Among Robert Barclay's other valuable works, are his |Catechism and Confession of Faith,| first published in 1673; the |Anarchy of the Ranters,| in 1677; and a treatise on |Universal Love,| in 1777. The date of the address to King Charles II. prefixed to the Apology, shows that the first edition was published in 1675, in the 28th year of the Author's age, and this is corroborated by William Penn's Preface to Barclay's works, page 21, and by John Gough's History. From its first publication, it has received the unqualified approbation of the Society of Friends, as containing a just and correct exposition of their faith and principles. In reply to an inquiry of a Correspondent in the |Christian Observer,| a periodical work published in London, in which some statements made by Leslie, (a writer against the society in early times,) have been discussed; Henry Tuke, a valued Friend, in England, since deceased, says, [see Christian Observer for 1804, vol. III. pages 73, 74,] |The first publication of the work, (Barclay's Apology) was under the sanction of the Society; and it having passed through two or three editions in English, as well as some in other languages, before Leslie could have written the controverted passages, are circumstances which fix upon him a wilful misrepresentation of the Society. It may be proper to add, (he continues) that it was first printed in Latin; has since passed through eight editions in English, under the sanction of the Society, besides one printed in Dublin, and another at Birmingham, by Baskerville. It has likewise undergone three editions in German, two in Dutch, two in French, one in Spanish, and one in Danish; also a second edition in Latin. All or most of these in foreign languages, have likewise been at the direction and expense of the Society; and a year never elapses without a public recognition of the work by the Society at large, by reading over a list of books in their Annual Meetings, in order to consider of the republishing of such as are nearly out of print. Nor is this all; it is a book, as far as my knowledge extends, the only book which has been given by the Society to many of the public libraries in Europe, as well as to some sovereigns and ambassadors, for conveying a correct information of their principles, and for counteracting those misrepresentations with which adversaries, such as Leslie, have endeavoured to impress the public mind.|
By this account, it appears that to the time when H. Tuke wrote, 1804, twenty-one editions of the Apology had been published in Europe. Four or five editions of the work have also been printed in America. It has twice been published under the sanction of the Yearly Meeting of Friends in New England, viz. in 1728, when an edition of one thousand copies was printed, by the direction of the Meeting, under the care of a committee appointed for that purpose; and again in 1774, the printing of another edition having been proposed, it is stated in the minute then made, that the proposal was unanimously approved by the Meeting, and a Committee appointed to superintend the printing, and correct the press.
Friends having thus, at different times, and in various parts of the world, united in their approbation of the work, this circumstance, it is thought, will be sufficient to convince a candid public, that as a Society, they have been uniform and consist- ent in their religious profession as to doctrine. This uniform sanction of the Society, together with the acknowledged piety of the author, as well as the intrinsic value of the work itself, will, it is confidently trusted, secure for it a candid perusal. The design of the author in its first publication, was undoubtedly, the promotion of the cause of Truth and Righteousness in the earth. If this great cause shall be further promoted by its more extensive circulation, the sincere desire of the present publishers will be realized.