Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
William Roger writes in Part One of his Christian Quaker (1680) on pages 24-26:
'Tis well known, that it pleased the Lord, to reach unto many of our Consciences at the beginning of this latter Day, that hath dawned amongst us; whereby we came to Believe in the Everlasting Light of the Lord; and as others held forth the Visible Orders, and Written Faiths of a Visible Church to be as a lantern to their Paths, and as a Ground of their Faith, so this Light of Christ was preached up as Lantern to our Paths, and as the Ground of our Faith, and then (as our Understandings came to be more and more opened) we clearly saw, that as other Churches had outward Marks and Tokens, whereby a man might manifest himself to be a Member of their Church, when received into Society with their Church, so we (who had Believed in the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ, and had the Evidence in our selves, that we were of the true Brotherhood, and Members of Christ's Body) were at a loss infallibly to manifest unto others, by any Outward Marks or Tokens, that we were in Reality Members of the true Church: Because this Light (in which we had Believed) did reveal unto us, that those who were but in the Gentile Nature, and had come no further than the Outward Court (that was given to the Gentiles) might have all the Outward Marks and signs of a Member of their Churches, and yet know very little of the washing by the Water of Regeneration, and Sanctification through the Spirit, which every Member of the true Church, that's built on the Rock Christ, comes to be Witness of.
And therefore, when our Opposers (who professed not the Truth) would reflect upon us on the wise; You are a confused People; you gather not into Church fellowships; you have no certain Way to know on another to be Members of the Church, as we have. And why do you not put forth your Creed, that so we may know what and how many of the Articles of your Faith are, and what you stand for, and what you stand against? The best Answer, that ever (as we could understand) we were capable to give in Truth unto such, was this:
The True Church is in God, who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith; we have believed in the Sufficiency of His Grace, unto which if we are obedient (according to the respective measures thereof given of God, and Received by us) we then have the Witness of God in our Consciences, giving evidence, that we are of the True Brotherhood, and of the Church of the First Born, whose Names are written in Heaven, ... we do not allege any outward Marks and Signs, whereby our Bodies (being Temples wherein the Holy Ghost doth dwell) ought to be accounted within the pale of the true Church.
This quote from Rogers is precious to me. Here he readily states the Lord entered their conscience and that the Light of Christ itself became their lantern and the ground of their faith. God lead them out of a conscious that was anchored in and a conscience that was informed by Visible Orders and the Written Faiths of the visible Church. Their conscious and conscience were anchored in and informed by the Light itself within them.
Then the protestants and catholics of the time came out against them saying: "You people are foolish. You do not have any outward creeds, doctrines, traditions, institutions, that we may know you by!!" And the Children of Light looked around at each other and then said to the protestants and catholics: "You are correct. We do not profess outward marks and signs that would put us under a particular religious tent. We hold to grace alone in the Light and Power of Christ and the Light is our Mark." And the leaders and professors various protestant and catholic and political institutions were confounded by the message of the Children of Light as they are still confounded by the same message to this very day.