A TREATISE ON FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION: IN WHICH ARE ILLUSTRATED THE PROFESSION, MINISTRY,
AND FAITH OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
Philadelphia: Emmor Kimbor, 1815. Pages 17-20.
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DIVINE REVELATION, THE GROUND AND PRINCIPLE FROM WHICH THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
IS OBTAINED. THOSE WHO COME TO FIND THIS PRINCIPLE WHICH IS OFFERED TO ALL,
MAY AFTERWARDS FALL FROM IT.
[P. 17] The true knowledge of God, we believe, cannot be obtained by any
outward means. God is a Spirit, and cannot be known but by a spiritual and
Divine manifestation opened in the soul: "No man knoweth the Father but the
Son, and he to whom the Son revealeth him," Matt. 21:27. From which it appears,
that though there may be some idea of God excited by tradition, and seated
in the mind of the natural man, yet that this idea or knowledge is not the
true and saving knowledge, not that living and spiritual knowledge which
Christ described, as recorded by the Evangelist John: "This is Life eternal
to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast [P. 18]
sent,"John 17:3. Friends believe, that according to the Scriptures, God in
his love and mercy, has granted a spiritual manifestation to all, by which
they may come to this living experimental knowledge of him. "For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
him should not perish but have everlasting Life." John 3:16. And the same
Apostle has said of the Son, "In him was Life, and the Life was the Light
of men, and the Light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended
it not." John 1:4-5. That this same Light, "was the true Light, which lighteth
every man that cometh into the world." John 1:9. But if any were not furnished
with it, then the doctrine of the Apostle would not be correct. This Divine
Life of the Spirit by which we come to the knowledge of God, is the only
means which can open in the soul that saving knowledge. Therefore we believe
the great principle by which the secrets of God and man are opened. "For
the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God." 1 Cor. 2:10.
By this quickening principle man is brought into a capacity to understand
those things which pertain to Life and salvation. "But the things of God,
knoweth [P. 19] no man, but by the Spirit of God;" 1 Cor. 2:11. A manifestation
whereof, "is given to every man to profit withal." 1 Cor. 12:7. When we speak
of revelation we mean this same Divine Spirit; and we do not believe that
any man ever came to the knowledge of God without it. And as they who live
in the Spirit and walk in it, are in the unity and fellowship of the Truth,
and enjoy that gift by which the true knowledge of God is made manifest,
so those who are enemies to the Truth, though the Light of it shine in them,
are in darkness and Spiritual death, and do not come to the Light which is
offered for their instruction. But in such is fulfilled what John the Evangelist
has written, "And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world,
and men loved darkness rather than Light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:19, It appears therefore that those who walk in the Light, according
to the Scriptures, are children of the Light, and of the day. They are not
merely traditional believers in God, but they have come to the living knowledge
of him. We do not agree with those who hold that when this Divine Life is
witnessed or raised in the soul, such call never afterwards fall from the
grace of God; because [P. 20] we are satisfied that the Scriptures teach
a different doctrine. Paul was aware of the danger of falling from grace;
"But I keep under my body and bring in into subjection, lest that by any
means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." I Cor.
9:27. Again, speaking to his son Timothy, he says, "holding faith and a good
conscience, which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck."
I Tim. 1:19. Many other passages might be quoted agreeing with the foregoing,
but what is already advanced may be sufficient.
Next: Concerning the Scriptures.