Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

with that of the legislature itself, it is quite a thing impossible that we should ever transgress the provisions of the statute-book.50 We do not however submit our doctrines or our actions to be judged by that material volume; especially, because who are the judges ? none but our doating countrymen! But they are not proper judges; and never can be, till their minds become enlightened with our doctrine; and then they will think just as we do. Beside, the statute-book is a very mysterious composition. There is no possibility of knowing what it means, without our superhuman illumination, even if one sincerely desired nothing so much. The legislature contrived it on purpose that it might not be understood by common patriots. But as soon as you become sublimed by our instructions, fellow citizens, (for whom our bowels yearn with tenderness and universal love-just like that in the legislature,) by simply “ attending to " the light of patriotism in the secret of every heart, (as it is there made plain to the suckling and the fool,) you will come to know all the mysteries of political science, state polity, legislation, jurisprudence, and law practice; yea, you can teach others also, and that without all learning and skill in the statute-book. You will come to discern the vanity of all legal forms and phrases, which the statute-book doth indeed appear to you to require, but which we see clearly to be cumbrous, expensive, and non-essential. Then indeed

you will not be fleeced by the lawyers, and doctors, and judges. You will utterly retrench all these hireling' orders. You will see the non-necessity of all such learned officers, and a thousand others, which our countrymen have continued to revere only because they have never known the liberty of true patriotism; in which women are as wise as men in the anointing, and just as capable of lecturing on patriotism and instructing large congregations—while others are misled to believe in the paramount authority of the statute-book.” In such a case of political radicalism as this, every real patriot would know how to dispose of it. He would see the hypocrisy of the argument, even if he believed the sincerity of its venders. The maintenance of the civil state would be impossible upon their reforming principles. He would view their doctrine as an abscess forming near the heart of the body politic; and though the million might be taken with it, though they might praise the goodness and fair appearance of its apostles, masculine and feminine, and even mistake them for “ angels of light,” the men whom thought distinguishes, and evidence affects, and principle controls, would think it patriotism to expose the fallacy of their scheme, and denounce the innovation as ruinous to the commonwealth. And what is time to-eternity ?

In particular, it is manifest that the poor statutebook would soon become the victim of their ascendant argument. They would think it, to say the least, superfluous. A quotation from its pages, in

, opposition to their views, would be like a straw on the case of the crocodile. They would ride in their imaginations, especially if they were sincere, over the heads of the disparaged community. Fanati

cism, sublimed and ethereous, would make a football of civic virtue !

Such is the practical tendency and the actual result of the light within. The Quakers treat the Bible as at best a very subordinate help. Many of them openly defame it. One very celebrated preacher has publicly and often said that mankind had been better without the Bible. And why is he not correct, if all men have a portion of the Spirit within them sUPERIOR to it, by simply attending to whose monitions they practice righteousness and attain salvation ! I am aware of the double (not hidden) character in which I appear before the christian public: a witness as well as a disputant. But how could I be a mere disputant; since it was what I had witnessed, and what I renounced, on my

knees with the Bible open, as an act of worship to “the only wise God,” and what I have with much anguish and many tears experienced as the consequence of my education and relationships, that brought me thus publicly to dispute at all ? As a witness, aware of my accountability to the Searcher of hearts, “whose eyes are upon the truth,” I shall at least make no intentional misrepresentation. No oath could add to the solemnity which invests the obligation of veracity in my convictions. But if it might, “I call God for a record upon my soul” that I will not intentionally misstate any thing. I however state that I have witnessed from their preachers and their people, times without number, sentiments, inuendos, implications, and significant actions, the whole scope of which was directly to

[ocr errors]

degrade the Bible ; and it is my full conviction that this is the very genius of their scheme, its native and necessary tendency.

There is an argument of Barclay, which I will now consider. As its topic is fundamental, so its speciousness is seraphic. It is in substance this: time was when to be led by the Spirit of God was thought to define the children of God; but in our age the same characteristic becomes a reproach, and even an impeachment of christian piety. As he uses scripture to sustain his position, he always assumes the very point to be proved. No christian will deny that to be led by the Spirit of God is essentially indicative of a true christian. Here then we are agreed. The only question respects the manner in which they are led! Of this Barclay makes no question at all; but just assumcs, as suits him, that it is in the very way alone of Friends!

He refers here to that memorable saying of Paul, Rom. 8 : 14. “ For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” His reasoning in the connexion is very convincing, .to those that follow the inward light, and who count it worldly logic to “prove all things and hold fast that which is good.” But we will hear Barclay.

“Of old none were ever judged christians, but such as had the Spirit of Christ, Rom. 8:9. But now many do boldly call themselves Christians, who make no difficulty of confessing they are without it, and laugh at such as say they have it. Of old they were accounted the sons of God, who were led by the Spirit of God.

of God. But how many aver

[ocr errors]

themselves sons of God, who know nothing of this leader; and he that affirms himself so led, is, by the pretended orthodox of this age, presently proclaimed an heretic. The reason hereof is very manifest, viz. Because many in these days, under the name of christians, do experimentally find, that they are not actuated nor led by God's Spirit; yea, many great doctors, divines, teachers and bishops of christianity, (commonly so called,) have wholly shut their ears from hearing, and their eyes from seeing, this inward guide, and so are become strangers unto it; whence they are, by their own experience, bronght to this strait, either to confess that they are as yet ignorant of God, and have only the shadow of knowledge, and not the true knowledge of him, or that this knowledge is acquired without immediate revelation." And this is indispensable topiety! What inspired extravagance! A Friend may speak and write what he pleases. The above is a specimen of Barclay's inspiration and of his charitableness! If his reasoning be correct, then I see not that one soul of us can be saved that deliberately differs with him in the matter of the inward light! We are not christians, it seems; we

pretendedorthodox, ignorant of God, not sons of God, but graceless persons, whether doctors, bishops or what not? Let no man say that I lay too much stress on this controversy. A christian may well aver that a more ruinous heresy to the souls of men could scarcely be invented, by the great sire of heresy, than Quakerism! The difference between it and christianity is so great, so

are

« AnteriorContinuar »