« AnteriorContinuar »
dw, see Doddridge; note in loco) the sins of men, or seemed to care nothing about them : “but now commandeth all men every where to repent.”
Now let us briefly try the question, Did the apostles, with Christ at their head, actually preach on the principle of the inward light as laid down in the Apology? This question I have had in my eye and in my heart, ever since by the grace of God I came to know him in truth : for, “when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me that I might preach him among” my countrymen; as the revelation and the vocation came only through the OUTWARD “objective manifestations" of his written word and ordinances, so "immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood;" but set myself to the devout and prayerful perusal of his own incomparable oracles; saying, “ Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. I am a stranger in the earth : hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, who do err from thy commandments. Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors." Psalm 119: 17-24.
All men are not, from whatever cause, qualified
to discriminate truth, and judge principles : but to those whose intelligence is mature and who love the God of scripture—and to none others—do I make the present appeal, to judge in this matter the pretensions of Quakerism! For one, my own conviction has steadily increased; while my an
; guish is also increased that so many gifted and socially lovely characters should be careering to eternity in the confidence of the light within! The excellent late Dr. Waugh of London felt the same; when called to preach in a certain sea-port village where many Friends reside, he used the following pertinent figure, in a benevolent lament at their infatuation in superseding the true gospel of Christ. For the truth of the anecdote, I can vouch ; having received the account from a spected brother in the ministry, who enjoyed the friendship, and was acquainted with the person, of the good Doctor; whom George III. is said greatly to have revered, going sometimes incognito to hear him and calling him the King of Dissenters. The words are my own :
"I am told, my friends, that your harbor is dangerous ; that it abounds in shoals, rocks, and breakers, which many a skilful mariner has braved in vain ; that there have been numerous dismal shipwrecks on your immediate coast; but that of late there are proportionately few! Do you know the reason ? Doubtless you do. The authorities of the country have at great expense humanely erected a large light-house, towering to the sky and shedding without change its faithful radiance far and wide on the ocean. Now, the pilots can bring a vessel into moorings almost with no inconvenience ; and simply by steering according to that fixed and friendly light. This you know. But what would you think of a proud East Indiaman, with a rich freight on board, who, getting a strange aversion to that light, should light a taper in the cabin and steer by the light within? Would you not remonstrate, if you could ! But suppose you had remonstrated in vain, what would you apprehend from such hardihood ? What, but shivered timbers and a dismal wreck, since all experience is in favor of the light-house as the only safe mark to steer by? And I, my friends, am afraid of some of you in this village ; afraid that your hopes and souls will perish on the rocks of error. Instead of steering for the haven of eternity by the light-house of the Bible, which the Eternal King has provided to that very end ; you are, I hear, many of you who reside in this place, abandoning your course to the uncertain and insufficient guidance of a light within! Alas! for the freight, the precious freight !"
But to the trial of the question. I first ask, what, on the Friends' theory, ought we to expect of consistent men who were inspired to preach the truth? Undoubtedly, their preaching ought all to point, like so many concentric rays, to the focus of the inward light; they ought to apprise men of its existence, explain its nature, and exhort them to follow its suggestions. Thus Barclay, in his address to Charles II. notwithstanding the known profligacy of that wicked prince, tells him of that light that “shineth in his conscience :” terms it the Light of Christ; exhorts him to "apply himself to it,” and follow it as an unflattering and all-sufficient guide. So did not the apostles. So did not their Lord ! They did indeed say to the visible church that Christ was in them, EXCEPT they were reprobates ; BUT NEVER THAT CHRIST WAS IN REPROBATES! The distinction of Barclay here between the inbeing and inhabitation of Christ is a piece of learned fustian, a miserable evasion; and reminds one of his Jesuitical education! See his words after vehiculum Dei below.
The apostles preached that “God now commands all men every where to repent;” no notice of the light. Christ testified that they should "all perish,” except they repented. Their common doctrine of regeneration is very adverse to the idea of Friends. Instead of telling men that the seed is in them, and must be cherished and made to grow ; they told them that they were all sinners, “dead in tres
6 passes and sins,” and must be totally changed in their moral nature, or perish ; without one glance at any such thing as the seed! The order of God, which they every where resounded, was, REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. Paul indeed told the Athenians that God is “not far from every one of us;" and here what a fine opening he had for the seed doctrine! how he might have added, in Barclay's words, by way of explanation, for “a divine spiritual, and supernatural light is in all men; which light or seed is vehiculum Dei; as God and Christ dwelleth in it, and is never separated from
66 for we
it; and as it is received and closed with in the heart, Christ comes to be formed and brought forth.” Instead of this, his explanation is merely of the natural presence and ubiquity of God; “for in him we live, and move, and have our being :" Mark ! we as creatures are in God, not God in us : are all his offspring." The apostles preached that “ the whole world lieth in wickedness; that every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God; that the friendship of the world is enmity with God; that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life; that the stone which was set at naught of the builders, is become the head of the corner ; NEITHER IS THERE SALVATION IN ANY OTHER : for THERE IS NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN given among men, whereby we must be saved ; that this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son : he that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life; that he that believeth not the gospel, shall be damned; and that the wicked
l shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in them that believe;" and that to reject or sophisticate the gospel is the criterion of eminent wickedness.
In all these specimens of genuine inspiration, as taken from the preaching of Christ and the Apostles, it is observable that not only is nothing said about