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BY A MICU S.
“Professing to be wise, they "–“ changed the glory of the uncorruptible God, into
“To guard the sincere enquirer after Truth, against the influence of the names of
PRINT E D AND SOLD BY WILLIA M A LE X A N DE R.
“ Unlettered and untravelled men
“Paul declares that though the Mosaic Dispensation was glorious, that of Christ exceeds it in glory. But if Christ revealed Himself immediately to the Jews, and to Christians only mediately by the letter of a book, it is plain the Apostle was mistaken ; for no one can deny it is far more glorious to see the Light of God's Countenance, and hear His voice, than merely to read something about them in a book.”
“O Lord! If because we have this Bless ED picture of Thee, we must have no discovery of thy glorious Original, have compassion on us; take back thy preciots Book, and impart thy MoRE precious SELF to us, as Tilot didst to rity ANciext PEoPLE."—
Fletcher on the Spiritual Manifestation.
In offering the following pages to the public eye, the author distinctly states, that he only is accountable for what they contain; for though it is conceived the views expressed in them, are in perfect harmony with the doctrines maintained by “the early Friends," and most surely believed by their successors in religious fellowship and communion; yet the writer is solicitous to avoid committing the body in any respect, by the manner or the terms in which he has judged it eligible to express his sentiments; and by which he indulges a hope that, in some instances, the Doctrines of Friends may be exhibited, either with rather more perspicuity, or in a more concentrated point of view; than the style and times of “the early Friends," were adapted to setting forth their opinions. The author further conceives, that the very circumstance of this work being anonymous, completely exonerates the Society from any responsibility respecting it. As one portion of the title, “A Glance,” distinctly imports, brevity was an original as well as desirable object; and as regards the aim to which “A Glance" is directed, the appellation will probably be found appropriate, when it is considered that the work at which it glances, consists of five hundred duodecimo pages; and invests “Quakerism,” as J. W. has been pleased to term it, with a MAsK consisting of more than a fourth part of five hundred passages, which the author of this “ Glance” most decidedly ranks as misinterpretations, consequent fallacious assumptions or deductions, or corresponding calumniations of the Doctrines not only held, but openly avowed, and fully set forth by “the early Friends.” The authors whose writings, almost exclusively, are quoted as agreeing with the sentiments advanced in this Glance, are G. Fox and R. Barclay, respecting whose writings J. W. has taken the most occasion, however undesignedly, grossly to misrepresent the Principles of the Society of Friends. To have ranged amongst the cloud of witnesses, who might have been brought in evidence against him, would not have been consistent with “a Glance.” And those two individuals were not only members, but ornaments of the Society; “adorning the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all things;" though, no doubt, in common with others, partaking of the infirmities of our nature. How much soever “the memory of the just is blessed," it has been the author's endeavour, in justifying the principles of the early Friends, to avoid ascribing anything to their “own power or holiness,” under a full persuasion, that, as their souls were redeemed from trusting in anything short of Christ Jesus inwardly revealed, those among them who were the most enlightened and instructed, would, to the apostle's inquiry: “What hast thou, which thou hast not received," the most freely respond: “We are nothing, Christ is all!" A like conviction must attend all their successors in religious profession, who are fully imbued with the principles held and promulgated by “the early Friends;" which J. W. says: “My whole soul abhors.” In relation to the mistaken author of “Quakerism Examined," who has uttered this and many, many other similar sentiments, it is not the object of this “ Glance” to inflict any needless wound upon his feelings; for the individual who could be so utterly in error as deliberately to prepare, and at length put forth to the world, such a publication, is an object of pity and of Christian compassion. But with a disease so deeply seated as J. W. himself represents his to have been ; and as there is reason to fear it does still continue; no remedies short of those of a penetrating and searching character, can be expected to reach the seat of his malady. Hopeless as the endeavour may seem to be, the desire predominates, to convince J. W.'s understanding of, at least, some of the multitudinous mistakes into which he has fallen ; united with a hope that this endeavour may possibly prove beneficial to some whom he and others have misled. In prosecuting these objects it will probably be obvious, that necessity is laid upon the author of this “ Glance," respecting the very for of those errors which have been selected for notice, to endeavour to exhibit them with perspicuity and faithfulness; and to pourtray them in firm, though temperate—in unequivocal, though, it is hoped, not in unchristian language. Such has appeared to be the only course to be pursued, in attempting to bring into view some of the distorted features of that caricature, if it be not too soft a name, which J. W. has dignified with the impress of “Quakerism Examined.” In quoting sentiments contained in that work, whilst consulting brevity, by avoiding an unnecessary length of quotation, the author of this “Glance” has studiously endeavoured to quote sufficient; so as not to give J. W’s. sentiments unfairly; unless giving part of a sarcasm where the whole might have showed more glowing colours than was needful for that particular occasion, can be so deemed ; and alike desirous has the author been, to avoid by any curtailment, the presenting of a different idea to that which the selection conveys, when embodied with its context. Since few, but very few compared with the aggregate number of J. W’s. misinterpretations, and consequent unmerited aspersions are specified in this work, it may with strict propriety be considered merely as “a Glance” at “Quakerism Examined;" though by incorporating with the remarks immediately bearing on those few ; some further observations, designed to illustrate the doctrines which J. W.'s. remarks impugn, and by endeavouring a little to systematize the whole, “Quakerism Unmasked,” has extended very far beyond the limits at first intended. To this extension the Chapter or two Sections on Baptism and the Lord's Supper, have materially contributed, neither of these being included in the original design. With all its extensions the writer is perfectly aware, that such is the multiplicity of arguments that might be brought from Holy writ, in defence and support of the principles which he has endeavoured, however feebly yet faithfully to advocate, that in this respect the whole work can be deemed no more than “a Glance”—an imperfect sketch. That so long a period has been suffered to elapse since the date of J. W’s. “Quakerism Examined,” may be attributed in great measure if not principally, to the circumstance that the original notes upon it, were made on a perusal prolonged by considerable intervals of suspended attention ; being commenced without the most distant idea of publishing any remarks upon it.