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[309] as it is successful, it is at the expense of much that is vital in our old faith. If, for instance, I could bring myself to believe a hired ministry and a written creed essential to my moral and spiritual well-being, I think I should prefer to sit down at once under such teachers as Bushnell and Beecher, the like of whom in Biblical knowledge, ecclesiastical learning, and intellectual power, we are not likely to manufacture by half a century of theological manipulation in a Quaker ‘school of the prophets.’ If I must go into the market and buy my preaching, I should naturally seek the best article on sale, without regard to the label attached to it.

I am not insensible of the need of spiritual renovation in our Society. I feel and confess my own deficiencies as an individual member. And I bear a willing testimony to the zeal and devotion of some dear friends, who, lamenting the low condition and worldliness too apparent among us, seek to awaken a stronger religious life by the partial adoption of the practices, forms, and creeds of more demonstrative sects. The great apparent activity of these sects seems to them to contrast very strongly with our quietness and reticence; and they do not always pause to inquire whether the result of this activity is a truer type of practical Christianity than is found in our select gatherings. I think I understand these brethren; to some extent I have sympathized with them. But it seems clear to me, that a remedy for the alleged evil lies not in going back to the ‘beggarly elements’ from which our worthy ancestors called the people of their generation;

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