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And here it may be observed, that the Qua. kers believe also, that in the same manner as the Spirit of God enlightened the different Gentile-nations previous to the time of the apostle, so it continues to enlighten those, who have been discovered since; for no nation has been found so ignorant, as not to make an acknowledgment of a superior Spirit, and to know the difference between good and evil. Hence it may be considered as illuminating those nations where the Scriptures have never reached, at the present day.
With respect to the last case, which includes those, who have heard with their outward ears the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Quakers believe, that the Spirit of God has continued its office of a spiritual instructor, as well to these as to any of the persons who have been described. For the Gospel is no where said to supersede, any more than the Law of Moses did, the assistance of this Spirit. On the other hand, this Spirit was deemed necessary, and this by the apostles themselves, even after churches had been established, or men had gave them
become Christians. St. Paul declares*, that whatever spiritual gifts some of his followers might then have, and however these gifts might then differ from one another, the Spirit of God was given universally to man, and this to profit withal. He declares again, that f as many as were led by this Spirit, these and these only, possessed the knowledge that was requisite to enable them to become the sons of God. And in his letter to the Thessalonians, who had become a Christian church, he
many particular injunctions, among which one was, that they I would not quench or extinguish this Spirit
And in the same manner as this Spirit was deemed necessary in the days of the apostles, and this to every man individually, and even after he had become a Christian, so the members of this Society consider it to have been necessary since, and to continue 80, wherever Christianity is professed. For many persons may read the holy Scriptures, and hear them read in churches, and yet not feel the proper conviction for sin. Here * i Cor. xii. 4. † Rom. viii. 14. & 1 Thess. v. 19.
then the Quakers conceive the Spirit of God to be still necessary. It comes in with its inward monitions and reproofs, where the Scripture has been neglected or forgotten. It attempts to stay the arm of him, who is going to offend, and frequently averts the blow.
Neither is this Spirit unnecessary, even where men profess an attention to the literal precepts of the Gospel. For, in
For, in proportion as men are in the way of attending to the outward Scriptures, they are in the way being inwardly taught by God. But without this inward teaching, no outward teach- , ing can be effectual ; for though persons may read the Scriptures, yet they cannot spiritually understand them; and though they may admire the Christian religion, yet they cannot enjoy it, according to the opinion of the Quakers, but through the medium of the Spirit of God.
This Spirit, as it has been given universally, so it
has been given sufficiently—those, who resist this Spirit, are said to quench it; and may become so hardened in time, as to be insensible of its impressions—those, who attend to it, may be said to be in the way of redemption--Similur, sentiments of Monro--This visitation, treatment, and in. fluence of the Spirit usually explained by the
Quakers by the parable of the Sower. As the Spirit of God has been thus afforded to every man since the foundation of the world to profit withal, so the Quakers say that it has been given to him in a sufficient measure for this
purpose. By the word “sufficient” we are not to understand that this Divine Monitor callsupon men every day or hour, but that it is within
every man, and that it awakens him seasonably, and so often during the term of his natural life, as to exonerate God from the charge of condemning him unjustly, if he fails in his duty, and to leave himself without excuse. And in proportion as a greater or less measure of this Spirit has been afforded him, so he is more or less guilty in the sight of his Maker. If any
should resist these salutary operations of the Holy Spirit, they resist them to their own condemnation.
Of such it may be observed, that they are said to quench or grieve the Spirit, and not unfrequently to resist God, and to crucify Christ afresh; for God, and Christ, and the Spirit, are considered to be inseparably united in the Scriptures.
Of such also it may be observed, that if they continue to resist God's Holy Spirit, their feelings may become so callous or hardened in time, that they may never be able to perceive its notices again; and thus the day as it were of their visitation
be over: for “my people,” saith God, “would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave
up to their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own counsels *." To the same import was the saying of Jesus Christ, when he wept over
* Psalın Ixxxi. 11, 12.