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KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM.
I know that all this will appear-poetry, to those who prize not “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord !" But with them it is notoriously an easy reckoning every day to live without him, forget him, and count themselves “ rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing;” while they are “without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Eph. 2 : 12. And such will say what aileth thee? and compassionate the softness that can mourn for such a visionary absence! “And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, BECAUSE THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD, AND I
John, 20 : 13. These are rational tears, worthy of the cheek of men and angels. It is wisdom weeping at the grave of hope, and trampling on sceptres and diadems! It is immortality humbled in despair, and abhorring her sins while crushed beneath the burden! It is penitence without pardon, religion without peace, holiness without salvation! How different the light of scripture!--the index-finger of truth pointing to the Savior ! Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.”
By many these pages will be censured for their harshness and for utterly disparaging the excellences of Friends. With respect to their excellences I say comparatively nothing: and this not that I either deny or disesteem them. Some qualities they undoubtedly possess that are amiable and useful; and I cordially wish that these, whatever they are, were more increased, more enlightened by “ the truth of the gospel,” and more widely prevalent in the earth. I expect to be scarcely credited by them, when I “ protest unto them,” that I am conscious only of benevolence to their true temporal and eternal interests in all that I think, speak, or write, concerning their erroneous scheme. But whether they believe it or not, God is witness. If I did not at least fully believe that my motives were benevolent, I should myself have no hope toward God. But my hope is happy and my faith perpetually gathering strength. I have a hope, which, in degree of excellence at least, I am sure I could never have derived from Quaker principles. What then could induce me thus to oppose their scheme? Solely the conviction that it is wrong! Why did Paul oppose judaism or Luther popery? They were both benevolent. “Glory to God in the
. highest,” was associated in their moral feelings with
peace on earth, good will toward men.” Yet we see how their good will acted! It often induced them to expose, confute, denounce, and even anathematize, the corrupters of the gospel. And in this they were not less benevolent, and much more self-denying, than when they were administering consolation to the contrite. I speak not of the excellences of Friends, because I think they are quite too conscious of them; because they have been overrated by the world ; because they do not necessarily imply piety, toward God; because, if mere
social and apparent excellence be all they have, so living and so dying they will perish for ever; because their errors is the grand matter which moves me to write at all; because the things in which they are wrong are greater than those in which they may be right; because while they talk and act against vain amusements, war, slavery, and spiritous liquors, they also talk and act against the supremacy of the scriptures as the word of God, and against the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, which are most demonstrably and even evidently divine institutions; because, while their imposing appearance is a passport to the confidence of the superficial, their carelessness or denial of the sanctity of “ the Lord's day,” is a grief of heart to the most intelligent christians; while the vagueness and vacuity of their confession, on fundamental articles of christian truth, as the doctrine of the trinity, the person and offices of the Redeemer, the value and relations of the death of Christ as connected with human hope, the depraved moral character of man, the true doctrine of the influence of the Spirit, the nature and the indispensableness of regeneration, the wonderful divine method of justification, the resurrection of the body, and the eternal states of men ; the vagueness and vacuity of their creed, and the imbecility or ambiguity of their practice, in respect to points like these, necessarily and righteously induce the suspicion, of all well informed and honest disciples of the Son of God, that they are radically apostate and graceless. Another reason for the alleged omission is the ex
treme sensitiveness of the Quakers to the matter of human approbation. I wish we all cared practically half as much for the approbation of God! Any observer, who has eyed their manners and read their books, will see how ill they can endure the moral frown of the community. If public sentiment were enlightened and humane in its general testimony against them, they could hardly maintain their distinctive character in this country. Here they pay no tithes, church-rates, or other legal exactions, for the support of the “hireling ” clergy.
” . They have all the immunities of citizenship and are eligible to all the places of eminence: and they will never (as I think and hope) be persecuted into consequence by their countrymen. I am as utterly and as sincerely averse to all persecution and physical coercion on religious accounts, doing or suffering, as they are: and do as cordially condemn the wholly unchristian persecutions which Friends have suffered in either hemisphere. This, I fully believe, is the present sense of every sincere protestant. But the value of the truth is not less, because we have learned wholly to abjure the use of carnal weapons in its support. The war must be continued, but the armor must be of celestial temperament alone. Nor yet, because of this, are we to consider a truce with the foe as expedient, or obligatory, or allowable. Christianity can never steal a march on the world or succeed by ambuscade or skirmishing. All she wins must be by fair battle, under the open eye of day. She scorns concealment, treachery, stratagem. “ She challenges in
vestigation and defies refutation.” She opens her bosom to the foe; and if he will not be conciliated to her person and besought to draw the precious nutriment of her consolations, he may violate that maternal bosom with his impious dagger-he will find it strangely invulnerable to his assault. Only his weapon and himself, will be broken.
The charge of harshness is much in the same predicament. If what I have written be justly styled harsh, my reasons for adopting that character of disputation are the following.
1. The importance of the matter. To doubt that importance is to discredit all religion. Look at it as related to all other religionists; specially to all who knowingly reject their doctrine. They will all be lost, according to the gospel, if the Quaker doctrine be true! for, he that believeth not, shall be damned; and they most decisively disbelieve and denounce it. On the other hand, what will become of Friends, with all their placidity, philanthropy, and high pretensions; if at last it should appear that they had accredited “another gospel, which is not another," instead of that of Christ? They will all be lost together who have nothing better than pure Quakerism to defend them from the fire! These are my convictions; and I know that they are just as true as the New Testament.
2. I really believe that the plain attire and speech of Friends, which give them such a saintship of appearance, are the veil that covers many an abandoned infidel. I might think this from the nature of the case. Externals cannot change the heart;