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-O what great
his comforting presence with me things he hath done for me! who hath redeemed my soul from death, and my feet from falling; and made his cup of love to overflow, and with honey out of the rock hath satisfied me: endless praises be ascribed to him, for his mercy endureth for
Beside the forementioned accounts of his own Christian progress, the manuscripts collected contain a variety of useful matter; as for instance, in his several conferences with some Baptists and others, divers controverted points, namely, The universality of the light within: The doctrine of justification, by the imputed righteousness of Christ only Of perfection, or freedom from sin in this life: Of the Scriptures being the only rule of faith: Of the call and qualification of gospel-ministers, and of their maintenance: Of election and reprobation; baptism, &c. are freely debated and discussed, and the truth therein by him maintained, according to the testimony of the Holy Scriptures. This part may conduce to the satisfaction of such as are seriously inquisitive into those points.
In his epistles and exhortations, written on different occasions, somewhat may be met with adapted to almost any state or growth in Christianity; instruction to the ignorant, strengthening to the
1 See page 62.
weak, confirmation to the doubting, comfort to the disconsolate, support to the despairing, and direction to the soul that is inquiring the way to peace and happiness.
His letter to the Baptists, with whom he once walked in communion, deserves the special regard of the people of that persuasion.
The relations given of his prosecutions, both in the bishop's court and at common law, for teaching school without license, are handled somewhat largely, that other Dissenters of that employment, seeing the temporal authority ready to protect them from the oppression of the ecclesiastical, and the act of exemption of toleration from the penalties of all acts made against papists or popish recusants, may follow their lawful occupations without fear; and be thoroughly informed how to defend themselves upon occasion.
If in defending himself against the calumnies of his adversaries, members of "The Church of England," he has made use of some severe retortions; the fault, if any, is in justice to be imputed to them, whose abuses of him made those defences necessary.
In his Essays, written on several subjects, divers principles and doctrines of the people called Quakers are explained and vindicated, and objections against them answered; and his own opinion confirmed by the authority of Scripture, reason, and
the concurrent testimonies of ancient and modern authors.'
The publishing of this collection has been for some time retarded; because the original papers being left, neither disposed in due order of time, nor free from an intermixture of other occurrences, it was impracticable to put them so into the printer's hands: a transcription of many of them was therefore necessary, which, with the placing them in some convenient method, has been a work of more time and pains than was at first expected. The fidelity of the transcripts I am ready to prove by their originals, and the truth of the passages related by the memorandums of the deceased.
Having premised these things in general, I shall particularly recommend, to the youth among the people called Quakers, the writings and exam
1 Those not reprinted in the present edition, consist of the following pieces.
On Baptism and the Supper, in a Letter to a Friend, 1700. On the Doctrine of the Trinity.
On the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction for the Sins of Mankind; in Defence of W. Penn's "Sandy Foundation Shaken." On Tithes.
On Liberty of Conscience.
On Evangelical Purity.
On the Descent of Christ into Hell.
Translation of an Epistle of Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, to Ce
ples of this and other faithful elders of that persuasion; the one, to inform their judgment; the other, to excite their practice. Education alone can lead to profess, but gives not strength to obey whence it is, that the posterity of good men must unavoidably degenerate, unless they have recourse to their first principles. The foundation of your ancestors was THE LIGHT of Christ; a firm and unalterable basis. By its illuminations they regulated their thoughts, their words, their actions instructed by its dictates, they renounced the pride, the pleasures, the lusts and vanities of the world; separated themselves from humanlyinvented modes and ways of worship, bore a steady and faithful testimony against many errors and corruptions of their times, zealously reproved vice and immorality; were exemplary to their neighbours in holiness and righteousness, ordered their conversations aright, obtained a good report among men, and in the end were made partakers of the salvation of God. Would you be the happy successors of their virtue, as well as name? Follow the same guide: it will lead you in the same path, and reprove you, when you turn aside to the right hand or to the left. It will teach you a reverent and religious regard to the testimonies they conscientiously bore and suffered for; and, keeping to its direction and guidance, you shall never return to the follies and vanities they came out of. It will
show you the emptiness of formal profession, and the necessity of an inward and spiritual work of regeneration; to the purifying, through the blood of Christ, your consciences from dead works to serve the living God. Turn not your backs on this heavenly monitor, which is with you, and in you. Keep in mind the exhortation of good old David, to Solomon, his son, namely, " And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever,” 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. May obedience, and the blessing of it, be the choice of you and your posterity; that, in the footsteps of your fathers, you and your children may succeed, serving the Lord in sincerity and truth, whose "mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children: to such as keep his covenant, and remember his commandments to do them," Psalm ciii. 17, 18.
Reader, I would not detain thee too long from the book itself: peruse it with attention and impartiality its design and tendency is thy information and spiritual instruction: the Christian experiences of faithful predecessors, being as so