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that the scriptures were not the Word of God.
As to the only rule of the christian's faith and practice, I could not learn from the scriptures that they were the rule ; but the scriptures testified that holy men of old spoke as they were moved upon by the Spirit, and that even under the present dispensation, christians were to be led by the Spirit. taught by the Spirit, and to abide in the Spirit, and that the Spirit was to lead into all truth. I understood that, christians were to be washed, purified, and sanctified by the Spirit, and that if any man had not the Spirit of Christ, he was none of his. Thus I saw from the scriptures themselves that the prop.erties which men ascribed to the scripiures, the scriptures ascribed to the Spirit. "I understood by the scriptures that the Spirit gave life, but the letter killed, and that the Špirit helpeth our infirmities, and that the Spirit beareth witness with our Spirit that we are born of God. All these passages with the whole tenor of scripture bore a witness that the Spirit was the rule and not the scriptures themselves.'
When I read the scriptures I read of the Spirit and of Spiritual men. I frequently would inquire for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. Some supposed that the scriptures were given to supersede the faith—few supposed that the sum and substance of it was contained in their articles of faith. I could never find but few who believe ed that we were to seek a full attainance in Christ but most of them were willing to contend for the forin. of religion and to cry peace, peace. * Having now been long enquiring for the right way, and having had my soul, long stumbled on-account of the contentions among christians about ordinances, my mind now began to see through its difficulty. When I looked into the scriptures, I saw that there were two baptisms there mentioned, to wit: the baptism of the Spirit, and the baptism of water;, the former was called the baptism of Christ and the latter was a baptism practised by John, and that of water was a type of the Spirit. I learned from scripture that many passages which related to the baptism of the Spirit were wrong. fully applied by baptisers. to mean water baptism.* As I had been, always taught to believe the scriptures to be the rule, I had imbibed an idea that whenever the apostles baptised, it was an example for the church under the present dispensation... but, as I became acquainted with the scriptures, I found that they were composed of revelation and history, and so discovered the difference there was between a simple relation of a thing, and a command. That part of the scripture which related to revelation, generally contained the gospel doctrine, and ados * See Plea. on Baplism, 4ib sbapter.
mitted of but very little controversy among christians. The historical parts of the scriptures, I saw were comprised of the acts of the apostles, and whatsoever they did was recorded. Whenever the apostles and other men acted in conformity to their own prejudice, as in vows, anointings, offerings, circumcision, it was recorded as a fact, but not as a rule. As Christ was circumcised, for the same reason he was baptised-and for the same reason he commanded his disciples to keep the law of Moses, and the pharisees to pay tithes of mint, annise, cumin, &c. - for the same reason, he commanded the leper to show himself to the priest and to offer a gift for his cleansing and for the same reason he kept the passover from year. to year--and that reason was, because he . was under the law. I saw that all this was recorded in scripture and amounted to a historical account, but not to a command. When I read in the scriptures about baptism, I found that with other things, it was used as a type, and practised by the apostles (who were Jews) generally among Jews, and not among the Gentiles. The idea which I had always credited that all the apostles did, was done by immediate inspiration, therefore must be a rule,the scriptures themselves showed me to the contrary. The apostles without the Spirit were but as other menthey were men of passion as others. In the scriptures I read of the ambition of James
and John, the apostacy and dissimulation of Peter, the incredulity of Thomas, the dissentions between Paul and Barnabas, and the jealousies which some of them entertained towards one another. The apostles, I found, were men who possessed religious prejudices, as well as other men, and acted according to that prejudice in the things which I before, mentioned. All these things stand recorded as the acts of the apostles, but are not recorded as commands one thing no more than another. I found that in the epistles of the apostles there was but little or no foundation for ordinances, but I
found the epistles like other inspired writin ings abounded much with gospel tidings;
and disputes about baptism and communion, &c. mostly were founded on the historical account given us of the apostles,and of things which they did in conformity to the dispensation under which they lived. These with many other things, I discovered which will hereafter be shewn in my Plea.
I could now look back and see the principal cause of all that misery of mind which I had gone through. I saw that the Spirit had been leading my inind in all my trials, and the reason why I did not find that comfort in baptism and sacrament which I expected, was not because I was not reconciled to God as I had often feared, but because the Spirit did not lead thereto. My soul was too sincere to fancy a blessing, or
to walk in the light of my own fire. I plainly saw, that I had been long seeking, the living among the dead, and because the spirit would not jointly agree with a dead and lifeless ceremony, I had misjudged of the truth of religion. Until now I had not enough seen that the gospel had nothing to do with any outward worship, but had been blending substance and shadow together, and as I had considered them together, seeing christians disagree about the one, I had felt a disposition to condemn both together, not knowing how to separate them. Because I had not received that enjoyment in the ordinances which I expected, and that which others pretended to receive, I had doubted of my own. christianity, and so was thrown into doubts and fears; and as I witnessed the confusion among professors of christianity I was moved to doubts, and so to darkness, and as my faith. was shaken, the enemy found means to tempt my soul, to disbelieve in religion, and to disbelieve the existence of God as he had done. Had it not have been that the Lord had dealt wonderfully with my mind I should have fallen in the midst of my temptations, but in the midst of all satan's siftings and darts, I was led to recognize the former kindnesses of the Lord, like so many monuments of divine help in time of trouble.
I was at last completely delivered from all that labyrinth of mind, into which I had been thrown by following the doctrines and teach