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THE DOCTRINE AND PRINCIPLES
OF THE PEOPLE CALLED
" ADDRESS TO THE QUAKERS, INCLUDING THE PANPHLET ENTITLED ERRORS OF THE
QUAKERS, &c." In which, his gross misrepresentations and
calumnies are exposed and refuted.
BY THOMAS WILLIS.
“And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good ?"
" Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Pet. iii. 13, 15.
NEW YORK : PRINTED AND SOLD BY SAMUEL WOQD),
NO. 357, PEARL-STREET.u
When the pamphlet entitled, “ Errors of the Quakers," first appeared in print, I considered it a work unworthy of public reply ; carrying its own re. futation with it, in the view of all impartial and judi. oious readers, especially those acquainted with the society; and being anonymous, I apprehended it to be the work of some prejudiced individual ; who was ashamed to own his name, or permit the printer to add his ; from a consciousness of the fallacy and injustice of his own remarks. But, since an enlarged edition of the same work has appeared, with the pame of the author, who, in the title page, styles him. self “ the Rev. Billy Hibbard ;” and who, in pages 8 and 4, calls himself an “ ordained elder in the church of God," and a minister in connexion with the Methodists ; I was ready to say, is it possible, that such a work as this can be the producti on of a gospel Minister ? Or do the Methodists suffer their members to publish such extravagant misrepresentations ?
In order to be satisfied in this respect, I had recourse to their discipline, where I find, in page 24, this direction:"A Methodist preacher is to mind eve'. ry point, great andsmall, in the Methodist discipline : 2 and in page 210, it says, “ No travelling preacher is permitted to publish any book or pamphlet, without the approbation of the annual conference to which he. belongs ; or of a committee chosen by them."* I would not be understood as implicating the whole society of Methodists ; for, I have no doubt, that many of that people disapprove both the matter and manner of this singular performance : and however unworthy of attention the work in itself may remain to be, yet as the author of it is one of their trav. elling preachers, (as appears by his having the charge of a circuit, page 4) it may therefore be reasonably inferred, that not only the present enlarged edition but also the former, must have been approved by this annual conference, or a committee chosen by them. I am now obliged, though reluctantly, to consider it an attack upon the society, of which I am a member, sanctioned by said conference, as above stated.
I, therefore, believe it due to the public, and an act of justice towards our society, to endeavour, by exhibiting a statement of our principles and practice, to refute charges, which appear evidently designed to misrepresent and calumniate us.
• This conference is composed of “ all the travelling preachers who are in full connexion, and those who are to be received into full connexion;" including the New-York, Pittsfield, Albany, Cayuga, and Upper-Canada districts. See Methodists' discipline, pages 16 and 195.