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within ; dress plain, use the plain language-and very seldom (whatever they smother) utter a word of evil audibly ; desire to be industrious, lay by something, be economical, grow rich, and dislike all priest-craft and hireling preachers; and being sincere, who is better in his prospects for another world, one would like to know? Will such an one go to heaven at death? “ Straight as an arrow from a bow, I tell thee.” Certainly! How unjust to send him in the opposite direction! What harm has he done? Who has a better chance? He was always peaceable, kind to the poor, paid his debts, and was a member of Friends' meeting. A pretty reason for doubting his safety, to be sure!
The only difficulty is—that all this, though "highly esteemed among men, is abomination in the sight of God;" being just as far from the truth of the gospel, as darkened infidelity can make it ! Where is any sense of our moral ruin, as fallen creatures, “ children of wrath—that which was lost ?” Where is faith in Christ? Where repentance, humiliation, and the evidence of a change of heart? Where self-knowledge, religious experience, or spiritual joy? Where the MEDIATOR, the covenant of grace, the succor of the promises? What distinctive feature of christian piety does such a character manifest? Where is there any sense of sin, any peace at its pardon, any mention of “the only name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved ?" Where is their professed faith in the doctrine of regeneration? or are Friends all regen
erated of course, because full members that have retained their birth-right to-delusion? Suppose, by possibility, in any given case, the individual was at heart a true and spiritual worshipper; and is saved, as Job says he “escaped with the skin of his teeth ;" still, the objections to this facile favor, presumptuous charity, and uniform construction of safety, are two-fold: first, It proceeds with utterly insufficient evidence, declaring what is not proved, what no man knows, and what, even probably, may not be true; and second, It is a positive, efficacious, insidious, INJURY to the living, without any possible benefit to the dead.23
Still, they affect not to know it, many of them. “I am sincere," covers all. And there are other ways, much allied to the former, by which they try to evade the responsibility of evangelized men. (1) I am conscientious. (2) If this is not duty, I am not to blame, for I know no better. (3) I know enough already. If a man has more required of him, in proportion to his advantages, I shall only increase obligation by increasing knowledge: if we should all do, as well as we know, it would be better for us. They seem“ willingly ignorant of" such principles as the following: that ignorance of duty may result simply from a sinful dislike to it; that ignorance of duty is sin, where we have the means of knowledge; that all men are OBLIGATED TO KNOW God, and to improve all the means in their possession to this INFINITELY EXCELLENT END; 1 Cor. 15 : 34, that God will hold them to account not only for all they have, but for all they might
have had, not only for all the sound sermons they hear, but for all they refuse to hear, not only for attainments and achievements, but for facilities and means and opportunities and privileges, not only for what they use, but for what they abuse ; that their conscience is not higher than his authority, and not exempt, in any possible instance, from the jurisdiction of his law; that a man may be to blame for his sincerity as well as his profligacy; that there is no neutrality in religion, so that we are the enemies if not the friends of Jesus Christ; that sincerity merely is no proof of piety, since a man may be sincerely stupid, and stupidly practising a wicked course of conduct; that it was sincerity of a specific kind, “ godly sincerity,” that characterized the apostles; that Paul was as sincere before his conversion as he was after it-when “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord,” as when edifying them in goodness—when he “ verily thought with himself, that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, which things he also did in Jerusalem,” as when preaching among the nations “the unsearchable riches of Christ;" that the time has long since arrived which the Savior predicted, “ when whoso killeth his disciples shall think that he doeth God service;" that some indolent and corrupted sinners, infatuated by the judgment of God, sincerely “ believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness;" that few penitents ever “repented themselves ” more sincerely than Judas,
when he “ brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood; and they said, What is that to us? see thou to that, and he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself;" and that there is a perfection in the moral government of God, which such excuses will never prevail to destroy, blind as they may be to all the principles involved in that perfection. A principle of requisition in the government of God, from which he NEVER departs, they seem not to know or clanishly to resist and sophisticate--that “ without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God;" and that of consequence “they that are in the flesh, that is, who act on carnal or worldly principles, continuing in them, “cannot please God;" do what they will in forms of excellence, with such expectancy. Rom. 8: 8. Heb. 11: 6. James, 1:6-8. Hence in general they do not understand the doctrine of faith. The only faith required in their system is that-in the “effectual operation” of the internal principle. And what is this, but faith in a worse than moonstruck fallacy? Hence the system cheats the souls of men-cheats them of knowledge, of sound doctrine, of mental liberty, of evidence, of instruction, of christianity; and substitutes a thing of “will o' the wisp” dimensions, that rose from the bogs of “Drayton in the clay, Leicestershire,” England, some two centuries since. If any one accuse me here of actually hating Quakerism, I beg he will never attempt to prove his position; as it is wholly unnecessary. My confession shall forestall him: I certainly do hate it; by all the hope of heaven that I cherish consciously in Christ Jesus at this moment, I abhor it; by all the love I bear to the souls of men, my own and others, I abhor it; by all the sense I have of what christianity is, and what the scriptures mean, and what men infinitely need in order to salvation, I renounce and execrate it ; and make it a part of my piety to detest it, as a composition of spiritual sorcery, presuming ignorance, and deceitful dogmatism; offensive to heaven and deleterious to the noblest hopes of men, in “the life that now is and also that which is to come :"-and I qualify the written solemnity only by remarking that it is wholly and only against the system, and not at all against individuals, that it aims the honest and hearty declaration. I have no wish to “snatch from His hand the balance or the rod," who decides on persons according to truth; can be deceived by no specious counterfeits ; has himself anathematized “an angel from heaven” who should vend “another gospel" or vitiate the true; and who has of right and of power the independent sway of destinies, both mine and theirs. “ Amen. Alleluia."
That there is criminality in all religious error, misanthropy as 'well as impiety, and essential sin in cherishing it, is plain to any honest reader of the word of God, or any common thinker on the nature of its contents. I can express the truth, however, in a better way, by a quotation from my honored friend, Dr. Miller. In his excellent sermon on “The enmity of the human heart against the character and