The Friend, (London),Vol. IV, Number 9. (1846.)

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

Understanding that inquiries have been made by various individuals, whether I did not intend to reply to John Wilbur's book, I think it right thus publicly to state that I have no such intention. I should consider that I was traveling entirely out of my record, were I to attempt to answer the accusations made against me by an individual, who, in consequence of his setting at defiance the good order established amongst us, has been separated from the Society by his Monthly Meeting, and whose disownment h as since been confirmed by the solid and deliberate judgment of the Yearly Meeting, of which he was a member. In fact, I have never felt at liberty even to look into his book; having long had reason to believe that he was indulging in a wrong spirit, and having often witnessed the verification of the old proverb,

"Whoso toucheth pitch shall be defiled thereby."

Since, however, his numerous charges against me have been read by many, I think it right to say, that if any Friend of weight and consistency, will furnish me, in writing, with such passages from my works as he or she may consider unsatisfactory, (duly s igned of course), although I believe there is nothing in my writings at variance with the truth as it has always been professed by Friends, yet I should consider it my duty to take an early opportunity of laying such communication before the Morni ng Meeting in London, the body which, according to our wholesome system of discipline, is constitutionally authorized to judge of such matters.

Should any passages objected to, occur in the works which have already passed that Meeting, I cannot doubt that the Friends belonging to it will deem it right again to sift those particular passages; and that they will not hesitate to examine whether tho se selected from my other works (which, being of a general nature, were not within the province of the Morning Meeting,) are, or are not, consistent with the acknowledged principles of our religious Society.

In case of that meeting's not being satisfied with the explanations which I may be enabled to offer of the passages thus submitted to their consideration, it is my full intention to modify them, strike them out, or even publicly renounce them, in whole o r in part, as the Meeting may think proper to advise.

In expressing this intention, I wish it to be clearly understood that my sentiments on essential points are in no degree changed since the date even of my earliest publications; and nothing, I trust, would induce me to sacrifice one particle of the "trut h as it is in Jesus", to please or satisfy any man or body of men whatsoever. But I am fully convinced that our Friends of the Morning Meeting are as much attached both to the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and to the distinguishing views and pra ctices of Friends, as I am myself; and I have a deep consciousness of my own weakness and fallibility. It certainly cannot be said of my writings, (or perhaps of any other man who has written since the days of apostles,) that there are not passages in th em which might be improved, simplified, corrected; or even entirely omitted with advantage to the reader, as being confusing---to some minds at least---the sense which they were intended to convey.

I make this proposal, as I trust, in the spirit of submission and brotherly love, and in the earnest desire to promote that harmony and unity among us, which it is one of the most subtle and cruel devises of the enemy of souls to break and destroy.

I shall be obliged by your inserting this letter in the next number of The Friend.

And remain your sincere friend,

J. J. Gurney