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total scope of Quakerism : what I have given under this head, or indeed elsewhere, is more an exhibition of principles and specimens than a full synopsis of the subject.
VI. THE CHARACTER OF APOSTOLIC PREACHING, AND ALSO OF HIS WHO COMMISSIONED AND PRECEDED THE APOSTLES, is wonderfully destitute of all force and propriety, in respect to the doctrine of inward light, if that doctrine be true.
That these all preached the doctrine of the person and office-work of the Holy Ghost, as vital to all saving knowledge of God, is a momentous and indisputable fact. No man believes this fact perhaps more really than I do. It is the catholic faith of protestants : and he is no christian who doubts or denies it. Let not Friends assume that I am opposed to the scripture doctrine of that important article of the creed of all saints ; because I distinguish it from their doctrine which I consider not scriptural at all :—for, I believe the Quaker spirit to be another spirit, the Quaker influenee another influence, and the Quaker doctrine another doctrine.
It seems necessary, as I wish neither to deal in negatives nor to become voluminous with positives in this treatise, to give a statement of what I consider the catholic doctrine on this subject~the importance of which can scarcely be exceeded. Here also I wish to commit no individual or denomination for my views of the catholic doctrine. If I show a very different doctrine from that of Friends, then the reader has only to “search the scriptures;" and
if he finds it there in substance as here represented, he will be at no loss to account for the zeal manifested in these pages against its placid counterfeit. Perhaps also some scriptural evidence accompanying the statement may aid his conviction of the truth. It will be impossible, however, within the allotted space, to adduce the full proof of every position; nor will an approximation to this be attempted.
That the Spirit of God has a mighty and uncomputed agency in preparing the church for glory and eternally sustaining them in that sublime fruition ; and that this agency is substantially the same in all ages of the world—from Abel to the last ran
— somed soul before “ the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ;" are positions of sacred and evincible truth. But the Spirit has done many things without us, as well as in us; and many preliminary, as well as consummate ; and circumstantial, as well as vital, in effectuating the salvation of men. All his influences, however, are necessary in their place ; nor does it accord with his perfect wisdom to do any thing in vain or any thing superfluous. By his influences I mean all that he does, in whatever aspect, in accomplishing the salvation of the saved : a correct view of which affords at once the theory and the vindication of those blessings of salvation, called, somewhat technically, REVIVALS OF RELI
These influences I distinguish into two great classes as ORDINARY and MIRACULOUS ; of which inversely :
First, MIRACUlous influences. Under this head I comprehend all extraordinary influences, whether formally miraculous or not; as his agency in creation, in providence and in the ancient church; his plenary REVEALING influence, in all the “ holy men of God” by whom the scriptures were written for the benefit of the world ; his influences strictly miraculous in the first ages of the Jewish and the christian church; particularly of the latter, when the preachers of the gospel, introducing christianity and planting it, in a world of ignorance and hostility unallayed with better qualities, “went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following—God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will;" and his suggestive influences, in many merely oral communications of his prophets and apostles, occasional or regular, public or personal, brief or extended, for purposes more partial and temporary than what was ordered to be written for coming generations. Of these influences, called MIRACULOUS, I would observe (1) that they are all gifts and not graces, all helps and not parts, all auxiliaries and not constituents, of vital religion. A man may have inspiration and work miracles, and be “a devil," as were Judas and others : because he may know and experience all these things, and never love God or forsake sin, or have one good motive. Piety does
not consist in being inspired or working a miracle ; but in obeying the gospel, departing from iniquity, and practising the will of God. How would the opposite, or the doctrine of Friends, affect us, reduced to the simple proposition; Except a man becomes inspired, as the prophets and apostles were, he cannot be saved! This however is the doctrine of Barclay, as I shall hereafter show. More to evince the absurdity of the position, let us alter it, thus ; Except a man have the gift of miracles and of languages, as the apostles had on the day of pentecost, he cannot be saved. I observe (2) that all the MIRACULOUS influences, as they are distinct, so are they all SUBSERVIENT to the ORDINARY influences, and of ultimate worth only as related to the triumphs of truth and holiness. Miracles and inspiration are to piety just what scaffolding is to a building or husks to growing corn :-of no utility after their end is accomplished. Miracles however are still of use to us; established by testimony and vindicated by rational evidence, all ages, since the last one was performed, may be certified of their verity; may infer the truth of the system which they were given to authenticate ; and enjoy in thought and feeling (not in sense) all the moral advantage of the whole series from the beginning; this their noblest benefit and end. If they were thus subsidiary to the more noiseless, less ostentatious, untransitory influences, called ordinary, then (3) we ought to value and expect the ORDINARY influences, as at once attainable by all, and INFINITELY MORE PROFITABLE TO THEIR POSSESSORS, than the extraordinary and miraculous influences. These one might have andperish ; those to have, is to be saved—if the degree involve holiness of heart! I observe (4) that whatever tends to error in this relation, by leading men to substitute the latter for the former, to prefer gifts to graces, and miracles to mercies, and inspiration to a moral change of the affections, tends equally to deceive and ruin the soul ; tends to make zealots and fools instead of saints and christians ; tends to fascinate the immortal mind with nonsense and to plunge it into death. Once more (5) there is no evidence either of the necessity or the reality of miraculous influences since the apostle's day, nor of one instance of proper inspiration since the death of the beloved John. Where is there any utility of such influences ? Cessante causa, cessat res, the effect ceases with its cause. The power of miracles continued and permanent, is at once the claim and the stigma of antichrist. 2 Thes. 2 : 9, 10. And why is there not just as much evidence of miracles, as of inspiration, continued ? Friends strangely separate, what God has generally joined; and are—of late—quite as remarkable for declining to work miracles as for professing to be inspired. O that they would learn to “refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise themselves rather unto godliness !"Otherwise, it will be their doom, as it is their history, to “ turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables.”