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This doctrine is connected with the immortality
to the command of Christ. The apostles gave
THE society of Friends believe that the Mesa siah spoken of by the prophets, and expected by the Jews, did, in the fulness of time, appear; that Jesus Christ, the son of God, born of the virgin Mary, was and is this promised Messiah; the same concerning whom the four evangelists have given testimony, and who was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, under the sentence of Pontius Pilate; and that he rose again, agreeably to the Scriptures." That he died for, and in consequence of the sins of mankind; that in his death was an offering for the sins of the whole world; and that he is the only mediator between God and man. They also believe in
the necessity of obedience to his doctrines, as contained in the holy Scriptures; and that the holy Scriptures were written under the direction of the spirit of Christ, and can only be understood by those who live in obedience to
Man is a free agent, and the means of sale vation are universal.
Although we believe in the doctrine of free will, we by no means deny the decrees of the Almighty; but acknowledge that these are fixed and unalterable. As for instance, he has decreed that " the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor. ii. 14. That is, that no man can know the things of God but by the spirit of God. Our free will, therefore, we hold to be limited by capacity and by consequences; as in the case of Cain, who was assured, “ If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted; but if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Gen. iv. 7. Here it appears, he was free to act, but subject to consequences. Such a freedom as this, we
apprehend, is implied in the very nature of a command; because it is not rational to suppose a command should be given by infinite wisdom where there was not a capacity to obey. But the doctrines of the holy Scriptures are sufficiently clear that commands have been given. Adam was commanded not to eat of the “ tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Gen. ii. 17. Wheresoever, therefore, a command is given, there we may fairly infer power to obey. Friends believe that the light which shines in every mari, and which is offered to him during the day of his visitation, he may obey or disobey; and if this doctrine is well founded, the freedom of the will is thence established, I am aware that in this particular we disagree with those who hold the doctrine of unconditional election. But we cannot believe that if Jesus Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, which the holy Scriptures testify, or if he has in one instance offered salvation to a fallen race universally, that he ever afterwards retracted the ground-and yet he must have done so, if the predestinarian doctrine of unconditional decree be true. That he has offered salvation to all, the following Scriptures fully prove: “ For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have