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MESSRS. ALLEN, BATES, GURNEY, TUKE,
JONES, AND OTHER MINISTERS,
Society of friends.
E. FRY, HOUNDSDITCH ; & J. WRIGHT, BRISTOL.
NUMEROUS as are the collections of printed wysermons, the present publication may still y perhaps be deemed so much of a novelty, as
to require some explanation, however brief, which may explain the motives which induced the editor to publish it.
In two previous collections, which have been honored with a more extended circulation than the editor could reasonably have expected or hoped for, he has been led pretty fully to develope his views, and will therefore confine himself in the present case, to a few remarks which were before but slightly adverted to. It appears to him that the observations suitable to introduce a collection of Quaker sérmons to the
notice of the christian public, (by a very large portion of whom it may perhaps be denied, or at least questioned, that they have any ministry at all,) should attempt a concise statement of what is conceived to be the design of a christian ministry, and a cursory examination of the views and practice of the Society of Friends upon this subject, sufficient to enable the candid enquirer to determine not only whether their views be correct, but also whether their practical effect (as developed by the specimens of the present little work) be in unison with, or calculated to fulfil, the general objects of such ministry.
Under the Mosaic system, which was designed to shadow forth in its ceremonies the great truths of a later and purer dispensation, and under the various corruptions of this system which prevailed in the heathen world, the Deity could only be approached through the medium of human agents; and the multifarious and minute requisitions of their ceremonial code required the entire appropriation of an order of priesthood to fulfil them. But it will strike the most superficial observer that the attendances in the Jewish temple, and the services of the Levitical priesthood, were not in the slightest degree analogous to the functions of the clerical order in modern days. Indeed one of the peculiar features of christianity appears to be, that whilst it frees the mind from all slavish dependance upon man, it neither flatters his pride, nor allows a compliance with any known sin; and at the same time, it offers to the human mind the very highest elevation and privilege that can be conceived intercourse free and direct with the Father of spirits, with the Majesty of heaven itself.
The New Testament contains a clear enunciation of moral and religious duty, sufficiently general to be capable of universal application. Preaching, therefore, in a professedly christian land, however desirable or useful, when rightly exercised, cannot be considered as indispensable. Indeed it may be assumed that in all cases where