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.}

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J.J. Gurney (Essays, pp. 108, 109.)': "The very pointed allusions made by our Saviour to the personality of the Holy Spirit are in exact accordance with the merle of expression which was often adopted, in relation to the same subject; by his inspired disciples. From various passages in the Book of Acts, and the Epistles, we can scarcely do otherwise than deduce the inference, that these servants of the Lord regarded the Holy Spirit as one possessing personal powers, and requiring a personal allegiance."
(Ibid. p. 110.) "Such is the scriptural evidence of which we are in possession, that the Father is God, that the Son is God, that the Holy Spirit is God. Having considered this evidence, we may new proceed to take a view of some additional passages in the New Testament, in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, whose deity is thus distinctively and separately indicated, are presented to our attention as the united sources of the Christian's help and consolation, the united objects of the Christian's belief and obedience. This description is indeed applicableto the passages already cited from the Gospel of John, in relation to tbcL personality of the Holy Ghost," &c.
(Essays, pp. 112, 113.) "In order to obtain a just and comprehensive view of the whole subject, (as far as it is revealed to us) it is necessary also to advert to the order of that relation in which they are ever represented as standing one towards another. The Father is the first; the Son is the second; the Holy Spirit is the third. The Son is subordinate to the Father, because he is of the Father--the only begotten Son of God. The Holy Spirit is subordinate to the Fatherand the Son, because he is the Father's and the Son's; see Matt. iii. 16, and Rom. viii. 9. The Father sends the Son. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit, John xv. 26."
(Ibid. p. 113.) "The Holy Spirit is the operative power, through whom the Father and the Son carry on the work of mercy, and exercise their dominion of the {p. 310}souls of men. It is He who enlightens, converts, renews, consoles, and purifies the heirs of salvation. The Father is, in the deepest and most comprehensive sense of the expressions, the Creator--the Son, the Redeemer--the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. The Father originates, the Son mediates, the Holy Sprit consummates.''
(Essays, p. 393.): "On a careful perusal of the whole of that Sacred Volume, he [an honest inquirer after truth] is led to take a view, first, of the natural and moral attributes of the Supreme Being; secondly, of the personality and unity, in Him, of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit," &c.
(Portable Evidences, p 74 Boston edit. 1833.) When our Saviour was about to quit this lower world, he commanded his disciples to go and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the 'Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;' from which expressions we learn that these servants of God were to'baptize their converts into that faith, of which the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, are the inseparable objects. Now since it cannot for a moment be imagined that a mere attribute or influence could be presented to us, as a joint object of our faith with the Father and the Son, this passage must be regarded as containing a clear evidence of the personality of the Spirit.

Compare the foregoing with

George Fox:  "And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth; for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are One; and there are three which bear record in earth, &c. 1 John v. 6, 7. And now let none be offended, because we do not call them by those unscriptural names of Trinity, and Three Persons, which are not Scrinture words.--See Evans' Exposition, pp. 2, 3.
Barclay (ibid. p. 5.): "Again, accordin to his [Brown's] custom, though I condemn the Socinians, he will be insinuating that I agree with him: to whose {p. 311 notions of the Spirit, albeit I assent not, yet I desire to know of him, in what Scripture he tlnds these words that the Spirit is a distinct person of the Trinity."
William Penn (ibid. p. 7.): "But they are very tender of quitting scripture terms and phrases for schoolmen's, such as distinct and separate persons and subsistences, &c. are; from whence people are apt to entertain gross ideas of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."
I. Penington (ibid. p. 10.): "That there are ' three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit ;' that these three are distinct, as three several beings or persons ; this they read not; but in the same place, they read 'they are one.'"
Francis Howgill (Ibid. p. 12.): First, concerning the Trinity, thou sayest, they confess the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and yet they deny the Trinity, and those to be three distinct persons; for confutation of this, thou bringest Heb. i. 3--He is the express image of his Father's person."
"Thy Trinity is an old Popish term, and we love to keep to sound words; but by Trinity, I suppose thou meanest three, and thy own words shall confute thee. Thou confessest we say, there is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and yet but one God, or one eternal being or substance in which they all subsist; but thy word distinct is thy own, and not the Spirit's; yet to distinguish betwixt Father, Son, and Spirit, we deny not: and as for Heb. i. 3, it is in another translation rendered, the express image of his substance; for Person is too gross a word to express an Eternal and Divine Being in; and if thou dost hold three distinct substances, thou errest in thy judgment, for that were to make three Gods."
William Chandler, Alexander Pyott, Jos. Hodges, and others (ibid. p. 17.): "We believe that great mystery, that they are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, {p. 312} Son, and Holy Ghost, and that these three are one being and substance."
R. Claridge (ibid. 2. 21.): "Therefore in this, and all other articles of faith and doctrines of religion, in common to be believed, in order to eternal salvation, lot not tho opinions, explications, or conceptions of men which are often dubious, various, or erroneous, be esteemed a rule or standard, but let every one rely on the divine testimony of the Holy Scriptures, which declare that God is one, and that there is none other besides Him; and that the One God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; or, as it is expressed, I John v. 7--'The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost.'
And as we distinguish between a Scripture Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, which we unfeignedly believe; and that humanly devised Trinity of three distinct, and separate persons, which we receive not, because the Holy Scriptures make no mention of it."

Thus spoke our ancient Friends; and that the Society still continues to hold this doctrine may be inferred from the following extract, taken from Foster's Report, Volume I. p. 292:

Cross-Examirmtion of Thomas Evans.

Question. "If you hold that there is no contrariety of will in them, do you hold that they are, in any manner, distinct?"
Answer. "We have always denied that the Deity consisted of distinct and separate persons: and while we have believed that there were three, have as uniformly maintained that those three are One."
Counsel. "The question is not fully answered."
Witness. "If the Counsel will explain his meaning of the term distinct, as used in the question, I will endeavor to answer it further."
Counsel. "The question is, Do you hold that they are in any manner distinct?"
Witness: "I have already stated that the Society of Friends do not believe that there are distinct and separate {p. 313}  persons in the Godhead; and have answered him in Scripture terms as regards what the Society do believe," &c.

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