A TREATISE ON FUNDAMENTAL DOCTRINES OF
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION: IN WHICH ARE ILLUSTRATED THE PROFESSION, MINISTRY,
AND FAITH OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS
Philadelphia: Emmor Kimbor, 1815. Pages 54-57.
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[P. 54] On the doctrine of faith, we say with the Apostle, that "without faith, it is impossible to please God." But by faith, we do not mean a confession to any particular form of opinions; because this would be possible to those who are in many respects reprobate concerning the faith in Christ. Neither are we of the judgment, that our "faith should stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God." 1 Cor. 2:5. Therefore, we believe, that the faith of a true Disciple of Christ, is in a living principle, a Divine and heavenly Spirit; which no human means can beget in us; but which is the immediate manifestation of the eternal power and Word of God. Wherefore, we conclude with the Apostle Paul, "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Rom. 1017, This Word, we believe to be the same which was in the beginning, which Moses spoke of, and which Paul adverts to and says, "Is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart. That is the Word of faith, which we preach. Rom. 10:8. Those therefore, who believe in this inward manifestation [P. 55] of the Word, and have their spiritual ear open to hear, have come to embrace the proper object of faith, without which it is impossible to please God. To such, faith is the evidence of things not seen, the substance of things hoped for. They are in the true and spiritual sense the children of faithful Abraham, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing. This is that faith by which the elders obtained a good report, and concerning which so much is said in the Holy Scriptures. Every one, therefore, whose spiritual ear is open to this manifestation of the Spirit, or Word of faith, is no longer trusting to the natural understanding, but living subject to the Divine mind, and thereby overcoming the world. Until we have come to this living principle, this Light and Life of the Spirit, the soul remains subject to the fallen nature, and cannot serve God acceptably, or be united to him. But we believe that this great principle of faith is offered to all men, and that those of every description who come to trust in it, and be led by it, will be raised from under the dominion of fallen nature, and united by faith to the general assembly of the Church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. Wheresoever this living faith is, there [P. 56] will be works corresponding with it. But a faith that is without works is not of Divine origin. "Was not Abraham our father, justified by works, when he had offered his son Isaac, upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect." James 2:21-22. When the soul of man is brought to lean upon this Divine manifestation of the Spirit, then there is no longer a submission to evil, but all the powers of temptation are laid open, and the transgressing nature in man is brought to Light, and judgment is passed upon it. These are they, who walk in the Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, and "who are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation; ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1:5. From the foregoing, it, will appear that Friends consider it possible for a man to acknowledge that he believes in the moral excellency of the doctrines of the Scriptures, and subscribe formally to many truths of the Gospel; he may even fulfil the works of the law, and regard all that outward duties of religion, but fail at last to have that faith by which the promise was to be inherited, and by which the strong will of the creature is kept in subjection to the Creator. For in whomsoever this [P. 57] Word of faith is brought forth, and made the governing principle, in such the will and pride of the creature is brought down; they act not from motives of human kind, nor are they soliciting human approbation but they seek that honour which comes from God only, and therefore they believe, to the saving of the soul. Such do not stumble at the cross of Christ, nor confer with flesh and blood; but however singular they may appear among men, they, like Paul, are obedient to the heavenly vision.