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A Pamphlet has recently made its appearance in this city, entitled “ The Sandy Foundation Shaken, &c. by Wm. Penn, to which are added, Extracts from the writings of divers of our primitive Friends on the Divinity of Christ, Atonement, the Scriptures, &c.;" the obvious intention of which, is to make it appear, that the worthy founders of the Society of Friends, concurred with the Socinians and modern Unitarians, in denying these important doctrines of the Christian religion.
It is now incontrovertibly established by the writings, as well as the public preaching of Elias Hicks, that he denies the miraculous conception, and the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; the virtue of that most satisfactory sacrifice for sin, which he made of himself upon the cross, without the gates of Jerusalem, and likewise the authenticity, genuineness, and authority of the Holy Scriptures of Truth. His adherents being no longer able to deny these charges, nor to screen him, by saying that he is misunderstood; are now attempting to prove, that in thus rejecting some of the most important and precious doctrines of the Christian religion, he does no more than was done by the early Quakers.
This was a task not to be performed without much labour and contrivance-full and fair quotations would not answer their purpose, but prove the contrary of that which they wished to establish, and therefore the compilers of this pamphlet, have resorted to the disingenuous stratagem of mutilating, altering, and grossly perverting the language and obvious meaning of the authors, whose writings they quote. In the following pages we shall bring ample proof of the validity of these charges, and show that they have committed acts of great injustice towards those worthy men, whose names they have adduced, to sanction doctrines which they declared they never held nor owned. Our present remarks will be confined to the contradictions and misrepresentations contained in their preface.
It is a truth established by long experience, that not only a frequent recurrence, but also a firm adherence, to its original principles, is essentially necessary to the preservation of every religious society. But in order to realize the advantages of this important truth, it is absolutely necessary for the members of every such society, to be able to determine, what those ori.
ginal principles are ; and it is evident that for this purpose they must be in possession of some declaration which can inform them, what the peculiar points of belief or practice were, which formed the great terms of the compact into which their predecessors entered, and in which themselves have now become parties. Hence the obvious necessity, according to the maxim laid down by the authors of the preface, that every society should have its declaration of faith. Obvious however as this is, and indispensable as the authors have thus made it, they seem soon to bave forgotten, or else not perceiv- , ed their own admission; for immediately after, they assert that the Quakers rejected all creeds and confessions of faith. How then we would ask, do the authors determine, what those original principles are which they recommend us to recur to; or how do they ascertain, that Elias Hicks does not “ bold and propagate doctrines and opinions contrary to the doctrines and opinions of primitive Friends."
The word creed, signifies no more than a form of words, expressive of the belief of a person or society; and is synonymous with confession of faith. Every declaration whether oral or written, which contains any thing believed, is a creed; it is a confession of faith ; and consequently if, (as the authors assert) the early Quakers rejected all creeds and confessions of faith, it follows that they had no first principles or belief whatever. To recommend us, therefore, to recur to "original principles” and to assert that the doctrines of E. H. are coincident with those of the early Friends, and at the same time to deny that the early Friends had any principles or doctrines, is a palpable exhibit of absurdity and contradiction.
T'he authors assert, that the individuals composing the Society in its commencement, “ had become disgusted with the many palpable errors in faith and practice prevalent among religious professors." Now if they withdrew from the communion of other religious professors, in consequence of their many errors in faith as well as practice, it must have been, because these errors in faith, were inconsistent with their own doctrines and belief; and the Quakers must have had some written declaration of their own faith, whereby they showed that they did not hold those errors. This then was their creed and confession of faith ; and how can the authors assert that they rejected all creeds and confessions of faith? Their own assertions mutually prove each other to be untrue.
The authors also tell us that“ they sought for, and embraced only, what they believed to be substantial truths, and the realities of religion.” How, we would ask, do they ascertain that the Quakers embraced substantial truths, or that they believed their doctrines to be the realities of religion, if they had re
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A DE TENCE
SOCIETY OF FRIENDS;
BEING A REPLY TO THE CHARGE OF DENYING
THE THREE THAT BEAR RECORD IN HEAVEN,
THE DIVINITY AND ATONEMENT OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS
CHRIST, AND THE AUTHENTICITY AND DIVINE AUTHORITY OF
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES,
RECENTLY REVIVED AGAINST THE EARLY QUAKERS, BY THE FOLLOWERS OF
IN TWO PARTS.
THE FIRST. PART CONTAINING
A refutation of a Pamphlet lately published, entitled “ The Sandy Founda:
tion Shaken, &c. to which are added, Extracts from the writings of divers
PART SECOND, CONSISTING OF
WHITEHEAD, CLARIDGE and others, showing the consistency of their