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which not one man in a thousand IS EVER ACTUATED in devoutly reading them to the benefit of his soul ; and then say many fine things about such fine writings! In this way too you deceive yourselves : and you as well deceive others. The superficial beholder thinks better of you than the truth. Many an infidel Friend, and I have known such members of meeting and “plain” ones too, passes for a believer and a christian, because of his dress and his address alone ; just as wretched brass often passes for gold, because of an exterior stamp, at making which counterfeiters are expert, but which does not change its nature. So
may an enlightened christian say of the theatre, when one of its fanatical votaries blames him for his censure of it: thus—That there are many good things in it, I do not deny or doubt. Its sentiment is often as good identically as the gospel of God, which it correctly quotes; often as refined and poetical as Milton or Watts; often full of manly and generous incitement; often delightfully rhetorical, displaying some of the finest examples of true eloquence; often mentally improving and rationally entertaining ; and sometimes possibly affording a less censurable way of spending or rather mis-spending a whole evening—than some others that could be named. What then? Is the theatrical system good ? I answer, far from it. It is a school of vice ; a system of ruin ; as Tillotson said, "the chapel of the devil ;' the antechamber of hell; as bad as gambling and swindling and methodized impurity can make it ; the royal exchange of universal profligacy; the place
where all young men almost, who go to perdition before they die as well as afterward, in our large cities, commence their dissolute courses and enter their novitiate of vice; a system which, stern statistics and matter-of-fact experience have demonstrated, could not exist å year, but for that thorough alliance with sensual iniquity and other abominations, which has always characterized it in both hemispheres. If this account be correct, I ask any sober reader, if the virtues of the stage are not as helpful to the system as the opposite parts of it! if the system is not worse (because at once sustained and disguised by them) on account of the incidental excellencies involved ! if the very courtezans that haunt it, as their devoted temple, are any more necessary to it as a whole, than are those cunningly intermingled excellencies?
I say the same of Quakerism. As a system, it is a cheat, a spiritual hallucination. It is not christianity. It takes away salvation ; and teaches you to be smooth and soft! It robs you of the only hope of a sinner; and gives you “inward light " for your “more noble and excellent” compensation. It supersedes the Redeemer and his offices; and requites the felony with—a plain and peaceful garb! It does this—and says and does a great number of other things which are quite good and worthy of immense commendation! And because of these other things, it requires all men to approve the system, and fellowship its votaries, and have a perfect fraternal charity toward all “ the blind leaders of the blind,” that mean no harm, are very sincere, and see no
danger in that way! I confess that it nauseates my soul to read or hear a Friend praising the scriptures. To betray Christ was hardly as great a sin as that affectionate kiss the traitor gave him! Nor can I dispassionately believe that my present decision results from any greater or worse cause than a peculiar acquaintance with the reality of the case, and with both sides of the unappreciated argument. So far am I from any personal exasperation, that it is love for their souls-God is witness—that induces me both to abhor their errors and to give “ voice and utterance” to that abhorrence. But they will not credit this averment ; far otherwise !
a sentiment which it more grieves than surprises me to discern the necessity of entertaining. “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord ! If they have called the master of the house Beëlzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household !” Jesus Christ never found out the way of speaking the truth faithfully to unconverted men without displeasing them.
I conclude with the remark, that now for more than twenty years, have I been strongly and increasingly convinced that the errors in which I was nurtured and which (though I neither did my duty nor thought myself a christian) I sincerely believed, identifying them with all the christianity I knew, are radical and destructive; worse for their specious appearances, their interesting and conciliating accompaniments, and the things truly good embraced
in the system as a whole : and that the experience
THE SACRAMENTS: THE MINISTRY.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETH US. 2 Cor. 5: 14.
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY. Rev. 19: 10.
This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 1 John, 5 : 6.
Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sing, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts, 2 : 38.
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and break it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE
Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament (covenant] in my blood which is shed for you. Luke, 22 : 19, 20.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (judgment] to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 1 Corinthians, 11 : 28, 29.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if YE DO WHATSOEVER I command you. John, 15 : 13, 14.
For thus it BECOMETH US to fulfil all righteousness. Matt. 3 : 15.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they who are called to the marriage-supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Rev. 19: 9.
And thou hast tried those who SAY THEY ARE APOSTLES, AND ARE NOT ; AND HAST FOUND THEM LIARS. Rev. 2: 2.
Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Mal. : 37.
Wo unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them. Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, 80 their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust : because THEY HAVE CAST AWAY THE LAW OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, AND DESPISED THE WORD OF THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. Isai. 5 : 21, 24, 25.
Now as Janos and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further : for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. 2 Tim. 3:8, 9.