Page images
PDF
EPUB

secution towards him, know that, whatever thy pretensions may be to religion, thou art not a Christian.

Thou art not possessed of that charity or love, without which thou art but as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

Having therefore no religious prejudices* myself except in favour of Christianity, and holding no communion with the Quakers as a religious society, it cannot be likely that I should attempt to proselyte to Quakerism. I wish principally, as I stated in my introduction to this work, to make the Quakers better known to thcir countrymen than they are at present. In this I think I have already succeeded; for I trieve I have communicated many facts concerning them, which have never been related by others. But no people can be thoroughly known, or at least the character of a people cannot be thoroughly understood, except we are

Though I conceive a charitable allowance ought to be made for the diversity of religious opinions among Christians, Í by no means intend to say, that it is not our duty to value the system of opiniou which we think most consonant to the gospel, and to be wisely zcalous in its support.

acquainted acquainted with their religion. Much less can that of the Quakers, who differ so materially, both in their

appearance and practice, from the rest of their fellow-citizens.

Having thought it right to make these prefatory observations, I proceed to the prosecution of

my work.

CHAPCHAPTER I.

The Almighty created the universe by means of his

Spiritand also man--He gave man, besides his intellect, an emanation from his own Spirit, thus making him in his own imagebut this image he losta portion, however, of the same Spirit was continued to his posterilyThese possessed it in different degreesAbraham, Moses, and the prophets had more of it than some others-Jesus possessed it immeasurably, and without limit - Evangelists and apostles possessed it, but

in a limited manner and in different degrees. The Quakers believe, that, when the Almighty created the Universe, he effected it by means of the life, or vital or vivifying energy, that was in his own Spirit.

" And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

This life of the Spirit has been differently named, but is concisely styled by St. John the evangelist the Word; for he

says, the beginning was the Word, and the Word

66 In

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made.”

The Almighty also, by means of the same divine energy, or life of the Spirit, which had thus created the universe, became the cause of material life and of vital functions. He called forth all animated nature into existence. For he “made the living creature after his kind.”

He created Man also by the same power. He made his corporeal and organic nature. He furnished him also with intellect, or a mental understanding. By this latter gift he gave to Man, what he had not given to other animated nature,

the

reason, by which he had the superiority over it, and by means of which he was enabled to guide himself in his temporal concerns. Thus, when he made the natural man, he made him a rational agent also.

Buc he gave to Man at the same time, independently of this intellect or understanding, a spiritual faculty, or a portion of the life of his own Spirit, to reside in him. This gift occasioned Man to become more immediately, as is expressed, the image of the 7.

Almighty.

power of

Almighty. It set him above the animal and rational part of his nature. It made him know things not intelligible solely by his reason. It made him spiritually-minded. It enabled him to know his duty to God, and to hold a heavenly intercourse with his Maker.

Adam then, the first man, independently of his rational faculties, received from the Almighty into his own breast such an emanation from the life of his own Spirit, as was sufficient to have enabled him both to hold, and to have continued, a spiritual intercourse with his Maker, and to have preserved him in the state of innocence in which he had been created. As long as he lived in this divine light of the Spirit, he remained in the image of God, and was perfectly happy; but, not attending faithfully and perseveringly to this his spiritual monitor, he fell into the snares of Satan, or gave way to the temptations of sin. From this moment his condition became changed. For in the same manner as distemper occasions animal-life to droop, and to lose its powers, and finally to cease, so unrighteousness, or his rebellion against this divine

light

I 2

« PreviousContinue »