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ration of these, are wholly inadmissible. “ Moreover,” says Barclay, “because the Scriptures are commonly acknowledged by all to have been written by the dictates of the Holy Spirit, and that the errors, which may be supposed by the injury of time to have slipt in, are not such but that there is a sufficiently clear testimony left to all the essentials of the Christian faith, we do look upon them as the only fit outward judge of controversies among Christians, and that whatsoever doctrine is contrary to their testimony may therefore justly be rejected as false.”
The Quakers believe also, that as God gave a portion of his Spirit to man to assist him inwardly, so he gave the Holy Scriptures to assist him outwardly, in his spiritual concerns. Hence the latter, coming by inspiration, are the most precious of all the books that ever were written, and the best dutward guide: and hence the things contained in them ought to be read, and, as far as possible, fulfilled.
They believe, with the apostle Paul, that the Scriptures are highly useful; so that through patience and comfort of them
they they may have hope ; and also that they are profitable for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness :" that in the same manner as land, highly prepared and dressed by the husbandman, becomes fit for the reception and for the promotion of the growth of the seed that is to be placed in it, so the Scriptures turn the attention of man towards God, and by means of the exhortations, reproofs, promises, and threatenings, contained in them, prepare the mind for the reception and growth of the seed of the Holy Spirit.
They believe, again, that the same Scriptures show more of the particulars of God's will with respect to man, and of the scheme of the Gospel-dispensation, than any ordinary portion of his Spirit, as usually given to man, would have enabled him to discover. They discover that the “*
of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ;" that “ † Jesus Christ was set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" * Rom. vi. 23. + Rom. iii. 25.
that* “ he casted death for every man;" that he was “ + delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification ;" that
I he is set down at the right-hand of the throne of God;" “ Sand ever liveth to make intercession for us ;” and that he is the substance of all the types and figures under the Levitical priesthood ||, being the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
They believe, again, that in consequence of these various revelations, as contained in the Scriptures, they have inestimable advantages over the Heathen nations, or over those, where the Gospel-sun has never yet shone; and that as their advantages are greater, so more will be required of them, or their condemnation will be greater, if they fail to attend to those things, which are clearly revealed.
They maintain, again, that their discipline is founded on the rules of the Gospel; and that in consequence of giving an interpretation different from that of many others to some of the expressions of Jesus Christ, by which they conceive they make his kingdom more pure and heavenly, they undergo persecution from the world; so that they confirm their attachment to the Scriptures by the best of all credible testimonies—the seal of their own sufferings.
ll Rom. x.4.
* Heb. ii. 9.
1 Heb. xii. 2.
This Spirit of God which has been thus given to
men as an infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally—to the patriarchs and Israelites from the creation to the time of Moses-to the Israelites or Jews from Moses to Jesus Christ to the Gentiles world from all antiquity to modern times to all those who have ever heard the Gospel and it continues its office to the latter cuen at the present day. The
He Quakers are of opinion, that the Spirit of God, of which a portion has been given to men as a primary and infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally, or has been given to all of the human race, without any exception, for the same purpose.
This proposition of the Society I shall divide, in order that the reader may see it more clearly, into four cases. The first of these will comprehend the patriarchs and the Israelites from the creation to the time of Moses. The second, the Israelites or Jews