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Historical texts  >  Primitive Christianity Revived, William Penn  >  Chapter Two


Primitive Christianity Revived

in the faith and practice of the people called Quakers.

by William Penn.


CHAPTER II.

§ 1. The evidence of Scripture for this Principle, John i. 4-9. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. § 2. Its Divinity. § 3. All things created by it. § 4. What it is to Man as to Salvation.

§ 1. I SHALL begin with the evidence of the blessed Scriptures of Truth, for this divine principle, and that under the name of light, the first and most common word used by them, to express and denominate this principle by, as well as most apt and proper in this dark state of the world.

John i. 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,

Verse 3. All things were made by him.

Verse 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men,

Verse 9. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

§ 2. I have begun with him that began his history with him that was the beginning of the creation of God; the most beloved disciple, and longest liver of all the apostles, and he, that for excellent knowledge and wisdom in heavenly things, is justly entitled John the divine. He tells us first, what he was in the beginning, viz. The Word, In the beginning was the Word,

And though that shows what the Word must be, yet he adds and explains, that the Word was with God, and the Word was God; lest any should doubt of the divinity of the Word, or have lower thoughts of him than he deserved. The Word then, is divine, and an apt term it is, that the evangelist styles him by, since it is so great an expression of the wisdom and power of God to men.

§ 3. All things were made by Him. If so, he wants no power. And if we were made by him, we must be new made by him too, or we never can enjoy God. His power shows his dignity, and that nothing can be too hard for such a sufficiency as made all things, and without which nothing was made, that was made. As man's maker must be his husband, so his Creator must be his Redeemer also.

§ 4. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. This is our point. The evangelist first begins with the nature and being of the Word: from thence he descends to the works of the Word: and lastly, then he tells us, what the Word is, with respect to man above the rest of the creation, viz. The Word was life, and the life was the light of men. The relation must be very near and intimate, when the very life of the Word (that was with God, and was God) is the light of men: as if men were next to the Word, and above all the rest of his works; for it is not said so of any other creature.

Man cannot want light then; no not a divine light: for if this be not divine, that is the life of the divine word, there can be no such thing at all as divine or supernatural light and life. And the text does not only prove the divinity of the light, but the universality of it also, because man mentioned in it, is mankind: which is yet more distinctly expressed in his 9th verse, That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. Implying, that he that lighteth not mankind is not that true light; and therefore John was not that light, but bore witness of him that was, who lighteth every man ; to wit, the Word that took flesh: so that both the divine nature, and universality of the light of Christ within, are confirmed together.

[Continued, Chapter III]