The Missing Cross to Purity

The Christian Progress

of George Whitehead

Part IV Continued

More Disputes with Priests and Ministers

When I heard that in several places the priests, (ministers were called priests), were preaching against us, a weighty and conscientious concern fell upon me to send a message to several of them, requesting a meeting with them in their public places or parish churches; so we could have a fair discussion in the presence of their listeners, regarding their differences or to whatever else they objected. By this method I was able to set up several public meetings with them, of which I will report some instances that occurred in 1659.

Some ministers in the county of Kent were very actively opposing us, especially in the east of Kent, around Sandwich and those parts. One in particular was Thomas Danson, a minister at Sandwich, who agreed to have a public meeting with some of our friends. When we heard the news while in London, Richard Hubberthorn, Samuel Fisher and myself, agreed to meet those priests at Sandwich; and we started our journey into Kent near the beginning of the summer.

On the day appointed, we were at Sandwich in the morning. By that time we had arrived at their parish church, (s0 called), it had grown so thronged with the grouping of people, that it was difficult to crowd in; however, they made way for us. The ministers went up near the pulpit, and we went into a pew opposite of them.

Thomas Danson was their manager in their controversy against us; and against our Christian principles, among which disputed were: the universal light of Christ in men; perfection being attainable in this life, through the power of Christ within; justification through sanctification; and about the Scriptures of truth and the true use of them, by the help of divine illumination, as truly owned and professed on our parts.

Richard Hubberthorn and I, for some time, took our turns to answer the ministers' objections and questions, according to plain Scripture. I seriously tried to have the ministers limit the discussion to arguments which they could support with the scriptures; and I also urged them to use plainness of speech to benefit the people's information and edification. At which point Thomas Danson appeared very uneasy, and wanted make his arguments in his logical way of syllogizing.* He tried to ignore me by asking Samuel Fisher to undertake the dispute in syllogisms, calling out, “Mr. Fisher, Mr. Fisher, I pray that you undertake the dispute or answer me by syllogism." Samuel was loath to take it upon himself, and humbly indicated to the people that the controversy was so well managed by his friends, Richard Hubberthorn and myself, that he had rather be silent. He further told them that his friends, (meaning the two of us), were heavier upon the priests' shoulders than he could be, disputing logically with them; for a dispute of logic would tend to keep things more hidden from the people's understandings, and thereby the priests would be more able to hide from the sight of the people.

* Syllogism is deductive reasoning in which a conclusion is derived from two premises. George Fox used to ridicule the logic of syllogisms, saying: “Since a chicken has two legs, and since people have two legs, therefore people are really chickens.”

Despite the minister making a noise to prevent me for being able to communicate with Samuel Fisher, he at last condescended to answer him by logic; in mood and figure as they termed it, and in which they held the debate for awhile. Samuel seriously pressed the minister that there was such a thing as good works. Saying that since the works of Christ in man were meritorious, such works deserved justification and salvation; and that the minister should not oppose the works or sufferings of Christ, without man, because they were meritorious. Thus arguing, if evil works deserve damnation, then good works deserve justification. His intention was the promotion of Christ's works; as distinguished from evil works that deserve damnation as a consequence.

Immediately after this the ministers tried to compare him to Bellarmine,* though very unjustly; for Samuel only pleaded for such good works that were prompted by Christ, of which he is author, as deserving works, in order to man's salvation and peace with God, as knowing, "That by grace through faith we are saved; not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has ordained that we should walk in them." And to be sure, saving grace is the gift of God, so is true faith and God's work by Christ, and it is a good work too; and also it is our duty and work to believe, when by the grace of God it is given us to believe; as when we receive that faith of the operation of God, and are really in the obedience of faith.

* Site Editor's Comments: Bellarmine was a Catholic Jesuit Cardinal who advocated works as justification – but did not specify and qualify works, as only those works directed by the Spirit of God.

The Protestants want to say: do no works, before or after you believe; if you do, you are denying Christ's sacrifice.

The Catholics say: faith without works is dead; you must lead a good life with good works to enter heaven when you die.

The true Christians say, certainly it is by faith that you are saved. Regarding works, the Catholics are half right; faith without works is dead. But, works from your fleshly mind that you think up yourself count for nothing; works have to start with repentance and obedience to the cross. Your works are then works done, energized by faith, in obedience to the direction of God, and done in the love of God - works of obedience are the only works that count. And the cross is the beginning for any true seeker.

Their chief objection was that any sanctification or holiness wrought in man by Christ is imperfect in this life, therefore not justifying. Which is still to invalidate Christ's work, and lessen his dignity, or worthiness and merit, who did not deserve to suffer, but deserved to reign and rule. Christ did not merit his sufferings, but deserved his kingdom and glory therein; and his merit redound to our justification and salvation, both by his own obedience to the Father, and also by his work of righteousness and sanctification, which he perfects in us, if we "continue in the faith grounded and settled."

Site Editor's Comments: Further on the works controversy throughout Christianity.
The priests were arguing against Christ being able to change a man to be holy, because they assumed they had been saved by grace, simply due to their belief that Christ is the Son of God, baptism, communion, etc.
And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Rom 11:6
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:8-9.
It is faith and grace that saves. We are not saved by works, but by grace resulting from our faith in Jesus. Very true!
But slaves of depravity twist grace to be instantly complete and to justify DOING NOTHING, even repenting!
Per Paul: Grace teaches what to deny and how to live in a godly way that leads to purity.
Titus 2:11-14
These whitewashed false prophets have the audacity to claim that the cross and repentance is 'works;'
Going beyond ridiculous, they tell you that if you do anything, you will loose your salvation by falling under the law.
This is a malicious distortion of the truth, dreamed up by lazy, evil men, devoid of any sense of godliness.
Works without faith in Christ count for nothing with God. But works energized by faith in Christ are essential.
Paul said, I declared..that they should repent, turn to God, and
do works befitting repentance. Acts 26:20
The cross is only obedience, and
those who oppose it are headed for destruction, for their god is their belly. Phil 3:19
You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
James 19-20
Paul further said, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
Philippians 2:12
Again Paul said, grace results in a people zealous for good works.
Titus 2:14
Jesus said, unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Luke 13:3. Repentance requires effort on your part.
And, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:19 (Zealous is -ardent desire, enthusiastic).
Jesus further said, Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.
Mat 11:29
Jesus said, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Luke 9:23
Jesus said, I have not found thy works perfect before God.
Rev 3:2-3. Jesus wants perfect works.
Jesus said, Stop toiling and doing and producing for the food that perishes and decomposes,
but strive and work and produce rather for the food which endures unto life eternal. John 6:27
James said: You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:24
So works are essential to realizing righteousness, purity, salvation, and the Kingdom - given to us by faith and grace.
Paul again: I declared.. that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Acts 26:20

The dispute between Samuel Fisher and the priest about good works, and the priests' undue reflections on them held for some time longer. In the meanwhile the pews were being broken by the crowd and pressure of the people with great damage being done to their seats; so much so, that the next day a meeting was appointed in a fairly large room in their schoolhouse, where they could not do such damage, if any.

In the schoolhouse the priests got together again. Thomas Danson was still the foreman. We begin discussing the same subjects of the day before, about Christ and his light, and work of grace within, or in men, in order to accomplish the justification and salvation of those who truly believe and obey him in his light, which he has given every man.

I was speaking regarding our Lord Jesus Christ, and explaining some weighty and essential matters relating to salvation, according to the holy Scriptures, that I might clear my conscience to the people. Shortly after I began, the priests appeared impatient for me to finish, and encouraged some of their rude congregation to make a loud, confusing noise.The noise was so loud that I was forced to speak very loudly to be heard for a little while longer, greatly wishing I might have an opportunity to fairly clear my conscience; but the opposing people were not so civil, nor did the priests quiet their supporters, which would have been the civil thing to do.

I have often observed in disputes with many of the priests, when they were pressured to stay on the subject under debate, and if they have lost several points of dispute, they use this trick of raising a confused noise and clamor among their hearers, to prevent the truth from being heard, and to hide themselves from being detected; which treatment is a poor piece of deception and school-boyish. Persecutors used to send soldiers with their drums into our religious assemblies to make a hideous noise so that we might not be heard by the people, either in preaching the gospel, or in public and fervent prayer to Almighty God, in the name and spirit of his dear Son Jesus Christ. However, we knew that the Lord often heard us, to our comfort and great encouragement. When we were opposed and encompassed by the greatest noises and tumults of our adversaries and persecutors; they could never stop the ear of the Almighty, which is always open to the prayers of the righteous. But to return to the account of our treatment at the schoolhouse. While the rude company made a noise to prevent me from being heard, our friend Samuel Fisher tried to silence the people, that he might be heard; using the words of Job, “Allow me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on." Sometimes he and the rest of us obtained some breaks of silence, and were heard. We were confidently aware of the Lord's answer and truth that was with us; and since our sincere endeavors were for the discovery and advancement of truth, we were more relaxed and comforted in our spirits; though our adversaries, the priests, were left uneasy, retaining their prejudice and enmity against us, and our testimony for the truth in life and power. Thomas Danson afterwards published an envious book to reproach us, falsely styled, The Quakers' folly made manifest to all men; in which he gave us the opportunity to expose his own and his brethren's ignorance and envy, as they are clearly shown and detected in our answers; one entitled, The voice of wisdom uttered against antichrist's folly," by George Whitehead, printed in 1659; and more especially in Samuel Fisher's ample answer to Thomas Danson and others of his brethren, entitled, Rusticus and Academics, first printed in 1660, to which I never heard of any answer or reply made or attempted by any of them.

Having notice that Henry Johnson, a priest of Emneth in Norfolk, had preached or exclaimed publicly against the people called Quakers and their principles, I wrote a note and I sent it to him by our friend Richard Sanden. In the note I requested a public meeting with him in their parish church, so called, before his audience, that we might have a fair dispute or examination of those points or matters in which we differed. He consented to this meeting in a paper, which he returned to me; attached were seventeen questions to discuss. He thought he could limit our our opinions and persuasions - as his terms were - that he expected me to only answer yes or no to each question at the time of the public discussion. Because we did not have the opportunity to discuss or examine all his questions at that first meeting which we had, and because he did not wish to further dispute at that time, I think convenient first to insert all his questions with particular answers, and then to give some account of the major parts of our discussion. The questions and answers follow:

1. Whether Jesus Christ has a body glorified in the heavens, distant and distinct from the bodies of his saints here below?
. Yes, as a glorified body is distinct from natural or earthly bodies, and heaven from the earth.

2. Whether the blood that Jesus Christ shed at Jerusalem, is the blood that believers are justified by? Or whether he dies in men for their justification?
Both sanctification, forgiveness of sins, cleansing from sin and justification, are sometimes ascribed to the blood of Christ, and to the spirit of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ, which effects, works and manifests the same in all true believers.

But here are two questions put for one; the first appears not a scriptural or proper question, Where does the Scripture use those words, namely: "the blood that Jesus Christ shed?" Seeing it was by wicked hands he was put to death, and his blood shed upon the cross? Yet as the blood of Jesus Christ is put for, or represents his life which he laid down, and even the offering and sacrifice of himself at Jerusalem, that was a most acceptable sacrifice and of a sweet smelling savor to God, for mankind, respecting his great dignity and obedience, who humbled himself even to the death of the cross, and gave himself a ransom for all men, for a testimony in due time. And his sacrifice, mediation and intercession, has opened a door of mercy for mankind to enter in at, through true repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, which are wrought in man, who obeys, his call to it, only by his grace and good spirit, unto sanctification and justification, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of God is made unto as wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. God's great love toward mankind was manifest in his dear Son Jesus Christ; "And God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself not imputing their trespasses unto them."

The latter question of the second, is groundless and perverse. We know neither Scripture nor minister among us that asserts Christ's dying in men for their justification, but that once he died, i. e. for our sins, and rose again for our justification, and that he ever lives to make intercession, and death has no more dominion over him. Christ Jesus lives and reigns forever in the power and glory of the Father, although some are said to crucify to themselves the Lord of life afresh, and to tread under foot the Son of God, which cannot be taken properly in a literal sense; but by their contempt of truth, and doing despite to his spirit of grace, as some malicious apostates have done, not to their justification, but condemnation.

What any of us, or among us, have spoken or written of the seed or word which the Son of man, Jesus Christ, sows in men's hearts; and of the same being oppressed, or suffering in some, or as being choked with worldly cares and the love of riches in others, these and many such like expressions may have been used, according to the parables and allegories, which Christ Jesus himself spoke, relating to the kingdom of heaven, the Word or Seed of life and grace, sown by him in men's hearts; and likewise of grieving, vexing and quenching his spirit in them, by their disobedience; and yet by all these, never to intend or mean, that Christ himself properly dies in men for their justification, although his spirit is both grieved and quenched in many; and many do lose the true sense of his living Word in themselves, by allowing their soul's enemy to draw out their minds from that seed, that word, that light, that spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ in them, which, in itself, in its own being, never dies. The immortal Seed, the immortal Word, is of an immortal Being, though many are dead thereunto, in their trespasses and sins.

3. Whether this individual body of ours shall be raised at the last day?
. This appears an unscriptural, as well as an unlearned and dubious question, if not anti-scriptural. If he means this our natural, numerical body of flesh, blood and bones, the testimony of the apostle Paul may both answer and refute his question, the resurrection body being not natural, but spiritual, not flesh and blood, for they cannot inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor 15:49-50. And how is this earthly body of ours individual, if it may be divided and parted into pieces and small particles, or dissolved into dust, or in the earth, or in the sea, or in the fire into smoke or air. Nevertheless God gives a body as it pleases him, and to every seed his own body; yes, to every soul its own proper body.

4. Whether any saints before death are sinless?
Answer. Yes, those saints whom Christ sanctifies and cleanses from all sin, as he does all true and constant saints.

5. Whether the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three distinct persons or substances?
We do not find them so termed, as three distinct persons, in holy Scripture, but rather three witnesses, or three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and Holy Spirit, and these three are one spirit. 1 John 5:6-8.

6. Whether water baptism is a gospel ordinance?
Answer. No, it was typical, and rather legal, as it was John Baptist's ministration, than a gospel ordinance, though sometimes permitted or condescended to in the church's infancy. But if by water baptism he meant sprinkling infants, that is no real baptism, nor gospel ordinance, but rather is Ranterism, and a tradition of the Catholic church, than any gospel ordinance.

7. Whether the Scriptures are the rule of your faith and life, or the Spirit?
. We do not find that the Scriptures call themselves the rule of faith and life, but refer us to the Holy Spirit to be our guide into all truth; and they testify of Christ, as He is the way to the Father, even the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We do therefore truly esteem the holy Scriptures as a subordinate rule or directory, directing us to Him who is the principal or chief guide, way, or rule of faith and life; and we do sincerely acknowledge that the holy Scriptures contain many divine rules, precepts and doctrines, relating to our most holy faith and life.

8. Whether children of darkness have the light of Christ within them?
They have some degree of light from Christ in them, though it shines in darkness, as a light shining in a dark place, otherwise they could not come, nor be translated out of darkness; they must believe in the light, in order to become children of the light; and therefore Christ exhorted, “to Believe in the light, that you may be children of the light."

9. Whether what is a sin in a saint, is a the same as sin in a wicked man?
The act of sin and every transgression of the law of Christ, is sin in fact, in whomever it occurs; but for the saints, or sanctified in Christ, who dwell in him, He doesn't allows sin to dwell in them, nor allows to commit it; "whoever abides in him sins not.”

10. Whether there is any moral difference on Sabbath days under the gospel?
Answer. No, not as was under the law in the question of sabbaths, which were a shadow of the true rest to Israel, and are ended in Christ, who is the faithful soul's everlasting rest and finish of the Sabbath. Yet there is, and may be a religious reason for an occasional difference made in days under the gospel, as where a day is or may be dedicated unto the Lord; especially in religious worship days, and particularly as was and is on the first-day of the week among the apostles and the early church.

The Apostle Paul was tender in this case, allowing that one man entertaining and regarding one day above another, and another man's days are every day alike, and about meats, and not to judge one another; "But let him, said he, be fully persuaded in his own mind;”  yet he condemns the Jewish and customs and observation of days, meats, and drink.

Site Editor's Comment: While observation of a day is a matter of individual conscience, in which one should be fully persuaded. For a group of believers to observe a special day is definitely wrong, and a form of religion, which is condemned by Paul: But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain. Gal 4:9-11. And if your church leader says you should observe certain days, or certain foods, you are listening to a false prophet; as Paul says: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days, Col 2:16. So an individual can choose to celebrate certain days; but the church, as policy or rule, cannot for it is a form of law.

11. Whether it is a duty for Christians to eat the Lord's supper with bread and wine?
r. In this question, the man avoids the question of imposing and taking for granted bread and wine, as ministered by the priest to be the Lord's supper - which I must deny until proved by Scripture. For that which is called properly the Lord's supper, was when He and his disciples ate the passover. Luke 22:15-20. There is no necessity now for any of us to celebrate that supper, for that supper was celebrated and fulfilled by Christ. And the passover and outward bread and wine or cup, were typical and shadows of things to come in the body of Christ Jesus, and in him, unto his actual believers and followers, who are made partakers of Christ the substance – hear him knock, open the door, and receive him so that he sups with them, and they with him. Rev 3:20.

12. Whether an outward mission, by laying-on of hands, with fasting and prayer, ordains themselves to the work of ministry, and is according to gospel order?
Answer. An outward mission by these, without an inward divine call, is not sufficient justification for anyone to be Christ's minister or pastor; neither have they any divine basis to commission ministers by their laying-on of hands, fasting or prayer, who have no divine call nor authority given to them by Christ for that purpose; but those who conclude these practices to be their call, also claim that revelation and prophecy are long since ceased.

13. Whether the Scriptures is the ordinary means to create faith in men's hearts?
Answer. No.
A. Not without the help of the holy Spirit and light, to give the true understanding of them.
B. Not the ordinary means to create faith in men's hearts in a limited or universal sense, as if none could have faith without them, for God may make, and has made, use of other means than the Scriptures, as by preaching the gospel in spirit and power:

1) By his works in the creation.
2) Chiefly by the word of faith [not scripture] in men's hearts, which is the efficient cause or begetting and working faith in them, being faith of the operation of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher or our faith.

Nevertheless, when the holy Scriptures are opened and applied by the Spirit, they often assist to create faith in many men's hearts.

14. Whether the Scriptures need any interpretation and reconciliation?
Yes, to the first part; many Scriptures are mysterious, allegorical, parabolic, and prophetic, and need to be interpreted and opened by the Spirit from where they came, but not by man's human or fleshly wisdom, or private interpretation; for the natural man does not perceives, nor can he know things of the Spirit of God, because they are spiritually discerned. Neither need the holy Scriptures reconciliation in themselves; for they are harmonious, and do agree, and the Scripture cannot be broken.

15. Whether the divine nature of Jesus Christ is united to the bodies of believers, as was to his own personal body in Judea?
No; although true believers who are Christ's members, are spiritually united to him, and members of his body, and made partakers of his divine nature; yet not the same fullness as it is in Him who is the Head, in whom it has pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell.

16. Whether the pope or Rome is antichrist, and papacy antichristian?
Yes, to both.

17. Whether George Whitehead will take oath of abjuration, and renounce the pope?
George Whitehead has not a renunciation or denial of the pope or popery to now make, having never owned either, but always utterly denied and disowned both: although George Whitehead may not swear to such renunciation, because for conscience sake he may not swear at all; either by that oath of abjuration, i. e. to renounce the pope, or by any other oath, lest he should fall into condemnation; Mat 5:33-37, James 5:12.

Thus I have conscientiously answered the foregoing questions, some of them more largely for the information of others, than they deserved, and more particularly than we could have time then to dispute, for we could go through but a few of them; and Henry Johnson had enough disputes upon those which we discussed.

A brief account of our discourse on some of the foregoing questions follows.

We met in their parish church, as it is called, the 2nd day of the first month, 1659, and a great audience was present, among which were several of our friends called Quakers. Henry Johnson had entered upon his interrogations or questions, before cited and answered. To his first question, I gave a direct answer: For the glorious body of Christ is in heaven, according to the answer already given.

Since my first answer was direct and plain, according to Scripture, he could not get any advantage against us and so accused our friend Richard Sanders to have stated that Christ had no body; when the contrary had been proved and shown by Richard Sanders confessing that Christ has a glorious body; i. e., peculiar and proper to Christ himself, according to Scripture language. He questioned Henry Johnson's words about Christ's body in heaven being a human body, consisting of flesh and bones. It was the word human, as ascribed to Christ's glorious body in heaven that was disputed by Richard Sanders and others. This case was not a scriptural term; and though it is applied to mankind, yet it is relative to man; in relation to the earthy part, as Aumanus relates to humus, the ground or earth, out or which man, the first Adam, was taken and formed. And therefore that term was thought too low to ascribe to the second Adam, or his glorious body, who is the Lord from heaven; not an earthly man, but a heavenly man, both morally and essentially. However, we would be satisfied for a Scripture proof of Christ having a human body in his heavenly glorified state. Although our adversary promised to prove this by Scripture, he could not. Instead, he kept repeating his assertion of the same thing or term in question. And when that was insufficient, then he resorted to logic with syllogisms; using such expressions as these, namely: "Christ is in heaven in our human nature he took upon him, of our flesh and blood," etc.

Question. But is he in heaven now in the self same manner as he was on earth in the days of his flesh, when he took upon him the form or a servant, and was made like unto us in all things, sin only excepted?

He added this question for further consideration.

I suppose no real Christian will presume to affirm, that Christ as he is now in heaven and glory, is still like unto us in all things, both in his glorious body, matter, manner, and form thereof, sin only excepted. For if any affirmed this, it would then follow, that they might as well say we are already now so like Christ Jesus in his glorified state in heaven, and our bodies now on earth are so like his glorious body in heaven, that they do not need to be changed or fashioned like his glorious body; Phil.3:21; for their bodies are already like His glorious body, if he is like us in all things, except for sin; He has not sin.  Heb 2:17,4:15.

Surely no true Christian here on earth can entertain any such high thoughts of himself in his low earthy body, as that he is very like Christ and his glorious body. But rather let us all be humble and self-denying, and little in our own eyes, and exalt Christ above ourselves, and let him have the glory and pre-eminence in all things; to whom be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Let us all who profess Christ and Christianity, labor to be truly conformable to his example of humility, innocence and truth when on earth, that we may be with him, where he is, and see his glory in heaven.

I have somewhat enlarged and argued here upon this point, more than was required in our referenced discussion, or was then necessary: for the first question was not much insisted on by either side, being fairly answered at first; although the parson was willing to show some of his skill in logic, when he argued in this manner.

Priest’s Argument. If Christ had a human body of flesh and bones when he was upon earth; then he has a human body in heaven, consisting of flesh and bones; but since Christ had such a body upon earth, therefore [proof].

The first proposition, or major part of the argument being general, is liable to fair dispute; that is, taking it for granted, that whatever Christ had when he was upon earth, he must necessarily have the same now in heaven. Extending this faulty logic, then he must have natural food, meat, drink and clothing in heaven, like he had upon earth; and sometimes suffer hunger in heaven as he did upon earth; but these we have no reason to believe concerning him, now in his glorified condition. He is far above all the those human necessities, weaknesses, and suffering state. Since the priests’ logic was short of Scripture proof, it was taken little notice of.

Upon his fourth question he showed his opinion and doctrine, which was: That none of the saints are freed from sin while upon earth; however the saints are freed from the guilt of sin, [ thus their ridiculous logic says that Christ has made sin easier by removing the restraint of the law, allowing us to sin with no penalty, and allowing us to be even more unrighteous than the Pharisees.]
This doctrine is expressly contrary to the apostle's doctrine; "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." And it is very inconsistent to teach that men may be free from the guilt of sin, when they either continue in sin or commit sin; or to tell them they cannot be free from sin during life, and yet not guilty of sinning; which is no better doctrine than to tell them, a man that is addicted to stealing, or often steals his neighbor's goods is not guilty of theft, or is no thief, though he actually steals. Their doctrine is miserable! This is using untempered mortar [which will crumble, causing the building to fall] to daub and soothe up sinners in their sins, and to strengthen the hands of evil doers - as false prophets did - that they may not repent and forsake their sins!

The priest, in opposition to my answer regarding freedom from sin, said that the believers mentioned in Heb 12:22-23, as having come to mount Zion and to the general assembly and church of the first born, and the spirits of just men made perfect, was not while upon earth, but in heaven and at the resurrection. This logic extended to Paul having written to the believing Hebrews after they were dead, and no longer on the earth, but after their departure into heaven. The priest was out of reason on this, and in conflict with the Scripture.

And further, to oppose the doctrine of perfection, of sanctification, or freedom from sin in this life, the priest objected, that our preaching that men may attain to perfection before death, renders the mediation of Christ useless. But in this he was mistaken also; for Christ Jesus, by his mediation and intercession, has in great love and mercy undertaken to be our advocate with the Father, to reconcile us to God; and to obtain mercy, reconciliation and peace for mankind, he made intercession as well as suffered for the transgressor; and also he appears in the presence of God for us, making intercession for the saints, according to the will of God, and that for their preservation and help, that they may be preserved and kept from the evil of the world; and also if any man sins, or be overtaken with a fault, and not willfully, we  have this our advocate with the Father, “even Jesus Christ the righteous." As he said to Peter, "I have prayed for you, that you not fail.” Therefore that true believers of Christ may attain to perfect sanctification and freedom from sin, by his power, help and assistance, even in this life, is so far from rendering his mediation useless, that it renders the same very useful, for their safety and help, against the temptations of Satan and sin.

The eighth question was their principal insistence, and concerned the controversy of the light within man, upon which question Henry Johnson affirmed, that the children of darkness, or wicked men, as drunkards, swearers, etc., have no spiritual light in them; quoting Isaiah 8:20.

In answer to this, I insisted on John 1:9: That was the true light, which enlightens every man that comes into the world; which is spoken and predicated of Christ the eternal Word, the Son of God, as being that true light. And also verse 4: In him was life, and the life was the light of men; which life and light therefore is not natural, but spiritual and divine. It was the life that was in him, which was the light of all men.

To which the priest replied, that Christ enlightens every man, as in John 1:9; but it is not with the light of grace, but with a natural light; and that the life of Christ, or which was in him, which is the light of men, is not the light of grace, but a natural light. Another priest then present to help him, in like manner imposed his opinion, which was, that the wicked have the light of conscience, but not any saving, spiritual light in them.

Thus far both these ministers, then esteemed priests, imposed their own opinions against the light, and contrary to holy Scripture testimony also; and instead of Scripture proof, stated that the light in every man is only natural, a light of conscience, and not spiritual, nor the light of grace, etc. Henry John soon again fell to his logic, and thus syllogized from Isa 8:20 the following:

Argument. If there are some men or persons in whom there is no light, then there are some men who have no spiritual light in them; because there are some men in whom there is no light [even the Light that enlightens all men who come into the world].

I inverted his argument against himself, in this way:  If [as the Priest said] there are some men in whom there is no light, then there are some men in whom there is no natural light; which is a plain contradiction to what he has asserted, namely: That there is a natural light in every man; and his advocate, the other priest, confessed that the wicked have the light of conscience in them. Therefore by their own confession, there is some light in every man; so that the argument drawn from having no light in them, falls to the ground by their contrary confession. And as to that in Isa 8:20; to the law and to the testimony; if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. This does not appear according to the Hebrew text, as I told them they might see in the margin of many Bibles; Heb. No morning, instead of No light; in which there is manifest difference between no light and no morning; and they would not affirm that there is no light before morning, or in the night time in the creation: and to apply the matter to a spiritual sense, respecting the divine Word or Light in man, the same appears and shines gradually until the darkness is dispelled and past. The same Word shines as a light in a dark place, even in men's hearts, until the day dawn and the day star arise in them. It is the just man's path, who obeys and walks in the light, and shines more and more until the perfect day. David esteemed this divine Word, the Light, to be as a lantern to his feet, and a light unto his path; and surely the use of a lantern is before the morning, chiefly in the night time.

After I had fairly evidenced the priest's contradiction, from his logic or argument, before cited, and insisted upon the Hebrew note on Isa. 8:20, No morning, ..., the said Henry Johnson and his assistant soon ceased disputing and withdrew, the assembly continuing peaceable, and generally serious and attentive to the conclusion; so much so, that I had a good opportunity to demonstrate the truth among them, the Lord standing by me and assisting me with his divine power and presence, and his gospel testimony; glory to his worthy and excellent name forever. Thus we, ( I and our friends), and the assembly quietly parted, without any reflection or words of contempt against us, or any of us, or our principles, that I can remember.

Although those of the Presbyterian or Independent priesthood had gotten so high in those days, especially the parish priests, that they would scarcely allow any of us to bear testimony for the truth, or to preach the gospel of Christ, according to our gifts, in their public assemblies, or places termed parish churches, without either imprisonment or being violently haled or pushed out of doors, as we have been often so uncivilly treated, and hardly used through their instigations, and incensing people against us, though we have patiently heard them out, and stayed until they had ended sermon and prayer; yet some of them, even of their priests, have many times come into our meetings, and without cause made opposition and disturbance, as persons envying our liberty of meeting religiously together to worship God, according to our conscientious persuasions, in which they did not do for us as they would be done by themselves. However, we would not allow any violence to be done to any of them in our assemblies, but civilly treated them, and soberly answered their objections, and with meekness endeavored to inform their understandings and rectify their mistakes concerning us and our principles; finding that many of them were ignorant and had taken up reproaches against us from reports of others, which were false and malicious.

I had a meeting at Stephen Hart's, by the palace yard at Westminster, which was thronged with more than the room could well contain, of our friends and other people of many sorts and ranks. The meeting continued quiet until near the end, and the people appeared generally well satisfied with the clear and plain testimony the Lord enabled me to bear.

At last a priest, one Thomas Smith of Cambridge, keeper of the University Library, stood up and made opposition, with a charge against the Quakers, as being heretics, as bringing in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them; applying and perverting that Scripture, 2 Pet 2:1. But could not produce any proof, or color or proof against the Quakers, or any of us, or any such heresy or denial of the Lord that bought us-who gave himself a ransom for us, and for all men-either by our doctrine or conversation. Contrariwise we were, and still are deeply obliged to confess him both in doctrine and practice, for his great love in giving himself for us, to redeem us from all iniquity, and for his light and grace given to us for that end, that we might receive and experience that redemption through his blood, which he obtained for us. Therefore, blessed be his glorious name, we are far from denying the Lord that bought us.

The said priest being more confident and loud in his charge than proof, and there being denial of Christ the Lord in practice, as well as in doctrine, I turned the same Scripture, 2 Pet 2, upon the priest, which he brought against me and my friends called Quakers, reading to the people several verses of the same Scripture, to show what teachers they were who denied the Lord that bought them, whose ways were pernicious, verse 2: and many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of; verse 3: And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not. And verse 14: Having eyes full of adultery. and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children. Verse 15: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

Upon my urging these Scriptures, 2 Pet 2, against the covetous priests' practices, which are against Christ and his doctrine, and consequently a denial of him [as their Lord and Master]; as also against their doctrine, by which they teach, that no man can be freed from sin in this life, so that they cannot cease from sin while they believe they cannot or may not be freed from it in this life; thereby they also deny the Lord that bought them, in their denying the end and purpose or his purchasing or redeeming mankind, and of his being made manifest to destroy the works of the devil, and to redeem us from all iniquity, for which end he gave himself for us. See 1 John 3:8, Titus 2:14.

To ignore his commands to stop sinning, not even admitting it is possible, is to deny as Lord and Master. Jesus himself said that if you sin, you are a slave to sin. John 8:34. If you are still sinning, sin is your master, and the Lord cannot be your Lord or Master because as the Lord said, you cannot serve two masters. From the Word of the Lord within: "Remember, every person who sins, denies Him as Lord and Master." It is not what your lips say, it is how you conduct yourself that shows whether Jesus is your Lord or not.]

I say, upon my urging the Scriptures cited were, against the covetous practices of priests, and their not ceasing from sin, but rather arguing for it in this life, our dispute at that time soon came to an end — the priest had enough of it. He had unjustly charged the Quakers with damnable heresies, even as unjustly as the persecuting Papists typically branded the martyrs with being heretics when they desired to murder and destroy them. But the controversy did not end here; the library keeper later tried his strength and skill further against us.

The same summer of 1659, the Lord required me to visit Friends' meetings in Cambridgeshire, and the areas adjacent at Cambridge. I had several meetings, both on First and other days, where, to one meeting on a week day, the library keeper came to oppose us; his design still being to prove me a heretic, but with no better success than he had before at Westminster. He made a poor showing; and yet seemed willing to have another public meeting to dispute the point with me, which I readily granted; and he soon withdrew out of our meeting for that time.

I and another Friend went to the mayor of Cambridge, to ask permission to have our meeting for the dispute at the guild-hall, suspecting Friends' meeting house would not contain the people. The mayor being a moderate man, and his wife a friend of ours, after some consideration signified to us, that he dared not let us have the guild-hall, for fear the scholars would do some mischief when a great number of them were gathered together; but he told us, that if we met at our own meeting-house, which was over against Sidney college, he would send his officers to keep the peace, or to see the peace kept; which accordingly he did.

On the day of our meeting to dispute, came our learned antagonist, Thomas Smith, attended with a great company of scholars of several degrees, bachelors and masters of art, etc. He again resumed his old charge against us of being heretics, having had time to study some new arguments for proof, and then proceeded with his logic and syllogisms, and I did not at all go about to prevent his essay that way, being willing to watch him, and see what he would make of it; and the following is what he attempted:

Smith: A Papist is a heretic. Since the Quakers are Papists, Quakers are heretics.

G. Whitehead. I deny the minor, or second part of the argument; that is, I deny that we are Papists.

Smith. He that refuses to take the oath of abjuration is a Papist; since you refuse to take the oath of abjuration, you are Papists.

G. Whitehead. I except against the major, or first part of the argument, and the consequence deduced from it, for the following reasons: Christ has commanded us, "not to swear at all.." Mat 5:34. And his apostle James likewise forbids all swearing; saying, "Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yes be yes; and your no, no; for fear you fall into condemnation."

Now suppose the apostle James were here present, to maintain this doctrine against all swearing, or taking any oath, he must refuse the oath of abjuration, because it is an oath; he must obey the doctrine of his Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Then by this person's way of arguing against me and the Quakers, he would be charged with being a Papist and heretic; for by refusing to swear at all, or to take any oath, he must refuse to take the oath of abjuration. And thus the argument consequently unjustly charges or reflects upon Christ and his holy apostles; to which the priest could make no reply, to clear himself from the absurdity and fallacy of his argument and false charge.

For their doctrine of the trinity, to prove three separate persons in the deity, about which he questioned us, he argued as follows: That when Christ was baptized, one person, i. e. God, was in heaven; another person, i. e. his Son, was in the water, and the Holy Ghost descending upon him like a dove, therefore, etc.

Another argument was, If they are three he's, then they are three persons; but they are three he's, therefore [proof]. What rare logic was this! What absurdities may not be drawn from this logic? But when he failed in his arguments so that he was detected, some of the scholars who stood by would say to him, "Leave that off;" by which I understood they meant, drop that argument, or let it fall, or evade it, and slide off to some other point or argument, as he did. And this I have found to be the shift and subterfuge of many adversaries, to evade a fair disqualification of the question or point in hand; so much so, that I have often called out upon them to keep to the point in hand and not to evade the subject or shift to another subject.

This is a brief account of the discourse at that meeting, though much short of what passed; the matter in question, and several points being answered more fully in print, in two books, the one entitled, Truth defending the Quakers and their principles; in which fifty-five queries or questions, put forth by the said Thomas Smith, who was esteemed the author, are answered. The truth of it is, he appeared so ignorant of our principles, that it seemed necessary for him to make such large inquiry into them, more for his own better information, than for our confutation.

The other book of ours in reply to him, is entitled, The Key of Knowledge, not found in the University Library of Cambridge. The said Thomas Smith pretended to great learning or reading in some oriental tongues, and as I remember, I have seen in print some boast of that kind.

Our dispute was managed in such moderation, that the meeting continued pretty quietly until it ended, and the scholars were generally civil. We were aware that the truth had gained ground at that meeting, and we came out very easy and comforted in our spirits; i. e. George Fox Jr., and the rest of Friends and friendly people, who were present with me at that time.

In those day I had many good meetings in the town of Cambridge with effective service for the truth. The meetings were generally peaceful. Although I was concerned otherwise, the scholars were more civil towards me we expected. Many of them would stand to hear the truth quietly, with great attention; and I often felt the Lord's power over their spirits in our meetings. Some time after I left them, I heard that Friends had a meeting that was disturbed, and some of them were abused at their meetings by the scholars. I was sorry to hear that this was partly due to some striving with them, out of the wisdom of God. I heard this and the several circumstances related by Friends, by which it plainly appeared, that the devil, or evil spirit, might be more easily raised and let loose than subdued or bound. I have observed that when I and other public brethren have, in a meeting in that place, met with opposition, if it was by any person of understanding or learning that would conduct himself soberly, we could have some fair and quiet discussion, tending to inform and edify; and the scholars present would demean themselves with attention, as persons willing to receive instruction. But if a vain, irreligious person came into meeting to scoff, deride, laugh at us, or show contempt against our Christian testimony, such a person served as a base and wicked instrument of satan that raised levity or laughter in some of the loose scholars, to their fall and shame.

One time an old naturally blind priest with some company came to our meeting; he was said to have been blind from a child. They behaved themselves pretty civilly.  The priest seemed to be a learned person, and wished to question me about the trinity, whether I believed in the trinity or not. I answered him in terms of holy Scriptures: "That I really own, and believe the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost, are the three which bear record in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one," according to the doctrine of John the evangelist. 1 John 5:7.

But this answer would not please the priest, and I would give him no other. I would not enter into a dispute about three distinct persons, which the priest would have drawn me into; not being free in point of conscience to give other names or appellations to the one true God, than what are given in holy Scriptures. I did not deem it safe to use unscriptural, or metaphysical, or school terms, in such a sacred point as that of the deity; so I kept to plain Scripture terms and language.

At which point the priest being disappointed or an answer in his own terms, replied, "You say there are three; three what?" I answered again, "The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost." The priest still unsatisfied, repeated his question again; "Then what?" I answered again, what the Scripture terms them: "the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and the three are one," as before. Nothing would satisfy the priest but, Three persons, as to his reiterated question, “Three what?" If I had answered witnesses, that would not have done, though more Scriptural than the other; for God is witness, Christ the faithful witness; his Spirit bears witness, being the three that bear record, or witness, in heaven, the Father, the Word, and Holy Ghost. This was a safe, sufficient answer from which I therefore would not be moved, but insisted upon in Scripture terms; at which point that dispute quickly and quietly broke off.

Site Editor's Note: These three are one, not three persons, [but certainly one Spirit]. The word Trinity, never referenced in the Bible, is a man-made invention in an attempt to explain the these three referred as above. The Quakers insisted they were not three persons, but rather one spirit. This is a mystery which is best left to scriptural terms to be described, as Whitehead explains above. Even with additional understanding received from your Teacher, you should not attempt to communicate that understanding beyond the scriptural language of 1 John 5:7, unless specifically ordered to do so. Penn and Whitehead had gotten into considerable unresolved controversy attempting explanations beyond the scriptural language; for any elaboration, however true, is impossible to prove without scriptural backup. At the risk of violating my own advice, consider the following scriptures:

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one. 1 John 5:7

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD, Deu 6:4

The three persons Trinity, a three persons of God, is a great blasphemy to the Jews and Muslims. Unfortunately it is a man-made invention of the Roman Catholic sect, without a single reference to it in the Bible; invented to explain the unexplainable to a man's fleshly mind.
God is light. God is a consuming fire. God is a spirit. Jesus is is the sole expression of the glory of God. Christ is the image of the invisible God. Col.1:5-20.

Revelation 5:6 describes the Lamb [
obviously Christ] as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. and
These are the words of Him Who has the seven Spirits of God, Rev 3:1. and
there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. Rev 4:5

So seven spirits can represent God and the Lamb or Christ; and this is the Holy Spirit. Fortunately no one yet has suggested there are seven gods; (or worse - seven spirits each for the three so-called persons, making twenty-one Gods - which is of course ridiculous). Perhaps you can see how erroneous a three person God is.

We know that natural light consists of seven different colors and wavelengths; infrared, red, orange, green, blue, violet, ultraviolet. The Light and Spirit, both names for God, are similarly made up of seven spirits of God that are still one; not seven different lights, not seven different Gods.

There was a people termed Manifestarians, Universalists, or Free-willers, and Mooreans by some, at Lynn Regis, in the county of Norfolk, and some other places adjacent, about the Fenn country. They had that name, Mooreans, given them from Thomas Moor, their chief minister or leader, who proselytized  and gathered a congregation to himself, and ruled over them while they were under his ministry. Among them I have been very credibly informed, there were many persons who had living desires and stirrings in them after the Lord and his power, so much that some of them were drawn at times to meet together somewhat privately, to wait upon the Lord God, to feel his power and spirit to move in them, to pray and to utter words for edification, and exciting one another to an inward and spiritual worship and devotion toward God. Of this some of them accordingly came, in measure, to have some touches and sense inwardly, which brought fear and trembling over them; and Thomas Moor coming to take notice, endeavored to discourage and quench those notions and effects of the Spirit which appeared in them, as a very tender hearted, ancient Friend, who had been one of them, gave me a large, substantial, as well as circumstantial account, from certain knowledge and observation. Upon being thus discouraged, and their good motions and desires opposed, some turned into a loose spirit and corrupt notions; from which several were reclaimed afterward, when truth was demonstrated to them in the spirit and power of Christ, and their minds thereby turned to his light in them, to wait for an inward sense of his power.

After some time, Thomas Moor Jr., son of Thomas Moor, became a preacher among them; also John Horn, who had acquired some more school craft and cunning than the other two. He was set up and promoted as a parish priest at Lynn, but as destitute of the knowledge of the light and mystery or Christ, and of his power, as the other; for they are all joined in bitter opposition to that held forth by our friends, especially when several deserted them and left their communion. John Horn became very prejudiced, and made it much of his business with his brethren, the two Thomas Moors, to revile, asperse, and calumniate the people called Quakers, by words and writings.

They made a great noise against us in and about the town of Lynn, to stir up enmity in the people against the Quakers, rendering them deceivers, antichrists, heretics, accursed, etc. And when some of us have been at Lynn to visit our friends' meetings there, John Horn has set up papers in the market, in some public place near it, against us, to represent us as odious as he could; thereby showing as bitter envy and malice, just like some of the popes by their bulls have expressed against the protestant martyrs, condemning them as heretics, etc.

Perceiving John Horn's and Thomas Moor's great bitterness against us, and how implacably envious they showed themselves to our Friends, we sought a public meeting with them at a certain time, when George Fox the younger was with me at Lynn, which was the 15th day of the seventh month, 1659, and which accordingly we asked for and obtained.

We met in John Horn's parish steeple-house at South Lynn in Norfolk, where he and Thomas Moor Jr., joined in the controversy with us and our principles, relative to the attainment of the sinless perfection of saints and true believers in Christ in this life. This was opposed by them, but affirmed and vindicated by us, according to holy Scripture, in behalf of Christ and his manifestation and work, which is to destroy the works of the devil, and to restore and save man from sin and condemnation.

In opposition they pleaded and affirmed that sin is a natural heritage in believers, while they live or as long as they are here upon earth; contrary to the state of the new birth, or of him who is born of God, in whom his seed remains;  John 3:9.

A perfection of sincerity toward God, they would seem to own, but not without sin; alleging Asa king of Judah, that his heart was perfect with the Lord all his days;1 Kings 15:14. And yet Asa was reproved by the prophet Hanani, for not relying on the Lord his God, but on the king of Syria; 2 Chr 16:7. Our opposers argued from all his days, in which his heart was perfect with the Lord, to include all the days he lived when he was king; when it is plain Hanani the seer, shows him his imperfection in his reproof; "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore, from now on you shall have wars. Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in a prison house," etc. In this Asa's imperfections appeared; and not only in these, but also when he was greatly diseased in his feet, - he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians; verse 12. It is clear then, that all Asa’s days, in which his heart was perfect with the Lord his God, were those days in which he relied on the Lord, prospered and prevailed over his enemies, and had real dominion given of the Lord, so long as he relied on him. For after he declined,(by not relying on the Lord, nor seeking him), from then on the judgment of wars must follow and attend him; then all his days, i.e., his good and prosperous days were over. It is plain the seer's reproof has in it such an exception, that as though in one part of the history it is said, "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days," the other part is excepted, "When he relied not on the Lord, and was reproved by the seer, the honest prophet."

By this our opposers before said, urging Asa's perfection of heart with the Lord all his days, it was easily perceived what sort of perfection they owned; not a perfection of sanctification or holiness, but such a perfection in which sin must be their natural heritage during life; or where they may do foolishly, commit sin, decline from the Lord, and not rely upon him, nor seek to him in a day of distress or affliction.

But this was their great imperfection, far short of that perfect sanctification, by the spirit and power of Christ, and perseverance in his grace, and abiding in Christ, which we believe and plead for; the grace of God in and through Christ Jesus, being sufficient for those blessed attainments, and that good end aimed at and pursued by all the faithful in Christ Jesus.

But these our opposers and adversaries, would not be persuaded to quit possession of their natural heritage during life, but rather would accuse and vilify us, for our Christian testimony to the power and work of Christ within, to regenerate and redeem us out of the sinful nature, and fit and prepare us by a perfect sanctification of the Spirit, for a better inheritance than that of sin and iniquity. No, these men who pleaded for sin being their natural inheritance, and remaining even in believers while they are here, though they confessed their nature to be a filthy nature, yet as filthy as it was they flatter themselves it is restored in Christ. But how is it restored in Christ, if it remain filthy all their days, or while in this life? What fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness?

To prove sin a natural inheritance in believers as long as they are here, they quoted Rom. 7:17, "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me." Which does not prove that to be Paul's state all his life time, much less that sin was his natural heritage so long as he lived, for he knew deliverance; "he was made free from sin and condemnation, and more than a conqueror through Christ that loved him."

"The light by which Christ lights every man that comes into the world," they would not confess to be spiritual, as immediately shining from Christ the divine Word. But Thomas Moor said, "It is both natural and spiritual;" though they never could make that out, or that light spoken of John 1:4, 9, being the life which was in the Word, which was and is the light of men from the beginning, and which is therefore divine and spiritual, and not man's natural reason; which in one sense they esteemed spiritual, as opposed to the natural body; but in another sense natural, as opposed to divine light, though the Word is divine.

I perceived, that though these men and their followers would be esteemed above many others of the parish priests and church people in matters of faith and religion, yet they were as carnal in their notions and faith, and ignorant of the true light and eternal Word, as other literal professors, who were strangers to the mystery of Christ in spirit, and of the true, living faith in Christ. They were very addicted to plead and argue for sin in believers for all of life, and also as envious against us, for our preaching up the gospel of  light and perfection, the light of Christ in man; and perfection of sanctification, as any other of our prejudiced adversaries; and as ready to pervert and misconstrue our words, and to draw false inferences and implications as any of them, especially John Horn, to create or raise prejudice and hard thoughts in people against us.

Because we owned Christ's body in his glorified state in heaven, to be a glorious, spiritual body, and the resurrection bodies of the saints not to be carnal, but spiritual; they would insinuate against us either a denial or no faith of the body of Christ in heaven, and of the resurrection. We did not only confess the resurrection and ascension of Christ's body that was put to death, that his flesh saw no corruption, i. e., that he did not corrupt, but rose again a real body, and not a fantasy body; but also we turned some questions upon them, concerning the body of Christ after he ascended, to know if they owned the same to be a spiritual, glorious body; or in what sense they owned it? They confessed it to be a body of flesh and bones, from his saying, "A spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have."

Query. But had he no blood in it? Thomas Moor affirmed openly that Christ's body in heaven is a body of flesh and bones without blood in it, and that he ascended without material blood.

Here they went too far, besides what Christ or the Scriptures said. For since his body was a real complete body, these men did not know but what it might have some blood left in it when crucified or renewed in it when quickened and raised from the dead, although the flesh and bones were more visible to be seen.

Upon our questioning Thomas Moor's affirmation, they appeared staggered and shaken in their minds about it, and yet willing to excuse, and also to ignore his illiterate notion.

Thomas Moor pleaded as an excuse, i.e. of Christ having a body of flesh and bones in heaven, without blood in it, that we do not read that there was any blood in Adam's body in paradise. To which unscriptural excuse, John Horn and Thomas Moor add, that Thomas Moor brought forth indeed such observation as a conception or thought of his, which rendered it probable to his apprehension, that a glorified spiritual body needs not the being of material blood in it, and that he reads not that Adam's body had blood in before the fall, in which he conceives what before was more purely spirits, was changed into blood, and therein the body became mortal: but this is his private conception, which he gives not forth as an oracle to be believed as an article of faith; page 53, Fuller Discovery.

But what philosophy is this rare notion grounded upon: That Adam's body had no blood in it before the fall, but was made up of pure spirits, and after changed into blood? Consequently it must be after the fall [which of course it was made of dust before the fall] that Adam's body was made of the dust of the earth, for which they have as much Scripture that Adam's body had no blood in it before the fall, or so long as he was in paradise. What wonderful philosophy is this?

But again they turn about and decline their notion and private conception before, and leave the matter uncertain, in which they appear more ingenious than they have done in contesting about hidden secrets which belong to God; for in their said Fuller Discovery, page 76, they tell us thus, namely: “We say that that body of Christ which had flesh and blood after the resurrection of it, is taken up into heaven, and is in heaven;" Luke 24:39-40, 51-52. What change or transmutation further it had in its ascension and glory, we know not.

Herein they showed more ingenuity than in their contention against us about things they know not; yet implying and granting they had a belief that Christ's body had such change or transmutation in its ascension and glory as they knew not.

Nevertheless, they have not only been too busy and intruding in this case, a well as inconsistent with themselves, but also uncertain in their propositions and conjectures, and also very unjust in their reflections; as where, to clear themselves, they tell us our query is perverse, in that it intimates or charges them with calling the personal body of our Lord Jesus, a body of flesh and bones, which they say is a slander; for it is not their expression; and yet say, “Possibly they may sometimes have let it pass without consideration or particular notice of it, in some discourse that may have passed between us."

How could that be either a slander or not their expression, which they have previously confessed. Thomas Moor brought indeed such an observation, as a conception or thought of his; “And now that possibly they may sometimes have let it pass without consideration."

How inconsistent these men were in their notions, and how changeable in their conjectures. After much carnal contest held by them, upon further consideration they would appear more refined and spiritual in their notions, when they tell us: "We are assured that even the children of the first resurrection, when they shall attain to that resurrection of the dead, and have their bodies that now are vile, fashioned into the likeness of his glorious body, they, in those very bodies, being spiritual, immortal, powerful, incorruptible, shall be equal to the angels, who cannot be hindered from passage by any corruptible things, as doors, walls, or the like; but can make their own passage through any such obstacles more easily than mortal bodies through the air. And why should it be thought a thing incredible?"

Observe 1. That Christ's body is glorious, according to plain Scripture undeniable; and that the bodies of the saints in the resurrection shall be like unto his glorious body, unquestionable with us; as also that they shall be spiritual, incorruptible, equal to the angels; which equality is ascribed to the Son of God and of the resurrection.

2. But how does this agree with the description and comparison these men have given of those spiritual bodies in the resurrection, with their being bodies of flesh and bones? How inconsistent have our adversaries appeared in this matter!

3. And it appears very improbable that bodies of flesh and bones should penetrate or make their own passage through any such obstacles, as doors, walls, or the like, more easily than mortal bodies through the air; nor have they produced Scripture for this notion. They must be very sublime, subtle, airy bodies, ethereal bodies, and not these gross bodies of flesh and blood, that can make such penetrations.

4. Yet we question not the angelical powers to penetrate and pass through obstacles after wonderful manner; however, it is not safe for men to be too busy and intruding into these matters and things not seen. For by such intrusion, questions and critical disputes arise, about the manner of the resurrection, how, and with what bodies, and in what form and manner they shall appear? This is next to a denial or unbelief of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and tends to beget questions, doubts, and unbelief, which is not safe for the weak in the faith, to be received into doubtful disputes. There were some among the Corinthians that said, "There is no resurrection of the dead," whose foolishness the apostle reprehended, when they questioned, "How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come?" Whom he answered in these words:: "you fool, that which you sow is not quickened except it dies; and that which you sow, you sow not to that body that shall be,"...

Now as to the resurrection according to holy Scripture, we do not doubt or question, but sincerely believe it; and that if in this life we have a part in Christ, and experience him to be the resurrection and the life unto us, we doubt not, but believe we shall have our own proper bodies, which shall be both spiritual and glorious, like unto his glorious body. To every seed he will give a body as it pleases him; and therefore if we should be so nice or curious as to question God, or Christ, or his saints, or ministers, what manner of bodies, and of what essence or substance they shall be; or how bright, glorious and spiritual; this would indicate a diffidence or unbelief of a future state of the saints in glory, and of the divine power, as well as the appointment and promises of God and Christ to bring them into such a state of glory. Certainly if the Lord owns us for his children and sons of God while in this life, though yet it appears not what we shall be, we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is; 1 John 3:1-2. And our Lord Jesus Christ declared; “This is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." And, “Father, I will that they also whom you have given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me." We may rest contented in the real faith and earnest given us, of these glorious promises and privileges, without being busy with unlearned questions, perverse disputes, or intrusions into things not seen; or secret unrevealed things which belong to God. And if any should question what manner of change or transmutation Christ's body had, after he arose from the dead, or in his ascension, or how it was changed, being seen to have flesh and bones, and no blood in it, as supposed when he was risen from the dead, as these adversaries have uncertainly and dubiously suggested, I should conclude such busy intruders ought not to be gratified or answered, but to be avoided.

We may without doubt believe Christ’s body was wonderfully changed and glorified in the ascension, and that Enoch, Heb 11:5, who was translated that he should not see death, was changed; and the prophet Elijah in his rapture, 2 Kings 2:11 when he was taken up in a fiery chariot, and by a whirlwind went into heaven; which typified Christ's ascension, Elijah being an eminent type of Christ. We may without offence believe Elijah's body must have been changed before he got into heaven, seeing flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Cor 15:50, and yet without offence conclude, that the body of Enoch, before he was translated, and the body of Elijah, before his rapture, were not without blood in them, or else they had no such change, as to be made for the kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit.

The great power and works of God in these transactions and matters, should rather be an occasion of admiration, than of dispute; as well as the resurrection by the power of Christ, and sudden change of the living, even in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Cor 15:51-52.

It is by the great and glorious power of our Lord Jesus Christ, the power and wisdom of God, that such a sudden and wonderful change must be effected and the dead raised incorruptible. And, it being appointed for men once to die, and after this the judgment; and that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust, and that by divine appointment, and that it shall go well with the righteous, but ill with the wicked; I have always believed it better to labor to be righteous in this life, than to trouble ourselves about what or how we shall be in the life to come, or what manner of bodies or clothing we shall have in heaven, and to trust the Lord therewith. Our chief care and concern should now be to walk in the way to heaven, to get there even in the way of truth and righteousness, and there we shall not want, but enjoy all things to complete our joy and felicity in heaven and eternal glory; even in the full fruition of that incorruptible inherit once which will never fade away, reserved in heaven for all them who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. 1 Pet 1:4-5.

Many persons, by vain imaginations and high thoughts, intruding into things not seen, and matters too high for them, and their human wisdom and carnal reason, do thereby darken themselves, and cloud their understandings from the true sanctifying and saving knowledge of God, and mystery of Christ Jesus, and his power and spirit; who is mighty and powerful in himself, and in his saints and members, who being spiritually united to him, are thereby made members of his body, are one body in him; so that there is one body and one spirit. Eph 4:4.

There are other persons who in their singular opinions, strange or new notions, exalt themselves in their own conceits above all others, and thereby cause contention, strife, divisions, many times either about words, theoretical distinctions, or things not essential to salvation, or to the saving knowledge of the true God, or his son Jesus Christ; and therefore such endeavor to make divisions and parties to themselves, that they may be exalted as sect masters. But the judgment of truth has gone forth against all such, and will stand over that exalted, arrogant spirit forever.

"Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." Now since this mystery of godliness is a great mystery, without controversy, it is best for believers of Christianity to keep out of controversies as much as they can, and shun perverse disputes of men of corrupt minds, with all their unlearned and unprofitable questions; and rather to turn in their minds to the light of Christ, - retire to the simplicity in him, and watch therein to understand this great mystery of godliness, both with respect to God manifest in the flesh, and justified in spirit. The manifestation and power of Christ in the flesh was excellent in him, and in his flesh by his most precious precepts and doctrine, his wonderful works and miracles, his blessed example and sufferings, he declared and revealed the holy design of Christianity. To be truly sensible of his being justified in spirit, is very precious, and arises from a true, spiritual, living knowledge and experience of Christ in spirit, and as known after the spirit, and not after the flesh, or any fleshly knowledge of him; for as wisdom is justified, commended and praised of her children, by the saints thereof in them, so Christ is justified and exalted in spirit, in his faithful followers, his holy generation and children.

God and his great power was wonderfully manifest in Christ in the days of his flesh, in many respects, and he showed many signal tokens and signs of his power in those days, as in his wonderful miracles, laying down his life and taking it up again; transfiguration in the mount, so as his face did shine as the sun, ... Mat 17. In his appearing in several forms after he arose from the dead, Mark 16:12. and at sundry times showing himself, and appearing in the midst of his disciples, the door being shut, John 20:19,26. And also when he sat at meat with them, and in such familiar manner manifested himself, that their eyes were opened, that they knew him, he vanished out of their sight; Luke 24:30-31. Such wonderful power he showed after he was risen from the dead, to manifest himself and confirm his disciples in the faith, knowledge and testimony of his resurrection, as well as in his ascension.

Thomas Moor's declaring that the shed blood of Christ is the foundation of their faith occasioned some further question: As where is this blood? Which they answered not, nor could they tell, yet said that the life of Christ is not the blood of Christ; in which they showed themselves both ignorant of the mystery of his blood, and of the foundation of faith, which is Christ himself. Though the blood of Christ that was shed for remission of sins, was truly acceptable to God, as being offered by him, as part of his offering to make reconciliation and atonement for many kind, who had transgressed; for He, (Christ), gave himself a ransom for all, for a testimony in due time of God's free love to all mankind, yet Christ is the foundation and chief cornerstone. Their contesting about Christ's body in heaven, and his blood as wholly shed-on further thoughts-came to be abated, and they varied in their book against us, styled, A Brief Discovery of the people called Quakers; for in page 11, they told us: "That his blood that was shed, or poured out for the remission of our sins, in the virtues of it, is with the Father, and so in and with Christ." In page 12 they say: "That there are indeed very probable arguments used to prove, that that precious blood was re-united again with the body of Christ in the resurrection". But how does this agrees with their holding it to be a body of flesh and bones without blood in it? In both of which they appear to contradict what they have declared, namely: "That it is rather a virtue to which they are advised not to be wise, or think, or guess, above what is written;" page 12.

Had they kept to this advice, they would have shunned much vain contentions as well as confusion, about their uncertain conjectures and imaginations, by which many foolish hearts have been darkened. When men intrude into things not seen, and set their imaginations on work about them, whether it is about the body of Christ in heaven, or the resurrection bodies of saints, as what forms or shapes they have, or what manner of bodies; not being content to defer to the will of God and his good pleasure, who gives a body as it pleases him, and to every seed his own proper body; they may form ideas or likenesses in their minds, and never are the nearer to heaven, but further off from the life, the light, and true knowledge of Him who is the resurrection and the life.

When a person fearing God, and loving our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth, confesses his or her real belief, faith or hope, in terms of holy Scripture, it is sufficient; whether it is of the suffering, death, resurrection, or ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ into heaven and glory; or of his body being spiritual and glorious in heaven. And as the saints are spiritually united to him, they are also united to his church and body, and esteemed mystical, while here on earth; so their low or humble body shall be changed and fashioned like unto his glorious body; and of the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust, and of eternal judgment, according to holy Scripture - I say, whosoever fearing God, or friends of truth, are at any time questioned about these things, it will be sufficient, and ought to be satisfactory, to answer them in plain Scripture language, and keep to the same. And I would advise all Friends to keep to the words, terms, language and doctrine of holy Scripture, and not to be wheedled or drawn from the same, nor allow themselves to be imposed upon, either with unscriptural terms, or unlearned questions, by any contentious or carping adversaries whatsoever. For foolish and unlearned questions, as well as profane and vain babbling must be avoided.

To sit and speculate on the type of body to be possessed in the future, is a diversion from what is important: freedom from sin, union with God, entering the Kingdom while on earth, perfection, purity, etc. Beware of those who pose questions of minor importance. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes, 2 Tim 2:23. These immature people are ambitious and seek controversy, which draws some other immature members away with them and their new doctrines. They should be answered: when you have a need to know, the Lord will reveal it to you. They should be afterwards reproved in private for asking immaterial questions that don't relate to the process of attaining maturity in Christ, which is by daily silent waiting on the Lord, listening, watching, hearing, seeing, and repenting, which results in growing strength and understanding. See Stephen Crisp's letter on this subject for more information on how this is the tool of the enemy: to create some immaterial controversy, until the weighty matter they should have minded, namely how to be kept in the love of God, and in the heavenly unity, was in many lost and forgotten.

I have here given but a brief account relating to the controversies between the said John Horn, Thomas Moor, and us, the people called Quakers, they being more fully discovered in several answers to their prejudiced books. What relates to our first dispute, is answered in a treatise, entitled, A Brief Discovery of the dangerous Principles of John Horn and Thomas Moor, Jr., printed in 1659.

In our already related meeting, matters and questions were for the most part quietly debated, and the people, though numerous, were generally civil with the meeting ending peaceably. There were persons present who took some care of us, i. e.: George Fox, Jr., and myself, that none might do us any harm.

Being unable to attain his ends to bring us under popular odium, John Horn appeared uneasy and angry, both in his preaching and writing, to render us contemptible; divulging his defaming papers in the town, and taking great pains in many writings to reproach us and our principles; and many writings passed between him and me, in the form of questions and answers. He crowded whole sheets with small writing against me, which were not consistent with his vilifying, highly despising, and setting me at nothing, as much as he could, condemning me as one accursed, a heretic, etc.; as many charges as he could fabricate.

However our paper bullets did not end the fray, but John Horn and I had another public meeting in the chancel of his parish church, in South Lynn, the 13th of the eleventh month, 1659, a few weeks after the first. At this meeting, John Horn undertook to make good his former charge against the people called Quakers, which it seems was a work not done, but still to do, that is: "To prove them to be deceivers, and such a people that ought not to be heard or followed, but to account them accursed, etc."

This was a very heavy charge against us as a people, but far from proved, and as unbecoming a professed minister of Christ, thus to teach people to curse us, or so to judge or account us accursed, as opposite to the doctrine of Christ's ministers: Bless, and curse not.

But for what cause was this heavy curse, announced against the said people as deceived. Principally because they hold the doctrine of perfection, that is, a sinless perfection attainable by true believers in this life, or on this side the grave; which was both believed and taught by the holy prophets, Christ Jesus, and his faithful ministers; according also to what God has promised his faithful people, whom he washes from all their filthiness; and Christ's true followers, who believe and walk in the light, and experience the blood of Jesus Christ, the blood of the everlasting covenant, to cleanse them from all sin.

But to the contrary, our severe judge, John Horn, appeared also against the true apostles of God and Christ, in his affirming: That they confessed themselves sinners; to be weak and brutish in themselves, as of themselves, and to own themselves sinners; and that confessed sin in themselves, and none of them to glory in their perfection and sinless state.

  1. I deny as false their confession that they forsook sin and evil, and exhorted others so to do.
  2. I deny as false their glorying in the God of their salvation; and rejoicing in his salvation and deliverance from sin and satan, which deliverance God wrought in them, and for them, by Jesus Christ.

How odious, and how accursed is John Horn’s rendering of the people called Quakers, that they will never be reconciled to his railing; or to his doctrine pleading for sin during life, and accusing the holy prophets and apostles with having sin in them so long as they lived, and all men, while living, with sinning, Jesus Christ excepted.

But blessed be the Lord our God, that has given us a faith contrary to such sin-pleasing doctrine; that he has given us to believe to righteousness, and to the salvation of our souls; that he has given us the word of faith in our hearts, to believe in him, i.e., Jesus Christ, upon whom help is laid, who is mighty, and able to save to the uttermost all that come to God by him. So that we find great cause to glory in the God of our salvation, having laid aside all glorying in the flesh, with all self-confidence and ostentation.

There were some other points discussed between us at the before said meeting, relating to the charge against the people called Quakers, but perfection was the principal point.

After the discussion, John Horn divulged a partial, lame, and abusive account, falsely styled, The Quakers proved deceivers, and such as the people ought not to listen to, or allow, but to count them accursed. Whereby, at the very front, he exposed his own great envy and abuse against an innocent religious society and people, whom the Lord has reserved, supported and blessed, through all their persecutions, reproaches and sufferings. An answer entitled, The Quakers no Deceivers, was also published, to detect the said partial and abusive account, in which John Horn's abuses, confusion and envy, relating the said discourse are more fully demonstrated and detected.

That the bitter spirit of those our adversaries may further appear, and what sort of persecutors they were, observe their treatment of me. In a paper against me and the Quakers, they give us these characteristics: "they are indeed vipers and scorpions, cockatrices, not to be charmed; and like the locusts out of the bottomless pit, whose sting is in their tails, etc." And yet these persons who thus reproached us, have confessed that we, i.e., the Quakers, are a heavy judgment that God has ordered to them, to punish them for their neglect of Christ, the salvation of God, and the truth of him so long abused by them, (as in their Brief Discovery, page 22).

Upon which I made this observation: Now from their own confession, they are such as do not have the seal of God upon their foreheads, for the locusts were only sent to punish men that did not have the seal of God upon their foreheads; Rev 9:4. In their malice and confusion, they have reversed the scripture, and one day they shall know that our opposition to them is an entirely different manner of judgment than the locusts. And the more they strive against the heavy judgment that God has ordered to punish them, for their neglect of Christ and abuse of his truth, the greater will their shame and torment be, (as in Quakers no Deceivers, page 32).

And it was apparent, how this heavy judgment of God affected these persons: how impatient they were under it, and how fretted and disquieted they were; how perplexed, vexed, and provoked to jealousy, rage and confusion, by a foolish and contemptible people, in their esteem.


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