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that sleepest, and Christ shall give thee light." Again : “ He stumbleth because there is no light in him” (John xi. 10). How could this possibly be the case if a measure of light were in all men ? “While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light” (John xii. 36): and if we inquire, What light? we have the reply, “I (Jesus Christ) am come a light into the world.”
“But now are ye light in the Lord : walk as children of light," &c. (Eph. v. 8). “That ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His" (Christ's) « marvellous light” (1 Pet. ii. 9).
If, according to Barclay, the saving light were in all men as a seed, what are we to suppose the Apostle could mean by believers in Christ being thus called “ out of darkness into his marvellous light ? ”
Again : “O send out thy light and thy truth : let them lead me" (Ps. xliii. 3): and, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isa. lx. 1). If already possessed by all, the Psalmist could hardly have prayed for its being sent forth, or the Prophet exclaim, “ Arise, shine, for thy light is come.”
That this unscriptural doctrine owes its origin in the Christian church to the Platonizing of some of the Apostolical Fathers, and to its affinity with the emanative system of the most ancient Indian, Persian, Egyptian, and Greek Philosophers, from whom they derived it, is too clear and striking to require further illustration than will be afforded in the Appendix, before referred to, and in the Notes; but it may be well to observe generally, that the notion
of Eons, or manifestations of wisdom, light, life, &c., was the ineffectual reaching forth of mere human philosophy after the hidden mysteries of the Divine Nature, in its diverse operations, both in man and in the universe. The Apostle John, who appears to have had particularly in view the refutation of these philosophizing errors, adopts a course at once natural and conclusive. Many of the passages, so strongly insisted on as containing these mystical doctrines, seem to have been directed especially against them ; and they are in fact so many antitheses. The cele. brated critic Michaelis says, “In the Gnostic system, Light, as well as Life, was a sepurate being, which gave intelligence to the mind, as Life gave vigour and motion to the body. This is denied by St. John, who asserts that the Word was the Light, that is, the giver of light....... The proofs of this position are the passages in the 8th and 9th chapters, where Christ calls himself the Light *."
The origin of this emanative system being traceable to the metaphysical philosophy of the earliest ages, it is natural enough that it should be found, under various modifications, in every quarter of the globe. It is no matter of surprise, but rather-a simple collateral proof of the wide spread of that system at a very early period.
These philosophical views, when grafted on Christianity, seem naturally to bear the poisonous fruit of fanaticism or infidelity. The early history of our own Society t affords instances of the one ; and the
Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iv: p. 293. + Those who are conversant with the early history of Friends, will not wish for the production of authorities for this assertion.
Neologians * of Germany, and the Freethinkers of Geneva and France, are awful proofs of the other.
Thus we have endeavoured to shew, that on this point Barclay's views are unscriptural. They have notwithstanding been continually defended, by almost all our writers, down to Dr. Hancock. It avails not, therefore, for us now to be told that Barclay's sentiments are no longer held by our Society; that by “Universal and Saving Light” we now mean the Spirit of Christ t, or the Holy Spirit: it may be so or not; but does this affect the question ? Barclay is our accredited Apologist; and until an expurgated edition of his book is published, we must not complain if the world call us unsound; and is it not the duty of every Evangelical Friend to protest against his “ authority?"
A very striking illustration of the manner in which one error leads to another, is afforded by the author of the “ Defence,” in some allusions which he makes to the present state of the Heathen who have never heard the Gospel. His unscriptural notion of the Universal and Saving Light, has drawn him into the
*" Of the German school of metaphysical religionists, it may be said that their á sanctus recessus mentis'--that stately temple of the human heart, which Revelation teaches us 'is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked'-is, according to their perverted theology, the fountain-head of religion—the sacred recess of the oracles of philosophy.
Where has this new philosophy found the 'vie interieure' (inward life), the sens interieur' (inward sense), or that truth so palatable to unregenerate, proud man, . que l'homme est bon par nature'?”—(Christian Gentleman.)
+ That the most recent of our writers, who takes Barclay's view of the question, considers the “ Saving Light” as distinct from the Spirit of Christ, will be seen by a passage quoted in p. 17, in which the author of the Defence speaks of “ the great doctrines, of the invisible working of Christ's Spirit, in the heart, AND of Universal Saving Light.”
strange and pernicious error of representing their spiritual condition and advantages as being influenced by the coming of Christ in the flesh. This is clearly implied, if not expressed, in the following quotations :
P. 9: “I cannot admit that mankind, universally, in this Gospel day, are placed at greater disadvantage, with regard to an immediate access to the Throne of Grace, than were the Jews before the coming of the Messiah."
P. 44: “ But the words ' kingdom of heaven' must be understood, in this case, to mean the dawn or principle of everlasting glory, with which the hearts of men were visited in this life, for their deliverance from the bondage of sin and darkness, by the appearance of Jesus Christ,-outwardly to the Jews in the days of his flesh, but inwardly both to them and to the Gentiles by his free Spirit."
P. 62: “It might, indeed, be a question with many, whether it" (the Universal and Saving Light existing in its 'unevolved, unquickened state') “was first implanted by our blessed Saviour when he was in the world, and by the Apostles, in His name, ofterwards, or had a previous existence from the beginning."
Thus, while Dr. Hancock is perfectly satisfied that all mankind have now this “ Universal Saving Light," he seems in doubt whether any one had it before the coming of Christ in the flesh. I take this to be the key to our author's strange error. Following in the steps of Penn and Barclay, he assumes that all men are now in the same condition, as living in the Gospel day, whether they have heard the Gospel preached outwardly or not. Now, as Christians under the
Gospel Dispensation are of course in the enjoyment of higher spiritual privileges than the Jews possessed under the Legal Dispensation, and as the Heathen now (according to Dr. H.) have the same privileges with Christians, one of two things must necessarily follow; either, first, the Heathen were superior in this respect to the Jews before the coming of Christ; or, secondly, their spiritual privileges are greater since His coming, than they were before. I infer from the Doctor's expressions (p. 9), that he was aware of this alternative consequence of his theory, and that he chose the second rather than the first. It is difficult to say which alternative is most erroneous, while his whole theory is utterly destitute of Scriptural support.
In conformity with the sentiments I have before expressed, I shall not offer here any lengthened observations upon that most interesting subject the state of the Heathen, and the consequent duties of the Christian Church. Leaving Dr. H. to reconcile the difficulties of his own ill-supported theory, I would, however, venture to declare my
persuasion, that in proportion to our estimate of the large blessings of the Gospel, will be our desire to participate in the duty and the privilege of communicating it to the Heathen-to those who emphatically “ have not known God," who “have not called on his name,?' who “ sit in darkness and in the shadow of death," whose “ dark places are full of the habitations of cruelty.”
In connexion with the above remarks, I feel that it is due to our common Christianity, and to the great cause of the spread of the Gospel, to declare