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I allude, I conceive it will not lower the dignity of the subject. It is called "Expostulation and Reply," and is as follows:

"Why, William, on that old gray stone,
"Thus for the length of half a day-

"Why, William, sit you thus alone,

"And dream your time away?

"Where are your books? that light bequeath'd

"To beings else forlorn and blind!

"Up! Up! and drink the Spirit breath'd

"From dead men to their kind.

"You look round on your mother Earth,
"As if she for no purpose bore you;
"As if you were her first-born birth,
"And none had lived before you!

"One morning thus by Esthwaite Lake,
"When life was sweet, I knew not why,
"To me my good friend Matthew spake,
"And thus I made reply

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"Which of themselves our minds impress,

"That we can feed this mind of ours

"In a wise passiveness.

* See Lyrical Ballads, vol. i. P. 1.

"Think you, mid all this mighty sum
"Of things for ever speaking,
"That nothing of itself will come,
"But we must still be seeking?

"Then ask not wherefore here alone,
"Conversing as I may,

"I sit upon this old gray stone, "And dream my time away?"



This Spirit was not only given to man as a teacher, but as a primary and infallible guide-Hence the Scriptures are a subordinate or a secondary guide-Quakers, however, do not undervalue them on this account-Their opinion concerning them.

THE Spirit of God, which we have seen to be thus given to men as a spiritual teacher, and to act in the ways described, the Quakers usually distinguish by the epithets of Primary and Infallible. But they have made another distinction with respect to the character of this Spirit; for they have pronounced it to be the only infallible guide to men in their spiritual concerns, From this latter declaration the reader will naturally conclude, that the Scriptures, which are the outward teachers of men, must be viewed by the Quakers in a secondary light. This conclusion has indeed been adopted as a proposition in the Quaker-theology; or, in other words, it is a doctrine of the Society,


That the Spirit of God is the primary and only infallible, and the Scriptures but a subordinate or secondary, guide.

This proposition the Quakers usually make out in the following manner :

It is, in the first place, admitted by all Christians, that the Scriptures were given by inspiration; or, that those who originally wrote or delivered the several parts of them gave them forth by means of that Spirit, which was given to them by God. Now in the same manner as streams or rivulets of water are subordinate to the fountains which produce them, so these streams or rivulets of light must be subordinate to the Great Light from whence they originally sprung. "We cannot," says Barclay, "call the Scriptures the principal fountain of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the first adequate rule of faith and manners, because the principal fountain of truth must be the Truth itself; that is, that whose certainty and authority depend not upon another."

The Scriptures are subordinate or secondary, again, in other points of view. First, because, though they are placed before us, we can only know or understand them by


the testimony of the Spirit. Secondly, because there is no virtue or power in them of themselves, but in the Spirit from whence they came.

They are, again, but a secondary guide; "because that," says Barclay, "cannot be the only and principal guide, which doth not universally reach every individual that needeth it." But the Scriptures do not reach deaf persons, nor children, nor idiots, nor an immense number of people, more than half the globe, who never yet saw or heard of them. These, therefore, if they are to be saved like others, must have a different or a more universal rule to guide them, or be taught from another source.

They are only a secondary guide, again, for another reason. It is an acknowledged axiom among Christians, that the Spirit of God is a perfect Spirit, and that it can never err. But the Scriptures are neither perfect of themselves as a collection, nor are they perfect in their verbal parts. Many of them have been lost. Concerning those which have survived there have been great disputes. Certain parts of these, which one Christian council received in the early times


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