Imágenes de página

laid down his own precious life! an infinite sacrifice, worse than in vain for them! Truly, they

deny the Lord that bought them; and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

29. One cardinal doctrine of christianity may in our theological reasoning be never forgotten with impunity or safety : it is—THE SINFULNESS, THE POSITIVE ILL-DESERT AND JUDICIAL EXPOSURE OF THE WHOLE SPECIES. To deny this, is to deny the gospel, as well as the law, of God. A system devised on purpose to save sinners, to save them from sin and hell, has no mercy to offer to the innocent and the safe : and if these are all, that system is superfluous and vain. But to admit this, namely, the sinfulness of every individual as morally fallen and obnoxious, is also to admit, in honesty and consistency alike, that none of us has any thing to claim or pretend on the ground of desert, or any thing to fear but from the justice of God, or any thing to hope but from his grace, his free and rich and wonderful favor toward the guilty and the lost, through the glorious and only Mediator.

30. On the last fundamental principle rests another, or is allied to it as its proper and pervading counterpart ; the importance of which is properly infinite and most demonstrably true : namely, that God, in conferring favors on the guilty, that is, where all deserve in justice the precise opposite of favor, may be a most sovereign and independent Potentate, and may show himself such, in realizing to whom he will, such favors, in kind and degree, in manner and in form, as to himself seems good

and proper. With this, however, we are to remember that sovereignty divine is not arbitrariness—or caprice or partiality or favoritism, or any other unprincipled or ignorant quality. God has reasons for all he does. They are infinitely the best reasons in the universe. They are infinitely benevolent and infinitely enlightened. They are measured on a scale of infinite, intending the best and the greatest good of being : and securing this end perpetually and gloriously in a manifold and perfect dispensation. He cannot be ignorant of opposing interests and opposite considerations : nor can be act against the stronger motive, or prefer in any case a less to a greater good, or a greater to a less evil. Accordingly, he does all he morally and wisely can, in the circumstances, for the salvation of every human being. But it IS FALSE AND RUINOUS, FUNDAMENTALLY So, to affirm that he must make no discriminations of sovereign donation and grace; that he must do as much in every sense for one man as another; and that HE MUST NOT decide HOW MANY AND PERSONALLY who shall hear the gospel, obey it, do their duty, embrace the Savior, and be saved by grace for ever. Rom. 11 : 4-7. 4:13-16. Matt. 20; 13-16.

My chief proposition is that


My meaning is not that Quakerism is, in all its parts, separately taken, hostile to christianity ; nor that it is in none identical with christianity; nor that in all its parts it must be repudiated by christians : but only that its distinctive characteristics, major and minor, constitute a system, which, as such, is not christianity, is radically wrong; and consequently that it ought to be universally abjured-since it is neither the duty nor the interest of any individual to mistake the truth or not to know what it is. The views of Friends, touching the scriptures, the light within, the nature of worship, the office of reason in religion, spiritual duty and the way of performing it, are among their MAJOR characteristics ; from which all the others homogeneously flow. It will be no refutation therefore to show that in minor respects Quakerism is right, or that in such I am wrong; the distinctive characteristics, that make the system, must be honestly analyzed and shown not only to be consistent with christianity, and identical with it, but THE IDENTITY ITSELF-or, nothing is shown that sustains its unequaled pretensions, or properly relieves it from the impeachment that the wisest and the best, of all ages since its rise, have never ceased to maintain against it. It has been constantly denounced by the noblest servants of God that have lived as its cotemporaries since the times of Owen and Baxter, Bates and Howe;—and it is lauded by the loose, the infidel liberal, the volatile, the heretical notoriously : by those who, all grouped together, constitute an anti-evangelical assemblage, whose praise is dishonor and whose censure commendation.

One specimen of what the most excellent Baxter, “the ecclesiastical Demosthenes of the seven

teenth century,” thought, may here be subjoined. At Kidderminster, a place favored and transformed through his powerful ministry, he says; “The Quakers would fain have got entertainment, and set up a meeting in the town, and frequently railed at me in the congregation; but when I had once given them leave to meet in the church for a dispute, and, before the people, had opened their deceits and shame, none would entertain them more, nor did they get one proselyte among us.” I ask any christian who is not afraid of the truth, whether Baxter would have built them up on their own foundation ? and whether he could have done it, without deserting Jesus Christ, at least for the time?

In saying that Quakerism is not christianity, let then the proposition be properly understood.

I mean that, while it claims identity with christianity, and while its claims are perfectly seraphic and exclusive, it is itself a delusive corruption and a hideous caricature of that divine system. Principia non homineswe write impersonally of the system. My great reason for this is a conviction, which I shall attempt to evidence to others, that it is not the religion of the scriptures ; but a scheme often fundamentally opposed, in doctrine and spirit, to the genuine import of those " lively oracles.” I of course identify christianity with the religion of the scriptures.

My practical inference is that Quakerism ought to be universally abjured and the scriptures universally received as the superlative substitute ; and

[ocr errors]

this, at the hazard of all consequences; since he who knows his duty toward God, and refuses to perform it, must, without repentance, sink into

everlasting destruction.” There can be no compromise in our known spiritual duty.

My predominating hope of doing good by this treatise is not necessarily that it will be extensively read by Friends; or-consequently—that it will immediately benefit them; but, satisfied as I am that Quakerism shall yet be dissipated by the influence of scripture, it is that others who read, may know what that system is, (which however is properly no system,) as contradistinguished from christianity; and thus that this work may, by the blessing of God, in some measure subserve the advancement of the knowledge that shall ultimately make “the light of the moon as the light of the sun;" and which, investing all objects with its genial flood, shall dissolve that formidable iceberg on which so many barks have foundered and so many men-I fear-perished for ever!

My source of proof shall be mainly the scriptures. In adducing however for refutation the cardinal and known pecaliarities of Quakerism, I shall not encumber these pages with unnecessary proofs or quotations. I know the system, and have read and studied many of their standard books, particularly Barclay's Apology, which I have often read, and have recently and thoroughly reperused. I am of course responsible, and I hope not incorrigible, in respect to mistakes or misstatements.

Some respectable christians will doubtless cen

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »