«By CAROLE ANNE HAMBY A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY Department of Theology and Religion ...»
Thus, Inwardness is the means to spiritual knowing. The goal is spiritual maturity and, in turn, a life lived attuned to God. Fox, as has been shown in chapter 2, emphasises the need to ‘turn within’; Barclay makes explicit reasons to have faith in so doing. In quoting Augustine, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Jeremiah, Athanasius and others, he maintains that ‘turning within’ is the way to recognise that ‘God reveals himself to his children’. This is necessary because ‘the object of this faith is the promise, word, or testimony of God, speaking to the mind’.59 It is accessed ‘inwardly and immediately by the Spirit of God’.60 Turning the mind within is the means to unveiled, pure recognition of the Spirit. Explaining his view more fully Barclay says that faith is: ‘… proceeded from the secret persuasion of God’s Spirit in [the] heart.
Thus ‘turning within’ is the means to locate, within the self, the ‘indwelling Holy Spirit’.
For Barclay this is what Inwardness is about. It is the means of absolutely necessary recognition of what is within oneself, through which the redeeming Truth of Life itself is revealed. He quotes Melanchthon in support of his view.
Who hear only an outward and bodily voice, hear the creature; but God is a Spirit, and is neither discerned, nor known, nor heard, but by the Spirit; and therefore to hear the voice of God, to see God is to know and hear the Spirit. By the Spirit alone God is known and perceived.
… that which proceeds from the warm influence of God’s Spirit upon the heart, and from the comfortable shining of his Light upon their understanding.65 In his Loci Communes, Melanchthon speaks of faith and justification indicating, as above, the significance of the ‘Spirit of God’ in religious knowledge. 66 Similarly Barclay’s concern is with the results of faith and the purifying knowledge that faith heralds in 1) discernment and 2) effective application to Christian living. Religion, and the Truth that can be disclosed to the very heart of serious seekers in faith, is non-trivial in every way; it is immeasurably profound and, for Barclay, the primacy of the ‘inward’ experience of the Spirit of God is essential.67 64 1Cor.3:16, See also King, chapter 1.3 ‘self-authenticating intuition’.
65 Barclay, Apology, pp. 25-6. Melanchthon, (1497-1560) was a colleague of Luther and responsible for an early formulation of systematic theology, Loci Communes, which was among the first of systematic approaches to theology, subsequently losing significance to Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 63.
66 Livingstone, E. A. (ed.) The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 1997) (Loci Communes, 1535 edition). Although the Loci Communes, contrary to the view of Barclay, ‘stresses that Christians are bound by the Law of God contained in the Bible; they are not to rely on their predestination to salvation, but must act justly’ (p. 1066). However, Melanchthon accepts that ‘in the act of conversion the human will can cooperate with the Holy Spirit and God’s grace’ (p. 1568) confirming, in line with Barclay, that the primary cause of conversion is the Holy Spirit not the will.
67 Whereas Melanchthon argues for a distinction between the event of Justification and the process of Sanctification, for Barclay ‘It [Justification]…is all one with Sanctification’. Apology, p. 177.
135 Continued discussion of Inwardness embraces related terms, metaphors and comparable expressions, as for example ‘seed’ and ‘light’. 68 Further, the work of other scholars provides insights into the density of Barclay’s meaning and differentiated nuances in uses of terms. 69 Some terms and metaphors seem to relate to what Inwardness is, some to what it contains or reveals and yet others to what may be the benefits of its experience. Distinctions are drawn here for the purpose of interpretative clarification not to suggest discrete components.
Rather Barclay’s argument aligns terms in many, if not all cases, to indicate that what is (Non-trivial, Eternal, Universal, and of the Non-visible Inward Master), at the same time reveals of itself (Inward Light, Law, and the Holy Spirit) bestowing as its benefits (True Knowledge, Redemption and Justification).
Many of the qualifications of the term ‘inward’ occur in Barclay’s quotation of the ‘The most refined and famous of all sorts of professors...’ to endorse his own detailed view.70 Inwardness provides understanding regarded as the true foundation of True Knowledge. 71 Further this knowledge is found, by Barclay, to be consistent with Scriptural description.
As has been stated above, Barclay begins his Apology with reference to John 17.3:
Seeing the height of all happiness is placed in the true knowledge of God; “This is life eternal: to know the true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3]; the true and right understanding of this foundation and ground of knowledge is that which is most necessary to be known and believed in the first place.72 68 See also Fox, Journal, on the ‘seed’ p. 574, and p. 371 concerning Christ; on the Light of Christ reference throughout the Journal, for example, pp. 33-35, p. 117, pp. 283-284, pp. 295-296.
69 Also Pyper, H. ‘Resisting the Inevitable: Universal and Particular Salvation in the Thought of Robert Barclay’ in Quaker Religious Thought, 29, no. 1, (1998), pp. 5-18, Also, Keiser, ‘Touched and Knit in the Life: Barclay’s Relational Theology and Cartesian Dualism’.
70 Barclay, Apology, p. 23.
71 There is a distinction between interpretation of truth as that which is true as statement, most reflecting or representing that which is, or exists, in reality, and truth that is said to be ‘an inward beauty, life and loveliness’ i.e. Divine Truth. See Creasey, Essays, p. 348, quoting John Smith, the Cambridge Platonist.
72 Barclay, ibid, p. 19. John 1.9 is usually accepted as the Quaker text. It reads: ‘... that was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’. Barclay refers to this text in relation to Redemption.
136 Throughout the Apology Barclay uses biblical sources to provide authority for his theology.
This is despite his main argument for the primacy of experiential and spiritual religion over Scripture. In this work of apology, however, Barclay takes on the task of showing that Quakers remain true to Christianity ‘in scripture truth and right reason’. 73 Thus, it is in relation to the Christian belief that his selection of biblical quotation is important for understanding his interpretation of Inwardness in Quaker faith and practice. In his apologetic work, Barclay aims to provide defences of Quakerism within the Christian context and theology of his day.
In Proposition 2, he maintains that inward revelations ‘do not contradict the Scriptures...
or sound reason’.74 Yet he asserts the primacy of ‘inward’ knowing i.e. God as known by Spirit alone. He uses texts from the Bible not only to lend weight to his understanding of Inwardness but also to indicate precedent for his meaning in the primary text of Christianity.
He says that ‘[T]his indwelling of the Spirit … is [it] as positively asserted in the Scripture as anything else can be’:75...the Spirit of God dwell[s] in you… (Rom 8:9)
Inwardness emerges as spiritual, life-giving law, which stems from the source of knowledge and wisdom. The Holy Spirit, of all that is, is here in the ‘shrine’ of the body.76 Suggestions as to the actual location of inward experience, when in or of the body, are usually linked with the heart.
73 Cadbury, C. Robert Barclay, p. 43. Together with Penn, Barclay is concerned to readdress the manner in which Quakerism has expressed itself, leading to strife, arrest, imprisonment and torture of many Friends.
74 Barclay, Apology, p. 51.
75 Barclay, ibid, p. 41.
76 Bailey, R. ‘‘Seventeenth Century Quaker Christology’ in Dandelion, P (ed.). The Creation of Quaker Theory (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004 ), p.73, on Anne Conway and ‘corporeality’ and immaterial substance i.e. the flesh and bones of spiritual presence.
137 This thesis does not place great emphasis on determining any location for Inwardness.
However, some issues do arise since Barclay uses location as his second proof for the existence of the Holy Spirit in humanity, as known inwardly (“He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”).77 Thus, since location is expressly indicated by Barclay, his notion of location warrants mention. In the instances where he identifies the heart specifically it remains unclear whether this is as metaphorical reference, intending to direct attention to deeply felt knowledge, or to a literal interpretation. The latter is possible, if related to other religious teachings and expressions of spiritual knowledge.78 However, it seems more likely that ‘heart’ is metaphorical for Barclay, as used here in the terms of Christian Scripture.
There are also references in the Apology to the soul as location: This is more nebulous, than reference to the heart, given that there is no known organic equivalent. In Proposition 2 the soul is mentioned, in passing only, but this expression offers no more clarity in understanding Inwardness of the soul, or Barclay’s use of the term.79 However, Endy draws attention to William Penn’s dualistic position on the soul, writing of the ‘natural soul’ that is separated from the ‘Life of God’ and that which is called ‘“infinite”, “eternal”, or “divine”’, and accepted as having the “Life” breathed into it.80 Although the distinction is made between the natural and divine soul, no clarification is suggested as to what the soul might be in essence.
Barclay inter-relates quotations from John Smith,81 including biblical quotations (1 John 1:1), through which he draws together several ideas. These include a) the knowledge of God
78 Bailey, ‘‘Seventeenth Century Quaker Christology’, p. 64, concerning ‘... the cross in God’s heart’.
Also in Palmer, G.E.H. Sherard, P and Ware, K (eds.) Philokalia Vol. 3 (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), p. 57 Item 78 and Glossary, p. 359.
79 See McGrath, A. E. Surprised by Meaning? (Louisville, Kentucky: John Knox Press, 2011), p. 107 for reference to ‘soul’ as ‘human nature in so far as it relates to God’.
80 Endy, W, William Penn and early Quakerism (Princeton: University Press 1973) p.197.
81 Smith (1618 -1652) was a Cambridge Platonist (who in 1644 had been elected to the Queen’s fellowship and appointed lecturer in Hebrew), writing before Barclay, whose life just overlapped that of Barclay.
Yea, all of those who apply themselves effectually to Christianity, and are not satisfied until they have found its effectual work upon their hearts, redeeming them from sin, do feel that no knowledge effectually prevails to the producing of this, but that which proceeds from the warm influence of God’s Spirit upon the heart, and from the comfortable shining of his Light upon their understanding.82 Barclay implies that the Inward is the source of immediate revelation, proceeding ‘from the warm influence of God’s Spirit upon the heart’. The ‘shining of his Light upon their understanding’ is the means to discernible guidance.
Barclay’s attempt to explain the nature of this source of immediate revelation, especially when he enlists notions of location, is less clear than his explanation of purpose. This is unsurprising given the limitation of language and, as Braithwaite suggests, the ‘conditions of thought of the age’.83 To speak of the purposes, practicalities and outcomes that result from experience of Inwardness is less challenging than to speak of the source itself. According to McGrath the apophatic tradition ‘preserves the mystery of God [and the Inward Holy Spirit] through its emphasis on the limitation of language’. 84 Discussing Dionysius, Jantzen
reminds the reader of his view that:
Anything that could be adequately encapsulated in human language would not be worthy to be called God: in Dionysius’ view God must be utterly transcendent, and therefore beyond human capacity for conceptualisation or verbalisation.85 Barclay, to his credit and perhaps to the advantage of his detractors, struggles with the limit of human language but in so doing creates almost as many questions as he answers. 86
84 McGrath, A Christian Theology, p. 194. Also McGinn, B. The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany (1300-1500) (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2005), pp. 17-29.
85 Jantzen, G Power, Gender and Christian Mysticism, p. 101, on Dionysius and the path of negation, pp. 95-109.
139 Barclay attempts answers in discussing a new emphasis on the relationship of God with humanity. For all Christians this difference is between that available to humanity in its ‘fallen state’ and that as redeemed by Christ after the resurrection. The ensuing relationship between God and humanity is distinguished as of the New Covenant rather than the Old Covenant.87 It is then necessary for Barclay to demonstrate his understanding in Covenantal terms.
4.3.1iii The New Covenant: Gospel supersedes the Law
Barclay’s discussion of Inward and Immediate Revelation bears closely on his understanding of the New Covenant.