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light in men; and consequently, as the word of God is the supreme law, the action of the living ministry commending that word to our cordial and practical regards, is reasonable and requisite. But plainly the whole connection including the text, “excellently and evidently” shows no inward light in men or inward light at all. Least of all does it support the heretical madness of a rule in men superior to the inspired scriptures : and on the whole, it is certain that there is not a particle of distinctive Quakerism in that noble chapterwhich some have dared to defame by calling it “the chapter of Quaker light !"
It may seem strange to all but Friends, or those who know them, that I have spent so much time in correcting their interpretation. But a few words of error, especially when widely circulated and devoutly believed, require many words to refute them. What an encyclopedia of voluminous toil would it properly require to follow Barclay through the almost 600 octavo pages (densely printed—as this is not) of his elaborate work, and refute all the specious theological nonsense and error with which an unprejudiced christian reader can see that it abounds!
The only remaining passage to which Barclay refers for “excellent and evident" proof, of a UNIVERSAL. INWARD LIGHT in depraved sinners, “ dead in trespasses and sins” as they walk on the footstool of God, which is cursed for their sake, Gen. 3:17. 6:5, 11, 12, is found in Titus, 2:11. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us,” &c.
I know exactly how they use this text, and how much they fondle it, and how often their inspiration starts from its list to run the race of folly, fiction, forgery and—devotional sin! Often have I heard, and seen, and wondered, and been mightily convinced and moved, as many another deluded ignoramus was, while some spiritual sooth-sayer, male or female, “ borne sublime upon the cherub wings of ecstacy” and soaring beyond all truth and evidence, was inspired to convey to us its true import exegetical. Often, as I well recollect, have I been solemnly duped, as well as others, with the fallacy. Does any one say, Well! forgive them. We are all liable to make mistakes. We must bear with one another. Answer, I bear them any thing but personal ill-will; God is witness : and in this sense, I pardon them with all my heart, for deluding my infancy, infatuating my education, and jeoparding my soul-and for doing more mischief to some of my own flesh and blood yet steeped profound in the spell of their delirium! I can compassionate and would kindly repair the mistake of a fellow mortal, black or white. But when he DARES to charge his errors and his moral agency identified upon his Maker; make him alone accountable for them; and claim the impunity of assumed, and most falsely assumed, INSPIRATION ; and this is, in cool and unexaggerated fact, THEIR UNIVERSAL CLAIM WHENEVER THEY PREACH; I feel as if a calm reprehension merely of their fault were criminal in me, es
pecially as the error is of a kind at once so deleterious to the interests of souls, so dishonoring to the great God, so impalpable to the populace and even to the more intelligent of the general community.
Their argument now to be examined is much on this wise: Here it hath “appeared to all men ;' that is, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation” hath :
but how hath it so appeared ? Have “all men " the scriptures and other outward means? not so! but all men have the witness of the Spirit in their hearts; and in that temple of the heart has this grace appeared, &c. Then they appeal to their hearers and apply their version, by confounding the mere actings of conscience (armed it may be with some remembered passages of “the word of God”) with the agency of the Spirit in all men: and say, Hast thou never felt something that reproved thee in doing wrong, that commended thee in doing right, and that could not be bribed or removed into a cor
And so forth to the end; while listening hundreds are convinced, refreshed, and-deluded. They often make episodes at such a time, when a lucid interpretation moves that way their bowels, in praise of the scriptures : as “given forth” by that light; as an outward testimony to be sure ; but still, one in which the doctrine and views of "ancient Friends” are “excellently and evidently” manifested ; and as being, on the whole, "a secondary rule” of considerable respectability.
But it is time to explode their fallacy. It may be premised that the text truly yields them not the least particle of support. The abstract proposition, that
such “grace hath appeared to all men,” I fearlessly pronounce to be as flat and certain AN IMPOSSIBILITY IN POINT OF FACT as is the monstrosity of transubstantiation. But still I should not so assert its fallacy were it not for this cardinal fact—that THE PASSAGE IS
IS FALSELY TRANSLATED. There is no such proposition in the original. Genuine inspiration NEVER taught such a sentiment, since the birth of time or before. Does the reader say, How are Friends to blame for that? I answer, they are not to blame for that. It was done before they were born; or George Fox either, eleven years before the important epoch of his birth. But what is inspiration that is NOT TO BLAME for blundering most egregiously, where a little honesty with the school-taught “gift of tongues” perusing the original, exclaims, why no such proposition is there!
It is perhaps an error, though comparatively of no importance, to render the adjective, one word, OwTnpos, “ that bringeth salvation.” It seems raσωτηριος ther too strong. Still, its strict English synonyme, salutary, is not strong enough. It means “tending to salvation;" and perhaps “salvation-bearing,” as a compound epithet or qualifier, were nearly the sense of the original.
In grammar, theology, and fact, I have now a graver error to expose. Why is the word, “appeared,” made to govern (as if it did in the Greek) the phrase, “ to all men ?" It does not; and it cannot be so construed legitimately. The Greek does NOT say that it “ hath appeared to all men;" but it says that it is “salutary or salvation-bearing to all men,” wherever it comes, or (like the rising splendors of the sun) wherever it appears.
Admit a digression here, (such an oasis is grateful to the christian traveller in the sandy desert of controversy,) to ask, What if men should respond to the gospel appositely and heartily wherever it appears? Is it not what God cordially desires them to do? It would bear salvation into their bosoms universally! It would roll its volume of blessedness gloriously round the globe! It would emparadise us all in its large enclosures, as primeval Eden could not our first progenitors! And whose is the fault that it fails of this splendid result ? Rom. 9: 32, 33. The gospel is in no sense at fault. Still, how glorious, and sin grace how pre-eminent, is that discriminating sovereignty, supervening just here, “according to the election of grace!” Rom. 11: 5.
I will render it, as nearly as our idiom will admit, (and that is very near, in this instance,) precisely as the words occur in the original, though necessarily with diminished force and certainty ; thus: “For hath appeared the grace of God, which is salvation-bearing to all men, teaching us,” &c. In the Greek the word hath appeared (Enedavn) occurs first of all in the sentence; and cannot in any right way affect the syntax or the sense of “all men;" which occurs at the end, in the dative, plainly governed by the adjective which I have rendered "salvation-bearing." If there is any defect in this evidence, it is wholly relative. It respects simply the fact that ordinary readers cannot appreciate an argument drawn from the Greek language. Still, or