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The Way To Divine Knowledge - William Law

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[Way-1-1] Humanus.à

[Way-1-2] But these great points cannot be received in any TRUE degreeà

[Way-1-3] On the other hand, I find in myself a vehement impulse to turn preacher amongstà

[Way-1-4] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-5] Your business is now to give way to this heavenly working of the Spirit ofà

[Way-1-6] For be assured of this, as a certain truthà

[Way-1-7] For the soul of every man is the breath and life of the triune Godà

[Way-1-8] Only remember this; look well to the ground on which you standà

[Way-1-9] Therefore, my friend, set out right, and be assured of this truthà

[Way-1-10] Here now you have the test of truth, by which you may always knowà

[Way-1-11] But if you please, Humanus, pray tell me, in what manner you would attempt toà

[Way-1-12] Humanus.à

[Way-1-13] And, on the other hand, should the Deist yield up such a cause as thisà

[Way-1-14] For since the fall of man, implying a real change from his first stateà

[Way-1-15] For the gospel has but one ground, or reasonà

[Way-1-16] How unreasonable would it be, to offer the Christian redemption to glorious angels in heaven?à

[Way-1-17] Thus does it appear, that the fall of manà

[Way-1-18] Hence it is that the gospel has only one simple proposal of certain lifeà

[Way-1-19] To embrace the gospel is to enter with all our hearts into its terms ofà

[Way-1-20] This therefore is the one TRUE essential distinction between the Christian and the infidel.à

[Way-1-21] On the other hand, the Christian renounces the worldà

[Way-1-22] Where this faith is, there is the Christian, the new creature in Christà

[Way-1-23] But where this faith is not, there is the trueà

[Way-1-24] Here therefore I fix my TRUE ground of converting men to Christianityà

[Way-1-25] He therefore that opens a field of controversy to the Deistà

[Way-1-26] For I had frequently a consciousness rising up within meà

[Way-1-27] This is the infidelity that you have forced me to fly fromà

[Way-1-28] But, dear Theophilus, I must now tell you that I want to make haste inà

[Way-1-29] An angel my first father was created, and therefore nothing but the angel belongs toà

[Way-1-30] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-31] It is no extravagance, or overstraining the matter, when we sayà

[Way-1-32] Academicus.à

[Way-1-33] Pray, Academicus, give me leave also to sayà

[Way-1-34] Would you know the TRUE nature of angelic goodnessà

[Way-1-35] See here, Academicus, the folly of your quarrelling with the word |angelicà

[Way-1-36] A virtue that is only according to the state of this earthly lifeà

[Way-1-37] Bid the anatomist, that can skillfully dissect an human bodyà

[Way-1-38] Now learned reason, when pretending to be a master of moralityà

[Way-1-39] It is wonderfully astonishing, that you men of learning seldom come thus farà

[Way-1-40] Oh! Academicus, forget your scholarship, give up your art and criticismà

[Way-1-41] Thus far the masters of morality and human discipline may goà

[Way-1-42] This, Academicus, is angelic goodness; and is the goodness of those who are born againà

[Way-1-43] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-44] Now this one great point consists of two essential partsà

[Way-1-45] For if man is fallen from a divine lifeà

[Way-1-46] If he is thus fallen, has died this death to a divine lifeà

[Way-1-47] Strange it is therefore beyond expression, that every manà

[Way-1-48] Thus do these two Testaments begin with the most open declarations of these two thingsà

[Way-1-49] But seeing man is dead to his first lifeà

[Way-1-50] Next after Moses came the prophets, or the spirit of prophecyà

[Way-1-51] Thus, my friend, you see the importance of this one pointà

[Way-1-52] How many hundred barns must there be, to hold all the learned volumesà

[Way-1-53] Humanus.à

[Way-1-54] Why was the Son of God made man? It was because man was to beà

[Way-1-55] Thus, |Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy ladenà

[Way-1-56] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-57] Humanus.à

[Way-1-58] Moses is the first historian of natural death, and has recorded the death of theà

[Way-1-59] Thus it is with the fall; we have no more occasion to go to Mosesà

[Way-1-60] My first attempt therefore, upon any man, to convince him of the fallà

[Way-1-61] What is all this, but the strongest proof, that man is the only creature thatà

[Way-1-62] Now all this evil and misery are purely the natural and necessary effect of hisà

[Way-1-63] But the Christian has yet an additional proof of his matterà

[Way-1-64] Thus, |Let us make man in our image; according to our own likeness.à

[Way-1-65] Is not this a full proof, that the first created life of man is quiteà

[Way-1-66] |The grossness, impurity, sickness, pain, and corruption of our bodiesà

[Way-1-67] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-68] Humanus.à

[Way-1-69] The beasts have no ignorance of anything, that concerns themà

[Way-1-70] Reason, therefore, is so far from being able to help man to that knowledgeà

[Way-1-71] Now suppose man to come thus into the worldà

[Way-1-72] But I believe Academicus wants to say something, and therefore I have done.à

[Way-1-73] Academicus.à

[Way-1-74] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-75] But however, to remove your difficulty, I shall give you a little sketch of theà

[Way-1-76] Now supposing God to have brought a new intelligent creature into a new worldà

[Way-1-77] This is the one only possible way for a goodà

[Way-1-78] Which inquiry, being given into, ended in the real knowledge of this good and evilà

[Way-1-79] Supposing therefore the fall of man, which is a fact attestedà

[Way-1-80] Academicus.à

[Way-1-81] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-82] The fall of angels must be supposed to have been as soon after their creationà

[Way-1-83] Now as the lust of Adam, when it had obtained its desireà

[Way-1-84] To ask therefore, why the fallen angels continue in their stateà

[Way-1-85] To ask therefore, why the fallen angels were not helped by the mercy and goodnessà

[Way-1-86] For what are we to understand by the mercy and goodness of God? His mercyà

[Way-1-87] And his light, and Holy Spirit, cannot enter into a creatureà

[Way-1-88] This therefore you may rest upon, as a certain truthà

[Way-1-89] And therefore it is, that fallen man was immediately helpedà

[Way-1-90] And therefore the goodness of God, or his lightà

[Way-1-91] As to your last question, whether I believe the final restoration of all the fallenà

[Way-1-92] For it can neither be sufficiently affirmed, nor sufficiently deniedà

[Way-1-93] Now if anyone can show, that the devils are not essentially evilà

[Way-1-94] But unless it could be shown from a TRUE ground in natureà

[Way-1-95] For time cannot alter the nature or essence of thingsà

[Way-1-96] Now if the fallen angels have nothing heavenly in themà

[Way-1-97] But we have launched far enough in a deep that does not belong unto usà

[Way-1-98] Humanus.à

[Way-1-99] Now to press a man to deny himself, and leave all that he hath inà

[Way-1-100] And indeed I very well know, from former experienceà

[Way-1-101] Here therefore, in my humble opinion, should all beginà

[Way-1-102] The one business then upon his hands, if he will hold out against youà

[Way-1-103] This is the TRUE height, and depth, and total strength of Deism or infidelityà

[Way-1-104] If therefore Christianity is in the hands of scholarsà

[Way-1-105] But the truth of the matter is this; Christian redemption is God's mercy to allà

[Way-1-106] For this salvation, which is God's mercy to the fallen soul of manà

[Way-1-107] Now in this sensibility, which every man's own nature leads him intoà

[Way-1-108] This is the Christianity which every man must first be made sensible ofà

[Way-1-109] Theophilus.à

[Way-1-110] Nothing can be more right than your resolution not to enter into debate about theà

[Way-1-111] And wherever the heart is weary of the evil and vanity of the earthly lifeà

[Way-1-112] Let me now only, before we break up, observe to you the TRUE ground andà

[Way-1-113] But when the Son of God had taken a birth in and from the humanà

[Way-1-114] The Holy Ghost descended in the shape of cloven tongues of fire on the headsà

[Way-1-115] Hence it was, that sinners of all sorts, that felt the burden of their evilà

[Way-1-116] Here therefore, my friend, you are to place the TRUE distinction of gospel Christianity fromà

[Way-1-117] He that adheres only to the history of the factsà

[Way-1-118] It is in vain therefore for the modern Christianà

[Way-1-119] But a learned Christianity, supported and governed by reasonà

[Way-1-120] For the truth of Christianity is the Spirit of God living and working in ità

[Way-1-121] For the spiritual life is as much its own proofà

[Way-2-2] All my acquaintance have the same complaint that I here makeà

[Way-2-3] Oh this impatient scholar! How many troubles do I escapeà

[Way-2-4] |John,| said I, |shall I bring a man to youà

[Way-2-5] |And, as I was that morning going to my sheepà

[Way-2-6] |When my Betty used to read this, or some such words of Christà

[Way-2-7] |When he, like an Elijah, in his fiery chariotà

[Way-2-8] |As I have but one end in hearing the scriptures read to meà

[Way-2-9] |Now these lofty and mysterious words, instead of puzzling my headà

[Way-2-10] |Bring not therefore your cunning man, that has skill in wordsà

[Way-2-11] Thus ended honest old John the shepherd.à

[Way-2-12] But the truth is, you have only heard these fundamental mattersà

[Way-2-13] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-14] Academicus.à

[Way-2-15] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-16] Now all this circle of science and arts, whether liberal or mechanicà

[Way-2-17] This is Christian redemption; on the one side, it is the heavenly divine life offeringà

[Way-2-18] Now, whether this awakened, new man breathes forth his faith and hope towards this divineà

[Way-2-19] And therefore, sir, no truths concerning the divine and heavenly life are to be broughtà

[Way-2-20] For the doctrines of redemption belong no more to the natural manà

[Way-2-21] Jesus Christ is the light of that heavenly man that died in paradiseà

[Way-2-22] Academicus.à

[Way-2-23] Now this TRUE ground of the Christian redemption gives the greatest glory to God andà

[Way-2-24] But now, though this one ground of Christian redemption stands in the highest degree ofà

[Way-2-25] It would take up near half a day, to tell you the work which myà

[Way-2-26] Following the advice of all these counselors, as well as I couldà

[Way-2-27] |Could you therefore, be content to be one of the primitive Christiansà

[Way-2-28] |Look up to Christ, as your redeemer, your regeneratorà

[Way-2-29] |God is a spirit, in whom you live and move and have your beingà

[Way-2-30] So ended Rusticus.à

[Way-2-31] What a project was it, to be grasping after the knowledge of all the opinionsà

[Way-2-32] How easy was it for me to have seen with Rusticusà

[Way-2-33] But now I go back to that which I first spoke ofà

[Way-2-34] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-35] Further, he may be considered, 4.à

[Way-2-36] There are two sorts of people to whom he forbids the use of his booksà

[Way-2-37] In this advice, so different from that of other writersà

[Way-2-38] Secondly, the other sort of people, whom he excludes from his booksà

[Way-2-39] And now, Academicus, you may see how needless it is to ask meà

[Way-2-40] Academicus.à

[Way-2-41] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-42] This is the great scene of his eternal wisdom and omnipotenceà

[Way-2-43] Out of this transcendent eternal nature, which is as universal and immense as the Deityà

[Way-2-44] This is in part what you are first to understand concerning the mystery.à

[Way-2-45] But, secondly, it is a mystery, in which the creation and fall of angelsà

[Way-2-46] Thirdly, it is a mystery, in which the ground of Christian redemptionà

[Way-2-47] This, sir, is, in some degree, the mystery which it has pleased the Spirit ofà

[Way-2-48] Academicus.à

[Way-2-49] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-50] Behold, now, what a flagrant proof you have given of the vanityà

[Way-2-51] Academicus.à

[Way-2-52] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-53] Again, you can have no real knowledge of natureà

[Way-2-54] To count the stars, to observe their places or motionsà

[Way-2-55] This world, with all its stars, elements, and creaturesà

[Way-2-56] If man himself was not all these three thingsà

[Way-2-57] For God can only manifest that, which there is to be manifestedà

[Way-2-58] We are led into mistakes about this matter from the common practice of the worldà

[Way-2-59] From this idea of knowledge it is, that when this rational man turns his thoughtsà

[Way-2-60] He turns his mind to hearsay, to conjecture, to criticismà

[Way-2-61] This is the great delusion which has long overspread the Christian worldà

[Way-2-62] Now this is strictly the incapacity of reason, to speakà

[Way-2-63] Secondly, natural reason, whenever judging or ruling in divine mattersà

[Way-2-64] Academicus.à

[Way-2-65] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-66] For nothing that is brought into the mind from withoutà

[Way-2-67] One would have thought, Academicus, that this advice, if only from the uncommon nature ofà

[Way-2-68] Truth, my friend, whatever you may think of ità

[Way-2-69] Hear therefore its own language: |If any man will be my discipleà

[Way-2-70] God created us in and for the light; and had Adam kept his first stateà

[Way-2-71] The schools of this world are of no higher a natureà

[Way-2-72] Would you therefore be a divine philosopher, you must be a TRUE Christianà

[Way-2-73] Academicus.à

[Way-2-74] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-75] Academicus.à

[Way-2-76] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-77] Every other thing, besides the life and light of Godà

[Way-2-78] Academicus.à

[Way-2-79] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-80] For nothing leads or carries you anywhere, nothing generates either life or death in youà

[Way-2-81] For where the will of man is not, there he hath nothingà

[Way-2-82] Academicus.à

[Way-2-83] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-84] And herein consisteth the infinite goodness of God, in the birth of all intelligent creaturesà

[Way-2-85] And here, my friend, you have an easy entrance into the TRUE meaning of manyà

[Way-2-86] Now magic power meaneth nothing but the working of the willà

[Way-2-87] The first manifestation of the invisible God, is that which is calledà

[Way-2-88] This manifestation of God is a magic birth from the triune working will of theà

[Way-2-89] Now this same working will of the triune Deityà

[Way-2-90] Now everything that is not God, but after himà

[Way-2-91] Would you know now the TRUE ground of all this? It is thisà

[Way-2-92] And now, sir, you are come into a full view of the most important matterà

[Way-2-93] For nothing is effected by fiction and invention, by any contrived arts or searchings ofà

[Way-2-94] Now here you see, in the utmost degree of clearnessà

[Way-2-95] Hence it is, that our author so often tells his readerà

[Way-2-96] I said, into the truth and reality of natureà

[Way-2-97] For the Word of God which saveth and redeemethà

[Way-2-98] Again, see here in a still higher degree of proof the absolute necessityà

[Way-2-99] All the mysteries of religion, and the necessity of the whole process of Christ inà

[Way-2-100] Nor does this at all too much exalt the human willà

[Way-2-101] And thus, sir, you see, that every soul of man is partly humanà

[Way-2-102] And thus, from this knowledge of the magic nature of thingsà

[Way-2-103] The short is this: the whole matter of religion relates only to life and death.à

[Way-2-104] Academicus.à

[Way-2-105] For this magic power of everything, that works in all nature and creatureà

[Way-2-106] Theophilus.à

[Way-2-107] As to your other matter, how this language of the magical working of the willà

[Way-2-108] Everything that is outward in religion, whether it be men or thingsà

[Way-2-109] For nothing worketh in all nature or grace, but what worketh as a birthà

[Way-2-110] Again, faith and hope, and love and desire towards Godà

[Way-2-111] For all these powers, whether of faith, hope, loveà

[Way-2-112] Again, hence it is, namely, from this magic power of the working of the willà

[Way-2-113] Hence all these truths plainly follow: first, that faithà

[Way-2-114] This was the dominion he had over all the creatures on the earthà

[Way-2-115] Now all this high state of his first power is undeniable from the words ofà

[Way-2-116] And therefore all gospel faith, however wonderful in its powerà

[Way-2-117] For if the revival of faith, in so small a degreeà

[Way-2-118] And thus also, you see, that all that was said of the nature and extentà

[Way-2-119] Humanus.à

[Way-2-120] Now this faith may be thus understood; it is that power by which a manà

[Way-2-121] Now this faith is not a matter of choiceà

[Way-2-122] The debate therefore, set up by the Deists, about reason and faithà

[Way-2-123] Now, was not faith the power of life in every manà

[Way-2-124] The delusion of the Deist lies here: he refuses an assent to the history ofà

[Way-2-125] The Deist therefore hath no other possible way of showingà

[Way-2-126] I could not help saying thus much on this delusionà

[Way-2-127] |For if devils are what they are, because of their state and manner of existenceà

[Way-2-128] |Now, if you was to send to the fallen spirits of darkness all the systemsà

[Way-2-129] |Hence it sufficiently appears, that your way of natural religion cannot be the way ofà

[Way-2-130] |There never could have been any dispute about the possibility of saving ourselves by ourà

[Way-2-131] |Now all this is the same total ignorance of Godà

[Way-2-132] |For as soon as it is known and confessedà

[Way-2-133] And now, Theophilus, if you please, you may proceed in the matter you was upon.à

[Way-2-134] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-2] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-3] Academicus.à

[Way-3-4] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-5] The men of speculative reason, whom you seem most to apprehendà

[Way-3-6] Observe the word |self-evident|; for there lies the truth of the matterà

[Way-3-7] You can know nothing of God, of nature, of heavenà

[Way-3-8] Let it be supposed, that your ingenious reason should suggest to youà

[Way-3-9] Now this is the only knowledge that you can possibly have of an outward hellà

[Way-3-10] Again, let it be supposed, that your sceptic reason had brought you into doubt aboutà

[Way-3-11] For what a God is this, that is only proved to beà

[Way-3-12] But now, if you turn from all these idle debates and demonstrations of reasonà

[Way-3-13] And as this is our only TRUE knowledge, so every man isà

[Way-3-14] Wonder not therefore, my friend, that though the mystery under consideration contains the greatest truthsà

[Way-3-15] Academicus.à

[Way-3-16] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-17] Now suppose you knew no more of what God is in himselfà

[Way-3-18] Academicus.à

[Way-3-19] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-20] And thus your difficulty is removed: attraction or drawing is rightly ascribed to the desireà

[Way-3-21] Now as these two properties are two resistances, not in two different thingsà

[Way-3-22] Now the life of these three properties is a life of three contrary willsà

[Way-3-23] And now, sir, you have seen plainly enough the birthà

[Way-3-24] For it is a thing self-evident to you, that every desireà

[Way-3-25] You have yourself for a proof, that desire and pain begin togetherà

[Way-3-26] Now all that is nature, or natural life within youà

[Way-3-27] And if the working properties, which constitute the life of eternal natureà

[Way-3-28] Academicus.à

[Way-3-29] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-30] But if life is to be happy, something else must come into themà

[Way-3-31] Now this first thickness, darkness, or substantiality, brought forth in the desireà

[Way-3-32] The first three properties of nature were never to have been seen or knownà

[Way-3-33] Now as a new thickness of darkness, hardness, or substantialityà

[Way-3-34] Now the three first properties of nature; the firstà

[Way-3-35] Without these two things, material nature must have continued in its darknessà

[Way-3-36] For as this material system of things may, in a good senseà

[Way-3-37] Oh Academicus! Look now whilst these thoughts are alive in you at worldly greatnessà

[Way-3-38] Academicus.à

[Way-3-39] But, instead of learning this one lesson of truthà

[Way-3-40] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-41] God breathed the triune Spirit of the holy Deity into a body taken out ofà

[Way-3-42] But when his wandering eye had raised a longing desire to know what the earthlyà

[Way-3-43] And thus you see the possibility, the truth, and the manner of the thingà

[Way-3-44] Now, when this happened, the fallen angels entered again into some power in their lostà

[Way-3-45] Stay a while, sir, in view of these truthsà

[Way-3-46] Here also you see, in a self-evident light, the deep groundà

[Way-3-47] You rejoice to think, that you know the TRUE ground of your redemptionà

[Way-3-48] Academicus.à

[Way-3-49] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-50] You say, that your nature stands in a trembling desire after the birth of thisà

[Way-3-51] But to speak a word or two of the fireà

[Way-3-52] Now from this longing on both sides, nature wanting Godà

[Way-3-53] For nothing works either in God, or nature, or creatureà

[Way-3-54] Academicus.à

[Way-3-55] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-56] To make therefore a right use of his writingsà

[Way-3-57] Academicus.à

[Way-3-58] Theophilus.à

[Way-3-59] But to speak now directly to your objection: if I knew of any personà

[Way-3-60] And this may pass for a good reason why this mystery was not opened byà

[Way-3-61] But seeing a worldly spirituality, called in the scripture the whore riding upon the beastà

[Way-3-62] Let not therefore the genuine, plain, simple Christian, who is happy and blessed in theà

[Way-3-63] Neither let the orthodox divine, who sticks close to the phrases and sentiments of antiquityà

[Way-3-64] Hence you may see why the truth has always suffered in every controversy of theà

[Way-3-65] Look next at the Socinian controversy.à

[Way-3-66] Just the same may be said of the present controversy betwixt the Christians and infidelsà

[Way-3-67] Observe this proposition; viz.à

[Way-3-68] And now, sir, you may enough see, how all controversyà

[Way-3-69] Suffer me now, before we part, once more to repeat what I have so oftenà

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