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Biographical Notices of individual members ; which several divisions' of the subject, I proposed to treat of separately. The Doctrines stood first in my view ; and having completed these, it seemed, for different reasons, best to publish this part, without waiting for the slow collection of materials, and the laborious arrangement of the historical and biographical parts. These remaining parts of the original design are not abandoned ; but whether either of them will ever be accomplished, remains with Him, at whose disposal are time, opportunity, and capacity for every good word and work.
It is perhaps one of the laws of nature, that objects assume a degree of the shade, which belongs to the medium through which they are seen. And this is as true in the moral as in the physical world. Hence prejudice or prepossession cannot fail to cast a shade over any principle or performance that may be examined through them.
But there is a Principle, the Spirit of Truth, which can divest the mind of these, and enable us to see things as they really are. I solicit therefore, a calm and candid perusal of the “Doctrines of Friends.” And over and above all, I earnestly desire an increasing prevalence of the influence of that Principle, which, independent of names or denominations, infuses into the hearts of the children of men, the feelings of gratitude and love to God, and of charity and love to each other.
At a MEETING FOR SUFFERINGS of Ohio YEARLY Meeting, held by adjournments, from the 3rd of the 9th month, to the 13th of the same, inclusive, 1824 :
The writings of Elisha Bates, on the “Doctrines of Friends,” were examined, and approved ; and he left at liberty to publish them : and the Clerk is directed to furnish him with an extract of this minute, and sign it on behalf of the Meeting.
DOCTRINES OR PRINCIPLES, &c.
ORIGINAL AND PRESENT STATE OF MAN.
In entering upon a concise statement of the Doctrines of this Society, it seems most consistent with the natural order of things, to take, in the first place, a view of the Original and Present State of Man.
The Scriptures bear testimony, that man was made in the Image of his Creator : “In the Image of God created He him : male and female created He them.” Gen. i. 27. In this state, which was his by creation, he lacked neither wisdom nor understanding. He lacked nothing that was · necessary to enable him to exercise the dominion that was
given him in the world, or that could perfect his happiness, or secure acceptance in the Divine sight : otherwise he could not be in the Image of God; nor would it have been said, that “God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.” ib. 31.
ib. 31. Accordingly, we find that he had a clear sense of the relation in which he stood to the Almighty ; was favoured with communion with Him; and, when the various orders of animated beings were brought before him, he had such a sense and understanding of natural things, as enabled him to give