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Note—The following letter of Elias Hicks to JNathan Shoemaker, has been widely disseminated in manuscript, and represented by its admirers as containing more rational and consistent views on the dor. trine of the atonement, &c. than those held by Christian professors. It purports to be a deliberate reply to cer. tain queries propounded for the author's consideration. The writer says, “he considers the whole subject to k a very simple one;” and as he had nearly two months to reflect upon it before writing his answer, we may fairly conclude that he has given us his sober and mo: tured opinion on the points in question. How “si r he has made the subject appear, by his manner 0 ting it in this letter, we shall endeavour to show remarks.
ELIAS HICKS TO DR. N. SHOEMAKER,
Jericho, 3d mo. 31st, 1823. DEAR FRIEND, Thy acceptable letter of 1st month last, came duly to hand, but my religious engagements, and other necessary concerns, have prevented my giving it that attention that its contents seem to demand. Thou queries after my views of the suffering of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and what was the object of the shedding of his blood on the cross, and what benefits resulted to mankind by the shedding of this blood, &c. I shall answer in a very simple way, as I consider the whole subject to be a very simple one, as all truth is simple when we free ourselves from the improper bias of tradition and education, which rests as a burthensome stone on the minds of most of the children of men, and which very much mars the unity and harmony of society. 1st. By what means did Jesus suffer ? The answer is plain, by the hands of wicked men, and because his works were righteous and theirs were wicked. Query. Did God send him into the world purposely to suffer death by the hands of wicked men 7 By no means; but to live a righteous and godly life, (which was the design and end of God's creating man in the beginning,) and thereby be a perfect example to such of mankind as should come to the knowledge of him and of his perfect life. For, if it was the purpose and will of God that he should die by the hands of wicked men, then the Jews, by crucifying him, would have done God's will, and of course would all have stood justified in his sight, which could not be. But it was permitted so to be, as it had been with many of the prophets and wise and good men that were before him, who suffered death by the