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tials we differ from others ; and afterwards charges us with differing from others in more than non-essentials ; and page 8, “ there“ fore they differ from other denominations “ in very essential particulars.” What his object was in asserting such contradictions, he ought to know best.
But in reference to his charge, that our principles and forms are hostile to the Scriptures, &c. I shall endeavour to shew, that our belief in those points, wherein he charges us with error, is consistent with Scripturé. But, as my present views are principally confined to an explanation of the subjects treated on in his book, the reader who wishes further information, is referred to the perusal of our writings, particularly to Robert Barclay's Apology, where he will find our principles clearly stated, and proved by Scripture.
The first charge against us, in his original pamphlet, now in the 17th page of the present address, is in these words ; “ The « Quakers deny that the Scripture is the “ word of God. Barclay's Apology, p. 68 “ to 94, Fox's Journal, vol. 1. page 32
" What they mean by this denial is diffi “ cult to tell ; because of the ambiguity of " their expressions. Some say it is the “ words of God, or the declarative word of " God, as though the word of God was of “ greater consequence than the words of “ God, and the declarative word of God “ had not the same authority as the word of “ God. We know not the cause or use of " this criticism and nice distinction of the “ word from the word, unless it is to fix " the name of the word upon Christ, as it “ is written. But this is not a sufficient " excuse for a needless play of words,” &c.--again, page 18, “Why the Quakers “ deny the Scriptures to be the word of « God, is evidently in order to invalidate " the divine authority which they have as " a rule for faith and practice.”
In reply to this, I will give the reader our opinion of those excellent writings. We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to have been divinely communicated ; and being intrinsically superior to all other writings, we esteem them as such, and as thankfully receive, and comfortably use them as any people ; verily
a John, i. 1.
believing, with the apostle, that they“.' were written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope." Although wë' do not consider them as the sole or primary director, the spirit of God being communicated for this purpose; yet we look upon them as the only outward rule, by which we are to judge of controversies among christians ; and have always had recourse to them to prove our principles ; believing, that whatsoever doctrine is contrary to them, may justly be rejected.'
But our opposer asserts, page 18, « Though they say, they have an high opin“ ion of the Holy Scripture, yet it is evi“ dent they have an higher opinion of the « writings of Fox, Barclay, and other Quak6 er writers.”
He advances no proof but his own assertion, which I cannot possibly admit, while I am a witness to the contrary : for, our society have ever, both publicly and privately, held the Scriptures in the highest estimation of any writings extant. We therefore pressingly recommend the reading of them to all our members; and have an
b Rom. xv. 4.
established query, which is read in all our quarterly, monthly, and preparative meetings, four times in the year ; whether the Scriptures are frequently read in our families? an answer to which is required to be forwarded to every quarterly; and each succeeding yearly meeting. Such care has never been taken by us to impress the read. ing of Fox, Barclay, or any other authors. And I do not find, that either the Methodists, or any other society, have so strongly recommended the frequent perusal of the Scriptures, as we have ; I must, therefore, necessarily consider his assertion, above noticed, to have no foundation in truth. He asserts, page 17, “ they say that the Scrip“ ture ought not to be called the word of “ God, because Christ is called the word :" and then adds, “ By this mode of rea“ soning we might say that the door of an “ house ought not to be called the door, be. “ cause Christ is the door : and a vine ought “ not to be called by just that name, be16 cause Christ says, I am the vine.”
I deny that any such consequences follow ; for, a door of a house is properly the door into the house ; and Christ is the door into the kingdom of heaven. As the vine affords sap and nourishment to the branches there
of, so Christ does to the living members of his church. These comparisons were made by Christ himself ; and are beautiful, and very significant.
Hibbard says, page 18, " It is known “ that the Quakers understand the different “ degrees of goodness, as good, ' better, “best. The Scripture is good, the writings 6 of Quakers better, the teaching of the “ Spirit best.” The fallacy of this insinuation, that the Quakers esteem their own writings above the Scriptures, is already shown ; but I readily admit that we esteem the teaching of the Spirit best ; agreeably to what the apostle saith, “If any man hath not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his :"> and that was many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”. And our Saviour himself says, “ the comforter which is the Holy Ghost, whom the l'ather will send in my name, he shall teach you all things :” and again, “ when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth."d Certainly then, the teaching of the Spirit of truth is preferable to the Scriptures. But, to return to his original charge, let us
* Rom. vii. 9, 14. a John, xiv.