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instead of prosecuting and going on with so good and honourable a work, which will easily appear.
The generality of all Protestants, though in many other things miserably rent and shattered among themselves, do agree in dividing from the church of Rome in these two particulars.
First, That every principle and doctrine of the Christian faith is, and ought to be, founded upon the scriptures; and that whatsoever principles and doctrines are not only not contrary, but even not according thereto, ought to be denied as antichristian.
Secondly, That the scriptures themselves are plain and easy to be understood; and that every private Christian and member of the church ought to read and peruse them, that they may know their faith and belief founded upon them, and receive them for that cause alone, and not because any church or assembly has compounded and recommended them; the choicest and most pure of which, they are obliged to look upon as fallible.
Now, contrary to this their known and acknowledged principle, they do most vigorously prosecute and persecute others with the like severity the Papists did their fathers, for believing things that are plainly set down in the scriptures, and for not believing divers principles, for which themselves are forced to recur to tradition, and can by no means prove from scripture: to show which I shall not here insist, having allotted a chapter for it in the book itself; because to put it here, would swell it beyond the bounds of a preface.
Oh! how like do they show themselves, I mention it with regret, to the scribes and pharisees of old, who, of all men, most cried up and exalted Moses and the prophets, boasting greatly of being Abraham's children! And yet those were they that were the greatest opposers and vilifiers of Christ, to whom Moses and the prophets gave witness; yea, their chief accusations and exceptions against Christ were, as being a breaker of the law, and a blasphemer.
Can there any comparison run more parallel, seeing
there is now found a people, who are greatly persecuted, and bitterly reviled, and accused as heretics, by a generation that cry up and exalt the scriptures? And yet this people's principles are found in scripture, word by word; though the most grievous, and indeed the greatest calumny cast upon them is, that they vilify and deny the scriptures, and set up their own imaginations instead of them.
To disprove which, this Catechism and Confession of Faith is compiled, and presented to thy serious and impartial view. If thou lovest the scriptures indeed, and desirest to hold the plain doctrines there delivered, and not those strained and far-fetched consequences, which men have invented, thou shalt easily observe the whole principles of the people called Quakers, plainly couched in scripture words, without addition or commentary; especially in those things their adversaries oppose them in, where the scripture plainly decideth the controversy for them, without niceties and school-distinctions, which has been the wisdom by which the world hath not known God; and the words which have been multiplied without knowledge, by which counsel hath been darkened.
In the answers to the questions, there is not one word, that I know of, placed, but the express words of scripture: and if in some of the questions there be somewhat subsumed, of what in my judgment is the plain and naked import of the words, it is not to impose my sense upon the reader, but to make way for the next question, for the dependence of the matter's sake.
I shall leave it to the reason of any understanding and judicious man, who is not biassed by self-interest, that great enemy to true equity, and who in the least measure is willing to give way to the light of Christ in his conscience, if the scriptures do not pertinently and aptly answer to the questions?
As I have upon serious grounds separated from most of the confessions and catechisms heretofore published; so not without cause, I now have taken another method: they usually place their confession of faith before the catechism:
I judge it ought to be otherwise, in regard that which is easiest, and is composed for children, or such as are weak, ought in my judgment to be placed first; it being more regular to begin with things that are easy and familiar, and lead on to things that are more hard and intricate. Besides, that things be more largely opened in the catechism, and divers objections answered, which are proposed in the questions, the reader having passed through that first, will more perfectly understand the confession, which consisteth mainly in positive assertions.
Not long after I had received and believed the testimony I now bear, I had in my view both the possibility and facility of such a work; and now after a more large and perfect acquaintance with the holy scriptures, I found access to allow some time to set about it, and have also been helped to accomplish the same.
I doubt not but it might be enlarged by divers citations, which are here omitted as not being at present brought to my remembrance; yet I find cause to be contented, in that God hath so far assisted me in this work by his Spirit, that good Remembrancer; the manifestation of which, as it is minded, will help such as seriously and conscientiously read this, to find out and cleave to the truth, and also establish and confirm those who have already believed: which of all things is most earnestly desired and daily prayed for, by
A servant of the church of Christ.
From Urie, the place of my being; in my native country of Scotland, the 11th of the sixth month, 1673.
Chap. 3. Of Jesus Christ's being manifest in the flesh,
Chap. 4. Of the New Birth, the inward appearance of
Christ in Spirit, and the unity of the saints with
Chap. 5. Concerning the light wherewith Jesus Christ
hath enlightened every man; the universality and
sufficiency of God's grace to all the world, made
Chap. 6. Of faith, justification, and works....
Chap. 8. Of perseverance, and falling from grace.
Chap. 9. Concerning the Church and Ministry..
Chap. 11. Of baptism, and bread, and wine...
Chap. 12. Of the life of a Christian in general, what,
Chap. 16. A Confession of Faith, containing twenty-
Article 1. Concerning God, and the true and saving
Art. 2. Of the guide and rule of Christians..
Chap. 14. Of the Resurrection..
Chap. 15. A short introduction to the Confession of
Art. 5. Of his appearance in the flesh...
Of the end and use of that appearance.
Of the inward manifestation of Christ...
Art. 8. Of the New Birth... . . . .
Art. 9. Of the unity of the saints with Christ....
Art. 10. Of the universal love and grace of God to all.. 81
Art. 11. Of the light that enlighteneth every man
Art. 12. Of faith and justification..
Art. 16. Of the Church and Ministry..
Art. 19. Concerning eating of bread and wine, wash-
ing of one another's feet, abstaining from things
strangled and from blood, and anointing of the sick
Art. 20. Of the liberty of such Christians as are come
to know the substance, as to the using or not using
of these rites, and of the observation of days..... 90
Art. 21. Concerning swearing, fighting and persecu-
Chap. 17. A short expostulation, with an appeal to all
Chap. 18. A short examination of some of the scrip-
ture proofs, alleged by the divines at Westminster,
to prove divers articles in their Confession of Faith