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will now add, that, while I hope to avoid censuring or condemning any for their religious sentiments, however different from my own, I believe I am warranted in exposing the man and his designs, who wilfully misrepresents a religious society and the principles they maintain.
My principal object being to correct er ror, and illustrate the truth, I have therefore endeavoured to unfold the principles of christianity, as received and held by us, as far as the plan of this work admits; believing the more those principles are known and understood, the more they will be approved by the unbiased mind.
But, while I recommend the principles, I would not have any suppose, that I consider all in profession with us consistent in life and practice with those principles, but with regret must acknowledge, there are individuals amongst us whose conduct does not correspond with the profession we make; yet this doth not invalidate the truth of the doctrine we hold; and the principles of the society, and the faithful members of it, are no more chargeable with the misconduct of such disorderly members, than the eleven apostles were with the treachery of Judas.
Thus having, as hath been frequently acknowledged, a firm belief in the rectitude of our principles, we rest in unshaken confidence in Him who, we believe, has been the author, and, we trust, will be the finisher of our faith, unmoved by the sianders and revilings of this writer, any further than to undeceive those, if any there be, who may have been misled by bim. This, and a desire for the information of others unacquainted with us, were the primary motives which induced me to take up my pen; and I shall feel sufficiently rewarded for the time and attention I have freely devoted to this work, if it proves, even in a small degree, instrumental in removing the prejudices of any, and pening the way for a more free inquiry into, and investigation of, those principles which will, I trust, stand the test of full examination. For, persuaded I am that if the different denominations of christians were more disposed to inquire and inform, and less to censure and condemn, they would no more be disposed to persecute their dissenting brethren with the pen than with the sword, but would lay aside their prejudices, therby removing those barriers which ignorance and bigotry have conspired to erect between the professors of the same holy
religion; and, by cultivating a disposition of free investigation, they would willingly embrace the truth wherever it appeared.
This would open the way for the spreading of gospel light, by which we should discover the emptiness of forms and ceremonies, and the superior excellence of true and vital religion, under the animating influence whereof, many would be constrained to adopt the inviting language, come brother, come sister, "let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths ;" for the children of the Lord are all taught of the Lord; and great is the peace of his children.
Then should we witness the fulfilment of the prophetic declaration: "They shall not burt nor destroy in all my holy mountain :" and experience more and more of the benign influence of the spirit of the gospel, which breathes the emphatic language, glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, and good will to men.
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No 357, Pearl-street,
Sacred History, by T.Ellwood, 3 Vol. 5
No Cross No Crown,
Sufferings of the Quakers, 2 Vol.
Piety Promoted, 3 Vol.
Yearly Meeting's Advices,
Original and Present State of Man,
The Duties of Religion and Morality, 75
Woolman's Advice to the Rich,
John Fry's Poems,
And many Pamphlets.
Shortly will be published Barclay's Catechism.