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dantry, the insolent ambition, of all the underlings and upstarts and tributaries in the community! To all which, I would only oppose the naked point of “the sword of the Spirit,” radiating with more than electrical efficiency: “ Let no man deceive himself.
any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that THEY ARE VAIN.”
One of the wisest things perhaps which such men, the best of them, can say, is what one of them (now in thought-for whom I cherish more than mere respect) has substantially said, on this general subject; nor do I aver that there is no wisdom in it: “ The clergy will not give the Quakers credit for their real improvement; nor recognise their certain melioration; nor, it seems, permit them to grow better; nor let them alone." To all
: this, I reply; that it seems to me to be in the case the mere wisdom of a liberally educated pagan ! no knowledge of christianity; no perception of THE GRAND CRITERION IN RELIGION-THE LAW OF GOD AND THE TRUTH OF HIS GOSPEL; no justice done or allowed to the motives of benevolence, that would rouse the sleeper in a house on fire ; no spirituality ; no sense, no truth, no goodness; but merely the superficial views of worldlings, elegantly temporizing, and talking as if religion were not the terra incognita of their travels, their investigations, and their discoveries! As for the • improvement' of Friends, to what does it all amount religiously, if they are not on the foundation, the only one that God has laid in Zion? If they give no proper evidence of this, it is real misanthropy, and not the wisdom of the kingdom or of the King, to “ let them alone!" They will not be let alone in the day of judgment; why should they in the day of mercy! Besides, the declivity of things, or “the course of this world,” is not “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Things do not meliorate toward heaven by neglect, or self-prompting. Men are saved IN CONTRAVENTION of “the course of this world ;” and not by drifting with its tide. No man grows better by abandonment of the appointed means of
grace. “Ephraim is joined to idols: LET HIM ALONE.” And what is this, but the dirge of his soul? Let Friends accept the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, cordially, intelligently, as revealed in “the lively oracles” of “grace and truth ;" and let them abjure their folly and their mysticising fantasy, for the scriptures, as “the word of God,” honestly acknowledged, and as their HIGHEST RULE IN RELIGION, devoutly loved: and then let the clergy be blamed if they do not rejoice over them, with the angels of God! Otherwise, you blame the clergy for their fidelity alone! for their invincible attachment to the gospel ! for their immutable preservation of an eternal testimony! for their plainly unpopular adhesion to the truth! For one, and with no strong hold on time, and consequently no known motive or prospect of worldly advantage, I can declare that it would
sweetly sooth the last or any other hour of my life, and give a new delight to my song of triumph in redemption by Jesus Christ, could I think that the whole society, or any number of them, were becoming genuine converts to the faith of the gospel ! I feel more-but cannot express it.
“ Visions of glory" throng my cherished sight,
One other sentiment, common among the general class I have described, deserves animadversion. It is this : “A man ought not to change his religion ; especially the religion of his ancestors, the religion in which he has been educated, and in which all his social relations and domestic sympathies reside.' This is very specious; it appears very amiable; it
; is quite full of respect for temporal convenience and homeborn tranquility: and it is perhaps one of the most common, really influential, flatly unchristian, and mostly incorrigible, principles of human action. It is adopted by the Friend, the Romanist, the Jew, the Mahommedan, the Infidel, the Sectary, the Nothingarian, and the votary of any one of a thousand other casts of religion. Strange too that it should be advocated by those who pique themselves on their philosophy and elevation of mind! But so it is. Fashion is omnipotent. It can change times
“ and laws,” reverse the nature of things, revolution the ways of God, canonize reprobates, and stamp the most senseless and impossible positions with the indisputable impress of truth! But before the sen
timent to which I now refer is adopted and practically hazarded by any one, I would entreat him to consider the following things : 1. Whether every
. different system can be equally right, or safe, or worthy ? or, if not, whether such views will not be overruled confoundingly in the day of judgment ? 2. Whether truth can be other than a unit, or possibly consist with contraries? 3. Whether such a sentiment obeys any precept of the decalogue ? or, if it can possibly obey the fifth by violating the FIRST, second, third, and fourth ? 4. Whether domestic peace and the kind treatment of relatives, excellent ends as they are and by none more valued than by me, may not be purchased at too dear a rate or perhaps overrated in our tender or instinctive estimate? Whether some sacrifices may not be required of us for Christ's sake ; and whether one can be saved while loving others more than him ? 5. Whether Christ has never anticipated the difficulties which it was framed to suit ? and whether he would not have us meet them in a different way—a way that cares more for eternity than
-a time, for the soul than the body, for the creator than the creature, for salvation than ease and ele
of life! I would refer (not for one who cares not to examine) to the following places for an answer ; Luke, 12 : 49-53; 14: 25–27. Matt. 19 : 29.
; Mark, 10: 28–31. John, 12: 25, 26, 42, 43. And having said this, “from such” we“ turn away.”
I turn, honored fathers and beloved brethren in the gospel of Jesus Christ, most affectionately to you, in whom the whole church glorifies God with rea
gance of life!
son: and before I conclude this introduction, will adventure a word of animadversion on a different and yet a related subject; if your kindness will suffer it, from one so consciously your junior and your inferior in the service. Emboldened by the peculiarities of my own religious history, and of feelings and estimates of things thence necessarily resulting, I may speak freely in the audience of all men, even to you whom I justly revere. Most tenderly do I esteem and love you all, and those hundreds of kindred spirit whom you properly represent. Sincerely do I suppose that you hold heartily in substance one system. The enemies of God are of the same opinion; they group you together, in their antipathy, their caricature, their defamation. They regard you as the steady and the mighty advocates (as well as the sincere disciples—a more heavenly character,) of the religion of Jesus Christ; and they make common cause against you.
Fas est et ab hoste doceri.
The act may profit, while its aim offends. Is there no demonstration here of substantial unity and general identity of sentiment ? How useful is christian union! In what then do you possibly differ? and in what may you agree to differ? I answer; Simply as your metaphysical philosophy may differ, in explication of THE GREAT THINGS OF YOUR COMMON FAITH: simply as it differs in its forms of solution or its felicities of inculcation and defence.