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Ꮮ Ꭼ Ꭲ Ꭲ Ꭼ Ꭱ .
BALTIMORE, 11th mo. 4th, 1839.
Many of you are aware, that in the course of the fall of last year, I applied for the use of the meeting-house in Lombard street, now in your occupation, for the holding of a public meeting for worship, to which I particularly wished to invite, among others, the members of your own body. This proposal was declined; but I was at the same time, kindly invited to take my seat in your meeting on a first day morning, and to relieve my mind by such expression of sentiment as I might there feel it to be my duty to offer.
A year has now passed away since this circumstance occurred; but as I am still deeply interested in your highest welfare, and am much drawn towards you in the cords of christian love, I venture to take this method of informing you, why I could not avail myself of your offer. Possibly I may, at the same time, be enabled to cast off that burden of religious exercise, which has continued to rest upon me, with respect to yourselves, and all who unite with you in religious profession. I wish, however, in the first place, to remark, that it is with the feelings of deference towards you, and of much diffidence as it regards myself, that I venture upon this public address.
Allow me, then, to inform you, that while I should have felt no difficulty in making use of the meeting-house which you occupy, for a meeting of my own appointment, I could. not conscientiously involve myself in that religious fellowship with your body, which would have been obviously indicated by my taking my seat among you, in one of your own assemblies for worship
It is with true respect and love, that I speak thus plainly; and under the same feelings will endeavour to state, with equal plainness, the grounds of this conscientious objection.
I have perused parts of the sermons and writings of the late Elias Hicks, and other documents which came from the pens of some of his associates. I have also had the opportunity of hearing the preaching of some of your ministers; and have freely conversed in private with several leading members of your body.
The result is a clear conviction in my own mind, that many of those who once occupied, or who still occupy, the front rank amongst you, entertain the opinion, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the son of Mary, was only a human prophetendued, indeed, with a large measure of the Spirit of Godbut a mere man like ourselves, liable to sin, and himself requiring salvation. I cannot perceive that there is the smallest difference of sentiment on this subject, between Elias Hicks and his followers, and the class of professing Christians, commonly called Unitarians. Now it seems to me to be impossible, that persons who entertain such a view of the "man of sorrows,” can regard him in the character of the Saviour of the world. Man cannot "by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him.” “I am God, saith Jehovah, and besides me there is no Saviour.”
Hence it follows, that those who look upon Jesus of Nazareth as a mere man, almost necessarily deny the doctrine of his propitiatory death and sacrifice on the cross. This observation applies, as I believe, to the leading members of your own body. So far as I have had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with their sentiments, I have been constrained to conclude, that they look upon the death of Jesus on the cross, "without the gate" of Jerusalem, as an "outward" circumstance—belonging solely to the history of the past—with which we have now no concern whatsoever, except perhaps as an example of patient suffering, in submission to the will of God. Now if this is a just view of the sentiments which your leaders entertain on these two vital points in religion, it becomes conspicuous that they have forsaken that Foundation, on which alone George Fox, and his brethren, professed to build.
“We own and believe,” says George Fox, “in the only wise, omnipotent, and everlasting God, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth, and the preserver of all that he hath made, who is God over all, blessed for ever, to whom be all honor, glory, praise, and thanksgiving, both now and for ever more. And we own and believe in Jesus Christ, bis beloved and only-begotten Son, in whom he is well pleased, who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary, in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the express image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, by whom were
all things created that are in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and for him. And we own and believe, that he was made a sacrifice for sin, who knew no sin; neither was guile, found in his mouth; that he was crucified for us in the flesh without the gates of Jerusalem; and that he was buried and rose again the third day, by the power of his Father, for our justification, and that he ascended up into heaven, and now sitteth at the right hand of God. This Jesus who was the foundation of the holy prophets, is OUR FOUNDATION; and we believe there is no OTHER FOUNDATION to be laid, but that which is laid, even Christ Jesus, who tasted death for every man, shed his blood for all men; is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also, for the sins of the whole world.”
Letter to the Governor and Council of Barbadoes. With these views, expressed by George Fox, on his own behalf and that of his brethren, I cordially concur; and hence it follows, that between myself, and all persons who reject the doctrines of the proper divinity and atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, there exists a fundamental difference of principle. Now I conceive that were I to give public tokens of religious fellowship and unity, with those who deny the foundation on which alone I profess to build, I should forsake the true ground of the Christian believer, and be a partaker in other men's sins. Is it too much to assert that I should indirectly, yet certainly, involve myself in the denial of Him, on whose merits alone rest all my hopes of everlasting salvation ?
Here is a practical point on which I would appeal to the consciences of many of your members. I allude to those amongst you-I trust there are many such—who secretly entertain the good old faith of the Christian Quaker; truly believing in Jesus of Nazareth, as the Son of God, the propitiation for our sins, and the Saviour of the world. Do not such individuals dangerously compromise their principles, so long as they continue in church-fellowship with ministers and others, leaders of the flock; who are publicly known not only to disregard, but to repudiate these essential doctrines of the christian religion? In the tenderness of christian affection, I submit this weighty consideration to the verdict of their consciences. “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing,” seems to be a language emphatically applicable to all such persons. «Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” The religious system which they touch, with which they are associated, which they uphold by their example, is felt and known by them to be