A common belief voiced by many Christians is “once saved, always saved,” and too often that’s taken as a license to continue in sin. Not so with Quakers. Listen to Elizabeth Bathurst:
- This Doctrine [teaching] being held by the Quakers, it hath been branded with the opprobrious Term of Heterodox; which if so, I know not how the Apostles Doctrine can be accounted Orthodox, and yet I know the general Opinion of many Professors is, Once in Grace, and ever in Grace, (or, once in Christ, and ever in Christ. )
- Here I’ll digress no farther, but proceed to shew the Apostle’s Judgment in this Matter: Paul speaking of the Jews (whom he calls the natural Branches of the true Olive) how that they were broken off, that the Gentiles (whom he compares to Branches of a wild Olive) they might be grafted in, saith the Apostle to them, Well, because of Unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by Faith; be not high-minded, but fear; for if God spared not the natural Branches, take heed also, lest he spare not thee. Behold therefore (saith he) the Goodness and Severity of God: Towards them that fell, Severity; but towards thee, Goodness, if thou continue in his Goodness, otherwise thou shalt be cut off, Rom. xi. 20, 21, 22. And the Author in his Epistle to the Hebrews, having spoken of Israel of old, to whom God sware in his Wrath, That they should not enter into his Rest: He cautions them, saying, Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the Living God, Heb. iii. 12. And in Chap. iv. Vers. 11. he exhorts both them and himself, saying, Let us labour therefore to enter into that Rest, lest any Man fall after the same Example of Unbelief. And in Chap. vi. Vers. 4, 5, 6. he shews them the Danger of falling;
- Nor was this his Suspicion concerning others only, but his Supposition of himself; For I keep under my Body, and bring it into Subjection (saith he) lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a Castaway.
- And then you will come to know that Faith which Jesus is the Author of, which stands in the Power of God; even in that Power which enables to resist Temptations, and overcome Sin, and to get Victory over the World, and the Spirit of it; so will you witness a dying unto Sin, and a living unto Righteousness, to the Praise of his Grace, who is calling of you out of Darkness into Light, that you may be Holy in all manner of Conversation.
- So now since God’s saving Arm is made bare for the gathering of many People to himself before your Eyes; Beware therefore lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the Prophets, Behold you Despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a Work in your Days, which you shall in no wise believe, though a Man declare it unto you.
- Although I have heard say, That the Quakers are Free-Willers; yet this doth not prove them to be so, no more than People saying so, is Proof that they deny the Scriptures.
- Thus, having shewn in several Particulars how grossly People have abused the Principle of the Quakers, I should next come to speak concerning their Practices, to see if they find any more Favour; but remembring my Promise was, not only to rectify Peoples Mistakes concerning, but to inform them in the Principle of true Religion (for the Principle of Truth is but one) I shall therefore, according to the Manifestation of the Spirit given unto me, endeavour to signify, what this Principle is, from whom it comes, and whereto it leads.