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profession of theirs, are influenced and directed by the Spirit of God?
Who now shall determine this question? The writer of this book will not consent to the arbitration of Mr. P. or any other Quaker, and he expects they will not leave the matter to be determined by him. He perhaps thinks that he has the Spirit which inspired the New Testament writers savingly influencing him, and that Barclay, when he wrote the apology, and his brethren, who have written in his defence, had not. He may speak this with sincerity, they with equal fincerity and modesty may affert, that they have the Spirit, and that he has not. His own thoughts and declarations he will naturally think as good as any of the Quakers, and Mr. P. or any one of his brethren will think their cogitations and affertions equally authentic and important, if not more so. To whom then shall the appeal he made, to decide the controversy? - To friends? Here the matter will be left in the same state of uncertainty, for the determination of the friends of one party, will be just as authentic, in itself considered, as the determination of the other. --Shall it be decided by the life and conversation ? Barclay's opponent may be as ready to submit it to this standard, if required, as Mr. P. or any of his brethren, and his character may appear in the world as good as theirs, and theirs. as good as his. — Should experience be proposed as the criterion, it would leave the matter still uncertain. For though Mr. Barclay expresses himself thus, " We can, from a certain experience, boldly affirm," and Mr. P. with a measure of self-inspiration that is unusual, calls those writers who diffent from him, “ inexperienced,” their opponent, with just as much modesty, propriety, and sincerity, may declare, on the contrary, that he can from a certain experience
boldly affirm,” (an expresion of Barclay's) that the spirit which breathes through their religious writings, is not the same which influenced the Apostles and first
Christians, Christians. Now the affertions of Quakers, upon this question, will appear to the unprejudiced reader, of equal importance and validity with his, and his with theirs, still therefore the question will remain undetermined. For nothing can be more evident, to the observer of the profeffing religious world, than this, that every fincere devout man, is fond of his own spirit, and experience, and, from felf-love, will naturally conclude, that they are not only upon the whole saving, but, in every respect much better than thofe, which influence the person who opposes him.
It would be abfurd then, in every view, as Mr. P. if he will be ingenuous, muft allow, for him, Mr. Barclay, or any other writer, to propose their religious sentiments to the examination of mankind in print, unless they will submit them to the test of Scripture and right reason. For if they have recourse to a higher standard than these, those who oppose them have a right to do the same. And should they take this method to decide the controversy, their arguments will consist of mere affertions, and all the impartial world will join in laughing at both parties, as a set of conceited dogmatists.
5. We cannot conclude this chapter without observing, that Mr. Barclay appears to us, to argue in a circle upon one of thegrand points of Quakerism. “Im“ mediate internal revelation,” according to his notion of it, “is,” he asserts in the second preposition, effenti" ally necessary to the true and faving knowledge of « God.” But how does he labour to prove this? Why, principally from the Scriptures, as any one may see, who will read his dissertation upon immediate revelation.
Whereas in his third propofition, and treatise upon it, he attempts to show us, that the “Scriptures are “ only a secondary rule;" and this is the sum of his reafening upon the point, that our being persuaded of their truth and certainty, entirely depends, not upon
the Spirit's convincing us, by any internal or external evidence of their divine authority, through some outward means of information, (which we do not deny), but upon his enlightening and convincing us, by "an 66 internal immediate revelation *". We cannot have mistaken him "here, we presume, because, whenever he speaks of being led, taught, or convinced, by the Spirit, he means, as will appear more fully afterwards, by its “ internal inmediate revelation," in his fense of
So then the Apologist has recourse to the Scriptures, to prove to us the necessity of “immediate inspi“ ration” for all persons, but when he will convince usof the truth and certainty of the Scriptures, he turns us back again to his peculiar notion of the revelation of “ the Spirit in every man.” Strange logicindeed! The primary self-evident rule is to be established, by appealing to the secondary inadequate rule, and this again to be proved by the primary. But was any proposition ever proved by one that is less certain? And more especially, by that very propofition, the fole proof of which rests upon the proposition in debate? Let common sense determine.
If the reader will recollect what has been advanced in this chapter, it is presumed he will be convinced, ---That Mr. Barclay's concessions about the Scriptures are attended with some artful and futile reserves - That it is
very obvious, the Quakers use the distinctions of a primary and secondary, adequate and inadequate rule, with no manner of propriety and justice, unless they can point out the real nature of the Spirit to us by feeling or speculation, which they are unable to do-That Mr. P.'s remarks, upon his opponents appeal to the Scriptures and right reason, are imperti
*“ For as by the inward testimony of the Spirit we do alone “ truly know them; so they testify the Spirit is that guide, by “ which the faints are led into all truth." Apol. Prop. IIT.
nent, as Messrs. Barclay and Beasley had made this appeal before him, and that his attempts to diminish the importance of either, neither helps his cause, nor advances his reputation ; since there is as much, if not more absurdity and diffention, among those who pretend to be governed by the motion of the Spirit within them, as there is amongst them who make the connected sense of a written revelation and right reason, the standard of their judgment and practice---That the writer of this treatise and his friends, if the Quakers will reject the above-mentioned standard, have as much a right to appeal to the teachings of the Spirit within them, as they can have ---And that their great champion Barclay, with all his artifice, most absurdly argues in a circle, upon one of the grand points of Quakerisin.
CH A P. III.
1. George Fox's divine call or mission examined by his own
pretensions in his journal. 2. Barclay's also considered. 3. The measure of the Spirit, allowing, for argument's Jake, their call to be genuine, they may be supposed to have tolleled ;---the impropriety of Barclay's adopting the reply of the protestants to the papists ;---and Mr. Phipps's attempt to defend it---freely and fairly discussed. 4. Some remarks upon Mr. B--ff--y's notion concerning the prophecies of these latter ages, and Mr. Phipps's catalogue of prophets and their predictions.
EORGE FOX's supposed divine mission ex
amined, as it is related in his own journal. It is allowed by all, that this man was the first founder of Quakerism. He, and his most distinguished cotemporaries, are esteemed by the people of this feet, the great reformers of mankind. Their doĉtrines, discipline, sufferings, and dying sayings, being very highly revered, compose that system of faith, experience, and practice, which they honour with the name of “our ancient Christian testimony:" A ferious and constant attention to which, is ordinarily pressed upon the youth of both sexes among them. Fox, at his death, left a number of
behind him ; from whence one T. Ellwood, in the name of the deceased, composed a journal: This, as well as another of Ellwood's own life, is held in great repute among those the Quakers call “ plain Friends.”
Mr. W. Penn, who wrote the preface to this journal of George Fox, honours him with as great and magnificent titles, as were ever given to the greatest of God's inspired fervants. He calls him, not only “ the firit blessed and glorious inftrument in this “ work,” but, Preface, p. 41. “ the most high God's “ faithful servant and Apostle to this generation of the 65 world *.” His original call to this apostleship is also set forth by Mr. Penn, in terms nearly as grand and sublime, as any of those recorded in facred writ, concerning the call of Moses or Paul; which the reader may fee in his preface, P. 44.
Thomas Ellwood likewise, in the journal of his own life, P. 253, calls George Fox “ That eminent “ servant and Prophet of God.” Moreover he says of him, in his account prefixed to Fox's journal, “ This Holy Man was raised up by God, in an ex“ traordinary manner, for an extraordinary work,
even to awaken the sleeping world, by proclaiming “ the mighty day of the Lord to the nations, and
publishing again the everlasting Gospel to the in“ habitants of the earth, after the long and dismal
night of apostacy and darkness.”
Margaret Fox, his widow, and divers others, give much the same testimony concerning him.
* The edition of Fox's journal used in this treatise, is that pub. lished 1709, 2 vols. 8vo.