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and the planetary world with spiritual eyes. He cannot stir abroad, but he is taught in his own feelings, without any motion of his will, some lesson for his spiritual advantage; or he perceives so vitally some of the attributes of the Divine Being, that he is called upon to offer some spiritual incense to his Maker. If the lamb frolic and gambol in his presence as he walks along, he may be made spiritually to see the beauty and happiness of innocence. If he find the stately oak laid prostrate by the wind, he may be spiritually taught to discern the emptiness of human power;
while the same Spirit may teach him inwardly the advantage of humility, when he looks at the little hawthorn which has survived the storm. When he sees the change and the fall of the autumnal leaf, he may be spiritually admonished of his own change and dissolution, and of the necessity of a holy life. Thus, the Spirit of God may teach men by outward objects and occurrences in the world. But where this Spirit is away, or rather where it is not attended to, no such lesson can be taught. Natural objects of themselves can excite only natural ideas; and the natural man, look
ing at them, can derive only natural pleasure or draw natural conclusions from them. In looking at the sun hè may be pleased with its warmth, and anticipate its advantage to the vegetable world. In plucking and examining a flower, he may be struck with its beauty, its mechanism, and its fragrant smell. In observing the butterfly, as it wings its way before him, he may smile at its short journeys from place to place, and admire the splendour upon its wings. But the beauty of creation is dead to hiin, as far as it depends upon connecting it spiritually with the character of God; for no spiritual impression can arise from any natural objects, but through the intervention of the Spirit of God.
William Wordsworth, in his instructive Poems, has described this teaching by external objects in consequence of impressions from a higher power, as differing from any teaching by books, or the human understanding, and as arising without any motion of the will of man, in so beautiful and ..simple a manner, that I cannot do otherwise than make an extract from them in this place. Lively as the poem is to which 7
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,
“ Where are your books ? that light bequeath'd
“ You look round on your mother Earth,
you; “ As if you were her first-born birth, “ And none had lived before you !
“ One morning thus by Esthwaite Lake,
66 The eye
it cannot choose but see,
Against or with our will.
66 Nor less I deem that there are Powers
# See Lyrical Ballads, vol. i. p. 1.
« Think you, mid all this mighty sum
" Then ask not wherefore here alone,
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,