Mr. George Keith's REASONS FOR Renouncing Quakerism, And Entring into COMMUNION WITH THE Church of England. WITH Other Remarkable Occurrences that will be Acceptable to all Orthodox Christians, of every Persuasion.

LONDON: Printed, and are to be sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster, 1700.

Mr. George Keith's REASONS FOR Renouncing Quakerism, &c.

BY vertue of an Evangelical Precept, it is an incumbent Duty on every Convert to endeavour the strengthening of his Bre­thren in the Faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to Reduce all those that by any indirect Of­fices, or for want of regular Instructions have wandered out of the strait ways of Peace, Truth and Holiness, into the crooked Mazes of Sin, Schism and Heresie, to the hazard of their eternal Interests. How much I have concerned my self in the Discharge of this Duty, is legible to all that have either had the Justice or Curiosity to in­form themselves about it; for as soon as it pleased God to open the Eyes of my Understanding, and shew me the Error of my own ways, I industri­ously set my self upon the good Work of Reclaim­ing others, and have cause to bless his holy Name, that I have not altogether laboured in vain, but have been an Instrument in the Hand of God, to convince some of the necessity they were under of [...]enouncing their Errors and Delusions, and return­ [...]g to the Lord their God in Truth and Sin­cerity. [Page 4] In this attempt it is notoriously known also, what Injuries, Contempts, Slanders, and ill▪ Usages I have encountred both beyond Sea and in England from the Quakers, with whom I have in­offensively associated above Thirty Years: And that for no other Reason, but that I endeavoured by all the fair, candid, and honest ways imagi­nable, to convince them that they lived in many gross Errors and Heresies; and that they ought to make some compensation for the Evils and Er­rors they were guilty of, by a speedy return to the Truth as it is in Jesus, and by an unfeigned Repentance for all the Evils they had been guilty of, in seducing so many well-meaning Souls into Principles and Practices, that border upon Death and Destruction.

It would be altogether needless in this Discourse to enumerate the several steps I made in order to the Conviction and Conversion of the Quakers, and to shew all the Arts their Chiefs employ'd to frustrate my good Intentions, and to keep up their own Reputations with their Party, since I have already published the whole Proceedings [...]n Four Narratives, to which they have as yet made no satisfactory Answer, and therefore shall only now, having totally renounced all their Errors▪ deserted their Meetings, and by Imposition of Holy Hands entred upon the Ministery in the Church of England, answer some Objections and Calumnies that the Quakers have made upon my Change, and shew the Reasons for which I left them: In both which I hope to acquit my self with so much Justice, though I have no hope to stop the Mouths of those clamorous Persons, that are become my Enemies for telling them the Truth; yet to satisfie all that are honestly and soberly in­quisitive into the Motives and Reasons, that cau­sed me to leave the Society of the Quakers, and embrace the Doctrine and Discipline of th [...] Church of Engla [...]d.

[Page 5]The first quarrel that of late they seemed to have against me, was, that in exposing their Prin­ciples in publick Audiences, and in my Printed Narratives I had dealt unjustly; and this false Re­port they have been exceedingly industrious to divulge, not only to possess them of their own Way, but any others they could influence into an ill Opinion of me, for falsly quoting their Authors; and thereupon, without any kind of Proof, call me Lyar, False and Treacherous Man, Deceitful and Malicious, all which Names return upon them­selves, since I have printed a Certificate in my third Narrative, under the Hands of some emi­nent and judicious Ministers of the Church of England, whom I procured to hear and examine all my Quotations, that fully vindicates my Inno­cency in that particular: which being well con­sidered, I have reason to expect a more favour­able Censure in relation to their other Calumny, viz.

That the ground of my Contests with the Qua­kers, was out of meer Prejudice and Revenge ari­sing from their ill treatment of me, and not out of Zeal and Love to the Truth of Christianity; whereas nothing could be suggested more False and Scandalous; for the only motive that I had to oppose the spreading Gangrene of their vile Errors, which have already leavened many Thou­sands in these Nations, and if not prevented will corrupt many more, was purely out of Zeal for the Cause of God and his true Religion, and not out of any private Pique I had with any of them; of which, as I have given no Evidence, so my Con­science bears witness to my Innocency. Seeing then my Charges are just against them, as is pro­ved in all my Narratives; and their Clamours and Accusations against me are wholly false and scan­dalous, the Crime will be laid at their own Door in calling Names, and I shall bear their Revilings with greater Patience, since 'tis universally [Page 6] known, that this is the way they commonly treat all Persons how Innocent and well-deserving so ever, that touch them in the tender part, and oppose their Errors; so that the Proverb may be fitly applied to them, That their Tongue is no Slander.

But the great Argument that they make of my Insincerity, is, my having been formerly so long among them, and yet never till of late pretended to know that they held such gross Errors as I now accuse them of. That I have been a Quaker long, I acknowledge, and am of Opinion, that none are sorry that I was so once, but they that are angry that I did not continue so always, let them make what Reflexions they please upon my Weakness, and want of Consideration, in continu­ing among a Society of People, whose Principles▪ I was so much a stranger to. I confess my Weak­ness, and am ashamed to think that I have been so long deceived by them; but yet this is no impeach­ment of my Sincerity, unless knowing them Guilty, I had connived at it, flattered them in it, or d [...]fended their Errors contrary to my Conviction; or against the Light of my own Conscience had encouraged them to Perseverance. But in this I am no way culpable; for though I know some of them were Ignorant and Ʋnsound, I did not dis­semble with them, or cloak the matter; but up­on all occasions check'd and reprov'd them, as will ere long be shewn in several Instances. Yet I was wholly unsensible that either George White­head, William Penn, and many other of their chief [...]st Teachers had been guilty of these Errors, having read but few of their Books, and them but slightly too; and when I found any thing that I disliked, a blind Affection swayed me to an over­charitable Judgment, and I imputed lesser Faults rather to their Inadvertency than their delibe­rate Judgment, until they sided with my Ad­versaries in Pensilvania, and then it grew to [Page 7] Rupture, and I withstood them to their Faces.

Another Objection that they raise against me, is That the things which I now call Vile Errors, and Heresies in them, I had formerly Defended, and de­clared, that in so doing I had a Divine Sense and Acceptance; to which I answer, First, by utterly denying that ever I defended them in those Vile Errors which oppose the four great Fundamental Do­ctrines of the Christian Religion, which I have since charged them with, or, indeed, any other Article of the Christian Faith properly so called, or distin­guished. Those things wherein I defended them, were only stating the Matter fairly, between them and their Opponents in several Cases, wherein I thought them unduly charged; partly in the un­due Use and Application of places of Scripture, to prove certain Truths, and partly in too much aggravating and widening through my too great Heat and preposterous Zeal, and being too Biggotly affected, though ignorantly to that Party who call all others Sects and Sectaries, and themselves the Church, yet are certainly more Biggoted into a Sect, and more implicitely led by Sect-Masters, than any People in Christendom that I know of. And lastly, I have acknowledged, and lamented my Sinful Ignorance and Rashness, in my former op­posing any Divine Institution, or reflecting in my Books upon any particular Persons, or Religious So­cieties. And to argue a little with my Adversaries, who object, That I have formerly defended the Quakers Principles, I would fain know what Prin­ciples they mean? Whether they relate to the Fun­damentals of Religion; if so, let them name them, that I may give the World Satisfaction by confes­sing my Fault, or justifie my self where I am falsly accused.

And if through Humane Infirmity, Weakness, or Ignorance, (for humanum est Errari, Labi, De­cipi) I have misunderstood any thing, which by a more diligent Examination and Application to [Page 8] the Holy Scriptures I have discoverd afterwards to be a misapprehension; this will be no proof of my Insincerity, or that I am an Apostate, gone from all Divine Sense and Tenderness, lost my good Condition, without any inward Feeling; for these are the lovely Epithets they bestow upon me.

But are not these Qaakers uncharitable Men? Can a mistake in some things render a Man Uni­versally mistaken in all things? Because some are beguiled with Shews and Shadows of Reason ▪ Is there therefore no such thing as true and sound Reason in the World? Because St. Paul once thought he ought to do many things against the Name of Je­sus, must his Conversion, be call'd an Argument of his Insincerity? Must he be thought an unsound Christian, because he was once a Jew, and conti­nue a Persecutor, and a Blind leader of the Blind, for fear of being call'd an Apostate from the Prin­ciples which he imbibed in the days of Ignorance? Away with these ridiculous Notions, which are but the Evasions, Quiblings, and Shiftings of the Party, which by muddying the Water, hope to escape undetected. Why will they not be try'd by their own Rule, and allow that Liberty to o­thers, that they exercise among themselves? Have not some of the most Eminent among them been egregiously deceived, and taken their Fanciful I­maginations for Divine Lights? Their Consciences will tell them, what particular Persons of great Note among them I could name, that have been scandalously mistaken by their own Confession▪ and took things upon Trust for Divine Breathings, that upon better Examination proved to be Infa­movs Delusions.

Did not some of the most celebrated Quakers, nay, even their Preachers, follow the Blasphemous, Enthusiastick Delusions and Waking Dreams of James Naylor, and John Perrot? Was it not one of their great Preachers, Samuel Cater by Name, now li­ving, that lead James Naylor's Horse by the Bridle, [Page 9] when he Rid Triumphantly into Bristol. Was that a Divine Sense in George Fox, who said his Marriage with Widow Fell, was a Figure of the Church coming out of the Wilderness, and that the Figure might be compleat, those that credited that Deceit, concluded her to be with Child, though she was past Sixty Years of Age, and there­fore accounted it Miraculous. Other considerable Instances might be given of their extravagantly Wild, and Frenetick Delusions, than I thank God can be charg'd upon me; for, notwithstand­ing all the Mistakes and Errors I lay under, yet as to the main, I bless God, I was preserved. But what a sad and scandalous Inference does this way of Arguing cast upon themselves, who generally in their Books, Father all their Vilest Errors and Heresies upon the Spirit of Truth, according to the Notion they have of the Spirit dwelling in them▪ by which means they Hedge up their way, and Baricado up themselves against all discoveries and acknowledgments of their Errors; because they think they are guided by the Spirit; and are sure they possess the Spirit, because they think so, o­therwise by their own arguing they must be Apo­states. When a Man turns from Error to Truth, must he be call'd an Apostate? When a Man through humane Infirmity, slides into Mistaken Notions, without denying or opposing any Article of the Christian Faith, can this be call'd Apostacy? Surely, in the Judgment of any sober and unpre­judiced Party it cannot; and therefore their cen­suring me, is unchristian as well as uncharitable, since I have only renounced the Errors, I was tainted with whilst I lived and convers'd among them; as for their Herisies I was never, I bless God, corrup­ten with them.

As Idle, Impertinent, and Vain, is their argu­ing, that 'twas very unlikely, that living thirty years among them, I could be Ignorant of their Principles: Which is a Fallacy in Terms▪ for as they [Page 10] are a Body of People, how could I, or any Body else, know their Principles, when 'tis known to all the World they have none, and are profess'd Ene­mies to All Creeds, and Confessions of Faith owned by all their Members, without which 'tis impos­sible (without a Miracle) to know what their Principles are; for to this day never any Confes­sion of Faith has been universally received by them; but some are of one Opinion, some of others, and what is affirm'd to Day for Truth, is denied to Morrow: A Weather-Cock is not more variable in its Motion, than the Quakers are dexterous in shift­ing their Opinions, through all the parts of the Compass. They are now more enraged against me than ever, and call me the Epitome and very common place of all their Preceding Adversaries, with other vile and abusive Names, which is but acting like themselves, and spewing out the Venom of their Hearts against me; from the Infection of which I pray God preserve me and all Christian People; and that if it please God, he may give them a Sense of their great Sin of uncharitable­ness towards me, and true Repentance and for­giveness of it, who hate me, and count me their Enemy, for endeavouring to do them good, and seeking sincerely to reduce them from their Errors to the Truth; the Success of which my sincere Labour, I commit to Almighty God, with whom I leave my Righteous Cause, and in whose Mercy I trust through Jesus Christ, that he will preserve me in Soul and Body, from being a Sacrifice to their Fury and Rage. I know their way of Ex­tolling themselves, as the only People of God, discoverers of Truth, vilifying all others as un­found and mistaken, that have no such high Pre­tences, whilst it's a crying Sin, that so many false Teachers should be suffer'd, that speak Lyes in the name of the Lord, pretending the same immedi­ate Message and Authority that the true Prophets had, when they can give no Proof of it; but [Page 11] many undeniable Proofs can be given to the con­trary, as particularly their Antichristian Errors publish'd in their Books, wherein they Lye for Conscience sake, and Entitle their Errors and Blasphemies to the holy Spirit of God.

The last Objection that they raise against [...]e, & is assign'd as a Reason for refusing to dispute with me at Turners's-Hall, is, That none of the Quakers that are at Unity with them do acknowledge, or regard me. Now, to confute their Allegation, and to prove it all of a Piece with the rest of their Suggestions, I am obliged to acquaint the Reader, That as an Evidence of my owning the Ch. of Eng­land to be a Branch of the True Catholick Church of Christ, I did with great Inward Peace and Satisfa­ction, I bless God, Receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, by the Ministry of Dr. Bedford, at his Church in Buttolph-Lane, London, with others of that Congregation, the first Lords Day in the Month of February, 1699, and since again, at the same place, by the same Person, the first Lords Day in March, 1699; and to let the Quakers know, that my Example has influenced others, the same day Robert Bridgman, and Margaret Eve­rard, and some other of my Friends, which for­merly were Quakers, and in great Repute among that People, whom God in Mercy has lately en­lightened to see their former Error, and Renounce it, did receive the Lord's Supper in Huntington, and have declared, That they received it with great inward Peace and Satisfaction. In a Letter since of a later date, I am imform'd, That Ten of my Friends in Huntington, Godmanchester, and thereabouts, who were formerly Quakers, & of good Reputation, do all now go to Church there; and that Margaret Everard has had her youngest Son, and three Daughters baptized lately. By Letters from Bedford, I have an Account, that some that had been Quakers, both in that Town and Coun­try, are gone off from the Quakers, and go to [Page 12] Church, particularly W. Ma [...]her and his Wife▪ Also at Reading, divers who were formerly Qua­kers, and were so Educated, have gone to Church, and were Baptized, and that others have brought their Children to be Baptized. Here in London, divers of both Sexes, who were Educated under the Profession of Quakers, have been lately Bapti­zed, and go to Church, one of whom is my young­est Daughter, my Elder having been Baptized a­bove a year ago. So that to my certain Know­ledge, above forty Persons within a few Months past, are come off from Quakerism, and brought to the Church, which gives a good ground to hope, that many more will follow: Which God in his great Mercy grant, and prosper my Sincere, tho' mean Indeavours and Labours, and other his Ser­vants, whom he has made Instrumental in this Work, and for the Success he has been pleas'd to give us therein, All Glory, Honour, and Praise be given to his most Holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

And whereas my Adversaries, George Whitehead, and other Quaking Preachers, have given it as a Reason why they would not meet me at Turner's-Hall▪ was, because they know none who had been in Unity with them since I came into England, who did own me, or were in danger to be brought off from them; that Objection to their own Know­ledge and full Conviction, is now quite removed; for both Robert Bridgman, and M. Everard, besides: divers others that might be named, were not only, in Ʋnity with them since my Arrival in▪ Eng­land, but in great Repute among them: Robert Bridgman having not only been a Member of their Mens Meeting in London; but one that was en­ [...]rusted with receiving and distributing the Money▪ Collected for their Poor in the City of London. Margaret Everard has for many years, till very lately, been received, and well owned, as a Spea­ker among them, both in City and Country. And it, [Page 13] is most certain, That the Quakers refusing to meet▪ and dispute with me in Defence of their own Prin­ciples at Turner's-Hall, has been a great Means to let many of those formerly in Unity with them, see their Sandy Foundation, and the badness of their Cause; and will yet be a further Means to give many others the like Discovery, who are dissatis­fied with their not appearing, either to vindicate their Books, and Authors, or to acknowledge the great Errors contained in them, and to Retract them. They are, indeed, brought to a very Pinch­ing Dilemma; for if they dare not appear to answer the change of Error, Heresie, and even Blasphemy, that is brought against them, but invent frivolous Discourses to excuse themselves, the People will soon perceive their Cause is bad, that stands in need of such weak Props to support it. One Pretence for their non-appearance was, That they might not offend that Authority that had indulged them with Liberty of Conscience, and in the mean time make little other use of it, than to Rail against that Religion and Church whereof the King himself, and the best of his Subjects are Members, and to call me and my Friends for owning that Church, and coming into Communion with it, and Relin­quishing the Errors condemned by it, Apostates, and Runagado's.

For his Insinuating, that 'tis Envy increasing in me, that has led me into a disturbance of Mind, which in its Course resembles the returns of a delirious Affliction, and that has caus'd me to give them so much Disquiet; I think it not worth an Answer, and therefore shall leave it as an In­stance of their Scornful, Proud, and Haughty, as well Ʋncharitable, and Ʋnchristian Tempers. They reckon me their Enemy, because I tell them the Truth, and labour to Rescue them out of the Snares of Satan: But since God has been pleas'd to prosper this Work in my Hand, both in Ameri­ca and England, none of their malicious Insinua­tions [Page 14] shall be able to stop my Progress in this Duty, to contend earnestly for the Faith of Christ which was once delivered to the Saints, and which the Quakers labour to Destroy.

Having thus answered their Objections; and be­ing now by Imposition of Holy Hands, Ordain'd a Minister of the Church of England, that I may not be thought to desert the Quakers out of any Perso­nal Disgust, or for Worldly Interest; but purely out of the Dissatisfaction of my Conscience, be­cause they had forsaken God, and Renounced the Prin­ciples of Christian Religion: And that I durst not on the Peril of my Eternal Salvation, associate lon­ger with them, lest being tainted with their Er­ors, I should be obnoxious to their Punishment: I shall in the next place give you some of my Rea­sons, that engaged me to Abandon Quakerism, and to embrace Christianity, according to the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church, of England.

And the first Reason I assign for leaving Quake­rism, is because they are at such great Ʋncertainties in what they profess, that no Man can have any assurance where to bottom, or whether that which they own to day, will be allow'd to be Truth to Morrow. They are constant in nothing but in Contradiction, and 'tis Reason enough for them to Disbelieve any Position, and with all their Force and Powers to oppose it, if it had not the [...]onour of their Invention, and became Current by the Stamp of their own Authority; and if it were not for their Habits, they would be all taken for Mahometans, by refusing to believe, or act like Christians. All other Religious Societies have their Confessions of Faith, under some Appella­tion or other, by which Men may know what they believe; but the Quakers are such Lattitudi­narians, that if a Stranger should ask what they were, he could receive no other Answer, than that they are what other Men are not; but such as in Humour, Gesture, Garb, Mein [...], and Pedantick, Can­ting [Page 15] Nonsence, are Antipodes to all the World; of which nothing is a greater instance, than car­rying dead Men to their Graves with their Heads foremost: And if enquiry should be made what Faith they profess, it must be answered, that no Body knows, nor themselves neither; and their Meeting-Houses might be Dedicated to the un­known God.

A second Reason is, That if their Principles may be collected out of the Books they publish, they are too Erroneous, Heretical and Blasphemous for any good Christian to comply with; some of which I shall recite in this Discourse, and refer you in the Margin to such Places in my Narra­tives where the Quotations are proved beyond contradiction. Now the first thing I shall charge the Quakers with, is, That the Scriptures, accord­ing the Dictate of their greatest Teachers, are not the Word of God. This Notion is so common a­mong all their Authors, and so frequent in the Mouths of their Proselites, that it is almost lost labour to prove it upon them. One of their famed Authors is so angry with his Opponent, for af­firming that the Scriptures are the Word of God, that he charges him with Blasphemy Nar. 4 p. 22. for Asserting it, and by consequence makes the Church of Eng­land, and all other Protestant Churches to be guilty of that direful Imputation. Nor is this Doctrine of theirs a strife about Words; but the Foundation of their Deism, and a handle for the Overthrowing Christianity; and therefore the Quakers have very lately Reprinted William Penn's Discourse concerning the General Rule of Faith and Practice, who brings Fourteen Arguments to prove that the Scriptures are not the General Rule of Faith and Practice; in Three of which Arguments he accuses them of Imperfection, Ʋn­certainty and Obscurity: And this is a most dan­gerous Heresie; for by this Principle they are not obliged to believe one intire Doctrine in the Apo­stles [Page 16] Creed, as indeed I could easily prove they do not. George Fox does not only deny the Scrip­tures to be the Word of God Nar. 4. p. 24., but gives them contemptible Names, as Ink and Paper, Dust, and Serpent Meat. But that the Scriptures are the Word of God is clear from abundant of Places in the Scriptures. Our Gospel came unto you, said Paul to the Thessalonians, not in Word only; by Word here is meant Doctrine. Isai. 28.13. The word of the Lord was made unto them Precept upon Pre­cept, Line upon Line; here the Precepts and writ­ten Lines of the Prophets are called the Word of the Lord; and John 15.25. it is called the written Word, which was a short Sentence written in one of the Psalms. And when Paul bid Timothy preach the Word, it cannot be justly thought that he would have him only preach the Inward Word, but by the Word he meant the Doctrine of the Go­spel; and all that the Quakers say against this re­ceived Truth, is but mere trifling, and humour­ing their Spirit of Contradiction.

The next stroke the Quakers make towards the Destruction of Christianity, is, against the Divi­nity of Christ, and to this purpose William Penn in a Controversie between himself and some Pres­byterian Ministers in Ireland, where the Question was, whither he that suffered Death without the Gates of Jerusalem was not, and is, properly the Son of God, William Penn in his Book called a Serious Apology, p. 146. saith, That the Outward Person which suffered was properly the Son of God, we utterly deny. With the like Confidence G.W. assaults the Humanity of Christ, in pos [...]tively de­nying that Christ consisted of Flesh and Bones, in those words: I distinguish, says he, between con­sisting and having, Christ had Flesh and Bones but did not consist of them: as a Man has a Coat or Gar­ment, but does not consist of it; and that outward Per­son that suffered at Jerusalem was Christ by a Me­toning of the the thing containing for the thing con­tained. [Page 17] But all Sound and Orthodox Christians say, according to the Scriptures, that Christ is both God and Man, having his Godhead and Man­hood so united as to constitute one Christ, which is a miraculous and extraordinary Ʋnion, that no other Creatures neither Angels nor Men are dig­nified with! And though Christ as Man was the Son of God, miraculously conceived and born in time; and also as God, was by a Generation from all Eternity, yet he is but one Son of God, and because of the personal Union of the God­head with his Manhood, both as God and Man, is properly the Son of God. The Excuse the Quakers make, that Christ did not meerly consist of Flesh, Blood and Bones, signifies nothing; for none ever affirm'd any such thing: Whatsoever has Parts consists of those Parts, Incompleatly of one or more Parts, Compleatly of them all. The Foundation of the Quakers great Error on this Head, lieth here, That because Christ was before the Body was, therefore that Body is no part of him, which is easily answered thus: Christ was before that Body was, but he was not compleatly and in all re­spects, fitted to be the Anointed Saviour of the World, until the Word was made Flesh, that is, till the Word did take our Flesh and whole Na­ture into a personal Union with him, which was necessary to the compleat Performance of his Me­diatory Offices, of King, Priest and Prophet, and especially of his Priestly Office.

The next thing I charge as abominable Blas­phemy upon the Quakers, especially G.F. and .G .W is for affirming, That Christ's coming in the Flesh, and his Suffering without us in the Flesh, and his outward Flesh and Blood was a Figure, and but a Figure of Christ of what he suffered in us, and his Blood shed in us. Thus as the Quakers reason why they cast off outward Baptism and the Lords Supper, is, because the Substance is revealed in them, whereof they were Figures; so for the same Rea­son [Page 18] they think Christ's Death at Jerusalem is not to be minded nor Preach'd, because it was but a Fi­gure of Christ's Suffering in them, and therefore the use and remembrance of it ceaseth; and if this is not horrid Blasphemy, certainly there is no such thing in the World. This was generally their manner of Preaching and Writing at their first ap­pearance; to tell People that Christ was Begotten in them, Born in them, Crucified Dead and Buried, Risen and Ascended into Heaven within them, and that every one, in order to eternal Salvation, must learn to know Christ thus Begotten and Born in them, &c. and this inward Conception and Birth of Christ they made the greatest Mystery and Re­ality, whereof Christ as born in the Flesh was the Figure, and a facile Representation (to use William Penn's Phrase) of what is to be transacted in us, and thus they represented the Work of Regeneration to be a greater Mystery than God manifested in the Flesh, viz. in that Body of Flesh that was born at Bethlehem. By this high sublime Doctrine, which many admired because they did not under­stand it, they gave forth to be given by immediate Revelation from Heaven, which was a plain Cheat and a horrid Lye, for the whole was nothing but what George Fox had gleaned from some old Ran­ters and Familists, who had it long before him. They also mightily magnified themselves, and Rail'd against all others as Dark, Ignorant, Sots, Deceivers and Antichrists, that would not receive this new-fangled Notion, which they learned from Ranters and Familists. And tho while I was with them. I was not altogether Ignorant that they used such Phrases of Speech; yet I thought they un­derstood it only by way of Allegory and Methaphor, as Origen, Austin, and other Greek and Latin Fa­thers did, and which I my self have partly used in some of my former Books, only by way of Allegory and Metaphor; but when after all their Shifting, Doubling and Prevaricating, I found [Page 19] they intended this Doctrine should be understood among their Proselites, as indeed it is, according to the literal Interpretation, I did my utmost to oppose the growth of it, and drew the Envy of their Preachers upon my self.

And since I have taken the liberty to charge them with Blasphemy upon this Head, give me leave to incert a Blasphemous Letter in this brief Discourse, for the satisfaction of the Readers that cannot compass it in a larger Volume. The Let­ter was written by John Audland, a Preacher a­mong the Quakers, to George Fox, and the Origi­nal was shewed at the Third Nar 4. p. 67. meeting at Turners-Hall, whereof the following is a true Copy, Spelt and Pointed according to the Original.

DEare and Presious one in wheme my life is bound up and my strenth in thee stands, by thy Breathings I am nourished and Refreshed: and by thee my strenth is Renewed: Blessed art thou for evermore: and blessed are all they that enjoy thee: Life and strenth comes from thee holy one: and thow art the blessed of the Lord for ever more, dear dear reach unto mee that I may be strenthened, to stand in the migh­ty power and dread of the Lord, for the far­visle is very great, my travel and burthen was never so as now since I saw thee: but daily doe I find thy presence with me, which doth exceed­ingly preserve me; for I cannot reane but in thy presence and power: pray for me that I may stand in thy dread for evermore: dear my dear Brother John Cam hath been exceedingly sicke and he is very weak I can say little of his Reco­very as yet his wife is with him she is dear and preciously kept; their dear love is to thee, chreach through all thy mighty power to him this bearer can declare to thee of the work this way: Jo: Wilkinson and Jo: Storey is heare, their love is dearly to thee: deare harte there is one [Page 20] thing that lies upon mee: I shall lay it before thee: as touching my coming into Wiltshire: I was there at Justice Stoks house: and his Fami­ley is all prety loving and convinced: and he is a sober wise Man and there is honesty in him which will stand: and there is a pretey people that way: it hath laid upon me exceedingly these three days of thy being at that place: I know not such another place in all the Coun­trey▪ for thee: dear: I was much wounded to know that thou was in such a rude place and suffers so amongst them: and this was I moved to lay before thee: and great is my de­sire that it may be soe: the place is about 20 Miles from Brestol in Wiltshire one Mile from Chipenam a markete towne Justice: Stoks house Jo Cam tould me that the Justice he was with was a very loveing and pretey man: this bearer was there he can declare to thee more: but oh that thou weare but at that place I mention: it is free and suteable for Frends coming to thee: it lies much upon me: and if thou find Moveings strike over thither I shall say no more of it: the worke is great heare away pray for us all that in thy power we may abide for ever more: I am thyne begoten and nurished by thee and in thy power am I preserved glory unto thee holy one so Ever:

John Audland.

When this Letter was read the Audience was struck with admiration, and generally signified their great Abhorrence of the Blasphemy and Idolatry that was contain'd in it to George Fox: And I que­stion not but it will have the same effect upon every good Christian Reader. The Quakers, who are an Infallible People in every thing but speaking Sence and writing English, and never acknowledge themselves guilty of any Fault, ex­cused [Page 21] Audland's Letter, by saying these words were not intended to George Fox, but to Christ or the Life in George Fox, which some think is a grea­ter offence than the other. The like excuse George Fox made for a Woman Quaker, that in a Qua­kers Meeting call'd George Fox the Holy One of Is­rael: And the same Apology was made for those Quakers that sung Hosanna to James Naylor at his Procession into Bristol. But these Shifts and Quib­lings does not hinder the Practices from being abominable Idolatry, for they are the same excuses that the Heathens give for Worshipping of Idols, because it was not the Idol but the Divine Power that was in it, which they Worshipped.

I charge George Whitehead and William Penn, who are two of the Leaders of the Quakers that cause them to Erre, with downwright Heresie, in denying Christ to be God coequal with the Father Nar. 1. p. 14, 15, 17., and for affirming, That if Christ was Cocreator with the Father, then there were two Gods. Also for de­nying the Existence of a Christ without us, after their Socratical way of Writing; in these words. What Scripture Proof is there that Christ subsisteth outwardly Bodily, without us at God's Right-hand? and where is God's Right-hand, is it visible or invi­sible, within us or without us only? and is Christ a Saviour, as an outward bodily Existence or Person without us, distinct from God, and on that considera­tion to be worshipped as God, Yea or Nay? This way of Talking and Writing is the peculiar knack of the Quakers, who have more Shifts and Subter­fuges to cloak their Heresies than any of the Igna­tion Tribe. In writing about Justification by the Blood of Christ, the same Authors, contrary to the express words of Scripture, say, That 'tis a Confusion, a Labyrinth and Ʋncertainty, to be direct­ed to Christ for Justification and Salvation, both as he suffer'd at Jerusalem, and as he Rose again and is Ascended into Heaven above the Clouds and Firma­ments; and to fill up the Measure of their just [Page 22] Condemnation, Solomon Eccles has published it in Print Nar. 1. p. 27., That the Blood of Christ, in respect of Justi­fication, is of no more efficacy than the Blood of ano­ther Saint; and certainly if ever Comparisons were Odious, this Quakeristical Absurdity is in­tolerable. All their Writings are stuffed with such inexplicable and unintelligible Phrases, and wild Notions, that they seem rather intended to puzzle and distract than inlighten a Reader; and not­withstanding all their fallacious Pretences of being an innocent, plain, simple People, that are most af­fected with Scripture Language; yet they are as far from it as Light from Darkness, for in truth no Society of Men that are called Christians, no not the Church of Rome it self, have so much devia­ted from Scripture Language, and Scripture Do­ctrine and Sence, as the Quakers have done▪ And as the Spirit of Pride and vain Glory does al­ways abound in worthless Minds, as empty Ves­sels and shallow Brooks are known to yield the loudest sound, so the Quakers are always filling the World with their own Commendations, as if there were no good, wise, nor vertuous Men upon Earth, but what were enclosed within the narrow confines of a Quaking Conventicle, whereas in truth the readiest way to know them rightly, is read them in the reverse of the Characters they give themselves.

The Quakers also say, that we are not Justified by the Blood of Christ outwardly shed, which is a piece of Divinity more fit for Bedlam than any sober So­ciety of People, Nar. 1. p. 33. but as if this was not suffici­ent to Stigmatize them, with the approbius Name of Obstinate, or Blind Hereticks, they are pleas'd▪ to add also, That we are not Sanctified by that Blood▪ of Christ that was shed without the Gates of Jerusalem, but by an inward Blood, whose Power and Vertue is unknown to any but the Quakers; and if these are not bold Strokes against the whole Doctrine of the Bible, and the Declarations and Confessions of [Page 23] the whole Christian World, you may add to these another of their Tennets, and that is, Nar. 1. p. 34. That the Body that dieth never riseth again, which is expresly opposite, and contradictory, to many places of Scripture, that especially in Acts the 26th, That Christ should suffer, and should be the first that should be raised from the Dead. In all parts of the World where the Quakers have spread themselves, there is a Universal Neglect among them, of Preaching Christ Crucified, and concerning Faith in him; Preach­ing only the Light within, and Christ within: And when I began to preach up the Fundamental Prin­ciples of the Christian Religion among them, they stood up against me, and charg'd me with preaching up new Doctrines, and one appeal'd to the Monthly Meeting, whether they ever heard of such Doctrines preach'd in the Quakers Meet­ings, directing them to Faith in a Christ without them. I Reverence Divine Providence, that I be­came a Quakers; but if I had known they had had such Errors among them, I would as soon have put my Head into the Fire, as have associated with them

They were so assiduous in maintaining their own Erroneous Principles, that they did all they could to prevent me from opposing them, by re­porting that I was a False Teacher, and accused me for setting up thre Heterodox Principles. Nar. 1. p. 38. & 39. The first was, That Christ's Body rose out of the Grave, and they affirm'd, it never did, and dared me to give an Instance, that one English Quaker was of my Opinion.

The Second Accusation was, that I had said, That it was lawful to pray to Jesus Christ Crucified. And in this also challeng'd me to name one Qua­ker that I ever heard pray to Christ, and when the 1 Cor. 1.2. was read. To all that call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours. The Quakers answer'd, That Paul was as Dark, and as Ignorant as George Keith is; adding, for our part we know better.

[Page 24]The third piece of False Doctrine they accu­sed me of, was, for saying, That the best Saints had need to come always to God by the Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus. This they inveighed against as a gross Error, and said, they would come to God with­out him; this sort of Doctrine is to be found in William Shewen's Book, a Quaker in great esteem among them.

For these things they Excommunicated me first, and afterwards presented me by a Grand Jury, at Philadelphia in Pensilvania, and they would have found me guilty of Death, (though I was wholy Innocent of indeavouring to change the Govern­ment, which they accused me of) if the Govern­ment had not been taken out of their Hands, and I discharg'd from that false and malicious Accusa­tion by Governour Fletcher.

George Whitehead, and William Penn, Nar. 1. p. 38. & 40. by Al­legorizing Plain and Positive Texts of Scripture, have endeavoured to overthrow the Belief of Christ's Birth, his Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and coming to Judgment, and by this Artifice, has left us no Scripture to prove that the Death of Christ was any benefit to us; and as to Christ's coming to Judgment, Whitehead says in an Answer to R. Gordon, that he might look till his Eyes dropt out, before he should see, Christ appear again outwardly in a Bodily Existence. After this having read over my Books, they drew up ten Articles against me, charging me with false Doctrine in ten Particulars▪ and John Humphrey says in his first Letter, that he perceives by those Articles, ‘That my Faith relish­ed too much of Carnality, a carnal Body of Christ in Heaven, a carnal Election and Reprobation, a carnal Justification and Adoption, a carnal Day of Judgment and Resurrection beyond the Grave. I am grieved, says he, to hear some say, they did ex­pect to be justified by that Blood of Christ that was shed at Jerusalem. Is not this to be carnally Minded?’ William Baily, who was a great Prea­cher [Page 25] among the Quakers, and whose Books Nar. 3. p. 3.4. they have Re-printed, says, That the Apostle Preach­ed Christ the word nigh in the Heart, and in the Mouth, and that the Ingrafted Word, is able to save the Soul. He did not preach a Visible Christ with Flesh and Bones, as some others do. So he taught them to pray, Our Father, not to look at his Person, and to pray to him as a Per­son without them, but within them.’

Where we may observe, that if they were not to pray to him as a Person without them, by the same Reason they are not to believe in him as a Person without them; but Christ not only consi­der'd as the Word, who is Omnipresent, and in all Men and Things, but as made Flesh, and having taken the true Nature of Man into a Personal U­nion therewith, and replenishing the same with the fullness of the Godhead, and with all fullness of Grace and Truth, is the Object of the Christian Worship, together with the Father, and the holy Spirit, dwelling and residing in him.

But of all this Antichristian Quaking Crew, none have discovered more Indignity and Hatred to the Blessed Jesus Christ, than William Shewen, in a Book, call'd, A small Treatise concerning evil Thoughts, p. 37. being about to conclude a Paragraph, he saith, Not to Jesus the Son of Abraham, David, and Mary, Saint, or Angel, but to God the Father, all Worship, Honour and Glory is to be given. A Maho­metan would have expressed greater Reverence to Christ than this Quaker has done; but what can be expected from such People as deny the Lord that bought them, and count the Blood of Jesus as unprofi­table to Mankind. And whether these are not suf­ficient Reasons for leaving People of such Prin­ciples, I leave the World to judge.

William Smith, a great Man among them when he was alive, in his Primmer, Printed at London, 1668, Asks this Question, p. 8. Child, but how may I know which are the True, and which are [Page 26] the False Teachers, seeing Words may be the same? and makes Childs the Father thus instruct the Child: ‘Why, they that are false Preach Christ without, and bid People believe in him as he is in Heaven above; but they that are true Mini­sters, they Preach Christ within, and direct Peo­ple to wait to feel him in themselves; and so to believe in him as he makes himself manifest in them.’ And having given this as an infallible Sign of a Quaker, he makes the Child ask; but must I not try all things by the Scriptures? and the Father answers, Nay, for the Scriptures were given forth by the Spirit, and it is the Spirit that tries whether the things be true or false, good or evil.

Here is another piece of the Old Serpents Sub­tilty; for since the Spirit must try all things, they laying a claim to the Spirit, have invested them­selves with a pretence, to make their own Senti­ments of greater Authority than the Sacred Scrip­tures: Which is another good Reason for leaving them that deny the Word of God to be the Test of Christian Doctrines; and though we are commanded to Search the Scriptures, discharge us from doing it.

Through the Pride of their Hearts the Quakers pretend to Infallibility, and a sinless Perfection in this Life Nar. 4. p. 1, 2., vilifying all those that deny them this Prerogative, as under the Curse, in another Spi­rit than Christ, the Prophets, and Apostles were in, that gave forth the Scripture. And George Whitehead affirms▪ Those that Ministers that want In­fallibity have not the Spirit of Christ, but are out of the Truth, and their Ministry is deceiful. And this they as confidently and proudly affirm as the Pope himself.

But it is denied by all Oxthodox Christians, as repugnant to the Doctrine of the New Testa­ment, who yet grant that all the Faithful are in­fallibly led into all Truths necessary to Salvation, [Page 27] by the infallible Spirit in the use of the Holy Scriptures, which contain the infallible Truths of the Gospel. But as this Doctrine of the Quakers is contradictory to Scripture, which brands all with the Infamous Character of Lyars that pretend to it, so it is seldom claim'd, but by those that are farthest from it, as is manifest among the Quakers; who though they pretend to be guided by an in­fallible Spirit, 'tis apparent that many of them are under great Delusions and Errors concerning the great Truths of the Evangelical Dispensation, as has been proved by the foregoing Instances.

Again, as to their pretence to Sinless perfection, he that makes a Scrutiny into their Morals, will scarce find them such a Church as is without Spot or Wrinkle, but are as far from that Perfection which they boast to have attained to, as any other sort of People that pretend to any exactitude in their Conversation; and as to their Principles 'tis cer­tain that George Fox their Quondam Metropolitan, Edward Burroughs, Francis Hougil, Richard Hubber­thorn, and some of their greatest Saints, lived in great Ignorance, Error and Unbelief, in divers great Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, and in great uncharitableness toward such as differ'd from them. The same humour of Self-conceit that began with this People, still continues among them, and G.W. laughs at the Church of England, who are al­ways from Seven Years of Age to Seventy, Pray­ing, Lord have mercy upon us miserable Sinners. Is not this a plain Evidence of the intollerable Pride that reigns among the Quakers concerning their Sinless perfection, who despise not only the Church of England, but all other Christian Chur­ches throughout the World, who pray for For­giveness of Sins, tho' when Christ taught his Disciples to pray for their Daily-bread, he enjoin­ed them also to pray for the Forgiveness of their Sins. Must not the Diseased come to the Physi­cian till they are cured, and those that feel the [Page 28] Burden of Sin pray to be Eas'd? How arrogantly does George Whitehead charge the Church of Eng­land, for Confessing and not Forsaking their Sins. How can he more prove his Charge against them, than against his own Society, or himself. Many in the Church of England, and among other Pro­testants, may compare with the best of Quakers for Holiness of Life, and far exceed them in ma­ny Vertues, especially in Sobriety and Humility. But pray tell me, you Self-conceited Quakers, are not they better employ'd who confess their Sins, and yet through humane Frailty find they Relapse into some Sins than such proud Pharisees as you are, that neither Confess nor forsake your Sins, but employ your Selves in Railing against them that do. They that Confess their Sins shew a Desire, and pray for ability to forsake them, whilst those that say they have no Sin, deceive themselves into such a Security, as is the ready Road to Damna­tion.

The next great Article of Faith which they de­ny, and Fight against is, the Resurrection of the Body; but because the denying this in plain terms, they think would make them be despised, among all the various Professors of Christianity, William Penn being urged to Answer the Proofs that were brought from the 1 Cor. 15. says in his Rejoinder, ‘That let the whole Chapter be considered, and we shall find no such thing as to imply a Bodi­ly Resurrection, but a change from Earthly Mindedness, to a renewed State to God, thro' the Operation of the Spirit.’ Which shews us how they deceive the unwary Readers; who would make them believe they own the Resur­rection of the Body according to the Scripture, and yet mean nothing thereby but Regeneration, or the New Birth in time, before the Death of the mor­tal Body. And seeing this is the Resurrection they own, and no other, according to the Scrip­tures cited by George Whitehead, one of them be­ing [Page 29] Matthew 22.30, 31, 32. in the Resurrection they neither Marry, nor give in Marriage; might not one ask them, whether they don't commit a hainous Crime, who Marry, and continue in a Married State, after they have attained to this Resurrection? And whether their Quondam Bro­ther Thomas Case, did not act more Agreeably to his Principles, who turned away his Wife after he reckon'd he was come to the Resurrection; and whom I heard say, all Marriage was of the Devil; and many know that it was his Principle; but whether he did not supply that Defect by a more fashionable method, Quere.

The Quakers also deny the last Judgment, as is plain from George Whitehead in his Light and Life, [...]. 40.41. who there contending with W.B. about Christ's outward coming in his Glorified Body to Judge the Quick and the Dead, answer'd to the [...]everal Scriptures that W.B. brought for Christ's outward coming at the end of the World, and carries them all to his Inward coming already fulfil­led; and whereas it is said in the 1 Thess. 4.5. That we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord: He asks the Question after his way of Eluding positive Proofs, Whether they did live and remain to a personal coming of Christ in the Clouds, Yea or Nay? Or whether it can be reasonably thought to be a Coming that is not yet, nor that they [...]ived and remained unto? Which is so gross and absurd an Insinuation, that it renders St. Paul to have spoken an Untruth, even by Divine Inspira­tion, when the Apostle said, This we say unto you by the Word of Lord, but they according to their common way of Shifting and Excusing them­selves, say, these were but Queries, tho' the impor­ [...]ance of those Queries imply a positive Denial, [...]nd so will be taken in the sense of all Mankind [...]hat read them; for it is evident in several pla­ [...]es in his printed Books, besides what is here al­ [...]edged, that he does deny that Christ would come [Page 30] to Judge the World in natural and passible Flesh, and not only so, but that he would not come in the same substance of that Body he had on Earth, which was a mortal and passible Body, of the same Nature with ours; for he makes it most absurd; that an Earthly Body, and an Heavenly Body, can be the same Substance, and so denies Christ's being now in Heaven without us, in that Body which rose from the Grave, or his coming without us from Heaven in that Body to Judgment; for there is no place of Scripture of the many that are just­ly brought by Orthodox Christians, to prove Christ's coming without us, in his glorified Body to Judge the World at the great Day of Judgement; but some of their Teachers have turned altogether to his inward Coming, which they say they Witness already fullfilled in them, and they look for no o­ther coming.

To which give me leave to add, That they de­ny the Ʋse of Baptism, and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; which be pleas'd to take in their own words, in a Book call'd, Some Principles of the Elect People of God, in scorn call'd Quakers p. 75.

The Baptism, say they, that we own, is the Bap­tism of Christ with the Holy Ghost and with Fire, but we deny all other; for there is but one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all. They that would have one Baptism outward and another inward, would have two Baptisms, when the Scripture saith the Baptism is but one, and whosoever hath the Baptism outward are the same they are before, but the Baptism of Christ makes a new Creature.And now I see the other to be but a formal Imitation, the Invention of Man, and a meer Delusion.

And speaking of the Lord's Supper they say, It is but feeding upon the Husk and Shell which, is Carnal; for the Bread which the World breaks is Carnal and [...]atural, and only feeds the outward Carnal Body, [Page 31] and goeth into the Belly, and so passeth out into the Dunghill; and so likewise the Cup which they drink, and so the Communion and Fellowship of the World passeth away; but this is no Nourishment of the Soul, but still the Soul lies in Death, and here is no Commu­nion but Natural, Outward and Carnal, of several Minds, and Hearts full of Filthiness and Ʋnclean­ness, which Is the Table of Devils, eating and drinking their own Damnation, not discerning the Lord's Body, which is Spiritual, and cannot be discern­ed by the Natural Man.

William Penn in his Reasons against Railing, p. 108. affirms, That Circumcision is as much in force as Water Baptism, and the Paschal Lamb as Bread and Wine, they were both Shadows, and both Elementary and Perishable. And we can testifie from the same Spirit by which Paul renounced Circum­cision, that they are to be rejected, as not now requi­red; neither have they since the false Church espoused and exalted them, ever been taken up afresh by God's Command, or in the leading of his eternal Spirit; and the Lord will appear to gather his People out of them, but never to establish or keep People in them.

What a sad and fearful Delusion are the Qua­kers under, who call the Institutions of our Blessed Saviour, and which are expresly enjoined to be continued to the end of the World, by such hard Names; which is but spitting their Venom in the Face of the Institutor. Some of the Quakers when they heard me defend the Sacraments, said, George, since thou art for Outward Baptism and the Supper, why dost not practice it? To which I answered, be­cause I had no lawful Call to Baptize others, and as to my self I was satisfied with the Baptism I re­ceived in my Infancy, being born of Christian Parents; for I believe that Baptism being a Seal of God's Covenant of Grace, does as truly belong to the Infant Children of Believers under the New Testament, as Circumcision did to In­fant [Page 32] Children of Believers under the Old Testa­ment.

Next as concerning the Lord's Supper, after it pleased God to convince me that it was and is an Institution of Christ, and let me see my Sin and Errour in rejecting it; for which I have been humbled before God, sincerely and heartily ask­ing him forgiveness, and which I hope God for his Blessed Son's sake has given me: I had for a considerable time some Hesitations about the Law­ful and Due Administrator, and being clearly sa­tisfied in all my Scruples in that particular, I de­laid receiving it for the sake of others, lest my forwardness should give them Offence, in think­ing I did it without such a religious Consideration and Preparation, as was requisite before Recei­ving those Holy Mysteries. That through Mer­cy being also much removed, I became uneasie to delay that longer which I was convinced was my indispensable Duty, and declared I would receive it at the first opportunity, and accordingly did re­ceive it as has been before related: And heartily wish, that all others who are under the same De­lusions and Prejudices, in which I too long conti­nued, would follow my Example, and be made partakers of the same inward Peace and Satisfaction, which through Mercy I enjoy in the Communion of the Church of England.

To conclude: Another Reason why I deserted the Quakers, was, because I am able, through Mercy, to prove, That they do not believe One Article of the Apostle's Creed, in the true Sense of Scripture, and all Orthodox Christians in the whole World; and that all their Teachers pretences to Infallibility, and extraordinary Prophetical Inspi­rations, are all Artifice and Delusion; which joined to the Errors, Heresies and Blasphemy already mentioned, will sufficiently justifie my leaving them.

[Page 33]Now what remains in this short account of my Change, is to give you the Reasons, why among all the Pretenders to the best reformed Church, I have at last enter'd into Communion with the Church of England, in which I shall use all the Bre­vity imaginable. Now as nothing so much con­cerned me as the Salvation of my Soul, and in order to that the choice of my Religion, so I exerted all my Care in examining things conducing to it, that I might be able to give account to others, and have satisfaction in my self, that my Religion was not the Effect of Chance, but espoused upon a deliberate and well-advised Choice, which I take to be the regular Method towards a Settlement. Men may indeed be Confident, but can never be Certain without Knowledge, a diligent Examina­tion of the▪ Things proposed to their Considera­tion: And this made me more in love with the Church of England, that does not require a blind Obedience; but is contented her Doctrines should be examined by the clearest Light, in which I could largely expatiate in her Commendation, and the Reproof of others that withhold the means of Instruction from their Members, and boast of an absolute Infallibility which they have no pre­tence to; but I hasten to the Reasons that obliged me to close with the Church of England.

And the first was, because in Purity of Do­ctrine and Discipline the comes nearest to the Pattern of Primitive Christianity. [...] She retains the Three Creeds, and does not reject the first General Councils, and administers the Sacra­ments according to the Divine Prescription. All her Children pray in a Tongue they un­derstand, and only to God through Jesus Christ▪ This Church presses Men to Piety, Loyalty, Humility and Charity, and earnestly [Page 34] desires the Salvation of Mankind. She Prea­ches up the Excellency of Good Works, but places her hope in the Mercy of God and the Mercy of his Son, and every one that lives up to the Principles of this Religion are Safe and Happy.

Secondly, Because in the main Articles of Faith the whole Church is of one mind, and have as much Unity in Faith among them, as they had in the first Churches planted by the Apostles themselves: And their Differences are in lesser and secondary things, which have no relation to the Primitive Doctrines of Christian Religion: Which who ever opposes they disown him, and look upon as in a Fa­ction against the Church; which is not there­by broken, nor the Unity of its Faith destroy­ed: For though some Men have preached strange Doctrines, and drawn Disciples after them, (which is no more than they did in Apostles days) yet they have not prevailed a­gainst this Church, nor overturned its Faith: And if some looser Part of the People have been carried away, yet the Body of the Church, like an unmovable Rock, still per­sists in as great Unity as was antiently in any of the Apostolical Churches, and that is abun­dantly sufficient to invite us to Conformity with it, and Perseverance in it.

Thirdly, Another Reason that induced me to embrace the Religion professed in the Church of England, was, Because she main­tains [Page 35] the Scriptures to be the Word of God, the Rule of Faith, the Judge of Controversies, and the Guide of Humane Life; so that if we con­sult our Reasons, use our Eyes, and mind our Rule, we cannot miscarry. To this Rule St. Paul sends Timothy for Instruction, and commands him to give attendance to Reading, viz. the Holy Scriptures, which he had known from a Child, and which were able to make him wise to Salvation through Faith which is in Christ Jesus: They being given by Inspiration of God, that even a Man of God (like the antient Pro­phets) might be perfected, and throughly furnish­ed unto all good Works, for every part of his Employment. St. Paul directs him to these Holy Writings, as a means to preserve him in the Christian Belief, ver. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast le [...]ned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them, and that from a Child thou hast learned the Holy Scriptures, &c. What we have learned from them, we are assured of, we know from whom they come, and are certain we are taught of God when we read these holy Books: But cannot be assured of any other Tradition or pretended Revelation of the Spirit, and therefore ought to continue stedfast in our adherence to the Scriptures, and both to suspect those who would draw us from this hold, and stick to those Guides who bid us stick to this, and prove all things by it; for it is evident that they have no mind to de­ceive us; but do, in effect, bid us believe God and follow his Directions, and rely upon [Page 36] his Authority: Who cannot mislead us; and will not suffer us to be misled, if we continue in the things which we have learned out of the Holy Scriptures.

For taking them to be our Rule, we shall neither admit any thing which is contrary to that Rule; nor shall we take any thing to be an essential part of the Christian Faith which is not there delivered unto us, For it is not consistent with the Notions we have of God's Infinite Goodness and Wisdom, to believe he would give us a Rule which is defective in necessary things. No, he hath abundantly provided here for our Instruction, in all such Matters: And as we ought to refuse that which contradicts any part of these holy Books, so we ought not to think it necessary that we should entertain any thing which they do not teach us: And teach us plainly and evidently; for in all necessary things they are very clear and perspicuous, else they could not be a Rule unto us, but we must seek for some other▪ The Apostles Creed, for instance (which the Antients call the immovable Rule of Faith, a short Summary of Christian Faith, beyond which, as they speak▪ we ought not to seek for Faith) together with the Nice Creed and Athanasius's, which expound the Apostles, Ought throughly to be received and believed; for that they may be proved by most certain War­rants of Holy Scriptures. But whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to required of any Man, that it should be believed a [...] [Page 37] an Article of Faith, or be thought requisite or ne­cessary to Salvation.

This is the Doctrine of the Church of Eng­land in its Sixth and Eighth Articles, unto which let us strictly keep, if we would not be carried to and fro uncertainly, with the Blasts of vain Doctrines, which have no cer­tain Warrant in the Holy Scriptures, and therefore are not to be Received; or are con­trary to them, and therefore are to be Reject­ed. Here we must fix, and believe that here we are safe: For the Scriptures want nothing to compleat us in Christian Wisdom; which they do not wrap up in Obscurity, but, as far as is needful, give us a clear understanding of the Doctrines of Faith. And make us under­stand withal, if we please to consider them, that having laid our▪ Foundation well, in a firm Belief of those great and necessary things, which out of the Scriptures are summed up in the Creeds before named; we need not trou­ble our selves about other Matters, which are not so evident; but make it our whole Busi­ness in this World, to raise the solid Super­structure of a Holy Life, upon the Foundation of Faith in Christ.

The last Reason I shall mention at this time, is, That this Church has not suited her Do­ctrines to advance any secular Interests; but her Religion is Heavenly in its Principle, and Pure in its Aim, disdaining to stoop to mean Arts for Wealth and Worldly Dignities. Re­ligion [Page 38] was designed as the greatest Blessing to Mankind, and the Author of the Christian was a great Lover of humane Race; in con­formity to whose blessed Example this Holy Church cancels none of our Obligations to God or Man, but teacheth the absolute Ne­cessity of Contrition, and Repentance, and Mor­tification of our Lusts, to Obey our Superiors, to Love God and our Neighbours, to follow Justice, Mercy and Peaceableness: To be Cha­ritable to the Poor, and to do to all Men as we would they should do by us: To use no Craft or Equivocations, but to be Sincere in all our Actions and Professions; to live in Kindness, Civility, and under the firmest Obligation to a true and lasting Friendship. And if any of the Quakers think fit to oppose these Doctrines, they may promise themselves an Answer.


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