AS some religious persons may misconceive the reasons which prevent Friends from freely centributing (when called upon) to the ex­pences of the Methodist missions, to the West-In­dia Islands and Africa, to instruct the Negroes in Christianity; I have been induced to point out so many of them, for their information, as may, I hope, convince impartial minds, that they are not therein actuated by a spirit of bigotry; but, on the contrary, of religious caution, lest they should any way contribute to (a) build again those things which the Spirit of truth has de­stroyed in their religious society.

There remains no doubt, that many of the preachers amongst the Methodists have been in­strumental to rouse sinful men from their beds of ease, and convince them of the danger of their state, and of the impossibility of their at­taining salvation, even through the mediation of Christ, unless they are renewed up in hm, thro' the purifying operation of his Holy Spirit, in righteousness and inward holiness.

So far as this awakening work has advanced, and its consequent fruits of renovation of mind and manners have been produced, the truly re­ligious among Friends have rejoiced therein; and have united in spirit with their conscientious la­bors, [Page 4]so far as they have ministered in the abi­lity which flows from Christ, the holy Head of his own Church; as well as with the really re­formed members of the Society, who act agreea­bly to the light wherewith they have been favor­ed, and are concerned to attain a perfect know­ledge of their duty, and experience of salvation.

For these, Friends desire that they may witness an entire and steady settlement under the govern­ment of God's pure Spirit, which is the alone infallible teacher and leader, appointed of Christ to be so unto the end of time. To him all in­strumental ministers should direct those minds they have been assisted to awaken, that they may know him to (b) "guide them into all truth," consonant with the promise of Christ, who, by this his own pure Spirit, is with his disciples and followers in their respective stati­ons and services, (c) "alway, even unto the end of the world;" bringing all his edifying sayings to their remembrance, as their spiritual states require them, either for reproof, instruction, or consolation; and opening their understandings into his holy doctrines, and the glorious mys­tery of redemption through him, from unrigh­teousness, that they may become purified unto God, (d) "a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

But, whereas it appears to Friends, that some of the principal leaders among the Methodists, [Page 5]endeavour to fix the people in the observance of forms and inefficacious ceremonies, which, in the apostatized state of the Christian Church, were stiled religious, they cannot therein unite with them. For out of all these did the divine Spirit of Truth, lead their zealous and pious predecessors, in their beginning as a people; and it does still convince the truly enlightened among them, that, instead of establishing the mind in the holy fear of God, and in a steady depend­ance upon him, they tend to deprive him, in part, of the honor of his own glorious work in the soul, by leading to a degree of reliance up­on the (e) "weak and beggarly elements" for assistance to perfect them in righteousness, and on (f) "the creature more than the Creator, who is God, blessed for ever, Amen," say the souls who humbly wait upon him, and witness his Son revealed in them by his Spirit, to be their King, Priest, and Prophet; their (g) "Al­pha and Omega;" the beginner and ender of his own glorious work of sanctification, by whom they are washed with the (h) "washing of rege­neration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" and their souls are fed with the bread of life, and refreshed with the new wine of his heavenly kingdom.

These, seeing that the end is come upon the sha­dowy dispensations of the Mosaic Law, and of John the Baptist, can no longer touch nor taste with [Page 6]them, knowing, that when their appointed use in their season was fulfilled, they were to cease, and that Christ's spiritual dispensation, of (i) Light, Grace, and Truth, must stand alone and be exalted upon the top of all mountains of high profession. This is confirmed by the answer given to these peculiarly favored disciples, who, seeing Christ's transfiguration upon the mount, and (j) "Moses and Elias talking with him," were overcome with the glory they had beheld; and Peter requested of him allowance to "build three tabernacles, one for him, one for Moses, and one for Elias," (k) who is John the Bap­tist, not knowing what he said; he not having seen to the end of all that was to be abolish­ed. But the instruction from God was, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him." Thus the Father condescended, immediately, to testify to his own last and most glorious dispensation of grace and truth, thro' his Son to mankind, appointing him their in­fallible and free teacher; not then leaving it to himself to testify to his own office, although (l) "in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God­head bodily."

Under a sense of the awfulness of this merci­ful manifestation of the will of the Father, my mind is humbled; and desires are raised, that the Son, through his own pure Spirit of light and life, may instruct and invigorate awakened [Page 7]minds, to the perfecting them in true holiness of faith and practice.

When men set bounds to this holy Spirit of wisdom, and endeavor to fix the people in the observance of what themselves acknowledge to be non-essentials, Friends cannot unite with them herein; because in Christ's church nothing can remain by his appointment, which is inefficacious.

All that is of human appointment, or which is retained of the former dispensations, must be come out of: and let human reasoning support, as it may for a time, the useless ceremonies which remain in the nominal Christian Church; the true light will discover them to be but chaff, from which Christ will purge his own spiritual Church. Therefore, religious minds should be­ware how they hold fast or support that which he hath appointed to be denied, as being under his pure spiritual dispensation unclean unto them, and not to be touched.

Friends have been instructed, that Christ as the holy, living, wise Head of his Church, hath the sole power and right to purify, qualify, call, send forth, direct and assist his ministers; who, by the immediate operation of his Spirit upon their spirits, are made in their respective mea­sures (m) "able ministers of the New Testa­ment, not of the letter which killeth, but of the Spirit which giveth life." These, if obedi­ent to him, are sent where he pleaseth, speak at his command, and keep silence when he se­eth [Page 8]meet to appoint silence; even in the solemn assemblies, and seasons set apart for worship; wherein the attention of both ministers and hear­ers should be abstracted from man, and fixed up­on that pure spiritual teacher, whose constant language in the soul is, WORSHIP GOD: and in holy silence, living acceptable worship is per­formed unto him; although at other seasons, the master of these solemn assemblies appoints his ministers, whether they are (n) "apostles, pro­phets, evangelists, pastors or teachers," to speak in his name; and agreeably to their respective gifts (o) "minister in the ability which he giv­eth;" and engage them verbally to supplicate and praise God, the fountain of all good. And as in Christ Jesus (p) "there is neither male nor female;" and (q) "his Spirit was poured forth upon both sexes," to qualify for these services; so among Friends, liberty is given to women to speak (r) "as the Spirit giveth utterance;" ma­ny of whom have spoken or prophesied (ſ) "to the edification and comfort of their brethren,"

Now as Friends have believed in, and expe­rienced this pure spiritual ministry and worship, and have been commanded to testify against its contrary; and for obedience to God therein have * suffered much; they cannot unite with the human appointments in the Methodist Soci­ety, [Page 9]whereby their ministers are directed how and when to preach and pray, where to go, and among what people to labor, any more than with the human wisdom, which seeks qualifica­tions to minister from human learning, and or­dination from men. They acknowledge that hu­man learning may be made useful under Divine direction; but they know that he who chose and qualified poor illiterate fishermen, &c. to preach his gospel (t) "in the demonstration of the Spi­rit, and of power," is able to do so still. And if he call these who have not school learning into his service, 'tis not for them to seek there­by to be perfected therein.

They have believed that ministers should not, in any degree, be excited to engage in the mi­nistry by a view to worldly interest or honor; and that Christ's command to his ministers is yet in force, (u) "Freely ye have received, free­ly give;" therefore, they appoint no mainte­nance for their ministers, nor contribute there­to, otherwise than when they are engaged in gospel labors, to afford them such necessary ac­commodation, as they may be free to accept; or, if they are poor, and cannot provide for themselves and families, minister to their wants, as they maintain their other poor. Many mini­sters among them, labor with their hands to pro­vide for their necessities; and others, accounting it more honorable to give than to receive (as [Page 10]did the primitive gospel ministers) do give libe­rally to their poor brethren in their various sta­tions, and to other charitable purposes, as well as expend much in the course of their labors, in the exercise of their ministry.

From the foregoing premises it must appear, that Friends cannot, consistently with ther own principles, freely unite with the leaders of the Methodist Society, who establish all the rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, and the maintenance of its ministers by tythes; the pay­ment whereof, the truly conscientious among Friends cannot submit to; because those being a part of the Levitical law, are ended in Christ, as is the observance of all the ceremonies of that dispensation, which were but a (t) "type (or figure) of these good (being purely spiritual) things which were to come," and have been re­vealed and experienced under Christ's dispensati­on of light and life.

They lament, that the reformation from the apostatized Romish Church, which has made some progress in this nation, did not go forward to the full accomplishment thereof, although ma­ny laid down their lives to effect it, so far as they had seen; and are, doubtless, numbered with the glorified spirits perfected through sufferings.— Some of these faithful martyrs testified against things which yet remain in the Church of Eng­land, and which its ministers seek to uphold; but which must be destroyed when Christ by his [Page 11]pure Spirit presides, and the (u) "chaff is burnt up by the unquenchable fire" of his divine love and power, which will effectually separate be­twixt the precious and the vile; betwixt what pleaseth and serveth God, and what doth not, although it may be practised under a religious shew.

Now having, in a mind clothed with charity to­wards all truly religious persons, whose under­standings may not be so fully opened, as to see the end of all which should be abolished in the nominal Christian Church, penned the foregoing reasons: I proceed to state a few Queries conso­nant therewith, and tending to discover whether some observances, approved and practised by some of the missionaries sent among the poor Ne­groes, may not tend to fix their dependance up­on what cannot profit them; and may confuse their weak judgments, rather than establish them in the pure spiritual faith in Christ, and in the exercise of a worship consistent therewith.

And First, Supposing these poor ignorant people, through preaching the doctrines of sa­cred scripture, have been taught that it is abso­lutely necessary to their salvation, that they should experience a change of nature; for whereas man is a fallen creature, and as such, is by nature of the (v) "earth earthy," and hath desires and inclinations agreeable to his de­praved earthly state, and hath brought forth the condemnable fruits of the flesh; he must be hea­venly [Page 12]minded, experiencing his desires and incli­nations to be after bringing forth the fruits of righteosness, and knowing his spirit clothed with true holiness; and that this necessary work of renovation, can only be effected by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose coming and suf­fering to save them from sin, they have been en­treated to believe. Now, if through the mer­cy of God, a degree of living faith has been raised in the power of Christ, as the head of, and alone sanctifier and perfecter of the mem­bers of his body or Church; can it avail any thing to sprinkle a little water in their faces, and cross their foreheads with the finger, using the customary words in the performance of that ce­remony, and thanking God for their * regenera­tion, &c. If the Negroes reflect, what can they think of being thus admitted into the commu­nion of the Church? If it be said, that sub­mitting to water baptism is a public acknowledg­ment of their faith in Christ; I answer, First, That sprinkling is not water baptism, but an innovated ceremony substituted for it, introduc­ed in a dark night of apostacy from the spiritu­ality of genuine Christianity: And Secondly, No proof can be deduced from scripture, that Christ ever appointed Water Baptism in his Church; although, to fulfil in his own person all the dispensations appointed of his Father, he submitted to it, as he did to all the Mosaic rites, &c. and until he had done so, and had offered [Page 13]up himself, as the one efficacious sacrifice ap­pointed of his Father for the sins of the whole world, agreeable to his own testimony, (w) "not one jot nor one tittle was to pass from the law."

We read, that (x) "his disciples baptized with water, but that he did not;" and the forego­ing quotation is a sufficient reason for his allow­ing them to do it, all not being then fulfilled. But it appears to me, that his significant, and to men eternally intersting words upon the cross,(y) "It is finished," not only respected his own sufferings, but also the full accomplishment of the end of his coming and death; which, in part, was to finish that weak shadowy dispensa­tion (z) "which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, im­posed on them until the time of reformation;" and to introduce another, which being pure, spi­ritual and powerful, is experimentally known (a) "to be righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." And at his death the use of the sha­dows of it ceased, although to this day, so ma­ny professing Christianity, practise them under a different form and pretence; and it is to be feared, not a few rest so satisfied in them, as ne­ver to attain the substance, even the experimen­tal knowledge of (b) "Christ revealed in them the hope of glory."

The ministry of water by John the Baptist was [Page 14]a * Jewish rite, altho' doubtless in Divine Wis­dom, particularly appointed to be publicly used by John (accompanied with a solemn call to re­pentance) to point out the cleansing Baptism of Christ; unto whom, and his superior Baptism by the Holy Spirit, John testified, and directed the people unto him (c) "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world:" in whom if the Negroes have believed, what edification or benefit can they acquire from this ceremony?— But it being recommended perhaps by the mi­nisters, through whom they have believed, may they not in their weak state suppose, that it is somehow conducive to their eternal welfare, tho' they know not how? and being then acknow­ledged Christians, may conclude themselves safe, and be the more liable to centre in a state of ease. And further, What can they think of this ceremony being performed as a necessary rite upon infants who are incapable of believing, and have committed no sin? If they are told that infants are included in the fall, must they be­lieve that by this ceremony they are raised out of it, and are then and thereby really regene­rated? Did not Christ die for infants as well as for adults? and has he left the completion of the work of their salvation (if they die in an infant state) to the option, and in the pow­er of men, who may perform it or not at their [Page 15]pleasure; and made it possible that this work may be acomplished by a bad man as well as by a good one? Is not this robbing Christ of his honor? Away with such mockeries from the nominal Christian Church! and be it acknow­ledged, universally acknowledged, that the way to heaven is as clear to infants from the cradle as from the * font, and before what is called private Baptism is performed upon them, as it is afterwards.

Throughout the New Testament we do not find any precept or example for Infant Baptism. But, alas! the poor Negroes must be taught, that it is necessary for their children to be sprik­led (baptized they are n [...] for, dying without it, their souls are not safe. And the children when grown up may, as many in this land do, avail themselves of being what is called baptized in their infancy, and never seek after the alone saving Baptism (d) "which is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God, by the resurrecti­on of Jesus Christ," whereof he, by his Holy [Page 16]Spirit, is the sole administrator throughout all ages.

Secondly, How can the Negroes conceive, that by eating a bit of bread, and supping a little wine, they really participate spiritually of the body and blood of Christ? The utmost that can be inferred from the words of Christ to his dis­ciples (as recited in Luke xxii.19 & 20, at the passover, when he blessed and break the bread, and handed it as he did the cup to them, as the sign of his body and blood being offered up for them) is, that "they did it in remembrance of him, and thereby shewed forth his death till he came." And although to a truly religious person, who conscientiously observes this cere­mony, merely as a remembrance of him, there may a degree of solemnity attend, under the consideration of his sufferings, and the merciful end of his coming; I will venture to assert, that his body and blood is not spiritually conveyed by the administering material bread and wine; nor does the communion of the saints stand in any degree therein: nor is it necessary thereby to revive the remembrance of Christ in those souls, who have experienced his second coming unto their salvation from sin; for these sanctify him in their hearts, and feed upon him, the liv­ing eternal word of God, with whom they have sweet communion; and many of them see clear­ly the non-necessity of continuing this (as the Church of England stiles it) * "outward sign [Page 17]of an inward and spiritual grace:" for participat­ing of the substance, the shadow of it ceases to be of use. And may not those who are * not of the faithful, and yet are exercised in that which is acknowledged to be but the shadow, abide there­in, supposing it to be a means of conveying the body and blood of Christ to their souls? With­out breach of charity this may be concluded to be the case of many, who partake of the outward bread and wine; for they are too unclean to ap­proach Christ's holy table, or to taste of his sup­per, spiritually.

Thirdly, In regard to the outward mode of worship, some of the principal leaders among the Methodists direct their followers to attend that of the Church of England; and what can the Ne­groes think, when they see the minister put on a white robe to read prayers in, and a black one [Page 18]to preach in? Again, how are they edified by the minister's going from the pulpit or desk, to re­peat a part of the service before the communion table; and, at particular times, the people turn­ing and praying towards the east? What is meant by these changes of garments and attitudes in prayer, by those who observe them, I know not; but suspect both to be retained from the heathens, as the priests of Baal were wont to be clothed in black, and the Romans prayed towards the east; probably because there the sun arose, as other pagans (particularly the Persians) worshipped to­wards the rising sun. If any of the Negroes in Africa pay adoration to that luminary, may not those in our West-India settlements, &c. who see this custom continued in the Church of England liturgy, be pleased; and suppose that God, in a particular manner, is present in that quarter of the heavens? Whereas the heaven of heavens cannot contain him; yet his throne is establish­ed in a truly humbled heart, which is also his temple and altar, cleansed and consecrated by the Holy Spirit to his service. Oh! the humbling depth of his worship!—did professing Christians comprehend it, they would see how inconsistent the frequent varied postures, sounds, and repe­titions of words, wherein many of them are ex­ercised, are therewith; which, instead of adding to the solemnity of public worship, tend, by a [Page 19]continual round of bodily exercises, to prevent the Spirit's entering in the worship of God, in his "temple of the heart," whereinto when he is entered, (e) "Let all the earth keep silence before him!"

I might enlarge, but hope I have said enough to exculpate Friends from just censure, for not contributing to the expences of the before-men­tioned missions; but am inclined here to add, that some enlightened minds of both clergy and laity of the Church of England have lamented, that such observances should remain therein, as tend to shade the lustre of its fundamental principle, and prevent many from uniting with them in the outward mode of worship.

Should the constraining power of gospel-love, engage ministers among Friends to visit the Ne­groes, and endeavour to turn them from dark­ness to light, and from (f) the power of Satan unto God, that they may, through Christ, re­ceive remission of their sins, and an inheritance among those who are sanctified; the expences at­tending their labours would be cheerfully borne, either by themselves or their brethren and sisters; and they conceive this should be the case with the various religious societies which take part in this work.

[Page 20]And, inasmuch as all ministers who conscien­tiously labour among the Negroes, may not see alike in some points, yet may all of them concur in labouring, that they may attain the necessary experience of faith in Christ, and regeneration through his Spirit: Each of them should be careful not to invalidate the labors of others, nor strive to fix the Negroes in observances which will not profit them: ever bearing in mind the following apostolic injunctions, as necessary to be observed by every gospel minister, viz.. (g) "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned; behold the judge standest be­fore the door;" and (h) "above all things put on charity:" which, as it is pure love to God and men, will engage to labor simply for the settle­ment of these poor ignorant people in what is really profitable, and necessary to be believed and practised.

That the universal love of God, manifested in and through his Son Christ Jesus, the alone Me­diator and Advocate with him, the Father, for the whole bulk of mankind, may be preached in the demonstration and power of the Divine Spi­rit to the poor Negroes, and be by them believed and received, in the love of the unmixed gospel of peace and salvation, is the desire of


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