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JOHN JACKSO N.
T. EL LWOOD CHAPMAN.
DELIVERED AT FRIENDS' MEETING, LOMBARD STREET, BALTI. MORE, ON FOURTH DAY, TENTH MONTH 27TH, 1847, DURING THE WEEK OF THE YEARLY MEETING,
“My doctrine is not. mine, but His that sent me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”
The doctrine of Jesus Christ has ever been distinguished from the various counterfeit productions that have assumed the name of religion, hy its great simplicity, by the universality of its nature, by its complete adaptation to the spiritual wants of man, and by the influence it exerts upon human conduct and character. We have cause to admire, with feelings of gratitude, the wisdom of our heavenly Father, in that he has not made his doctrine and religion depend on the fluctuations of human opinion, but has established them on the firm foundation of eternal and unchanging truth. Neither has he made us dependent one upon another for a knowledge thereof, but has condescended to be the teacher of his people himself.
When the blessed Jesus entered on his gospel mission, he had no new doctrine to preach, no speculative opinions of his own to promulgate, but simply to “ bear witness to the truth.”—Truth as it originated with its author, and which is the same in all ages. Hence he called others to do the will of God, declaring that if any man will do his will, “ he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” The religion of Jesus Christ is, therefore, the same in all ages. It is not one thing in the days of Moses, and another in the days of Jesus of Nazareth.
Although Paul or Peter, Wickliffe, Luther, Calvin, or Fox, and numerous others who have sustained the character of reformers, may all have labored in their proper sphere, and fulfilled the work, that the times in which they lived demanded, yet Christianity has never changed its character. Its doctrines and obligations have not altered, but they have been, and still continue to be, revealed to all the nations and families of the earth. We are forced to this conclusion unless we admit that God is partial and unequal in his ways, and that he has favoured a portion of mankind with a knowledge of his will, and excluded all the rest of his rational family from the enjoyment of his presence, his goodness and his regard. We must believe it if we admit the doctrine that Christ is manifested in the flesh-for wherever Christ is, there the obligations of the Divine will are made known.
We do not limit the coming of Christ in the flesh, to its appearance in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ, that divine and spiritual illumination described by the evangelist, as the “ Word that was in the beginning,” and by which the worlds were made, did not for the first time make its appearance when the spirit descended upon Jesus. The same word had spoked