In Whitman's Hand

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Title: A Defence of the Christian Doctrines of the Society of Friends

Creators: Walt Whitman, Anonymous

Annotation Date: After 1838

Base Document Citation: Anonymous, A Defence of the Christian Doctrines of the Society of Friends (Philadelphia, 1825).

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images of the original item.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03453

Contributors to digital file: Jonathan Y. Cheng, Nicole Gray, and Matt Cohen


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Whitman's Hand | Highlighting | Paste-on | Erasure | Overwrite



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PREFACE.ix

approaching the communion of modern unbelievers, but by the most unfair means, are endeavouring to press into their company, many honourable christian Quakers, who have long since fallen asleep in Jesus; and who in life, and in death, declared that they had no fellowship with such unfruitful works of darkness.

It is not, however, surprising that those who have thus swerved from the ancient faith of the gospel, as held forth by this society, are anxious to gloss over their pernicious principles, and to plume themselves with the credit of antiquity and the authority of " primitive friends." There is something so forbidding–so unpromising, so utterly comfortless and unamiable, in the principles and character of an unbeliever, that few have been found, who were bold enough to throw off the % mask, and voluntarily to embrace it. They have generally sought to soften down the term, and to give their doctrines a more inviting aspect, by pretending that they differed not in essentials from sound christians; that they only stripped Christianity of human trappings, and taught it "in its native excellence and purity," and that many pious men were of their way of thinking. But the veil is too thin to conceal the deformity which lies beneath. Infidelity, in its most specious forms, has been too often detected, and too fully exposed, to give them any hope of success, and the time is at hand, when they will be made fully manifest.

The society of Friends, holds the same relation to other christian professors, that ever it did. William Penn, in his "Testimony to the truth as held by the people called Quakers,"written in 1698, says, " Because we are separated from the publick communion and worship, it is too generally concluded, that we deny the doctrines received by the church, and consequently introduce a new religion; whereas we differ least; where we are thought to differ most. For, setting aside some school terms, we hold the substance of those doctrines, believed by the Church of England, as to God, Christ, Spirit, Scripture, repentance, sanctification, remission of sin, holy living and the resurrection of the just and unjust to eternal rewards and punishments.

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But that wherein we differ most, is about worship, and conversation, and the inward qualification of the soul, by the work of God's Spirit thereon, in pursuance of these good and generally received doctrines." 2d vol. fol. p. 881.

It is the certain effect of a faithful submission to the leadings of the Holy Spirit of Christ, to bring its followers into an humble and sincere belief in the sublime doctrines of the christian religion; and as occasion requires, to qualify them earnestly to contend for that precious faith once delivered to the saints, against those who are labouring to destroy it. Hence, it is not surprising,

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

It is no new thing for the writings of the early Quakers to be mutilated and perverted, in order to prove their denial of the doctrines of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles. Among the many accusations and calumnies which were heaped upon this despised people, there was none more frequently reiterated, nor more fully refuted and denied, than this, which the compilers of the pamphlet are now endeavouring to support; and it is a fart, that,in order to sustain it, the enemies of the society have always been compelled to resort to garbling or misrepresentation of their language.

It is well known that the fundamental principle of the Society, is a belief in, and an obedience to, the sensible influences of the holy spirit of Christ, in the soul. At the time of its first rise, this important doctrine was too little known or believed in, while great dependence was placed upon the observation of mere outward rites, and a bare historical belief in the life, suffering, and death of Christ; the scriptures being considered as the word of God, and the alone treasury of that knowledge which gives life eternal. [Hence it was, that the Society of Friends, strenuously enforced the necessity of coming to the real experience of the work of regeneration in the heart; to feel Christ ruling there by his spirit; that so the blessed and most comfortable truths of Holy Scripture might be sealed in, their experience, be the revelation of that power which gave the scriptures forth. Now, because Friends preached the necessity of coming to know Christ within, they were charged with denying Christ without, and with believing in Christ no otherwise than as the

spirit in man. And because they taught the necessity of the new birth in the soul, and a real change of heart, whereby all things came to be of God, they were accused of slighting, or wholly denying, the virtue of all that the Son of God had done for them, without them.

These several accusations they again and again refuted; declaring that while they enforced the necessity of the inward work, they were so far from denying the outward, that they were taught by the Holy Spirit, most reverently and gratefully to believe, and acknowledge all that was done by Jesus Christ without them ; and that although, with the apostle, they believed the spirit of Christ was in all men, who were not reprobates, yet, so far from doubting, they were taught by this very spirit, unfeignedly to believe and own, both the Godhead and manhood of Jesus Christ, "his miraculous conception, holy life, miracles, propitiatory sacrifice, death, resurrection, ascension, mediation and intercession; and openly to avow their full faith in all that was contained in the Holy Scriptures of truth.

So repeatedly has the Society declared its belief, in all these doctrines of the Christian religion, that the generality of liberal minded men have been convinced of the soundness of its faith, and of its

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.xix

following pages, and to give a clear view of the great discrepancy and contradiction between them; we subjoin the following extracts from his letters, sermons, &c. viz:

SENTIMENTS OF ELIAS HICKS.

"I dont admire at the difficulties thou hast had to encounter, in regard to the mode of redemption, generally held by professing christians, as being effected by the death or outward dying of Jesus Christ upon the outward wooden cross. This, as it regards the redemption of the immortal soul from the bondage of sin, I consider

a vulgar error, that came in with the apostacy from primitive christianity. The redemption effected by this outward offering, would ONLY, according to the true analogy of things, be a redemption of the outward bodies; for, as under the legal dispensation, there were many legal institutes, that were binding upon the people of Israel, and on no other people, and a breach of these, produced legal crimes to which penalties were attached, and these inflicted on the bodies of the Israelites; now I consider that the offering of the body of Jesus Christ on the outward cross applied only as a matter of redemption to the Israelites; redeeming them from the curse of that covenant and the penalties attendant on every breach thereof, and this outward redemption was the top stone of that figurative dispensation, as by it that dispensation with all its legal rites and ceremonies was abolished and done away."—Elias Hicks' letter to William B. Irish.

Why shouldst thou think it cruel or painful, that God sent his Son into the world, and when in the world, permitted him to suffer death by the hands of wicked men, when history informs us that many thousands of righteous men and women have, by the permission of the Almighty, been persecuted to death by wicked men; yet, nevertheless, we do not believe that God sent any of these into the world purposely to suffer death, in the cruel way they did, by the cruel power of the wicked; neither do I believe that God sent Jesus Christ into the world purposely to suffer death in the way he did, any more than all them; for I do not believe that God created any rational being and sent him into the world, to suffer death for other men; because they were wicked and he was righteous; but that it was the righteousness of all these that aggravated the wicked, and was the procuring cause of their hatred and vengeance toward them when they cruelly persecuted them to death. [But their sufferings was entirely opposite to, and inconsistent with, the purpose and will of God, for if it was not, the perpetrators of these dreadful crimes, and most atrocious deeds, would all stand justified in his sight."]Ibid.

"Hence we conclude, that God never sent his Son, Jesus Christ, nor any of his rational creation, purposely into the world to suffer death, by cruel men, but only in his free and voluntary choice to attend to and do his holy will in all things, and thereby glorify and enjoy him, which all agree to be the chief end and design of man's creation."—Ibid.

"But as divine wisdom foresaw that his people Israel, would revolt from his commandments, and rebel against his law, and become cruel and hard hearted, so likewise he foresaw that the wicked among


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even our bodily lives, to surrender for the gospel sake, and the testimony of a good conscience."—Wisdom Justified.

"First, By what means did Jesus suffer? The answer is plain,by the hands of wicked men, and because his works were righteous, and theirs were wicked. Query. Did God send him into the world, purposely to suffer death by the hands of wicked men? By no means, but to live

a righteous and godly life, (which was the design and end of God's creating man in the beginning,) and thereby be a perfect example to such of mankind as should come to the knowledge of him and of his perfect life. (For if it was the purpose and will of God, that he should die by the hands of wicked men, then the Jews, by crucifying him, would have done God's will, and of course would all have stood justified in his sight, which could not be.) But it was permitted so to be, as it had been with many of the prophets, and wise and good men that were before him, who suffered death by the hands of wicked men for righteousness sake, as ensamples to those that came after, that they should account nothing too dear to give up for the truth's sake, not even their own lives."—Letter to Dr. JV. Shoemaker.

"But I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT THE CRUCIFIXION OF THE OUTWARD BODY OF FLESH AND BLOOD OF JESUS ON THE CROSS, WAS AN ATONEMENT FOR ANY SINS BUT THE LEGAL SINS OF THE JEWS; for as their law was outward, so their legal sins and their penalties were outward, and these could be atoned for by an outward sacrifice; and this last outward sacrifice was a full type of the inward sacrifice that every sinner must make, in giving up that sinful life of his own will, in and by which he hath from time to time crucified the innocent life of God in his own soul, and which Paul calls, the old man with his deeds, or the man of sin and son of perdition, who hath taken God's seat in the heart, and there exalteth itself above all that is called God or is worshipped, sitting as judge and supreme. Now all this life, power,and will of man, must be slain and die on the cross spiritually, as Jesus died on the cross outwardly, and this is the true atonement, which that outward atonement was a clear and full type of. This the apostle Paul sets forth in a plain manner. Romans, vi. 3,4. Know ye not that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ, were baptised into his death ? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, (outwardly,) by the glory of the Father, even so we, having by the spiritual baptism witnessed a death to sin shall know a being raised up spiritually and walk in newness of life."—Ibid.

And inasmuch as those idle promulgators of original sin, believe they are made sinners, without their consent or knowledge, which, according to the nature and reason of things, every rational mind must see is impossible; so likewise, they are idle and ignorant enough to believe they are made righteous without their consent or knowledge, by the righteousness of one who lived on the earth near two thousand years before they had an existence; and this by the cruel hands of wicked men, slaying an innocent and righteous one; and these are bold and daring enough, to lay this cruel and unholy act in the charge of divine justice as having purposely ordained it to be so: but what an outrage it is against every righteous law of God


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and man, as the scriptures abundantly testify. See Exod. ch. 23, v. 7. " Keep thee far from a false matter, and the innocent and righteously thou not, for I will not justify the wicked." Deut. 27 ch. 25 v. "Cursed be he that taketh reward, to slay an innocent person ;" and much more might be produced to show the wickedness and absurdity of the doctrine, that would accuse the perfectly just all-wise and merciful Jehovah of so barbarous and cruel an act as that of slaying his innocent and righteous son, to atone for the sins and iniquities of the ungodly.

"Surely is it possible that any rational being, that has any right sense of justice or mercy, that would be willing to accept forgiveness of his sins, on such terms! Would he not rather go forward and offer himself wholly up, to suffer all the penalties due to his crimes, rather than the innocent should suffer? Nay, was he so hardy, as to acknowledge a willingness to be saved through such a medium, would it not prove, that he stood in direct opposition, to every principle of justice and honesty, of mercy and love, and show himself to be a poor, selfish creature, and unworthy of notice!" Ibid.

Elias Hicks, in his letter to Thomas Willis, on the miraculous conception of the Lord Jesus Christ, says :

"Finding this to be the case, I examined the accounts given on this subject, by the four Evangelists, and according to my best judgment on the occasion, 1 was led to think there was considerable more scripture evidence for his being the son of Joseph than otherwise; although it has not yet changed my belief, are the consequences which follow much more favourable; for as the Israelitish covenant rested very much upon external evidence by way of outward miracle, so I conceive this miraculous birth was intended principally to induce the Israelites to believe he was their promised Messiah, or the great prophet, Moses had long before prophesied of, that should come, like unto himself.

But, when we consider that he was born of a woman that was joined in lawful wedlock with a man of Israel, it would seem that it must shut the way to the enforcing any such belief, as all their neighbours would naturally be led to consider him the son of Joseph, and this it appears very clear they did, by the scripture testimony: and although it has not, as above observed, given cause as yet, to alter my views on the subject, as tradition is a mighty bulwark, not easily removed, yet it has had this salutary effect, to deliver me from judging my brethren and fellow creatures who are in that belief, and can feel the same flow of love and unity with them, as though they were in the same belief with myself; neither would I dare to say, positively, that it would be my mind, they should change their belief, unless 1 could give them much greater evidence than 1 am at present possessed of, as 1 consider in regard to our salvation, they are both non-essentials; and I may further say, that I believe it would be much greater sin in me, to smoke tobacco that was the produce of the labour of slaves, than it would be to believe either of these positions;"—See Letter to T. Willis.

[I admit that I did assert, and have long done it, that we cannot


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believe what we do not understand; this the scripture affirms; Deut. xxix. 29.' The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong unto us, and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law;' and all that is not revealed is to us the same as a nonentity, and will forever remain so, until it is revealed; and that which is revealed enables us, agreeably to the apostle's exhortation, to give a reason of the hope that is in us, to honest inquirers."—E. Hicks' Letter to Dr. E. A. Atlee.

"As to what she [Anna Braithwaite,] relates as it regards the manner of our coming into the world in our infant state, it is my belief that we come into the world in the same state of innocence, and endowed with the same propensities and desires, that our first parents were, in their primeval state; and this Jesus Christ has established, and must be conclusive in the minds of all true believers, when he took a little child in his arms, and blessed him, and said to them around him, that except they were converted, and became as that little child, they should in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Of course, all the desires and propensities of that little child, and of our first parents, in their primeval state, must have been good, as they were all the endowments of their Creator, and given to them for a special and useful purpose. But it is the improper and unlawful indulgence of them that is evil."

"I readily acknowledge I have not been able to see or understand how the cruel persecution and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, by the wicked and hard hearted Jews, should expiate my sins; and I never have known any thing to effect that for me, but the grace of God, that taught me, agreeably to the apostle's doctrine, to deny all ungodliness and the world's lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and godly, in this present world; and as I have faithfully abode under its teachings, in full obedience thereto, I have been brought to believe that my sins were forgiven, and I permitted to sit under the Lord's teaching, as saith the prophet, that the children of the Lord are all taught of the Lord, and in righteousness they are established, and great is the peace of his children. And so long as I feel this peace, there is nothing in this world that makes me afraid, as it respects my eternal condition. But if any of my friends have received any known benefit from any outward sacrifice, I do not envy them their privileges. But surely they would not be willing that I should acknowledge, as a truth, that which I have no kind of knowledge of." –Ibid.

We shall now quote some extracts from Elias Hicks' sermons, recently delivered in the city of Philadelphia, and the neighbouring counties, which will be found to correspond with the sentiments expressed in his letters.

Sermon I. at Arch street, pages 10, 11. Speaking of Christ, he said, "Who was his father? He was begotten of God. We cannot suppose that it was the outward body of flesh and blood that was begotten of God, but a birth of the spiritual life in the soul. We must apply it internally and spiritually. For nothing can be a son of God, but that which is spirit; and nothing but the soul of man is a recipient for the light and spirit of God. Therefore, nothing can be


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gether, and make a being, nor make a son of God. Nothing but the rational souls of men and women can come to know a birth of God: and the rational soul never was created by flesh, or through flesh. The animal part is taken, and created flesh, by the power of God."

In the same sermon, speaking of " the life which was the light of men," he says, "Here now are we all to have a portion of the same light, for the life was the light of men, and it remains eternally so. It all comes from God, and is dispensed to the children of men, and it was to Jesus Christ likewise, as man, in the same proportion as to inscrutable wisdom seemed necessary and consistent, to effect the great design in the creation and redemption of the children of men."

So here we see Jesus made lower than the angels, on account of his suffering death. He was tempted in all points, as we are. Now, how could he be tempted, if he had been fixed in a state of perfection in which he could not turn aside? Can you suppose, as rational beings, that such a being could be tempted? No, not any more than God Almighty could be tempted. Perfection is perfection,

and cannot be tempted. It is impossible: and here it is proved to a demonstration, that he came to be an example to the children of men; a great high priest and teacher in those things which concern the salvation of the children of men. And here he did his office, as a great high priest of the Jewish covenant, in that outward dispensation, in which he was limited to the Jewish people as a child of Abraham; to sum up all the righteousness of the law; by faithfulness to it: and when he had effected that part, by the grace of God that was upon him, for we read that he grew in stature and in favour with God and man ; and the grace of God was upon him.' Then it was not HIS grace, but the grace of God, communicated to him, as it was communicated to the rest of Abraham's children; to every one in a sufficient

degree to enable them to come up to the law and commandments given them. It will not do for us to suppose, for a moment, that the Almighty, when he gave this law, did not at the same time give them power to fulfil it in all its parts. For if he did not, they could not be accountable for a neglect. But we see that he did this, for here was a child of Abraham, endued with his spirit, which he has given

to every rational creature
to profit with. He lived up to the law and covenant given by the Father, and in this he justified his heavenly Father in giving this law and covenant, and thereby condemned the Israelites for not fulfilling it. Well, when he had done this, for we hear of no miracles till after all this was done, none at all; nor any thing of his righteousness or acts; but now, when he went into the last institute of the legal dispensation, which was called watery baptism, and the ministry of John, his forerunner, was nearly at an end, divine wisdom thought fit to reveal to John, by what medium he should know who it was that was to baptize with the Holy Ghost. It was him on whom the spirit should be seen descending and resting upon him.

"Now, we find, that when he came up out of the water, John having baptized him, the Holy Ghost descended in bodily shape like a dove, and rested upon him. Now, whether this was open to John's


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external eye, or whether it might not rather be an expression of John's, that as the dove is the most innocent creature of the feathered race, he made use of it, to express what he beheld in him, and in this power that descended upon him. [This was a power from heaven—an additional power and gift from heaven; as by his righteousness in fulfilling the law, he was prepared to enter into a higher dispensation.]

"I consider, according to the tenor of the law, that the whole design was to lead up some of the Israelites into this state of perfection, and fulfilment of the law; and then that it should be abolished. Hence, the fulfilment of the law was the abolishment of the law. He abolished it by nailing it to his cross. [Oh! had the professors of Christianity left it there, and been willing to go forward, under the illumination of the Holy Ghost, which alone could qualify Jesus to be a gospel minister; so likewise, according to his own testimony, nothing ever did or can qualify for the ministry, but the descending of the Holy Ghost from heaven, upon rational creatures. And, therefore, in the same proportion as we have the descending of the holy spirit upon us, in the same proportion, till we gain a conquest over

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our passions and propensities, we shall be more tempted and tried. So it was with Jesus, when this holy spirit descended upon him, the spirit drove him into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan.,

"Now, let us pause a little, and consider what is here meant. Can it be supposed that he was driven into an outward wilderness? Or shall we not suppose, that he was brought, by the power of divine light, to see the wilderness state in his own mind? Because, in the outward wilderness a man loses his way, and meets with many trials; and so there is a spiritual wilderness, where man is tempted and tried. Here the natural propensities which are fixed in man, no doubt for an excellent purpose, rise up and attempt to gain an ascendency over us. Here we find it in all things in us. The propensity to thirst–what does it do? It is a gift of God to the children of men. It leads them to do that which might sustain their natural life. But if not regulated and kept under subjection by the immortal soul, which is placed in us to regulate these animal desires and propensities, it will become injurious to us, by being indulged to excess. For you know we have many propensities; many that are necessary to us: for we could not eat or drink, or have a desire to do if, if we had not a propensity to it. We could not fulfil the command, to increase and multiply, and replenish the earth, had we not a desire which led to it. These propensities are all good in their place; and we could not answer the end of our creation without them. As it is not in bones to think, or flesh to reason, so there is no bounds to our natural desires: but the soul must wait for counsel from on high, and direct the body, and by faithfulness to it, regulate all these desires, and keep them within the bounds of reason and truth. This was the case with the blessed Jesus, so that he never offended in any one point; but learnt obedience by the things he suffered. He had all these desires. The desire after knowledge, and the things of the world, presented itself to his animal part; and thus it is said to have driven him into the wilderness: that is, he felt that wilderness


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which man feels, while in a state of probation. It is the way in which divine wisdom speaks of the church.' I will allure her, and draw her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.' I will allure her–see, I will draw her. Now what wilderness was this? It was not an outward wilderness; but the same which Jesus was led up into: and here it was that he was tried. Here the tempter led him up to aspire after the glory of the world. He told him if he would fall down and worship him, that he could arrive at it—if he would only submit to this desire, and fall down and worship it, all should be his: but you see how ready he was to reply to this temptation. The divine law always gives us an answer, and if

we are faithful, we shall be like Jesus; when we are tempted to aspire after the glories of the world. We shall be always able to give a righteous answer, if we are faithful to the truth in our own minds, as fully as he was, no doubt; because he is our example, and we are to follow his steps. Jesus said, ' Get thee behind me, satan.' Oh! how often has my poor soul been brought to this point, when temptations have arisen, 'Get thee behind me, satan.' Oh! I have seen that it was mine enemy; the light of truth has revealed it to me; and I have felt sometimes, in a degree, like the blessed Jesus. I have seen that mine enemy hath wanted to exalt me: but I could ask no honour or power, for I knew that he had none to give, nor any power to preserve me one moment.

"'Get thee behind me, satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' Is not this the case with all of us? Have we not this language in our souls; that sometimes tells us it is not right to serve any thing else in this world. Here, if we are faithful to the divine light, we shall in proportion be able to withstand every temptation that may assail us in our state of wilderness, travel, and probation.

"We read that he was taken up and set upon a pinnacle of the temple. And do you suppose there was some power which actually took him up, and set him upon a pinnacle? No, I hope there are none so ignorant as to suppose so. It was a temptation to exalt himself, for his righteousnesshis goodness. And have you not, many of you, been set upon this pinnacle of high honour? Have you not a little religious pride? What was that saying then to the tempter? He was placed in a dangerous situation; but not more so than the soul is when tempted to aspire in consequence of its righteousness. The tempter 'saith unto him, if thou be the son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,he shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest at anytime thou dash thy foot against a stone.'" Pages 252 to 259.

Sermon XI. Trenton. Page 292. "If we believe that God is equal and righteous in all his ways; that he has made of one blood all the families that dwell upon the earth, it is impossible that he should be partial; and therefore, he has been as willing to reveal his will to every creature, as he was to our first parents, to Moses and the prophets, to JESUS CHRIST, and his apostles. He never can set ANY of these above us, because, if he did, he would be partial. His love is the same for all, and as no man can save his brother, or give


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a ransom for his soul, therefore (he Almighty must be the only deliverer of his people."

Sermon V. Germantown. "All must go away. We must no longer look to the letter, let it come from what source it may, it is no difference. He directed them to wait for the spirit. 'I will pray the Father,and he will send you another comforter;' another than the letter, and different from any that you ever heard verbally from me, or from men; for it is all but letter; all that can come to you through your external senses. [But the will of God manifested within us never can come through the external senses, it must come through the spiritual senses: and then it will quicken the soul, open the blind eye and deaf ear of the soul, so that it can see and hear the things of God clearly.] The time has come, I believe, when it is necessary to give up all our old foundations, and suffer them, my friends, to pass under judgment, that judgment may pass upon all, and that this truth may be revealed. It is expedient that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come, but if I go away I will pray the Father, and he will send you another Comforter? Another, in what respect? A spiritual one disencumbered with any thing corporal; entirely spiritual and nothing else. Why?–Because the soul of man is purely spiritual, and nothing can have communion with the Father but that which is spiritual, an immortal soul. Every thing then derived from the letter, must come through the external senses, and can only answer for the outward creature: but when the spiritual senses are quickened by the coming in of the spirit of God, and the shining of his light upon the soul, it opens a renewed intercourse with his creature man, as he did with our first parents in the beginning in Eden's garden." Pages 112,113.

Same sermon, page 119. "We have a gracious God to do with, who is able to give all that is necessary. If the Scriptures were absolutely necessary, he had power to communicate them to all the nations of the earth. For he has his way as a path in the clouds; he knows how to deal out to all his rational children. But they were not necessary, and perhaps not suited to any other people than they to whom they were written. Is it to be supposed that he has neglected any nation? Can we suppose that he has forgotten the rest of the nations of the earth ? No, he has dispensed a suitable law, to answer every purpose, as completely as the law to the Israelites answered for them; for otherwise he is a partial God.

Sermon VI. Abington. "The New Testament so called, which is usually bound up in the book called the Bible, comprehends no covenant; there is nothing in it that appertains to a covenant. It consists chiefly and principally in a biographical account of the birth, the miracles, and the excellent life of Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, and of the epistles and writings of his apostles. But the covenant made with Israel, as comprehended in what is called the Old Testament, was a real covenant, and was bound in a very solemn manner, and had its witnesses." Page 124.

Sermon VII. page 163. [Nothing can write God's law upon our hearts but the finger of God. There it it is, then, that we must gather, as the only place of safety; there the work is to be


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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. xxix

done. It is there, we find our enemy, if we have any, and there we must find our friend. But people are too generally looking outward to find God; and in this outward looking, they are told about a devil; some monstrous creature, some self-existing creature, that is terrible in power. Now all this seeking to know God, and this devil or the serpent without, is the work of darkness, superstition, and tradition. It hath no foundation; it is all breath and wind, without the power. We need not look without for enemies or friends, for we shall not find them without. Our enemies are those of our own household, our own propensities and unruly desires, are our greatest, and I may almost say, our alone enemies."]

Sermon XI. Trenton, 293. "There is nothing can give us faith but God. Faith is the gift of God. But this faith in creeds and the traditions of our fathers, what is it? It is worse than nothing. We had better have no faith at all. It is no better than the faith of devils. Thou believest that there is one God; thou dost well: the devils also, believe and tremble." Who are the devils?–Apostate men and women, who go contrary to God. They are all devils. Every thing that is in opposition to the will of God is a devil. In short, they are nothing but what opposes the law of light and the spirit of truth in the heart; nothing but what is in opposition to the law of God; and that devil is in us all; as sure as the kingdom of God is in us, so sure the devil is in us. Were you ever tempted by any devil but one in your own souls? No: you never were.–There it is that we come to know God, and no where else. It is the only place where he is manifested."

Such are the absurd, inconsistent, and antichristian sentiments of Elias Hicks; and to support these, the compilers of the pamphlet have adduced their quotations from the writings of primitive Friends. It being fully proved, and well known, that not only Elias Hicks, but many of his adherents, do openly and publickly deny the miraculous conception, divinity, and atonement of Christ, and the authenticity, and divine authority of Holy Scripture; and the compilers having made their extracts purposely to prove that our early Friends were coincident in their faith; we consider, that the publication of the pamphlet, is, undeniably, a renewal of the often refuted charge against the Society, of denying the doctrines of the christian religion.

Note.–The limits of this work will not admit of extending our quotations from the Sermons to great length. We can embrace but few of the objectionable sentiments with which the whole volume is replete. Those we have quoted, are amply sufficient to show the striking contrast between the christian doctrines of the Quakers, and the notions of Elias Hicks. The books from which we have made our extracts are easily accessible to all, and we respectfully recommend those persons who read them, to compare the sentiments they contain, with those asserted by "primitive Friends," in the extracts given in the following pages.


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The Light of Christ was as all-sufficient for salvation in the days of Cornelius as it is now; It could as easily have unfolded to him, the counsel of God, as to bid him send for Peter to tell him what he ought to do. But because the Lord ordained the use of instrumental means, was it any reason, why Cornelius should reject the teaching of Peter, as being subordinate to the Spirit? If when Peter came, Cornelius had said to him, I have the Light in myself–this is all-sufficient for my direction and government; I "have no need to go to books or men;" thou may go thy way, I have no need of any human teaching; would this have been honouring and reverencing the Light, or is it probable that Cornelius would have been favoured with its further illuminations ? Certainly not–it would have been pretending honour to the Spirit, while at the same time, he was despising those very means which the Spirit of Christ had sanctified for his use.

Let those in the present day, who are making use of this specious but dangerous and delusive reasoning, against the use of the Sacred Volume, remember, that in all ages and dispensations of the world, it has pleased Almighty God to teach his people not only immediately but instrumentally–immediately by his grace and good spirit, and instrumentally by the Holy Scriptures and his faithful servants. Both of these are blessings, sanctified and given for our use; and although the revelations of the Holy Spirit are above all other teachings, yet they are not at our command; and if we slight and reject the secondary means, which are given forth by the same Spirit for our instruction in righteousness, we do as certainly rebel against, and deny the Holy Spirit, and whatever pretences we may make to the contrary, set up in its stead, our own self-confident spirit as judge in the case.

The next quotation, on page 72 of the pamphlet, is taken from William Penn's "Guide Mistaken, and Temporizing Rebuked, or a brief reply to Jonathan Clapham's book, entitled, A Guide to the True Religion." It is contained in his 12th section or paragraph, in which he discusses the Guide's first article of true religion; viz. that there is one God, of an infinite, perfect, and spiritual nature, subsisting in three glorious persons. To which distinction of persons William Penn replies–

"As for his strange distinction of the Deity, which he enforces on the faith of all that value their eternal welfare, I cannot find one Scripture that will bear him out; and if they had been of so much credit with this Guide, as to have been by them led into their undeniable form of sound words, he would not have intruded tradition for Scripture, to the creed of any, but rather have inserted the text or phrase itself, whose authority might have commanded an assent: and it had become him to give the world a reason for his requiring a submission to, and credence of his doctrine, rather than barely to draw up so many articles, and thus imperiously to call on all for a subscription, as they would be saved; especially since he cannot but know how strongly these very points have been debated in ancient councils, and not less controverted by modern persons of reputation and learning." [Here William Penn introduces

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inference, I say, is as irrational, as it would be for any to conclude, that because we say of the shining and appearance of the Sun, there is the Sun; or the Sun there appears; therefore we exclude the Being of the Sun elsewhere. For its virtue is communicated to our natural bodies, every one having in measure, some enjoyment of the virtue or light of the natural Sun, which is light to the eye, even as the outward eye is light to, or of the natural body; and whosoever they are, whose invisible senses are quickened by the influencing virtue which proceeds from the eternal Sun of righteousness, do thereby see and discern, that these things are according to the clear manifestation of Truth in their inward parts; and from a true sense thereof, can of a truth give this certain testimony, that Christ, the Lord, by his holy, quickening spirit, hath appeared in them, to the quickening of their immortal souls; and that through believing in the light, and obedience to his appearance, being come out of that state which is reprobated by the Lord, can of certain experimental knowledge say, Christ is in us the hope of glory. And so when we direct people to this Word, Light, Law, Grace and Spirit, we do not thereby intend, that Christ Jesus, the Light of the World, and Gift of God, is not the true Saviour, Redeemer, and Reconciler of mankind unto God." –Works, page 71 to 77. 1673.

In a piece entitled "A Warning unto the Rulers and People of England, &c." C. Marshall speaks thus–

"In the tender love of God, unto whose ears the misrepresentations, vilifications or aspersions underwritten, have or may come– Give ear, and hear, all you rulers and inhabitants of these northern islands: God Almighty, even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in this later age of the world is risen and arising, and causing his ancient horn of salvation to be revealed: of whom all the holy men, prophets and servants of God gave testimony, through, ages and generations, to be that Holy One, on whom he hath laid help, who is mighty to save, Christ Jesus the Lord; of whose spiritual appearance and coming we are witnesses this day; and by the arm of his eternal power are raised up, to declare him unto these Northern Islands of the Gentiles, as their Light to lighten them, according to the prophet's testimony, of John, old Simeon, Christ Jesus, the Apostles and messengers of God Almighty, through many ages and generations, of which many demonstrative testimonies, in the evidence and demonstration of the spirit and power of Christ Jesus, have been, and are daily borne both by word and writing; against which holy, certain testimonies, men of the spirit of Jannes and Jambres, men of corrupt minds have risen up to withstand, and by lies, slanders, misrepresentings, &c. have endeavoured their utmost to veil and cloud this testimony; which work and way of theirs God hath beheld, and hath determined to blast, because in their right hand hath been found a lie, and the poison of asps is under their tongues, to reproach, vilify, and misrepresent the servants and people of God, under hideous and odious disguises, that they might thereby (as much as in them lies) effect such a work, as the old heathens did on the Christians; namely, by putting lions' skins and bearskins on them, that thereby they might cause the dogs to take hold on them: so hath there been an

Probably torn by a child–


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