I believe in the same Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for remission of sins, and the salvation of my soul, who “was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, made a good confession before Pontius Pilate, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; was dead and buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into glory, far above all heavens,” that he might fill all things, according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; for which I have a godly and reverent esteem.
I also believe in Him, as to his appearing the second time, without sin, unto salvation, to all that look for Him, by his living and eternal spirit, the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot receive, as when he prayed unto the Father, that he would send the Comforter, that leads into all truth, all that believe in him thereby. When it pleased the Lord to visit me with the day-spring of his love from on high, in the days of my youth, by this Spirit of Life and Truth, sin and satan were manifested; and if at any time I was prevailed upon, by entering into any of his temptations, I was reproved and judged thereby. But when faith was begotten in my heart, to believe in the Spirit of Truth that reproved me, I received power from Him, in whom I did and do believe, to overcome one sin after another, in order to a perfect freedom from it, which must be in this life, or else there is no entering into the kingdom of heaven. For all who live and die in sin are unclean and therefore cannot enter the kingdom.
This is the blessed effect of every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ; as to his birth, suffering, resurrection, ascension, and second coming without sin, unto salvation; in whom all must believe for life and salvation to their souls, whoever come to know the full assurance thereof, in the kingdom of happiness, and endless glory. I believe in Him, and own Him in all his offices, and under every name and denomination which is given to Him in the Holy Scriptures. I own Him as King, even King of Saints, and Lord of life and glory; High Priest of the profession of all that were and are of the true faith; God’s covenant of light and life; Emmanuel, God with us, who is come to save his people from their sins, not in their sins, for there is no being saved therein; which is in the fallen and lost condition.
I own and believe in Him as he is the “true light, that enlighteneth every man that comes into the world.” I own and believe Him to be “the way, the truth, and the life; and that no man cometh to the Father but by Him.” I believe in Him, as he is Minister of the sanctuary, and true tabernacle which God hath pitched, and not man; who by his power and spirit hath fitted and made many able and faithful ministers, in this day of his everlasting Gospel, among whom he hath been pleased to account me worthy to be one, though one of the
least among many. He is the Minister of ministers, and none are or can be true ministers, but who are made so and ordained by Him. He fits, opens and prepares by his power, and quickening spirit. So the ministers of Christ preach Him, the way, the truth and the life; the true light, the door, the true Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, and saves by his grace all true believers, who obey the teachings thereof.
He is also believed in and known by his second coming, to be the ingrafted Word, that is able to save the soul. He took flesh and suffered in it, the one Offering once for all, to put an end to sin, and finish transgression, and bring in everlasting righteousness. The fulfiller, the finisher, the end of the law, with all the types, figures, and shadows of it; the end of tithes, swearing, temple-worship, outward circumcision, offerings and oblations. The end, finisher and fulfiller of water baptism, and outward communion of eating of bread, and drinking of wine. He is the great Baptizer, having baptized many by his spirit into one body, of which he is the head, which is the one saving baptism, with the Holy Ghost and fire;—and John with his water baptism is decreased and ended.
And he is the one bread of life, come down from God out of heaven, which is eaten of by faith, whose flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed. He the living substance is come and fed upon; that was and is the communion of saints.
This being the substance of the testimony, in brevity, of my faith in Christ, I am willing to leave it behind me, when I have finished the work of my day, and am gathered to my everlasting rest, which I have long travailed for, through many deep exercises. And this not only for myself, but I was willing to leave this upon record, on the behalf of my Friends and brethren also, the people of God in scorn called Quakers who are of the same faith in Christ with me. That all may know, who have a desire to have a right understanding of our faith and principles; that we are no such people as to our faith in Christ, as some ignorantly, and others hatefully have rendered us; as though we only or wholly depended upon the light within, for salvation to our souls; and did not own or believe in Christ, as to his coming, death, resurrection, ascension, etc.; and the benefit we, and all true believers have thereby.
But, blessed, praised and magnified be the worthy name of the Lord our God for ever, who hath opened our understandings by his power, whereby we know Him, in whom we do believe; which is not to believe in the light within, distinct from Christ;—or if people could believe in the light and not in Christ. But we believe in both as one, knowing and being clear in our understanding, that no separation can be made between Christ, and the light that comes from him, which shines in the hearts of all true believers; and shines in the darkness of unbelievers, and therefore the darkness cannot comprehend it. So we as truly believe in that same Christ who laid down his body, and took it up again, as in his light within, and we have benefit to salvation, by the one as well the other, and of both, they being one, and are willing to lay hold of every help and means, God in and through Jesus Christ, has ordained for our salvation.
John Banks was born in the county of Cumberland in England in the year 1638. Early in his life he was convinced of the Truth as held by Friends. Soon after his convincement he entered into the ministry and continued to minister in the Society of Friends until his death in 1710. He was a man of many gifts and for the testimony he bore he suffered much, spending many years in prison. In 1704 he wrote the following short declaration of faith which has been reprinted many times and held in high esteem by Friends. From the very beginning Friends have maintained the unity of the Light of Christ shining into the heart and the Jesus of history who was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem. This testimony is again offered, with the hope that it will not encourage a faith based on creeds and creedalism, but in the hope that it will comfort and strengthen all those who are seeking for that faith which has a sure foundation and fades not away. Language and modes of expression can and do change with the centuries, but the Love of God and his Truth are eternal.