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The author feels a hope and persuasion that the sentiments offered in this “ Glance" will be found accordant with those contained in the Sacred Records ; and that its imperfections will mainly consist, either in a want of perspicuous delineation, or in a lack of introducing those passages which might have been more appropriately adduced to support and illustrate “ the Principles of Quakerism."
If amidst the many and varied imperfections, any thing should be discovered, that tends to elicit what is truly good, the writer sincerely and earnestly desires, that this may be attributed solely, to the benign and condescending Goodness of Him from whom all good proceeds ; and whose gracious aid has very oft been implored. And should it seem that any true light is thrown upon the genuine import of the Sacred Records, through the medium of the following pages, the writer feels a deep conviction, that it must be considered only as the glimmering of a taper, compared with that effulgence of “the True Light” which will shine on those Records, after the opening of the seven seals; when “ The Lion of the Tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and loose the seven seals thereof."
THE CHARACTER OF J, W.'S STRICTURES.
The design of this chapter is to set forth, in general terms, the nature and drift of those strictures which the author of “QUAKERISM EXAMINED,” bas dealt out against the "early Friends,” and against what he represents to be, the principles held by them. In thus stating the import of J. W.'s animadversions, it is not therefore, intended to make more than a few general observations upon them, leaving discussions of a doctrinal character to subsequent portions of this “Glance;” and allowing J. W.'s remarks to exhibit themselves in their own gepuine colours.
This is the express design of the first of the two sections into which this chapter is divided. Hence the quotations given in it are passed over with very little comment, especially as some of them will claim future attention.
“ Hai Ebn Yokdan" the subject of the second Section, involving matter of fact more than any doctrinal point, and therefore, not being likely to be referred to in the subsequent pages of this “ Glance," J. W.'s observations on that head are there discussed; and the subject wholly dismissed.
J. Wilkinson's motives and objects.
In order to exhibit these faithfully, both are stated in the author's own words.
In page 279, after offering a remark on sentiments uncongenial with those of the “ early Friends," J. W. sets forth the moving cause of his strictures thus: “ This may seem like a harsh suggestion ; but I am sure, as far as I know my own heart, it is not offered in any other than the very spirit of Christian Love. In page 464 J. W.
“Far indeed is it from me to give offence to persons of any description; but if we must run the risk of this, in cases where only the natural life is in peril, how much more are we warranted in running that risk, when eternal life is at stake ? »
From these quotations we learn that, as far as J. W. knows his own heart,” he is actuated by “the very spirit of Christian Love; and is far indeed from wishing to give offence to any." I give him credit for both suppositions ; but how far he really has “known his own heart," I must leave the reader to judge in the sequel.
The latter of the two quotations involves object as well as motive; and the object, it must be confessed, accords with the 'motive, for it appears to be to deliver the Society of Friends from the peril of the loss of “ eternal life,” in which the profession of the principles of the “ early Friends” is considered to involve them. This idea seems fully borne out by a subsequent passage, page 466, in which J. W. says: “One great object I have had in view, in wading through this most painful examination of the principles of Friends is, to enforce on every one who is concerned, the necessity of abandoning the profession of error, and of holding the truth righteously.”