John Leland: Confessions of Faith A ‘Virgin Mary’
Why this Virgin Mary between the souls of men and the scriptures?
Had a system of religion been essential to salvation, or even to the happiness of the saints, would not Jesus, who was faithful in all his house, have left us one? If he has, it is accessible to all. If he has not, why should a man be called a heretic because he cannot believe what he cannot believe, though he believes the Bible with all his heart? Confessions of faith often check any further pursuit after truth, confine the mind into a particular way of reasoning, and give rise to frequent separations….
I wish I could say as much of tyrants. But after all, if a confession of faith, upon the whole, may be advantageous, the greatest care should be taken not to sacralize, or make a petty Bible of it.
– John Leland (1754-1841), taken from the 1810 Rise and Progress of the Baptist in Virginia by Robert B. Semple