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single eye) a greater abasement of self and a stronger necessity of looking unto Christ than I did before. Still, until the outward step is taken I cannot speak out, nor hardly carry out my views ; things do not comfort or harmonise, and what if the very strength of my conviction produces this—a certain self-condemnation, yet balanced (and more than balanced) in its practical relations by my duty to my parents ? This feeling is strong within me, and to the goodness of God I owe it, that it has not raised any turbulent doubts within me, but all through I have seen it as a conflict between two right principles, though I cannot deny that it disturbs the current and expression of my thoughts.
O gracious Father! Thou whose mercies are as broad as the blue canopy of heaven, deliver me from self; give me an ever increasing sense of my sonship to Thee, my brotherhood first to the Son of Thy love, and next, to those whom He has redeemed by His precious blood. Make me to know the self-sought pit from whence Thy love has digged me.
Let me never forget my garments dripping with the waters of distinction, on which I thought to swim in my own strength, but from which Thou, whilst I was an enemy, delivered me.
4th month, 16th, 1837.—This day I propose to partake of the rite of holy baptism. I can thank God for the faith which is at the bottom of my soul that this is a right step; I thank Him for having taught me in some degree the meaning of His sacrament, the mode in which it increases faith and holiness, and supplies a corrective to nearly every heresy. Yet it is my decided conviction that this and the other Christian sacrament, according to the simplest view which the mind of man can receive concerning them in connection with the Gospel history, do imply a confutation of every religious error.
When carnal notions spring up in my mind, I am oppressed with a sense of loneliness—yet I see this is carnal, very carnal. For I join God, and Christ, and the angels of heaven, I join thousands of saints on earth who are all conscious of the relationship, and I join the intentions of very many scattered up and down in the sects, who see not how much better they are than the systems they are annexed to.
4th month, 16th, 1837. MY DEAREST REBECCA,—This is an awful period of my existence, and to attempt to convey to thee a notion of my present sense of it would be utterly fruitless, although the effort to express myself to one I love so much is an immense relief. In a few hours I shall have joined the Church of England, the Church which I have been taught from my infancy by those whom I venerate and love to look upon as idolatrous and corrupt beyond hope of amendment. I am, of course, in holding my resolution, giving proof that I have now no part in their views; they are a lie, and however good may be the men who hold them, they come from the devil, and are a most potent snare of his to beguile the unwary. My mind is made up, and (I thank God) on no uncertain grounds. The vision I see (whether others see it or not) I see with my eyes open—as open as were those of the Midianite prophet when he saw the star that should arise to rule over God's people.
But when I think of leaving the Society in which
THE CHURCH AND THE SACRAMENTS.
I have grown up, and nearly all the members of my dear family, is it rebellion against the Father of mercies to feel at times as if it were hard to be constrained to go contrary to that very authority on earth, which alone renders intelligible God's authority in the Church ; to cut myself off, in a sense, from my father's house in doing what I can to assert that men are one family in Christ? But God knows all things; He knows what chastening I have need of, and what our dear father needs. He will make all things work together for our good because we love Him.
Is there not a something fearful in the first act which is deliberately and intentionally done, in contradiction to the authority of a parent? A something fearful, which none of the relations of that act can take away, however they may overbalance it?
It is but quite lately that I have seen the real connection between the existence of the Church and the Sacraments, although I have long been convinced of the sacred origin and Scriptural authority of the latter. I do now (as I think) see, that schism does
I in fact despoil them of their meaning, and that Friends have a great advantage over all, except the Church, in the controversy, because Dissenters can only keep them up as acts of obedience to the letter of Scripture, which is just placing them on a par with the sacrifices and purifications of the old dispensation. I do not mean that a rightly concerned mind ought not to deem obeying a very express and simple command, as required, though he may think it at variance with certain principles that he supposes ought to be universal. In such a case he ought rather to distrust his judgment than the plain word of inspiration; but still it is a dismal dilemma, and he will not know how to meet the man who asserts the principle in opposition to the letter, without admitting that conscience, that something which he feels and cannot help feeling is right, is at variance with Scripture. The matter stands thus-Christ and His apostles have declared that we are come to a dispensation of fulness of knowledge, that one great sacrifice has brought to nought the dispensation of symbolic sacrifices, that we now have the substance in place of the shadows. This recommends itself to our conscience and judgment, but yet Christ has commanded that we should be baptised and eat of the holy communion, both which acts we must see to be outwardly, not essentially, different from the rites of Judaism.
Meditate well on this text, “but the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never make the comers thereunto perfect.' Now what is this shadow (or sketch), and what is this very image ? Let a Friend interpret it if he can. Is not the first most clearly a Levitical sacrifice, the latter a Christian sacrament? It is of no use to evade, it is an image that is spoken of; it is not inward faith, or outward history, but it is an image, the very image which may be seen, and tasted, and felt, and understood, and by being understood will make the comers thereunto perfect.
If this is just, a great portion of the Epistle to the Hebrews is taken up in distinguishing between a Christian sacrament and a Jewish rite, and great indeed would be my condemnation if I did not raise my feeble voice to deny the miserable confounding of the two which I see to be around me.
CHRIST FULFILLED THE LAW.
It is hardly necessary that I should repeat to thee the historical grounds of this distinction, which are perhaps the least answerable, though to my own mind not the most important. The Jew had ideas of an incarnation, of an atoning sacrifice of one who was to be the head of God's Church. He had a law which in every one of its enactments prophetically recognised these truths. He knew that his sacrifice was a figure of a greater sacrifice, that his washings were emblematic of what was to be effected for the spirits of men. But look at his expectations of what Christ was to be, and to do, as described in the Gospel history, and see what absurd notions had possession of their minds; nay, it is plain that this very ignorance, this very misunderstanding of their own religion, was essentially interwoven with God's purposes. For how otherwise would the Lord of Glory have been crucified. They indeed lived amongst shadows, and they were the uncertain shadows of the early morning, for the Sun of Righteousness had not yet risen. Still had it not been for those shadows, they would never have known that a Sun of Righteousness was to arise. This they did know, and forced upon their carnal minds as it was by miracles and deliverances from worldly evil, they paid an obedience to the literal law, but it was an obedience against which they were ever ready to murmur and rebel.
But Christ came and fulfilled the law of the prophets. He left His disciples doctrines, and He left them a history, both clear and full. The rites He enjoined combined the two; they were memorials of facts, and expounders and witnesses of doctrines which the wit of man could never entirely pervert. Preachers may