A Beacon to the Society of Friends/Conclusion
Between mysticism and the religion of Christ, there is this essential difference,—the former is chiefly a religion of feelings, the latter is a religion of faith, for it is founded on the testimony of the Spirit of God transmitted to us in Holy Scripture; and we conceive the intelligent reader, on perusing the of some of the doctrines contained in the preceding extracts, must have perceived their disagreement with the doctrines of the Bible.
Now Christianity is the only religion by which we can be saved; and, therefore, however specious any thing which is substituted may be, if we reject the Gospel, we cut ourselves off from salvation; because God hath plainly declared to us who have the Scriptures, that there is no other way of salvation for us, than that which he hath made known to us in the Holy Scriptures.
We unite with the Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia, in believing that the unscriptural notion of "the light within being the primary rule of faith and practice," lay at the very root of ; and that the depreciation of the Scriptures (or as it was artfully termed, "SETTING THEM IN THEIR RIGHT PLACE,") followed as the baneful and inevitable consequence. But in connection with these two fatal errors, were a third and fourth; for regardless of the important distinction which is made in Scripture, between the offices of the Son of God, and those of the Holy Spirit, these offices were completely confounded. And the doctrine of obedience, or the righteousness of the law, was substituted for the righteousness which is by faith in Jesus Christ; and thus was introduced "another Gospel," or, in other words, an entire perversion of the Gospel of Christ. These then were the notions, of which Hicksism in its commencement was constituted, and probably many who have ranged themselves as its abettors, have not gone much beyond this point; but let it be known through the length and breadth of our Society, that its incipient state was by far the most insidious, and its victims were much more numerous, than when the broad blasphemy of some of its propagators apprized the unwary of its deadly poison; for thousands in America imbibed the subtle heresy, before they were aware of its danger. "Believe not every spirit," was the counsel of the Apostle John, with regard to false teachers in his day, "but try the spirits whether they be of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world." And when we see some, who under the guise of high spirituality, are propagating the most injurious perversions of Holy Scripture, how important is it, that all, especially those who profess to be ministers of Jesus Christ, should possess correct, and clear views of the Gospel, as taught in the Scriptures: lest, blinded by the self-importance, which their own delusions produce, and not distinguishing between the infallibility of the Holy Spirit, and their own fallibility, they become blind leaders of the blind. For if by any partial, or distorted statement, they produce an impression, which the whole counsel of God, as revealed in Holy Scripture, does not warrant, they dishonour its divine Author, by pretending his authority for what he has not revealed; whereby they greatly endanger the souls of those who receive the erroneous impression.
To ministers, and all others in the Society, we would raise a warning voice against this deadly heresy, with an earnestness which the safety of the never dying soul demands; and we would affectionately entreat every one, to examine whether the rule of Christ and his Apostles, be really his rule.
Let us then cast aside prejudice, and reject human authority, and pray for the influence of the Holy Spirit, whereby we shall be induced thankfully to accept the written revelation; and in the simplicity of little children, let us seek to be taught of God, by the means which his perfect wisdom has provided.
Henry Smith, Printer, Manchester.
- We earnestly entreat the reader, as he values his soul, carefully to examine what countenance the Scripture gives to such a religion.