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piety and independence, that wavers or quails to human prejudice.

It will not be doubted that the sentiments of one of you, as cursorily expressed in illustration of a kindred subject, may be applied especially to this, and fully considered as the sentiments of


all. “ The other opinion referred to, is that of fanatics in general, who, whilst they confess that the scriptures are divinely inspired, imagine that they are possessed of the same inspiration. And some, in our own times, have proceeded so far as to boast of revelations, by which the scriptures are entirely superseded, as a rule of faith and practice. Now, the difference between these persons and the holy men of God who wrote the scriptures, consists in two things. First, the inspired writers could give some external evidence, by miracles or prophecy, to prove their pretensions ; but enthusiasts can furnish no such evidence; and, secondly, the productions of the prophets and apostles were worthy of God, and had his impress; but the discourses of those men, except what they repeat from scripture, are wholly unworthy their boasted origin, and more resemble the dreams of the sick, or the ravings of the insane, than the words of truth and soberness.” 1

Fanatical persons, who “cannot teach, and will not learn,” abound in the daughter and the mother country, and are not confined to any particular community of professing or pretending christians. They are found in Scotland, Ireland, the United States, and throughout the christian world. It would be equally fatiguing and unnecessary to write their

different names. But whatever differences distinguish them, they all agree in the matter of degrading THE ONLY INSPIRED VOLUME ; and doing this, while we leave them to the disposal of the “ blessed and only Potentate,” we can neither join in the worldly acclaim that praises their deeds of goodness, nor recognise them as members of the church visible of our glorious Lord. This, they and the world, their sympathetic allies, ought at least to know. If they are real christians, they will be so saved at last; and our joy will, we trust, be full, when we witness the event in eternity. In time, however, we can acknowledge no man without the distinctive signals —not of a party, but of Christ. It may be a question how far the imperfection of those signals may extend without destroying their competency; and that question we may hesitate to answer, since, admitting the defects of all, it is difficult to know with how much error, ignorance and eccentricity, piety may co-exist.

“ Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure; having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his ; and let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.Signals also are not vitals, however necessary in their place; and when they become vitiated and ambiguous in a high degree, even where the vitals possibly exist, we do not decide on the latter, when we so far pass upon the former as to withhold all christian recognition and fellowship, from the erratic or disguised individuals that carry them. The matter is much the same, when all the king's signals are superseded by those of private invention and preference, or when they are so mangled as really to forego their original form, color, and proportion. There are few religious radicals, however, who have so boldly retrenched the total livery of the service, as those christians of their own sort, who profess to be, very properly, not a church, but a “Society ;” not brethren, but “ Friends ;” and who often, in their public statements, and sometimes in the peculiar symbols of their faith, think it quite sufficient, where we all expect some show at least of divine warrant for their singularities, to use, “ Friends believe; the society prefer; it is our custom; it was the opinion of ancient Friends ; we are content to adopt ; it appears manifest to us ; it was the practice of early Friends ;” and other such phrases innumerable; which, though quite habituated with them, are as incapable of convincing any well disciplined mind, as they are destitute of all rational evidence. If it was the office of faith to create its own objects, and a thing became true simply because one believed it, the reality of faith would be the criterion of truth; the monstrosities of distempered fancy would become identical with the realities of godliness; and every insane zealot would create a new universe for himself! How melancholy the delusion of enthusiasts! “For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty. He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers.” Job, 15 : 25, 26. “Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity; for vanity shall be his recompense;" 31. But very certainly do they know, whose knowledge has cost them no labor, intellectual or moral ; and very clearly do they see, who discern intuitively all mysteries, actual, possible, and transcendental! The conviction that comes without evidence, or with that only which it makes for itself, is very strong and venturous, as well as ordinarily incorrigible. To doubt its demonstrations, is profane! To question its dogmas, is infidel! To contradict its hallowed audacity, is absolutely impious ! And thus their career is sped. But will the eternal frame of things give way to them? Alas! it is impregnable. Its structure is more durable, changeless, and excellent, than their inspired imaginings perceive. To fall on a certain “stone,


” is to break, not it, but one's self: but to have that stone fall on us, is the judicial method of God, in “ grinding to powder” his adversaries. Luke, 20:18. Hence they voluntarily and wantonly elaborate their own ruin. The moral enactments of God are the strongest fixtures in the universe. Jer. 31 : 35, 37; Matth. 24 : 35. Our temporal and eternal salvation must, in every instance, prosper or fail, in accordance-not in contravention to the laws of his own unalterable constitution.

The rock must fall, when loosened from on high
Or-gravitation cease, when you go by !

But this is what enthusiasts do not credit, or visionaries see. They seem to think they can certainly control or reverse eternal laws, if they are only faithful and sincere ! And yet what is their history? Their bones whiten the plain, to warn succeeding pilgrims ! Instead of changing the universe, they

only confound themselves ! Instead of altering the truth of God, they wildly sin against his nature and his name! Instead of realizing their selfish anticipations of his favor, their reckless temerity merely challenges his wrath! Of this he has fully warned them: Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks : walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand ; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Isaiah, 50 : 11.

Ever since the charm of Quakerism, in which I had been nurtured, was dissolved by the unmystical verities of the Bible, I have held it my especial duty to publish something for the benefit of others, that might evince the main articles of difference between the two systems. As already intimated, you, fathers and brethren, can know experimentally almost nothing of the long troublous agony attendant on such a revolution ! In ordinary conversions from sin to Christ, it is in general adventitiously necessary to experience bitterness, anguish, and even convulsion of soul; I say adventitiously, for all this results not from the constitution of the gospel, or the nature of religion ; but from the embattled elements of human pride, ignorance, and obstinacy, as they clash with the ethereal armor of the Almighty. But in a conversion from deep-seated and sanctimonious error, there are superadded and terrible obstacles to be surmounted. Often, especially in the first stages of the influence of truth, did I feel the terrific contest! Often the strength of hallowed prejudice rose in its vigor to contradict the

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