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I now appeal to the conscience of the reader and to his intelligence, if he have habitually and candidly perused the scriptures; whether the spirit of Quakerism be not the spirit of anti-christ? I do not here accuse them, of what they disclaim. They believe the historical fact of the mission of Christ to our world. They admit “his miraculous conception, birth, life, miracles, death, resurrection and ascension,"49 as matters of fact. But this is not the question. Does this outward matter CHARACTERIZE them? Is it their CONFESSION ? “We require no formal subscription to any articles, either as a condition of membership or a qualification for the service of the church."49 How then do they “try the spirits ?" By the anti-christian dogma that
Every man coming into the world, is endued with a measure of the light, grace or good Spirit of Christ.:49 This is their confession !—a thing, especially in reference to a universal and equal and native participation of the Spirit of Christ, which I intend to disprove in the course of these pages. Barclay admits the fact of the personal advent, here and there, and states it passingly, in his big volume; but no more. I infer that their spirit is not of God.
Thus, though I cannot define the nature of what they mean by the inward light, I have traced it to its source; or at least evinced that it is very different from the influence of the Spirit of God, according to an inspired criterion. The counterfeits of a perishable currency we are all wise to detect : but the infinitely more deleterious counterfeits of
christianity, we are strangely slow to discriminate. If men valued their souls as much as their property, they would wisely resist the imposing fabrics of the enemy. This, bible christians are taught to do by the outward light of scripture, in the commencement of their religious course; “lest Satan should get an advantage of us ; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” How necessary this to the safety of the soul ! “ And no marvel ; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. . Ye shall know them by their fruits.” But THE CRITERION-FRUIT, the PRIMARY index of their genuineness or corruption—REMEMBER—is their
— “confession,” their doctrine, the moral scope of their influence, as tested by “the oracles of God;" and not their"" sheep's clothing,” their arts of ingratiating, their placid and benign appearance, their sublime professions, their overflowing love for every body, their regular irreproachable morality, or any of their personal or active characteristics; (in which things many of the ancient pharisees surpassed them ;) while their CONFESSION is vitiated, defective, or heretical.
No man who has a just conception of the death of Christ as an “offering for sin,” through whose atonement and mediation alone as a Savior by his cross, one human being ever was or will be saved, can think it other than congruous that the CONFESSION of his advent in the flesh, as a historical (as it was before a prophetical) fact, should be divinely
made a criterion of discrimination between Christ and antichrist; or that Quakerism should be condemned by that plain test, since its confession is so very dissimilar and mystically different, from the facts of his mission and passion as detailed by the Evangelists.
Before I leave this question of the nature of the light, it may be proper to suggest a suspicion long entertained and (I believe) valid, that there is some, perhaps much, of pure materializing in their view of it. An inserted flame that tends to kindle into glow and splendor, but is well nigh suffocated with humid air and adverse influences; a seed that strives to grow, but cannot; an embryo Savior within struggling to be delivered, and a people sitting still in silence to suffer the physiological operation ! These are their ordinary figures of illustration ! But-consider, is it not a mechanical representation? What has it to do with our own moral agency, which scripture every where describes as the mediate arbiter of character and destiny? It is not spirituality at all! It is blindness, grossness, materialism, presuming folly, and essential falsehood.
II. The argument, from the admission of the truth of this UNIVERSAL LIGHT WITHIN, that the scriptures are superfluous, is, I think, rational and sound. Why should we prefer the difficult to the easy, the obsolete to the recent, the less to the greater, the distant to the near? What use of the inferior when we have the paramount ? The consistency of some Friends on this article, makes them at once malignant fanatics and delirious infidels !
The policy of the powers of darkness is one of great moral unity. Unconverted men, who "hate the light that has come into the world,” are all united in the end, however they differ in the means, to get rid of it. They all however require some specious substitute for “THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, WHICH ARE ABLE TO MAKE US WISE UNTO SALVATION, THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS." It is also necessary that this substitute should some how be made to appear intrinsically and relatively superior to “ the oracles of God;" that so they may support the character of candid and philosophic men, who prefer only what is "more excellent,” and prefer it rigidly on that account. Thus the papist, the socinian, the deist, the philosopher of scepticism, the mere man of the world, the Friend, and all other impugners of the paramount authority of scripture, have each a favorite mode of avoiding and disparaging the volume of God. But it is manifest that their common aim is one. Their common cause is one, their common character; and with some possible exceptions and probable differences in degree, one shall be their common doom. Their security is presumptionat least it is a far different thing from their safety. “For when they shall say peace and safety ;' then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child ; and they shall not escape.” Their sincerity will not save them.
The papist has the tradition of the church, and the infallibility of “the man of sin,” for his supposed vindication ; while his Bible moulders un
read, covered with dust, enshrouded in the web of the spider, and hid in some unfrequented nook of his cloister. His responsibility is all devolved upon a mere abstraction—the church. So say the church, and I must beliere it, is the summary of his creed. What a conveniency! almost as good as “a mea
of inward light. But who is the church ? Of this community each one is a constituent member; but, in his creed, each depends upon all the others; all manage to alienate their individual responsibility ; the whole of them elude its pressure ; the Pope himself believes as the church does ; the voice of the Bible is drowned in the din ; and iniquitous superstition, bigotted, bloody, persecuting, blind, and infallible as Quaker inspiration, performs its pagan orgies of execrable devotionbesides maintaining the lateran council, commissioning the Jesuits, canonizing sinners, vending indulgences, managing the fires of purgatory, comforting the Inquisition, and wielding the Propaganda.
The socinian admits the general truth of christianity : but makes his own reason, i. e. his selfishness, so to interpret the meaning of its documents, that he learnedly ascertains from them all his peculiar views. Reason is his substitute ;-a goddess well bred and vastly genteel, but often as fanatical as the priestess on the tripod ; as perfidious, not to say as profligate, as the deity of revolutionary France. To Reason he can latently prescribe what she must sanction; and thus he manages to anticipate what scripture must reveal. There are no