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mons, but also as regards the sentiments contained in the remarks upon them. We know that igno
rance is the parent of presumption, and that it is maintained by an unwillingness to search for truth; whilst right investigation leads to the establishment of truth, and renders it dearer to those who love it. The truths of the Gospel invite the most careful investigation—the most diligent search; but bigotry and mysticism have ever been ready to suppress inquiry, because, by investigation, their dominion is overthrown.
In reviewing such subtle delusions, we cannot enough adore the wisdom and goodness of God, in addressing to our understanding a written revelation of his will, which we are bound to receive as the gracious message of God to us, to teach us the mind of the Spirit, as our sole appeal and ultimate rule of faith and duty, and as a guide to the Christian Church to the end of time.
Nor can we ever be sufficiently thankful to God, that by his HOLY SPIRIT he applies these sacred
truths to the enlightening of our understandings, and to the sanctification of our hearts.
How important, then, is it, that we do not reject this gracious revelation, by presuming that we can obtain the knowledge of the will of God, in any way different from that which His infinite wisdom has appointed.
YEARLY MEETING OF FRIENDS,
Respecting the proceedings of those who have lately
AT a YEARLY MEETING of FRIENDS held in PHILADELPHIA, by adjournments from the 21st to the 28th, inclusive, of the Fourth Month, 1828.
IN taking a view of the situation of our Religious Society, and of the various exercises and close trials, which those who love our Lord Jesus Christ have had to pass through, we believe it important to preserve a faithful narrative of the schism which has taken place among some under our name, and to trace the subtle workings of that spirit of unbelief and insubordination which has been the primary cause of it,-a spirit which has been privily brought in among us, under the SPECIOUS APPEARANCE OF A REFINED SPIRITUALITY, but which has blinded the understandings of many, and led them, step by step, into an open denial of the
*Philadelphia, printed 1828,-Reprinted, Bristol, 1831.
fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion, as they are laid down by our blessed Redeemer and his apostles, in the Holy Scriptures. p. 3.
Having endeavoured to give a faithful narrative of some of the prominent events which have marked the course of the present schism,-it remains to exhibit these doctrines from works acknowledged by the Separatists, and which they have widely circulated for the purpose of disseminating their views. p. 15.
We shall not attempt to trace their unsoundness through all its ramifications, but we shall adduce evidence from their own works, which we believe must conclusively prove, that they deny the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he is the Redeemer and Saviour of men, our Propitiation and Mediator with the Father, and also that they undervalue the Holy Scriptures. The selections are chiefly taken from the discourses of Elias Hicks. Most of their ministers inculcate the same opinions, but we have confined ourselves to a few of those discourses which are before the public in print. Extracts are also made from the Berean, a periodical publication which the Separatists have circulated for several years, as a standard work on the faith of the Society, but which we believe has had a very pernicious effect in leading astray many sincere-hearted people, who were not aware of the poison that is insidiously conveyed through its pages. p. 16.
Under the plausible pretext of EXALTING THE “LIGHT WITHIN," as THE PRIMARY RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE, he [Elias Hicks] endeavoured to lessen the authority of the Holy Scriptures; and, when he had greatly impaired the sentiments of reverence justly due to their divine testimony, he proceeded to speak
of our blessed Saviour, as being merely an example or pattern to us, and denied that his death was an offering for the sins of mankind, except for the legal sins of the Jews. p. 6.
We shall proceed with the extracts, commencing with their opinions respecting the Holy Scriptures.
Elias Hicks says, "If the Scriptures were absolutely necessary, he had power to communicate them to all the nations of the earth, for he has his way as a path in the clouds: he knows how to deal out to all his rational children. But they were not necessary, and perhaps not suited to any other people, than they to whom they were written." Philadelphia Sermons,
"One would suppose that to a rational mind, the hearing and reading of the instructive parables of Jesus, would have a tendency to reform and turn men about to truth and lead them on in it. But they have no such effect." Ibid. p. 129.
"They have been so bound up in the letter, that they think they must attend to it, to the exclusion of every thing else. Here is an abominable idol worship, of a thing without any life at all, a dead monument.” Ibid. p. 139.
"The great and only thing needful then is, to turn inward, and turn our back upon the letter, for it is all shadow." Ibid. p. 225.
"Now the book we read in says, 'Search the scriptures,' but this is incorrect, we must all see it is incorrect; because we have all reason to believe they read the scriptures, and hence they accused Jesus of being an impostor." Ibid. p. 314.