« VorigeDoorgaan »
not conscious of a discrimination between right and wrong? Does he not feel the solemn obligations of duty? Is there not a conviction on his mind, that a God, all Goodness, does not require impossibilities of him; but, in fatherly regard, invites him to love and gratitude, and finally to an inheritance eternal in the heavens? And when, at any time, he has gone counter to the convictions in his own bosom, does he not feel that he is left without excuse-that the Grace afforded, the evidences of sin, and ability to resist temptation, were sufficient for him?
We acknowledge unhesitatingly, that God is good, that He is not a hard Master, or an austere man, taking up where He has not laid down, and gathering where He has not strewed. And when our minds are addressed with the language; "As I live saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live:" Ezek. xxxiìi, 11; we may respond with the apostle; "Let God be true, but every man a liar." Rom. iii. 4.
OF THE DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Although the preceding articles have all an allusion and direct reference to Jesus Christ, and salvation by Him, (for He is the only Means and Way of Salvation, and the Foundation of every Christian doctrine,) yet it seems necessary to say something more distinct and particular, in relation to that Divine Character.
The Society of Friends, from the beginning, have believed in the Divinity and Humanity of Christ. The history of his miraculous conception, birth, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension, as recorded by the Evangelists, we fully believe.
A few extracts from the writings of some of the most distinguished members of the Society, may probably be the best introduction to this article.
George Fox, in his Journal, vol. 1, p. 4. [p. 4, fol. ed.] says; "This priest Stevens asked me, why Christ cried out upon the cross, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!' Matt. xxvii. 46; and why He said, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: yet not my will, but Thine be done.' Matt. xxvi. 39. I told him, at that time the sins of all mankind were upon Him, and their iniquities and transgressions, with which He was wounded, which He was to bear, and to be an offering
for, as He was man, but died not, as He was God: so in that He died for all men, tasting death for every man, He was an offering for the sins of the whole world. This I spoke, being at that time, in a measure, sensible of Christ's sufferings."
In a publication about the year 1675, entitled, "A Testimony of what we believe of Christ," he says: "The apostle speaking of the fathers, saith; 'Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever, Amen.' Rom. ix. 5. This was the apostle's doctrine to the Church then, which we do witness, both as to his flesh, and as He was God."
George Fox and others, in an address to the Governor of Barbadoes, Journal, vol. 2, p. 139, [p. 434, fol. ed.] says; "We own and believe in Jesus Christ, his beloved and only begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary; in whom we have Redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the Image of the Invisible God, the First-born of every creature; by whom were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible or invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him.' Col. i. 14, 15, 16. And we own and believe that He was made a Sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin; neither was guile found in his mouth; that He was crucified for us in the flesh, without the gates of Jerusalem ;---and that he was buried, and rose again the third day, by the power of the Father, for our justification ;and that He ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus, who was the
Foundation of the prophets and apostles, is our Foundation; and we believe there is no other foundation to be laid, but that which is laid, even Christ Jesus; who tasted death for every man-shed his blood for all men
-'is the Propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.' 1 John ii. 2.He is, as the Scriptures of Truth say of Him, our 'Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption,' 1 Cor. i. 30; 'neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we' may be saved.' Acts. iv. 12.
-He is now come in Spirit, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true.' 1 John v. 20. He rules in our hearts by his law of love and life, and makes us free from the law of sin and death.'" Rom. viii. 2.
I. Penington, vol. 1, p. 694, 4to ed. says; "It is objected against us who are called Quakers, that we deny Christ, and look not to be saved by Him as He was manifested without us; but look only to be saved by Christ within us: to which it is in my heart to answer, to such as singly desire satisfaction therein:-We do indeed expect to be saved by the revelation and operation of the Life of Christ within us, yet not without relation to what He did without us; for all that He did in that body of flesh, was of the Father; and had its place and service, in the will and according to the counsel of the Father."
In another treatise, entitled, "Flesh and Blood of Christ," vol. 2, p. 256, he says; "Now as touching the outward, which ye say we deny, because of our testimony to the inward, I have frequently given a most
solemn testimony thereto; and God knoweth it to be the truth of my heart: and that the testifying to the inward doth not make the outward void, but rather establish it in its place and service. God Himself, who knew what virtue was in the inward, yet hath pleased to make use of the outward; and who may contradict and slight his wisdom and counsel therein? It was a spotless Sacrifice of great value, and effectual for the remission of sins; and I do acknowledge unto the Lord, the remission of my sins thereby; and bless the Lord for it, even for giving up his Son to die for us all."
William Penn, vol. 5, p. 310, says; "We cannot believe that Christ's death and sufferings so satisfy God, or justify men, as that they are thereby accepted of God. They are indeed put into a state, capable of being accepted of God; and, through the obedience of faith and sanctification of the Spirit, are in a state of acceptance." "And though Christ did die for us, yet we must, through the aid of his Grace, work out our salvation with fear and trembling. As He died for sin, so we must die to sin, or we cannot be said to be saved by the death and sufferings of Christ."
"We do believe that Jesus Christ was our holy Sacrifice, Atonement, and Propitiation; that He bore our iniquities; and by his stripes we were healed of the wounds Adam gave us in his fall: and that God is just in forgiving true penitents, upon the credit of that holy offering Christ made of Himself to God for us: and that what he did and suffered, satisfied and pleased God: and that through the offering up of Himself once for all, through the Eternal Spirit, He hath for ever perfected