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sufferings he might offer up himself a sacrifice to God for our sins; who, his own-self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, so we believe that the remission of sins which any partake of, is only in and by virtue of that most satisfactory sacrifice and no otherwise; for it is by the obedience of that one that the free gift is come upon all to justification."
We have thought it proper thus to revive our ancient and acknowledged doctrine, concerning the universality and efficacy of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit or the Light of Christ, which we believe is, in mercy, extended in a greater or less degree, to every man without distinction of nation or colour, during his day of visitation; because in reference to those who have not been favoured with the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, opinions are afloat, the tendency of which is to obscure our well known principle; representing the guide of such, in the things pertaining to salvation, to be a moral faculty, the light of nature, or a sense of the moral law, implanted in the constitution of man, &c., and denying that the declarations of the apostle where he says, "the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal," and, "The grace of God which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men," have any reference whatever to the circumstances of mankind at large, and that it is very doubtful whether the testimony of the evangelist respecting our Lord Jesus Christ, "that was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," has any such application-sentiments with which we have no unity, being repugnant to our Christian faith.
Another reason for setting forth afresh our belief
on this point is, that some modern writers, under the pretext of upholding the inward light, are promulgating a system which gives that appellation to a phantom of their own creating; and which they also designate as the light of universal reason, the voice of universal conscience, the instinct of Deity, and other similar terms; which they represent as a redeeming principle implanted in man's nature, capable of springing up and producing all that man can know of God, of duty and the soul; and that the soul of man is itself a living fountain of immortal truth. Such delusive notions are entirely at variance with our Christian faith, and appear to us no other than the refined speculations of a disguised deism, which virtually denies the truth of divine revelation, the divinity of Christ, and his various offices in the work of man's salvation.
Our religious Society has never professed or believed in any other principle or power in man, to redeem him from evil, than the Holy Spirit, the light of Christ or the grace of God, which shines in and appears unto all men, and was purchased for us by the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus Christ; and we consider it a gross abuse and perversion of our Christian character and profession, to connect them with the erroneous notions above alluded to.
Various are the specious forms, in which infidelity is disguised in the present day, in order to conceal its real character, and recommend it to the adoption of the inexperienced and unwatchful; and the nearer it counterfeits the truth, the greater is the danger to be apprehended from its approaches.
When once the mind is set afloat on the troubled
sea of creaturely imagination and vain speculation, no matter at what point in religion it may be aiming, it is liable to be tossed about by every wind that blows, and to be carried away by every plausible theory or argument, which may be started by men of greater cunning or more powerful intellect than its own; and having parted from its heavenly Pilot, it is in imminent danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.
We feel it to be a duty to warn and caution all our members against imbibing or adopting sentiments, which would tend, in any wise, to shake their confidence in the truths of the Christian religion as they are recorded in Holy Scripture; and to be careful not to put themselves in the way of hearing or reading any thing which would have such a tendency; it having been found by sorrowful experience, that some, who thought themselves fortified against a spirit of unbelief, have had their religious principles gradually undermined, by thus needlessly exposing themselves to temptation.
ON THE HOLY SCRIPTURES.
OUR religious Society has always believed that the Holy Scriptures were written by divine inspiration, and contain a declaration of all the fundamental doctrines and principles relating to eternal life and salvation; and that whatsoever doctrine or practice is contrary to them, is to be rejected as false and erroneous; that they are a declaration of the mind and will of God in and to the several ages in which they were written, and are obligatory on us, and are to be read, believed
and fulfilled through the assistance of divine grace. We esteem it an unspeakable favour that it has pleased the Lord to preserve them to us, and the more we come under the government of the same spirit which inspired the holy men who wrote them, the more truly shall we prize them, and delight to read and meditate upon the precious truths they contain.
It continues to be our unabated concern to encourage all our members to practice the frequent perusal of them, with their hearts turned to the Lord, that so he may be pleased to open their understandings to receive that spiritual benefit which he designs they should convey, whether it be in doctrine, correction, reproof, or instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. We also exhort parents and those who have the care of children, to educate them in the knowledge of the Scriptures, which plainly set forth the miraculous birth, holy life, wonderful works, meritorious death, resurrection, glorious ascension, mediation and intercession, of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour and Redeemer, and also the blessed gift of his light and grace, freely dispensed to every man to profit withal.
While we thus highly value those sacred records, and recommend them to the diligent attention of all, we also feel jealous for the honour of our Lord and Master, and for the glory of the gospel dispensation; and it is our desire, that in setting forth the benefits conferred upon us through the Scriptures, our members may be very careful not to be drawn into the adoption of sentiments, or the use of terms or phrases, common with many in our day, which ascribe to the Scriptures,
instead of the Spirit of Christ, the office of bringing the soul under a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, of enlightening and converting it, of unfolding all the duties it is required to perform, and bringing it to the saving knowledge of God and Christ.
We believe the Holy Scriptures to be the words of God, written by holy men as they were moved by the Holy Ghost; but to the Saviour of men, and not to the Bible, belong the titles of the Word of God, the Bread of Life, and the Light. It is He only, who can impart to the soul the sincere milk of the word, and the bread and water of life; who reveals himself and the divine law in the hearts of his humble and obedient children; and if we would partake of the benefits of gospel truth, and come to that knowledge of the Supreme Being and his beloved Son, which is saving, it is indispensably necessary that we draw near to Him, through the Spirit, who is the way, the truth and the life. So far from any advantage arising from setting the Holy Scriptures above their true place, and that which they claim for themselves, we believe that it is productive of serious injury, and may tend to withdraw the faith and attention of the visited soul from the inward appearance and teachings of Christ, the incorruptible Seed and Word of God, by whom alone we can be quickened, regenerated and made alive unto God.
In the progress of this great work, he is often pleased to make use of the sacred records as a means to instruct, encourage and comfort the awakened mind; which, however, is not to turn its attention to them as the guide, and the source of divine light and life, but to draw it unto himself, that it may have life, and ex