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fore, consider (6) That the reason they allege is not credibly the one that influences their refusal. I do not say they know the fallacy and practise it contrary to what they know to be right. Sin is deceitful; is deceit itself. Millions that are posting to hell, ac
. cording to the testimony of scripture, are full of vain and presumptuous hopes ; mistaking themselves for the servants of Christ, it may be, when he knows them to be the servants of the devil. But there is little use here in proving this. I only allege that the real reason of refusal with the Friends is the enmity of the seed of the serpent against the seed of the kingdom. It is sin itself; opposition cloaked from sight, yet mortally set against “the truth as it is.” If the Bible was a friend to Friends, they would insist on its meaning more and commend it to the universal reception of mankind. The word of God is that tremendous panoply in which “the sacramental host of God's elect” are clothed, and the etherial point of which is intolerable to the spirits of rebellion, human and infernal. It disposes of them too summarily. Like its Author, it respects no man's person. It fears nothing, conceals nothing, disguises nothing; but makes manifest the character and the doom of the wicked, in light of the eternal throne and the Sovereign that reigns on it. I believe it is the policy and the temper of sin, and nothing better, no matter in whom, that resolutely and knowingly refuses to recognise the word of God, as such: and while they continue so to do, I for one can recognise them only as those who, I fear, are the disguised enemies of Jesus Christ, and “wolves in sheep's
clothing,” notwithstanding their smooth and oily arts of seeming goodness, by which they are wont to ingratiate themselves with strangers, the simple or the ignorant. I return to the passage in Romans.
It is fortunate or otherwise as we think, I pronounce it, however, fearlessly, to be a fact, that in all the prime quotations of the Friends, their champions and smaller heralds, a cool analysis of the passage not only dissipates the evidence on which they rely, but converts it into a damper of their flame—and an extinguisher of their light. With astonishing infelicity, equalled only by the impious presumption of his inspired arrogance, does Barclay refer to the passage in question. He touches a spring, and fires a train, and ignites a mine, of explosion and ruin to his total Quakerism. It is the doctrine of justification.
Of this glorious cardinal point of christianity, the whole epistle to the Romans may be entitled an inspired elucidation. To understand it as it is revealed, and to have hope toward God in that incomparable way, will always, in a mind of
comprehension and consistency, induce substantially the following results : It will endear the scripture to all that is human in him, to all his faculties and affections, to his influence and his praise, in a degree transcendent and supreme; it will give him such hope in God through Jesus Christ as never was without it; it will make holiness the passion of his life and the element of his motion, mental and corporeal--it will facilitate universal duty and familiarize it to the practice; it will demonstrate that in
stead of leading to licentiousness, as infidels and sciolists pretend to be conscientious in alleging, it is the best and the only way of prosecuting“ true holiness;" it will give a clearness and fixity of vision in the things of God, a clew of interpretation to the whole volume of revelation, and inspire an immutability of character, while it communicates to the mind that unequaled excellence which Sir Humphrey Davy justly pronounces the grand desideratum of human nature,'a sound and established religious faith; it will impart a clear perception of the attributes of God, of his law, of human accountability and depravity and ill-desert, of the glorious atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ on the accursed tree, of the principles of the divine moral government, of the nature and laws of the mediatorial system, of the duties and dangers of men as “ prisoners of hope," of the offers and promises, of the threatenings and denunciations of the word of God, and of the diverse eternal destinies of the TWO GREAT MORAL CLASSES into which the species are divided here and hereafter; it will commend the way of acceptance and justification through the Mediator, to the unalterable convictions of the soul, as the only possible way in which a sinner can be saved; it will demonstrate immutably the divine origin of the gospel, as a thing not to be rationally referred to an architect inferior to Him who arched the firmament, and stored immensity with innumerable worlds in solemn order perfectly arranged; and it will every way accomplish and confirm him as a christian, as never was there one on earth without it: making moral courage“ hardas adamant” against prevaricating error, and tender as the gentlest offices of love toward penitence or candor ingenuously seeking for the truth.
The scriptural doctrine of justification is one which, I am bold to say at least, is not understood by Friends. It is perverted by them sadly; and here, speaking experimentally as a witness, my whole soul adores the God of all grace about equally for my own conversion from old Adam and George Fox! Through the one, condemnation reigns over all his depraved posterity ; through the other, I feel, as well as think, that it becomes well nigh eternized on all his perverted votaries. It is impossible for a Quaker consistently to learn and love the scripture doctrine of justification; for, accepting it, he would in all consistency renounce Quakerism.
Without delivering a dissertation on the subject, I shall advert to some of its important principles.
1. It is founded on the distinction between the person and the character of an individual. Paul, for example, is the same person that he ever was, and so continues immutably and eternally. But his character is not the same that it was. Conversion was its first incipient change; sanctification progressively advanced it in the divine similitude; glorification hath consummately expanded it in the perfection of heaven. He who now emulates a cherub in clearness of vision and a seraph in purity of zeal, was once the dark and bloody persecuter of Jesus Christ and his church; “ breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of
the Lord;” verily thinking “that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” But, remember, he is the same person; the sinner that did all those things! His person is unchangeable and identical ; and so is that of every other individual.
2. The moral account of every human being is retrospective, as well as present, and includes the charge of every sin, with its legislated curse against the person by whom it was committed. How enormous and tremendous the account! Like the manifesto of a correct creditor, to whom we have been plunging deeper and deeper in debt for a long course of years, the items are there that we had forgotten and each one contributes to the appaling sụm total : while the claim demonstrates our bankruptcy, and holds our person justly a prisoner to its power. “ The strength of sin is the law.” Our insolvency-is a disagreeable thing to look at.
Hence men of inward light are wont
Hence the doctrine of justification is so meanly and universally detested by the men of the world. The felons of the curse can ill endure a settlement, even by grace in Christ Jesus, if it honors law and requires them to confess the utter and terrible ruin of their circumstances.
Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art,