Page images

expectation of the continuance of Divine favour than a religious life.

In viewing the passages in question as of private import, which is the next view the Quakers take of them, the same lesson, and no other, is inculcated. The apostle, in the ninth chapter of the Romans, addresses himself to the Jews, who had been a chosen people, and rescues the character of God from the imputation of injustice, in having passed over them, and in having admitted the Gentiles to a participation of his favours.

The Jews had depended so much upon their privileges, as the children of Abraham, and so much upon their ceremonial observances of the law, that they conceived themselves to have a right to continue to be the peculiar people of God. The apostle, however, teaches them, in the ninth and the eleventh chapters of the Romans, a different lesson, and


be said to address them in the following manner :

" I am truly sorry, my kinsmen in the flesh, that

you, who have always considered yourselves the elder and chosen branches of the family of the world, should have been passed over ; and thit the Gentiles, whom


ing his

you have always looked upon as the younger, should be now preferred. But God is just. He will not sanction unrighteousness in any; nor will he allow any choice of his to continue persons in favour longer than, after much long suffering, he finds them deserv,

support. You are acquainted with your own history. The Almighty, as you know, undoubtedly distinguished the posterity of Abraham, but he was not partial to them alike. Did he not reject Ishmael the scoffer, though he was the eldest son of Abraham, and countenance Isaac, who was the younger ? Did he not pass over Esau, the eldest son of Isaac, who had sold his birthright, and prefer Jacob? Did he not set aside Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, the three eldest sons of Jacob, who were guilty of incest, treachery, and murder, and choose that the Messiah should come from Judah, who was but the fourth? But if in these instances he did not respect eldership, why do you expect that he will not pass you over for the Gentiles, if ye continue in unbelief?

“ But so true it is that he will not support any whom he

have chosen, longer

than * Rom. xi. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.


than they continue to deserve it, that he will not even continue his countenance to the Gentiles, though he has now preferred them, if by any misconduct they should become insensible of his favours. For I may compare both you and them to an olive-tree*. If some of

you, for instance, who are the elder or natural branches, should be broken off, and the Gentiles, being a wild olive-tree, should be grafted in among you, and with ỳou partake of the root and fatness of the olive-tree, it would not become them to boast against you the branches : for, if they boast, they do not bear the root, but the root them. Perhaps, however, they might say, that you

the branches were broken off, that they might be grafted in. Well; but it was wholly on account of unbelief that

you were broken off, and it was wholly by faith that they themselves were taken in. But it becomes them not to be high-minded, but to fear. For if God spared not you, the natural branches, let them take heed, lest he also spare not them.

Moreover, my kinsmen in the flesh, I must tell you, that you have not only no

You are

right to complain because the Gentiles have been preferred, but that you would have no right to complain, even if you were to become the objects of God's vengeance. You cannot forget, in the history of your own nation, the example of Pharaoh. acquainted with his obstinacy and disobedience. You know that he stifled his convictions from day to day. You know that by stilling these, or by resisting God's Holy Spirit, he became daily more hardened ; and that, by allowing himself to become daily more hardened, he fitted himself for a vessel of wrath, or prepared the way for his own destruction. You know, at length, that God's judgments, but not till after much long-suffering, came upon him, so that the power of God became thus manifested to

But if you know all these things, and continue in unrighteousness and unbelief, which were the crimes of Pharaoh also, why do you imagine that your hearts will not become hardened like the heart of Pharaoh; or that, if you are guilty of Pharaoh's crimes, you are not deserving of Pharaoh's punishment ?"

many. But if


[ocr errors][merged small]

Recapitulation of all the doctrines hitherto laid

down with respect to the influence of the Spiritoljection to this, that the Quakers make every thing of the Spirit, and but little of Jesus Christ -objection only noticed to show that Christians, have not always a right apprehension of scriptural terms, and therefore often quarrel with one another about trifles--or that there is, in this particular case, no difference between the doctrine of the Quakers and that of the oljectors on

this sulject. I SHALL now recapitulate in few words, or in one general proposition, all the doctrines which have been advanced relative to the power of the Spirit; and shall just notice an argument, which will probably arise on such a recapitulation, before I proceed to a new subject.

The Quakers, then, believe that the Spirit of God formed or created the world. They believe that it was given to men, after the formation of it, as a guide to them in their spiritual concerns. They believe that it was


« PreviousContinue »