(Part of the Collection, Kersey's Essays)

Jesse Kersey

Taken From  A Narrative of the Early Life, Travels, and Gospel Labors of Jessey Kersey, Late of Chester County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: T. Ellwood Chapman, 1851, pages 274-277.

This Document is on The Quaker Writings Home Page.

Best Viewed in Any Browser. Lynx Tested.

[P. 274] On recurring to the feelings which I have often had by hearing the divinity of Christ spoken of, it has at length seemed to me that it would be right to put some of my thoughts on this subject on paper. I shall therefore complete this design in as plain a manner as I am capable of. In the first place, I shall state that I cannot credit any doctrine that implies a plurality of gods, and therefore I am persuaded that throughout the :Scriptures wherever a divine influence or operation is spoken of, it must always relate to the great all powerful, all-wise, and first Cause. And he is unlimited in his nature, and must be in all things, so all the effects produced either in the mental or physical world are effects produced by the one eternal great first Cause. Hence I conclude that when Paul speaks of the Son of God, and declares him to be the Wisdom and Power of God, the same by which the worlds were made, he means neither more nor less than this: that the Wisdom and power of God when they become active, as must have been the ease in the formation and production of this visible creation, they must be viewed as effects of God, and in that sense they proceed from him, and hence he calls the Wisdom and Power of God the Son. In the same sense I can only understand the Evangelist John, where he has said in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; all things were made by him, &c. That is agreeing with Paul, in the beginning was the Wisdom and Power of God, and the Wisdom and Power was with God, and was God. All [P. 275] things were made by this Wisdom and Power. This Wisdom and Power is then the beginning of the creation of God, and in that sense alone being an effect of God, is the Son. Now :in whatever way the great first cause may manifest himself, that manifestation is an effect of God, and therefore the Son. Every manifestation which it has pleased God to make of himself is an effect of God. Such was the case when his Wisdom and Power appeared in the person of the man Jesus. His body was not the divinity for it was a finite body; it was capable of animal life and death. It was the Wisdom and the Power that was manifest through that body that was the true divinity. ~ow as God is one eternal, all-wise, undivided, and unchangeable being, so God was manifest in the flesh, and he is manifest in the flesh in all his saints. They are one as God is one, and while they remain in God they must be one and undivided. The great clamor that has been raised in the Society about denying the divinity of Christ, and which made its appearance in England in the treatment of Hannah Barnard, is much of it the fruit of the same spirit that appeared in the defence of: the absurd doctrine of the Trinity; and this doctrine of three distinct divisions of the great first Cause has always been the cause of producing absurd opinions and divisions among men from its commencement Among the professed Jews they had nothing like it; nor does it appear from anything said by Jesus himself that he wished for any such divided views to be entertained. I and my Father, says he, are one. Now let the manifestations or operations of the Eternal be when they may, or what they may, they are from himself and therefore they are and can be but one. All the [P. 276] notions that are held about Father, Son, and Holy Ghost appear therefore without any rational foundation. The fact is, God is one and undivided, and if when we speak of an operation of God upon the soul of man, we were governed by this undivided view of the divine nature there would be less mystery in the doctrines delivered than is now the case. In the formation of man he is acknowledged to be the work of God, and in his government and perfect regulation it is an effect that must result from the influence of the one eternal spirit of God. If then in the ministry of the gospel it were the practice to show that in all cases where transgression takes place it is the one eternal Spirit that is opposed by our evil acts, and that to this pure and perfect principle we must be united before we can be happy, the nature of man's redemption and salvation would be better understood than is the case under the generally received opinions.

It is evident from some of the productions of latter time that the Society of Friends who came out from under the dominion of formal professors of religion and manifested that they had been visited and enlightened by the one great and good God, and therefore attained to the possession of clear spiritual views of the nature of the Christian religion and the spirituality of its character have returned to the beggarly elements, and really seem determined again to renew those formal bonds from which we had been in some measure made free. We have the evidence of this from the material or corporeal ideas they seem now to entertain of the Saviour of men. Holding up to one another the material blood that was shed on Calvary's mount, and thereby justifying the Jews in the murder of the man Jesus--for the [P. 277] divinity they could not slay. Our friends in the beginning had some just conception of the one only wise God our Saviour, and could by no means agree to a plurality of gods; and if the Society would follow the leadings of this pure fountain of perfection their understandings would become clear in the things of God. They would clearly discover that the whole work of religion was spiritual and not carnal.