A FRIENDLY EPISTLE TO Neighbour JOHN TAYLOR, OF The CITY of NORWICH; Occasion'd by looking over his SERMON preached at the opening of his NEW CHAPPEL: CONTAINING An earnest Invitation to him to join the QUAKERS, and not to attempt to raise up a NEW SECT, when there are so many already in the World: By M. ADAMSON: An ENGLISH PROTESTANT.

The Third Edition. To which it added by way of Postscript, A SHORT DIALOGUE BETWEEN Mr. Timothy Tell-truth & Obadiah Friendly.

Elijah mocked them, and said Cry aloud, for he is a God: Either he is talking; or he is pursuing; or he is on a Journey: or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked. Kings.

— Riden [...]em dicere verum Quid vetat? HOR.

LONDON, Printed: BOSTON, N. E. Re-printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND, in Queen-street, opposite to the Probate-Office. 1758.



WHEREAS it has been industriously report­ed, that this and the other Person is the Author of this Performance; these are to certify, that it matters not who is the Author; the great Question is, whether there is any Foundation for what is here suggested, and if there be, whether the Doctor would not do well either to alter his Conduct, or to vindicate the Practice of double-dealing and double-speaking. Else to shew Canse why he may not be regarded as a Popish Priest in Disguise, especially if it can be proved that his Writings con­tain the very worst Errors of Popery, even the rankest Poison in all their corrupt System. For what consistent Protestant does not see that the ab­surd Doctrine of Transubstantiation is an innocent Mistake, a childish Foible, an intellectual Folly, compared with discarding the Righteousness of the great Mediator, and introducing a Man's own Righteousness as the Matter & Cause of his Justi­fication in the Sight of God. This is the Master­wheel of the Popish Machine, the [...] of the grand Apostacy.

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I Have read over thy Sermon, which thou didst preach, or read, to thy people, at the open­ing thy New Place, which, thou hast named by the name of CHAPPEL: doubtless to remind all men, that the doctrine common­ly taught there; is Popish Doctrine: I do not mean, that thou teachest Transubstantiation; or Obedience to the Pope of Rome; for thou art evidently, too much a Pope thy self, to be subject to another; and art too much devoted to the Goddess Reason, to admit of any mystery, much less absurdity into thy Creed. It was in thy heart, to read a Sermon to thy people, on the occa­sion; it was not well, it was in thy heart to do so; for I am afraid, it was the pride of thy heart to do so; to chuse to do it thy self, rather than employ any one of thy friends, in such a service; which thou knowest, is the usual custom, amongst thy fraternity. Indeed friend John, though thy principles are pretty much the same with ours, I am surpriz'd at thy vanity in being so taken with a gaudy, showy, costly building: this is quite in­consistent with thy other pretensions. Thou mayst talk of humility, 'till thy tongue aches, no body can or will think thee to be in earnest, while thy priestly robes and costly temple do evidently so much ingross thy thôts. Be advised by me neighbour John and pull off thy mask; lay aside thy priestly garments; put on a plain Lay-dress, and come among us; we will receive thee: [Page 2] thy reason and our Light within will very well agree. I am a little afraid thou wilt make poor work of the Spi­rit and his operations, but if thou wilt but be teachable, we will soon put thee into the way of it. Pray friend John how camest thou to chuse to be called Christian? or what right hast thou to that name any more than we? Thou deniest original sin, so do we: thou deniest im­puted righteousness, so do we; thou deniest Christ's satisfaction, so do we: thou expectest to be saved by thy own righteousness, and for thy own good deeds, so do we. In short thou deniest almost all the doct­rines which are well known among Protestants by the name of the great doctrines of the reformation from Popery; so do we; because they are contrary to our Light within; and thou deniest them because they are contrary to thy reason: so then our Light within and thy Reason seem to be much the same. Why then dost thou not come among us, to whom thou dost evi­dently so naturally belong? Or art thou determin'd to increase the number of sectaries, and to the Episco­parians, Presbyterians, Independants, Anabaptists, Cal­vinists, Arians, Trinitarians, Whitfilites, Westleites, add the venerable name of Talorians: Taylor! a most respectable name; the most ancient name in the world; our father Adam being by trade a Taylor, which by the way, is the most reputable business with all rational beings, because entirely natural. Happy man therefore art thou in this thy name, and art evidently as much de­sign'd to be the head of a party, as ever Adam was to be the father of posterity: and certainly more fit for it, forasmuch as thou art wiser than Adam; for with­out flattery, I think it more reasonable to suppose thee as wise as Sir Isaac Newton, than it was for thee to suppose him wiser than Adam; and to be plain with thee, and convince thee that I flatter thee not, I should be of the same mind if I knew thee to be a fool.

But I say to thee again; pull off thy mask and be [Page 3] not ashamed to declare thy self either a Quaker or a Romish priest. How dost thou dare to call thy self Christian, when thou knowest in thy own heart that thou believest not the peculiar doctrines of christianity? which we also believe not, and for this plain reason as I said before, because our Light within, as thy Reason comprehendeth them not.

Thou didst publish as I am told, some years ago, The Assembly's Catechism revised and rendered fitter for General Use; by what authority thou didst do it, no body knows but thy self, though any body may sup­pose by the contents of that performance, it was done by the command of the Pope of Rome; it being direct­ly contrary to reformation-principles.

Thou art now publishing a very Great Work, and as thou wouldest have the world believe, a very learn­ed work, A Hebrew Bible Dictionary; I will recom­mend to thee as the last work of thy life, and to com­pleat all thy works, to publish The Holy Bible revised and made more fit for General Use: As it now stands it is by no means fit for thy purpose; witness the dreadful havock thou hast made with Psal, li. ver. 5.

But I forget my self: thou art an oracle, and as such, to be consulted by all thy votaries, thô they may all spare their pains, for two words are the sum of all thou hast to say. Reason and Candour; Reason and Candour; Reason and Candour; and the mischief of all is thou meanest no more by them than the mad-brain'd Ephe­sian mob did by Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Be honest, open and free then my dear friend, tell the world what thou art, but for shame call not thy self Christian: for why shouldst thou arrogate this name to thy self any more than we? we do not profess our selves Christians; we believe Jesus of Nazareth to have been a very good man, to have set a noble ex­ample of patience, humility, obedience, &c. but we have no dependance on him, we put no trust in him [Page 4] any more than thou dost. Poor Paul indeed in an en­thusiastical fit, cries out: I know whom I have trusted, and I am perswaded he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day. And Isaiah in the same sort of paroxism, cries out, Trust ye in the Lord for ever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlast­ing strength. But then you know Paul was a Christian profest, a rank one, ready to sacrifice every thing to the cause of Christianity: declar'd its doctrines disagreable as they were to the prejudiced reason of men of cor­rupt minds: own'd himself a believer of them, though they were to the foolish infidel Jews a stumbling-block, and to the wise rational Greeks foolishness. So they were in the apostolic age: so they still are to you and me; and to all in our way; nor can I see any help for it; since it is evident beyond all contradiction that Christianity proposes such principles which thy Reason and my Light within can never admit. That Jesus Christ is truly God, the creator of all things visible and invisible, is plainly enough taught in the old and new testament, but neither our Light within, nor thy Reason can comprehend how this can be; and therefore we leave it to the faith of men, who believe any thing that God declares, however mysterious and incomprehensi­ble, to credit what we can give no credit to; our Light within and thy Reason are both superiour to any reve­lation, just as a judge is superior to the counsellors, to the lawyers, yea to the poor criminals he is to try. In­deed, there is this difference between thee and us: we have try'd revelation, and find it contains such principles as our Light within calls absurd, therefore like honest men we gravely discard it. But thou and those in thy way have the impudence of ten thousand harlots, while with brows of brass ye hold the Bible in your hands, tell the world that contains your religion; and at the same time deny all its peculiar, and distinguish­ing doctrines. This! this! is that which has fill'd this [Page 5] land with Atheists; this is the cursed root of that infi­delity now prevailing in the world: this! this! is the master-piece of the old serpent's subtilty, who hath been for a long time let loose to deceive the nations.

Surely, friend John, it is time to lay these things to heart, to think seriously what the issue of these practi­ces will be: thou hast the art of writing very solemn­ly, and if thou art not sincere in what thou writest, thou art a very bad man indeed: but thou knowest thy self to mean as thou sayest; and this is to be thy excuse, how wrong soever thou art.

But pray, neighbour John, was not Paul, whom thou hast lucubrated on, sincere when a persecutor? Yea, thou wilt say, and a good man too; those in thy way say so; but pray now, are we to credit thee and them, or the apostle himself? I suppose thou think­est it was his modesty that made him say, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief; but let me tell thee, thy thinking, and the thinking of those in thy way is no rule, or standard of truth. And unless truth and falsehood, good and evil be the same, it is my opinion, Paul was not a good man, 'till he was convert­ed; and I am sure he himself thought so. But thou art a very wise man, and hast gotten a key, a well wro't one too, to the apostolick writings: thou wast, doubt­less, brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, a cotempo­rary with the apostle Paul; or like him hast been caught up to heaven, and there conversed with Paul, who, has told thee how to explain the gospel scheme, and the principal words and phrases, the apostles have used in describing it. I wish then thou wouldst be so honest as to use words and phrases as they are common­ly understood, and do not any longer be so wicked as to use words and phrases with thy own meaning affixed to them; which meaning, no body thinks of but thy self, and those in thy way, nor ever thought of 'till thou Great Genius arose to enlighten the dark and be­nighted world.

[Page 6] Take heed, neighbour John, thou art upon a dange­rous pinnacle, the pinnacle of pride; thou boastest thy self to be somebody, & thou & thy admirers are great folks in your own opinions; but great as thou art, thy pride may be soon abased: and thy scheme, fond as thou art of it, may be brought to nought. Some people think, fine as it is, and pleasing to the pride and flattery of hu­man nature, that it is built on the sand, and therefore cannot stand, when ever a storm comes, but will cer­tainly fall, and great will be the fall thereof. — Dost thou really think that thou understandest the Greek lan­guage better than any one else? or that none read the Greek Testament but thee and thy friends, that thou takest upon thee to be such a dictator, and to write all that thou writest in such a magisterial strain? Surely more humble and candid language would better corres­pond with thy pretensions; especially as thou art aim­ing to introduce an [...]ion, and such a one as was scarce ever heard of before, which yet will not be compleat if thou leavest the Atheist and the devil out of it.

I cannot conceive, friend John, why thou and thy friends have been at so great expence in procuring the noblest place of the kind, for thee and those in thy way to speak in: this could not proceed from such a spirit and temper as thy master possessed. I suppose in the city where thou dwellest, a place good enough for thee to speak in and for thy friends to hear, might have been well finished for fifteen hundred pounds, what account then will ye give to your Great Lord and final Judge for two thousand pounds and upwards, sunk and wasted, which might have been a noble generous fund for the poor? Or may be ye are all rich; have no poor among you, yet as the whole world are God's offspring and we are all one common fraternity, I think it would have been a noble, generous, disinterested scheme to have two thousand pounds or more, as a fund, raised by a few professed christians at Norwich, on pur­pose [Page 7] to relieve any distressed among mankind all the world over. By this means thy name would found to the ends of the earth, and thy remembrance last from generation to generation: but thy humanity and uni­versal love doth not yet extend it self so far: may be ye will do this also, and verily if what I write should put it into your heads, for without doubt ye have it in your hearts naturally; generosity, humanity, benevo­lence, boundless and universal love growing in their native soil. I say, if what I write should put it into your head to raise a fund for the purpose above-men­tioned, I shall think my self amply rewarded for my trouble, in having the blessings of the poor so long as the world endureth.—

As thy principles are so diametrically opposite to the articles of the establish'd Creed, it was very politick in thee to declare thy respect for king GEORGE, whose mild and merciful government gives thee liberty to be any thing but a profest Atheist, and to write any thing except direct Infidelity. But give me leave to tell thee that thou art quite mistaken in thinking that what thou hast written is generally approved, for bad as this kingdom is, there are thousands and ten thousands in it who hate thy principles almost as they hate Atheism it self, and Great as thou thinkest thy self to be, regard thee in this very disagreeable view, as fatan himself transformed into an angel of light: When thou pub­lishest again I would like to see thy paraphrase on this passage, and that thou wouldst tell the world what sort of Being the devil is when so transformed; and whether this respects his intellectual or practical conduct. Thy key will undoubtedly do here, being a key of the most excellent temperature, and workmanship, so admirably contrived, as to be able to unlock every hard and diffi­cult passage, however hamper'd, or cover'd over with Calvinian superstition or Reformation rust. Thy key of knowledge will do wonderful things, it would if [Page 8] possible make light darkness, good evil, truth error; at least it will do its utmost to confound these things to blend them together, and so make it still more difficult to the human mind to distinguish one from the other. No man talks more of truth than thou dost, and no man seems to understand what truth is, less than thy self: I mean, if Revelation be the standard of truth; but if thy Reason and the Reason of the men in thy way, as our inward Light, be the standard, then for ought I know thou mayst understand what truth is as well as any since the days of Lock and Newton: but then thou knowest these men's Light, like thine and ours, was superior to that of Revelation, so not to be re­gulated by it. It is by thy Reason that thou judgest of Revelation and all the doctrines therein contained: what thou findest there which thy Reason can take up and account for rationally, that thou givest credit to, but wherever Revelation forsakes thy Reason, or soars above it, there thou forsakest that and gettest a­bove it too; so art even. This is thy manner, and this ours, and surely this is the right way of proceeding: for any doctrine which we cannot clearly take in, or which reason, every man's reason cannot as clearly and as rationally understand as that two and two are equal to four, can be no doctrine for rational Beings to give credit to.

This then at one happy stroke cuts off the common­ly received doctrines of the Trinity, the true and proper Diety of the Son and Spirit two natures in Christ: ori­ginal sin, imputed righteousness, justification by faith; particular election; efficacious grace; regeneration and conversion; sanctification by the Spirit's influences; and final perseverance; and having strip'd Christianity of these exeressences, which like Wens on the body have been long a most grievous incumbrance, it leaves it a most delightful system of Paganism improv'd.

[Page 9] My mentioning this, puts me in mind of a name which thou and we, and all in thy way ought to go by, and that is improv'd Pagans; that of Quakers for us, and New-Light Men for you, doth not sound half so pretty, nor is it half so just as improv'd Pagans. Hail! then ye wise Men of the East, who have been conducted by some auspicious Star to these Climes of Darkness, to give knowledge to the ignorant, to knock of the setters of superstition and bigotry, and to administer such in­structions as never entered into the human heart, 'till ye great men arose, and with a courage and resolution su­perior to all that ever went before you, have adventured to take such liberties with the sacred volume, which were you to take with Virgil or Homer, you would run the risk of being hooted thro' the streets for a company of owls.—But thou art a very wise man, so wise that wisdom is to die with thee, and therefore no wonder that thou hast found out the grand secret which has been hid from all the world, 'till thou by thy great sagacity and penetrating eye, hast discovered it. That we are all Christians, & only Christians, Christians & only Christians, tho' both practically & doctrinally we know nothing of Christ, nor desire it: Christians tho' nothing that is pure­ly christian be any part of our creed: Christians tho' no­thing of christianity be believed by us; for I would ask thee what dost thou believe concerning Jesus Christ, which we do not believe? and yet didst thou ever know that we have even coveted the christian name? What thou meanest by it then thou wouldest do well to ex­plain, and let the world know why thou chusest to be called Christian rather than Antichristian, and why thou art not content with calling thy self a Man, or a Crea­ture, for as such thou knowest that thou standest in the same relation to the universal Parent, as the Turk or Jew, and they are equally God's offspring as thy self, thou being of the same family, of the same fraternity, all brethren.

[Page 10] I find I must call back one sentiment express'd in the beginning of this my Epistle: namely that the Goddess Reason will not suffer thee to admit any absurdity into thy Creed. Now on second thoughts I find thou hast admitted an absurdity as great as can be invented: and this thy boasted reason can admit, which like the rea­son of a Roman Catholick, can admit of any thing but truth and found divinity. But what is this absurdity thou wilt say? why truly nothing less than this, that the Creator is a Creature, that he that made the worlds was made himself; in short, that Jesus Christ is an in­ferior God: now I defy thee and all the men in thy way to produce a greater absurdity than this. Thou hadst much better with us, be consistent with reason, and declare he is no God at all, for nothing is more plain than this, that Revelation declares for one God, Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost. Indeed this is not ratio­nal according as reason is now in man; but that it is scriptural is as plain as that there is any such book called the Bible.

Pray now my friend, think of this a little more, and consider what thou meanest by calling thy self Christian, and at the same time betraying thy master's cause; call­ing thy self Christian, and at the same time discarding from thy Creed, (for a Creed thou hast as well as other men), almost every Notion, almost every Principle that is properly Christian. I wonder what thy friends Owen, Howe, Charnock or Flavel, would say to thee, if they were now in our world: they were Christians and only Christians as well as thee, but I suppose thy vanity prompts thee to suspect that they understood nothing of Christianity comparatively with thee. This I am sure of, if they were in the main Right, thou art in the main Wrong, unless right and wrong be synonimous terms, and I almost think they are so with thee; for if thou livest a little longer, and writest a little more, I shall expect to see a pamphlet intitled, John against [Page 11] Taylor, for great as thy genius is, thou sometimes for­gettest what thou hast said heretofore, as I may acquaint thee soon if thou dost not prevent me by taking more care what thou sayest.

Indeed, friend John, though I respect thee as a mo­ralist & philosopher, yet as a Christian divine, though a doctor, I must tell thee thou art an object of the greatest pity or contempt among all parties but thy own. As a divine thou art a Don Quixote all over, and wilt as soon bring thy divinity to be credited, and received as truth, as that romantic history. Spare thy pains, my friend, spare thy pains, unless thou wilt embark in a better cause. What cause would I have thee to em­bark in, thou wilt say? alas, I fear thou hast that cause to learn yet, notwithstanding all thy learning, I mean the cause of experimental religion. Experimental re­ligion, what is that? is there any thing of it in the Bible? if there be, strange I should not know of it! Sayst thou so my Friend. Pray hast thou carefully read over the book of Psalms? if thou hast, and find­est not experimental religion there, it is a dead letter to thee I am sure, whatever it be to us. Experimen­tal religion, I am told, is only to be known by expe­rience, and take my word for it, all barely rational men can know no more of it than a blind man, one born so, knows of colours; and that is little enough to be sure; since there certainly is as much need of the di­vine sun as the natural to enable us to see things aright: but what am I saying, when it is well known thou and I are both perswaded that this divine sun we have both been blessed with all our days, thou with the divine sun of natural Reason, and I with the same intellectual lu­minary the Light within? Be not affronted my friend John, at my still claiming so near a relation; for I assure thee in my opinion, the cathedral of Paul at London, and that of Peter at Rome, are not so alike, nor the church of England, and the church of Rome so near [Page 12] a-kin as thou and I are. I will therefore claim rela­tion, for I shall like thee well if thou wilt but appear as a man, and lay aside all apish airs. I mean airs of imitation: for why dost thou wear the black gown ra­ther than the white? Surely it thou designedst it as emblematical, the white would be much more agreea­ble to thy pretensions of absolute innocence, and native purity, more especially as these have been preserved by thee in so extraordinary a manner that thou cer­tainly, yea infallibly art the greatest pattern of inno­cence & purity which has appeared in our world these many years, and therefore the most fit of all poor, weak, silly Adam's offspring to be at the head of old Heresies new vamp'd: for I am ready to think all thou hast said or canst say against old truth & old ways, may be found in substance a among the old Hereticks men­tion'd by father Austin; namely, the Simonians, Me­na [...]drians, Saturnilians, Basilidians, Nicolaitans, Gno­sticks, Carpocratians, Cerenthians, Nazaraeans and He­bionites. It is proper for thee to consider whether thou dost well in sowing such tares afresh, which grow so naturally in the human soil, and are like to bring forth a plentiful harvest, to thy great joy no doubt, on supposition the enemy of souls, the Pope of Rome, and thou art joined in league aud confederacy: but if this is not to be supposed, what canst thou mean in doing the devil's and the Pope's work for them, for that thy sentiments are popish and diabolical will be evident so long as pride, superstition and bigotry are so. And as much as thou professest to hate bigotry, there is not perhaps a greater bigot in the three kingdoms than thou art, so great a proficient art thou in calling things by wrong names: but thou hast been a long while learn­ing this art, and it must be said, thou art at length a compleat master of it, at least more so than any one else of the human race. What! neighbour John Taylor of the city of Norwich, a Bigot! the very [Page 13] last man surely that should be mention'd as being of such a character! doth he not recommend himself as the most catholic man of the age? hath he not formed and is he not promoting the most extensively catholick scheme that was ever invented! and what! after all a Bigot! what a deceitful, treacherous creature then is man! His writings prove him so, as any one may see who will read them. Pretences and reality are quite different things; facts are stubborn things. Preten­sions quite yielding, will admit of almost any impression; and this accounts for it that bigotry & prejudice should reign in the mind that pretends to the highest degrees of Charity, Catholicism and Candor.

Indeed neighbour, I would gladly excuse thee, and think the best of thee I possibly can; but thou art verily too guilty in this respect and very often, in the course of thy lucubrations, when thy argument runs sadly low, thy astonishment, surprize and wonder, thy censure, reproach and ridicule run much too high: I do not say too high for thy Subject, but too high for thy pretensions; thy pretensions I mean, to candour, softness and moderation. But possibly these and such­like words were the first words that thou didst learn to speak, and as thou hadst no ideas connected with them in thy infant state, so thou hast forgotten all thy life long to mean any thing by them, or possibly they are words used by thee, as many other words are both in conver­sation and writing, as expletives, and so are designed for sound, or to fill up a sentence, rather than to convey any sense or meaning: Be this as it will, I would advise thee for the future, in all thy publications, to put at the be­ginning or end of thy performance, an alphabet of all dubious or equivocal words thou usest; that so thyreader may certainly & infallibly know what thou meanest by what thou sayest, for hitherto many, very many of those who read thy lucubrations are greatly in the dark as to this: in my opinion thou dost not use thy friends well in [Page 14] treating them in this manner: And if I am not misin­formed, some of the most eminent of thy speaking bre­thren have hinted so much to thee. It is time for thee to come out of the mist and declare thyself. And be thou as honest in thy way as we are in ours, so thou wilt deserve the respect of all, however they may differ from thee in religious opinions.

There is one thing more I must not forget to hint to thee, and to the men in thy way. I observe with what peremptoriness ye assert that God is by no means an arbitrary Being, without declaring what ye mean by arbitrary: now in my apprehension, and if I know what the word arbitrary does certainly and infallibly mean, no other being is arbitrary, absolutely so, but God, as it is held forth and declared in the scriptures: nay, I find a Pagan prince, the proudest man the sun ever saw asserting so much. And at the end of the days, I Nebuchadnezzer listed up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou ? Dan. iv. 34, 35. But perhaps thou thinkest this language of his was the effect of his phren­zy, and therefore wild visionary and enthusiastic, and I know thou art terribly afraid of Enthusiasm: Well, should this be granted thee, what wilt thou say to the words of Jesus Christ: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy fight. Mat. xi. 25, 26. To get over this thou must strain every nerve [Page 15] of thy reasoning powers, thou must twist and turn a­bout every word, and then put the whole passage into thy theological mould, and it shall turn our with an impression of thy own forming; exactly suited to thy scheme however contrary to the genuine design of Christ Jesus. Yet after all: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy fight, is all the reason God will give in a thousand and ten thousand instances, in the kingdoms of nature, providence and grace: whether thy Reason, and our Light within will approve there­of or not. Thou knowest best what end thou hast in what thou doest, but if thou really thinkest that the truth of God will more abound thrô thy lie, let me tell thee thou art greatly mistaken, for truth needeth no covering, no deceit, no fraud to recommend it. Thou hast the more reason to be open, honest and free, be­cause thy king and country give thee leave to be so. In some former reigns the case was otherwise, but thou hast no temptation now, to write or speak aenigmatically. We may speak what we will, and thou mayst write what thou pleasest without being persecuted for so doing, un­less thou thinkest animadversions on thy Lucubrations, a species of persecution: but this thou canst not think without acknowledging thy self a persecutor. On the whole then let me advise thee to speak out plainly, and tell the world what benefit Christianity is of, according to thy scheme, if there is so much truth, honesty, good­ness and sobriety among the heathen, as thou supposest, and that all things consider'd they are better than the christian world in general. Surely if thy suppositions be true, it had been better for the world to have re­mained Heathens, and to have continued in their Ido­latry and Superstition, than that Christianity should ever have been introduced, especially as according to thy notion of things the generality of christians have been the most wicked, lewd, bloody and treacherous [Page 16] of all mankind. I am ready to apprehend those lewd, wicked, bloody, treacherous men, if the matter be look­ed into closely, were no Christians at all, any more than Judas was a Christian, or those who are involv­ed in the grand Apostacy. These may indeed make pretensions to the Name, as a lunatick may to royalty; but no more to do with the thing than he is heir to a crown: nevertheless they may say it, and repeat it too as often as thee; we are Christians and only Christians: we are Christians and only Christians: But ask them, what a man should be in order to have a Right to that name, and see if the answer will tally with the fact.

Every one knows a Christian should be humble, be­nevolent, teachable, ready to submit to the authority of divine revelation; and to credit what God declares, however superior to human reason, however above man's comprehension. But if this is what a Christian should be, if this be what every real Christian is, it is plain beyond all contradiction, that neither thee nor I, nor Any in our way, have any thing to do with the Christian name. I would therefore advise thee for the future to lay no claim to it, unless thy design be to s;peak it fair and smoothly in the ear, while thou art wounding it under the fifth rib, and striking a dagger into its very vitals: if this be thy design it must be owned thy path is plain before thee, and thou hast made a considerable progress therein: and was I an absolute enemy to Christianity. I would say, In the name of Lucifer go on and prosper. But it is almost time for me to draw to a close, which I shall soon do, after having offer'd thee a few hints more.

Do not be displeased at my thus addressing thee: if thou art the honest man thou wouldest have the world believe thee to be, lay aside Esau's raiment, pull off the goat-skin gloves, do not try to alter the voice, but speak and act as thou art, be thou whatever thou wilt. Do not flatter thy friends, and yet I would have thee be [Page 17] thankful that they have settled so peaceably in their new place, and in their new seats: a very extraor­dinary circumstance I do assure thee, and what hath scarce ever happen'd among the people of thy deno­mination; never where such a temple was erected: the greatest quarrels subsisting among them very often noto­riously arising from a thirst after superiority or some family whim respecting seats, and sitting in their syna­gogues. Happy art thou, and happy are thy people in this particular; and it would be a piece of cruelty not to congratulate ye all, on this account, since it is almost the only thing, which is like Christianity, which is to be found amongst you.

I say again, my friend do not be angry, I wish better things could be said of thee, and of others too, but the Truth, and nothing but the Truth will take place some time, and the sooner the better. If these things are so, or if there be a tincture of Truth in what I have been briefly hinting, it is time for thee to think of al­tering thy course, and either to come among us, or go where thou most belongest to; but prithee do not at­tempt to increase the number of Sects, of which there are too many already in our land; enow indeed to em­ploy one had he the wisdom of Solomon, and did he live to the age of Methuselah, to judge and determine what is right and what is wrong, among the numerous and jarring opinions invented by enterprizing men, the Don Quixots of their respective ages, from Dr. Simon Magus down to Doctor Ta [...]alttbob the Author of Great is Diana at Ephesus.

I am just ready to finish, but only must beg thy pa­tience a little longer, by asking thee what thou meanest by so unscriptural and therefore, in speaking concern­ing God, so irrational a phrase as the supreme father? why wilt thou choose to be wise above what is written, when thou professest the written word to be thy rule and standard: what warrant hast thou to call the father [Page 18] supreme, any more than to call the son so? or dost thou choose in direct contempt of what is commanded, and in opposition thereto, to honour the son less than the father? I pray thee now, as thou wilt call thyself a Christian, what hath the Father done for thee and o­thers, which the Son and Spirit have no hand in? what has the Son done for thee and others which the Father and Holy Ghost have nothing to do with? or what has the Spirit of God done for thee and others which ye are no ways indebted to the Father and Son for? and if thou canst not conceive how Father, Son and Spirit are one God, the only living and true God, the great and only object of religious worship; does it from hence follow that the written word has not declared that it is so? as well mayest thou suppose there is no such thing as the light of the Sun, because when it shineth the owl can­not see to fly. Is thy understanding the measure what deity is, or can be, or do? so far from it that it is very plain it is not sufficient at all times to give the true sense and meaning of a passage of the written word. Strange indeed! that a doctor of divinity should over­look the primary genuine obvious sense of the text he discourses from: and yet apprehend thou must own that this is thy case, if thou wilt compare Micah v. 5. and Ephes. ii 14. with the text. Is it not plain as any thing can possibly be that the prophet by peace has a view to the person of the Messiah, and intends to put them in mind of this: that this illustrious and truly divine personage would give a glory, an ornament, a splendor to the second temple, or latter house incom­parably superior to all the magnificence and grandeur of the former house. As to the truth and propriety of this I leave. But that this is the intention of Hag­gai is as evident as the meridian sun. How astonishing then that this should escape thy penetrating eye: that the streams should engage all thy attention and the fountain be wholly ever-look'd.

[Page 19] I would advise thee whenever thou publishest again to follow the example of honest George Whitfield: look back on what thou hast written, and own and ac­knowledge thy mistakes, be as frank, open and explicit in thy retractions, as thou hast been rash in thy re­flections on men much better than thy self. Carry lower sail, or old and artful as thou art, thou wilt cer­tainly split against a rock, and so make a dreadful shipwreck of Faith whatever becomes of thy con­science. Let modesty, honesty, sincerity be of thy council, and let craft, design, and guile be banished by thee for ever. But if thou and thy friends are really determin'd to keep your selves clear from all principles and tenets whatsoever, for so you must if you will have no party principles or tenets, then let me advise thee to lay aside thy pen and write no more: perplex thy self and distress others no longer, but come into our fold to which thou so rationally belongest: and where thou mayest often be in the most pleasing and rapturous manner, entertained with the most profound silence. In the mean while farewell and show thy candid, catholic, charitable spirit, by loving and esteeming

Thy unknown Friend, M. ADAMSON.



PRAY Neighbour Timothy hast thou seen the friendly Epistle to Neighbour John Taylor, in which he is invited to come among us Quakers?


I have just been reading it over, and an odd Medley it is; for the Man is sometimes so low and gro­veling, so mean and weak in his Sense and Sentiments, that one can scarce have Patience to read any further: At other Times he is so severely satyrical, that one cannot help going through with it, because Partiality itself must confess that the Satyr is as just as it is poinant.


Thou sayest just; but I hope thou dost not mean that his Satyr on us Quakers is as just as on our worthy Friend J. Taylor; for have we ever refused to be called Christians, or do we disclaim a Right to the Christian Name, as he seems to insinuate? Surely if we believe in the Christ within, the Light which hath lightened every Man that hath come into the World, from Adam the first Man down to the present Day, we may call our selves Christians, and be deemed so by others as well as any People whatsoever.


I will promise you that I will not dispute that Mat­ter with you, yet I think it is very plain your Friend Adam­son regards himself and his Friends as Deists, and his Neigh­bour Taylor as little otherwise, and I will freely declare to you, as you put me on this Conversation, that I have long thought that your Principles and his equally deistical & popish.


Prithee now, Friend Timothy, do not call M. Adam­son my Friend, he is no more my Friend than he is thine, for it is very plain he is no Quaker, nor does he seem to un­derstand either our Scheme or Friend Taylor's.


Whether he is a Quaker or no I think he has said nothing but what many Quakers, if they would speak out, and speak honestly, would say too; and, if I guess right, he knows your Scheme and your Friend Taylor's too, rather better than you chuse he should, if you have any Scheme at all.

[Page 21]

Any Scheme at all, Neighbour! Why what do'st mean by that? Do'st question whether we have any Scheme? Whether Friend Taylor has any Scheme too? Why thee talk'st strangely now! Why every body has got some Scheme; even Satan hath his Scheme both of Principles and Conduct; but why dost thou question whether we have any Scheme?


I will tell you very plainly my Thoughts of this. When the ancient approv'd Scheme is cast off, there are such a Multiplicity of others invented, that the feeble Mind is presently confused among the senseless Jargon; yet deter­mined at all Events the old one shall not do, for no other Reason but because it is old, therefore antiquated, unfit for Use; in this Situation the Man casts in his Mind what is best to be done, and that he may appear somebody, he consults every Scheme he can happen on; he takes a Piece here and a Piece there, some of this, some of that, and some of t'other; he compounds them together, and a glorious Mixture he has got; it is neither one thing nor another, while aiming at every Thing it is nothing; a Compound of every Thing, yet nothing to any Purpose; a scanty Lin­sey-woolsey Garment, which will scarce cover the Naked­ness of the Wearer.


I am sorry, Neighbour Timothy, to hear thee talk at this rate, thou dost not use to be so censorious; and I am afraid, as thou hast been reading the friendly Epistle, thou art somewhat leavened with the same Leaven which runs through that unintelligible Medley.


Indeed you are quite mistaken; for I was of the same Mind long before I saw that; yet I am free to own to you that has abundantly confirmed to me what I thought before; and I fully believe that you and the new-scheme Men have no Scheme at all, or such as is just like none.


New-scheme-men! Pray who or what are they? that thou conectest them and us together! I have often heard of them and heartily wish I knew what Account to make of them. As thou hast mentioned them, I wish thou wouldst satisfy me about them.


Depend on it my good Neighbour, any Thing I can give you Intelligence of, or acquaint you with, I shall be very ready to do to the utmost of my Power, and I ex­pect the same from you.


On this Condition all is well, we are agreed, there­fore pray go on.

[Page 22]

You want to know who or what the new Scheme­men are: As to who, I am not so well acquainted with the Inhabitants of the Earth as to point out one in a Thousand: Doubtless your Friend Taylor is one of the chief; at least he would have it thought that what he has advanced is new: Witness what he says in the 6th Page of one of his Pamphlets, viz. ‘When I first saw these Things I did not know that any one Person in the World had discover'd them beside myself.’ And lest any body else in his way should be wiser than himself, if I am not misinform'd, it has been his Advice to young Ministers not to consult the old Divines, but rather the Moderns. And indeed had he consulted the old Writers, he must have found those very Things solidly confuted which he has the Vanity to palm upon the World as quite new: And thus his Ignorance or want of reading must be his Apology for troubling the World with his Dreams.


Why Timothy, if thou dost not take Care, thou wilt be as unmannerly & scurrilous as M. Adamson: Surely thee shouldst consider that our Friend Taylor in a worthy Citizen, a venerable old Man, and therefore not to be treated with Contempt.


I have often heard this remark'd, and possibly there may be some Justice in it; but then I think your Friend Taylor himself has pav'd the Way for it, in treating the vene­rable Assembly of Divines in the manner he has done; so that he is only serv'd as he has serv'd others by far his Superiors.


But what are the new Scheme-men there is so much talk about? What are they doing of? What are they after?


I believe they don't know themselves, therefore I can give you but a very imperfect Account of them: I know but of one thing wherein they are all agreed; and that is, to treat with Contempt and Disgrace the Great Author of the Christian Religion; to blaspheme the holy Name whereby Christians are called. The Monthly Reviewers are notorious Instances of this sort. With them, who ever writes any thing against Jesus Christ, is a most accom­plish'd, accurate Writer, a Man of very great Sagacity and deep Learning, of incomparable Abilities and refin'd Sense, extremely judicious and precisely discerning: While who­ever writes any thing in Honour of the divine Saviour, is [Page 23] with them an enthusiastical Idiot, a stupid, dull Drone, or a pious Fool: Witness their unparralel'd prejudic'd bigotted Accounts of the Writings of the judicious Messrs. Brine and Wilson; of honest John [...]; the [...] Whitfield, Romaine and Jones, and the justly admir'd Mr. [...] Hervey: And the Writings of that [...] Soldier [...] R—d B—r—n; that Linsey-woolsey-Weaver Mr. [...] [...]g, and the accomplish'd Orator Mr. Charles B [...], and all the new-Scheme-writers, from your old arch Friend Dr. John Taylor of Norwich, down to Monsieur Taoalttbob of pre­cious Memory.


Worse and worse still, Friend Timothy, I cannot bear to hear thee rail on in this manner, against the greatest Writers of the Age; Men, whose every Page is filled with Wisdom, Morals, Candour, Virtue and Sense.


I cannot help that my good Neighbour; if you cannot bear to hear the Truth, that is no Reason why I should not tell you the Truth, especially when you ask'd me.


Well! If I had thought thee wouldedst have talked in this manner, I am sure I never had asked thee after these Men or their Scheme.


And if you had not asked me I had been silent enough about the Matter I do assure you: But I hate Flat­tery and always did.


Flattery! Friend Timothy; it is well known thou art no Flatterer any more than M. Adamson; but never­theless ye ought to treat People with Good manners and not to abuse them; therefore farewell.


O good bye t'e Neighbour, for I find you cannot bear plain dealing; nor to have the Truth told you when it touches thy self or any of those you have so great a Re­gard for.


Fare thee well I say, and I wish thee more Candour.


Stupidity, Ignorance, you mean, only you have learn'd to call things by wrong Names.


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