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C8341.903.28

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

GIFT OF
FRIENDS HISTORICAL LIBRARY
SWASTHMORE COLLEGE

JAN 16 1935

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,” (John xvii. 3.) 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 SECOND PROPOSITION.

Concerning immediate revelation. Seeing "no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him,” (Mat. xi. 27,) and seeing "the revelation of the Son 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 mov. ing of his own Spirit, he converted the chaos of this world in that wonderful order wherein it was in the beginning, and created man a living soul, to rule and govern it, so by the revelation of the same spirit he hath manifested himself all along to the sons of men, both patriarchs, prophets, and apostles: which revelations of God by the Spirit, whether by outward voices and appearances, dreams, or inward objective manifestutions in the heart, were of old the formal object of their faith, and remain yet so to be; since the object of the saint's 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 can ever contradict the outward testimony of the scriptures, or right and sound

Yet from hence it will not follow, that these divine reve.. lations are to be subjected to the examination either of the outs,

reason.

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ward 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 in ward 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 thereto; even as the common principles of natural truths move and incline the mind to a natural assent; as, that whole is greater than its part; that two contradictory sayings cannot both be true, nor both false: which is also manifest according to our adversaries principle: who, supposing the possibility of inward divine revelations, will nevertheless confess with us, that neither scripture nor sound reason will contradict it: and yet it will not follow, according to them, that the scripture, or sound reason, should be subjected to the examination of the divine revelations in the heart.

THE THIRD PROPOSITION.

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 doctrine 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 churches and their pastors: nevertheless, because they are only a declaration of the Fountain and not the Founlain 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 and may, be esteemed a secondary RULE, subordinate to the spirit, from which they have all excellency and certainty; 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 (John xvi. 13. Rom. viii. 14,) therefore, according to the scriptures, the Spirit is the first and principal leader. And seeing we do therefore receive and believe the scriptures, 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 unumquodque est tale, illud ipsum est magis tale,” English 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 mankind, (Rom. v. 12, 15,) both Jews and Gentiles, as to the first Adam or earthly man, is fallen, degenerated, and dead, deprived of the sensation of feeling of this

inward testimony or seed of God; and is subject onto the power, nature, and seed of the serpents which he sows in men's hearts, while they abide in this natural and corrupteid 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 conceptions concerning 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, wh:rewith every man 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 so 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 reprovable, and teacheth temperance, righteousness, and godliness:" (Ezek. xviii. 23, Isa. xlix. 6, John iii. 16, and i. 9, Tit. ii. 11, Eph. v. 13, Heb. ii. 9.) and this Light enlighteneth the hearts of all in a day, (pro temporë, for a time,) in order for 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. (1 Cor. xv. 22.)

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 10 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 places of the world where the outward preaching of the gospel is unknown) have well improved the first and common Grace: for hence it well follows, that as some of the old Philosophers might have been saved, so also may now some (who by Providence are cast into those remote parts of the world, where the knowledge of the History is wanting) be made partakers of the divine mystery, if they receive and resist not that grace, "a mani

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