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in which alone it assembles; its stated days, and stated hours, which are as accurately observed as if announced by the "sand glasses, or the bell" of the "hirelings." It professes "not to have budged one jot from the testimony of its ancients;" and it has told the world, after all the volumes of Fox, and of Penn,and of Barclay, were lying before it, that it holds to the creed, and to nearly all the doctrines of the church of England.* As the steady followers of Fox, the society makes plainness a distinguished article of their religion; yet such is the richness of their dresses, the splendour of their equipages, the luxury of their tables, and the delicacy and profusion of their wines,† that, if that same George Fox were to rise from the dead, and behold the mournful degeneracy of his disciples, he would come down in great wrath; he would resume his Herculean labours, and he would fight all his battles over again, in organizing a new sect out of degenerated Quakerism.
* Penn "Truth held by Quakers." A. D. 1699, p. 48.
† Plumpudding week-(all the world has heard of Plumpudding week) affords a fair specimen of this to their country prophets and members.
END OF PART 1.
OF THEIR DOCTRINAL TENETS, WORSHIP, MINISTRY, &e.
Quæ et a falsis initiis profecta, vera esse non possunt : et, si essent vera, nihil afferrent quo meliús viveremus." Cic. de Finibus, I.
OF THEIR GRAND RELIGIOUS TENET-IMMEDIATE REVELATIONS.*
“Ενθουσιασταὶ γαρ καλοῦνται, δαίμονός τινος ενεργείας εισδεχόμενοι· Και Πνούματος Αγίου παρουσίαν ταύτην ὑπολαμβάνοντες.”
§ 1. THIS is certainly the most important article in the creed of the society: it is the pillar and ground of their system. Penn and Barclay knew this, and they put forth their whole strength to establish it. But, as it appears on their pages, it is confused and obscure; and, unquestionably, it is the most vulnerable point of their whole theory. Without taking pains to investigate the sentiments of the church, and without laying down any clear definitions, and without even forming just conceptions of the point in debate, they rush into the middle of their subject, and are speedily enveloped in syllogism and mystification: and it is a doubtful matter whether human patience can ferret them out.
These writers seem not to have been aware that, in the confessions and articles of the churches, these doctrines have invariably been held essentials: that every true christian is taught of the Holy Spirit; that they receive of him every grace that adorns the christian's character; that he operates by means; that these means are the Holy Scriptures and the institutions of his house; that these means hold the same relation to the Holy Spirit, which secondary means and causes hold to Divine Providence ; that in regard to the radical change of the human heart, the gospel of Christ is the adequate and only means of setting before the mind the divine objects of faith: but, that however clearly we may perceive what doctrines are taught in the Scriptures, and by
* For a review of their "universal inward light,” see chap. vi. following, on the defects of their system in respect of a moral standard.