The Way to Divine Knowledge
The Way to Divine Knowledge
William Law

Table of Contents


Title Page

[Way-1-1] Humanus.…

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

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

[Way-1-4] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-12] Humanus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-30] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-1-32] Academicus.…

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

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

[Way-1-35] See here, Academicus, the folly of your quarrelling with the word "angelic…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-43] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-53] Humanus.…

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

[Way-1-55] Thus, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden…

[Way-1-56] Theophilus.…

[Way-1-57] Humanus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-66] "The grossness, impurity, sickness, pain, and corruption of our bodies…

[Way-1-67] Theophilus.…

[Way-1-68] Humanus.…

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-73] Academicus.…

[Way-1-74] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-80] Academicus.…

[Way-1-81] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-98] Humanus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-1-109] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-4] "John," said I, "shall I bring a man to you…

[Way-2-5] "And, as I was that morning going to my sheep…

[Way-2-6] "When my Betty used to read this, or some such words of Christ…

[Way-2-7] "When he, like an Elijah, in his fiery chariot…

[Way-2-8] "As I have but one end in hearing the scriptures read to me…

[Way-2-9] "Now these lofty and mysterious words, instead of puzzling my head…

[Way-2-10] "Bring not therefore your cunning man, that has skill in words…

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

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

[Way-2-13] Theophilus.…

[Way-2-14] Academicus.…

[Way-2-15] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-22] Academicus.…

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-27] "Could you therefore, be content to be one of the primitive Christians…

[Way-2-28] "Look up to Christ, as your redeemer, your regenerator…

[Way-2-29] "God is a spirit, in whom you live and move and have your being…

[Way-2-30] So ended Rusticus.…

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

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

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

[Way-2-34] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-40] Academicus.…

[Way-2-41] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-48] Academicus.…

[Way-2-49] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-2-51] Academicus.…

[Way-2-52] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-64] Academicus.…

[Way-2-65] Theophilus.…

[Way-2-66] For nothing that is brought into the mind from without…

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

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

[Way-2-69] Hear therefore its own language: "If any man will be my disciple…

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

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

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

[Way-2-73] Academicus.…

[Way-2-74] Theophilus.…

[Way-2-75] Academicus.…

[Way-2-76] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-2-78] Academicus.…

[Way-2-79] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-2-81] For where the will of man is not, there he hath nothing…

[Way-2-82] Academicus.…

[Way-2-83] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-104] Academicus.…

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

[Way-2-106] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-119] Humanus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-2-127] "For if devils are what they are, because of their state and manner of existence…

[Way-2-128] "Now, if you was to send to the fallen spirits of darkness all the systems…

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

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

[Way-2-131] "Now all this is the same total ignorance of God…

[Way-2-132] "For as soon as it is known and confessed…

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

[Way-2-134] Theophilus.…

[Way-3-2] Theophilus.…

[Way-3-3] Academicus.…

[Way-3-4] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-3-6] Observe the word "self-evident"; for there lies the truth of the matter…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-3-15] Academicus.…

[Way-3-16] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-3-18] Academicus.…

[Way-3-19] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-3-28] Academicus.…

[Way-3-29] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-3-38] Academicus.…

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

[Way-3-40] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Way-3-48] Academicus.…

[Way-3-49] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

[Way-3-54] Academicus.…

[Way-3-55] Theophilus.…

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

[Way-3-57] Academicus.…

[Way-3-58] Theophilus.…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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