Rev. i. 6, and v. 10. Priests of God all that have received the holy unction; all who are anointed and consecrated unto God. Those lively stones, that are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ: a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, who show forth the praises of him that hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light, 1 Pet. ii. 5, 9. But we cannot own those priests who are neither called of God, nor do derive their authority immediately from him; but being called and ordained by men who derive their succession through the papal line, do go forth and preach by virtue of a mere human call, power, and authority, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and making merchandize of their own imaginations, divining for money, and preparing war against those that cannot put into their mouths. These are the priests, which we do not, nor cannot own, because the Lord owns them not, neither have they any ground for their order and function in the writings of the New Testament.
"Dr. Whitaker, Regius Professor at Cambridge, in his answer to Campian the Jesuit, says, that this name [priest] is nowhere in the New Testament properly accommodated to the ministers of the gospel. And that Christ left a ministry, not a new priesthood to them.-Respons. ad Rat. 9. p. 210. And in his reply to Duræus the Jesuit, p. 808, he asserts, that seeing the gospel gives the name of priest to none but Christ in its proper signification, but by a common use of that name, calls all Christians priests; the Papists do absurdly, and very wickedly, in claiming that peculiarly to themselves, which is equally granted to all Christians.
1 Or, virtues, that is, his miraculous power, divine actions, and words together, as Dr. Hammond expounds it in his Annotations on 2 Pet. i. 3.