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given on purpose to instruct or improve or warn? What martyrs of a peculiar order, these modern ones, for the sake of "weighty testimonies !” The fact is, they have ordinarily too much good sense or morbid sensitiveness, not to be ashamed-as they certainly are, and in this I praise them-of their own testimonies, in good and intelligent society! They have a great many ingenious circuities and evasions, by which to slip along with their “testimonies," without collision, and without manifesting a single ray or particle of light from the illuminated interior, that might as well be “under a bushel" at once, for all the demonstration it makes! “For whatsoever doth make manifest is light."
Truth is properly the monopoly of no man. I have no private creed in religion ; nor do I suppose that any man ought to have. Truth is the testimony of the Spirit, given for “manifestation" universally; and when purely manifested, “ the Spirit" is manifested too, just as much and identically. With the light of the Spirit of God I identify myself morally; the whole of me; to live and to die, for this world and the next. O for grace to be thus purely and perfectly devoted! The man that counteracts that light, is, no ally of mine, whoever he may be ; I am his moral enemy, because I oppose him as such, toto caelo, toto orco 53 ; and “ go the whole" in the argument.
“ What concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ?” 2 Cor. 6: 15. And we may add emphatically; “ what communion hath LIGHT with darkness ?" or legitimacy with usurpa
tion and imposture? Let the insipidity of a semichristian answer.
This text of " manifesting the Spirit,” as referring to the duties of “every man ” in the church, is one of immense practical concern; rich in its moral treasures ; a grand theme for a sermon apposite to the present state of the churches; and worthy of large and thorough application : but I forbear, having other ends that now invite me to their pursuit.
The passages of scripture which Friends pervert are very many. Their leaders do it, “ and hold themselves not guilty ; and they that slay them say, "Blessed be the Lord; for I am rich :' and their own shepherds pity them not.” It were easy for me to write another book, of texts disabused of their corrupting glosses and shameful sophistry. To sophisticate however is “not a vain thing" for them; it is their “ life." Quakerism must die the moment it understands the subject and learns to reason fairly. I will select a few passages, say three; of whose gross perversion I have been experimentally connusant; and the last in the series of which is worthy of distinguished considerationsince seems to me, as certain as any mathematical proposition that can be named, to explode the foundations of Quakerism, and to demonstrate the supremacy of the scriptures forever. “He that believeth, maketh not haste.” That is,
, he sits “still ” in Friends' meeting. A kind old Friend, a preacheress, for whom indeed I feel a reciprocal kindness, (for she is very “ sincere” in her
errors,) once quoted it to me with great tenderness, just before I left the society. It meant, pause, “get still," and show the temper of him “that believeth," by-holy inaction, serene stagnation, a do-nothing kind of piety; avoiding "the activity of the creature' and the learning of the colleges ! Ah! this tenderness of a refined and elegant, a really kind and clever Quaker lady! It is very persuasive. It is a charm often of sovereign fascination and success. It is much more potent than argument. I bear them record that their ladies are, some of them, characteristically refined, chaste, and stainless in purity of behavior; possessed of qualities that adorn private life, gild the social circle with a lustre of comparatively innocent delight, improve the manners and sentiments of youth, and constitute about as fine a substitute for the religion of the gospel as one will find any where! But—to the text. It occurs in Isaiah, 28: 16. Compare it with Rom. 10:11. 1 Pet. 2:6. Its true sense is plain, as quoted in the New Testament. Friends quote it wrong in form, as well as substance. It is, “He that believeth, shall not make haste.” It is future, not present; and it means, he shall not retreat, run away in clandestine “haste," "be ashamed,” or “confounded,” in the day of judgment: that is, he shall not, who“ believeth on Him” that is the foundation-stone of Zion, laid there as the basis of the church by the Eternal Master Builder. It has no
It has no affinity with the softness and the insipidity of what they chiefly value and inspire.
There is another, which they quote as it is not, in favor of their light, with very great unction and
frequent enlargement. It respects “the great inward Teacher” of their faith; as one that CANNOT “be removed into a corner,” they say. Paul was once put into“ a basket” and “through a window" “let down by the wall; and in that way escaped the hands” of “the governor under Aretas the king.” This was as bad to the poor Damascenes or the christians of that city, as“ removing their teacher into a corner."
Quere, Is the cavity interior, where the elegant little light is inserted, and where it burns almost suffocated sometimes by “the activity of the creature,” is it triangular, quadrangular, oval, spherical, cylindrical, or of some other and better proportions? It gets into “a corner,” it seems, only by removal. But we will not press the inquiry. We have a promise to consider. “ Thine eyes shall see thy Teacher;" i. e. the eyes that see the flame of the inward light. " And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah, 30: 20, 21. To cut short the riddle, and some treasured anecdotes of curious fact that I could pleasantly rehearse in its solution, the word teacher happens to be plural in the text! and the original more evidently demonstrates that OUTWARD HUMAN TEACHERS are meant, in both places where the word occurs in the 20th verse.
How they dislike the .אֶת־מוֹרֶיה and מוֹרֶיך Thus
plural! In view of the denounced invasion and calamity of the Jewish nation, and especially of the metropolis, the prophet consoles the church with
this assurance : “ Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy TEACHERS be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy TEACHERS : and thine ears shall hear," &c. How unfortunate in proof-texts are ancient Friends and modern ones too ! We may infer from this passage the following things : that competent religious teachers are meant; that it is a great and precious gift of God to have them; and that it were better to lose all temporal riches than the privilege of their ministrations, which are to be esteemed an appropriate compensation in times of worst calamity. Jer. 3 : 12–15. It puts out the light that is in every man, superior to the scripture as a rule ! At least it takes no note of that inserted little focus that “boasteth great things.” How confounded I once saw a really esteemed and honored Friend, by producing the passage in a parlor and reading it coolly to the eye and ear! Confounded, sorry, frightened ;—but “of the same opinion still !"
I now come to the last text to be considered here, and to which I have already alluded. It is found in 2 Pet. 1: 19. After quoting it, I shall remark on its history as connected with Friends; and then on its meaning, as subverting their system. The translation is in the main good; but I will change it a little, by way of expressing more truly the sense of the original. “We have also the prophetic word made more firm: to which word ye do well taking heed, as to a light that shineth in a dark