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love of Christ render every cross to our own wills, which we might undergo for his sake, both easy and pleasant ?

Opportunities have been afforded me, during the last few years, of conversing, on the present subject, with many persons in different parts of the kingdom, who have not been educated in our Society, but have becoine convinced of the truth of our Christian principles. With very little exception, I have observed that they are made sensible of the duty of plainness especially of using the plain language; and in some instances, this has happened before there was any acquaintance with Friends, or with their writings.

In the course of their religious experience, and mostly in an early stage of it, these persons are brought to a pass on their journey, which may well be compared to a narrow bridge over a deep river. If they have faith to take up their cross, and to walk over it, they are generally enabled to go on and prosper ; but if they give way to reasoning, and conclude that this passage is either useless or impracticable, the consequences are often lamentable. After looking at it for a long season, until they are weary of the sight, they turn back, and fall by degrees into a state of religious dwarfishness. Not daring to be Christians according to that particular line of duty which the Lord had cast up for them, they appear almost to cease from being Christians at all.

That this statement is neither untrue nor exaggerated, many can testify, from what they have known in themselves, and seen in others. Now, for such a uniformity of experience, in connexion with our views of the spirituality of the Gospel, I cannot conceive that any thing can account, but truth. It appears to afford a substantial evidence, that these little sacrifices of self are consistent with the will of our Heavenly Father; and that they are required of us, in the order of his grace and providence, for some wise and sufficient purpose. Whatsoever is the duty assigned to us of the Lord, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft;"_“ behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams !"

Let it never be forgotten, however, that a compliance with the dictates of the Spirit, in these minor matters, must never be rested in as a sufficient mark of allegiance to our Lord, or as indicating any high attainment in the religious life. Such a compliance is rather to be regarded as in its nature introductory—a confession of principle, leading to a course of duty. It is the privilege of the Christian, through the influence of divine grace, to go forward from one act of faith and obedience to another, and thus to make advances toward the heavenly Zion. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”


OUR discussion of the distinguishing religious sentiments and practices of the Society of Friends being now brought to its conclusion, the reader is invited to take a short and general review of that train of reflection which has been pursued in the present volume. For this purpose, his recollection will be assisted by the following summary

However the members of any particular religious community may rejoice in those privileges which, in consequence of the adoption of certain principles, attach in a pre-eminent manner to themselves, they ought never to lay aside a just and candid view of the spiritual blessings which are offered to all mankind; and of those, more particularly, which appertain to all the true members of the visible church of Christ. All men are the children of God by creation, and over all he extends his loving-kindness and tender mercy. Christ died for all men; and all, as we may conclude from certain passages of Scripture, are endued with a measure of the moral light and purifying power of the Spirit of Truth. With respect to the true members of the visible church of Christ, these, to whatever name, sect, or country, they may belong, are the common partakers of the especial favours of their Lord. It is their happiness to love and serve an incarnate, crucified, risen, and glorified, Redeemer. They enjoy an abundant light; an exceeding grace; a revealed and established hope; and a pre-eminent degree of the influence of the Holy Spirit.

United, as all real Christians are, on the basis of fundamental truth, they are found to differ from one another in their view and estimate of various particulars in religion. Thus (for the present) do those principles which are essential to the salvation of souls pass to the various classes of true Christians, through as various mediums; and although some of these mediums are, evidently, purer and more spiritual than others, it may be acknowledged, (with gratitude to that Being whose mercies are manifold and whose resources are infinite,) that this consequence of human infirmity is overruled for good, and that there is permitted to exist, in the Christian church, a real and even useful variety of administration, under one Head.

Christians, however, while they abstain from judging one another on such matters, and rejoice in their great and common salvation, ought, nevertheless to endeavour after a full persuasion respecting their peculiar religious views ;-to examine the foundation on which they rest; to leave hold of them, and suffer them to pass away, if their foundation is a bad one; but, if they are grounded, according to the decision of their deliberate judgement, on the unchangeable truth of God, to cleave to them with integrity, patience, and perseverance. Let us, who belong to the Society of Friends, apply these remarks to our own religious peculiarities. They are, evidently, of a striking character, and of considerable importance in their practical results, and even, at first sight, they appear calculated to promote the tranquillity of the world, and the spiritual prosperity of the church of Christ. What, then, is the nature, what the authority, of those principles out of which they spring ?

In reply to this inquiry, it may be observed, in the first place, that the great doctrine which lies at the root of them—a doctrine declared in Scripture, and admitted to be true by the generality of pious Christians—is that of the immediate and perceptible guidance of the Holy Spirit. Whatever may be the experience of other persons, it is certainly our experience, that the very same guiding and governing Spirit which leads the right-minded among us into the practice of universally acknowledged Christian virtues, also leads into these peculiarities; and hence we derive a satisfactory conviction that they are truly consistent with the law of God, and arise out of its principles.

In order to the confirmation of this general argument, we cannot do better than bring our several peculiarities, respectively, to the test of that clear revelation of the divine will which is contained in the Holy Scriptures, and which more particularly distinguishes the New Testament. Such has been the work attempted in the present volume. The points first considered, in pursuance of this plan, have been those which have a more immediate connexion with our religious duties toward God himself. Again to recapitulate the arguments adduced on the several particular objects alluded to, would be at once tedious and unnecessary; but the reader will recollect that our disuse of typical ordinances—our refusal to admit any ministry in our congregations but such as flows from the immediate influences of the Holy Spirit-our views respecting the selection, preparation, and ordination, of the ministers of the Gospelour declining to unite in the prevalent system of hiring preachers, or of otherwise making for the ministry pecuniary returns our allowance of the public praying and preaching of females—and our practice of waiting together upon the Lord in silence—are all grounded on the great Christian law, that they who worship God, who is a Spirit, “ must worship him in spirit and in truth.We conceive it to be in precise accordance with the principle of this law—a law which, in some respects, distinguished the dispensation of Christianity from that of Judaism—that we abandon all ceremonial and typical ordinances, all forms of public prayer, all written and prepared ministry, all human interference in the steps preceding the exercise of the sacred office, and all purchase or hire of its administrations; that we attempt not the use of words when words are not required of us; and that, while we endeavour to place an exclusive reliance on the Great High Priest of our profession, we do not hesitate to make way for the liberty of his Spirit, and to suffer the wind to blow where it listeth.

The views thus entertained by the Society of Friends, on the subject of worship, arise from the entire spiritual principles, as we deem them, of the Christian dispensation. We conceive, however, that the divine Author and Minister of that dispensation not only brought to light and instituted, among his followers, the highest standard of divine worship, but promulgated also a perfect code of practical morality. It is the deliberate opinion of Friends—an opinion which they have often found it their duty to declare that this moral code ought to be maintained, by the followers of Jesus, in all its original purity; that no compromise ought to be made between the law of the world and the law of God; that the latter can never rightly yield, either to the dictates of human wisdom, or to the demands of apparent expediency. In consequence of the impression made on our minds by this general sentiment, (a sentiment which, however far it may be from being confined to ourselves,

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