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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 because 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 t?" 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.
of Genesis xxxix. 9.-The traditionary Laws of Noah were in force at this time, but they only specified three offences between man and man. M 2
the Mosaic Law. For this law, which was engraven on tables of stone, did not set aside the law that was engraven on the heart. It assisted first, outwardly, in turning men's minds to God; and secondly, in fitting them, as a schoolmaster, for attention to the internal impressions by his Spirit. That the Spirit of God was still the great teacher, the Quakers conceive to be plain, for the sacred writings from Moses to Malachi affirm it for a part of the period now assigned; and for the rest, they offer as evidence, the reproof of the martyr Stephen, and the sentences from the New Testament, quoted in the last chapter but one. And in the same manner as this Spirit had been given to some in a greater measure than to others, both before and after the Deluge, so the Quakers believe it to have been given more abundantly to Moses and the Prophets than to others of the same nation ; for they believe that the Law in particular, and that the general writings of Moses, and those of the Prophets also, were of divine inspiration, or the productions of the Spirit of God.
With respect to the Heathens or Gentiles, which is the third case, the Quakers believe that God's Holy Spirit became a guide also to them, and furnished them, as it had done the Patriarchs and Jews, with a rule of practice. For even these, who had none of the advantages of Scripture or of a written divine Law, believed, many of them, in God; such as Orpheus, Hesiod, Thales, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, and others. And of these it may be observed, that it was their general belief, as well as it was the belief of many others in those days, that there was a divine Light or Spirit in man, to enable him to direct himself aright.
Among the remnants that have been preserved of the sayings of Pythagoras, are the following, which relate to this subject : “ Those things which are agreeable to God cannot be known, except a man hear God himself.”--Again : “ But, having overcome these things, thou shalt know the cohabitation or dwelling together of the immortal God and mortal men. This work is Life. The work of God is Immortality and Life.”
“The most excellent thing,” says Timæus, " that the soul is awakened to, is her Guide or good Genius; but if she be rebellious to it, it will prove her Dæmon or Tormentor.”
“ It was frequently said of Socrates, that he had the Guide of his life within him, which, it was told his father Sophroniscus, would be of more worth to him than five hundred masters. He called it his good angel or spirit; that it suggested to his mind what was good and virtuous, and inclined and disposed him to a strict and pious life; that it furnished him with divine knowledge, and impelled him very often to speak publicly to the people, sometimes in a way of severe reproof, at other times to information.”
“ The Light and Spirit of God are as wings to the soul, or as that which raiseth
the soul into a sensible communion with God above the world."
“I have,” says Seneca, “ a more clear and certain Light, by which I may judge the truth from falsehood. That which belongs to the happiness of the soul, the Eternal Mind will direct to.” Again : “ It is a foolish thing for thee to wish for that which thou canst not obtain. God is near thee, and he is in thee. The good Spirit sits or resides within us, the observer of our good and evil actions. As he is dealt with by us, he dealeth with us.”