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Quakers' Yearly Epistle, 1823.
405 impressive illustrations of those im- the. mere assent of the judgment to portant practical principles which she the truths of Holy Scripture, however had derived from an enlightened phi- desirable such an assent may be, that losophy and from a careful examina- is sufficient to make us real Christians. tion of Scripture.
It is only by the sanctifying operation WILLIAM TURNER, Jun. of the Holy Spirit that we come fully
to partake of the benefits of the media The Epistle from the Yearly Meeting, Son of God.
ation and propitiatory sacrifice of the held in London, by Adjournments, from the 21st of the Fifth Month, all whom we are addressing may be
It is our earnest solicitude, that to the 29th of the same, inclusive, enough concerned for the salvation of 1823, to the Quarterly and Monthly their souls. Dear friends, we believe Meetings of Friends, in Great Bri- that for the advancement of this most tain, Ireland and elsewhere,
necessary work, it is good for us freDEAR FRIENDS,
quently to seek after retireinent in TE
in ful in the belief that the Lord reverent silence for the secret intimais not unmindful of us; and we reve- tions of his will. If this be not inmerently trust that this meeting has not diately manifested, let not any be disbeen held in vain. We may inforin couraged, but let them persevere in you that the current of Christian love faith. Then we believe that in the has renewedly flowed amongst us; Lord's time that evidence of his care and it has extended to all our absent will be granted, which will prove confriends. · Under this precious influ- soling to the mind. On such occaence, we offer you our endeared salu- sions the precepts of holy writ will tation, desiring your advancement in at times be brought instructively to the way which leadeth unto eternal our remembrance. With these invalife; and that you may ever bear in luable writings, it becomes every one remembrance that other foundation who bears the name of a Christian, can no man lay, than that is laid, to endeavour to be well acquainted. which is Jesus Christ.”
In order to acquire this knowledge, Beloved friends, we have no new we wish that all our members may doctrine to communicate; no fresh observe the good practice of a daily precepts to enforce: it is a peculiar serious reading of the Scriptures in excellence of the gospel that its cha- their families, when collected ; and racter is always the same. To those also that they frequently read them in who desire to have their hearts cleansed private in a pious disposition of mind, from the defilements of sin,-yea, to even though it be but a small portion all—the grace of our Lord Jesus at a time. Christ continues to be freely offered. In the Sacred Writings, no duty is The cross must be daily borne by all more clearly set forth than that of who would become his disciples. If prayer. Prayer is the aspiration of we would attain unto that holiness the heart unto God: it is one of the without which no man can see the first engagements of the awakened Lord, we must apply in faith unto soul, and we believe that it becomes Him who “taketh away the sin of the clothing of the minds of those the world;" who was “ wounded for whose lives are regulated by the fear our transgressions,” who was “bruised and love of their Creator. If in mofor our iniquities,” and by whose ments of serious reflection, and when “stripes we are healed;" who, being communing with our own hearts, we in glory with the Father “ before the are sufficiently alive to our helpless world was," condescended in order to condition, we shall often feel that we effect our redemption, to come down may pour forth our secret supplicafrom heaven, and take upon him the tions unto the Lord. And as we benature of man. In contemplating the lieve that it is one of the greatest infinite importance of these solemn privileges a Christian can enjoy, thus truths, and in publicly acknowledging to draw nigh in spirit unto the Father our belief in the divinity of our blessed of mercies, we earnestly desire that no Saviour, we desire most clearly to one may deprive himself of so great a convey the sentiinent that it is not blessing. But let all on such occa
sions remember the awful majesty of and on other days of the week, has Him who filleth heaven and earth, and been repeatedly expressed, nor have their own unworthiness in His pure we at this time been unmindful of and holy sight. If these consider this primary obligation. We earnestly ations ought to possess the mind in entreat every one, when thus met, to our secret aspirations unto the Al- consider the worship of the Almighty mighty, how incumbent is it upon as a solemn act. . Under this impresthose who publicly approach the sion, his demeanour will bespeak a throne of grace, to cherish them in serious thoughtfulness; and let all their hearts, and to move only under remember, that at such times an indothe influence of that spirit which en lent state of mind is offensive in the ables us to pray aright!
sight of Him whom we are met to Whilst be who would be a real and serve. But the duties of the day to not a nominal Christian, is duly im- which we have adverted, are not conpressed with the necessity of striving fined to the time allotted to 'assemto become meek and humble disci. bling with our brethren. Our spiritual ple of Jesus,—whilst he bears in mind growth may be advanced by habits of that he is constantly liable to fall, and quietness and retirement, and by suitthat he must therefore be waiting for able reading, in the course of the day. the renewal of his spiritual strength, On the other hand, great care is neces. and at all times be placing his de- sary that we do not by unprofitable pedence upon Divine aid, -there is visiting or conversation, by travelling safety. But we fear, with respect to on our outward avocations, or by some who have run well for a time, otherwise engaging in them, dissipate that either through the friendship of those good impressions with which we men or outward prosperity, or through may have been mercifully favoured. unwatchfulness, they have gradually The accounts of the sufferings of fallen away from that to which they our members in Great Britain and had once attained; and that others, Ireland, in support of our well-known from similar causes, are not advancing testimony against tithes and all other to that state of purity and simplicity ecclesiastical claims, including the costs in which they would become useful and charges of distraint, and a few members of the church of Christ. demands for military purposes, have Dear friends, permit us in Christian been brought up in usual course. The love, to remind you of the ever im- amount is upwards of thirteen thouportant injunction of our Lord sand two hundred pounds. “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not We rejoice with gratitude that this into temptation; the spirit indeed is country has continued to be favoured willing, but the flesh is weak.”. Jf with the blessing of peace, whilst we you endeavour to prove by your actions lament that other nations, at no great the sincerity of your profession, if in distance froin us, have been involved your intercourse with others you shew in contention and bloodshed. We that you have an honest and upright desire that we may all so live under heart, if your lives are ordered in the the influence of that Spirit which fear of the Lord; you may, by your breathes peace on earth and good will daily walk through life, commend and towards men, that, whenever occasions adorn your own religious principles. occur, we may be prepared, by our But, if there be a want of consistency conversation and conduct, in meekof conduct, it may lead those around ness and wisdom to shew forth our you lightly to esteem those very prin- precious testimony to the peaceable ciples which their judgment has at nature of the gospel dispensation. one time approved; nay, it may cause Our friends in Ireland, and those of the way of truth to be evil spoken of. all the Yearly Meetings on the conti
There are many ways by which our nent of America, have at this time attachment to religion and virtue may been brought to our remembrance, be made manifest to others. One of with the feeling of much brotherly these is the due observance of that day love, by the continuance of our usual which is publicly set apart for the exchange of epistles. This meeting performance of divine worship. Our has again felt deeply interested on care for the due attendance of our behalf of the natives of Africa, who religious meetings, both on first-days continue to be torn from their homes,
On Mr. Belsham's Scheme of interpreting Paul's Epistles.
407 and consigned to cruel bondage, as from the author. The grounds which well as for those who are held in he has adopted in imitation of Locke slavery in the colonies of this country. and Taylor, to explain the Epistles of And we desire that friends, every Paul, are stated by him, and illuswhere, may not fail to remember all trated with his usual vigour and clearwho are thus deprived of their liberty, ness; but he is silent as to the most with feelings of sorrow, and to pity effectual way of explaining, as appears them in their degraded condition ; and to me, whatever is' obscure or ambialso that they would embrace every guous in these divine writings. The favourable opportunity that may pre- Epistles of Paul are letters addressed sent itself for pleading the cause of to the several churches, and rendered these our oppressed fellow-men. necessary by the circumstances pecu
“ Now unto him that is able to liar to those churches; and the only keep you from falling, and to present rational way to ascertain their meanyou faultless before the presence of ing, in all obscure or doubtful places, his glory with exceeding joy, to the is to know the local events which only wise God our Saviour, be glory called them forth. The writings of · and majesty, dominion and power, Paul, according to Mr. Belsham, are both now and ever. Amen."
theoretical, dictated in the ease and Signed in and on behalf of the meet- calmness of speculation, and to be ing, by
interpreted, like the ethics of AristoJOSIAH FORSTER, tle, with the latitude of abstract and Clerk to the meeting this year. general truths. The Apostle wrote, as
he has written, because he was a Jew,
with ideas modified more by Jewislı On Mr. Belsham's Scheme of inter- modes of thinking and speaking, than
preting Paul's Epistles. by the changes which took place in
R. BELSHAM's Exposition of his views as an Apostle of Christ, and which I frequently take in my hands converted to the faith. This scheme with great pleasure; nor can any critic, of interpretation, though supported however profound, help being gratified by the high names of Locke, Taylor with the solid and useful matter, the and Belsham, is undoubtedly erronegood sense and luminous arrangement ous, as standing in direct opposition • which characterise that elaborate and to the evidence of facts. The Great most useful production. As to my- Apostle of the Gentiles was not a self, actuated as I am by a conviction recluse; he led a life of incessant toil of the author's superior talents, inde- and activity, not of speculation. Matfatigable industry and undaunted cou ters of actual occurrence and vital rage in discussing and defending what. importance pressed on his heart, occuever he thinks to be the meaning of pied all his thoughts, and put not only the sacred writers; actuated as I am his mind, but his person and limbs, in by the remembrance of the benefits, constant requisition. As a Jew, inwhich, in common with his other deed, he could not be free from Jewish pupils, I have derived from his Moral, ideas: as a Hellenistic writer, born and Metaphysical and Theological Lec- educated a Hebrew, he could not but tures at Hackney, and by the hope think in Hebrew first what he next that his labours will prove highly bene- expressed in Greek. But this could ficial to the Christian world, I feel affect only the idiom of his style, his thankful to the great Disposer of all figures of speech, his methods of illusevents, that his life has been spared to tration, and not the facts which are finish it: and the friends of genuine the groundwork of his epistles. These Christianity must join with me in the facts could be brought home to the wish that Christians of every denomi- bosom of the persons addressed, only nation might become liberal and en- by being selected as falling within the lightened enough to profit by it. But range of their knowledge and experinotwithstanding the useful and impor- ence. The respective churches felt tant matter which abounds in it, and their force and propriety for no other in the justice of which every reader of reason than that they turned upon sense must acquiesce, there are many opinions and events peculiar to themthings in which I cannot but differ selves. I shall illustrate these general
observations by examples taken from ceeded the truth in placing his counthe Epistle to the Romans. “Behold, trymen, the disciples of Moses and thou callest thyself a Jew, and reposest the prophets, the worshipers of the in the law, and gloriest in God, and true God, in an invidious and false knowest his will, and approvest things light before those Gentile converts, that are more excellent, as instructed whose prejudice against the Jews he in the law, and confidently pretendest sought to remove, and whose respect to be a guide of the blind, a light to for the Jewish nation, and to the orathem that are in darkness, an instruc- cles of God delivered to them, he entor of the simple, a teacher of babes, deavoured to conciliate. No, no, the having the form of true knowledge in Apostle never pursued a course so the law. Thou then that teachest unwise, so erroneous, so devoid of another, neglectest thou to teach thy- candour and feeling as this supposes. self? Thou who preachest that a man Now, if we relinquish this plan and should not steal, dost thou steal? adopt another, which is recommended Thou who forbiddest to commit adul- by common sense, namely, if we suptery, dost thou commit adultery? pose the Epistles of Paul to be letters, Thou who abhorrest idols, dost thou and letters, like all other letters, turnprofanely rob the temple? Thou who ing on circumstances peculiar to the gloriest in the law, dost thou by the person or persons to whom they are transgression of this law, dishonour addressed, we shall have but one way, God? For the name of God is blas- and that way an obvious and effectual phemed among the Gentiles through one, to come at their meaning, namely, you.” Chap. ii. 17--24.
the development of those circumNow, according to the plan sug- stances through the inedium of ecclegested by Locke, illustrated by Taylor, siastical history or other collateral and adopted by Mr. Belsham, this is writings in the succeeding ages of the an extreme case feigned by the Apos- church. If we here could receive no tle to represent, under one character, light from history, it would be no the general state of the Jewish nation, unwarrantable stretch of fancy to supand would be as proper, in a letter pose that there existed in the Church addressed to the Church at Corinth, at Rome a Jew, guilty of the crimes to an assembly at Athens, or a syna- which the Apostle lays to his charge; gogue in Jerusalem, as in the Epistle and that it is this very individual to the Romans. The words which whose pretensions and hypocrisy the Mr. Belsham subjoins to the passage Apostle exposes in the above pasare these: “ The Apostle having suffi- sage. ciently prepared the mind of his Jew But happily in this case there is ish readers by arguing upon general no need of mere supposition: for we principles, equally applicable to Jews have the fact stated on the authority and Gentiles, now brings his conclu- of the Jewish historian. From Josesion home to the Jew exclusively, and phus and others we infer that a learndirectly charges him with being equal- ed, but abandoned Jew, one of the ly, and even more guilty than the framers and teachers of the Gnostic untaught and despised' Heathen.” system, went and introduced that sysWhat! is it possible that the Apostle tem into the Christian Church just Paul, the most cautious, the most established at Rome. His colleagues correct and just of men, in his ideas were the Samaritan impostor, the and language, should thus exhibit, priests of Isis and Anubis, and, in collectively exhibit, his own nation as general, the magicians and astrologers guilty of theft, adultery, and even of in the Court of Tiberius. The object sacrilege, as transgressing the law and of these wicked men was to deprive blaspheming the name of God aniong Christianity of its purifying influence the Gentiles ? Dishonourable and by sinking it in Heathenism. Their apostate incividuals among the chil- first step towards this was to represent dren of Abraham, in Heathen coun the founder as one of the Pagan gods, tries, might answer to this descrip- a man only in appearance, and born tion; but was this the general cha- unlike other men : and availing themracter of the nation? The Apostle selves of the influence which their prewould not have said this if it had been tended skill in magic and astrology true, much less would he have ex- gave them over the inind of Tiberius,
On Mr. Belsham's Scheme of interpreting Paul's Epistles.
409 they instigated that emperor to pro- gospel, both among the Jews and pose to the senate the deification of Gentiles. Hence the Apostle adds, Jesus Christ, and to place him with “ Thou who gloriest in the law, dost Mercury and Apollo in the Pantheon thou, by the transgression of his law, of Rome. The Gnostics branded the dishonour God? for through you the apostles as illiterate, and as men to name of God is blasphemed among whom Christ did not think fit to reveal the Gentiles." the mysteries of his gospel, while they
JOHN JONES. assumed to themselves lofty terms,
(To be continued.) expressive of their superior wisdom. It is to this pretension that the Apos N.B. As my Lexicon is now before tle alludes ; and he uses the titles for the public, I propose to subjoin to no other reason than that they were each paper a short article illustrative arrogated by the wicked Jew and his of some word in the New Testament. associates. “ Thou confidently pre- The following illustration of evdaßesa, tendest to be a guide of the blind, a Heb. v. 7, though printed, I was earlight to them that are in darkness, an nestly requested to suppress, as sainstructor of the simple and a teacher vouring too much of Unitarianism. of babes."
This term supposes the foresight of A lady of rank, the wife of Satur- danger, and prudence in the choice of ninus, a bosom friend of the emperor,
means to avoid it, or if unavoidable to became a convert to the new faith. bear up under it with honour and sucHer beauty kindled the admiration of cess. Thus our Lord, when going to a Roman knight, whose offers she suffer, is said by the apostle, Heb. v. rejected with scorn and indignation; 7,“ being heard from his precaution.” but the Jew and his Egyptian brethren Christ foresaw in all its particulars, were her masters, whose ascendancy in all its horrors, the closing scene of over her mind induced them, for a his life: and though his prayer that large sum of money, to surrender her, the cup should pass from
him, could under the most impious pretension, not be heard, the object of that prayer to the arins of Mandus, and to sacri was virtually granted. He appears to fice her to his lust in the very Temple have determined beforehand the plan of Anubis. At the request of her de- of conducting himself throughout the ceivers she gave a large present of awful crisis ; and a faithful adherence gold and purple for the use of the to it insured him a happy and glorious Temple at Jerusalem. This present, result. His consciousness of innowhen delivered to be forwarded, they cence; a well-grounded confidence in kept for their own use, which, adds the truth of his divine delegation; the Josephus, was their object in making most complete resignation to the will the request.
It is in reference to of heaven; and a due sense of the these facts, in which this impostor high commission he had to fulfil was a leading agent, that the Apostle (namely, the deliverance of mankind puts the questions, “Thou who teach- from sin and death);—these consideest another, teachest thou not thyself? rations conspired in filling his soul Thou who preachest that a man should with comfort, and arming him with not steal, dost thou steal ? Thou who fortitude, patience and meekness. Lest forbiddest to commit adultery, dost insult or cruelty should tempt him to thou commit adultery? Thou who say any thing unworthy of the noble abhorrest idols, dost thou profancly cause in which he had engaged, he rob the Temple?” The punishment of resolves that not a syllable should these crimes, when detected, instead escape his lips during his trial and of being confined, as justice required, sufferings—he resolves to suffer in to the perpetrators, was extended by silence, without complaining, without the animosity of the emperor and se- retorting the taunts, or refuting the nate to the Jews in Rome, all of them calumnies and accusations of his enebeing involved in distress and ruin, as mies. This virtuous resolution, this Josephus observes, for the misconduct wise precaution, enabled him to exhiof four men.
These transactions be- bit unexampled dignity in the willst caine universally known, and caused of ignorning and degradation; to obtain great scandal to the friends of the a signal triumph over the powers of VOL. XVIII.