John Wilbur

Wilbur, John. A Narrative and Exposition of the Late Proceedings of New England Yearly Meeting, With Some of its Subordinate Meetings & Their committees, in Relation to the Doctrinal Controversy Now Existing in the Society of Friends: Prefaced by a Concise View of the Church, Showing the Occasion of its Apostacy, both Under the Former and Present Dispensations, With an Appendix. Edited from Record Kept, From Time to Time, of Those Proceedings, and Interspersed With Occasional Remarks and Observations. Addressed to the Members of the Said Yearly Meeting. New York: Piercy & Reed, Printers, 1854, pages 277-325.

(All italics added by J.W. for emphasis. All words supplied in [Square Brackets] by J.W.
Page numbers from original publication by -pds in {Set Brackets.}

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

J.J. Gurney (Essay on Love to God, p. 5): "In effectlng this blessed change in the affections of fallen man, the Holy Spirit makes use of the Gospel of our {p. 290}Lord Jesus Christ as his grand appointed instrument. That Gospel, written in the Holy Scriptures, and preached by the Lord's messengers," &c.
(p. 39.) "The love of Christ is indeed an animating subject, full of joy and sublimity; add to dwell on its principal features, under the guidance of Scripture, must be regarded as one of our happiest privileges."
(Strictures on Truth Vindicated, p. 24): "The comparison which some of the early Friends were accustomed to institute between the Spirit as tho primary rule, and the Scriptures as the secondary ode, was not intended, as I conceive, to apply to the question of authority, but only to that of order, and dignity."
(Essay on Love to God, p. 25.) "What a blessing, that his holiness is established be and the possibility of a doubt, by that intuitive rule of right, which in charactens more or less legible, ho has condescended to write, by his Spirit, on tho hearts of all men!  It is in the Holy Scriptures, however, that the theology.of nature is cleared and confirmed." "Let us, then, under the guidance of prophets and apostles, learn to contemplate God as our Father," &c.
(Essays, Amer. edit. p. 383 ) "In tho fulfilment of the written prophecy, in the wisdom of the written doctrine, in the purity of the written law,--in the harmony of the contents of the Bible amidst almost endless variety,--and in its efficacy, as the principal means employed by Divine Providence for the illumination, conversion, and spiritual edification of man, the enquirer cannot fail to perceive unquestionable indications of tho divine origin of Holy Writ." "Therefore, the person who searches for that which is revealed may safely direct his unhesitating attention to that which is written."
(Portable Evidences, p. 3. edit. 1832.) "But the moral add spiritual force of the Sacred Volume is that which chiefly serves to fasten its contents on the mind of every honest inquirer, whether more or lolls educated, and to produce a settled conviction of its divine origin.'
    (p. 5.) "It [the Bible] is a text book for moral and religious teaching, which knows no rival, and to the use and application of which there appears no limit."--{p. 291} "Whatsoever, in the preaching or writings of modern Christians, has any tendency to convert, purify, and save the souls of men, never fails to be found in its original form, in the Bible."
(p. 81 .) "Now the information which the Bible gives, respecting tho Supreme Being, whether considered as a harmonious whole, or viewed in its principal details, is to be found originally in tho Bible alone."
(p. 33.) "Tho moral law, as revealed in Scripture, partakes of the character of its author, &c. It applies to all circumstances, comprehends all conditions, regulates all motives, directs and controls all overt acts."
(p. 69.) "In the Bible all is simple, powerful, and practicable. While enough is hidden to humble us un, er a sense' of our own ignorance, enough is revealed to direct our faith, and regulate our conduct."
(p. 91.) "They [the Scriptures] unfold the law of God in all its strength and spirituality in all the glorious variety of its details."
(p. 101.)" Now it is in the Scriptures only that the attributes of our Heavenly Father are fully made known to us. And therefore it is only through the religion of the Bible, that we can obtain an adequate notion of sin."
(p. 105.) "The Bible, which alone fully reveals the nature and character of sin, expressly declares," &c.
(p. 170.) "When we open the volume of Scripture, and propose that interpretation of its contents -- especially of its more mysterious parts--which is. demanded by tho plain laws of crlticism--laws which good sense has established, and which are familiar to every scholar we again appeal to enlightened reason," &c. &c.
(Portable. Evidences, p. 100.) "But it is only through the medium of revealed religion-[meaning, obviously from the context, the Bible] that we obtain a proper conception of the nature of sin, or are enabled to form a right estimate of the moral condition of mankind."
(Address to Manchester Mechanics, p. 6.) "Moral and religious knowledge! And where is this to be obtained? Certainly we may furnish our minds with some considerable portions of it by reading the book of nature and providence; but there is another book which must be regarded as its depository--a book in which all {p. 292} things, moral and spiritual, belonging to the welfare of man, are fully unfolded."--"I believe it is also true that the law of God is written, in characters more or less legible, on the hearts of all men. But for a full account of his glorious attributes--for the knowledge of religion in all its beauty, and strength, and completeness,--we must have recourse to the Bible--we must meditate on the written word. There the whole moral law is delineated with a pencil of heavenly light," &c. &c.
(Sketch of Wilberforce, p. 25.) "Dr. Doddridge's Rise and Progress, and Wilberforce's own Book on Christianity--whatsoever there is of a converting nature in these and such other works, is originally expressed only in the Bible."

Contrast the above with

Robert Barclay (Apol. Prop. III.): "Nevertheless, because they [the Holy Scriptures] are only a declaration of the Fountain, and not the fountain itself, therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith and manners. Yet because they give a true and faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be esteemed a secondary rule, subordinate to the spirit, from which they have all their excellency and certainty--for as by the inward testimony of tho Spirit we do alone truly know them, so they testify, that the Spirit is that Guide by which-tho saints are led into all truth; therefore, according to the Scriptures, tho Spirit is the first and principal leader."
(p. 74.) "The principal rule of Christians under tho Gospel is not an outward letter, nor law outwardly written and delivered, but an inward spiritual law, engraven in the heart, the law of the Spirit of Life, the word that is nigh in the heart and in the mouth." "That which is given to Christians for a rule and guide, must needs be so full, that it may clearly and distinctly guide and order them in all things and occurrences that may fall out. But in that there are numberless things, with regard to their circumstances, which particular Christians may be concerned in, for which there can be no {p. 293} particular rule had in the Scriptures; therefore the Scriptures cannot be a rule to them"--" What Scripture rule shall inform me, whether it be my duty to preach in this or that place, in France or England, Holland,or Germany?" &c. "The general rules of the Scriptures, viz. to be diligent in my duty, &c. can give me no light in this thing."
"Through andby the clearness which that Spirit gives us it is, that we are only best rid of those difficulties that occur to us concerning the Scriptures." "The real and undoubted experience whereof, I myself have been a witness of," &c.
"If it be then asked me, whether I think hereby to render the Scriptures altogether uncertain, or useless---I answer, not at all. The proposition itself declares how much I esteem them; and provided that to the Spirit from which they came, be but granted that place which the Scriptures themselves give it, I do freely concede to the Scriptures the second place, even whatsoever they say of themselves. It is to be observed, that it is only the spiritual man that can make a right use of them--as for the others, the apostle Peter plainly-declares, that the unstable and unlearned wrest them to their own destruction: these were they that were unlearned in the divine and heavenly learning of the Spirit, not in human and school literature."
(Quakerism Confirmed, Barclay's Works, Vol. III. p. 106.) "Now as to the second branch of their argument, that the Scriptures are a sufficient objective revelation of all things necessary to salvation; this we altogether deny, as is said. For although the Scriptures are a full enough declaration of all doctrines and principles, both essential and integral of Christian religion; yet our souls need a more near and immediate discovery of God than the ScriPture, which is but a report of him, that he may feed and nourish us by his divine manifestations."
(Apol. Prop. II. p. 66.) "As the description of the light of the sun, or of curious colors, to a blind man,who, though of the largest capacity, cannot so well understand it by the most acute and lively description, as a child can by seeing them; so neither can the natural man, of tho largest capacity by the best words, even {p. 294}Scripture words, so well understand the mysteries of God's kingdom, as the least and weakest child who tasteth them, by having them revealed inwardly and objectivelv by tile Spirit."
George Fox (Journal, vol. I., p. 187.):  I directed them to the Divine light of Christ and his spirit in their hearts, which would let them see all the evil thoughts, words, and actions, that they had thought, spoken, and acted; by which light they might see their sin, and also their Saviour Christ Jesus, to save them from their sins. This I told them was the first step to peace, even to stand still in the light that showed them their sins and transgressions; by which they might come to see how they were in the fall of old Adam, in darkness and death, strangers to the convenant of promise, and without God in the world; and by the same light they might see Christ, that died for them, to bo their Redeemor and Saviour, and their way to God."
Page 429, [nearly in the same terms.]
I. Penington (Works, vol. I., p. 20.): "In my heart and soul I honor the Scriptures, and long to read them throughout with the pure eye, and in the pure light of the living spirit of God: but the Lord-preserve me from reading one line of them in my own will, or interpreting any part of them according to my own understanding, but only as I am guided, led, and enlightened by him, in the will and understanding which comes from him. And here all Scripture, every writing of God's spirit, which is from the breath of his life, is profitable to build up and perfect the man of God."
(Works, vol. I., p. 277.): "That eye that eau read the Scriptures with the light of its own understanding; that can consider and debate, and take up senses and meanings of it, without the immediate life and power; that is tho eye that may gather what it :can from tho letter, but shall never see into the life, nor taste of the true knowledge; for Christ, who alone opens and gives the knowledge, hides the pearl from that eye."

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