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This Spirit of God, which has been thus given to men as an infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally-to the patriarchs and Israelites from the creation to the time of Moses-to the Israelites or Jews from Moses to Jesus Christ-to the Gentileworld from all antiquity to modern times-to all those who have ever heard the Gospeland it continues its office to the latter even at the present day.
THE Quakers are of opinion, that the Spirit of God, of which a portion has been given to men as a primary and infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally, or has been given to all of the human race, without any exception, for the same purpose.
This proposition of the Quakers I shall divide, in order that the reader may see it more clearly, into four cases. The first of these will comprehend the patriarchs and the Israelites from the creation to the time of Moses. The second, the Israelites or Jews
from the time of Moses to the coming of Jesus Christ. The third, the Gentiles or Heathens. And the fourth, all those who have heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the time of his own ministry to the present day.
The first case includes a portion of time of above two thousand years. Now the Quakers believe that during all this time men were generally enlightened as to their duty by the Spirit of God; for there was no Scripture, or written law of God, during all this period. "It was about two thousand four hundred years," says Thomas Beaven, an approved writer among the Quakers, "after the creation of the world, before mankind had any external written law for the rule and conduct of their lives, so far as appears by either sacred or profane history; in all which time, mankind, generally speaking, had only for their rule of faith and manners the external creation as a monitor to their outward senses, for evidence of the reality and certainty of the existence of the Supreme Being, and the internal impressions God by his Divine Spirit made upon the capacities and powers of their souls or
inward man, and perhaps some of them oral traditions delivered from father to son.'
To the same point, Thomas Beaven quotes ⚫ the ever memorable John Hales, who, in his Golden Remains, writes in the following manner: "The love and favour, which it pleased God to bear our fathers before the Law, so far prevailed with him, as that, without any books and writings, by familiar and friendly conversing with them, and communicating himself unto them, he made them receive and understand his laws; their inward conceits and intellectuals being, after a wonderful manner, figured as it were and characterized by his Spirit, so that they could not but see, and consent unto and confess the truth of them. Which way of manifesting his will, unto many other gracious privileges which it had, above that which in after ages came in place of it, had this added, that it brought with it unto the man to whom it was made, a preservation against all doubt and hesitancy, and a full assurance, both who the Author was, and how far his intent and meaning reached. We, who are their offspring, ought, as St. Chrysostom tells us, so to have demeaned ourselves, that
it might have been with us as it was with them; that we might have had no need of writing, no other teacher but the Spirit, no other books but our hearts, no other means to have been taught the things of God.”
That the Spirit of God, as described by Thomas Beaven and the venerable John Hales, was the great instructor or enlightener of men during the period we are speaking of, the Quakers believe from what they conceive to be the sense of the holy Scriptures on this subject. For, in the first place, they consider it as a position deducible from the expressions of Moses, that the * Spirit of God had striven with those of the antediluvian world. They believe, therefore, that it was this Spirit (and be cause the means were adequate, and none more satisfactory to them can be assigned} which informed Cain, before any written Law existed, and this even before the murder of his brother, that † if he did well he should be accepted; but, if not, sin should lie at his door. The same Spirit they conceive to have illuminated the mind of Seth,
* Genesis vi. 3.
+ Genesis iv. 7.
but in a higher degree than ordinarily the mind of Enoch, for he is the first of whom it is recorded that "he walked with God *." It is also considered by the Quakers as having afforded a rule of conduct to those who lived after the Flood. Thus Joseph is described as saying, when there is no record of any verbal instruction from the Almighty on this subject, and at a time when there was no Scripture or written Law of God, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God+?" It illuminated others also, but in a greater or less degree, as before thus Noah became a preacher of righteousness: thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were favoured with a greater measure of it than others who lived in their own times.
From these times to the coming of Jesus Christ, which is the second of the cases in question, the same Spirit, according to the Quakers, still continued its teachings, and this, notwithstanding the introduction of
* Genesis v. 24.
† Genesis xxxix. 9.-The traditionary Laws of Noah were in force at this time, but they only specified three offences between man and man.