Quaker Heritage Press > Online Texts > The Bunyan-Burrough Debate > Burrough, The True Faith [1 of 3]
UNTO whom this may come, especially you in Bedfordshire, for whose sake, chiefly, this is sent forth, after the false Reproaches of a professed Minister among you, who hath truly called himself in his Title, Unworthy, as is proved in this Return; wherein the honest-hearted may see, that I have not striven for Mastery, by multitude of words, nor many vain Arguments, to obtain a name, but in simplicity of heart have born my Witness against his Lyes, and Vindicated the Truth as it is in Jesus; not in a curious mind, but in the simplicity of the Gospel. And unto you that are honest, in any measure towards God, and towards man, I leave this and his to be judged, with an impartial mind, and what is made manifest to be Truth let it be owned by you; and this is the end wherefore it is given forth, that Truth may be embraced, and Deceit condemned, and the Light of the World may be followed, which leads unto eternal Life, and without which there is no Salvation.
HOW long ye crafty Fowlers will ye prey upon the Innocent, and shoot at him secretly? How long shall the Righteous be a Prey to your teeth, ye subtil Foxes who seek to devour? The just One (against whom your Bow is bent) cryes for Vengeance against you in the ears of the Lord, yet you strengthen your hands in iniquity, and gird your selves with the zeal of Madness, and Fury; you think to swallow up the Harmless, and to blot out the Name of the Righteous, that his Generation may not be found upon Earth: You shoot your Arrows of cruelty, even bitter words, and makes the Innocent your Mark to prey upon: You dispise the Way of Uprightness, and Simplicity, and the path of craft and subtilty you tread; your Dens are in Darkness, and your mischief is hatched upon your beds of secret whoredoms. When will you cease to grind the face of the Poor, and to oppress the Humble, upon whom you tread in your vain glories, and outward shews of Holiness, as though you were the blessed People? And you are exalted above Innocency in your feigned Hypocrisie, and subtilty, and yet are found out with the searching Eye of the Lord, who knows your thoughts afar off to be wicked, and your purposes to be vain; and as with a Whirle-wind will he scatter you, and your name shall rot, and your memorial shall not be found; and the deeper you have digged the Pit for another, the greater will be your own fall, and the more miserable your desolation, which comes upon you suddenly, in a day you expect not: How are the Innocent, and he that is departed from iniquity become the Table-talk of the Prophane, and the Song of Drunkards? And how are we become the study-work of the Wise, and of the Learned, and their subject of wicked doctrines: Surely the Diviner is gone mad, and the Wise-men are become Fools, and the heart of the Disobedient is set to do evil; but the Lord taketh our part against our Enemies, and therefore are we preserved, and our Enemies shall be confounded, and Lyars and Slanderers shall fall together, and the Innocency of the Innocent shall shine in its Beauty, and the vails of Reproaches, and Slanders and false Accusations shall be clean removed in the day of our God; and for a moment we are willing to submit under the present suffering, by slanderous tongues, that we may reign for ever. It is not unknown to many, how that in this day wherein the Lord hath made known his Power, to the gathering of his People, and to the bringing forth his own Seed to inherit the Land of Peace; how that the powers of Darkness, and the strength of Hell is risen, and joyned in a body to make war against the Lord, and to prevent his purpose; and men are sorely disquieted, and all is on an uproar, and to defend themselves they are come forth, to vindicate their interest in the region of Darkness do they appear; and because their Kingdom is deeply invaded with the face of a deadly Enemy, therefore they have put on their strength, and fortified themselves, and shewed their strength and force under several colours; some in open Persecution, Imprisonments, and Beatings, and cruel Oppressions, and some in Scorning, and Back-biting, and open Lying, and Slandering; and others appear in the Garments of deep dyed Hypocrisie, and Smite secretly, and Shoot in the Twilight, between Profession and Prophaneness, and forge secret Slanders, and Lyes, and seek the Life of the just One: And thus poor desolate Zion is compassed about with Enemies, and they lay siege against her, to make her an utter destruction (How long Lord, how long? hear and consider.)
And John Bunyan, and his Fellow, who have joyned themselves to the broken Army of Magog. Now in the heat of the day of great striving are not the least of all guilty among their Bretheren, of secret smiting the Innocent, with secret Lyes and Slanders; who have shewed themselves in defence of the Dragon against the Lamb, in this day of war betwixt them: And though some of their Party, which have shewed themselves before in the open Field have come off with loss and shame, and disadvantage; yet needs must the rest appear till they have filled up their measure of wickedness, and so be made a perpetual curse for ever: and they must spend their strength till shame and confusion overtake them, and they be left without hope or stay, in the ditch of deep perdition, never more to rise up again.
Friends I have viewed your discourse, and numbred up part of your work, and this is the sume thereof, A corrupted Grain of little value of Babylons Treasure, and if a Merchant of your traffique gain it, he cannot be the richer, yet doth your King (the Prince of Darkness) accept your labour, and your substance; for had you been more learned in his subtilty, and more stockt in his craft, a larger portion; and more to the purpose might have been brought in, but with such as you had, or could procure, from your Neighbours are you come, and have gained a report, and a name in the record of Mischief against the Lamb, and his Followers, whom you have made your subject to treat Lyes upon.
And for the sake of the Simple I have taken in hand to return a few words in answer to you, in those things (at least) wherein you mention the Quakers; who being falsely accused, and slandered by you in many things; I am bound in the Law of Righteousness, as a Friend unto them, (at least) to vindicate their innocent Cause against your reproaches, which may be as a stumbling stone in the eye of the upright;& though I know not your faces, yet your spirit is tried& your generation is read at large,& your stature and countenance is clearly described to me; to be of the stock of Ishmael, and of the seed of Cain, whose line reacheth unto the murthering Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees;& though you profess Christ in words without you, yet are you found Enemies to him revealed within his Saints (without which there can be no Salvation) and this I find the subject matter of your discourse, and the length of your tedious travel: I shall not transcribe your whole matter, only the heads of some particulars I shall draw into a sum, and write a few words thereunto, not in a large manner.
And in the first Epistle have spoken something, As of God and man together, making up one Christ, who is the Saviour, &c. then thou shamelessly sayst, This is quite contrary to those commonly called Familists, Ranters, Quakers, and others, &c. Either deny Christ to be a real Man without them, blaspemously fancying him to be God manifest in their flesh; or else make his human Nature, with the fulness of the Godhead in it, to be but a type of God, to be manifest in the Saints, &c.
1 Answ. Here thou hast as thy forefathers did, (the chiefe Priests, and persecutors) numbred the Innocent with Transgressors; Quakers with Ranters, between which there is no more union and likeness, then between Light and Darkness, good and evil; and thy secret subtilty more appears, and the wickedness of thy Slander, because thou hast joined in thy Accusation such who may be guilty with the Guiltless; for the Ranters I will not justifie, neither at present the Familists, except I better knew their Principles; nor any others will I vindicate, who are guilty of thy Accusation: Though thou art condemned for numbring the Innocent in thy Accusation, and falsly hast secretly slandered the Guiltless, who are free from thy Slanders herein: But yet further I say, If thou darest lay thy charge only upon the Quakers, write thy meaning in plainness, and bring testimony of thy accusation, and thou mayst receive a further Answer; and cease to smite with secret Slanders in the dark, lest thou be condemned in the Light with the guilty, for numbring the Innocent with Transgressors, and charging the Guiltless with the Guilty. I dare not plead for Ranters, Quakers, and others, till they be separated, lest I justifie the Wicked and condemn the Righteous, but thy wicked heart hath joyned them in accusation, that thy Slander may be covered, and some ground you may have in appearance for thy wicked tongue, who hath hatched mischief against the Upright.
And thy second Slander is like unto the first, where thou again unjustly numbers the Quakers with some high-flown People, and sayest, These high-flown People are in this very like to Familists and Quakers, undervaluing the Lord Jesus Christ, God Man, and though they speak much of Christ, yet they do not savingly and rightly lay him for their Foundation, &c.
2 Answ. The sum of this broken confusion is thus much, Two Slanders upon the Quakers undervaluing the Lord Jesus Christ, &c. and not laying him as a Foundation, &c. though thou wilt not through thy subtilty separate the Guiltless from them who may be guilty in thy Accusation, yet now must I in simplicity, in my return to thee, and cannot but openly charge thee to be a secret Shooter of Mischief against the Righteous: We prize the Lord Jesus Christ God Man to be precious unto us, and unto all that do believe, and have owned him alone to be the Foundation, whom God hath laid for Salvation unto the ends of the Earth, and in his Light are we saved, and therein do walk; and because hereof are we hated by thee; and the Generation of Hirelings, and false Prophets, who speak much of Christ without you, but knows him not in you the hope of Glory, and take back to thee thy false Accusation, for thou art faln in the Pit which thou hast digged for another, a slanderous tongue dwells within thy house, and Christ Jesus the Saviour, of all that believe, is thy Condemner, who believes not, but art found a Lyar, and a false Witness, slandering unjustly, and by thy unbelief, and wickedness herein, undervalues Christ Jesus who is pure and holy, and is the Foundation of Righteousness and Peace, and not of Wrath and works of Darkness, wherein thou art builded in thy works of Mischief.
And for the rest of this first Epistle, I shall say little to it, only thus much is the mind of the Pen-mans spirit, secretly smiting at the Doctrine of true Faith and Salvation (to wit) Christ Jesus within, and directing altogether without, and afar off, and saying in his heart, who shall ascend, and who shall descend, and is not mindfull that the Word of Faith is in the Mouth, and in the heart, and thus much I say, if they be Reprobate who have not Christ in them, then is it the most profitable doctrine, and thing of greatest concernment to seek for him, and to find him within, seeing many can speak of him without, who are manifest Enemies to him in their hearts and works; and thus much to John Burtons Epistle. Let him go learn what this means.
The next thing that I shall mind is this, in the second Epistle, where a Question is asked, Who are the men that at this day are so deluded by the Quakers, and other pernitious Doctrines, but those who thought it enough to be Talkers of the Gospel, &c?
This man appears to be of the same spirit with his Fellow, and will more abound in Lyes, in respect of the number, then he that went before; and the sum of this transcribed is, that the Quakers are Deluders, and thou hast joyned them with a Thief also, and numbred the guiltless with the guilty, and hast shot secretly in the dark, and far missed thy aim; for thy bare words are no true witness, and thou must not both slander, and be Witness thy self; though I perceive thou may have the witness of all that walks in the broad-way to evidence falsly for thee. And this is no new invented Lye, for it hath been ever; the Children of God were counted Deceivers, as in the Scripture we have a cloud of witnesses, and Christ Jesus our Lord was counted so by thy Generation; and as they did unto him, so must you do unto us, and must fulfil their measure of wickedness, as Christ hath said.
Answ. And this is my Answer in full, That way which thou calst Heresie, and delusion, do we worship the God of our Fathers, and are not ashamed of the Reproaches for his Name sake.
Then further thou sayest, They be such kind of people who at this day are carried away with the Quakers, namely, loose Ranters, and light Notionists, and here and there a Legalist, which were shaking in their Principles, &c.
Answ. The Substance of this is as much as the wise Scribes and Pharisees said concerning Christ, None believed in him, said they, but a company of poor people, which know not the Law, which were accursed; and doth any of the Rulers believe on him? Friend, though some of all sorts of people be brought to God, yet thou seemst to be offended herewith, that the wicked should be turned from his wickedness, which is no evidence against us, that we are Deceivers, but an evidence against thee, in thy wicked slander, who hast brought forth thy Lies without fear, as though thou shouldst never in this life be put to prove them, nor in the time to come shouldst never answer for them. But the Ranters, and light Notionists, and Thee we do deny, in that state wherein they and you do stand, till you turn to the Lord by repentance; and whatever you have been in your profession or practice, if you turn from your iniquity, we dare not deny you.
And whereas thou givest this Character of a Notionist, Such a one is puffed up in his fleshly mind, and advanceth himself above others, &c. This is thy own condition, and thou hast read thy own Character, who art pufft up in thy lies and slanders, and advancest thy self above the Innocent, who exceeds thee in faith towards God, and in good works towards men, and whose conversation is in Heaven; but thine is among the Hirelings, under the Marks of all the Deceivers of old, as may afterwards appear.
Then thou goes on, and sets down some of the Lyes which thou sayest the Devil perswades those men to believe.
And first, That Salvation was not fully and compleatly wrought out for sinners, by the man Christ Jesus, &c.
Answ. Friend, the Devil hath perswaded thee to believe Lyes, which is a degree higher, A Slander is more then a Lye. This Accusation is clearly false, wickedly cast upon us; for there is not salvation in any other, nor is it wrought by any other, but by Jesus Christ fully and compleatly it is brought forth by him unto every one that believes, who receives the Testimony of it in themselves; for if thou have no Testimony of it, but without thee, the Pope and his Idolaters have as much as thou, and may be more; take back to thee thy Lye again with shame and confusion.
Then thou goes on, and sayst, This is another of his Lyes wherewith he deceives; bidding them, follow the light that they brought into the World with them, telling them that this light will lead into the Kingdom, &c.
Thou hast here mixed Truth and a Lye together, this is falsly laid down (The light that they brought into the world with them) but this is the Truth of God, and no Lye of the Devil, That to follow the Light of Christ Jesus, wherewith he hath lightned every man that comes into the world, and it will lead into the Kingdom of Peace and righteousness; for, saith Christ, I am the Light of the World, he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life; and this is that which thou wouldst fain call the Lye of the Devil; and therefore to cover thy wickedness and impudency, thou hast changed and mixed the terms of words, that thou mayest have a ground for thy Slander; but thou art seen and comprehended, and thy folly appears.
Then thou sayest (we say) It will convince of Sin, Swearing, Lying, Stealing, &c. of Sins against the Law; and this thou makest a thing of little account, to be convicted of sins against the Law, by the Light of Christ; for there is nothing else that doth convince of sin. (mind that) And this Light thou seems to acknowledge every man hath, and this Light I do affirm to be the Light of Christ Jesus, and to bid People follow this; the Light of Christ to lead into the Kingdom can be no Lye of the Devil; for he which convinceth of sins against the Law leads up into the fulfilling of the Law; and though thou and thy Generation would leap over the Law, yet must the righteousness of it in Judgment be fulfilled upon you, and by Christ Jesus in you, if ever you receive the Salvation to your Souls. Learn what it means.
Much more thou ramblest over, which I pass by, as being not pertinent to the thing in hand; but Fools love to be meddling, though little to the purpose, and as I said, thy Master will not blame thee; for thou hast brought in of thy chiefest substance, though it be but as Clay, and as Dirt (at least that of it which is against the Quakers;) and the substance of many Pages following is this that I have gathered, denying (or at least opposing) Christ revealed within, and in opposition to this quotes many Scriptures, of what he did in his own Person, which Scriptures I own, and the Truth which they bear witness of; yet must bear witness, that without the Revelation of Christ within there is no Salvation: However, so much is or may be spoken of him without, as the Pope can do as well as thou, yet are you found to be of one Generation, persecuting the Life under the zeal of profession of the words.
Then the next thing that I mind, is a Question which thou hast asked thyself.
Do not the Scriptures make mention of Christ within, &c.?
And I shall ask further, Doth not the Scripture witness, that all who have not Christ within, are Reprobates? But thou hast proved deceitful in answering thy self, and shuffled, and I may much fear thou wilt not be faithful in answering mine, however it rests upon thee to answer it, or to stop thy mouth.
Then the next thing is thou sayest, This design of deceiving, the Devil carries on, by pretending if they follow what is made known to them from the Light within.
Answ. I observe all thy whole purpose is a secret smiting against the Light within, which Christ hath given to every man; and thy whole work is to render his Light odious. But this I further answer, The design of the Devil in deceiving souls, is thy own, and I turn it back to thee, but this is truth as it is in Jesus. He that comes to eternal Life must follow and walk in what is made known by the Light of Christ within.
And thou sayest, Beg of God to convince thee by his holy Spirit, &c.
And thus thou utterest thy confusion, sometime treating for it, and sometime against it, secretly smiting the Just, mixing the Truth with Lyes, that thereby thy Slanders may be covered, and thy deceit hid.
The rest of thy Epistle I pass by, being from the same spirit which thy Lyes are from; and thy Lying Spirit the Children of God cannot own, and therefore must needs deny that which proceeds from it. And thus much in answer to thy Epistle.