The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 2

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Title: A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 2

Author: Thomas Clarkson

Release date: March 4, 2005 [eBook #15261]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English


E-text prepared by Carlo Traverso, Graeme Mackreth, and the Project

Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team from images generously made available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at


Taken from a View of the Education and Discipline, Social Manners, Civil and Political Economy, Religious Principles and Character, of the Society of Friends


Author of Several Essays on the Slave Trade

New York: Published by Samuel Stansbury, No 111, Water-Street




SECT. I.—Marriage—Regulation and example of George Fox, relative to Marriage—Present regulations, and manner of the celebration of it among the Quakers.

SECT. II.—Those who marry out of the society, are disowned—Various reasons for such a measure—Objection to it—Reply.

SECT III.—But the disowned may be restored to membership—Terms of their restoration—these terms censured—Reply.

SECT IV.—More women disowned on this account than men—Probable causes of this difference of number.


SECT I.—Funerals—Extravagance and pageantry of ancient and modern funerals—These discarded by the Quakers—Plain manner in which they inter their dead.

SECT II.—Quakers use no tomb-stones, nor monumental inscriptions
—Various reasons of their disuse of these.

SECT. III.—Neither do they use mourning garments—Reasons why they thus differ from the world—These reasons farther elucidated by considerations on Court-mourning.


Occupations—Agriculture declining among the Quakers—Causes and disadvantages of this decline.


SECT. I.—Trade—Quakers view trade as a moral question—Prohibit a variety of trades and dealings on this account—various other wholesome regulations concerning it.

SECT. II.—But though the Quakers thus prohibit many trades, they are found in some which are considered objectionable by the world—These specified and examined.


Settlement of differences—Abstain from duels-and also from law—Have recourse to arbitration—Their rules concerning arbitration—An account of an Arbitration Society at Newcastle upon Tyne, on Quaker-principles.


SECT. I.—Poor—No beggars among the Quakers—Manner of relieving and providing for the poor.

SECT. II.—Education of the children of the poor provided for—Observations on the number of the Quaker-poor—and on their character.



Invitation to a perusal of this part of the work—The necessity of humility and charity in religion on account of the limited powers of the human understanding—Object of this invitation.


God has given to all, besides an intellectual, a spiritual understanding—Some have had a greater portion of this spirit than others, such as Abraham, and Moses, and the prophets, and Apostles—Jesus Christ had it without limit or measure.


Except a man has a portion of the same spirit, which Jesus, and the Prophets, and the Apostles had, he cannot know spiritual things—This doctrine confirmed by St. Paul—And elucidated by a comparison between the faculties of men and of brutes.


Neither except he has a portion of the same spirit, can he know the scriptures to be of divine origin, nor can he spiritually understand them—Objection to this doctrine-Reply.


This spirit, which has been thus given to men in different degrees, has been given them as a teacher or guide in their spiritual concerns—Way in which it teaches.


This spirit may be considered as the primary and infallible guide—and the scriptures but a secondary means of instruction—but the Quakers do not undervalue the latter on this account—Their opinion concerning them.


This spirit, as a primary and infallible guide, has been given to men universally—From the creation to Moses—From Moses to Christ—From Christ to the present day.


Sect. I.—And as it has been universally to men, so it has been given them sufficiently—Those who resist it, quench it—Those who attend to it, are in the way of redemption.

Sect. II.—This spirit then besides its office of a spiritual guide, performs that of a Redeemer to men—Redemption outward and inward—Inward effected by this spirit.

Sect. III.—Inward redemption produces a new birth—and leads to perfection—This inward redemption possible to all.

Sect. IV—New birth and perfection more particularly explained-New birth as real from "the spiritual seed of the kingdom" as that of plants and vegetables from their seeds in the natural world—and goes on in the same manner progressively to maturity.


SECT. I.—Possibility of redemption to all denied by the favours of
"Election and Reprobation"—Quaker-refutation of the later doctrine.

SECT. II.—Quaker refutation continued.


Recapitulation of all the doctrines advanced—Objection that the Quakers make every thing of the Spirit and but little of Jesus Christ—Attempt to show that Christians often differ without a just cause—Or that there is no material difference between the creeds of the Quakers and that of the objectors on this subject.


SECT. I.—Ministers of the Gospel—Quakers conceive that the spirit of
God alone can qualify for the ministry—Women equally qualified with
men—Way in which ministers are called and acknowledged among the

SECT. II.—Quaker-ministers, when acknowledged, engage in family visits—Nature of these—and sometimes in missions through England—and sometimes in foreign parts.


Elders—Their origin and their office—These are not to meddle with the discipline of the church.


SECT I.—Worship—is usually made to consist of prayer and preaching—But neither of these are considered by the Quakers to be effectual without the aid of the spirit—Hence no liturgy or studied form of words among the Quakers—Reputed manner and character of Quaker-preaching—Observations upon these.

SECT. II—Silent worship—Manner of it—Worship not necessarily connected with words—Advantages of this mode of worship.

SECT. III.—Quakers discard every thing formal and superstitious from their worship—No consecrated ground—No priest's garments—No psalmody—No one day esteemed by them holier than another—Reasons for these singularities.


Miscellaneous particularities—Quakers seldom use the words "original sin," or "Trinity," and never "the word of God" for the Scriptures—Believe in the manhood and divinity of Christ—In the resurrection—Their ideas on sanctification and justification.


Quakers reject baptism and the Lord's supper—Indulgence solicited for them on account of the difficulties connected with these subjects—These difficulties explained.


SECT. I.—Two baptisms, that of John and of Christ—That of John was by water—and a Jewish ordinance—John the prophet left under the law.

SECT. II.—Baptism of Christ was by the Spirit—This the baptism of the Gospel—Authorities on which this distinction between the two is founded.

SECT. III.—Quakers conceive it was not the baptism of John which Jesus included in the Great Commission, when he ordered his disciples to go into all nations, and to teach them, baptizing in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost—This shown from expressions taken from St. Peter and St. Paul—and from the object and nature of this baptism.

SECT. IV.—But that it was the baptism of Christ—This shown from a critical examination of the words in the commission itself—And from the commission, as explained by St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul.

SECT. V.—Practice of Jesus and the Apostles a confirmation of this opinion.


Sect. I.—Two suppers, the one instituted by Moses, the other by Jesus Christ—The first called the passover—Ancient and modern manner of its celebration.

Sect. II.—Second, enjoined by Jesus at Capernaum—This wholly, of a spiritual nature—Way in which this may be enjoyed.

Sect. III.—Quakers say that Jesus instituted no new supper distinct from that of the passover, and which was to render null and void that enjoined at Capernaum, at a rite of the Christian church—No such institution to be collected from St. Matthew, St. Mark, or St. John.

Sect. IV.—Nor from St. Luke—St. Luke only says, that all future passovers of the Disciples with Christ were to be spiritual—but if, as Jews, they could not all at once abdicate the passover to which they had been educated, they were to celebrate it with a new meaning—But no acknowledged permission of it to others.

Sect. V.—Nor from St. Paul—St. Paul only says that the passover, as spiritualized by Jesus, was allowed to his disciples, or to the Jewish converts, who could not all at once lay aside their prejudices concerning it, but that it was to last only for a time—Different opinions about this time—That of the Quakers concerning it.

Sect. VI.—Had a new supper, distinct from that of the passover, been intended as a ceremonial of the Christian church, it would have been commanded to others besides the disciples, and its duration would not have been limited—Reasons from St. Paul, to show that he himself did not probably consider it as a Christian ordinance—Whereas the supper enjoined at Capernaum, was to be eternal—and universal—and an essential with all Christians.







Marriage—Quakers differ in many respects from others, on the subject of Marriage—George Fox introduced Regulations concerning it—Protested against the usual manner of the celebration of it—Gave an example of what he recommended—Present regulations of the Quakers on this subject.

In the continuation of the Customs of the Quakers, a subject which I purpose to resume in the present volume, I shall begin with that of Marriage.

The Quakers differ from others in many of their regulations concerning this custom. They differ also in the manner of the celebration of it. And, as they differ in these respects, so they experience generally a different result. The Quakers, as a married, may be said to be a happy, people. Hence the detailers of scandal, have rarely had it in their power to promulgate a Quaker adultery. Nor have the lawyers had an opportunity in our public courts of proclaiming a Quaker divorce.

George Fox suggested many regulations on this subject. He advised, among other things, when persons had it in contemplation to marry, that they should lay their intention before the monthly meetings, both of the men and women. He advised also, that the consent of their parents should be previously obtained, and certified to these. Thus he laid the foundation for greater harmony in the approaching union. He advised again, that an inquiry should be made, if the parties were clear of engagements or promises of marriage to others, and, if they were not, that they should be hindered from proceeding. Thus, he cut off some of the causes of the interruption of connubial happiness, by preventing uneasy reflections, or suits at law, after the union had taken place. He advised also, in the case of second marriages, that any offspring resulting from the former, should have their due rights and a proper provision secured to them, before they were allowed to be solemnized. Thus he gave a greater chance for happiness, by preventing mercenary motives from becoming the causes of the union of husbands and wives.

But George Fox, as he introduced these and other salutary regulations on the subject of Marriage, so he introduced a new manner of the celebration of it. He protested against the manner of the world, that is, against the formal prayers and exhortations as they were repeated, and against the formal ceremonies, an they were practised by the Parish Priest. He considered that it was God, who joined man and woman before the fall; and that in Christian times, or where the man was truly renovated in heart, there could be no other right or honourable way of union. Consistently with this view of the subject, he observed, that in the ancient scriptural times, persons took each other in marriage in the assemblies of the Elders; and there was no record, from the Book of Genesis to that of Revelations, of any marriage by a Priest. Hence it became his new society, as a religious or renovated people, to abandon apostate usages, and to adopt a manner that was more agreeable to their new state.

George Fox gave in his own marriage, an example of all that he had thus recommended to the society. Having agreed with Margaret Fell, the widow of Judge Fell, upon the propriety of their union as husband and wife, he desired her to send for her children. As soon as they were come, he asked them and their respective husbands,[1] "If they had any thing against it, or for it, desiring them to speak? and they all severally expressed their satisfaction therein. Then he asked Margaret, if she had fulfilled and performed her husband's Will to her children? She replied, the children know that. Whereupon he asked them, whether, if their mother married, they should not lose by it? And he asked Margaret, whether she had done any thing in lieu of it, which might answer it to the children? The children said, she had answered it to them, and desired him to speak no more about that. He told them, that he was plain, and that he would have all things done plainly; for he sought not any outward advantage to himself. So, after he had acquainted the children with it, their intention of marriage was laid before Friends, both privately and publicly;" and afterwards a meeting being appointed for the accomplishment of the marriage, in the public Meeting-house at Broad Mead, in Bristol, they took each other in marriage, in the plain and simple manner as then practised, and which he himself had originally recommended to his followers.

[Footnote 1: G. Fox's Journal, Vol. 2. p. 135.]

The regulations concerning marriage, and the manner of the celebration of it, which obtained in the time of George Fox, nearly obtain among the Quakers of the present day.

When marriage is agreed upon between two persons, the man and the woman, at one of the monthly meetings, publicly declare their intention, and ask leave to proceed. At this time their parents, if living, must either appear, or send certificates to signify their consent. This being done, two men are appointed by the men's meeting, and two women are appointed by that of the women, to wait upon the man and woman respectively, and to learn from themselves, as well as by other inquiry, if they stand perfectly clear from any marriage-promises and engagements to others. At the next monthly meeting the deputation make their report. If either of the parties is reported to have given expectation of marriage to any other individual, the proceedings are stopped till the matter be satisfactorily explained. But if they are both of them reported to be clear in this respect, they are at liberty to proceed, and one or more persons of respectability of each sex, are deputed to see that the marriage be conducted in an orderly manner.

In the case of second marriages, additional instructions are sometimes given; for if any of the parties thus intimating their intentions of marrying should have children alive, the same persons, who were deputed to inquire into their clearness from all other engagements, are to see that the rights of such children be legally secured.

When the parties are considered to be free, by the reports of the deputation, to proceed upon their union, they appoint a suitable day for the celebration of it, which is generally one of the week-day meetings for worship. On this day they repair to the Meeting-house with their friends. The congregation, when seated, sit in silence. Perhaps some minister is induced to speak. After a suitable time has elapsed, the man and the woman rise up together, and, taking each other by the hand, declare publicly, that they thus take each other as husband and wife. This constitutes their marriage. By way, however, of evidence of their union, a paper is signed by the man and woman, in the presence of three witnesses, who sign it also, in which it is stated that they have so taken each other in marriage. And, in addition to this, though, it be not a necessary practice, another paper is generally produced and read, stating concisely the proceedings of the parties in their respective Meetings for the purpose of their marriage, and the declaration made by them, as having taken each other as man and wife. This is signed by the parties, their relations, and frequently by many of their friends, and others present. All marriages of other Dissenters are celebrated in the established churches, according to the ceremonies of the same. But the marriages of the Quakers are valid by law in their own Meeting-houses, when solemnised in this simple manner.


Quakers, marrying out of the Society, to be disowned—That regulation charged with pride and cruelty—Reasons for this disownment are—That mixed Marriages cannot be celebrated without a violation of same of the great Principles of the Society—That they are generally productive of disputes and uneasiness to those concerned—and that the discipline cannot be carried on in such families.

Among the regulations suggested by George Fox, and adopted by his followers, it was determined that persons, belonging to the society, should not intermarry with those of other religious professions. Such an heterogeneous union was denominated a mixed marriage; and persons, engaging in such mixed marriages, were to be disowned.

People of other denominations have charged the Quakers with a more than usually censurable pride, on account of their adoption of this law. They consider them as looking down upon the rest of their fellow-creatures, as so inferior or unholy, as not to deign or to dare to mix in alliance with them, or as looking upon them in the same light as the Jews considered the Heathen, or the Greeks the Barbarian world. And they have charged them also with as much cruelty as pride, on the same account. "A Quaker, they say, feels himself strongly attached to an accomplished woman; but she does not belong to the society. He wishes to marry, but he cannot marry her on account of its laws. Having a respect for the society, he looks round it again, but he looks round it in vain. He finds no one equal to this woman; no one, whom he could love so well. To marry one in the society, while he loves another out of it better, would be evidently wrong. If he does not marry her, he makes the greatest of all sacrifices, for he loses that which he supposes would constitute a source of enjoyment to him for the remainder of his life. If he marries her, he is expelled the society; and this, without having been guilty of an immoral offence."

One of the reasons, which the Quakers give for the adoption of this law of disownment in the case of mixed marriages, is, that those who engage in them violate some of the most important principles of the society, and such indeed as are distinguishing characteristics of Quakerism from the religion of the world.

It is a religious tenet of the Quakers, as will be shown in its proper place, that no appointment of man can make a minister of the gospel, and that no service, consisting of an artificial form of words, to be pronounced on stated occasions, can constitute a religious act; for that the spirit of God is essentially necessary to create the one, and to produce the other. It is also another tenet with them, that no minister of a christian church, ought to be paid for his Gospel-labours. This latter tenet is held so sacred by the Quakers, that it affords one reason among others, why they refuse payment of tithes, and other demands of the church, preferring to suffer loss by distraints for them, than to comply with them in the usual manner. Now these two principles are essentials of Quakerism. But no person, who marries out of the society, can be legally married without going through the forms of the established church. Those therefore who submit to this ceremony, as performed by a priest, acknowledge, according to the Quakers, the validity of an human appointment of the ministry. They acknowledge the validity of an artificial service in religion. They acknowledge the propriety of paying a Gospel-minister for the discharge of his office. The Quakers, therefore, consider those who marry out of the society, as guilty of such a dereliction of Quaker-principles, that they can be no longer considered as sound or consistent members.

But independently of the violation of these principles, which the Quakers take as the strongest ground for their conduct on such an occasion, they think themselves warranted in disowning, from a contemplation of the consequences, which have been known to result from these marriages.

In the first place, disownment is held to be necessary, because it acts as a check upon such marriages, and because, by acting as such a check, it prevents the family-disputes and disagreements which might otherwise arise; for such marriages have been found to be more productive of uneasiness than of enjoyment. When two persons of different religious principles, a Quaker for example, and a woman of the church, join in marriage, it is almost impossible that they should not occasionally differ. The subject of religion arises, and perhaps some little altercation with it, as the Sunday comes. The one will not go to church, and the other will not go to meeting. These disputes do not always die with time. They arise, however, more or less, according to circumstances. If neither of the parties set any value upon their religious opinions, there will be but little occasion for dispute. If both of them, on the other hand, are of a serious cast, much will depend upon the liberality of their sentiments: but, generally speaking, it falls to the lot of but few to be free from religious prejudices. And here it may be observed, that points in religion also may occasionally be suggested, which may bring with them the seeds of temporary uneasiness. People of other religious denominations generally approach nearer to one another in their respective creeds, than the Quakers to either of them. Most christians agree, for example, in the use of Baptism in some form or other, and also in the celebration of the Lord's Supper. But the Quakers, as will be shown in this volume, consider these ordinances in a spiritual light, admitting no ceremonials in so pure a system as that of the Christian religion.

But these differences, which may thus soon or late take their rise upon these or other subjects, where the parties set a value on their respective religious opinions, cannot fail of being augmented by new circumstances in time. The parties in question have children. The education of these is now a subject of the most important concern. New disputes are engendered on this head, both adhering to their respective tenets as the best to be embraced by their rising offspring. Unable at length to agree on this point, a sort of compromise takes place. The boys are denied, while the girls are permitted, baptism. The boys, again, are brought up to meeting, and the girls to church, or they go to church and meeting alternately. In the latter case, none of the children can have any fixed principles. Nor will they be much better off in the former. There will be frequently an opposition of each other's religious opinions, and a constant hesitation and doubt about the consistency of these. There are many points, which the mothers will teach the daughters as right, or essential, but which the fathers will teach the sons as erroneous or unimportant. Thus disputes will be conveyed to the children. In their progress through life other circumstances may arise, which may give birth to feelings of an unpleasant nature. The daughters will be probably instructed in the accomplishments of the world. They will be also introduced to the card-room, and to assemblies, and to the theatre, in their turn. The boys will be admitted to neither. The latter will of course feel their pleasures abridged, and consider their case as hard, and their father as morose and cruel. Little jealousies may arise upon this difference of their treatment, which may be subversive of filial and fraternal affection. Nor can religion be called in to correct them; for while the two opposite examples of father and mother, and of sisters and brothers, are held out to be right, there will be considerable doubts as to what are religious truths.

The Quakers urge again in behalf of their law against mixed marriages, that if these were not forbidden, it would be impossible to carry on the discipline of the society. The truth of this may be judged by the preceding remarks. For if the family were divided into two parties, as has been just stated, on account of their religion, it would be but in a kind of mongrel-state. If, for instance, it were thought right, that the Quaker-part of it should preserve the simplicity of the Quaker-dress, and the plainness of the Quaker-language, how is this to be done, while the other part daily move in the fashions, and are taught as a right usage, to persist in the phrases of the world? If, again, the Quaker-part of it are to be kept from the amusements prohibited by the society, how is this to be effected, while the other part of it speak of them from their own experience, with rapture or delight? It would be impossible, therefore, in the opinion of the Quakers, in so mixed a family, to keep up that discipline, which they consider as the corner-stone of their constitutional fabric, and which may be said to have been an instrument in obtaining for them the character of a moral people.


But though persons are thus disowned, they may be restored to membership—Generally understood, however, that they must previously express their repentance for their marriages—This confession of repentance censured by the world—But is admissible without the criminality supposed—The word repentance misunderstood by the world.

But though the Quakers may disown such as marry out of their society, it does not follow that these may not be reinstated as members. If these should conduct themselves after their disownment in an orderly manner, and, still retaining their attachment to the society, should bring up their children in the principles and customs of it, they may, if they apply for restoration, obtain it, with all their former privileges and rights.

The children also of such as marry out of the society, though they are never considered to be members of it, may yet become so in particular cases. The society advises that the monthly meetings, should extend a tender care towards such children, and that they should be admitted into membership at the discretion of the said meetings, either in infancy or in maturer age.

But here I must stop to make a few observations, on an opinion which prevails upon this subject. It is generally understood that the Quakers, in their restoration of disowned persons to membership, require them previously and publicly to acknowledge, that they have repented of their marriages. This obligation to make this public confession of repentance, has given to many a handle for heavy charges against them. Indeed I scarcely know, in any part of the Quaker-system, where people are louder in their censures, than upon this point. "A man, they say, cannot express his penitence for his marriage without throwing a stigma upon his wife. To do this is morally wrong, if he has no fault to find with her. To do it, even if she has been in fault, is indelicate. And not to do it, is to forego his restoration to membership. This law therefore of the Quakers is considered to be immoral, because it may lead both to hypocrisy and falsehood."

I shall not take up much time in correcting the notions that have gone abroad on this subject.

Of those who marry out of the society, it may be presumed that there are some, who were never considered to be sound in the Quaker-principles, and these are generally they who intermarry with the world. Now they, who compose this class, generally live after their marriages, as happily out of the society as when they were in it. Of course, these do not repent of the change. And if they do not repent, they never sue for restoration to membership. They cannot, therefore, incur any of the charges in question. Nor can the society be blamed in this case, who, by never asking them to become members, never entice them to any objectionable repentance.

Of those again, who marry out of the society, there may be individuals, so attached to its communion, that it was never imagined they would have acted in this manner. Now of these, it may in general be said, that they often bitterly repent. They find, soon or late, that the opposite opinions and manners, to be found in their union, do not harmonize. And here it may be observed, that it is very possible, that such persons may say they repent without any crimination of their wives. A man, for instance, may have found in his wife all the agreeableness of temper, all the domestic virtue and knowledge, all the liberality of religious opinion, which he had anticipated; but in consequence of the mixed principles resulting from mixed marriages, or of other unforeseen causes, he may be so alarmed about the unsteady disposition of his children and their future prospects, that the pain which he feels on these accounts may overbalance the pleasure, which he acknowledges in the constant prudence, goodness, solicitude, and affection, of his wife. This may be so much the case, that all her consolatory offices may not be able to get the better of his grief. A man, therefore, in such circumstances, may truly repent of his marriage, or that he was ever the father of such children, though he can never complain as the husband of such a wife.

The truth, however, is, that those who make the charge in question, have entirely misapplied the meaning of the word repent. People are not called upon to express their sorrow, for having married the objects of their choice, but for having violated those great tenets of the society, which have been already mentioned, and which form distinguishing characteristics between Quakerism and the religion of the world. Those, therefore, who say they repent, say no more than what any other persons might be presumed to say, who had violated the religious tenets of any other society to which they might have belonged, or who had flown in the face of what they had imagined to be religious truths.


Of persons, disowned for marriage, the greater proportion is said to consist of women—Causes assigned for this difference of number in the two sexes.

It will perhaps appear a curious fact to the world, but I am told it is true, that the number of the women, disowned for marrying out of the society, far exceeds the number of the men, who are disowned on the same account.

It is not difficult, if the fact be as it is stated, to assign a reason for this difference of number in the two sexes.

When men wish to marry, they wish, at least if they are men of sense, to find such women as are virtuous; to find such as are prudent and domestic, and such as have a proper sense of the folly and dissipation of the Fashionable world; such in fact as will make good mothers and good wives. Now if a Quaker looks into his own society, he will generally find the female part of it of this description. Female Quakers excel in these points. But if he looks into the world at large, he will in general find a contrast in the females there. These, in general, are but badly educated. They are taught to place a portion of their happiness in finery and show: utility is abandoned for fashion: The knowledge of the etiquette of the drawing-room usurps the place of the knowledge of the domestic duties: A kind of false and dangerous taste predominates: Scandal and the card-table are preferred to the pleasures of a rural walk: Virtue and Modesty are seen with only half their energies, being overpowered by the noxiousness of novel-reading principles, and by the moral taint which infects those who engage in the varied rounds of a fashionable life. Hence a want of knowledge, a love of trifles, and a dissipated turn of mind, generally characterize those who are considered as having had the education of the world.

We see therefore a good reason why Quaker-men should confine themselves in their marriages to their own society. But the same reason, which thus operates with Quaker-men in the choice of Quaker-women, operates with men who are not of the society, in choosing them also for their wives. These are often no strangers to the good education, and to the high character, of the Quaker-females. Fearful often of marrying among the badly educated women of their own persuasion, they frequently address themselves to this society, and not unfrequently succeed.

To this it may be added, that if Quaker-men were to attempt to marry out of their own society, they would not in general be well received. Their dress and their manners are considered as uncouth in the eyes of the female-world, and would present themselves as so many obstacles in the way of their success. The women of this description generally like a smart and showy exterior. They admire heroism and spirit. But neither such an exterior, nor such spirit, are to be seen in the Quaker-men. The dress of the Quaker-females, on the other hand, is considered as neat and elegant, and their modesty and demeanor as worthy of admiration. From these circumstances they captivate. Hence the difference, both in the inward and outward person, between the men and the women of this society, renders the former not so pleasing, while it renders the latter objects of admiration, and even choice.



Funerals—Most nations have paid extravagant attention to their dead—The moderns follow their example—This extravagance, or the pageantry of funerals, discarded by the Quakers—Their reasons for it—Plainness of Quaker-funerals.

If we look into the history of the world, we shall find, from whatever cause it has arisen, whether from any thing connected with our moral feelings, such as love, gratitude, or respect, or from vanity, or ostentation, that almost all nations, where individuals have been able to afford it, have incurred considerable expense in the interment of their dead. The Greeks were often very extravagant in their funerals. Many persons, ornamented with garlands, followed the corpse, while others were employed in singing and dancing before it. At the funerals of the great, among the Romans, couches were carried, containing the waxen or other images of the family of the deceased, and hundreds joined in the procession. In our own times, we find a difference in the manner of furnishing or decorating funerals, though but little in the intention of making them objects of outward show. A bearer of plumes precedes the procession. The horses employed are dressed in trappings. The hearse follows ornamented with plumes of feathers, and gilded and silvered with gaudy escutcheons, or the armorial bearings of the progenitors of the deceased. A group of hired persons range themselves on each side of the hearse and attendant carriages, while others close the procession. These again are all of them clad in long cloaks, or furnished, in regular order, with scarfs and hat-bands. Now all these outward appendages, which may be called the pageantry of funerals, the Quakers have discarded, from the time of their institution, in the practice of the burial of their dead.

The Quakers are of opinion, that funeral processions should be made, if any thing is to be made of them, to excite serious reflections, and to produce lessons of morality in those who see them. This they conceive to be best done by depriving the dead body of all ornaments and outward honours. For, stripped in this manner, they conceive it to approach the nearest to its native worthlessness or dust. Such funerals, therefore, may excite in the spectator a deep sense of the low and debased condition of man. And his feelings will be pure on the occasion, because they will be unmixed with the consideration of the artificial distinctions of human life. The spectator too will be more likely, if he sees all go undistinguished to the grave, to deduce for himself the moral lesson, that there is no true elevation of one above another, only as men follow the practical duties of virtue and religion. But what serious reflections, or what lessons of morality, on the other hand, do the funerals of the world produce, if accompanied with pomp and splendour? To those who have sober and serious minds, they produce a kind of pity, that is mingled with disgust. In those of a ludicrous turn, they provoke ludicrous ideas, when they see a dead body attended with such extravagant parade. To the vulgar and the ignorant no one useful lesson is given. Their senses are all absorbed in the show; and the thoughts of the worthlessness of man, as well as of death and the grave, which ought naturally to suggest themselves on such occasions, are swallowed up in the grandeur and pageantry of the procession. Funerals, therefore, of this kind, are calculated to throw honour upon riches, abstractedly of moral merit; to make the creature of as much importance when dead as when alive; to lessen the humility of man; and to destroy, of course, the moral and religious feelings that should arise upon such occasions. Add to which, that such a conduct among christians must be peculiarly improper; for the christian dispensation teaches man, that he is "to work out his salvation with fear and trembling." It seems inconsistent, therefore, to accompany with all the outward signs of honour and greatness the body of a poor wretch, who has had this difficult and awful task to perform, and who is on his last earthly journey, previously to his appearance before the tribunal of the Almighty to be judged for the deeds which he has committed in the flesh.

Actuated by such sentiments as these, the Quakers have discarded all parade at their funerals. When they die, they are buried in a manner singularly plain. The corpse is deposited in a plain coffin. When carried to the meeting-house or grave-yard, it is attended by relations and friends. These have nothing different at this time in their external garments from their ordinary dress. Neither man nor horse is apparelled for the purpose. All pomp and parade, however rich the deceased may have been, are banished from their funeral processions. The corpse, at length, arrives at the meeting-house[2]. It is suffered to remain there in the sight of the spectators. The congregation then sit in silence, as at a meeting for worship. If any one feels himself induced to speak, he delivers himself accordingly; if not, no other rite is used at this time. In process of time the coffin is taken out of the meeting-house, and carried to the grave. Many of the acquaintances of the deceased, both Quakers and others, follow it. It is at length placed by the side of the grave. A solemn, silent pause, immediately takes place. It is then interred. Another shorter pause then generally follows. These pauses are made, that the "spectators may be more deeply touched with a sense of their approaching exit, and their future state." If a minister or other person, during these pauses, have any observation or exhortation to make, which is frequently the case, he makes it. If no person should feel himself impressed to speak, the assembled persons depart. The act of seeing the body deposited in the grave, is the last public act of respect which the Quakers show to their deceased relations. This is the whole process of a Quaker-funeral.

[Footnote 2: It is sometimes buried without being carried there.]


Quakers use no vaults in their burying-grounds—Relations sometimes buried near each other, but oftener otherwise—They use no tomb-stones or monumental inscriptions—Reasons for this disuse—But they sometimes record accounts of the lives, deaths, and dying sayings, of their Ministers.

The Quakers, in the infancy of their institution, were buried in their gardens, or orchards, or in the fields and premises of one another. They had at that time no grave-yards of their own; and they refused to be buried in those of the church, lest they should thus acknowledge the validity of an human appointment of the priesthood, the propriety of payment for gospel-labour, and the peculiar holiness of consecrated ground. This refusal to be buried within the precincts of the church, was considered as the bearing of their testimony for truth. In process of time they raised their own meeting-houses, and had their respective burying places. But these were not always contiguous, but sometimes at a distance from one another, The Quakers have no sepulchres or arched vaults under ground for the reception of their dead. There has been here and there a vault, and there is here and there a grave with sides of brick; but the coffins, containing their bodies, are usually committed to the dust.

I may observe also, that the Quakers are sometimes buried near their relations, but more frequently otherwise. In places where the Quaker-population is thin, and the burial ground large, a relation is buried next to a relation, if it be desired. In other places, however, the graves are usually dug in rows, and the bodies deposited in them, not as their relations lie, but as they happen to be opened in succession without any attention to family connexions. When the first grave in the row is opened and filled, the person who dies next, is put into that which is next to it; and the person who dies next, occupies that which is next to the second[3]. It is to many an endearing thought, that they shall lie after their death, near the remains of those whom they loved in life. But the Quakers, in general, have not thought it right or wise to indulge such feelings. They believe that all good men, however their bodies may be separated in their subterraneous houses of clay, will assuredly meet at the resurrection of the just.

[Footnote 3: By this process a small piece of ground is longer in filling, no room being lost, and the danger and disagreeable necessity of opening graves before the bodies in them are decayed, is avoided.]

The Quakers also reject the fashions of the world in the use of tomb-stones and monumental inscriptions. These are generally supposed to be erected out of respect to the memory or character of the deceased. The Quakers, however, are of opinion, that this is not the proper manner of honouring the dead. If you wish to honour a good man, who has departed this life, let all his good actions live in your memory; let them live in your grateful love and esteem; so cherish them in your heart, that they may constantly awaken you to imitation. Thus you will show, by your adoption of his amiable example, that you really respect his memory. This is also that tribute, which, if he himself could be asked in the other world how he would have his memory respected in this, he would prefer to any description of his virtues, that might be given by the ablest writer, or handed down to posterity by the ablest monument of the sculptor's art.

But the Quakers have an objection to the use of tomb-stones and monumental inscriptions, for other reasons. For, where pillars of marble, abounding with panegyric, and decorated in a splendid manner, are erected to the ashes of dead men, there is a danger, lest, by making too much of these, a superstitious awe should be produced, and a superstitious veneration should attach to them. The early Christians, by making too much of the relics of their saints or pious men, fell into such errors.

The Quakers believe, again, that if they were to allow the custom of these outward monuments to obtain among them, they might be often led, as the world is, and by the same causes, to a deviation from the truth; for it is in human nature to praise those whom we love, but more particularly when we have lost them. Hence, we find often such extravagant encomiums upon the dead, that if it were possible for these to be made acquainted with them, they would show their disapprobation of such records. Hence we find also, that "as false as an epitaph," has become a proverbial expression.

But even in the case where nothing more is said upon the tomb-stone than what Moses said of Seth, and of Enos, and of Cainan, and others, when he reckoned up the genealogy of Adam, namely, that "they lived and that they died," the Quakers do not approve of such memorials. For these convey no merit of the deceased, by which his example should be followed. They convey no lesson of morality: and in general they are not particularly useful. They may serve perhaps to point out to surviving relations, the place where the body of the deceased was buried, so that they may know where to mark out the line for their own graves. But as the Quakers in general have overcome the prejudice of "sleeping with their fathers," such memorials cannot be so useful to them.

The Quakers, however, have no objection, if a man has conducted himself particularly well in life, that a true statement should be made concerning him, provided such a statement would operate as a lesson of morality to others; but they think that the tomb-stone is not the best medium of conveying it. They are persuaded that very little moral advantage is derived to the cursory readers of epitaphs, or that they can trace their improvement in morals to this source. Sensible, however, that the memorials of good men may be made serviceable to the rising generation, ("and there are no ideas, says Addison, which strike more forcibly on our imaginations, than those which are raised from reflections upon the exits of great and excellent men,") they are willing to receive accounts of the lives, deaths, and remarkable dying sayings, of those ministers in their own society, who have been eminent for their labours. These are drawn up by individuals, and presented to the monthly meetings, to which the deceased belonged. But here they must undergo an examination before they are passed. The truth of the statement, and the utility of the record, must appear. It then falls to the quarterly meetings to examine them again, and these may alter, or pass, or reject them, as it may appear to be most proper. If these should pass them, they are forwarded to the yearly meeting. Many of them, after this, are printed; and, finding their way into the bookcases of the Quakers, they become collected essays of morality, and operate as incitements to piety to the rising youth. Thus the memorials of men are made useful by the Quakers in an unobjectionable manner; for the falsehood and flattery of epitaphs are thus avoided; none but good men having been selected, whose virtues, if they are recorded, can be perpetuated with truth.


They discard also mourning garments—These are only emblems of sorrow—and often make men pretend to be what they are not—This contrary to Christianity—Thus they may become little better than disguised pomp, or fashionable forms—This instanced in the changes and duration of common mourning—and in the custom also of court-mourning —Ramifications of the latter.

As the Quakers neither allow of the tomb-stones, nor the monumental inscriptions, so they do not allow of the mourning garments of the world.

They believe there can be no true sorrow but in the heart, and that there can be no other true outward way of showing it than by fulfilling the desires, and by imitating the best actions, of those whom men have lost and loved. "The mourning, says William Penn, which it is fit for a Christian to have on the departure of beloved relations and friends, should be worn in the mind, which is only sensible of the loss. And the love which men have had to these, and their remembrance of them, should be outwardly expressed by a respect to their advice, and care of those they have left behind them, and their love of that which they loved."

But mourning garments, the Quakers contend, are only emblems of sorrow. They will therefore frequently be used, where no sorrow is. Many persons follow their deceased relatives to the grave, whose death, in point of gain, is a matter of real joy; witness young spendthrifts, who have been raising sum after sum on expectation, and calculating with voracious anxiety, the probable duration of their relations' lives. And yet all these follow the corpse to the grave, with white handkerchiefs, mourning habits, slouched hats, and dangling hat-bands. Mourning garments, therefore, frequently make men pretend to be what they are not. But no true or consistent Christian can exhibit an outward appearance to the world, which his inward feelings do not justify.

It is not contended here by the Quakers, that because a man becomes occasionally a hypocrite, this is a sufficient objection against any system; for a man may be an Atheist even in a Quaker's garb. Nor is it insinuated, that individuals do not sometimes feel in their hearts, the sorrow which they purpose to signify by their clothing. But it is asserted to be true, that men who use mourning habits as they are generally used, do not wear them for those deceased persons only whom they loved, and abstain from the use of them where they had no esteem, but that they wear them promiscuously on all the occasions which have been dictated by fashion. Mourning habits therefore, in consequence of a long system of etiquette, have become, in the opinion of the Quakers, but little better than disguised pomp, or fashionable forms.

I shall endeavour to throw some light upon this position of the Quakers, by looking into the practice of the world.

In the first place, there are seasons there, when full mourning, and seasons when only half mourning, is to be worn. Thus the habit is changed, and for no other reason, than that of conformity with the laws of fashion. The length of this time also, or season of mourning, is made to depend upon the scale of men's affinity to the deceased; though nothing can be more obvious, than that men's affection for the living, and that their sorrow for them when dead, cannot be measured by this standard. Hence the very time that a man shall mourn, and the very time that he shall only half-mourn, and the very time that he shall cease to mourn, is fixed for him by the world, whatever may be the duration of his own sorrow.

In court-mourning also, we have an instance of men being instructed to mourn, where their feelings are neither interested nor concerned. In this case, the disguised pomp, spoken of by the Quakers, will be more apparent. Two princes have perhaps been fighting with each other for a considerable portion of their reigns. The blood of their subjects has been spilled, and their treasures have been exhausted. They have probably had, during all this time, no kind disposition one towards another, each considering the other as the aggressor, or as the author of the war. When both have been wearied out with expense, they have made peace. But they have still mutual jealousies and fears. At length one of them dies. The other, on receiving an express relative to the event, orders mourning for the deceased for a given time. As other potentates receive the intelligence, they follow the example. Their several levees or drawing-rooms, or places of public audience, are filled with mourners. Every individual of each sex, who is accustomed to attend them, is now habited in black. Thus a round of mourning is kept up by the courtiers of Europe, not by means of any sympathetic beating of the heart, but at the sound, as it were, of the postman's horn.

But let us trace this species of mourning farther, and let us now more particularly look at the example of our own country for the elucidation of the point in question. The same Gazette, which gave birth to this black influenza at court, spreads it still farther. The private gentlemen of the land undertake to mourn also. You see them accordingly in the streets, and in private parties, and at public places, in their mourning habits. Nor is this all. Military officers, who have fought against the armies of the deceased, wear black crapes over their arms in token of the same sorrow.

But the fever does not stop even here. It still spreads, and in tracing its progress, we find it to have attacked our merchants. Yes, the disorder has actually got upon change. But what have I said? Mourning habits upon change! Where the news of an army cut to pieces, produces the most cheerful countenances in many, if it raises the stocks but an half per cent. Mourning habits upon change, where contracts are made for human flesh and blood! Where plans that shall consign cargoes of human beings to misery and untimely death, and their posterity to bondage, are deliberately formed and agreed upon! O sorrow, sorrow! what hast thou to do upon change, except in the case of commercial losses, or disappointed speculation! But to add to this disguised pomp, as the Quakers call it, not one of ten thousand of the mourners, ever saw the deceased prince; and perhaps ninety nine in the hundred, of all who heard of him, reprobated his character when alive.


Occupations of the Quakers—Agriculture declining among them—Probable reasons of this decline—Country congenial to the quietude of mind required by their religion—Sentiments of Cowper—Congenial also to the improvement of their moral feelings—Sentiments of William Penn—Particularly suited to them as lovers of the animal creation.

The Quakers generally bring up their children to some employment. They believe that these, by having an occupation, may avoid evils, into which they might otherwise fall, if they had upon their hands an undue proportion of vacant time. "Friends of all degrees, says the book of extracts, are advised to take due care to breed up their children in some useful and necessary employment, that they may not spend their precious time in idleness, which is of evil example, and tends much to their hurt."

The Quakers have been described to be a domestic people, and as peculiarly cherishing domestic happiness. Upon this principle it is, combined with the ties of their discipline and peculiar customs, that we scarcely find any of this society quitting their country, except for America, to reside in foreign parts. If it be a charge against the Quakers, that they are eager in the pursuit of wealth, let it at least be mentioned in their favour, that, in their accumulation of it, they have been careful not to suffer their knowledge to take advantage of the ignorance of others, and to keep their hands clear of the oppression, and of the blood of their fellow-creatures.

In looking among the occupations of the Quakers, we shall find some, who are brought up as manufacturers and mechanics; but the number of these is small.

Others, but these are few, follow the sea. There may be here and there a mate or captain in the coasting employ. In America, where they have great local and other advantages, there may be more in the seafaring line. But, in general, the Quakers are domestic characters, and prefer home.

There are but few also, who follow the professions. Their education and their religion exclude them from some of these. Some, however, are to be found in the department of medicine: and others, as conveyancers, in the law.

Several of the Quakers follow agriculture. But these are few, compared with the rest of the society, or compared with the number of those who formerly followed a rural life. Almost all the Quakers were originally in the country, and but few of them in the towns. But this order of things is reversing fast. They are flocking into the towns, and are abandoning agricultural pursuits.

The reasons, which may be given for this change, may be the following. It is not at all unlikely but that tithes may have had some influence in producing it. I am aware, however, it will be said, that a Quaker, living in the country, and strongly principled against these, would think it a dereliction of his duty to leave it on this account, and would remain upon the principle, that an abode there, under the annual exercise of his testimony, would, in a religions point of view, add strength to his strength. But it must be observed; on the other hand, that where men are not obliged to remain under grievous evils, and can get rid of them, merely by changing their occupation in life, and this honourably, it is in human nature to do it. And so far tithes, I believe, have had an influence, in driving the Quakers into the towns. Of later years, as the society has grown thinner in the country, I believe new reasons have sprung up; for the Quakers have had less opportunity of society with one another. They have been subjected, also to greater inconvenience in attending their religious meetings. Their children also have been more exposed to improper connexions in marriage. To which it may be added, that the large and rapid profits frequently made in trade, compared with the generally small and slow returns from agricultural concerns, may probably have operated with many, as an inducement to such a change.

But whatever reasons may have induced them to quit the country, and to settle in the towns, no temporal advantages can make up to them, as a society, the measure of their loss. For when we consider that the Quakers never partake of the amusements of the world; that their worldly pleasures are chiefly of a domestic nature; that calmness, and quietude, and abstraction from worldly thoughts, to which rural retirement is peculiarly favourable, is the state of mind which they themselves acknowledge to be required by their religion, it would seem that the country was peculiarly the place for their habitations.

It would seem, also as if, by this forsaking of the country, they had deprived themselves of many opportunities of the highest enjoyment of which they are capable as Quakers. The objects in the country are peculiarly favourable to the improvement of morality in the exercise of the spiritual feelings. The bud and the blossom, the rising and the falling leaf, the blade of corn and the ear, the seed time and the harvest, the sun that warms and ripens, the cloud that cools and emits the fruitful shower; these, and an hundred objects, afford daily food for the religious growth of the mind. Even the natural man is pleased with these. They excite in him natural ideas, and produce in him a natural kind of pleasure. But the spiritual man experiences a sublimer joy. He sees none of these without feeling both spiritual improvement and delight. It is here that he converses with the Deity in his works: It is here that he finds himself grateful for his goodness—that he acknowledges his wisdom—that he expresses his admiration of his power.

The poet Cowper, in his contemplation of a country life, speaks forcibly on this subject.

   "O friendly to the best pursuits of man,
   Friendly to thought, to virtue, and to peace,
   Domestic life, in rural leisure pass'd!
   Few know thy value, and few taste thy sweets;
   Though many boast thy favours, and affect
   To understand and choose these for their own
   But foolish man forgoes his proper bliss,
   Ev'n as his first progenitor, and quits,
   Though plac'd in Paradise, (for earth has still
   Some traces of her youthful beauty left,)
   Substantial happiness for transient joy.
   Scenes form'd for contemplation, and to nurse
   The growing seeds of wisdom, that suggest
   By every pleasing image they present,
   Reflections, such as meliorate the heart,
   Compose the passions, and exalt the mind."

William Penn, in the beautiful letter which he left his wife and children before his first voyage to America, speaks also in strong terms upon the point in question.

"But agriculture, says he, is especially in my eye. Let my children be husbandmen and housewives. This occupation is industrious, healthy, honest, and of good example. Like Abraham and the holy ancients, who pleased God, and obtained a good report, this leads to consider the works of God, and nature of things that are good, and diverts the mind from being taken up with the vain arts and inventions of a luxurious world." And a little farther on he says, "Of cities and towns, of concourse beware. The world is apt to stick close to those, who have lived and got wealth there. A country life and estate, I like best for my children. I prefer a decent mansion of a hundred pounds a year, to ten thousand pounds in London, or such like place, in the way of trade."

To these observations it may he added, that the country, independently of the opportunity it affords for calmness and quietude of mind, and the moral improvement of it in the exercise of the spiritual feelings, is peculiarly fitted for the habitation of the Quakers, on account of their peculiar love for the animal creation. It would afford them a wide range for the exercise of this love, and the improvement of the benevolent affections. For tenderness, if encouraged, like a plant that is duly watered, still grows. What man has ever shown a proper affection for the brute creation, who has been backward in his love of the human race?



Trade—Trade seldom considered as a question of morals—But Quakers view it in this light—Prohibit the slave-trade—Privateering —Manufactories of weapons of war—Also trade where the revenue is defrauded—Hazardous enterprises—Fictitious paper—Insist upon punctuality to words and engagements—Advise an annual inspection of their own affairs—Regulations in case of bankruptcy.

I stated in the last chapter, that some of the Quakers, though these were few in number, were manufacturers and mechanics; that others followed the sea; that, others were to be found in the medical profession, and in the law; and that others were occupied in the concerns of a rural life. I believe with these few exceptions, that the rest of the society may be considered as engaged in trade.

Trade is a subject, which seldom comes under the discussion of mankind as a moral question. If men who follow it, are honest and punctual in their dealings, little is thought of the nature of their occupations, or of the influence of these upon their minds. It will hardly, however, be denied by moralists, that the buying and selling of commodities for profit, is surrounded with temptation, and is injurious to pure, benevolent, or disinterested feelings; or that where the mind is constantly intent upon the gaining of wealth, by traffic, it is dangerously employed. Much less will it be denied, that trade is an evil, if any of the branches of it through which men acquire their wealth, are productive of mischief either to themselves or others. If they are destructive to the health of the inferior agents, or to the morality of any of the persons concerned in them, they can never be sanctioned by Christianity.

The Quakers have thought it their duty, as a religious body, to make several regulations on this subject.

In the first place they have made it a rule, that no person, acknowledged to be in profession with them, shall have any concern in the slave-trade.

The Quakers began to consider this subject, as a Christian body, so early as in the beginning of the last century. In the year 1727, they passed a public censure upon this trade. In the year 1758, and afterwards in the year 1761, they warned and exhorted all in profession with them "to keep their hands clear of this unrighteous gain of oppression." In the yearly meeting of 1763, they renewed their exhortation in the following words: "We renew our exhortation, that Friends every where be especially careful to keep their hands clear of giving encouragement in any shape to the slave-trade; it being evidently destructive of the natural rights of mankind, who are all ransomed by one Saviour, and visited by one divine light in order to salvation; a traffic calculated to enrich and aggrandize some upon the miseries of others; in its nature abhorrent to every just and tender sentiment, and contrary to the whole tenour of the Gospel."

In the same manner, from the year 1763, they have publicly manifested a tender concern for the happiness of the injured Africans, and they have not only been vigilant to see that none of their own members were concerned in this impious traffic, but they have lent their assistance with other Christians in promoting its discontinuance.

They have forbidden also the trade of privateering in war. The Quakers consider the capture of private vessels by private persons, as a robbery committed on the property of others, which no human authority can make reconcileable to the consciences of honest individuals. And upon this motive they forbid it, as well as upon that of their known profession against war.

They forbid also the trade of the manufacturing of gun-powder, and of arms or weapons of war, such as swords, guns, pistols, bayonets, and the like, that they may stand clear of the charge of having made any instrument, the avowed use of which is the destruction of human life.

They have forbidden also all trade, that has for its object the defrauding of the king either of his customs or his excise. They are not only not to smuggle themselves, but they are not to deal in such goods as they know, or such as they even suspect, to be smuggled; nor to buy any article of this description, even for their private use. This prohibition is enjoined, because all Christians ought "to render to Caesar the things that are Caesars," in all cases where their consciences do not suffer by doing it: because those, who are accessory to smuggling, give encouragement to perjury and bloodshed, these being frequently the attendants of such unlawful practices; and because they do considerable injury to the honest trader.

They discourage also concerns in "hazardous enterprises," in the way of trade. Such enterprisses are apt to disturb the tranquillity of the mind, and to unfit if for religious exercise. They may involve also the parties concerned, and their families, in ruin. They may deprive them again of the means of paying their just debts, and thus render them injurious to their creditors. Members, therefore, are advised to be rather content with callings which may produce small but certain profits, than to hazard the tranquillity of their minds, and the property of themselves and others.

In the exercise of those callings which are deemed lawful by the society, two things are insisted upon: first, that their members "never raise and circulate any fictitious kind of paper credit, with endorsements and acceptances, to give it an appearance of value without an intrinsic reality:" secondly, that they should be particularly attentive to their words, and to the punctual performance of their engagements, and on no account delay their payments beyond the time they have promised. The society have very much at heart the enforcement of the latter injunction, not only because all christians are under an obligation to do these things, but because they wish to see the high reputation of their ancestors, in these respects, preserved among those of their own day. The early Quakers were noted for a scrupulous attention to their duty, as Christians, in their commercial concerns. One of the great clamours against them, in the infancy of their institution, was, that they would get all the trade. It was nothing but their great honour in their dealings, arising from religious principle, that gave birth to this uproar, or secured them a more than ordinary portion of the custom of the world in the line of their respective trades.

Among other regulations made by the Quakers on the subject of trade, it is advised publicly to the members of the society, to inspect the state of their affairs once a year. And lest this advice should be disregarded, the monthly meetings are directed to make annual appointments of suitable Friends to communicate it to the members individually. But independently of this public recommendation, they are earnestly advised by their book of extracts, to examine their situations frequently. This is done with a view, that they may see how they stand with respect to themselves and the world at large; that they may not launch out into commercial concerns beyond their strength, nor live beyond their income, nor go on longer in their business than they can pay their debts.

If a Quaker, after this inspection of his affairs, should find himself unable to pay his just debts, he is immediately to disclose his affairs to some judicious members of the society, or to his principal creditors, and to take their advice how he is to act; but to be particularly careful not to pay one creditor in preference to another.

When a person of the society becomes a bankrupt, a committee is appointed by his own monthly meeting, to confer with him on his affairs. If the bankruptcy should appear, by their report, to have been the result of misconduct, he is disowned. He may, however, on a full repentance, (for it is a maxim with the society, that "true repentance washes put all stains,") and by a full payment of every man his own, be admitted into membership again; or if he has begun to pay his creditors, and has made arrangements satisfactory to the society for paying them, he may be received as a member, even before the whole of the debt is settled.

If it should appear, on the other hand, that the bankruptcy was the unavoidable result of misfortune, and not of imprudence, he is allowed to continue in the society.

But in either of these cases, that is, where a man is disowned and restored, or where he has not been disowned at all, he is never considered as a member, entitled to every privilege of the society, till he has paid the whole of the debts. And the Quakers are so strict upon this point, that if a person has paid ten shillings in the pound, and his creditors have accepted the composition, and the law has given him his discharge, it is insisted upon that he pays the remaining ten as soon as he is able. No distance of time will be any excuse to the society for his refusal to comply with this honourable law. Nor will he be considered as a full member, as I observed before, till he has paid the uttermost farthing; for no collection for the poor, nor any legacy for the poor, or for other services of the society, will be received from his purse, while any thing remains of the former debt. This rule of refusing charitable contributions on such occasions, is founded on the principle that money, taken from a man in such a situation, is taken from his lawful creditors; and that such a man can have nothing to give, while he owes any thing to another.

It may be observed of this rule or custom, that as it is founded in moral principle, so it tends to promote a moral end. When persons of this description see their own donations dispensed with, but those of the rest of the meeting taken, they are reminded of their own situation, and of the desirableness of making the full satisfaction required. The custom, therefore, operates as a constant memento, that their debts are still hanging over them, and prompts to new industry and anxious exertion for their discharge. There are many instances of Quakers, who have paid their composition as others do, but who, after a lapse of many years, have surprised their former creditors by bringing them the remaining amount of their former debts. Hence the Quakers are often enabled to say, what few others can say on the same subject, that they are not ultimately hurtful to mankind, either by their errors, or by their misfortunes.


But though the Quakers have made these regulations, the world find fault with many of their trades or callings—Several of these specified—Standard proposed by which to examine them—Some of these censurable by this standard—and given up by many Quakers on this account, though individuals may still follow them.

But though the Quakers have made these beautiful regulations concerning trade, it is manifest that the world are not wholly satisfied with their conduct on this subject. People charge them with the exercise of improper callings, or of occupations inconsistent with the principles they profess.

It is well known that the Quakers consider themselves as a highly professing people; that they declaim against the follies and vanities of the world; and that they bear their testimony against civil customs and institutions, even to personal suffering. Hence, professing more than others, more is expected from them. George Fox endeavoured to inculcate this idea into his new society. In his letter to the yearly meeting in 1679, he expresses himself as follows: "The world also does expect more from Friends than from other people, because they profess more. Therefore you should be more just than others in your words and dealings, and more righteous, holy, and pure, in your lives and conversations; so that your lives and conversations may preach. For the world's tongues and mouths have preached long enough; but their lives and conversations have denied what their tongues have professed and declared." I may observe, therefore, that the circumstance of a more than ordinary profession of consistency, and not any supposed immorality on the part of the Quakers, has brought them, in the instances alluded to, under the censure of the world. Other people, found in the same trades or occupations, are seldom noticed as doing wrong. But when men are set as lights upon a hill, blemishes will be discovered in them, which will be overlooked among those who walk in the vale below.

The trades or occupations which are usually condemned as improper for
Quakers to follow, are numerous. I shall not therefore specify them all.
Those, however, which I purpose to select for mention, I shall accompany
with all the distinctions which equity demands on the occasion.

The trade of a distiller, or of a spirit-merchant, is considered as objectionable if in the hands of a Quaker.

That of a cotton manufacturer, who employs a number of poor children in the usual way, or in a way which is destructive to their morals and to their health, is considered as equally deserving of censured.[4]

[Footnote 4: Poor children are frequently sent by parishes to cotton-mills. Little or no care is taken of their morals. The men, when grown up, frequently become drunken, and the girls debauched. But the evil does not stop here. The progeny of these, vitiated by the drunkenness and debauchery of their parents, have generally diseased and crippled constitutions, which they perpetuate to a new generation; after which the whole race, I am told, generally becomes extinct. What Christian can gain wealth at the expense of the health, morals, and happiness of his fellow-creatures?]

There is a calling which is seldom followed by itself: I mean the furnishing of funerals, or the serving of the pall. This is generally in the hands of Cabinet-makers, or of Upholsterers, or of woollen-drapers. Now if any Quaker should be found in any of these occupations, and if he should unite with these that of serving the pall, he would be considered by such an union, as following an objectionable trade. For the Quakers having discarded all the pomp, and parade, and dress, connected with funerals, from their own practice, and this upon moral principles, it is insisted upon, that they ought not to be accessary to the promotion of such ceremonials among others.

The trade of a printer, or bookseller, when exercised by a Quaker, has not escaped the animadversions of the world. A distinction, however, must be made here. They who condemn this calling, can never do it justly, but in supposed cases. They must suppose, for example, that the persons in question follow these callings generally, or that they do not make an exception with respect to the printing or selling of such books as may convey poison to the morals of those who read them.

A Quaker-tailor is considered as a character, which cannot consistently exist. But a similar distinction must be made here as in a former case. The world cannot mean that if a Quaker confines himself to the making of clothes for his own society, he is reproachable for so doing; but only if he makes clothes for every one without distinction, following, as he is ordered, all the varying fashions of the world.

A Quaker-hatter is looked upon in the same light as a Quaker-tailor. But here a distinction suggests itself again. If he make only plain and useful hats for the community and for other Quakers, it cannot be understood that he is acting inconsistently with his religious profession. The charge can only lie against him, where he furnishes the hat with the gold and the silver-lace, or the lady's riding-hat with its ornaments, or the military hat with its lace, cockade, and plumes. In this case he will be considered as censurable by many, because he will be looked upon as a dealer in the superfluities condemned by his own religion.

The last occupation I shall notice is that of a silversmith. And here the censure will depend upon a contingency also. If a Quaker confines himself to the selling of plain silver articles for use, little objection can be raised against his employ. But if, in addition to this, he sells goldheaded canes, trinkets, rings, ear-rings, bracelets, jewels, and other ornaments of the person, he will be considered as chargeable with the same inconsistency as the follower of the former trade.

In examining these and other occupations of the Quakers, with a view of seeing how far the objections which have been advanced against them are valid, I own I have a difficult task to perform. For what standard shall I fix upon, or what limits shall I draw upon this occasion? The objections are founded in part upon the principle, that Quakers ought not to sell those things, of which their own practice shows that they disapprove. But shall I admit this principle without any limitation or reserve? Shall I say without any reserve, that a Quaker-woman, who discards the use of a simple ribbon from her dress, shall not sell it to another female, who has been constantly in the habit of using it, and this without any detriment to her mind? Shall I say again, without any reserve, that a Quaker-man who discards the use of black cloth, shall not sell a yard of it to another? And, if I should say so, where am I to stop? Shall I not be obliged to go over all the colours in his shop, and object to all but the brown and the drab? Shall I say again, without any reserve, that a Quaker cannot sell any thing which is innocent in itself, without inquiring of the buyer its application or its use? And if I should say so, might I not as well say, that no Quaker can be in trade? I fear that to say this, would be to get into a labyrinth, out of which there would be no clew to guide us.

Difficult, however, as the task may seem, I think I may lay down three positions, which will probably not be denied, and which, if admitted, will assist us in the determination of the question before us. The first of these is, that no Quaker can be concerned in the sale of a thing, which is evil in itself. Secondly, that he cannot encourage the sale of an article, which he knows to be essentially, or very generally, that is, in seven cases out of ten, productive of evil. And, thirdly, that he cannot sell things which he has discarded from his own use, if he has discarded them on a belief that they are specifically forbidden by Christianity, or that they are morally injurious to the human mind.

If these positions be acknowledged, they will give ample latitude for the condemnation of many branches of trade.

A Quaker-bookseller, according to these positions, cannot sell a profane or improper book.

A Quaker spirit-merchant cannot sell his liquor but to those whom he believes will use it in moderation, or medicinally, or on proper occasions.

A Quaker, who is a manufacturer of cotton, cannot exercise his occupation but upon an amended plan.

A Quaker-silversmith cannot deal in any splendid ornaments of the person.

The latter cannot do this for the following reasons. The Quakers reject all such ornaments, because they believe them to be specifically condemned by Christianity. The words of the apostles Paul and Peter, have been quoted both by Fox, Penn, Barclay, and others, upon this subject. But surely, if the Christian religion positively condemns the use of them in one, it condemns the use of them in another. And how can any one, professing this religion, sell that, the use of which he believes it to have forbidden? The Quakers also have rejected all ornaments of the person, as we find by their own writers, on account of their immoral tendency; or because they are supposed to be instrumental in puffing up the creature, or in the generation of vanity and pride. But if they have rejected the use of them upon this principle, they are bound, as Christians, to refuse to sell them to others. Christian love, and the Christian obligation to do as we would wish to be done by, positively enjoin this conduct. For no man, consistently with this divine law and obligation, can sow the seeds of moral disease in his neighbour's mind.

And here I may observe, that though there are trades, which may be innocent in themselves, yet Quakers may make them objectionable by the manner in which they may conduct themselves in disposing of the articles which belong to them. They can never pass them off, as other people do, by the declaration that they are the fashionable articles of the day. Such words ought never to come out of Quakers' mouths; not so much because their own lives are a living protest against the fashions of the world, as because they cannot knowingly be instrumental in doing a moral injury to others. For it is undoubtedly the belief of the Quakers, as I had occasion to observe in a former volume, that the following of such fashions, begets a worldly spirit, and that in proportion as men indulge this spirit, they are found to follow the loose and changeable morality of the world, instead of the strict and steady morality of the gospel.

That some such positions as these may be fixed upon for the farther regulation of commercial concerns among the Quakers, is evident, when we consider the example of many estimable persons in this society.

The Quakers, in the early times of their institution, were very circumspect about the nature of their occupations, and particularly as to dealing in superfluities and ornaments of the person. Gilbert Latey was one of those who bore his public testimony against them. Though he was only a tailor, he was known and highly respected by king James the Second. He would not allow his servants to put any corruptive finery upon the clothes which he had been ordered to make for others. From Gilbert Latey I may pass to John Woolman. In examining the Journal of the latter I find him speaking thus: "It had been my general practice to buy and sell things really useful. Things that served chiefly to please the vain mind in people, I was not easy to trade in; seldom did it; and whenever I did, I found it weaken me as a Christian." And from John Woolman I might mention the names of many, and, if delicacy did not forbid me, those of Quakers now living, who relinquished or regulated their callings, on an idea, that they could not consistently follow them at all, or that they could not follow them according to the usual manner of the world. I knew the relation of a Quaker-distiller, who left off his business upon principle. I was intimate with a Quaker-bookseller. He did not give up his occupation, for this was unnecessary; but he was scrupulous about the selling of an improper book. Another friend of mine, in the society, succeeded but a few years ago to a draper's shop. The furnishing of funerals had been a profitable part of the employ. But he refused to be concerned in this branch of it, wholly owing to his scruples about it. Another had been established as a silversmith for many years, and had traded in the ornamental part of the business, but he left it wholly, though advantageously situated, for the same reason, and betook himself to another trade. I know other Quakers, who have held other occupations, not usually objectionable by the world, who have become uneasy about them, and have relinquished them in their turn. These noble instances of the dereliction of gain, where it has interfered with principle, I feel it only justice to mention in this place. It is an homage due to Quakerism; for genuine Quakerism will always produce such instances. No true Quaker will remain in any occupation, which he believes it improper to pursue. And I hope, if there are Quakers, who mix the sale of objectionable with that of the other articles of their trade, it is because they have entered into this mixed business, without their usual portion of thought, or that the occupation itself has never come as an improper occupation before their minds.

Upon the whole, it must be stated that it is wholly owing to the more than ordinary professions of the Quakers, as a religious body, that the charges in question have been exhibited against such individuals among them, as have been found in particular trades. If other people had been found in the same callings, the same blemishes would not have been so apparent. And if others had been found in the same, callings, and it had been observed of these, that they had made all the beautiful regulations which I have shown the Quakers to have done on the subject of trade, these blemishes would have been removed from the usual range of the human vision. They would have been like the spots in the sun's disk, which are hid from the observation of the human eye, because they are lost in the superior beauty of its blaze. But when the Quakers have been looked at solely as Quakers, or as men of high religious profession, these blemishes have become conspicuous. The moon, when it eclipses the sun, appears as a blemish in the body of that luminary. So a public departure from publicly professed principles will always be noticed, because it will be an excrescence or blemish, too large and protuberant, to be overlooked in the moral character.


Settlement of differences—Quakers, when they differ, abstain from violence—No instance of a duel—George For protested against going to law, and Recommended arbitration-Laws relative to arbitration—Account of an arbitration-society, at Newcastle upon Tyne, on Quaker-principles —Its dissolution—Such societies might be usefully promoted.

Men are so constituted by nature, and their mutual intercourse is such, that circumstances must unavoidably arise, which will occasion differences. These differences will occasionally rouse the passions; and, after all, they will still be to be settled. The Quakers, like other men, have their differences. But you rarely see any disturbance of the temper on this account. You rarely hear intemperate invectives. You are witness to no blows. If in the courts of law you have never seen their characters stained by convictions for a breach of the marriage-contract, or the crime of adultery; so neither have you seen them disgraced by convictions for brutal violence, or that most barbarous of all Gothic customs, the duel.

It is a lamentable fact, when we consider that we live in an age, removed above eighteen hundred years from the first promulgation of Christianity, one of the great objects of which was to insist upon the subjugation of the passions, that our children should not have been better instructed, than that we should now have to behold men, of apparently good education, settling their disputes by an appeal to arms. It is difficult to conceive what preposterous principles can actuate men, to induce them to such a mode of decision. Justice is the ultimate wish of every reasonable man in the termination of his casual differences with others, But, in the determination of cases by the sword, the injured man not unfrequently falls, while the aggressor sometimes adds to his offence, by making a widow or an orphan, and by the murder of of a fellow-creature. But it is possible the duellist may conceive that he adds to his reputation by decisions of this sanguinary nature. But surely he has no other reputation with good men, than that of a weak, or a savage, or an infatuated creature; and, if he fells, he is pitied by these on no other motive than that of his folly and of his crime. What philosopher can extol his courage, who, knowing the bondage of the mind while under the dominion of fashion, believes that more courage is necessary in refusing a challenge, than in going into the field? What legislator can applaud his patriotism, when he sees him violate the laws of his country? What Christian his religion, when he reflects on the relative duties of man, on the law of lore and benevolence that should have guided him, on the principle that it is more noble to suffer than to resist, and on the circumstance, that he may put himself into the doubly criminal situation of a murderer and a suicide by the same act?

George Fox, in his doctrine of the influence of the spirit as a divine teacher, and in that of the necessity of the subjugation of the passions in order that the inward man might be in a fit state to receive its admonitions, left to the society a system of education, which, if acted upon, could not fail of producing peaceable and quiet characters; but foreseeing that among the best men differences would unavoidably arise from their intercourse in business and other causes, it, was his desire that these should be settled in a Christian manner. He advised therefore that no member should appeal to law; but that he should refer his difference to arbitration, by persons of exemplary character in the society. This mode of decision appeared to him to be consistent with the spirit of Christianity, and with the advice of the apostle Paul, who recommended that all the differences among the Christians of his own time should be referred to the decision of the saints, or of such other Christians, as were eminent for their lives and conversation.

This mode of decision, which began to take place among the Quakers in the time of George Fox, has been continued by them to the present day. Cases, where property is concerned to the amount of many thousands, are determined in no other manner. By this process the Quakers obtain their verdicts in a way peculiarly satisfactory. For law-suits are at best tedious. They often destroy brotherly love in the individuals, while they continue. They excite also, during this time, not unfrequently, a vindictive spirit, and lead to family-feuds and quarrels. They agitate the mind also, hurt the temper, and disqualify a man for the proper exercise of his devotion. Add to this, that the expenses of law are frequently so great, that burthens are imposed upon men for matters of little consequence, which they feel as evils and incumbrances for a portion of their lives; burthens which guilt alone, and which no indiscretion, could have merited. Hence the Quakers experience advantages in the settlement of their differences, which are known but to few others.

The Quakers, when any difference arises about things that are not of serious moment, generally settle it amicably between themselves; but in matters that are intricate and of weighty concern, they have recourse to arbitration. If it should happen, that they are slow in proceeding to arbitration, overseers, or any others of the society, who may come to the knowledge of the circumstance, are to step in and to offer their advice. If their advice is rejected, complaint is to be made to their own monthly meeting concerning them; after which they will come under the discipline of the society, and if they still persist in refusing to settle their differences or to proceed to arbitration, they may be disowned. I may mention here, that any member going to law with another, without having previously tried, to accommodate matters between them according to the rules of the society, comes under the discipline in like manner.

When arbitration is determined on, the Quakers are enjoined to apply to persons of their own society to decide the case. It is considered, however, as desirable, that they should not trouble their ministers, if they can help it, on these occasions, as the minds of these ought to be drawn out as little as possible into worldly concerns. If Quakers, however, should not find among Quakers such as they would choose to employ for these purposes, or such as may not possess skill in regard to the matter in dispute, they may apply to others out of the society, sooner than go to law.

The following is a concise statement of the rules recommended by the society, in the case of arbitrations.

Each party is to choose one or two friends as arbitrators, and all the persons, so chosen, are to agree upon a third or a fifth. The arbitrators are not to consider themselves as advocates for the party by whom they were chosen, but as men, whose duty it is to judge righteously, fearing the Lord. The parties are to enter into engagements to abide by the award of the arbitrators. Every meeting of the arbitrators is to be made known to the parties concerned, till they have been fully heard. No private meetings are allowed between some of the arbitrators, or with one party separate from the other, on the business referred to them. No representation of the case of one party, either by writing or otherwise, is to be admitted, without its being fully made known to the other; and, if required, a copy of such representation is to be delivered to the other party. The arbitrators are to hear both parties fully, in the presence of each other, whilst either has any fresh matter to offer, for a time mutually limited. In the case of any doubtful point of law, the arbitrators are jointly to agree upon a case, and consult counsel. It is recommended to arbitrators to propose to the parties, that they should give an acknowledgment in writing, before the award is made; that they have been candidly and fully heard.

In the same manner as a Quaker proceeds with a Quaker in the case of any difference, he is led by his education and habits to proceed with others, who are not members of the same society. A Quaker seldom goes to law with a person of another denomination, till he has proposed arbitration. If the proposal be not accepted, the Quaker has then no remedy but the law. For a person, who is out of the society, cannot be obliged upon pain of disownment, as a Quaker may, to submit to such a mode of decision, being out of the reach of the Quaker-discipline.

I shall close my observations upon this subject, by giving an account of an institution for the accommodation of differences, which took place in the year 1793, upon Quaker principles.

In the town of Newcastle upon Tyne, a number of disputes were continually arising on the subject of shipping concerns, which were referred to the decision of the laws. These decisions were often grievously expensive. They were, besides, frequently different from what seafaring persons conceived to be just. The latter circumstance was attributed to the ignorance of lawyers in maritime affairs. Much money was therefore often expended, and no one satisfied. Some Quakers, in the neighbourhood, in conjunction with others, came forward with a view of obviating these evils. They proposed arbitration as a remedy. They met with some opposition at first, but principally from the gentlemen of the law. After having, however, shown the impropriety of many of the legal verdicts that had been given, they had the pleasure of seeing their plan publicly introduced and sanctioned. For in the month of June, 1793, a number of gentlemen, respectable for their knowledge in mercantile and maritime affairs, met at the Trinity-hall in Newcastle, and associated themselves for these and other purposes, calling themselves "The Newcastle upon Tyne Association for general Arbitration."

This association was to have four general meetings in the year, one in each quarter, at which they were to receive cases. For any urgent matter, however, which might occur, the clerk was to have the power of calling a special meeting.

Each person, on delivering a case, was to pay a small fee. Out of these fees the clerk's salary and incidental expenses were to be paid. But the surplus was to be given to the poor.

The parties were to enter into arbitration-bonds, as is usual upon such occasions.

Each party was to choose out of this association or standing committee, one arbitrator for himself, and the association were to choose or to ballot for a third. And here it will be proper to observe, that this standing association appeared to be capable of affording arbitrators equal to the determination of every case. For, if the matter in dispute between the two parties were to happen to be a mercantile question, there were merchants in the association: If a question relative to shipping, there were ship-owners in it: If a question of insurance, there were insurance-brokers also. A man could hardly fail of having his case determined by persons who were competent to the task.

Though this beautiful institution was thus publicly introduced, and introduced with considerable expectations and applause, cases came in but slowly. Custom and prejudice are not to be rooted out in a moment. In process of time, however, several were offered, considered, and decided, and the presumption was, that the institution would have grown with time. Of those cases which were determined, some, relating to ships, were found to be particularly intricate, and cost the arbitrators considerable time and trouble. The verdicts, however, which were given, were in all of them satisfactory. The Institution, at length became so popular, that, incredible to relate, its own popularity destroyed it! So many persons were ambitious of the honour of becoming members of the committee, that some of inferior knowledge, and judgment, and character, were too hastily admitted into it. The consequence was, that people dared not trust their affairs to the abilities of every member: and the institution expired, after having rendered important services to numerous individuals who had tried it.

When we consider that this institution has been tried, and that the scheme of it has been found practicable, it is a pity that its benefits should have been confined, and this for so short a period, to a single town. Would it not be desirable, if, in every district, a number of farmers were to give in their names to form a standing committee, for the settlement of disputes between farmer and farmer? or that there should be a similar institution among manufacturers, who should decide between one manufacturer and another? Would it not also be desirable, if, in every parish, a number of gentlemen, or other respectable persons, were to associate for the purpose of accommodating the differences of each other? For this beautiful system is capable of being carried to any extent, and of being adapted to all stations and conditions of life. By these means numerous little funds might be established in numerous districts, from the surplus of which an opportunity would be afforded of adding to the comforts of such of the poor, as were to distinguish themselves by their good behaviour, whether as labourers for farmers, manufacturers, or others. By these means also many of the quarrels in parishes might be settled to the mutual satisfaction of the parties concerned, and, in so short a space of time, as to prevent them from contracting a rancorous and a wounding edge. Those, on the other hand, who were to assist in these arbitrations, would be amply repaid; for they would be thus giving an opportunity of growth to the benevolence of their affections, and they would have the pleasing reflection, that the tendency of their labours would be to produce peace and good will amongst men.



Management of the poor—Quakers never seen as beggars—George Fox began the provision for the Quaker-poor—Monthly meetings appoint overseers—Persons passed over are to apply for relief and the disorderly may receive it in certain cases—Manner of collecting for the poor—If burthensome in one monthly meeting, the burthen shared by the quarterly—Quakers gain settlements by monthly meetings, as the other poor of the kingdom, by parishes.

There are few parts of the Quaker-constitution, that are more worthy of commendation, than that which relates to the poor. All the members of this society are considered as brethren, and as entitled to support from one another. If our streets and our roads are infested by miserable objects, imploring our pity, no Quaker will be found among them. A Quaker-beggar would be a phenomenon in the world.

It does not, however, follow from this account, that there are no poor Quakers, or that members of this society are not born in a dependent state. The truth is, that there are poor as well as rich, but the wants of the former are so well provided for, that they are not publicly seen, like the wants of others.

George Fox, as he was the founder of the religion of the Quakers, I mean of a system of renovated Christianity, so he was the author of the beautiful system by which they make a provision for their poor. As a Christian, he considered the poor of every description, as members of the same family, but particularly those, who were of the household of faith. Consistently with this opinion, he advised the establishment of general meetings in his own time, a special part of whose business it was to take due care of the poor. These meetings excited at first the vigilance and anger of the magistrates; but when they came to see the regulations made by the Quakers, in order that none of their poor might become burthensome to their parishes, they went away—whatever they might think of some of their new tenets of religion—in admiration of their benevolence.

The Quakers of the present day consider their poor in the same light as their venerable elder, namely, as members of the same family, whose wants it is their duty to relieve; and they provide for them nearly in the same manner. They intrust this important concern to the monthly meetings, which are the executive branches of the Quaker constitution. The monthly meetings generally appoint four overseers, two men and two women, over each particular meeting within their own jurisdiction, if their number will admit of it. It is the duty of these, to visit such of the poor as are in membership, of the men to visit the men, but of the women sometimes to visit both. The reason, why this double burthen is laid upon the women-overseers, is, that women know more of domestic concerns, more of the wants of families, more of the manner of providing for them, and are better advisers, and better nurses in sickness, than the men. Whatever these overseers find wanting in the course of their visits, whether money, clothes, medicine, or medical advice and attention, they order them, and the treasurer of the monthly meetings settles the different accounts. I may observe here, that it is not easy for overseers to neglect their duty; for an inquiry is made three times in the year, of the monthly meetings by the quarterly, whether the necessities of the poor are properly inspected and relieved[5]. I may observe also that the poor, who may stand in need of relief, are always relieved privately, I mean, at their respective homes.

[Footnote 5: In London a committee is appointed for each poor person. Thus, for example, two women are appointed to attend to the wants and comfort of one poor old woman.]

It is however possible, that there may be persons, who, from a variety of unlocked for causes, may be brought into distress, and whose case, never having been suspected, may be passed over. But persons, in this situation, are desired to apply, for assistance. It is also a rule in the society, that even persons whose conduct is disorderly, are to be relieved, if such conduct has not been objected to by their own monthly meeting. "The want of due care, says the book of Extracts, in watching diligently over the flock, and in dealing in due time with such as walk disorderly, hath, brought great difficulties on some meetings; for we think it both unreasonable and dishonourable, when persons apply to monthly meetings for relief in cases of necessity, then to object to them such offences as the meeting, through neglect of its own duty, hath suffered long to pass by, unreproved and unnoticed."

The poor are supported by charitable collections from the body at large; or, in other words, every monthly meeting supports its own poor. The collections for them are usually made once a month, but in some places once a quarter, and in others at no stated times but when the treasurer declares them necessary, and the monthly meeting approves. Members are expected to contribute in proportion to their circumstances; but persons in a low situation, and servants, are generally excused upon these occasions.

It happens in the districts of some monthly meetings, that there are found only few persons of property, but a numerous poor, so that the former are unable to do justice in their provision for the latter. The society have therefore resolved, when the poor are too numerous to be supported by their own monthly meetings, that the collection for them shall be made up out of the quarterly meeting, to which the said monthly meeting belongs. This is the same thing as if any particular parish were unable to pay the rates for the poor, and as if all the other parishes in the county were made to contribute towards the same.

On this subject I may observe, that the Quaker-poor are attached to their monthly meetings, as the common poor of the kingdom are attached to their parishes, and that they gain settlements in these nearly in the same manner.


Education of the children of the poor particularly insisted upon and provided for by the Quakers—The bays usually pat out to apprenticeship—The girls to service—The latter not sufficiently numerous for the Quaker-families, who want them—The rich have not their proper proportion of these in their service—Reasons of it—Character of the Quaker poor.

As the Quakers are particularly attentive to the wants of the poor, so they are no less attentive to the education of their offspring. These are all of them to receive their education at the public expense. The same overseers, as in the former case, are to take care of it, and the same funds to support it. An inquiry is therefore made three times in the year into this subject. "The children of the poor, says the book of Extracts, are to have due help of education, instruction, and necessary learning. The families also of the poor are to be provided with Bibles, and books of the society, at the expense of the monthly meetings. And as spine members may be straitened in their circumstances, and may refuse, out of delicacy, to apply for aid towards the education of their children, it is earnestly recommended to friends in every monthly meeting, to look out for persons who may be thus straitened, and to take care that their children shall receive instruction: and it is recommended to the parents of such, not to refuse this salutary aid, but to receive it with a willing mind, and with thankfulness to the great author of all good."

When the boys have received their necessary learning, they are usually put out as apprentices to husbandry or trade. Domestic service is generally considered by their parents as unmanly, and as a nursery for idleness. Boys too, who can read and write, ought to expect, with the accustomed diligence and sobriety of Quakers, to arrive at a better situation in life. The girls, however, are destined in general for service: for it must be obvious, whatever their education may be, that the same number of employments is not open to women as to men. Of those again, which are open, some are objectionable. A Quaker-girl, for example, could not consistently be put an apprentice to a Milliner. Neither if a cotton-manufactory were in the neighbourhood, could her parents send her to such a nursery of debauchery and vice. From these and other considerations, and because domestic employments belong to women, their parents generally think it advisable to bring them up to service, and to place them in the families of friends.

It is a remarkable circumstance, when we consider it to be recommended that Quaker-masters of families should take Quaker-servants, that persons of the latter description are not to be found sufficiently numerous for those who want them. This is probably a proof of the thriving situation of this society. It is remarkable again, that the rich have by no means their proportion of such servants. Those of the wealthy, who are exemplary, get them if they can. Others decline their services. Of these, some do it from good motives; for, knowing that it would be difficult to make up their complement of servants from the society, they do not wish to break in upon the customs and morals of those belonging to it, by mixing them with others. The rest, who mix more with the world, are, as I have been informed, fearful of having them, lest they should be overseers of their words and manners. For it is in the essence of the Quaker-discipline, as I observed upon that subject, that every member should watch over another for his good. There are no exceptions as to persons. The servant has as much right to watch over his master with respect to his religions conduct and conversation, as the master over his servant; and he has also a right, if his master violates the discipline, to speak to him, in a respectful manner, for so doing. Nor would a Quaker-servant, if he were well grounded in the principles of the society, and felt it to be his duty, want the courage to speak his mind upon such occasions. There have been instances, where this has happened, and where the master, in the true spirit of his religion, has not felt himself insulted by such interference, but has looked upon his servant afterwards as more worthy of his confidence and esteem. Such a right, however, of remonstrance, is, I presume, but rarely exercised.

I cannot conclude this subject without saying a few words on the character of the Quaker-poor.

In the first place I may observe, that one of the great traits in their character is independence of mind. When you converse with them, you find them attentive, civil, and obliging, but you see no marks of servility about them, and you hear no flattery from their lips. It is not the custom in this society, even for the poorest member to bow or pull off his hat, or to observe any outward obeisance to another, who may happen to be rich. Such customs are forbidden to all on religious principle. In consequence, therefore, of the omission of such ceremonious practices, his mind has never been made to bend on the approach of superior rank. Nor has he seen, in his own society, any thing that could lessen his own importance or dignity as a man. He is admitted into the meetings of discipline equally with the rich. He has a voice equally with them in all matters that are agitated there. From these causes a manliness of mind is produced, which is not seen among any other of the poor in the inland in which we live.

It may also be mentioned as a second trait, that they possess extraordinary knowledge. Every Quaker-boy or girl, who comes into the world, must, however poor, if the discipline of the society be kept up, receive an education. All, therefore, who are born in the society, must be able to read and write. Thus the keys of knowledge are put into their hands. Hence we find them attaining a superior literal and historical knowledge of the scriptures, a superior knowledge of human nature, and a knowledge that sets them above many of the superstitions of those in their own rank in life.

Another trait conspicuous in the character of the Quaker-poor, is the morality of their lives.

This circumstance may easily be accounted for. For, in the first place, they are hindered in common with other Quakers, by means of their discipline, from doing many things, that are morally injurious to themselves. The poor of the world are addicted to profane swearing. But no person can bring the name of the creator of the Universe into frequent and ordinary use, without losing a sense of the veneration that is due to him. The poor of the world, again, frequently spend their time in public houses. They fight and quarrel with one another. They run after horse-racings, bull-baitings, cock-fightings, and the still more unnatural battles between man and man. But, by encouraging such habits, they cannot but obstruct in time, the natural risings of benevolence both towards their fellow-creatures and to those of the animal creation. Nor can they do otherwise than lose a sense of the dignity of their own minds, and weaken the moral principle. But the Quaker-poor, who are principled against such customs, can of course suffer no moral injury on these accounts. To which it may be added, that their superior knowledge both leads and attaches them to a superior conduct. It is a false, as well as a barbarous maxim, and a maxim very injurious both to the interests of the rich and poor, as well as of the states to which they belong, that knowledge is unpropitious to virtue.





Religion of the Quakers—Invitation to a patient perusal of this part of the work—No design, by this invitation, to proselyte to Quakerism—All systems of Religion, that are founded on the principles of Christianity, are capable, if heartily embraced, of producing present and future happiness to man—No censure of another's Creed warrantable, inasmuch as the human understanding is finite—Object of this Invitation.

Having explained very diffusively the great subjects, the moral Education, Discipline, and Peculiar Customs, of the Quakers, I purpose to allot the remaining part of this volume to the consideration of their religion.

I know that persons, who are religiously disposed will follow me patiently through this division of my work, not only because religion is the most important of all subjects that can be agitated, but because, in the explanation of the religious systems of others, some light may arise, which, though it be not new to all, may yet be new and acceptable to many. I am aware, however, that there are some who direct their reading to light subjects, and to whom such as are serious may appear burthensome. If any such should have been induced, by any particular motive, to take this book into their hands, and to accompany me thus far, I entreat a continuation of their patience, till I have carried them through the different parts and divisions of the present subject.

I have no view, in thus soliciting the attention of those who are more, or of those who are less religiously disposed, to attempt to proselyte to Quakerism. If men do but fear God, and work righteousness, whatever their Christian denomination may be, it is sufficient. Every system of religion which is founded on the principles of Christianity, must be capable, if heartily embraced, of producing temporal and eternal happiness to man. At least, man with his limited understanding, cannot pronounce with any absolute certainty, that his own system is so far preferable to that of his neighbour, that it is positively the best, or that there will be any material difference in the future happiness of those who follow the one or the other; or that the pure professors of each shall not have their peculiar rewards. The truth is, that each system has its own merits. Each embraces great and sublime objects. And if good men have existed, as none can reasonably deny, before Christianity was known, it would be a libel on Christianity, to suppose either that good men had not existed since, or that good Christians would not be ultimately happy, though following systems differing from those of one another. Indeed, every Christian community has a great deal to say in the defence of its own tenets. Almost all Christian churches have produced great characters; and there are none, I should hope, that had not been the authors of religious good. The church of England, in attempting to purify herself at the reformation, effected a great work. Since that time she has produced at different periods, and continues to produce, both great and good men. By means of her Universities, she has given forth, and keeps up and disseminates, a considerable portion of knowledge; and though this, in the opinion of the Quakers, is not necessary for those who are to become ministers of the Gospel, it cannot be denied that it is a source of temporary happiness to man; that it enlarges the scope of his rational and moral understanding, and that it leads to great and sublime discoveries, which become eminently beneficial to mankind. Since that time she has also been an instrument of spreading over this kingdom a great portion of religious light, which has had its influence in the production of moral character.

But though I bestow this encomium upon the established church, I should be chargeable with partiality and injustice, if I were not to allow, that among the dissenters of various descriptions, learned, pious, and great men, had been regularly and successively produced. And it must be confessed, and reflected upon with pleasure, that these, in proportion to their numbers, have been no less instrumental in the dissemination of religions knowledge, and in the production of religious conduct. I might go to large and populous towns and villages in the kingdom, and fully prove my assertion in the reformed manners of the poor, many of whom, before these pious visitations, had been remarkable for the profaneness of their lives.

Let us then not talk but with great deference and humility; with great tenderness and charity; with great thankfulness to the author of every good gift,—when we speak of the different systems that actuate the Christian World. Why should we consider our neighbour as an alien, and load him with reproaches, because he happens to differ from us in opinion about an article of faith? As long as there are men, so long will there be different measures of talents and understanding; and so long will they view things in a different light, and come to different conclusions concerning them. The eye of one man can see farther than that of another: So can the human mind, on the subject of speculative truths. This consideration should teach us humility and forbearance in judging of the religion of others. For who is he, who can say that he sees the farthest, or that his own system is the best? If such men as Milton, Whiston, Boyle, Locke, and Newton, all agreeing in the profession of Christianity, did not all think precisely alike concerning it, who art thou, with thy inferior capacity, who settest up the standard of thine own judgment as infallible? If thou sendest thy neighbour to perdition in the other world, because he does not agree in his creed with thee, know that he judges according to the best of his abilities, and that no more will be required of him. Know also that thou thyself judgest like a worm of the earth; that thou dishonourest the Almighty by thy reptile notions of him; and that in making him accord with thee in condemning one of his creatures for what thou conceivest to be the misunderstanding of a speculative proposition, thou treatest him like a man, as thou thyself art, with corporeal organs; with irritable passions, and with a limited intelligence. But if, besides this, thou condemnest thy neighbour in this world also, and feelest the spirit of persecution towards him, know that, whatever thy pretensions may be to religion, thou art not a Christian. Thou art not possessed of that charity or love, without which thou art but as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

Having therefore no religious prejudices[6] myself, except in favour of Christianity, and holding no communion with the Quakers, as a religions society, it cannot be likely that I should attempt to proselyte to Quakerism. I wish only, as I stated in my introduction to this work, to make the Quakers better known to their countrymen than they are at present. In this I think I have already succeeded, for I believe I have communicated many facts concerning them, which have never been related by others. But no people can be thoroughly known, or at least the character of a people cannot be thoroughly understood, except we are acquainted with their religion; much less can that of the Quakers, who differ so materially, both in their appearance and practice, from the rest of their fellow-citizens.

[Footnote 6: Though I conceive a charitable allowance ought to be made for the diversity of religious opinions among Christians, I by no means intend to say, that it is not our duty to value the system of opinion which we think most consonant to the Gospel, and to be wisely zealous for its support.]

Having thought it right to make these prefatory observations, I proceed to the prosecution of my work.


The Almighty created the Universe by means of his spirit—and also man—He gave man, besides his intellect, an emanation from his own spirit, thus making him in his own image—But this image he lost—A portion, however, of the same spirit was continued to his posterity—These possessed it in different degrees—Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, had more of it than some others—Jesus possessed it immeasurably, and without limit—Evangelists and apostles possessed it, but in a limited manner, and in different degrees.

The Quakers believe, that when the Almighty created the Universe, he effected it by means of the life, or vital or vivifying energy that was in his own spirit. "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

This life of the spirit has been differently named, but is concisely stiled by St. John the evangelist "the word" for he says, "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made, that was made."

The Almighty also, by means of the same divine energy or life of the spirit which had thus created the universe, became the cause also of material life, and of vital functions. He called forth all animated nature into existence; for he "made the living creature after his kind."

He created man also by the same power. He made his corporeal and organic nature. He furnished him also with intellect, or a mental understanding. By this latter gift he gave to man, what he had not given to other animated nature, the power of reason, by which he had the superiority over it, and by means of which he was enabled to guide himself in his temporal concerns. Thus when he made the natural man, he made him a rational agent also.

But he gave to man, at the same time, independently of this intellect or understanding, a spiritual faculty, or a portion of the life of his own spirit, to reside in him. This gift occasioned man to become more immediately, as it is expressed, the image of the Almighty. It set him above the animal and rational part of his nature. It made him know things not intelligible solely by his reason. It made him spiritually minded. It enabled him to know his duty to God, and to hold a heavenly intercourse with his maker.

Adam then, the first man, independently of his rational faculties, received from the Almighty into his own breast such an emanation from the life of his own spirit, as was sufficient to have enabled him both to hold, and to have continued, a spiritual intercourse with his maker, and to have preserved him in the state of innocence in which he had been created. As long as he lived in this divine light of the spirit, he remained in the image of God, and was perfectly happy; but, not attending faithfully and perseveringly to this his spiritual monitor, he fell into the snares of Satan, or gave way to the temptations of sin. From this moment his condition became changed. For in the same manner as distemper occasions animal life to droop, and to lose its powers, and finally to cease, so unrighteousness, or his rebellion against the divine light of the spirit that was within him, occasioned a dissolution of his spiritual feelings and perceptions; for he became dead as it were, in consequence, as to any knowledge of God, or enjoyment of his presence[7].

[Footnote 7: It was said that, in the day in which Adam should eat forbidden fruit, he should die; but he did not lose his animal life, or his rational nature. His loss therefore is usually considered by the Quakers to have been a divine spiritual principle, which had been originally superadded to the animal and rational faculties.]

It pleased the Almighty, however, not wholly to abandon him in this wretched state, but he comforted him with the cheering promise that the seed of the woman should some time or other completely subdue sin, or to use the scriptural language, "should bruise the serpent's head;" or, in other words, as sin was of a spiritual nature, so it could only be overcome by a spiritual conqueror; and therefore that the same holy spirit, or word, or divine principle of light and life, which had appeared in creation, should dwell so entirely and without limit or measure, in the person or body of some one of his descendants, that sin should by him be entirely subdued.

As God then poured into Adam, the first man, a certain portion of his own spirit, or gave him a certain portion of the divine light, for the regulation of his spiritual conduct and the power of heavenly intercourse with himself, so he did not entirely cease from bestowing his spirit upon his posterity; or, in other words, he gave them a portion of that light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. Of the individuals therefore who succeeded Adam, all received a portion of this light. Some, however, enjoyed larger portions of it than others, according as they attended to its influences, or according to the measure given them. Of those who possessed the greatest share of it, some were the ancient patriarchs, such as Noah and Abraham, and others were the ancient scriptural writers, such as Moses and the prophets. The latter again experienced it in different measures or degrees; and in proportion as they had it, they delivered more or less those prophecies which are usually considered as inspired truths, from a belief that many of them have been circumstantially completed.

At length, in the fulness of time, that is, when all things had been fulfilled which were previously to take place, this divine spirit, which had appeared in creation, this divine word, or light, took flesh, (for, as St. John the Evangelist says, "the word was made flesh, and dwelled among us,") and inhabited "the body which had been prepared for it;" or, in other words, it inhabited the body of the person Jesus; but with this difference, that whereas only a portion of this divine light or spirit had been given to Adam, and afterwards to the prophets, it was given without limit or measure to the man Jesus[8]. "For he whom God hath sent, says St. John, speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." And St. Paul says, [9] "In him the fulness of the Godhead dwelled bodily." In him, therefore, the promise given to Adam was accomplished, "that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head;" for we see in this case a human body, weak and infirm, and subject to passions, possessed or occupied, without limit or measure, by the spirit of God. But if the man Jesus had the full spirit of God within him, he could not be otherwise than, perfectly holy. And if so, sin never could have entered, and must therefore, as for as relates to him, have been entirely repelled. Thus he answered the prophetic character which had been given of him, independently of his victory over sin by the sacrifice of himself, or by becoming afterwards a comforter to those in bondage, who should be willing to receive him.

[Footnote 8: John 3:34]

[Footnote 9: Col. 2:9]

After Jesus Christ came the Evangelists and Apostles. Of the same spirit which he had possessed immeasurably, these had their several portions; and though these were[10] limited, and differed in degree front one another, they were sufficient to enable them to do their duty to God and men, to enjoy the presence of the Almighty, and to promote the purposes designed by him in the propagation of his gospel.

[Footnote 10: 2 Cor. 10. 18.]


Except a man has a portion of the same spirit, which Jesus and the prophets and the apostles had, he can have no knowledge of God or spiritual things—Doctrine of St. Paul on this subject—This confirms the history of the human and divine spirit in man—These spirits distinct in their kind—This distinction farther elucidated by a comparison between the faculties of men and brutes—Sentiments of Augustin—Luther—Calvin—Smith—Taylor—Cudworth.

The Quakers believe, that there can be no spiritual knowledge of God, but through the medium of his holy spirit; or, in other words, that if men have not a portion of the same spirit which the holy men of old, and which the Evangelists and Apostles, and which Jesus himself had, they can have no true or vital religion.

In favour of this proposition, they usually quote those remarkable words of the Apostle Paul;[11] "for what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." And again—"but the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

[Footnote 11: 1 Cor. 2.11, &c.]

By these expressions the Quakers conceive that the history of man, as explained in the last chapter, is confirmed; or that the Almighty not only gave to man reason, which was to assist him in his temporal, but also superadded a portion of his own spirit, which was to assist him in his spiritual concerns. They conceive it also to be still farther confirmed by other expressions of the same Apostle. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he says,[12] "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God;" and in his letter to Timothy he desires him[13] "to hold fast that good thing which was committed to him by means of the holy Ghost, which dwelled in him" Now these expressions can only be accurate on a supposition of the truth of the history of man, as explained in the former chapter. If this history be true, then they are considered as words of course: for if there be a communication between the supreme Being and his creature man, or if the Almighty has afforded to man an emanation of his own spirit, which is to act for a time in his mortal body, and then to return to him that gave it, we may say, with great consistency, that the divinity resides in him, or that his body is the temple of the holy spirit.

[Footnote 12: 1 Cor. 6. 19.]

[Footnote 13: 2 Tim. 1. 14.]

The Quakers conceive again from these expressions of the Apostle, that these two principles in man are different from each other; they are mentioned under the distinct names of the spirit of man, and of the spirit of God. The former they suppose to relate to the understanding: the latter conjointly to the understanding and to the heart. The former can be brought into use at all times, if the body of a man be in health. The latter is not at his own disposal. Man must wait for its inspirations. Like the wind, it bloweth when it listeth. Man also, when he feels this divine influence, feels that it is distinct from his reason. When it is gone, he feels the loss of it, though all his rational faculties be alive. "Those, says Alexander Arscott, who have this experience, certainly know that as at times, in their silent retirements and humble waitings upon God, they receive an understanding of his will, relating to their present duty, in such a clear light as leaves no doubt or hesitation, so at other times, when this is withdrawn from them, they are at a loss again, and see themselves, as they really are, ignorant and destitute."

The Quakers again understand by these expressions of the Apostle, which is the point insisted upon in this chapter, that human reason, or the spirit of man which is within him, and the divine principle of life and light which is the spirit of God residing in his body or temple, are so different in their powers, that the former cannot enter into the province of the latter. As water cannot penetrate the same bodies, which fire can, so neither can reason the same subjects as the spiritual faculty.

The Quakers, however, do not deny, that human reason is powerful within its own province. It may discover in the beautiful structure of the Universe, and in the harmony and fitness of all its parts, the hand of a great contriver. It may conclude upon attributes, as belonging to the same. It may see the fitness of virtue, and deduce from thence a speculative morality. They only say that it, is incompetent to spiritual discernment. But though they believe the two spirits to be thus distinct in their powers, they believe them, I apprehend, to be so far connected in religion that the spirit of God can only act upon a reasonable being. Thus light and the power of sight are distinct things. Yet the power of sight is nothing without light, nor can light operate upon any other organ than the eye to produce vision.

This proposition may be farther elucidated by making a comparison between the powers of men, and those of the brute-creation. An animal is compounded of body and instinct. If we were to endeavour to cultivate this instinct, we might make the animal tame and obedient. We might impress his sensitive powers, so that he might stop or go forward at our voice. We might bring him in some instances, to an imitation of outward gestures and sounds. Bat all the years of his life, and centuries of life in his progeny would pass away, and we should never be able so to improve his instinct into intellect, as to make him comprehend the affairs of a man. He would never understand the meaning of his goings in, or of his goings out, or of his pursuits in life, or of his progress in science. So neither could any education so improve the reason of man into the divine principle of light within him, as that he should understand spiritual things; for the things of God are only discernible by the spirit of God.

This doctrine, that there is no understanding of divine things except through the medium of the divine principle, which dwells in the temple of man, was no particular notion of George Fox, or of the succeeding Quakers, though undoubtedly they have founded more upon it than other Christians. Those, who had the earliest access to the writings of the evangelists and apostles, believed the proposition. All the ancient fathers of the church considered it as the corner stone of the Christian fabric. The most celebrated of the reformers held it in the same light. The divines, who followed these, adopted it as their creed also; and by these it has been handed down to other Christian communities, and is retained as an essential doctrine by the church of England, at the present day.

The Quakers adduce many authorities in behalf of this proposition, but the following may suffice.

"It is the inward master, says St. Augustine, that teacheth. Where this inspiration is wanting, it is in vain that words from without are beaten in."

Luther says, "no man can rightly know God, unless he immediately receives it from his holy spirit, except he finds it by experience in himself; and in this experience the holy spirit teacheth as in his proper school, out of which school nothing is taught but mere talk."

Calvin, on Luke 10. 21. says, "Here the natural wisdom of man is so puzzled, and is at such a loss, that the first step of profiting in the school of Christ is to give it up or renounce it. For by this natural wisdom, as by a veil before our eyes, we are hindered from attaining the mysteries of God, which are not revealed but unto babes and little ones. For neither do flesh and blood reveal, nor doth the natural man perceive, the things that are of the spirit. But the doctrine of God is rather foolishness to him, because it can only be spiritually judged. The assistance therefore of the holy spirit is in this case necessary, or rather, his power alone is efficacious."

Dr. Smith observes, in his select discourses, "besides the outward Revelation of God's will to men, there is also an inward impression of it in their minds and spirits, which is in a more especial manner attributed to God. We cannot see divine things but in a divine light. God only, who is the true light, and in whom there is no darkness at all, can so shine out of himself upon our glossy understandings, as to beget in them a picture of himself, his own will and pleasure, and turn the soul (as the phrase is in Job) like wax or clay to the seal of his own light and love. He that made our souls in his own image and likeness, can easily find a way into them. The word that God speaks, having found a way into the soul, imprints itself there, as with the point of a diamond, and becomes (to borrow Plato's expression) 'a word written in the Soul of the learner.' Men may teach the grammar and rhetoric; but God teaches the divinity. Thus it is God alone that acquaints the soul with the truths of revelation."

The learned Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Down and Connor, speaks in a similar manner in his sermon de Viâ Intelligentiae. "Now in this inquiry, says he, I must take one thing for granted, which is, that every good man is taught of God. And indeed, unless he teach us, we shall make but ill scholars ourselves, and worse guides to others. No man can know God, says Irenaeus, except he be taught of God. If God teaches us, then all is well; but if we do not learn wisdom at his feet, from whence should we have it? It can come from no other spring."

Again—"those who perfect holiness in the fear of God, have a degree of divine knowledge more than we can discourse of, and more certain than the demonstration of Geometry; brighter than the sun, and indeficient as the light of heaven—A good man is united to God—As flame touches flame, and combines into splendour and into glory, so is the spirit of a man united to Christ by the spirit of God. Our light, on the other hand, is like a candle; every word of doctrine blows it out, or spends the wax, and makes the light tremulous. But the lights of heaven are fixed and bright and shine for ever."

Cudworth, in his intellectual system, is wholly of the same opinion: "All the books and writings which we converse with, they can but represent spiritual objects to our understanding, which yet we can never see in their own true figure, colour, and proportion, until we have a divine light within to irradiate and shine upon them. Though there be never such excellent truths concerning Christ and his Gospel, set down in words and letters, yet they will be but unknown characters to us, until we have a living spirit within us, that can decypher them, until the same spirit, by secret whispers in our hearts, do comment upon them, which did at first indite them. There be many that understand the Greek and Hebrew of the scripture, the original languages in which the text was written, that never understood the language of the spirit."


Neither can a man, except he has a portion of the same spirit which Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets had, know spiritualty that the scriptures are of divine authority, or spiritually understand them—Explanation of these tenets—Objection, that these tenets set aside human reason—Reply of the Quakers—Observations of Luther—Calvin—Owen—Archbishop Usher—Archbishop Sandys—Milton —Bishop Taylor.

As a man cannot know spiritual things but through the medium of the spirit of God; or except he has a portion of the same spirit, which Jesus and the Prophets and the Apostles had, so neither can he, except he has a portion of the same spirit, either spiritually know that the writings or sayings of these holy persons are of divine authority, or read or understand them, to the promotion of his spiritual interests.

These two tenets are but deductions from that in the former chapter, and may be thus explained.

A man, the Quakers say, may examine the holy scriptures, and may deduce their divine origin from the prophecies they contain, of which many have been since accomplished; from the superiority of their doctrines beyond those in any other book which is the work of man; from the miraculous preservation of them for so many ages; from the harmony of all their parts, and from many other circumstances which might be mentioned. But this, after all, will be but an historical, literal, or outward proof of their origin, resulting from his reason or his judgment. It will be no spiritual proof, having a spiritual influence on his heart; for this proof of the divine origin of the scriptures can only be had from the spirit of God. Thus, when the Apostle Paul preached to several women by the river side near Philippi, it is said of Lydia only,[14] "the Lord opened her heart, that she attended to the things that were spoken by Paul." The other women undoubtedly heard the gospel of Paul with their outward ears, but it does not appear that their hearts were in such a spiritual state, that they felt its divine authority; for it is not said of them, as of Lydia, that their hearts were opened to understand spiritually that this gospel was of God. Again,[15] when Jesus Christ preached to the Jews in the temple, many believed on him, but others believed not, but were so enraged that they took up stones to cast at him. It appears that they all heard his doctrine with their outward ears, in which he particularly stated that he was from above; but they did not receive the truth of his origin in their hearts, because they were not in a state to receive that faith which cometh from the spirit of God. In the same manner persons hear sermon after sermon at the present day, but find no spiritual benefit in their hearts.

[Footnote 14: Acts 16.13]

[Footnote 15: John]

Again—a man, by comparing passages of scripture with other passages, and by considering the use and acceptation of words in these, may arrive at a knowledge of their literal meaning. He may obtain also, by perusing the scriptures, a knowledge of some of the attributes of God. He may discover a part of the plan of his providence. He may collect purer moral truths than from any other source. But no literal reading of the scriptures can give him that spiritual knowledge of divine things, which leads to eternal life. The scriptures, if literally read, will give him a literal or corresponding knowledge, but it is only the spiritual monitor within, who can apply them to his feelings; who can tell him "thou art the man; this is thy state: this is that which thou oughtest or oughtest not to have done;" so that he sees spiritually, (the spirit of God bearing witness with his own spirit) that his own situation has been described. Indeed, if the scriptures were sufficient of themselves for this latter purpose, the Quakers say that the knowledge of spiritual things would consist in the knowledge of words. They, who were to get most of the divine writings by heart, would know spiritually the most of divine truths. The man of the best understanding, or of the most cultivated mind, would be the best proficient in vital religion. But this is contrary to fact. For men of deep learning know frequently less of spiritual Christianity, than those of the poor, who are scarcely able to read the scriptures. They contend also, that if the scriptures were the most vitally understood by those of the most learning, then the dispensations of God would be partial, inasmuch as he would have excluded the poor from the highest enjoyments of which the nature of man is susceptible, and from the means of their eternal salvation.

These tenets, which are thus adopted by the Quakers, are considered by many of the moderns as objectionable, inasmuch as they make reason, at least in theology, a useless gift. The Quakers, however, contend that they consider reason as one of the inestimable gifts of God. They value it highly in its proper province. They do not exclude it from religion. Men, by means of it, may correct literal errors in the scriptures; may restore texts, may refute doctrines inconsistent with the attributes of the Almighty. The apology of Robert Barclay, which is a chain of reasoning of this kind from the begining to the end, is a proof that they do not undervalue the powers of the mind. But they dare not ascribe to human reason that power, which they believe to be exclusively vested in the spirit of God.

They say, moreover, that these tenets are neither new nor peculiar to themselves as a society. They were the doctrines of the primitive Fathers. They. were the doctrines also of the protestant reformers. And though many at the present day consider that scripture, interpreted by reason, is the religion of protestants, yet it was the general belief of these reformers, that the teaching of the Holy spirit was necessary to the spiritual understanding of the scriptures, as well as to the spiritual establishment of their divine origin.

Luther observes—"It is not human reason, or wisdom, nor the law of God, but the work of divine grace freely bestowed upon me, that teacheth me and showeth me the gospel: and this gift of God I receive by faith alone."

"The scriptures are not to be understood but by the same spirit by which they were written."

"No man sees one jot or tittle in the scriptures, unless he has the spirit of God."

"Profane men, says Calvin, desire to have it proved to them by reason, that Moses and the prophets spoke from God. And to such I answer, that the testimony of the spirit exceeds all reason. For as God alone is a sufficient witness of himself in his word, so will his word not find credit in the hearts of men, until it is sealed by the inward testimony of his spirit. It is therefore necessary, that the same spirit which spake by the mouth of the prophets, enter into our hearts to persuade us, that they faithfully declared what was commanded them by God."

Again—"Unless we have the assurance which is better and more valid than any judgment of man, it will be in vain to go about to establish the authority of scripture, either by argument or the consent of the church; for except the foundation be laid, namely, that the certainty of its divine authority depends entirely upon the testimony of the spirit, it remains in perpetual suspense." Again—"The spirit of God, from whom the doctrine of the Gospel proceeds, is the only true interpreter to open it to us."

"Divines, says the learned Owen, at the first reformation, did generally resolve our faith of the divine authority of the scriptures, into the testimony of the Holy Spirit;" in which belief he joins himself, by stating that "it is the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe the scripture to be the word of God."

In another place he says, "our Divines have long since laid it down, that the only public, authentic, and infallible interpreter of the holy scriptures, is the author of them, from whose inspiration they receive all their truth, clearness, and authority. This author is the Holy Spirit."

Archbishop Sandys, in one of his Sermons, preached before Queen
Elizabeth, has the following observations:

"The outward reading of the word, without the inward working of the spirit, is nothing. The precise Pharisees, and the learned Scribes, read the scriptures over and over again. They not only read them in books, but wore them on their garments. They were not only taught, but were able themselves to teach others. But because this heavenly teacher had not instructed them, their understanding was darkened, and their knowledge was but vanity. They were ignorant altogether in that saving truth, which the prophet David was so desirous to learn. The mysteries of salvation were so hard to be conceived by the very apostles of Christ Jesus, that he was forced many times to rebuke them for their dulness, which unless he had removed by opening the eyes of their minds, they could never have attained to the knowledge of salvation in Christ Jesus. The ears of that woman Lydia would have been as close shut against the preaching of Paul, as any others, if the finger of God had not touched and opened her heart. As many as learn, they are taught of God."

Archbishop Usher, in his sum and substance of the Christian Religion, observes, "that it is required that we have the spirit of God, as well to open our eyes to see the light, as to seal up fully in our hearts that truth, which we can see with our eyes: for the same Holy Spirit that inspired the scripture, inclineth the hearts of God's children to believe what is revealed in them, and inwardly assureth them, above all reasons and arguments, that these are the scriptures of God." And farther on in the same work, he says, "the spirit of God alone is the certain interpreter of his word written by his Spirit; for no man knoweth the things pertaining to God, but the Spirit of God."

Our great Milton also gives us a similar opinion in the following words, which are taken from his Paradise Lost:

   ——"but in their room——
  Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
  Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven
  To their own vile advantages shall turn
  Of lucre and ambition, and the truth
  With superstition's and tradition's taint,
  Left only in those written records pure,
  Though not but by the spirit understood."

Of the same mind was the learned bishop Taylor, as we collect from his sermon de Viâ Intelligentiae. "For although the scriptures, says he, are written by the spirit of God, yet they are written within and without. And besides the light that shines upon the face of them, unless there be a light shining within our hearts, unfolding the leaves, and interpreting the mysterious sense of the spirit, convincing our consciences, and preaching to our hearts; to look for Christ in the leaves of the gospel, is to look for the living among the dead. There is a life in them; but that life is, according to St. Paul's expression, 'hid with Christ in God;' and unless the spirit of God first draw it, we shall never draw it forth."

"Human learning brings excellent ministeries towards this. It is admirably useful for the reproof of heresies, for the detection of fallacies, for the letter of the scripture, for collateral testimonies, for exterior advantages; but there is something beyond this that human learning, without the addition of divine, can never reach. Moses was learned in all the learning of the Egyptians; and the holy men of God contemplated the glories of God in the admirable order, motion, and influences of the heaven; but, besides all this, they were taught something far beyond these prettinesses. Pythagoras read Moses' books, and so did Plato, and yet they became not proselytes of the religion, though they were the learned scholars of such a master."


The spirit of God which has been thus given to man in different degrees, was given him as a spiritual teacher, or guide, in his spiritual concerns—It performs this office, the Quakers say, by internal monitions—Sentiments of Taylor—and of Monro—and, if encouraged, it teaches even by the external objects of the creation—William Wordsworth.

The Quakers believe that the spirit of God, which has been thus given to man in different degrees or measures, and without which it is impossible to know spiritual things, or even to understand the divine writings spiritually, or to be assured of their divine origin, was given to him, among other purposes, as a teacher of good and evil, or to serve him as a guide in his spiritual concerns. By this the Quakers mean, that if any man will give himself up to the directions of the spiritual principle that resides within him, he will attain a knowledge sufficient to enable him to discover the path of his duty both to God and his fellow-man.

That the spirit of God was given to man as a spiritual instructor, the Quakers conceive to be plain, from a number of passages, which are to be found in the sacred writings.

They say, in the first place, that it was the language of the holy men of old. [16] "I said, says Elihu, days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. But there is a spirit (or the spirit itself is) in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him understanding." The Levites are found also making an acknowledgment to God; [17] "That he gave also their forefathers his good spirit to instruct them." The Psalms of David are also full of the same language, such as of [18] "Shew me thy ways, O Lord; lead me in the truth." [19] "I know, says Jeremiah, that the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." The martyr Stephen acknowledges the teachings of the spirit, both in his own time and in that of his ancestors. [20] "Ye stiff-necked, and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the holy spirit. As your fathers did, so do ye." The Quakers also conceive it to be a doctrine of the gospel. Jesus himself said, [21] "No man can come to me except the Father, which sent me, draw him—It is written in the prophets, they shall all be taught of God." [22]St. John says, "That was the true light, (namely, the word or spirit) which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, asserts, [23]that "the manifestation of the spirit is given to every man to profit withal." And, in his letter to Titus, he asserts the same thing, though in different words: [24] "For the grace of God, says he, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men."

[Footnote 16: Job 32. 7.]

[Footnote 17: Nehemiah 9. 20.]

[Footnote 18: Psalm 25. 4.]

[Footnote 19: Jeremiah 10. 23.]

[Footnote 20: Acts 7. 51.]

[Footnote 21: John 6.44.45]

[Footnote 22: John 1. 9.]

[Footnote 23: i Cor. 12. 7.]

[Footnote 24: Titus 2. 11.]

The spirit of God, which has been thus given to man as a spiritual guide, is considered by the Quakers as teaching him in various ways. It inspires him with good thoughts. It prompts him to good offices. It checks him in his way to evil. It reproves him while in the act of committing it.

The learned Jeremy Taylor was of the same opinion. "The spirit of grace, says he, is the spirit of wisdom, and teaches us by secret inspirations, by proper arguments, by actual persuasions, by personal applications, by effects and energies."

This office of the spirit is beautifully described by Monro, a divine of the established church, in his just measures of the pious institutions of youth, "The holy spirit, says he, speaks inwardly and immediately to the soul. For God is a spirit. The soul is a spirit; and they converse with one another in spirit, not by words, but by spiritual notices; which, however, are more intelligible than the most eloquent strains in the world. God makes himself to be heard by the soul by inward motions, which it perceives and comprehends proportionably as it is voided and emptied of earthly ideas. And the more the faculties of the soul cease their own operations, so much the more sensible and intelligible are the motions of God to it. These immediate communications from God with the souls of men are denied and derided by a great many. But that the father of spirits should have no converse with our spirits, but by the intervention only of outward and foreign objects, may justly seem strange, especially when we are so often told in holy scripture, that we are the temples of the holy Ghost, and that God dwelleth in all good men."

But this spirit is considered by the Quakers not only as teaching by inward breathings, as it were, made immediately and directly upon the heart without the intervention of outward circumstances, but as making the material objects of the Universe, and many of the occurrences of life, if it be properly attended to, subservient to the instruction of man; and that it enlarges the sphere of his instruction in this manner, in proportion as it is received and encouraged. Thus the man, who is attentive to these divine notices, sees the animal, the vegetable, and the planetary world, with spiritual eyes. He cannot stir abroad, but he is taught in his own feelings, without any motion of his will, some lesson for his spiritual advantage; or he perceives so vitally some of the attributes of the divine being, that he is called upon to offer some spiritual incense to his maker. If the lamb frolics and gambols in his presence as he walks along, he may be made spiritually to see the beauty and happiness of innocence. If he finds the stately oak laid prostrate by the wind, he may be spiritually taught to discern the emptiness of human power; while the same spirit may teach him inwardly the advantage of humility, when he looks at the little hawthorn which has survived the storm. When he sees the change and the fall of the autumnal leaf, he may be spiritually admonished of his own change and dissolution, and of the necessity of a holy life. Thus the spirit of God may teach men by outward objects and occurrences in the world; but where this spirit is away, or rather where it is not attended to, no such lesson can be taught. Natural objects of themselves can excite only natural ideas: and the natural man, looking at them, can derive only natural pleasure, or draw natural conclusions from them. In looking at the Sun, he may be pleased with its warmth, and anticipate its advantages to the vegetable world. In plucking and examining a flower, he may be struck with its beauty, its mechanism, and its fragrant smell. In observing the butterfly, as it wings its way before him, he may smile at its short journeys from place to place, and admire the splendour upon its wings. But the beauty of Creation is dead to him, as far as it depends upon connecting it spiritually with the character of God. For no spiritual impression can arise from any natural objects, but through the intervention of the spirit of God.

William Wordsworth, in his instructive poems, has described this teaching by external objects in consequence of impressions from a higher power, as differing from any teaching by books or the human understanding, and as arising without any motion of the will of man, in so beautiful and simple a manner, that I cannot do otherwise than make an extract from them in this place. Lively as the poem is, to which I allude, I conceive it will not lower the dignity of the subject. It is called Expostulation and Reply, and is as follows:[25]

     Why, William, on that old gray stone,
     Thus for the length of half a day,
     Why, William, sit you thus alone,
     And dream your time away?

     Where are your books? that light bequeath'd
     To beings, else forlorn and blind,
     Up! Up! and drink the spirit breath'd
     From dead men to their kind.

     You look round on your mother earth,
     As if she for no purpose bore you,
     As if you were her first-born birth,
     And none had liv'd before you!

     One morning thus by Esthwaite lake,
     When life was sweet, I knew not why,
     To me my good friend Matthew spake,
     And that I made reply:

     The eye it cannot choose but see.
     We cannot bid the ear be still;
     Our bodies feel where'er they be,
     Against or with our will.

     Nor less I deem that there are powers,
     Which of themselves our minds impress,
     That we can feed this mind of ours
     In a wise passiveness.

     Think you,'mid all this mighty sum
     Of things for ever speaking,
     That nothing of itself will come,
     But we must still be seeking?

     Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
     Conversing as I may,
     I sit upon this old gray stone,
     And dream my time away?

[Footnote 25: See Lyrical Ballads, Vol. 1. p. 1.]


This spirit was not only given to man as a teacher, but as a primary and infallible guide—Hence the Scriptures are a subordinate or secondary guide—Quakers, however, do not undervalue them on this account—Their opinion concerning them.

The spirit of God, which we have seen to be thus given to men as a spiritual teacher, and to act in the ways described, the Quakers usually distinguish by the epithets of primary and infallible. But they have made another distinction with respect to the character of this spirit; for they have pronounced it to be the only infallible guide to men in their spiritual concerns. From this latter declaration the reader will naturally conclude, that the scriptures, which are the outward teachers of men, must be viewed by the Quakers in a secondary light. This conclusion has indeed been adopted as a proposition in the Quaker theology; or, in other words, it is a doctrine of the society, that the spirit of God is the primary and only infallible, and the scriptures but a subordinate or secondary guide.

This proposition the Quakers usually make out in the following manner:

It is, in the first place, admitted by all Christians, that the scriptures were given by inspiration, or that those who originally delivered or wrote the several parts of them, gave them forth by means of that spirit, which was given to them by God. Now in the same manner as streams, or rivulets of water, are subordinate to the fountains which produce them; so those streams or rivulets of light must be subordinate to the great light from whence they originally sprung. "We cannot, says Barclay, call the scriptures the principal fountain of all truth and knowledge, nor yet the first adequate rule of faith and manners; because the principal fountain of truth must be the truth itself, that is, whose certainty and authority depend not upon another."

The scriptures are subordinate or secondary, again, in other points of view. First, because, though they are placed before us, we can only know or understand them by the testimony of the spirit. Secondly, because there is no virtue or power in them of themselves, but in the spirit from whence they came.

They are, again, but a secondary guide; because "that, says Barclay, cannot be the only and principal guide, which doth not universally reach every individual that needeth it." But the scriptures do not teach deaf persons, nor children, nor idiots, nor an immense number of people, more than half the Globe, who never yet saw or heard of them. These, therefore, if they are to be saved like others, must have a different or a more universal rule to guide them, or be taught from another source.

They are only a secondary guide, again, for another reason. It is an acknowledged axiom among Christians, that the spirit of God is a perfect spirit, and that it can never err. But the scriptures are neither perfect of themselves as a collection, nor are they perfect in their verbal parts. Many of them have been lost. Concerning those which have survived, there have been great disputes. Certain parts of these, which one Christian council received in the early times of the church, were rejected as not canonical by another. Add to this, that none of the originals are extant. And of the copies, some have suffered by transcription, others by translation, and others by wilful mutilation, to support human notions of religion; so that there are various readings of the same passage, and various views of the same thing. "Now what, says Barclay, would become of Christians, if they had not received that spirit and those spiritual senses, by which they know how to discover the true from the false? It is the privilege of Christ's sheep, indeed, that they hear his voice, and refuse that of the stranger; which, privilege being taken away, we are left a prey to all manner of wolves." The scriptures, therefore, in consequence of the state in which they have come down to us, cannot, the Quakers say, be considered to be a guide as entirely perfect as the internal testimony of their great author, the spirit of God.

But though the Quakers have thought it right, in submitting their religious creed to the world on this subject, to be so guarded in the wording of it as to make the distinction described, they are far from undervaluing the scriptures on that account. They believe, on the other hand, whatever mutilations they may have suffered, that they contain sufficient to guide men in belief and practice; and that all internal emotions, which are contrary to the declaration of these, are wholly inadmissible. "Moreover, says Barclay, because the scriptures are commonly acknowledged by all to have been written by the dictates of the holy spirit, and that the errors, which may be supposed by the injury of time to have slipt in, are not such but there is a sufficient clear testimony left to all the essentials of the Christian faith, we do look upon them as the only fit outward judge of controversies among Christians, and that whatsoever doctrine is contrary to their testimony, may therefore justly be rejected as false."

The Quakers believe also, that as God gave a portion of his spirit to man to assist him inwardly, so he gave the holy scriptures to assist him outwardly in his spiritual concerns. Hence the latter, coming by inspiration, are the most precious of all books that ever were written, and the best outward guide. And hence the things contained in them, ought to be read, and, as far as possible, fulfilled.

They believe, with the apostle Paul, that the scriptures are highly useful, "so that, through patience and comfort of them, they may have hope; and also that they are profitable for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness:" that in the same manner as land, highly prepared and dressed by the husbandman, becomes fit for the reception and for the promotion of the growth of the seed that is to be placed in it, so the scriptures turn the attention of man towards God, and by means of the exhortations, reproofs, promises, and threatenings, contained in them, prepare the mind for the reception and growth of the seed of the Holy Spirit.

They believe, again, that the same scriptures show more of the particulars of God's will with respect to man, and of the scheme of the Gospel-dispensation, than any ordinary portion of his spirit, as usually given to man, would have enabled him to discover. They discover that [26] "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ:" [27] "That Jesus Christ was set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God;" [28]that "he tasted death for every man;" that he [29]was "delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification;" [30]that "he is set down at the right hand of the throne of God;" [31] "and ever liveth to make intercession for us; and, that he is the substance of all the types and figures under the Levitical priesthood, [32] being the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

[Footnote 26: Rom. 6. 23.]

[Footnote 27: Rom. 3. 25.]

[Footnote 28: Heb. 2. 9.]

[Footnote 29: 4. 25.]

[Footnote 30: Heb. 12. 2.]

[Footnote 31: Heb. 7. 25.]

[Footnote 32: Rom. 10. 4.]

They believe, again, that, in consequence of these various revelations, as contained in the scriptures, they have inestimable advantages over the Heathen nations, or over those, where the gospel-sun has never yet shone; and that, as their advantages are greater, so more will be required of them, or their condemnation will be greater, if they fail to attend to those things which are clearly revealed.

They maintain, again, that their discipline is founded on the rules of the gospel; and that in consequence of giving an interpretation different from that of many others, to some of the expressions of Jesus Christ, by which they conceive they make his kingdom more pure and heavenly, they undergo persecution from the world—so that they confirm their attachment to the scriptures by the best of all credible testimonies, the seal of their own sufferings.


This spirit of God, which has been thus given to men as an infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally—To the patriarchs and Israelites, from the creation to the time of Moses—To the Israelites or Jews, from Moses to Jesus Christ—To the Gentile world from all antiquity to modern times—To all those who have ever heard the gospel—And it continues its office to the latter even at the present day.

The Quakers are of opinion that the spirit of God, of which a portion has been given to men as a primary and infallible guide in their spiritual concerns, has been given them universally; or has been given to all of the human race, without any exceptions, for the same purpose.

This proposition of the Quakers I shall divide, in order that the reader may see it more clearly, into four cases. The first of these will comprehend the Patriarchs and the Israelites from the creation to the time of Moses. The second, the Israelites or Jews from the time of Moses to the coming of Jesus Christ. The third, the Gentiles or Heathens. And the fourth, all those who have heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ, from the time of his own ministry to the present day.

The first case includes a portion of time of above two thousand years. Now the Quakers believe, that during all this time men were generally enlightened as to their duty by the spirit of God; for there was no scripture or written law of God during all this period. "It was about two thousand four hundred years, says Thomas Beaven, an approved writer among the Quakers, after the creation of the world, before mankind had any external written law for the rule and conduct of their lives, so far as appears by either sacred or profane history; in all which time mankind, generally speaking, had only for their rule of faith and manners the external creation as a monitor to their outward senses, for evidence of the reality and certainty of the existence of the Supreme Being; and the internal impressions God by his divine spirit made upon the capacities and powers of their souls or inward man, and perhaps some of them oral traditions delivered from father to son."

To the same point Thomas Beaven quotes the ever memorable John Hales, who, in his golden remains, writes in the following manner: "The love and favour, which it pleased God to bear our fathers before the law', so far prevailed with him, as that without any books and writings, by familiar and friendly conversing with them, and communicating himself unto them, he made them receive and understand his laws, their inward conceits and intellectuals being, after a wonderful manner, figured as it were and charactered by his spirit, so that they could not but see and consent unto, and confess the truth of them. Which way of manifesting his will unto many other gracious privileges it had, above that which in after ages came in place of it, had this added, that it brought with it unto the man to whom it was made, a preservation against all doubt and hesitancy, and a full assurance both who the author was, and how far his intent and meaning reached. We who are their offspring ought, as St. Chrysostom tells us, so to have demeaned ourselves, that it might have been with us as it was with them, that we might have had no need of writing, no other teacher but the spirit, no other books but our hearts, no other means to have been taught the things of God."

That the spirit of God, as described by Thomas Beaven and the venerable John Hales, was the great instructor or enlightener of man during the period we are speaking of, the Quakers believe, from what they conceive to be the sense of the holy scriptures on this subject. For in the first place, they consider it as a position, deducible from the expressions of Moses[33], that the spirit of God had striven with those of the antediluvian world. They believe, therefore, that it was this spirit (and because the means were adequate, and none more satisfactory to them can be assigned) which informed Cain, before any written law existed, and this even before the murder of his brother, that[34] "if he did well, he should be accepted; but if not, sin should lie at his door." The same spirit they conceive to have illuminated the mind of Seth, but in a higher degree than ordinarily the mind of Enoch; for he is the first, of whom it is recorded, that[35] "he walked with God." It is also considered by the Quakers as having afforded a rule of conduct to those who lived after the flood. Thus Joseph is described as saying, when there is no record of any verbal instruction from the Almighty on this subject, and at a time when there was no scripture or written law of God, [36] "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" It illuminated others also, but in a greater or less degree, as before. Thus Noah became a preacher of righteousness. Thus Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were favoured with a greater measure of it than others who lived in their own times.

[Footnote 33: Gen. 6.3]

[Footnote 34: Ib 4.7]

[Footnote 35: Gen. 5.24.]

[Footnote 36: Ib. 39.9.—The traditionary laws of Noah were in force at this time; but they only specified three offences between man and man.]

From these times to the coming of Jesus Christ, which is the second of the cases in question, the same spirit, according to the Quakers, still continued its teachings, and this notwithstanding the introduction of the Mosaic law; for this, which was engraven on tables of stone, did not set aside the law that was engraven on the heart. It assisted, first, outwardly, in turning mens' minds to God; and secondly, in fitting them as a schoolmaster for attention to the internal impressions by his spirit. That the spirit of God was still the great teacher, the Quakers conceive to be plain; for the sacred writings from Moses to Malachi affirm it for a part of the period now assigned; and for the rest we have as evidence the reproof of the Martyr Stephen, and the sentences from the New Testament quoted in the fourth chapter. And in the same manner as this spirit had been given to some in a greater measure than to others, both before and after the deluge, so the Quakers believe it to have been given more abundantly to Moses and the prophets, than to others of the same nation; for they believe that the law in particular, and that the general writings of Moses, and those of the prophets also, were of divine inspiration, or the productions of the spirit of God.

With respect to the Heathens or Gentiles, which is the third case, the Quakers believe that God's holy spirit became a guide also to them, and furnished them, as it had done the patriarchs and the Jews, with a rule of practice. For even these, who had none of the advantages of scripture or of a written divine law, believed, many of them, in God, such as Orpheus, Hesiod, Thales, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Cicero, and others. And of these it may be observed, that it was their general belief, as well as it was the belief of many others in those days, that there was a divine light or spirit in man, to enable him to direct himself aright.

Among the remnants that have been preserved of the sayings, of Pythagoras, are the following which relate to this subject: "Those things which are agreeable to God, cannot be known, except a man hear God himself." Again—"But having overcome these things, thou shalt know the cohabitation or dwelling together of the immortal God and mortal man. His work is life—The work of God is immortality, eternal life." "The most excellent thing, says Timoeus, that the soul is awakened to, is her guide or good genius; but if she be rebellious to it, it will prove her daemon, or tormentor."

"It was frequently said of Socrates, he had the guide of his life within him, which, it was told his father Sophroniscus, would be of more worth to him than five hundred masters. He called it his good angel, or spirit; that it suggested to his mind what was good and virtuous, and inclined and disposed him to a strict and pious life; that it furnished him with divine knowledge, and impelled him very often to speak publicly to the people, sometimes in a way of severe reproof, at other times to information."

Plato says, "the light and spirit of God are as wings to the soul, or as that which raiseth up the soul into, a sensible communion with God above the world."

"I have, says Seneca, a more clear and certain light, by which I may judge the truth from falsehood: that which belongs to the happiness of the soul, the eternal mind will direct to." Again—"It is a foolish thing for thee to wish for that which thou canst not obtain. God is near thee, and he is in thee. The good spirit sits or resides within as, the observer of our good and evil actions. As he is dealt with by us, he dealeth with us."

The Quakers produce these, and a multitude of other quotations, which it is not necessary to repeat, to show that the same spirit, which taught the patriarchs before the law, and the Jews after it, taught the Gentiles also. But this revelation, or manifestation of the spirit, was not confined, in the opinion of the Quakers, to the Roman or Greek philosophers, or to those who had greater pretensions than common to human wisdom. They believe that no nation was ever discovered, among those of antiquity, to have been so wild or ignorant as not to have acknowledged a divinity, or as not to have known and established a difference between good and evil.

Cicero says, "there is no country so barbarous, no one of all men so savage, as that some apprehension of the Gods hath not tinctured his mind. That many indeed, says he, think corruptly of them, must be admitted; but this is the effect of vicious custom. For all do believe that there is a divine power and nature."

Maximus Tyriensis, a platonic philosopher, and a man of considerable knowledge, observes, that "notwithstanding the great contention and variety of opinions which have existed concerning the nature and essence of God, yet the law and reason of every country are harmonious in these respects, namely, that there is one God, the king and father of all—and that the many are but servants and co-rulers unto God: that in this the Greek and the Barbarian, the Islander and the inhabitant of the continent, the wise and the foolish, speak the same language. Go, says he, to the utmost bounds of the ocean, and you find God there. But if there hath been, says he, since the existence of time, two or three atheistical, vile, senseless individuals, whose eyes and ears deceive them, and who are maimed in their very soul, an irrational and barren species, as monstrous as a lion without courage, an ox without horns, or a bird without wings, yet out of these you will be able to understand something of God. For they know and confess him whether they will or not."

Plutarch says again, "that if a man were to travel through the world, he might possibly find cities without walls, without letters, without kings, without wealth, without schools, and without theatres. But a city without a temple, or that useth no worship, or no prayers, no one ever saw. And he believes a city may more easily be built without a foundation, or ground to set it on, than a community of men have or keep a consistency without religion."

Of those nations which were reputed wild and ignorant in ancient times, the Scythians may be brought, next, to the Greeks and Romans, as an instance to elucidate the opinion of the Quakers still farther on this subject. The speech of the Scythian Ambassadors to Alexander the Great, as handed down to us by Quintus Curtius, has been often cited by writers, not only on account of its beauty and simplicity, but to show us the moral sentiments of the Scythians in those times. I shall make a few extracts from it on this occasion.

"Had the Gods given thee, says one of the Ambassadors to Alexander, a body proportionable to thy ambition, the whole Universe would have been too little for thee. With one hand thou wouldest touch the East, and with the other the West; and not satisfied with this, thou wouldest follow the Sun, and know where he hides himself."——

"But what have we to do with thee? We never set foot in thy country. May not those who inhabit woods be allowed to live without knowing who thou art, and whence thou comest? We will neither command nor submit to any man."——

"But thou, who boastest thy coming to extirpate robbers, thou thyself art the greatest robber upon earth."——

"Thou hast possessed thyself of Lydia, invaded Syria, Persia, and Bactriana. Thou art forming a design to march as far as India, and thou now contest hither, to seize upon our herds of cattle. The great possessions which thou hast, only make thee covet more eagerly what thou hast not."——

"We are informed that the Greeks speak jestingly of our Scythian deserts, and that they are even become a proverb; but we are fonder of our solitudes, than of thy great cities."——

"If thou art a god, thou oughtest to do good to mortals, and not to deprive them of their possessions. If thou art a mere man, reflect on what thou art."——

"Do not fancy that the Scythians will take an oath in their concluding of an alliance with thee. The only oath among them is to keep their word without swearing. Such cautions as these do indeed become Greeks, who sign their treaties, and call upon the Gods to witness them. But, with regard to us, our religion consists in being sincere, and in keeping the promises we have made. That man, who is not ashamed to break his word with men, is not ashamed of deceiving the Gods."

To the account contained in these extracts, it may be added, that the Scythians are described by Herodotus, Justin, Horace, and others, as a moral people. They had the character of maintaining justice. Theft or robbery was severely punished among them. They believed infidelity after the marriage-engagement to be deserving of death. They coveted neither silver nor gold. They refused to give the name of goods or riches to any but estimable things, such as health, courage, liberty, strength, sincerity, innocence, and the like. They received friends as relations, or considered friendship as so sacred an alliance, that it differed but little from alliance by blood.

These principles of the Scythians, as far as they are well founded, the Quakers believe to have originated in their more than ordinary attention to that divine principle which was given to them, equally with the rest of mankind, for their instruction in moral good; to that same principle, which Socrates describes as having suggested to his mind that which was good and virtuous, or which Seneca describes to reside in men as an observer of good and evil. For the Scythians, living in solitary and desert places, had but little communication for many ages with the rest of mankind, and did not obtain their system of morality from other quarters. From the Greeks and Romans, who were the most enlightened, they derived no moral benefit. For Strabo informs us, that their morals had been wholly corrupted in his time, and that this wretched change had taken place in consequence of their intercourse with these nations. That they had no scripture or written law of God is equally evident. Neither did they collect their morality from the perusal or observance of any particular laws that had been left them by their ancestors; for the same author, who gives them the high character just mentioned, says that they were found in the practice of justice,[37] not on account of any laws, but on account of their own natural genius or disposition. Neither were they found in this practice, because they had exerted their reason in discovering that virtue was so much more desirable than vice; for the same author declares, that nature, and not reason, had made them a moral people: for[38] "it seems surprising, says he, that nature should have given to them what the Greeks have never been able to attain either in consequence of the long succession of doctrines of their wise men, or of the precepts of their philosophers; and that the manners of a barbarous, should be preferable to those of a refined people."

[Footnote 37: Justitia gentis Ingeniis culta, non Legibus.]

[Footnote 38: Prorsus ut admirabile videatur, hoc illis naturam dare, quod Graeci longá sapientium doctriná praeceptisque philosophorum consequi nequeunt, cultosque mores incultae barbariae collatione soperari.]

This opinion, that the spirit of God was afforded as a light to lighten the Gentiles of the ancient world, the Quakers derive from the authorities which I have now mentioned; that is, from the evidence which history has afforded, and from the sentiments which the Gentiles have discovered themselves upon this subject. But they conceive that the question is put out of all doubt by these remarkable words of the Apostle Paul. "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written on their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another." And here it may be observed, that the Quakers believe also, that in the same manner as the spirit of God enlightened the different Gentile nations previously to the time of the apostle, so it continues to enlighten those, which have been discovered since; for no nation has been found so ignorant, as not to make an acknowledgment of superior spirit, and to know the difference between good and evil. Hence it may be considered as illuminating those nations, where the scriptures have never reached, even at the present day.

With respect to the last case, which includes those who have heard with their outward ears the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Quakers believe, that the spirit of God has continued its office of a spiritual instructor as well to these as to any of the persons who have been described. For the Gospel is no where said to supersede, any more than the law of Moses did, the assistance of this spirit. On the other hand, this spirit was deemed necessary, and this by the apostles themselves, even after churches had been established, or men had become Christians. St. Paul declares,[39] that whatever spiritual gifts some of his followers might then have, and however these gifts might then differ from one another, the spirit of God was given universally to man, and this to profit withal. He declares again that [40] "as many as were led by this spirit, these, and these only, possessed the knowledge that was requisite to enable them to become the sons of God." And in his letter to the Thessalonians, who had become a Christian church, he gave them many particular injunctions, among which one was, that [41] they would not quench or extinguish the spirit.

[Footnote 39: Cor. 12. 7.]

[Footnote 40: Rom. 8, 14.]

[Footnote 41: 1 Thess. 5. 19.]

And in the same manner as this spirit was deemed necessary in the days of the apostles, and this to every man individually, and even after he had become a Christian, so the Quakers consider it to have been necessary since, and to continue so, wherever Christianity is professed. For many persons may read the holy scriptures, and hear them read in churches, and yet not feel the necessary conviction for sin. Here then the Quakers conceive the spirit of God to be still necessary. It comes in with its inward monitions and reproofs, where the scripture has been neglected or forgotten. It attempts to stay the arm of him who is going to offend, and frequently averts the blow.

Neither is this spirit unnecessary, even where men profess an attention to the literal precepts of the Gospel. For in proportion as men are in the way of attending to the outward scriptures, they are in the way of being inwardly taught of God. But without this inward teaching no outward teaching can be effectual; for though persons may read the scriptures, yet they cannot spiritually understand them; and though they may admire the Christian religion, yet they cannot enjoy it, according to the opinion of the Quakers, but through the medium of the spirit of God.



This spirit, as it has been given universally, so it has been given sufficiently—Hence God is exonerated Of injustice, and men are left without excuse—Those who resist this spirit, are said to quench it, and may become so hardened in time, as to be insensible of its impressions—Those who attend to it, may be said to be in the way of redemption—Similar sentiments of Monro—This visitation, treatment, and influence of the spirit, usually explained by the Quakers by the Parable of the sower.

As the spirit of God has been thus afforded to every man, since the foundation of the world, to profit withal, so the Quakers say, that it has been given to him in a sufficient measure for this purpose. By the word "sufficient" we are not to understand that this divine monitor calls upon men every day or hour, but that it is within every man, and that it awakens him seasonably, and so often during the term of his natural life, as to exonerate God from the charge of condemning him unjustly, if he fails in his duty, and as to leave himself without excuse. And in proportion as a greater or less measure of this spirit has been afforded him, so he is more or less guilty in the sight of his Maker.

If any should resist these salutary operations of the Holy Spirit, they resist it to their own condemnation.

Of such it may he observed, that they are said to quench or grieve the spirit, and, not unfrequently, to resist God, and to crucify Christ afresh; for God and Christ and the Spirit are considered to be inseparably united in the scriptures.

Of such also it may be again observed, that if they continue to resist God's holy Spirit, their feelings may become so callous or hardened in time, that they may never be able to perceive its notices again, and thus the day of their visitation may be over: for [42] "my people, saith God, would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me; so I gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own counsels." To the same import was the saying of Jesus Christ, when he wept over Jerusalem. [43] "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." As if he had said, there was a day, in which ye, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, might have known those things which belonged to your peace. I was then willing to gather you, as a hen gathereth her chickens, but as ye would not suffer me, the things belonging to your peace are now hid from your eyes. Ye would not attend to the impressions by God's Holy Spirit, when your feelings were tender and penetrable, and therefore now, the day having passed over, ye have lost the power of discerning them.

[Footnote 42: Psalm 81. 11,12]

[Footnote 43: Luke 19, 42.]

Those, on the other hand, who, during this visitation of the Holy Spirit, attend to its suggestions or warnings, are said to be in the way of their redemption or salvation.

These sentiments of the Quakers on this subject are beautifully described by Monro, in his just measures of the pious institutions of youth. "The Holy Spirit," says he, "solicits and importunes those who are in a state of sin, to return, by inward motions and impressions, by suggesting good thoughts and prompting to pious resolutions, by checks and controls, by conviction of sin and duty; sometimes by frights and terrors, and other whiles by love and endearments: But if men, notwithstanding all his loving solicitations, do still cherish and cleave to their lusts, and persevere in a state of sin, they are then said to resist the Holy Ghost, whereby their condition becomes very deplorable, and their conversion very difficult; for the more men resist the importunities, and stifle the motions of the Holy Spirit, the stronger do the chains of their corruption and servitude become. Every new act of sin gives these a degree of strength, and consequently puts a new obstacle in the way of conversion; and when sin is turned into an inveterate and rooted habit, (which by reiterated commissions and long continuance it is) then it becomes a nature, and is with as much difficulty altered as nature is. Can the Ethiopian change his colour, or the Leopard his spots? Then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil."

"The Holy Spirit again," says he, "inspires the prayers of those who, in consequence of his powerful operations, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, with devout and filial affections, and makes intercession for them with sighs and groans that cannot be uttered. He guides and manages them. The sons of God are led by the spirit of god. He makes, his blessed fruits, righteousness, peace, joy, and divine love, more and more to abound in them; he confirms them in goodness, persuades them to perseverance, and seals them to the day of redemption."

The Quakers usually elucidate this visitation, treatment, and influence of the Holy Spirit, by the parable of the sower, as recorded by three of the Evangelists. "Now the seed is the word of God." But as the word of God and the spirit, according to St. John the Evangelist, are the same, the parable is considered by the Quakers as relating to that divine light or spirit which is given to man for his spiritual instruction and salvation. As the seed was sown in all sorts of ground, good, bad, and indifferent, so this light or spirit is afforded, without exception, to all. As thorns choked this seed, and hindered it from coming to perfection, so bad customs, or the pleasures and cares of the world, hinder men from attending to this divine principle within them, and render it unfruitful in their hearts. And as the seed in the good ground was not interrupted, and therefore produced fruit in abundance, so this spiritual principle, where it is not checked, but received and cherished, produces also abundance of spiritual fruit in the inward man, by putting him into the way of redemption from sin, or of holiness of life.


The spirit of God, therefore, besides its office of a teacher, performs that of a Redeemer of men—Redemption outward and inward—Outward is by the sufferings of Jesus Christ—These produce forgiveness of past sins, and put men into a capacity of salvation—inward, or the office now alluded to, is by the operation of the spirit—This converts men, and preserves them from sins to come—outward and inward connected with each other.

The spirit of God, which we have seen to be given to men, and to be given them universally, to enable them to distinguish between 'good and evil, was given them also, the Quakers believe, for another purpose, namely, to redeem or save them. Redemption and salvation, in this sense,' are the same, in the language of the Quakers, and mean a purification from the sins or pollutions of the world, so that a new birth may be produced, and maintained in the inward man.

As the doctrine of the Quakers, with respect to redemption, differs from that which generally obtains, I shall allot this chapter to an explanation of the distinctions, which the Quakers usually make upon this subject.

The Quakers never make use of the words "original sin," because these are never to be found in the sacred writings. They consider man, however, as in a fallen or degraded state, and as inclined and liable to sin. They consider him, in short, as having the seed of sin within him, which he inherited from his parent Adam. But though they acknowledge this, they dare not say, that sin is imputed to him on account of Adam's transgression, or that he is chargeable with sin, until he actually commits it.

As every descendant, however, of Adam, has this seed within him, which, amidst the numerous temptations that beset him, he allows sometime or other to germinate, so he stands in need of a Redeemer; that is, of some power that shall be able to procure pardon for past offences, and of some power that shall be able to preserve him in the way of holiness for the future. To expiate himself, in a manner satisfactory to the Almighty, for so foot a stain upon his nature as that of sin, is utterly beyond his abilities; for no good action, that he can do, can do away that which has been once done. And to preserve himself in a state of virtue for the future, is equally out of his own power, because this cannot be done by any effort of his reason, but only by the conversion of his heart. It has therefore pleased the Almighty to find a remedy for him in each of these cases. Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of his own body, expiates for sins that are past, and the spirit of God, which has been afforded to him, as a spiritual teacher, has the power of cleansing and purifying the heart so thoroughly, that he may be preserved from sins to come.

That forgiveness of past sins is procured by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is obvious from various passages in the holy scriptures. Thus the apostle Paul says, that Jesus Christ [44] "was set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past through the forbearance of God." And in his epistle to the Colossians he says, [45] "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." This redemption may be called outward, because it has been effected by outward means, or by the outward sufferings of Jesus Christ; and it is considered as putting men, in consequence of this forgiveness, into the capacity of salvation. The Quakers, however, attribute this redemption wholly to the love of God, and not to the impossibility of his forgiveness without a plenary satisfaction, or to the motive of heaping all his vengeance on the head of Jesus Christ, that he might appease his own wrath.

[Footnote 44: Rom. 3.25.]

[Footnote 45: Coloss. 1.14.]

The other redemption, on the other hand, is called inward, because it is considered by the Quakers to be an inward redemption from the power of sin, or a cleansing the heart from the pollutions of the world. This inward redemption is produced by the spirit of God, as before stated, operating on the hearts of men, and so cleansing and purifying them, as to produce a new birth in the inward man; so that the same spirit of God, which has been given to men in various degrees since the foundation of the world, as a teacher in their spiritual concerns, which hath visited every man in his day, and which hath exhorted and reproved him for his spiritual welfare[46], has the power of preserving him from future sin, and of leading him to salvation.

[Footnote 46: The Quakers believe, however, that this spirit was more plentifully diffused, and that greater gifts were given to man, after Jews was glorified, than before. Ephes. 4.8.]

That this inward redemption is performed by the spirit of God, the Quakers show from various passages in the sacred writings. Thus St. Paul says, [47] "According to his mercy he hath saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." The same apostle says, again, [48] "It is the law of the Spirit that maketh free from the law of sin and death." And again—[49] "As many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

[Footnote 47: Titus 3.5.]

[Footnote 48: Rom. 8.2.]

[Footnote 49: Rom. 8.14.]

The Quakers say, that this inward redemption or salvation as effected by the spirit, is obvious also from the experience of all good men, or from the manner in which many have experienced a total conversion or change of heart. For though there are undoubtedly some who have gone on so gradually in their reformation from vice to virtue, that it may have been considered to be the effect of reason, which has previously determined on the necessity of a holy life, yet the change from vice to holiness has often been so rapid and decisive, as to leave no doubt whatever, that it could not have been produced by any effort of reason, but only by some divine operation, which could only have been that of the spirit of God.

Of these two kinds of redemption, the outward and the inward, of which the latter will be the subject of our consideration, it may be observed, that they go hand in hand together[50]. St. Paul has coupled them in these words: "for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life;" that is, by the life of his spirit working inwardly in us.—And as they go together in the mind of the apostle, so they go together as to the benefit of their effects. For, in the first place, the outward redemption takes place, when the inward has begun. And, secondly, the outward redemption, or the sufferings of Jesus Christ, which redeem from past sins, cannot have any efficacy till the inward has begun, or while men remain in their sins; or, in other words, no man can be entitled to the forgiveness of sins that have been committed, till there has been a change in the inward man; for St. John intimates, that [51]the blood of Christ does not cleanse from sin, except men walk in the light, or, to use an expression synonymous with the Quakers, except men walk in the spirit.

[Footnote 50: Rom, 5. 10.]

[Footnote 51: John I. 6.7.]


Inward redemption, which thus goes on by the operation of the Holy Spirit, has the power of producing a new birth in men—This office of the spirit acknowledged by other Christians—Monro—Hammond—Locke—It has the power also of leading to perfection—Sentiments of the Quakers as to perfection—and of the ever memorable John Hales—Gell—Monro —This power of inward redemption bestowed upon all.

The sufferings then of Jesus Christ, having by means of the forgiveness of past sins, put men into a capacity for salvation, the remaining part of salvation, or the inward redemption of man, is performed by the operation of the Holy Spirit; of which, however, it must be remembered, that a more plentiful diffusion is considered by the Quakers to have been given to men after the ascension of Jesus Christ, than at any former period.

The nature of this inward redemption, or the nature of this new office, which it performs in addition to that of a religious teacher, may be seen in the following account.

It has the power, the Quakers believe, of checking and preventing bad inclinations and passions; of cleansing and purifying the heart; of destroying the carnal mind; of making all old things pass away; of introducing new; of raising our spiritual senses, so as to make us delight in the things of God, and to put us above the enjoyment of earthly pleasures. Redeeming thus from the pollutions of the world, and leading to spiritual purity, it forms a new creature. It produces the new man in the heart. It occasions a man by its quickening power to be born again, and thus puts him into the way of salvation. [52] "For verily I say unto thee, says Jesus Christ to Nicodemus, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

[Footnote 52: John 3.3.]

This office and power of the spirit of God is acknowledged by other Christians. Monro, who has been before quoted, observes, "that the soul, being thus raised from the death of sin and born again, is divinely animated, and discovers that it is alive by the vital operations which it performs."

"Again, says he, this blissful presence, the regenerate who are delivered from the dominion, and cleansed from the impurities of sin, have recovered, and it is on the account of it, that they are said to be an habitation of God through the spirit and the temples of the Holy Ghost. For that good spirit takes possession of them, resides in their hearts, becomes the mover, enlightener, and director of all their faculties and powers, gives a new and heavenly tincture and tendency to all their inclinations and desires, and, in one word, is the great spring of all they think, or do, or say; and hence it is that they are said to walk no more after the flesh, but after the spirit, and to be led by the spirit of God."

Dr. Hammond, in his paraphrase and annotations on the New Testament, observes, that "he who hath been born of God, is literally he who hath had such a blessed change wrought in him by the operation of God's spirit in his heart, as to be translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son."

"As Christ in the flesh, says the great and venerable Locke, was wholly exempt from all taint and sin, so we, by that spirit which was in him, shall be exempt from the dominion of carnal lusts, if we make it our choice, and endeavour to live after the spirit."

"Here the apostle, says Locke, shows that Christians are delivered from the dominion of their carnal lusts by the spirit of God that is given to them, and dwells in them, as a new quickening principle and power, by which they are put into the state of a spiritual life, wherein their members are made capable of becoming the instruments of righteousness."

And this spirit of God, which thus redeems from the pollutions of the world, and puts a new heart as it were into man, is considered by the Quakers as so powerful in its operations, as to be able to lead him to perfection. By this the Quakers do not mean to say, that the perfection of man is at all like the perfection of God; because the perfection of the former is capable of growth. They believe, however, that, in his renewed state, he may be brought to be so perfect, as to be able to keep those commandments of God which are enjoined him. In this sense they believe it is, that Noah is called by Moses [53]a just and perfect man in his generation; and that Job is described [54]as a perfect and an upright man; and that the evangelist Luke speaks of Zacharias and Elizabeth in these words—[55] "They were both righteous before God, and walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."

[Footnote 53: Gen. 6. 9.]

[Footnote 54: Job 1. 3.]

[Footnote 55: Luke 1. 6.]

That man, who is renewed in heart, can attain this degree of perfection, the Quakers think it but reasonable to suppose. For to think that God has given man any law to keep, which it is impossible for him, when aided by his Holy Spirit, to keep, or to think that the power of Satan can be stronger in man than the power of Christ, is to think very inadequately of the Almighty, and to cast a dishonourable reflection on his goodness, his justice, and his power. Add to which, that there would not have been such expressions in the New Testament, as those of Jesus Christ—"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect"—Nor would there have been other expressions of the Apostles of a similar meaning, if the renewed man had not possessed the power of doing the will of God.

This doctrine of perfection brought the Quakers into disputes with persons of other religions denominations, at the time of their establishment. But, however it might be disapproved of, it was not new in these times; nor was it originally introduced by them. Some of the fathers of the church, and many estimable divines of different countries, had adopted it. And here it may be noticed, that the doctrine had been received also by several of the religious in our own.

In the golden remains of the ever memorable John Hales, we find, that "through the grace of Him that doth enable as, we are stronger than Satan, and the policy of Christian warfare hath as many means to keep back and defend, as the deepest reach of Satan hath to give the onset."

"St. Augustine, says this amiable writer, was of opinion, that it was possible for us even in this natural life, seconded by the grace of God, perfectly to accomplish what the law requires at our hands." In the Golden Remains, many sentiments are to be found of the same tenour.

Bacon, who collected and published Dr. Robert Gell's remains, says in his preface, that Dr. Gell preached before King Charles the first on Ephesians 4. 10. at New-Market, in the year 1631, a bold discourse, yet becoming him, testifying before the King that doctrine he taught to his life's end, "the possibility, through grace, of keeping the law of God in this life." Whoever reads these venerable Remains, will find this doctrine inculcated in them.

Monro, who lived some time after Dr. Gell, continued the same doctrine: So great, says he, in his just measures, is the goodness and benignity of God, and so perfect is the justice of his nature, that he will not, cannot command impossibilities. Whatever he requires of mankind by way of duty, he enables them to perform it—His grace goes before and assists their endeavours; so that when they do not comply with his injunctions, it is because they will not employ the power that he has given them, and which he is ready to increase and heighten, upon their dutiful improvement of what they have already received, and their serious application to him for more.

Again—"Though of ourselves, and without Christ, we can do nothing; yet with him we can do all things: and then, he adds a little lower, why should any duties frighten us, or seem impossible to us?"

Having now stated it to be the belief of the Quakers, that the spirit of God acts as an inward redeemer to man, and that its powers are such that it may lead him to perfection in the way explained, it remains for me to observe, that it is their belief also, that this spirit has been given for these purposes, without any exception, to all of the human race: or in the same manner as it was given as an universal teacher, so it has been given as an universal redeemer to man, and that it acts in this capacity, and fulfils its office to all those who attend to its inward strivings, and encourage its influence on their hearts.

That it was given to all for this purpose, they believe to be manifest from the Apostle Paul:[56] "for the grace of God, says he, which bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto all men." He says again,[57] that "the Gospel was preached unto every creature which is under Heaven." He defines the Gospel to be[58] "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." He means therefore that this power of inward redemption was afforded to all. For the outward Gospel had not been preached to all in the time of the apostle; nor has it been preached to all even at the present day. But these passages are of universal import. They imply no exception. They comprehend every individual of the human race.

[Footnote 56: Titus 2.11.]

[Footnote 57: Coloss. 1.23.]

[Footnote 58: Rom. 1.16.]

That this spirit was also given to all for these purposes, the Quakers believe, when they consider other passages in the scriptures, which appear to them to belong to this subject. For they consider this spirit to have begun its office as an inward redeemer[59] with the fall of the first man, and to have continued it through the patriarchal ages to the time of the outward Gospel, when there was to be no other inward redemption but by the same means. Thus by the promise which was given to Adam, there was to be perpetual enmity between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, though the latter was to vanquish, or as, the Quakers interpret it, between the spirit of sin and the spirit of God, that was placed in man. This promise was fully accomplished by Jesus, (who came from the woman) after he had received immeasurably the spirit of God, or after he had become the Christ. But the Quakers consider it to have bean partially accomplished by many from the time of Adam; for they believe that many, who have attended to the seed of God, or, which is the same thing,[60] to the portion of the spirit of God within them, have witnessed the enmity alluded to, and have bruised, in a great degree, the power of sin within their own hearts, or have experienced in these early times the redeeming power of the spirit of God. And except this be the case, the Quakers conceive some of the passages, which they suppose to relate to this subject, not to be so satisfactorily explicable as they might be rendered. For it is said of Abraham, that he saw Christ's day. But as Abraham died long before the visible appearance of Christ in the flesh, he could neither have seen Christ outwardly, nor his day. It is still affirmed that he saw Christ's day. And the Quakers say they believe he saw him inwardly, for he witnessed in his own spirit, which is the same thing, the redeeming power of the spirit of God. For as the world was made by the spirit, or by the word, which is frequently interpreted to be Christ, so these terms are synonimous, and often used the one for the other. The Quakers therefore believe Abraham to have experienced in a very high degree the power[61] of this inward redemption. They believe also that Job experienced it in an extraordinary manner. For he asserted that he knew "that his redeemer lived." But Job could never have said this, except be had alluded to the powerful influence within him, which had purified his heart from the pollutions of sin. For being as early as the time of Moses, he could never have seen any of the sacred writings which mentioned Jesus Christ as a redeemer, or the person of Jesus Christ.

[Footnote 59: In the same manner Jesus Christ having tasted death for every man, the sacrifice, or outward redemption, looks backwards and forwards, as well to Adam as to those who lived after the Gospel times.]

[Footnote 60: 1 John. 3. 9. Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.]

[Footnote 61: The Quakers do not deny, that Abraham might have seen Christ prophetically, but they believe he saw him particularly in the way described.]

The Quakers also consider David, from the numerous expressions to be found in the Psalms, as having experienced this inward redemption also, and in the same manner as they conceive this spirit to have striven with Abraham, and Job, and David, so they conceive it to have striven with others of the same nation for their inward redemption to the time of Jesus Christ. They believe again, that it has striven with all the Heathen nations, from the foundation of the world to the same period. And they believe also, that it has continued its office of a redeemer to all people, whether Jews, Heathens, or Christians, from the time of Jesus Christ to the present day.


Proposition of the new birth and perfection, as hitherto explained in the ordinary way—New view of the subject from a more particular detail of the views and expressions of the Quakers concerning it—A new spiritual birth as real from the spiritual seed of the kingdom, as that of plants or vegetables from their seeds in the natural world—And the new birth proceeds really in the same progressive manner, to maturity or perfection—Result of this new view the same as that in the former section.

I stated in the last section that the spirit of God is considered by the Quakers as an inward redeemer to men, and that, in this office, it has the power of producing a new birth in them, and of leading them to perfection in the way described. This proposition, however, I explained only in the ordinary way. But as the Quakers have a particular way of viewing and expressing it, and as they deem it one of the most important of their religious propositions, I trust I shall, be excused by the reader, if I allot one other section to this subject.

Jesus Christ states, as was said before, in the most clear and positive terms, that [62] "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven."

[Footnote 62: John 3. 3.]

Now the great work of religion is salvation or redemption. Without this no man can see God; and therefore the meaning of the words of Jesus Christ will be this, that, except a man be born again, he cannot experience that inward redemption which shall enable him to see the kingdom of heaven.

Redemption then is necessary to qualify for a participation of the heavenly joys, and it is stated to take place by means of the new birth.

The particular ideas then, which the Quakers have relative to the new birth and perfection, are the following. In the same manner as the Divine Being has scattered the seeds of plants and vegetables in the body of the earth, so he has implanted a portion of his own incorruptible seed, or of that which, in scripture language, is called the "Seed of the Kingdom," in the soul of every individual of the human race. As the sun by its genial influence quickens the vegetable seed, so it is the office of the Holy Spirit, in whom is life, and who resides in the temple of man, to quicken that which is heavenly. And in the same manner as the vegetable seed conceives and brings forth a plant, or a tree with stem and branches; so if the soul, in which the seed of the kingdom is placed, be willing to receive the influence of the Holy Spirit upon it, this seed is quickened and a spiritual offspring is produced. Now this offspring is as real a birth from the seed in the soul by means of the spirit, as the plant from its own seed by means of the influence of the sun. "The seed of the kingdom, says Isaac Pennington, consists not in words or notions of mind, but is an inward thing, an inward spiritual substance in the heart, as real inwardly in its kind, as other seeds are outwardly in their kind. And being received by faith, and taking root in man, (his heart, his earth, being ploughed up and prepared for it,) it groweth up inwardly, as truly and really, as any outward seed doth outwardly."

With respect to the offspring thus produced in the soul of man, it maybe variously named. As it comes from the incorruptible seed of God, it may be called a birth of the divine nature or life. As it comes by the agency of the spirit, it may be called the life of the spirit. As it is new, it may be called the new man or creature: or it may have the appellation of a child of God: or it is that spiritual life and light, or that spiritual, principle and power within us, which may be called the Anointed, or Christ within.

"As this seed, says Barclay, is received in the heart and suffered to bring forth its natural and proper effect, Christ comes to be formed and raised, called in scripture the new man, Christ within us, the hope of glory. Yet herein they (the Quakers) do not equal themselves with the holy man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, neither destroy his present existence. For though they affirm Christ dwells in them, yet not immediately, but mediately, as he is in that seed which is in them."

Of the same opinion was the learned Cudworth. "We all, says he, receive of his fulness grace for grace, as all the stars in heaven are said to light their candles at the sun's flame. For though his body be withdrawn from us, yet by the lively and virtual contact of his spirit, he is always kindling, cheering, quickening, warming, and enlivening hearts. Nay, this divine life begun and kindled in any heart, wheresoever it be, is something of God in flesh, and in a sober and qualified sense, divinity incarnate; and all particular Christians, that are really possessed of it, are so many mystical Christs."

Again—"Never was any tender infant so dear to those bowels that begat it, as an infant newborn Christ, formed in the heart of any true believer, to God the Father of it."

This account relative to the new birth the Quakers conceive to be strictly deducible from the Holy Scriptures. It is true, they conceive, as far as the new birth relates to God and to the seed, and to the spirit, from the following passages: [63] "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him." [64] "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God." [65] "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." It is considered to be true again, as far as the new birth relates to the creature born and to the name which it may bear, from these different expressions: [66] "Of whom I travail in birth again, till Christ be formed in you." [68] "Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." [69] "But ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father." [70] "But as many as received him, that is, the spirit or word, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." [71] "For as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." And as parents and children resemble one another, so believers are made [72] "conformable to the image of his son," "who is the image of the invisible God."

[Footnote 63: 1 John 3. 9.]

[Footnote 64: 1 Peter 1. 23.]

[Footnote 65: James 1. 18.]

[Footnote 66: Gal. 4. 19.]

[Footnote 67: Gal. 2.20.]

[Footnote 68: Rom. 8.15.]

[Footnote 69: John 1. 12.]

[Footnote 70: Rom. 3. 14.]

[Footnote 71: Rom. 8. 29.]

[Footnote 72: Coloss. 1. 15.]

Having explained in what the new birth consists, or having shown, according to Barclay, [73] "that the seed is a real spiritual substance, which the soul of man is capable of feeling and apprehending, from which that real spiritual inward birth arises, called the new creature or the new man in the heart," it remains to show how believers, or those in whose souls Christ is thus produced, may be said to grow up to perfection; for by this real birth or geniture in them they come to have those spiritual senses raised, by which they are made capable of tasting, smelling, seeing, and handling, the things of God.

[Footnote 73: P. 139. Ed. 8.]

It may be observed then, that in the new birth a progress is experienced from infancy to youth, and from youth to manhood. As it is only by submission to the operation of the spirit that this birth can take place, so it is only by a like submission, that any progress or growth from one stature to another will be experienced in it; neither can the regenerated become instrumental in the redemption of others, any farther or otherwise than as Christ or the anointing dwells and operates in them, teaching them all truths necessary to be known, and strengthening them to perform every act necessary to be done for this purpose. He must be their only means and [74] "hope of glory." It will then be that the [75] "creature which waiteth in earnest expectation for the manifestation of the sons of God, will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." For [76] "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new, and all things of God."

[Footnote 74: Coloss. 1. 27.]

[Footnote 75: Rom. 8. 19, 21.]

[Footnote 76: Cor. 5. 17, 18.]

They who are the babes of the regeneration begin to see spiritual things. The natural man, the mere creature, never saw God. But the babes, who cry Abba, Father, begin to see and to know him. Though as yet unskilful in the word of righteousness, [77] "they desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby." And [78] "their sins are forgiven them."

[Footnote 77: 1 Pet 2. 2.]

[Footnote 78: 1 John 2. 12.]

They, who are considered as the young men in this state, are said to be [79] "spiritually strong, and the word of God abiding in them, to have overcome the wicked one."

[Footnote 79: 1 John 2. 14.]

They, who have attained a state of manhood, are called fathers, or are said to be of full age, and to be capable of taking strong meat. [80] "They come, in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto perfect men, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. They arrive at such a state of stability, that they are no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine; but speaking the truth in love, grow up unto him in all things, which is the head, even Christ." [81] "The old man with his deeds being put off, they have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." [82] "They are washed, they are sanctified, they are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the spirit of our God." The new creation is thus completed, and the sabbath wherein man ceases from his own works, commences; so that every believer can then say with the apostle, [83] "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

[Footnote 80: Eph. 4. 13.14.15.]

[Footnote 81: Col. 3.9.10.]

[Footnote 82: 1 Cor. 6.11.]

[Footnote 83: Gal. 2.20.]

But this state of manhood, [84] "by which the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works, does not take place, until Christ be fully formed in the souls of believers, or till they are brought wholly under his rule and government. He must be substantially formed in them. He must actually be their life, and their hope of glory. He must be their head and governor. As the head, and the body, and the members are one, according to the apostle, but the head directs; so Christ, and, believers in whom Christ is born and formed, are one spiritual body, which he himself must direct also. Thus Christ, where he is fully formed in man, or where believers are grown up to the measure of the stature and fulness of sonship, is the head of every man, and God is the head of Christ. Thus Christ the begotten entirely governs the whole man, as the head directs and governs all the members of the body; and God the Father, as the head of Christ, entirely guides and governs the begotten. Hence, believers [85] 'are Christ's, and Christ is God's;' so that ultimately God is all in all."

[Footnote 84: 2 Tim. 9.17.]

[Footnote 85: Cor. 9.23.]

Having given this new view of the subject, I shall only observe farther upon it, that the substance of this chapter turns out to be the same as that of the preceding, or according to the notions of the Quakers, that inward redemption cannot be effected but through the medium of the spirit of God. For Christ, according to the ideas now held out, must be formed in man, and he must rule them before they can experience full inward redemption; or, in other words, they cannot experience this inward redemption, except they can truly say that he governs them, or except they can truly call him Governor, or Lord. But no person can say that Christ rules in him, except he undergoes the spiritual process of regeneration which has been described, or to use the words of the Apostle, [86] "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.[87]"

[Footnote 86: 1 Cor. 12.6]

[Footnote 87: The reader will easily discern from this new view of the new birth, how men, according to the Quakers, become partakers of the divine nature, and how the Quakers make it out, that Abraham and others saw Christ's day, as I mentioned in a former chapter.]



Quakers believe from the foregoing accounts, that redemption is possible to all—Hence they deny the doctrine of election and reprobation—do not deny the texts on which it is founded, but the interpretation of them—as contrary to the doctrines of Jesus Christ and the Apostles—as making his mission unnecessary—as rendering many precepts useless—and as casting a stain on the character and attributes of God.

It will appear from the foregoing observations, that it Is the belief of the Quakers, that every man has the power of inward redemption within himself, who attends to the strivings of the Holy Spirit, and that as outward redemption by the sufferings of Jesus Christ extends to all, where the inward has taken place, so redemption or salvation, in its full extent, is possible to every individual of the human race.

This position, however, is denied by those Christians, who have pronounced in favour of the doctrine of election and reprobation; because, if they believe some predestined from all eternity to eternal happiness, and the rest to eternal misery, they must then believe that salvation is not possible to all, and that it was not intended to be universal.

The Quakers have attempted to answer the objections, which have been thus made to their theory of redemption; and as the reader will probably expect that I should notice what they have said upon this subject, I have reserved the answers they have given for the present place.

The Quakers do not deny the genuineness of any of those texts, which are usually advanced against them. Of all people, they fly the least to the cover of interpolation or mutilation of scripture to shield themselves from the strokes of their opponents. They believe, however, that there are passages in the sacred writings, which will admit of an interpretation different from that which has been assigned them by many, and upon this they principally rely in the present case. If there are passages, to which two meanings may be annexed, and if for one there is equal authority as for the other, yet if one meaning should destroy all the most glorious attributes of the supreme being, and the other should preserve them as recognized in the other parts of the scripture, they think they are bound to receive that which favours the justice, mercy, and wisdom of God, rather than that which makes him appear both unjust and cruel.

The Quakers believe, that some Christians have misunderstood the texts which they quote in favour of the doctrine of election and reprobation, for the following reasons:—

First, because if God had from all eternity predestinated some to eternal happiness, and the rest to eternal misery, the mission of Jesus Christ upon earth became unnecessary, and his mediation ineffectual.

If this again had been a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, it never could have been overlooked, (considering that it is of more importance to men than any other) by the founder of that religion. But he never delivered any words in the course of his ministry, from whence any reasonable conclusion could be drawn, that such a doctrine formed any part of the creed which he intended to establish among men. His doctrine was that of mercy, tenderness, and love; in which he inculcated the power and efficacy of repentance, and declared there was more joy in Heaven over one sinner that repented, than over ninety-nine just persons who needed no repentance.

By the parable of the sower, which the Quakers consider to relate wholly to the word or spirit of God, it appears that persons of all description were visited equally for their salvation; and that their salvation depended much upon themselves; and that where obstacles arose, they arose from themselves also, by allowing temptations, persecutions, and the cares of the world, to overcome them. In short, the Quakers believe, that the doctrine of election and reprobation is contrary to the whole tenour of the doctrines promulgated by Jesus Christ.

They conceive also, that this doctrine is contrary to the doctrines promulgated by the Evangelists and Apostles, and particularly contrary to those of St. Paul himself, from whom it is principally taken. To make this Apostle contradict himself, they dare not. And they must therefore conclude, either that no person has rightly understood it, and that it has been hitherto kept in mystery; or, if it be intelligible to the human understanding, it must be explained by comparing it with other texts of the same Apostle, as well as with those of others, and always in connexion with the general doctrines of Christianity, and the character and attributes of God. Now the Apostle Paul, who is considered to [88] intimate, that God predestined some to eternal salvation, and the rest to eternal misery, says, [89]that "God made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth;" that, in the Gospel dispensation, [90] "there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free." [91]He desires also Timothy "to make prayers and supplications and intercessions for all men;" which the Quakers conceive he could not have done, if he had not believed it to be possible, that all might be saved. "For this is acceptable, says he, in the sight of our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved; for there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." Again, he says,[92] that "Jesus Christ tasted death for every man." And in another place he says, [93] "The grace of God, which bringeth salvation, has appeared unto all men." But if this grace has appeared to all, none can have been without it. And if its object be salvation, then all must have had sufficient of it to save them, if obedient to its saving operations.

[Footnote 88: Romans, Chap. 9.]

[Footnote 89: Acts 17. 26.]

[Footnote 90: Coloss. 3. 11.]

[Footnote 91: 1 Tim. 2. 1. 3. 4. 5. 6.]

[Footnote 92: Hebrews 2. 9.]

[Footnote 93: Titus 2. 11.]

Again, if the doctrine of election and reprobation be true, then the recommendations of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, and particularly of Paul himself, can be of no avail, and ought never to have been given. Prayer is inculcated by these as an acceptable duty. But why should men pray, if they are condemned before-hand, and if their destiny is inevitable? If the doctrine again be true, then all the exhortations to repentance, which are to be found in the scriptures, must be unnecessary. For why should men repent, except for a little temporary happiness in this world, if they cannot be saved in a future? This doctrine is considered by the Quakers as making the precepts of the Apostles unnecessary; as setting aside the hopes and encouragements of the Gospel; and as standing in the way of repentance or holiness of life.

This doctrine again they consider as objectionable, in as much as it obliges men to sin, and charges them with the commission of it. It makes also the fountain of all purity the fountain of all sin; and the author of all good the dispenser of all evil. It gives to the Supreme Being a malevolence that is not to be found in the character of the most malevolent of his creatures. It makes him more cruel than the most cruel oppressor ever recorded of the human race. It makes him to have deliberately made millions of men, for no other purpose than to stand by and delight in their misery and destruction. But is it possible, the Quakers say, for this to be true of him, who is thus described by St. John—"God is Love?"


Quakers' interpretation of the texts which relate to this doctrine—These texts of public and private import—Election, as of public import, relates to offices of usefulness, and not to salvation—as of private, it relates to the Jews—These had been elected, but were passed over for the Gentiles—Nothing more unreasonable in this than in the case of Ishmael and Esau—or that Pharaoh's crimes should receive Pharaoh's punishment—But though the Gentiles were chosen, they could stand in favour no longer than while they were obedient and faithful.

The Quakers conceive that, in their interpretation of the passages which are usually quoted in support of the doctrine of election and reprobation, and which I shall now give to the reader, they do no violence to the attributes of the Almighty; but, on the other hand, confirm his wisdom, justice, and mercy, as displayed in the sacred writings, in his religious government of the world.

These passaged may be considered both as of public and of private import; of public, as they relate to the world at large; of private, as they relate to the Jews, to whom they were addressed by the Apostle.

The Quakers, in viewing the doctrine as of public import, use the words "called," "predestinated," and "chosen," in the ordinary way in which they are used in the scriptures, or in the way in which Christians generally understand them.

They believe that the Almighty intended, from the beginning, to make both individuals and nations subservient to the end which he had proposed to himself in the creation of the world. For this purpose he gave men different measures of his Holy Spirit; and in proportion as they have used these gifts more extensively than others, they, have been more useful among mankind. Now all these may be truly said to have been instruments in the hands of Providence, for the good works which they have severally performed; but, if instruments in his hands, then they may not improperly be stiled chosen vessels. In this sense the Quakers view the words "chosen," or "called." In the same sense they view also the word "preordained;" but with this difference, that the instruments were foreknown; and that God should have known these instruments before-hand is not wonderful; for he who created the world, and who, to use an human expression, must see at one glance all that ever has been, and that is, and that is to come, must have known the means to be employed, and the characters who were to move, in the execution of his different dispensations to the world.

In this sense the Quakers conceive God may be said to have foreknown, called, chosen, and preordained Noah, and also Abraham, and also Moses, and Aaron, and his sons, and all the prophets, and all the evangelists, and apostles, and all the good men, who have been useful in spiritual services in their own generation or day.

In this sense also many may be said to have been chosen or called in the days of the Apostle Paul; for they are described as having had various gifts bestowed upon them by the spirit of God. [94] "To one was given the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge; to another the 'discerning of spirits;' to another prophecy; and to others other kinds of gifts. But the self-same spirit worked all these, dividing to every man severally as he chose." That is, particular persons were 'called by the spirit of God, in the days of the Apostle, to particular offices for the perfecting of his church.

[Footnote 94: 1 Cor. 12. 10. 11.]

In the same sense the Quakers consider all true ministers of the Gospel to be chosen. They believe that no imposition of hands or human ordination can qualify for this office. God, by means of his Holy Spirit alone, prepares such as are to be the vessels in his house. Those therefore, who, in obedience to this spirit, come forth from the multitude to perform spiritual offices, may be said to be called or chosen.

In this sense, nations may be said to be chosen also. Such were the Israelites, who by means of their peculiar laws and institutions, were kept apart from the other inhabitants of the world.

Now the dispute is, if any persons should be said to have been chosen in the scripture language, for what purpose they were so chosen. The favourers of the doctrine of election and reprobation, say for their salvation. But the Quakers say, this is no where manifest; for the term salvation is not annexed to any of the passages from which the doctrine is drawn. Nor do they believe it can be made to appear from any of the scriptural writings, that one man is called or chosen, or predestined to salvation, more than another. They believe, on the other hand, that these words relate wholly to the usefulness of individuals, and that if God has chosen any particular persons, he has chosen them that they might be the ministers of good to others; that they might be spiritual lights in the universe; or that they might become, in different times and circumstances, instruments of increasing the happiness of their fellow-creatures. Thus the Almighty may be said to have chosen Noah, to perpetuate the memory of the deluge; to promulgate the origin and history of mankind; and to become, as St. Peter calls him, "a preacher of righteousness" to those who were to be the ancestors of men. Thus he may be said to have chosen Moses to give the law, and to lead out the Israelites, and to preserve them as a distinct people, who should carry with them notions of his existence, his providence, and his power. Thus he may be said to have chosen the prophets, that men, in after ages, seeing their prophecies accomplished, might believe that Christianity was of divine origin. Thus also he may be said to have chosen Paul,([95] and indeed Paul is described as a chosen vessel) to diffuse the Gospel among the Gentile world.

[Footnote 95: Acts 9. 15.]

That the words, called or chosen, relate to the usefulness of individuals in the world, and not to their salvation, the Quakers believe from examining the comparison or simile, which St. Paul has introduced of the potter and of his clay, upon this very occasion. [96] "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" This simile, they say, relates obviously to the uses of these vessels. The potter makes some for splendid or extraordinary uses and purposes, and others for those which are mean and ordinary. So God has chosen individuals to great and glorious uses, while others remain in the mean or common mass, undistinguished by any very active part in the promotion of the ends of the world. Nor have the latter any more reason to complain that God has given to others greater spiritual gifts, than that he has given to one man a better intellectual capacity than to another.

[Footnote 96: Rom. 9. 20. 21.]

They argue again, that the words "called or chosen," relate to usefulness, and not to salvation; because, if men were predestined from all eternity to salvation, they could not do any thing to deprive themselves of that salvation; that is, they could never do any wrong in this life, or fall from a state of purity: whereas it appears that many of those whom the scriptures consider to have been chosen, have failed in their duty to God; that these have had no better ground to stand upon than their neighbours; that election has not secured them from the displeasure of the Almighty, but that they have been made to stand or fall, notwithstanding their election, as they acted well or ill, God having conducted himself no otherwise to them, than he has done to others in his moral government of the world.

That persons so chosen have failed in their duty to God, or that their election has not preserved them from sin, is apparent, it is presumed, from the scriptures. For, in the first place, the Israelites were a chosen people. They were the people to whom the apostle addressed himself, in the chapter which has given rise to the doctrine of election and reprobation, as the elected, or as having had the preference over the descendants of Esau and others. And yet this election did not secure to them a state of perpetual obedience, or the continual favour of God. In the wilderness they were frequently rebellious, and they were often punished. In the time of Malachi, to which the Apostle directs their attention, they were grown so wicked, [97]that "God is said to have no pleasure in them, and that he would not receive an offering at their hands." And in subsequent times, or in the time of the Apostle, he tells them, that they were then passed over, notwithstanding their election, [98]on account of their want of righteousness and faith, and that the Gentiles were chosen in their place.

In the second place, Jesus Christ is said in the New Testament to have called or chosen his disciples. But this call or election did not secure the good behaviour of Judas, or protect him from the displeasure of his master.

[Footnote 97: Malachi 1. 10.]

[Footnote 98: Rom, 9. 31. 32.]

In the third place, it may be observed, that the Apostle Paul considers the churches under his care as called or chosen; as consisting of people who came out of the great body of the Heathen world to become a select community under the Christian name. He endeavours to inculcate in them a belief, that they were the Lord's people; that they were under his immediate or particular care; that God knew and loved them, before they knew and loved him; and yet this election, it appears, did not secure them from falling off; for many of them became apostates in the time of the Apostle, so "that he was grieved, fearing he had bestowed upon them his labour in vain." Neither did this election secure even to those who then remained in the church, any certainty of salvation; otherwise the Apostle would not have exhorted them so earnestly "to continue in goodness, lest they should be cut off."

The Quakers believe again, that the Apostle Paul never included salvation in the words "called or chosen," for another reason. For if these words had implied salvation, then non-election might have implied the destruction annexed to it by the favourers of the doctrine of reprobation. But no person, who knows whom the Apostle meant, when he mentions those who had received and those who had lost the preference, entertains any such notion or idea. For who believes that because Isaac is said to have had the preference of Ishmael, and Jacob of Esau, that therefore Ishmael and Esau, who were quite as great princes in their times as Isaac and Jacob, were to be doomed to eternal misery? Who believes that this preference, and the Apostle alludes to no other, ever related to the salvation of souls? Or rather, that it did not wholly relate to the circumstance, that the descendants of Isaac and Jacob were to preserve the church of God in the midst of the Heathen nations, and that the Messiah was to come from their own line, instead of that of their elder brethren. Rejection or reprobation too, in the sense in which it is generally used by the advocates for the doctrine, is contrary, in a second point of view, in the opinion of the Quakers, to the sense of the comparison or simile made by the Apostle on this occasion. For when a Potter makes two sorts of vessels, or such as are mean and such as are fine and splendid, he makes them for their respective uses. But he never makes the meaner sort for the purpose of dashing them to pieces.

The doctrine therefore in dispute, if viewed as a doctrine of general import, only means, in the opinion of the Quakers, that the Almighty has a right to dispose of his spiritual favours as he pleases, and that he has given accordingly different measures of his spirit to different people: but that, in doing this, he does not exclude others from an opportunity of salvation or a right to life. On the other hand, they believe that he is no respecter of persons, only as far as obedience is concerned: that election neither secures of itself good behaviour, nor protects from punishment: that every man who standeth, must take heed lest he fall: that no man can boast of his election, so as to look down with contempt upon his meaner brethren: and that there is no other foundation for an expectation of the continuance of divine favour than a religions life.

In viewing the passages in question as of private import, which is the next view the Quakers take of them, the same lesson, and no other, is inculcated. The Apostle, in the ninth chapter of the Romans, addresses himself to the Jews, who had been a chosen people, and rescues the character of God from the imputation of injustice, in having passed over them, and in having admitted the Gentiles to a participation of his favours.

The Jews had depended so much upon their privileges as the children of Abraham, and so much upon their ceremonial observances of the law, that they conceived themselves to have a right to continue to be the peculiar people of God. The Apostle, however, teaches them, in the ninth and the eleventh chapters of the Romans, a different lesson, and may be said to address them in the following manner:—

"I am truly sorry, my kinsmen in the flesh, that you, who have always considered yourselves the elder and chosen branches of the family of the world, should have been passed over; and that the Gentiles, whom you have always looked upon as the younger, should be now preferred. But God is just—He will not sanction unrighteousness in any. Nor will he allow any choice of his to continue persons in favour, longer than, after much long suffering, he finds them deserving his support. You are acquainted with your own history. The Almighty, as you know, undoubtedly distinguished the posterity of Abraham, but he was not partial to them alike. Did he not reject Ishmael the scoffer, though he was the eldest son of Abraham, and countenance Isaac, who was the younger? Did he not pass over Esau the eldest son of Isaac, who had sold his birth-right, and prefer Jacob? Did he not set aside Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, the three eldest sons of Jacob, who were guilty of incest, treachery, and murder, and choose that the Messiah should come from Judah, who was but the fourth? But if, in these instances, he did not respect eldership, why do you expect that he will not pass you over for the Gentiles, if ye continue in unbelief?"

"But so true it is, that he will not support any whom he may have chosen, longer than they continue to deserve it, that he will not even continue his countenance to the Gentiles, though he has now preferred them, if by any misconduct they should become insensible of his favours. [99] For I may compare both you and them to an Olive-Tree. If some of you, who are the elder, or natural branches, should be broken off, and the Gentiles, being a wild Olive-Tree, should be grafted in among you, and with you partake of the root and fatness of the Olive-Tree, it would not become them to boast against you the branches: for if they boast, they do not bear the root, but the root them. Perhaps, however, they might say, that you, the branches, were broken off, that they might be grafted in. Well, but it was wholly on account of unbelief that you were broken off, and it was wholly by faith that they themselves were taken in. But it becomes them not to be high-minded, but to fear. For if God spared not you, the natural branches, let them take heed, lest he also spare not them."

[Footnote 99: Rom. 11. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21.]

"Moreover, my kinsmen in the flesh, I must tell you, that you have not only no right to complain, because the Gentiles have been preferred, but that you would have no right to complain, even if you were to become the objects of God's vengeance. You cannot forget, in the history of your own nation, the example of Pharaoh: you are acquainted with his obstinacy and disobedience. You know that he stifled his convictions from day to day. You know that, by stifling these, or by resisting God's Holy Spirit, he became daily more hardened; and that by allowing himself to become daily more hardened, he fitted himself for a vessel of wrath, or prepared the way for his own destruction. You know at length that God's judgments, but not till after much long suffering, came upon him, so that the power of God became thus manifested to many. But if you know all these things, and continue in unrighteousness and unbelief, which were the crimes of Pharaoh also, why do you imagine that your hearts will not become hardened like the heart of Pharaoh; or that if you are guilty of Pharaoh's crimes, you are not deserving of Pharaoh's punishment?"


Recapitulation of all the doctrines hitherto laid down with respect to the influence of the Spirit—Objection to this, that the Quakers make every thing of this spirit, and but little of Jesus Christ—Objection only noticed to show, that Christians have not always a right apprehension of Scriptural terms, and therefore often quarrel with one another about trifles—Or that there is, in this particular case, no difference between the doctrine of the Quakers and that of the objectors on this subject.

I shall now recapitulate in few words, or in one general proposition, all the doctrines which have been advanced relative to the power of the spirit, and shall just notice an argument, which will probably arise on such a recapitulation, before I proceed to a new subject.

The Quakers then believe that the spirit of God formed or created the world. They believe that it was given to men, after the formation of it, as a guide to them in their spiritual concerns. They believe that it was continued to them after the deluge, in the same manner, and for the same purposes, to the time of Christ. It was given, however, in this interval, to different persons in different degrees. Thus the prophets received a greater portion of it than ordinary persons in their own times. Thus Moses was more illuminated by it than his contemporaries, for it became through him the author of the law. In the time of Christ it continued the same office, but it was then given more diffusively than before, and also more diffusively to some than to others. Thus the Evangelists and Apostles received it in an extraordinary degree, and it became, through them and Jesus Christ their head, the author of the Gospel. But, besides its office of a spiritual light and guide to men in their spiritual concerns, during all the period now assigned, it became to them, as they attended to its influence, an inward redeemer, producing in them a new birth, and leading them to perfection. And as it was thus both a guide and an inward redeemer, so it has continued these offices to the present day.

From hence it will be apparent that the acknowledgment of God's Holy Spirit, in its various operations, as given in different portions before and after the sacrifice of Christ, is the acknowledgment of a principle, which is the great corner stone of the religion of the Quakers. Without this there can be no knowledge, in their opinion, of spiritual things. Without this there can be no spiritual interpretation of the scriptures themselves. Without this there can be no redemption by inward, though there may be redemption by outward means. Without this there can be no enjoyment of the knowledge of divine things.

Take therefore this principle away from them, and you take away their religion at once. Take away this spirit, and Christianity remains with them no more Christianity, than the dead carcass of a man, when the spirit is departed, remains a man. Whatsoever is excellent, whatsoever is noble, whatsoever is worthy, whatsoever is desirable in the Christian faith, they ascribe to this spirit, and they believe that true Christianity can no more subsist without it, than the outward world could go on without the vital influence of the sun.

Now an objection will be made to the proposition, as I have just stated it, by some Christians, and even by those who do not wish to derogate from the spirit of God, (for I have frequently heard it started by such) that the Quakers, by means of these doctrines, make every thing of the spirit, and [100]but little of Jesus Christ. I shall therefore notice this objection in this place, not so much with a view of answering it, as of attempting to show, that Christiana have not always a right apprehension of scriptural terms; and therefore that they sometimes quarrel with one another about trifles, or rather, that when they have disputes with each other, there is sometimes scarcely a shade of difference between them.

[Footnote 100: The Quakers make much of the advantages of Christ's coming in the flesh. Among these are considered the sacrifice of his own body, a more plentiful diffusion of the Spirit, and a dearer revelation relative to God and man.]

To those who make the objection, I shall describe the proposition which has been stated above, in different terms. I shall leave out the words "Spirit of God," and I shall wholly substitute the term "Christ." This I shall do upon the authority of some of our best divines…. The proposition then will run thus:

God, by means of Christ, created the world, "for without him was not any thing made, that was made."

He made, by means of the same Christ, the terrestrial Globe on which we live. He made the whole Host of Heaven. He made, therefore, besides our own, other planets and other worlds.

He caused also, by means of the same Christ, the generation of all animated nature, and of course of the life and vital powers of man.

He occasioned also by the same means, the generation of reason or intellect, and of a spiritual faculty, to man.

Man, however, had not been long created, before he fell into sin. It pleased God, therefore, that the same Christ, which had thus appeared in creation, should strive inwardly with man, and awaken his spiritual faculties, by which he might be able to know good from evil, and to obtain inward redemption from the pollutions of sin. And this inward striving of Christ was to be with every man, in after times, so that all would be inexcusable and subjected to condemnation, if they sinned.

It pleased God also, in process of time, as the attention of man was led astray by bad customs, by pleasures, by the cares of the world, and other causes, that the same Christ, in addition to this his inward striving with him, should afford him outward help, accommodated to his outward senses, by which his thoughts might be oftener turned towards God, and his soul be the better preserved in the way of salvation. Christ accordingly, through Moses and the Prophets, became the author of a dispensation to the Jews, that is, of their laws, types, and customs, of their prophecies, and of their scriptures.

But as in the education of man things must be gradually unfolded, so it pleased God, in the scheme of his redemption, that the same Christ, in fulness of time, should take flesh, and become personally upon earth the author of another outward, but of a more pure and glorious dispensation, than the former, which was to be more extensive also; and which was not to be confined to the Jews, but to extend in time to the uttermost corners of the earth. Christ therefore became the Author of the inspired delivery of the outward scriptures of the New Testament. By these, as by outward and secondary means, he acted upon men's senses. He informed them of their corrupt nature, of their awful and perilous situation, of another life, of a day of judgment, of rewards and punishments. These scriptures therefore, of which Christ was the Author, were outward instruments at the time, and continue so to posterity, to second his inward aid. That is, they produce thought, give birth to anxiety, excite fear, promote seriousness, turn the eye towards God, and thus prepare the heart for a sense of those inward strivings of Christ, which produce inward redemption from the power and guilt of sin.

Where, however, this outward aid of the Holy Scriptures has not reached, Christ continues to purify and redeem by his inward power. But as men, who are acted upon solely by his inward strivings, have not the same advantages as those who are also acted upon by his outward word, so less is expected in the one than in the other case. Less is expected from the Gentile than from the Jew: less from the Barbarian than from the Christian.

And this latter doctrine of the universality of the striving of Christ with man, in a spiritually instructive and redemptive capacity, as it is merciful and just, so it is worthy of the wise and beneficent Creator. Christ, in short, has been filling, from the foundation of the world, the office of an inward redeemer, and this, without any exception, to all of the human race. And there is even [101] "now no salvation in any other. For there is no other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

[Footnote 101: Acts 4. 12.]

From this new statement of the proposition, which statement is consistent with the language of divines, it will appear, that, if the Quakers have made every thing of the spirit, and but little of Christ, I have made, to suit the objectors, every thing of Christ, and but little of the spirit. Now I would ask, where lies the difference between the two statements? Which is the more accurate; or whether, when I say these things were done by the spirit, and when I say they were done by Christ, I do not state precisely the same proposition, or express the same thing?

That Christ, in all the offices stated by the proposition, is neither more nor less than the spirit of God, there can surely be no doubt. In looking at Christ, we are generally apt to view him with carnal eyes. We can seldom divest ourselves of the idea of a body belonging to him, though this was confessedly human, and can seldom consider him as a pure principle or fountain of divine life and light to men. And yet it is obvious, that we must view him in this light in the present case; for if he was at the creation of the world, or with Moses at the delivery of the law, (which the proposition supposes) he could not have been there in his carnal body; because this was not produced till centuries afterwards by the virgin Mary. In this abstracted light, the Apostles frequently view Christ themselves. Thus St. Paul:[102] "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." And again,[103] "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

[Footnote 102: Gal. 2.20.]

[Footnote 103: 2 Cor. 15.5].

Now no person imagines that St. Paul had any idea, either that the body of Christ was in himself, or in others, on the occasions on which he has thus spoken.

That Christ therefore, as he held the offices contained in the proposition, was the spirit of God, we may pronounce from various views, which we may take of him, all of which seem to lead us to the same conclusion.

And first let us look at Christ in the scriptural light in which he has been held forth to us in the fourth section of the seventh chapter, where I have explained the particular notions of the Quakers relative to the new birth.

God maybe considered here as having produced, by means of his Holy Spirit, a birth of divine life in the soul of the "body which had been prepared;" and this birth was Christ. [104] "But that which is born of the spirit, says St. John, is spirit." The only question then will be as to the magnitude of the spirit thus produced. In answer to this St. John says,[105] "that God gave him not the spirit by measure." And St. Paul says the same thing: [106] "For in him all the fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily." Now we can have no idea of a spirit without measure, or containing the fullness of the godhead, but the spirit of God.

[Footnote 104: John 3.6.]

[Footnote 105: John 3.34.]

[Footnote 106: Coloss. 2.9]

Let us now look at Christ in another point of view, or as St. Paul seems to have viewed him. He defines Christ [107] "to be the wisdom of God, and the power of God." But what are the wisdom of God, and the power of God, but the great characteristics and the great constituent parts of his spirit?

[Footnote 107: 1 Cor. 1. 24.]

But if these views of Christ should not be deemed satisfactory, we will contemplate him as St. John the Evangelist has held him forth to our notice. Moses says, that the spirit of God created the world. But St. John says that the word created it. The spirit therefore and the word must be the same. But this word he tells us afterwards, and this positively, was Jesus Christ.

It appears therefore from these observations, that it makes no material difference, whether we use the words "Spirit of God" or "Christ," in the proposition that has been before us, or that there will be no difference in the meaning of the proposition, either in the one or the other case; and also if the Quakers only allow, when the spirit took flesh, that the body was given as a sacrifice for sin, or that part of the redemption of man, as far as his sins are forgiven, is effected by this sacrifice, there will be little or no difference between the religion of the Quakers and that of the objectors, as far as it relates to Christ[108].

[Footnote 108: The Quakers have frequently said in their theological writings, that every man has a portion of the Holy Spirit within him; and this assertion has not been censured. But they have also said, that every man has a portion of Christ or of the light of Christ, within him. Now this assertion has been considered as extravagant and wild. The reader will therefore see, that if he admits the one, he cannot very consistently censure the other.]



Ministers—The Spirit of God alone can made a Minister of the Gospel—Hence no imposition of hands nor human knowledge can be effectual—This proposition not peculiarly adopted by George Fox, but by Justin the Martyr, Luther, Calvin, Wickliffe, Tyndal, Milton, and others—Way in which this call, by the Spirit, qualifies for the ministry—Women equally qualified with men—How a Quaker becomes acknowledged to be a Minister of the Gospel.

Having now detailed fully the operations of the Spirit of God, as far as the Quakers believe it to be concerned in the instruction and redemption of man, I shall consider its operations, as far as they believe it to be concerned in the services of the church. Upon this spirit they make both their worship and their ministry to depend. I shall therefore consider these subjects, before I proceed to any new order of tenets, which they may hold.

It is a doctrine of the Quakers that none can spiritually exercise, and that none ought to be allowed to exercise, the office of ministers, but such as the spirit of God has worked upon and called forth to discharge it, as well as that the same Spirit will never fail to raise up persons in succession for this end.

Conformably with this idea, no person, in the opinion of the Quakers, ought to be designed by his parents in early youth for the priesthood: for as the wind bloweth where it listeth, so no one can say which is the vessel that is to be made to honour.

Conformably with the same idea, no imposition of hands, or ordination, can avail any thing, in their opinion, in the formation of a minister of the Gospel; for no human power can communicate to the internal man the spiritual gifts of God.

Neither, in conformity with the same idea, can the acquisition of human learning, or the obtaining Academical degrees and honours, be essential qualifications for this office; for though the human intellect is so great, that it can dive as it were into the ocean and discover the laws of fluids, and rise again up to heaven, and measure the celestial motions, yet it is incapable of itself of penetrating into divine things, so as spiritually to know them; while, on the other hand, illiterate men appear often to have more knowledge on these subjects than the most learned. Indeed the Quakers have no notion of a human qualification for a divine calling. They reject all school divinity, as necessarily connected with the ministry. They believe that if a knowledge of Christianity had been attainable by the acquisition of the Greek and Roman languages, and through the medium of the Greek and Roman philosophers, then the Greeks and Romans themselves had been the best proficients in it; whereas, the Gospel was only foolishness to many of these. They say with St. Paul to the Colossians,[109] "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." And they say with the same Apostle to Timothy,[110] "O Timothy! keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith."

[Footnote 109: Coloss. 2. 8.]

[Footnote 110: 1 Tim. 6, 20, 21]

This notion of the Quakers, that human learning and academical honours are not necessary for the priesthood, is very ancient. Though George Fox introduced it into his new society, and this without any previous reading upon the subject, yet it had existed long before his time. In short, it was connected with the tenet, early disseminated in the church, that no person could know spiritual things but through the medium of the spirit of God, from whence it is not difficult to pass to the doctrine, that none could teach spiritually except they had been taught spiritually themselves. Hence we find Justin the Martyr, a Platonic philosopher, but who was afterwards one of the earliest Christian writers after the Apostles, and other learned men after him down to Chrysostom, laying aside their learning and their philosophy for the school of Christ. The first authors also of the reformation, contended for this doctrine. Luther and Calvin, both of them, supported it. Wickliffe, the first reformer of the English church, and Tyndal the Martyr, the first translator of the Bible into the English language, supported it also. In 1652, Sydrach Simpson, Master of Pembroke-Hall in Cambridge, preached a sermon before the University, contending that the Universities corresponded with the schools of the prophets, and that human learning was an essential qualification for the priesthood. This sermon, however, was answered by William Dell, Master of Caius College in the same University, in which he stated, after having argued the points in question, that the Universities did not correspond with the schools of the prophets, but with those of Heathen men; that Plato, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, were more honoured there, than Moses or Christ; that grammar, rhetoric, logic, ethics, physics, metaphysics, and the mathematics, were not the instruments to be used in the promotion or the defence of the Gospel; that Christian schools had originally brought men from Heathenism to Christianity, but that the University schools were likely to carry men from Christianity to Heathenism again. This language of William Dell was indeed the general language of the divines and pious men in those times in which George Fox lived, though unquestionably the opposite doctrine had been started, and had been received by many. Thus the great John Milton, who lived in these very times, may be cited as speaking in a similar manner on the same subject. "Next, says he, it is a fond error, though too much believed among us, to think that the University makes a minister of the gospel. What it may conduce to other arts and sciences, I dispute not now. But that, which makes fit a Minister, the Scripture can best inform us to be only from above; whence also we are bid to seek them. [111]Thus St. Matthew says, 'Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.' Thus St. Luke: [112] 'The flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.' Thus St. Paul: [113] 'How shall they preach, unless they be sent?' But by whom sent? By the university, or by the magistrate? No, surely. But sent by God, and by him only."

[Footnote 111: Mat. 9.38.]

[Footnote 112: Acts 20.28.]

[Footnote 113: Rom. 10.15.]

The Quakers then, rejecting school divinity, continue to think with Justin, Luther, Dell, Milton, and indeed with those of the church of England and others, that those only can be proper ministers of the church, who have witnessed within themselves a call from the spirit of God. If men would teach religion, they must, in the opinion of the Quakers, be first taught of God. They must go first to the school of Christ; must come under his discipline in their hearts; must mortify the deeds of the body; must crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof; must put off the old man which is corrupt; must put on the new man, "which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness;" must be in fact, "Ministers of the sanctuary and true tabernacle, which the Lord hath pitched, and not man." And whether those who come forward as ministers are really acted upon by this Spirit, or by their own imagination only, so that they mistake the one for the other, the Quakers consider it to be essentially necessary, that they should experience such a call in their own feelings, and that purification of heart, which they can only judge of by their outward lives, should be perceived by themselves, before they presume to enter upon such an office.

The Quakers believe that men, qualified in this manner, are really fit for the ministry, and are likely to be useful instruments in it. For first, it becomes men to be changed themselves, before they can change others. Those again, who have been thus changed, have the advantage of being able to state from living experience what God has done for them; [114] "what they have seen with their eyes; what they have looked upon; and what their hands have handled of the word of life." Men also, who, by means of God's Holy Spirit, have escaped the pollutions of the world, are in a fit state to understand the mysteries of God, and to carry with them the seal of their own commission. Thus men under sin can never discern spiritual things. But "to the disciples of Christ," and to the doers of his will, "it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven." Thus, when the Jews marvelled at Christ, saying [115] "How knoweth this man letters, (or the scriptures) having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his who sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Such ministers also are considered as better qualified to reach the inward state of the people, and to "preach liberty to the captives" of sin, than those who have merely the advantage of school divinity, or of academical learning. It is believed also of these, that they are capable of giving more solid and lasting instruction, when they deliver themselves at large: for those, who preach rather from intellectual abilities and from the suggestions of human learning, than from the spiritual life and power which they find within themselves, may be said to forsake Christ, who is the "living fountain, and to hew out broken cisterns which hold no water," either for themselves or for others.

[Footnote 114: Coloss. 2. 6.]

[Footnote 115: 1 Tim. 6.20.21.]

This qualification for the ministry being allowed to be the true one, it will follow, the Quakers believe, and it was Luther's belief also, that women may be equally qualified to become ministers of the Gospel, as the men. For they believe that God has given his Holy Spirit, without exception, to all. They dare not therefore limit its operations in the office of the ministry, more than in any other of the sacred offices which it may hold. They dare not again say, that women cannot mortify the deeds of the flesh, or that they cannot be regenerated, and walk in newness of life. If women therefore believe they have a call to the ministry, and undergo the purification necessarily connected with it, and preach in consequence, and preach effectively, they dare not, under these circumstances, refuse to accept their preaching, as the fruits of the spirit, merely because it comes through the medium of the female sex.

Against this doctrine of the Quakers, that a female ministry is allowable under the Gospel dispensation, an objection has been started from the following words of the Apostle Paul: [116] "Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak"—"and if they will learn any thing, let them ask their Husbands at home." but the Quakers conceive, that this charge of the Apostle has no allusion to preaching. In these early times, when the Gospel doctrines were new, and people were eager to understand them, some of the women, in the warmth of their feelings, interrupted the service of the church, by asking such questions as occurred to them on the subject of this new religion. These are they whom the Apostle desires to be silent, and to reserve their questions till they should return home. And that this was the case is evident, they conceive, from the meaning of the words, which the Apostle uses upon this occasion. For the word in the Greek tongue, which is translated "speak," does not mean to preach or to pray, but to speak as in common discourse. And the words, which immediately follow this, do not relate to any evangelical instruction, which these women were desirous of communicating publicly, but which they were desirous of receiving themselves from others.

[Footnote 116: 1 Cor. 14.34.35.]

That the words quoted do not relate to praying or preaching is also equally obvious, in the opinion of the Quakers; for if they had related to these offices of the church, the word "prophesy" had been used instead of the word "speak." Add to which that the Apostle, in the same epistle in which the preaching of women is considered to be forbidden, gives them a rule to which he expects them to conform, when they should either prophesy or pray: but to give women a rule to be observed during their preaching, and to forbid them to preach at the some time, is an absurdity too great to be fixed upon the most ordinary person, and much more upon an inspired Apostle.

That the objection has no foundation, the Quakers believe again, from the consideration that the ministry of women, in the days of the Apostles, is recognized in the New Testament, and is recognized also, in some instances, as an acceptable service.

Of the hundred and twenty persons who were assembled on the day of pentecost, it is said by St. Luke that [117] some were women. That these received the Holy Spirit as well as the men, and that they received it also for the purpose of prophesying or preaching, is obvious from the same Evangelist. For first, he says, that "all were filled with the Holy Ghost." And secondly, he says, that Peter stood up, and observed concerning the circumstance of inspiration having been given to the women upon this occasion, that Joel's prophecy was then fulfilled, in which were to be found these words: "And it shall come to pass in the hist days, that your sons and your daughters shall prophesy—and on my servants and handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy."

[Footnote 117: Acts, Chap. 1.]

That women preached afterwards, or in times subsequent to the day of pentecost, they collect from the same Evangelist. [118]For he mentions Philip, who had four daughters, all of whom prophesied at Cæsarea. Now by prophesying, if we accept [119]St. Paul's interpretation of it, is meant a speaking to edification, and exhortation, and comfort, under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It was also a speaking to the church: it was also the speaking of one person to the church, while the others remained silent.

[Footnote 118: Acts 21.9.]

[Footnote 119: 1 Cor. 14.]

That women also preached or prophesied in the church of Corinth, the Quakers show from the testimony of St. Paul: for he states the manner in which they did it, or that [120]they prayed and prophesied with their heads uncovered.

[Footnote 120: 1 Cor. 11. 5.]

That women also were ministers of the Gospel in other places; and that they were highly serviceable to the church, St. Paul confesses with great satisfaction, in his Epistle to the Romans, in which he sends his salutation to different persons, for whom he professed an affection or an esteem: [121]thus—"I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church, which is at Cenchrea." Upon this passage the Quakers usually make two observations. The first is, that the [122]Greek word, which is translated servant, should have been rendered minister. It is translated minister, when applied by St. Paul to [123]Timothy, to denote his office. It is also translated minister, when applied to [124]St. Paul and Apollos. And there is no reason why a change should have been made in its meaning in the present case. The second is, that History has handed down Phoebe as a woman eminent for her Gospel labours. "She was celebrated, says [125]Theodoret, throughout the world; for not only the Greeks and the Romans, but the Barbarians, knew her likewise."

[Footnote 121: Romans 16.1.]

[Footnote 122: [Greek: Diokogos.]]

[Footnote 123: 1 Thess. 3. 2.]

[Footnote 124: 1 Cor. 3. 5.]

[Footnote 125: In Universa Terra celebris facta est; nec eam soli
Romani, &c,]

St. Paul also greets Priscilla and Aquila. He greets them under the title of fellow-helpers or fellow-labourers in Jesus Christ. But this is the same title which he bestows upon Timothy, to denote his usefulness in the church. Add to which, that Priscilla and Aquila were the persons of whom St. Luke [126]says, "that they assisted Apollos in expounding to him the way of God more perfectly."

[Footnote 126: Acts 18. 24. 26.]

In the same epistle he recognizes also other women, as having been useful to him in Gospel-labours. Thus—"Salute Tryphena, and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord." "Salute the beloved Persis, who laboured much in the Lord."

From these, and from other observations, which might be made upon this subject, the Quakers are of opinion that the ministry of the women was as acceptable, in the time of the Apostles, as the ministry of the men. And as there is no prohibition against the preaching of women in the New Testament, they see no reason why they should not be equally admissible and equally useful as ministers at the present day.


Way in which Quakers are admitted into the ministry—When acknowledged, they preach, like other pastors, to their different congregations or meetings—They visit occasionally the different families in their own counties or quarterly meetings—Manner of these family-visits—Sometimes travel as ministers through particular counties or the kingdom at large—Sometimes into foreign parts—Women share in these labours—Expense of voyages on such occasions defrayed out of the national stock.

The way in which Quakers, whether men or women, who conceive themselves to be called to the office of the ministry, are admitted into it, so as to be acknowledged by the society to be ministers of the Quaker-church, is simply as follows.

Any member has a right to rise up in the meetings for worship, and to speak publicly. If any one therefore should rise up and preach, who has never done so before, he is heard. The congregation are all witnesses of his doctrine. The elders, however, who may be present, and to whose province it more immediately belongs to judge of the fitness of ministers, observe the tenour of his discourse. They watch over it for its authority; that is, they judge by its spiritual influence on the mind, whether it be such as corresponds with that which may be presumed to come from the spirit of God. If the new preacher delivers any thing that appears exceptionable, and continues to do so, it is the duty of the elders to speak to him in private, and to desire him to discontinue his services to the church. But if nothing exceptionable occurs, nothing is said to him, and he is allowed to deliver himself publicly at future meetings. In process of time, if, after repeated attempts in the office of the ministry, the new preacher should have given satisfactory proof of his gifts, he is reported to the monthly meeting to which he belongs. And this meeting, if satisfied with his ministry, acknowledges him as a minister, and then recommends him to the meeting of ministers and elders belonging to the same. No other act than this is requisite. He receives no verbal or written appointment or power for the execution of the sacerdotal office. It may be observed also, that he neither gains any authority, nor loses any privilege, by thus becoming a minister of the Gospel. Except, while in the immediate exercise of his calling, he is only a common member. He receives no elevation by the assumption of any nominal title, to distinguish him from the rest. Nor is he elevated by the prospect of any increase to his wordly goods in consequence of his new office; for no minister in this society receives any pecuniary emolument for his spiritual labours.

When ministers are thus approved and acknowledged, they exercise the sacred office in public assemblies, as they immediately feel themselves influenced to that work. They may engage also, with the approbation of their own monthly meeting, in the work of visiting such Quaker families as reside in the county, or quarterly meeting to which they belong. In this case they are sometimes accompanied by one of the elders of the church. These visits have the name of family visits, and are conducted in the following manner:—

When a Quaker minister, after having commenced his journey, has entered the house of the first family, the individual members are collected to receive him. They then sit in silence for a time. As he believes himself concerned to speak, he delivers that which arises in his mind with religions freedom. The master, the wife, and the other branches of the family, are sometimes severally addressed. Does the minister feel that there is a departure in any of the persons present, from the principles or practice of the society, he speaks, if he believes it required of him, to these points. Is there any well disposed person under any inward discouragement; this person may be addressed in the language of consolation. All in fact are exhorted and advised as their several circumstances may seem to require. When the religious visit is over, the minister, if there be occasion, takes some little refreshment with the family, and converses with them; but no light or trifling subject is ever entered upon on these occasions. From one family he passes on to another, till he has visited all the families in the district, for which he had felt a concern.

Though Quaker ministers frequently confine their spiritual labours to the county or quarterly meeting in which they reside, yet some of them feel an engagement to go beyond these boundaries, and to visit the society in particular counties, or in the kingdom at large. They who feel a concern of this kind, must lay it before their own monthly meetings. These meetings, if they feel it right to countenance it, grant them certificates for the purpose. These certificates are necessary; first, because ministers might not he personally known as ministers out of their own district; and secondly, because Quakers, who were not ministers, and other persons who might counterfeit the dress of Quakers, might otherwise impose upon the society, as they travelled along.

Such persons, as thus travel in the work of the ministry, or public friends as they are called, seldom or never go to an inn at any town or village, where Quakers live. They go to the houses of the latter. While at these, they attend the weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings of the district, as they happen on their route. They call also extraordinary meetings of worship. At these houses they are visited by many of the members of the place and neighbourhood, who call upon and converse with them. During these times they appear to have their minds bent on the object of their mission, so that it would be difficult to divert their attention from the work in hand. When they have staid a sufficient time at a town or village, they depart. One or more guides are appointed by the particular meeting, belonging to it, to show them the way to the next place, where they propose to labour, and to convey them free of expense, and to conduct them to the house of some member there. From this house, when their work is finished, they are conveyed and conducted by new guides to another, and so on, till they return to their respective homes.

But the religious views of the Quaker ministers are not always confined even within the boundaries of the kingdom. Many of them believe it to be their duty to travel into foreign parts. These, as their journey is now extensive, must lay their concern not only before their own monthly meeting, but before their own quarterly meeting, and before the meeting of Ministers and Elders in London also. On receiving their certificates, they depart. Some of them visit the continent of Europe, but most of them the churches in America, where they diligently labour in the vineyard, probably for a year or two, at a distance from their families and friends. And here it may be observed, that, while Quaker ministers from England are thus visiting America on a religious errand, ministers from America, impelled by the same influence, are engaging in Apostolical missions to England. These foreign visits, on both sides, are not undertaken by such ministers only as are men. Women engage in them also. They cross the Atlantic, and labour in the vineyard in the same manner. It may be mentioned here, that though it be a principle in the Quaker society, that no minister of the Gospel ought to be paid for his religious labours, yet the expense of the voyage, on such occasions, is allowed to be defrayed out of the fund, which is denominated by the Quakers their national stock.


Elders—Their appointment—One part of their office to watch over the doctrines and conduct of ministers—Another part of their office to meet the ministers of the church, and to confer and exhort for religious good—None to meddle at these conferences with the government of the church.

I mentioned in the preceding chapter, as the reader must have observed, that certain persons, called Elders, watched over those who came forward in the ministry, with a view of ascertaining if they had received a proper qualification or call. I shall now state who the elders are, as well as more particularly the nature of their office.

To every particular meeting four elders, two men and two women, but sometimes more and sometimes less, according as persons can be found qualified, are appointed. These are nominated by a committee appointed by the monthly meeting, in conjunction with a committee appointed by the quarterly meeting. And as the office annexed to the name of elder is considered peculiarly important by the Quakers, particular care is taken, that persons of clear discernment, and such as excel in the spiritual ear, and such as are blameless in their lives, are appointed to it. It is recommended that neither wealth nor age be allowed to operate as inducements in the choice of them. Indeed, so much care is required to be taken with respect to the filling up this office, that if persons perfectly suitable are not to be found, the meetings are to be left without them.

It is one part of the duty of the elders, when appointed, to watch over the doctrine of young ministers, and also to watch over the doctrine and conduct of ministers generally, and tenderly to advise with such as appear to them to be deficient in any of the qualifications which belong to their high calling.

When we consider that every religious society attaches a more than common respectability to the person who performs the sacerdotal office, there will be no difficulty in supposing, whenever a minister may be thought to err, that many of those who are aware of his error, will want the courage to point it out to him, and that others will excuse themselves from doing it, by saying that interference on this occasion does not belong more immediately to them than to others. This institution therefore of elders fixes the offices on individuals. It makes it their duty to watch and advise—It makes them responsible for the unsound doctrine, or the bad conduct of their ministers. And this responsibility is considered as likely to give persons that courage in watching over the ministry, which they might otherwise want. Hence, if a minister in the Quaker church were to preach unsoundly, or to act inconsistently with his calling, he would be generally sure of being privately spoken to by one or another elder.

This office of elders, as far as it is concerned in advising ministers of the Gospel, had its foundation laid by George Fox. Many persons, who engaged in the ministry in his time, are described by him as "having run into imaginations," or as "having gone beyond their measure;" and in these cases, whenever they should happen, he recommended that one or two friends, if they saw fit, should advise with them in love and wisdom. In process of time, however, this evil seems to have increased; for as the society spread, numbers pressed forward to become Gospel ministers; many supposed they had a call from the spirit, and rose up, and preached, and in the heat of their imaginations, delivered themselves unprofitably. Two or three persons also, in the frenzy of their enthusiasm, frequently rose up, and spoke at the same time. Now this was easily to be done in a religious society, where all were allowed to speak, and where the qualifications of ministers were to be judged of in part by the truths delivered, or rather, where ordination was no mark of the ministry, or where an human appointment of it was unknown. For these reasons, that mode of superintendence which had only been suggested by George Fox, and left to the discretion of individuals, was perfected into an establishment, out of imperious necessity, in after times. Men were appointed to determine between the effects of divine inspiration and human imagination; to judge between the cool and the sound; and the enthusiastic and the defective; and to put a bridle as it were upon those who were not likely to become profitable labourers in the harvest of the Gospel. And as this office was rendered necessary on account of the principle that no ordination or human appointment could make a minister of the Gospel; so the same principle continuing among the Quakers, the office has been continued to the present day.

It devolves upon the elders again, as a second branch of their duty, to meet the ministers of the church at stated seasons, generally once in three months, and to spend some time with them in religious retirement. It is supposed that opportunities may be afforded here, of encouraging and strengthening young ministers, of confirming the old, and of giving religious advice and assistance in various ways: and it must be supposed at any rate, that religious men cannot meet in religious conference, without some edification to each other. At these meetings, queries are proposed relative to the conduct both of ministers and elders, which they answer in writing to the quarterly meetings of ministers and elders to which they belong. Of the ministers and elders thus assembled, it may be observed, that it is their duty to confine themselves wholly to the exhortation of one another for good. They can make no laws, like the ancient synods and other convocations of the clergy, nor dictate any article of faith. Neither can they meddle with the government of the church. The Quakers allow neither ministers nor elders, by virtue of their office, to interfere with their discipline. Every proposition of this sort must be determined upon by the yearly meeting, or by the body at large.



Worship—Consists of prayer and preaching—Neither of these effectual but by the Spirit—Hence no liturgy or form of words, or studied sermons, in the Quaker-church—Singular manner of delivering sermons—Tone of the voice usually censured—This may arise from the difference between nature and art—Objected, that there is little variety of subject in these sermons—Variety not so necessary to Quakers—Other objections—Replies—Observations of Francis Lambert, of Avignon.

As no person, in the opinion of the Quakers, can be a true minister of the gospel, unless he feel himself called or appointed by the spirit of God, so there can be no true or effectual worship, except it come through the aid of the same spirit.

The public worship of God is usually made to consist of prayer and preaching.

Prayer is a solemn address of the soul to God. It is a solemn confession of some weakness, or thanksgiving for some benefit, or petition for some favour. But the Quakers consider such an address as deprived of its life and power, except it be spiritually conceived. [127] "For the spirit helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

[Footnote 127: Rom. 8. 26.]

Preaching, on the other hand, is an address of man to men, that their attention may be turned towards God, and their minds be prepared for the secret and heavenly touches of his spirit. But this preaching, again, cannot be effectually performed, except the spirit of God accompany it. Thus St. Paul, in speaking of himself, says, [128] "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and with power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." So the Quakers believe that no words, however excellent, which men may deliver now, will avail, or will produce that faith which is to stand, except they be accompanied by that power which shall demonstrate them to be of God.

[Footnote 128: 1 Cor. 2. 4.]

From hence it appears to be the opinion of the Quakers, that the whole worship of God, whether it consist of prayer or of preaching, must be spiritual. Jesus Christ has also, they say, left this declaration upon record,[129]that "God is a spirit, and that they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth." By worshipping him in truth, they mean, that men are to worship him only when they feel a right disposition to do it, and in such a manner as they judge, from their own internal feelings, to be the manner which the spirit of God then signifies.

[Footnote 129: John 4.24.]

For these reasons, when the Quakers enter into their meetings, they use no liturgy or form of prayer. Such a form would be made up of the words of man's wisdom. Neither do they deliver any sermons that have been previously conceived or written down. Neither do they begin their service immediately after they are seated. But when they sit down, they wait in silence,[130] as the Apostles were commanded to do. They endeavour to be calm and composed. They take no thought as to what they shall say. They avoid, on the other hand, all activity of the imagination, and every thing that arises from the will of man. The creature is thus brought to be passive, and the spiritual faculty to be disencumbered, so that it can receive and attend to the spiritual language of the Creator. [131]If, during this vacation from all mental activity, no impressions should be given to them, they say nothing. If impressions should be afforded to them, but no impulse to oral delivery, they remain equally silent. But if, on the other hand, impressions are given them, with an impulse to utterance, they deliver to the congregation as faithfully as they can, the copies of the several images, which they conceive to be painted upon their minds.

[Footnote 130: Mat. 10.19. Acts 1.4.]

[Footnote 131: They believe it their duty, (to speak in the Quaker language,) to maintain the watch, by preserving the imagination from being carried away by thoughts originating in man; and, in such watch, patiently to await for the arising of that life, which, by subduing the thoughts of man, produces an inward silence, and therein bestows a true sight of his condition upon him.]

This utterance, when it manifests itself, is resolvable into prayer or preaching. If the minister engages in prayer, the whole company rise up, and the men with the minister take off their hats, that is, [132]uncover their heads. If he preaches only, they do not rise, but remain upon their seats as before, with their heads covered. The preacher, however, uncovers his own head upon this occasion.

[Footnote 132: 1 Cor. Ch. 11.]

There is something singular in the manner in which the Quakers deliver themselves when they preach. In the beginning of their discourses, they generally utter their words with slowness; indeed, with a slowness, which sometimes renders their meaning almost unintelligible to persons unaccustomed to such a mode of delivery; for seconds sometimes elapse between the sounding of short sentences or single words, so that the mind cannot always easily carry the first words, and join them to the intermediate, and connect them with the last. As they proceed, they communicate their impressions in a brisker manner; till, at length, getting beyond the quickness of ordinary delivery, they may be said to utter them rapidly. At this time, some of them appear to be much affected, and even agitated by their subject. This method of a very slow and deliberate pronunciation at first, and of an accelerated one afterwards, appears to me, as far as I have seen or heard, to be universal: for though undoubtedly some may make less pauses between the introductory words and sentences than others, yet all begin slower than they afterwards proceed.

This singular custom may be probably accounted for in the following manner. The Quakers certainly believe that the spirit of God furnishes them with impressions on these occasions, but that the description of these is left to themselves Hence a faithful watch must be kept, that these may be delivered to their hearers conformably to what is delivered to them. But if so, it may perhaps be necessary to be more watchful, at the outset, in order to ascertain the dimensions as it were of these impressions, and of their several tendencies and bearings, than afterwards, when such a knowledge of them has been obtained. Or it may be that ministers, who go wholly unprepared to preach, have but a small view of the subject at first. Hence they speak slowly. But as their views are enlarged, their speech becomes quickened, and their feelings become interested with it. These, for any thing I know, may be solutions, upon Quaker principles, of this extraordinary practice.

Against the preaching of the Quakers, an objection is usually made by the world, namely, that their ministers generally deliver their doctrines with an unpleasant tone. But it may be observed that this, which is considered to be a defect, is by no means confined to the Quakers. Persons of other religious denominations, who exert themselves in the ministry, are liable to the same charge. It may be observed also, that the difference between the accent of the Quakers, and that of the speakers of the world, may arise in the difference between art and nature. The person who prepares his lecture for the lecture-room, or his sermon for the pulpit, studies the formation of his sentences, which are to be accompanied by a modulation of the voice. This modulation is artificial, for it is usually taught. The Quakers, on, the other hand, neither prepare their discourses, nor vary their voices purposely, according to the rules of art. The tone which comes out, and which appears disagreeable to those who are not used to it, is nevertheless not unnatural. It is rather the mode of speaking which nature imposes, in any violent exertion of the voice, to save the lungs. Hence persons who have their wares to cry, and this almost every other minute, in the streets, are obliged to adopt a tone. Hence persons with disordered lungs, can sing words with more ease to themselves than they can utter them, with a similar pitch of the voice. Hence Quaker women, when they preach, have generally more of this tone than the Quaker men, for the lungs of the female are generally weaker than those of the other sex.

Against the sermons of the Quakers two objections are usually made; the first of which is, that they contain but little variety of subject. Among dissenters, it is said, but more particularly in the establishment, that you may hear fifty sermons following each other, where the subject of each is different. Hence a man, ignorant of letters, may collect all his moral and religious duties from the pulpit in the course of the year. But this variety, it is contended, is not to be found in the Quaker church.

That there is less variety in the Quaker sermons than in those of others, there can be no doubt. But such variety is not so necessary to Quakers, on account of their peculiar tenets, and the universality of their education, as to others. For it is believed, as I have explained before, that the spirit of God, if duly attended to, is a spiritual guide to man, and that it leads him into all truth; that it redeems him; and that it qualifies him therefore for happiness in a future state. Thus an injunction to attend to the teachings of the spirit, supersedes, in some measure, the necessity of detailing the moral and religious obligations of individuals. And this necessity is still farther superseded by the consideration, that, as all the members of the Quaker society can read, they can collect their Christian duty from the scriptures, independently of their own ministers; or that they can collect those duties for themselves, which others, who are illiterate, are obliged to collect from the church.

The second objection is, that the Quaker discourses have generally less in them, and are occasionally less connected or more confused than those of others.

It must be obvious, when we consider that the Quaker ministers are often persons of but little erudition, and that their principles forbid them to premeditate on these occasions, that we can hardly expect to find the same logical division of the subject, or the same logical provings of given points, as in the sermons of those who spend hours, or even days together, in composing them.

With respect to the apparent barrenness, or the little matter sometimes discoverable in their sermons, they would reply, that God has not given to every man a similar or equal gift. To some he has given largely; to others in a less degree. Upon some he has bestowed gifts, that may edify the learned; upon others such as may edify the illiterate. Men are not to limit his spirit by their own notions of qualification. Like the wind, it bloweth not only where it listeth, but as it listeth. Thus preaching, which may appear to a scholar as below the ordinary standard, may be more edifying to the simple hearted, than a discourse better delivered, or more eruditely expressed. Thus again, preaching, which may be made up of high sounding words, and of a mechanical manner and an affected tone, and which may, on these accounts, please the man of learning and taste, may be looked upon as dross by a man of moderate abilities or acquirements. And thus it has happened, that many have left the orators of the world and joined the Quaker society, on account of the barrenness of the discourses which they have heard among them.

With respect to Quaker sermons being sometimes less connected or more confused than those of others, they would admit that this might apparently happen; and they would explain it in the following manner. Their ministers, they would say, when they sit among the congregation, are often given to feel and discern the spiritual states of individuals then present, and sometimes to believe it necessary to describe such states, and to add such advice as these may seem to require. Now these states being frequently different from each other, the description of them, in consequence of an abrupt transition from one to the other, may sometimes occasion an apparent inconsistency in their discourses on such occasions. The Quakers, however, consider all such discourses, or those in which states are described, as among the most efficacious and useful of those delivered.

But whatever may be the merits of the Quaker sermons, there are circumstances worthy of notice with respect to the Quaker preachers. In the first place, they always deliver their discourses with great seriousness. They are also singularly bold and honest, when they feel it to be their duty, in the censure of the vices of individuals, whatever may be the riches they enjoy. They are reported also from unquestionable authority, to have extraordinary skill in discerning the internal condition of those who attend their ministry, so that many, feeling the advice to be addressed to themselves, have resolved upon their amendment in the several cases to which their preaching seemed to have been applied.

As I am speaking of the subject of ministers, I will answer one or two questions, which I have often heard asked concerning it.

The first of these is, do the Quakers believe that their ministers are uniformly moved, when they preach, by the spirit of God?

I answer—the Quakers believe they may be so moved, and that they ought to be so moved. They believe also that they are often so moved. But they believe again, that except their ministers are peculiarly cautious, and keep particularly on their watch, they may mistake their own imaginations for the agency of this spirit. And upon this latter belief it is, in part, that the office of elders is founded, as before described.

The second is, as there are no defined boundaries between the reason of man and the revelation of God, how do the Quakers know that they are favoured at any particular time, either when they preach or when they do not preach, with the visitation of this spirit, or that it is, at any particular time, resident within them?

Richard Claridge, a learned and pious clergyman of the Church of England in the last century, but who gave up his benefices and joined the society of the Quakers, has said a few words in his Tractatus Hierographicus, upon this subject, a part of which I shall transcribe as an answer to this latter question.

"Men, says he, may certainly know, that they do believe on the Son of God, with that faith that is unfeigned, and by which the heart is purified: for this faith is evidential and assuring, and consequently the knowledge of it is certain. Now they, who certainly know that they have this knowledge, may be certain also of the spirit of Christ dwelling in them; for [133] 'he that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself;' and this witness is the spirit; for it is [134] 'the spirit that beareth witness,' of whose testimony they may be as certain, as of that faith the spirit beareth witness to."

[Footnote 133: 1 John 5.10.]

[Footnote 134:1 John 5. 6.]

Again—"They may certainly know that they love the Lord above all, and their neighbour as themselves. For the command implies not only a possibility of knowing it in general, but also of such a knowledge as respects their own immediate concernment therein, and personal benefit arising from a sense of their conformity and obedience thereunto. And seeing they may certainly know this, they may also as certainly know, that the spirit of Christ dwelleth in them;[135] for 'God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.' And [136] 'if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.'" In the same manner he goes on to enumerate many other marks from texts of scripture, by which he conceives this question may be determined[137].

[Footnote 135:1 John 4. 16.]

[Footnote 136:1 John 4. 12.]

[Footnote 137: The Quakers conceive it to be no more difficult for them to distinguish the motions of the Holy Spirit, than for those of the church of England, who are candidates for holy orders. Every such candidate is asked, "Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office and ministration?" The answer is, "I trust so."]

I shall conclude this chapter on the subject of the Quaker preaching, by an extract from Francis Lambert of Avignon, whose book was published in the year 1516, long before the society of the Quakers took its rise in the world. "Beware, says he, that thou determine not precisely to speak what before thou hast meditated, whatsoever it be; for though it be lawful to determine the text which thou art to expound, yet not at all the interpretation; lest, if thou doest so, thou takest from the Holy Spirit that which is his, namely, to direct thy speech that thou mayest preach in the name of the Lord, void of all learning, meditation, and experience; and as if thou hadst studied nothing at all, committing thy heart, thy tongue, and thyself, wholly unto his spirit; and trusting nothing to thy former studying or meditation, but saying to thyself in great confidence of the divine promise, the Lord will give a word with much power unto those that preach the Gospel."


But besides oral or vocal, there is silent worship among the Quakers—Many meetings where not a word is said, and yet worship is considered to have begun, and to be proceeding—Worship not necessarily connected with words—This the opinion of other pious men besides Quakers—Of Howe—Hales—Gell—Smaldridge, bishop of Bristol—Monro —Advantages which the Quakers attach to their silent worship.

I have hitherto confined myself to those meetings of the Quakers, where the minister is said to have received impressions from the Spirit of God, with a desire of expressing them, and where, if he expresses them, he ought to deliver them to the congregation as the pictures of his will; and this, as accurately as the mirror represents the object that is set before it. There are times, however, as I mentioned in the last section, when either no impressions may be said to be felt, or, if any are felt, there is no concomitant impulse to utter them. In this case no person attempts to speak: for to speak or to pray, where the heart feels no impulse to do it, would be, in the opinion of the Quakers, to mock God, and not to worship him in spirit and in truth. They sit therefore in silence, and worship in silence; and they not only remain silent the whole time of their meetings, but many meetings take place, and these sometimes in succession, when not a word is uttered.

Michael de Molinos, who was chief of the sect of the Quietists, and whose "Spiritual Guide" was printed at Venice in 1685, speaks thus: "There are three kinds of silence; the first is of words, the second of desires, and the third of thoughts. The first is perfect; the second is more perfect; and the third is most perfect. In the first, that is, of words, virtue is acquired. In the second, namely, of desires, quietness is attained. In the third, of thoughts, internal recollection is gained. By not speaking, not desiring, and not thinking, one arrives at the true and perfect mystical silence, where God speaks with the soul, communicates himself to it, and in the abyss of its own depth, teaches it the most perfect and exalted wisdom."

Many people of other religious societies, if they were to visit the meetings of the Quakers while under their silent worship, would be apt to consider the congregation as little better than stocks or stones, or at any rate as destitute of that life and animation which constitute the essence of religion. They would have no idea that a people were worshipping God, whom they observed to deliver nothing from their lips. It does not follow, however, because nothing is said, that God is not worshipped. The Quakers, on the other hand, contend, that these silent meetings form the sublimest part of their worship. The soul, they say, can have intercourse with God. It can feel refreshment, joy, and comfort, in him. It can praise and adore him; and all this, without the intervention of a word.

This power of the soul is owing to its constitution or nature. "It follows, says the learned Howe, in his 'Living Temple,' that having formed this his more excellent creature according to his own more express likeness; stampt it with the more glorious characters of his living image; given it a nature suitable to his own, and thereby made it capable of rational and intelligent converse with him, he hath it even in his power to maintain a continual converse with this creature, by agreeable communications, by letting in upon it the vital beams and influences of his own light and love, and receiving back the return of its grateful acknowledgments and praises: wherein it is manifest he should do no greater thing than he hath done. For who sees not that it is a matter of no greater difficulty to converse with, than to make a reasonable creature? Or who would not be ashamed to deny, that he who hath been the only author of the soul of man, and of the excellent powers and faculties belonging to it, can more easily sustain that which he hath made, and converse with his creature suitably to the way, wherein he hath made it capable of his converse?"

That worship may exist without the intervention of words, on account of this constitution of the soul, is a sentiment which has been espoused by many pious persons who were not Quakers. Thus, the ever memorable John Hales, in his Golden Remains, expresses himself: "Nay, one thing I know more, that the prayer which is the most forcible, transcends, and far exceeds, all power of words. For St. Paul, speaking unto us of the most effectual kind of prayer, calls it sighs and groans, that cannot be expressed. Nothing cries so loud in the ears of God, as the sighing of a contrite and earnest heart."

"It requires not the voice, but the mind; not the stretching of the hands, but the intention of the heart; not any outward shape or carriage of the body, but the inward behaviour of the understanding. How then can it slacken your worldly business and occasions, to mix them with sighs and groans, which are the most effectual prayer?"

Dr. Gell, before quoted, says—"Words conceived only in an earthly mind, and uttered out of the memory by man's voice, which make a noise in the ears of flesh and blood, are not, nor can be accounted a prayer, before our father which is in Heaven."

Dr. Smaldridge, bishop of Bristol, has the following expressions in his sermons: "Prayer doth not consist either in the bending of our knees, or the service of our lips, or the lifting up of our hands or eyes to heaven, but in the elevation of our souls towards God. These outward expressions of our inward thoughts are necessary in our public, and often expedient in our private devotions; but they do not make up the essence of prayer, which may truly and acceptably be performed, where these are wanting."

And he says afterwards, in other parts of his work—"Devotion of mind is itself a silent prayer, which wants not to be clothed in words, that God may better know our desires. He regards not the service of our lips, but the inward disposition of our hearts."

Monro, before quoted, speaks to the same effect, in his Just Measures of the Pious Institutions of Youth. "The breathings of a recollected soul are not noise or clamour. The language in which devotion loves to vent itself, is that of the inward man, which is secret and silent, but yet God hears it, and makes gracious returns unto it. Sometimes the pious ardours and sensations of good souls are such as they cannot clothe with words. They feel what they cannot express. I would not, however, be thought to insinuate, that the voice and words are not to be used at all. It is certain that public and common devotions cannot be performed without them; and that even in private, they are not only very profitable, but sometimes necessary. What I here aim at is, that the youth should be made sensible, that words are not otherwise valuable than as they are images and copies of what passes in the hidden man of the heart; especially considering that a great many, who appear very angelical in their devotions, if we take our measures of them from their voice and tone, do soon, after these intervals of seeming seriousness are over, return with the dog to the vomit, and give palpable evidences of their earthliness and sensuality; their passion and their pride."

Again—"I am persuaded, says he, that it would be vastly advantageous for the youth, if care were taken to train them up to this method of prayer; that is, if they were taught frequently to place themselves in the divine presence, and there silently to adore their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. For hereby they would become habitually recollected. Devotion would be their element; and they would know, by experience, what our blessed Savour and his great Apostle meant, when they enjoin us to pray without ceasing. It was, I suppose, by some such method of devotion as I am now speaking of, that Enoch walked with God; that Moses saw him that is invisible; that the royal Psalmist set the Lord always before him; and that our Lord Jesus himself continued whole nights in prayer to God. No man, I believe, will imagine that his prayer, during all the space in which it is said to have continued, was altogether vocal. When he was in his agony in the garden, he used but a few words. His vocal prayer then consisted only of one petition, and an act of pure resignation thrice repeated. But I hope all will allow, that his devotion lasted longer than while he was employed in the uttering a few sentences."

These meetings then, which are usually denominated silent, and in which, though not a word be spoken, it appears from the testimony of others that God may be truly worshipped, the Quakers consider as an important and sublime part of their church service, and as possessing advantages which are not to be found in the worship which proceeds solely through the medium of the mouth.

For in the first place it must be obvious that, in these silent meetings, men cannot become chargeable before God, either with hypocrisy or falsehood, by pretending to worship him with their lips, when their affections are far from him, or by uttering a language that is inconsistent with the feelings of the heart.

It must be obvious, again, that every man's devotion, in these silent meetings, is made, as it ought to be, to depend upon himself; for no man can work out the salvation of another for him. A man does not depend at these times on the words of a minister, or of any other person present; but his own soul, worked upon by the divine influence, pleads in silence with the Almighty its own cause. And thus, by extending this idea to the congregation at large, we shall find a number of individuals offering up at the same time their own several confessions; pouring out their own several petitions; giving their own thanks severally, or praising and adoring; all of them in different languages, adapted to their several conditions, and yet not interrupting one another.

Nor is it the least recommendation of this worship, in the opinion of the Quakers, that, being thus wholly spiritual, it is out of the power of the natural man to obstruct it. No man can break the chains that thus binds the spirit of man to the spirit of God; for this chain, which is spiritual, is invisible. But this is not the case, the Quakers say, with any oral worship. "For how, says Barclay, alluding to his own times, can the Papists say their mass, if there be any there to disturb and interrupt them? Do but take away the mass-book, the chalice, the host, or the priest's garments; yea, do but spill the water, or the wine, or blow out the candles, (a thing quickly to be done,) and the whole business is marred, and no sacrifice can be offered. Take from the Lutherans and Episcopalians their liturgy or common prayer-book, and no service can be said. Remove from the Calvinists, Arminians, Socinians, Independents, or Anabaptists, the pulpit, the bible, and the hourglass, or make but such a noise as the voice of the preacher cannot be heard, or disturb him but so before he come, or strip him of his bible or his books, and he must be dumb: for they all think it an heresy to wait to speak, as the spirit of God giveth utterance; and thus easily their whole worship may be marred."


Quakers reject every thing formal, ostentatious, and spiritless, from their worship—Ground on which their Meeting-houses stand, not consecrated—The latter plain—Women sit apart from the men—No Pews—nor priest's garments—nor psalmody—No one day thought more holy than another—But as public worship is necessary, days have been fixed upon for that purpose.

Jesus Christ, as he was sitting at Jacob's well, and talking with the woman of Samaria, made use of the following, among other expressions, in his discourse: "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh when ye shall neither, in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."

These expressions the Quakers generally render thus: I tell you that a new dispensation is at hand. Men will no longer worship at Jerusalem more acceptably than in any other place. Neither will it be expected of them, that they shall worship in temples, like the temple there. Neither the glory, nor the ornaments of gold and silver and precious stones, nor the splendid garments of the High Priest, will be any parts of the new worship that is approaching. All ceremonies will be done away, and men's religion will be reduced simply to the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth. In short, the Quakers believe, that, when Jesus came, he ended the temple, its ornaments, its music, its Levitical priesthood, its tithes, its new moons, and sabbaths, and the various ceremonial ordinances that had been engrafted into the religion of the Jews.

The Quakers reject every thing that appears to them to be superstitious, or formal, or ceremonious, or ostentatious, or spiritless, from their worship.

They believe that no ground can be made holy; and therefore they do not allow the places on which their Meeting-houses are built to be consecrated by the use of any human forms.

Their Meeting-houses are singularly plain. There is nothing of decoration in the interior of them. They consist of a number of plain long benches with backs to them; There is one elevated seat at the end of these. This is for their ministers. It is elevated for no other reason, than that their ministers may be the better heard. The women occupy one half of these benches, and sit apart from the men.

These benches are not intersected by partitions. Hence there are no distinct pews for the families of the rich, or of such as can afford to pay for them: for in the first place, the Quakers pay nothing for their seats in their Meeting-houses; and, in the second, they pay no respect to the outward condition of one another. If they consider themselves, when out of doors, as all equal to one another in point of privileges, much more do they abolish all distinctions, when professedly assembled in a place of worship. They sit therefore in their Meeting-houses undistinguished with respect to their outward circumstances, [138]as the children of the same great parent, who stand equally in need of his assistance; and as in the sight of Him who is no respecter of persons, but who made of one blood all the nations of men who dwell on all the face of the earth.

[Footnote 138: Spiritual officers, such as elders and overseers, sit at the upper part of the Meeting-house.]

The Quaker ministers are not distinguishable, when in their places of worship, by their dress. They wear neither black clothes, nor surplices, nor gowns, nor bands. Jesus Christ, when he preached to the multitude, is not recorded to have put on a dress different from that which he wore on other occasions. Neither do the Quakers believe that ministers of the church ought, under the new dispensation, to be a separate people, as the Levites were, or to be distinguished on account of their office from other men.

The Quakers differ from other Christians in the rejection of psalmody, as a service of the church. If persons feel themselves so influenced in their private devotions, [139]that they can sing, as the Apostle says, "with the spirit and the understanding," or "can sing[140] and make melody in their hearts to the Lord," the Quakers have no objection to this as an act of worship. But they conceive that music and psalmody, though they might have been adapted to the ceremonial religion of the Jews, are not congenial with the new dispensation that has followed; because this dispensation requires, that all worship should be performed in spirit and in truth. It requires that no act of religion should take place, unless the spirit influences an utterance, and that no words should be used, except they are in unison with the heart. Now this coincidence of spiritual impulse and feeling with this act, is not likely to happen, in the opinion of the Quakers, with public psalmody. It is not likely that all in the congregation will be impelled, in the same moment, to a spiritual song, or that all will be in the state of mind or spirit which the words of the psalm describe. Thus how few will be able to sing truly with David, if the following verse should be brought before them: "As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." To this it may be added, that where men think about musical harmony or vocal tunes in their worship, the amusement of the creature will be so mixed with it, that it cannot be a pure oblation of the Spirit, and that those who think they can please the Divine Being by musical instruments, or the varied modulations of their own voices, must look upon him as a Being with corporeal organs, sensible, like a man, of fleshly delights, and not as a Spirit, who can only be pleased with the worship that is in spirit and in truth.

[Footnote 139: 1 Cor. 14. 15.]

[Footnote 140: Ephes. 5. 19.]

The Quakers reject also the consecration and solemnization of particular days and times. As the Jews, when they became Christians, were enjoined by the Apostle Paul, not to put too great a value upon "days,[141] and months, and times, and years;" so the Quakers think it their duty as Christians to attend to the same injunction. They never meet upon saints days, as such, that is, as days demanding the religious assemblings of men, more than others; first, because they conceive this would be giving into popish superstition; and secondly, because these days were originally the appointment of men and not of God, and no human appointment, they believe, can make one day holier than another.

[Footnote 141: Gal. 4. 10.]

For the latter reason also they do not assemble for worship on those days which their own government, though they are greatly attached to it, appoint as fasts. They are influenced also by another reason in this latter case. They conceive as religion is of a spiritual nature, and must depend upon the spirit of God, that true devotion cannot be excited for given purposes or at a given time. They are influenced again by the consideration, that the real fast is of a different nature from that required. [142] "Is not this the fast, says Isaiah, that I have chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thy own flesh?" This the Quakers believe to be the true fast, and not the work of a particular day, but to be the daily work of every real Christian.

[Footnote 142: Isaiah 58. 6. 7.]

Indeed no one day, in the estimation of the Quakers, can be made by human appointment either more holy or more proper for worship than another. They do not even believe that the Jewish Sabbath, which was by the appointment of God, continues in Gospel times, or that it has been handed down by divine authority as the true Sabbath for Christians. All days with the Quakers are equally holy, and all equally proper for the worship of God. In this opinion they coincide with the ever memorable John Hales. "For prayer, indeed, says this venerable man, was the Sabbath ordained: yet prayer itself is Sabbathless, and admits of no rest, no intermission at all. If our hands be clean, we must, as our Apostle commands us, lift them up every where, at all times, and make every place a church, every day a Sabbath-day, every hour canonical. As you go to the market; as you stand in the streets; as you walk in the fields—in all these places, you may pray as well, and with as good acceptance, as in the church: for you yourselves are temples of the Holy Ghost, if the grace of God be in you, more precious than any of those which are made with hands."

Though, however, the Quakers believe no one day in the sight of God to be holier than another, and no one capable of being rendered so by human authority, yet they think that Christians ought to assemble for the public worship of God. They think they ought to bear an outward and public testimony for God; and this can only be done by becoming members of a visible church, where they may be seen to acknowledge him publicly in the face of men. They think also, that the public worship of God increases, as it were, the fire of devotion, and enlarges the sphere of spiritual life in the souls of men. "God causes the inward life, says Barclay, the more to abound when his children assemble themselves diligently together, to wait upon him; so that as iron sharpeneth iron, the seeing the faces of one another, when both are inwardly gathered unto the life, giveth occasion for the life secretly to rise, and to pass from vessel to vessel: and as many candles lighted and put in one place, do greatly augment the light and make it more to shine forth, so when many are gathered together into the same life, there is more of the glory of God, and his power appears to the refreshment of each individual; for that he partakes not only of the light and life raised in himself, but in all the rest. And therefore Christ hath particularly promised a blessing to such as assemble in his name, seeing he will be in the midst of them." For these and other reasons, the Quakers think it proper, that men should be drawn together to the public worship of God: but if so, they must be drawn together at certain times. Now as one day has never been, in the eyes of the Quakers, more desirable for such an object than another, their ancestors chose the first day in the week, because the Apostles had chosen it for the religious assembling of themselves and their followers. And in addition to this, that more frequent opportunities might be afforded them of bearing their outward testimony publicly for God, and of enlarging the sphere of their spiritual life, they appointed a meeting on one other day in the week in most places, and two in some others, for the same purpose.


Miscellaneous particularities—Quakers careful about the use of such words as relate to religion—Never use the words "original sin"—nor "word of God," for the scriptures—Nor the word "Trinity"—Never pry into the latter mystery—Believe in the manhood and divinity of Jesus Christ—Also in a resurrection, but sever attempt to fathom that subject—Make little difference between sanctification and justification—- Their ideas concerning the latter.

The Quakers are remarkably careful, both in their conversation and their writings, on religious subjects, as to the terms which they use. They express scriptural images or ideas, as much as may be, by scriptural terms. By means of this particular caution, they avoid much of the perplexity and many of the difficulties which arise to others, and escape the theological disputes which disturb the rest of the Christian world.

The Quakers scarcely ever utter the words "original sin," because they never find them in use in the sacred writings.

The scriptures are usually denominated by Christians "the word of God." Though the Quakers believe them to have been given by divine inspiration, yet they reject this term. They apprehend that Christ is the word of God. They cannot therefore consistently give to the scriptures, however they reverence them, that name which St. John the Evangelist gives exclusively to the Son of God.

Neither do they often make use of the word "Trinity." This expression they can no where find in the sacred writings. This to them is a sufficient warrant for rejecting it. They consider it as a term of mere human invention, and of too late a date to claim a place among the expressions of primitive Christianity. For they find it neither in Justin Martyr, nor in Irenaeus, nor in Tertullian, nor in Origen, nor in the Fathers of the three first centuries of the church.

And as they seldom use the term, so they seldom or never try, when it offers itself to them, either in conversation or in books, to fathom its meaning. They judge that a curious inquiry into such high and speculative things, though ever so great truths in themselves, tends little to Godliness, and less to peace; and that their principal concern is with that only which is clearly revealed, and which leads practically to holiness of life.

Consistently with this judgment, we find but little said respecting the
Trinity by the Quaker writers.

It is remarkable that Barclay in the course of his apology, takes no notice of this subject.

William Penn seems to have satisfied himself with refuting what he considered to be a gross notion, namely, that of three persons in the Trinity. For after having shown what the Trinity was not, he no where attempts to explain what he conceived it to be. He says only, that he acknowledges a Father, a Word, and a Holy Spirit, according to the scriptures, but not according to the notions of men; and that these Three are truly and properly One, of one nature as well as will.

Isaac Pennington, an ancient Quaker, speaks thus: "That the three are distinct, as three several beings or persons, the Quakers no where read in the scriptures; but they read in them that they are one. And thus they believe their being to be one, their life one, their light one, their wisdom one, their power one. And he that knoweth and seeth any one of them, knoweth and seeth them, all, according to that saying of Christ to Philip, 'He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.'"

John Crook, another ancient writer of this society, in speaking of the Trinity, says, that the Quakers "acknowledge one God, the Father of Jesus Christ, witnessed within man only by the spirit of truth; and these three are one, and agree in one; and he that honours the Father, honours the Son that proceeds from him; and he that denies the Spirit, denies both the Father and the Son." But nothing farther can be obtained from this author on this subject.

Henry Tuke, a modern writer among the Quakers, and who published an account of the principles of the society only last year, says also little upon the point before us. "This belief, says he, in the Divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, induced some of the teachers in the Christian church, about three hundred years after Christ, to form a doctrine, to which they gave the name of Trinity; but, in our writings we seldom make use of this term, thinking it best, on such a subject, to keep to scriptural expressions, and to avoid those disputes which have since perplexed the Christian world, and led into speculations beyond the power of human abilities to decide. If we consider that we ourselves are composed of a union of body, soul, and spirit, and yet cannot determine how even these are united; how much less may we expect perfect clearness on a subject, so far above our finite comprehension, as that of the Divine Nature?"

The Quakers believe, that Jesus Christ was man, because he took flesh, and inhabited the body prepared for him, and was subject to human infirmities; but they believe also in his Divinity, because he was the word.

They believe also in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, as connected with the Christian religion. In explaining our belief of this doctrine, says Henry Tuke, we refer to the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. In this chapter is clearly laid down the resurrection of a body, though not of the same body that dies. "There are celestial bodies, and there are bodies terrestrial; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. So also is the resurrection of the dead: It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body: there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." Here we rest our belief in this mystery, without desiring to pry into it beyond what is revealed to us; remembering "that secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed, belong unto us and to our children."

The Quakers make but little difference, and not such as many other Christians do, between sanctification and justification. "Faith and works, says Richard Claridge, are both concerned in our complete justification."—"Whosoever is justified, he is also in measure sanctified; and as far as he is sanctified, so far is he justified, and no farther. But the justification I now speak of, is the making of us just or righteous by the continual help, work, and operation of the Holy Spirit."—"And as we wait for the continual help and assistance of his Holy Spirit, and come to witness the effectual working of the same in ourselves, so we shall experimentally find, that our justification is proportionable to our sanctification; for as our sanctification goes forward, which is always commensurate to our faithful obedience to the manifestation, influence, and assistance, of the grace, light, and spirit of Christ, so shall we also feel and perceive the progress of our justification."

The ideas of the Quakers, as to justification itself, cannot be better explained than in the words of Henry Tuke before quoted: So far as remissions of sins, and a capacity to receive salvation, are parts of justification, we attribute it to the sacrifice of Christ; "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace." But when we consider justification as a state of divine favour and acceptance, we ascribe it, not simply either to faith or works, but to the sanctifying operation of the spirit of Christ, from which living faith and acceptable works alone proceed; and by which we may come to know, that "the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God."

In attributing our justification, through the grace of God in Christ Jesus, to the operation of the Holy Spirit, which sanctifies the heart and produces the work of regeneration, we are supported by the testimony of the Apostle Paul, who says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but of his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Again—"But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God."

"By this view of the doctrine of justification, we conceive the apparently different sentiments of the Apostles Paul and James are reconciled. Neither of them say that faith alone, or works alone, are the cause of our being justified; but as one of them asserts the necessity of faith, and the other of works, for effecting this great object, a clear and convincing proof is afforded, that both contribute to our justification; and that faith without works, and works without faith, are equally dead."


Quakers reject Baptism and the Lord's Supper—Much censured far it—Indulgence solicited for them on account of the difficulties connected with these subjects—Christian Religion spiritual—Jewish types to be abolished—Different meanings of the word "Baptise"—Disputes concerning the mode of Baptism—Concerning also the nature and constitution of the Supper—Concerning also the time and manner of its celebration —This indulgence also proper, because the Quakers give it to others, who differ from them as a body on the subject of Religion.

The Quakers, among other particularities, reject the application of water-baptism, and the administration of the Sacrament of the Supper, as Christian rites.

These ordinances have been considered by many as so essentially interwoven with Christianity, that the Quakers, by rejecting the use of them, have been denied to be Christians.

But whatever may be the difference of opinion between the world and the Quakers, upon these subjects, great indulgence is due to the latter on this occasion. People have received the ordinances in question from their ancestors. They have been brought up to the use of them. They have seen them sanctioned by the world. Finding their authority disputed by a body of men, who are insignificant as to numbers, when compared with others, they have let loose their censure upon them, and this without any inquiry concerning the grounds of their dissent. They know perhaps nothing of the obstinate contentious; nothing of the difficulties which have occurred; and nothing of those which may still be started on these subjects. I shall state therefore a few considerations by way of preface, during which the reader will see, that objections both fair and forcible may be raised by the best disposed Christians, on the other side of the question; that the path is not so plain and easy as he may have imagined it to be; and that if the Quakers have taken a road different from himself on this occasion, they are entitled to a fair hearing of all they have to say in their defence, and to expect the same candour and indulgence which he himself would have claimed, if, with the best intentions, he had not been able to come to the same conclusion, on any given point of importance, as had been adopted by others.

Let me then ask, in the first place, what is the great characteristic of the religion we profess?

If we look to divines for an answer to this question, we may easily obtain it. We shall find some of them in their sermons speaking of circumcision, baptismal washings and purifications, new moons, feasts of the passover and unleavened bread, sacrifices, and other rites. We shall find them dwelling on these as constituent parts of the religion of the Jews. We shall find them immediately passing from thence to the religion of Jesus Christ. Here all is considered by them to be spiritual. Devotion of the heart is insisted upon as that alone which is acceptable to God. If God is to be worshipped, it is laid down as a position, that he is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. We shall find them also, in other of their sermons, but particularly in those preached after the reformation, stating the advantages obtained by that event. The Roman Catholic system is here considered by them to be as ceremonial as that of the Jews. The Protestant is held out as of a more spiritual nature, and as more congenial therefore with the spirit of the gospel. But what is this but a confession, in each case, that in proportion as men give up ceremonies and become spiritual in their worship, their religion is the best, or that spirituality is the grand characteristic of the religion of Jesus Christ? Now there immediately arises a presumption, if spirituality of feeling had been intended as the characteristic of any religion, that no ceremonious ordinances would have been introduced into it.

If, again, I were to make an assertion to divines, that Jesus Christ came to put an end to the ceremonial parts of the Jewish law, and to the types and shadows belonging to the Jewish dispensation, they would not deny it. But baptism and the supper were both of them outward Jewish ceremonies, connected with the Jewish religion. They were both of them types and shadows, of which the antetypes and substances had been realized at the death of Christ. And therefore a presumption arises again, that these were not intended to be continued.

And that they were not intended to be continued, may be presumed from another consideration. For what was baptism to any but a Jew? What could a Gentile have understood by it? What notion could he have formed, by means of it, of the necessity of the baptism of Christ? Unacquainted with purifications by water as symbols of purification of heart, he could never have entered, like a Jew, into the spiritual life of such an ordinance. And similar observations may be made with respect to the Passover-Supper. A Gentile could have known nothing, like a Jew, of the meaning of this ceremony. He could never have seen in the Paschal Lamb any type of Christ, or in the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, any type of his own deliverance from sin, so clearly or so feelingly as if the facts and customs had related to his own history, or as if he had been trained to the connexion by a long series of prophecies. In short, the passover could have had but little meaning to him.

From these circumstances, therefore, there would be reason to conclude, that these ceremonies were not to be continued, at least to any but Jews; because they were not fitted to the knowledge, the genius, or the condition of the Gentile world.

But, independently of these difficulties, which arise from a general view of these ordinances as annexed to a religion which is confessed to be spiritual, others arise from a particular view of each. On the subject of baptism, there is ground for argument, as to the meaning of the word "baptize." This word, in consequence of its representation of a watery ceremony, is usually connected with water in our minds. But it may also, very consistently, be connected even with fire. Its general meaning is to purify. In this sense many understand it. And those who do, and who apply it to the great command of Jesus to his disciples, think they give a better interpretation of it, than those who connect it with water. For they think it more reasonable that the Apostles should have been enjoined to go into all nations, and to endeavour to purify the hearts of individuals by the spirit and power of their preaching, from the dross of Heathen notions, and to lead them to spirituality of mind by the inculcation of Gospel principles, than to dip them under water, as an essential part of their new religion.

But on a supposition that the word baptize should signify to immerse, and not to purify, another difficulty occurs; for, if it was thought proper or necessary that persons should be initiated into Christianity by water-baptism, in order to distinguish their new state from that of the Jews or Heathens, who then surrounded them, it seems unnecessary for the children of Christian parents, who were born in a Christian community, and whose ancestors for centuries have professed the Christian name.

Nor is it to be considered as any other than a difficulty that the Christian world have known so little about water-baptism, that they have been divided as to the right manner of performing it. The eastern and western churches differed early upon this point, and Christians continue to differ upon it to the present day; some thinking that none but adults; others, that none but infants should be baptised: some, that the faces only of the baptized should be sprinkled with water; others, that their bodies should be immersed.

On the subject of the sacrament of supper, similar difficulties have occurred.

Jesus Christ unquestionably permitted his disciples to meet together in remembrance of their last supper with him. But it is not clear, that this was any other than a permission to those who were present, and who had known and loved him. The disciples were not ordered to go into all nations, and to enjoin it to their converts to observe the same ceremony. Neither did the Apostles leave any command by which it was enjoined as an ordinance of the Christian church.

Another difficulty which has arisen on the subject of the supper, is, that Christians seem so little to have understood the nature of it, or in what it consisted, that they have had, in different ages, different views, and encouraged different doctrines concerning it. One has placed it in one thing, and another in another. Most of them, again, have attempted in their explanation of it, to blend the enjoyment of the spiritual essence with that of the corporeal substance of the body and blood of Christ, and thus to unite a spiritual with a ceremonial exercise of religion. Grasping, therefore, at things apparently irreconcilable, they have conceived the strangest notions; and, by giving these to the world, they have only afforded fuel for contention among themselves and others.

In the time of the Apostles, it was the custom of converted persons, grounded on the circumstances that passed at the supper of the passover, to meet in religious communion. They used, on these occasions, to break their bread, and take their refreshment and converse together. The object of these meetings was to imitate the last friendly supper of Jesus with his disciples, to bear a public memorial of his sufferings and his death, and to promote their love for one another. But this custom was nothing more, as far as evidence can be had, than that of a brotherly breaking of bread together. It was no sacramental eating. Neither was the body of Jesus supposed to be enjoyed, nor the spiritual enjoyment, of it to consist in the partaking of this outward feast.

In process of time, after the days of the Apostles, when this simple custom had declined, we find another meeting of Christians, in imitation of that at the passover supper, at which both bread and wine were introduced. This different commemoration of the same event had a new name given to it; for it was distinguished from the other by the name of Eucharist.

Alexander, the seventh bishop of Rome, who introduced holy water both into houses and churches for spiritual purposes, made some alterations in the ingredients of the Eucharist, by mixing water with the wine, and by substituting unleavened for common bread.

In the time of Irenaeus and Justin the Martyr, we find an account of the Eucharist as it was then thought of and celebrated. Great stress was then laid upon the bread and wine as a holy and sacramental repast: prayers were made that the Holy Ghost would descend into each of these substances. It was believed that it did so descend; and that as soon as the bread and wine perceived it, the former operated virtually as the body, and the latter as the blood of Jesus Christ. From this time the bread was considered to have great virtues; and on this latter account, not only children, but sucking infants, were admitted to this sacrament. It was also given to persons on the approach of death. And many afterwards, who had great voyages to make at sea, carried it with them to preserve them both from temporal and spiritual dangers.

In the twelfth century, another notion, a little modified from the former, prevailed on this subject; which was, that consecration by a Priest had the power of abolishing the substance of the bread, and of substituting the very body of Jesus Christ.

This was called the doctrine of Transubstantiation.

This doctrine appeared to Luther, at the dawn of the reformation, to be absurd; and he was of opinion that the sacrament consisted of the substance of Christ's body and blood, together with the substance of the bread and wine; or, in other words, that the substance of the bread remained, but the body of Christ was inherent in it, so that both the substance of the bread and of the body and blood of Christ was there also. This was called the doctrine of Consubstantiation, in contradiction to the former.

Calvin again considered the latter opinion erroneous: he gave it out that the bread was not actually the body of Jesus Christ, nor the wine his blood; but that both his body and blood were sacramentally received by the faithful, in the use of the bread and wine. Calvin, however, confessed himself unable to explain even this his own doctrine. For he says, "if it be asked me how it is, that is, how believers sacramentally receive Christ's body and blood? I shall not be ashamed to confess, that it is a secret too high for me to comprehend in my spirit, or explain in words."

But independently of the difficulties which have arisen from these different notions concerning the nature and constitution of the Lord's supper, others have arisen concerning the time and the manner of the celebration of it.

The Christian churches of the east, in the early times, justifying themselves by tradition and the custom of the passover, maintained that the fourteenth day of the month Nissan ought to be observed as the day of the celebration of this feast, because the Jews were commanded to kill the Paschal Lamb on that day. The western, on the other hand, maintained the authority of tradition and the primitive practice, that it ought to be kept on no other day than that of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Disputes again of a different complexion agitated the Christian world upon the same subject. One church contended that the leavened, another that unleavened bread only should be used upon this occasion: others contended, whether the administration of this sacrament should be by the hands of the clergy only: others, whether it should not be confined to the sick: others, whether it should be given to the young and mature promiscuously: others, whether it should be received by the communicant standing, sitting, or kneeling, or as the Apostles received it: and others, whether it should be administered in the night time as by our Saviour, or whether in the day, or whether only once, as at the passover, or whether oftener in the year.

Another difficulty, but of a different nature, has occurred with respect to the Lord's supper. This has arisen from the circumstance, that other ceremonies were enjoined by our Saviour in terms equally positive as this, but which most Christians, notwithstanding, have thought themselves at liberty to reject. Among these the washing of feet is particularly to be noticed. This custom was of an emblematic nature. It was enjoined at the same time as that of the Lord's supper, and on the same occasion. But it was enjoined in a more forcible and striking manner. The Sandimanians, when they rose into a society, considered the injunction for this ordinance to be so obligatory, that they dared not dispense with it; and therefore, when they determined to celebrate the supper, they determined that the washing of feet should be an ordinance of their church. Most other Christians, however, have dismissed the washing of feet from their religious observance. The reason given has principally been, that it was an eastern custom, and therefore local. To this the answer has been, that the passover, from whence the Lord's supper is taken, was an eastern custom also, but that it was much more local. Travellers of different nations had their feet washed for them in the east. But none but those of the circumcision were admitted to the passover-supper. If, therefore, the injunction relative to the washing of feet, be equally strong with that relative to the celebration of the supper, it has been presumed, that both ought to have been retained; and, if one has been dispensed with on account of its locality, that both ought to have been discarded.

That the washing of feet was enjoined much more emphatically than the supper, we may collect from Barclay, whose observations upon it I shall transcribe on this occasion.

"But to give a farther evidence, says he, how these consequences have not any bottom from the practice of that ceremony, nor from the words following, 'Do this in remembrance of me,' let us consider another of the like nature, as it is at length expressed by John. [143] 'Jesus riseth from supper and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself: after that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Peter said unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him. If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. So after he had washed their feet, he said, Know ye what I have done to you? If I then, your Lord and master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet: for I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.' As to which let it be observed, continues Barclay, that John relates this passage to have been done at the same time with the other of breaking bread; both being done the night of the passover, after supper. If we regard the narration of this, and the circumstances attending it, it was done with far more solemnity, and prescribed far more punctually and particularly, than the former. It is said only, 'as he was eating he took bread;' so that this would seem to be but an occasional business: but here 'he rose up, he laid by his garments, he girded himself, he poured out the water, he washed their feet, he wiped them with a towel.' He did this to all of them; which are circumstances surely far more observable than those noted in the other. The former was a practice common among the Jews, used by all masters of families, upon that occasion; but this, as to the manner, and person acting it, to wit, for the master to rise up, and wash the feet of his servants and disciples, was more singular and observable. In the breaking of bread and giving of wine, it is not pleaded by our adversaries, nor yet mentioned in the text, that he particularly put them into the hands of all; but breaking it, and blessing it, gave it the nearest, and so they from hand to hand. But here it is mentioned, that he washed not the feet of one or two, but of many. He saith not in the former, that if they do not eat of that bread, and drink of that wine, that they shall be prejudiced by it; but here he says expressly to Peter, that 'if he wash him not, he hath no part with him;' which being spoken upon Peter's refusing to let him wash his feet, would seem to import no less, than not the continuance only, but even the necessity of this ceremony. In the former, he saith as it were passingly, 'Do this in remembrance of me:' but here he sitteth down again; he desires them to consider what he hath done; tells them positively 'that as he hath done to them, so ought they to do to one another:' and yet again he redoubles that precept, by telling them, 'that he has given them an example, that they should do so likewise.' If we respect the nature of the thing, it hath as much in it as either baptism or the breaking of the bread; seeing it is an outward element of a cleansing nature, applied to the outward man, by the command and the example of Christ, to signify an inward purifying. I would willingly propose this seriously to men, that will be pleased to make use of that reason and understanding that God hath given them, and not be imposed upon, nor abused by the custom or tradition of others, whether this ceremony, if we respect either the time that it was appointed in, or the circumstances wherewith it was performed, or the command enjoining the use of it, hath not as much to recommend it for a standing ordinance of the Gospel, as either water-baptism, or bread and wine, or any other of that kind? I wonder then, what reason the Papists can give, why they have not numbered it among their sacraments, except merely Voluntas Ecclesiae et Traditio Patrum, that is, the Tradition of the Fathers, and the Will of the Church."

[Footnote 143: John 13. 3. &c.]

The reader will see by this time, that, on subjects which have given rise to such controversies as baptism and the Lord's supper have now been described to have done, people may be readily excused, if they should entertain their own opinions about them, though these may be different from those which are generally received by the world. The difficulties indeed, which have occurred with respect to these ordinances, should make us tender of casting reproach upon others, who should differ from ourselves concerning them. For when we consider, that there is no one point connected with these ordinances, about which there has not been some dispute; that those who have engaged in these disputes, have been men of equal learning and piety; that all of them have pleaded primitive usage, in almost all cases, in behalf of their own opinions; and that these disputes are not even now, all of them, settled; who will take upon him to censure his brother either for the omission or the observance of one or the other rite? And let the Quakers, among others, find indulgence from their countrymen for their opinions on these subjects. This indulgence they have a right to claim from the consideration, that they themselves never censure others of other denominations on account of their religion. With respect to those who belong to the society, as the rejection of these ceremonies is one of the fundamentals of Quakerism, it is expected that they should be consistent with what they are considered to profess. But with respect to others, they have no unpleasant feelings towards those who observe them. If a man believes that baptism is an essential rite of the Christian church, the Quakers would not judge him if he were to go himself, or if he were to carry his children, to receive it. And if, at the communion table, he should find his devotion to be so spiritualized, that, in the taking of the bread and wine, he really and spiritually discerned the body and blood of Christ, and was sure that his own conduct would he influenced morally by it, they would not censure him for becoming an attendant at the altar. In short, the Quakers do not condemn others for their attendances on these occasions. They only hope, that as they do not see these ordinances in the same light as others, they may escape censure, if they should refuse to admit them among themselves.



Baptism—Two baptisms—That of John and of Christ—That of John was by water, a Jewish ordinance, and used preparatory to religious conversion and worship—Hence John used it as preparatory to conversion to Christianity—Jesus submitted to it to fulfil all righteousness—Others as to a baptism to repentance—But it was not initiative into the Christian church, but belonged to the Old Testament—Nor was John under the Gospel, but under the law.

I come now to the arguments which the Quakers have to offer for the rejection of the use of baptism and of the sacrament of the supper; and first for that of the use of the former rite.

Two baptisms are recorded in scripture—the baptism of John, and the baptism of Christ.

The baptism of John was by water, and a Jewish ordinance. The washing of garments and of the body, which were called baptisms by the Ellenistic Jews, were enjoined to the Jewish nation, as modes of purification from legal pollutions, symbolical of that inward cleansing of the heart, which was necessary to persons before they could hold sacred offices, or pay their religions homage in the temple, or become the true worshippers of God. The Jews, therefore, in after times, when they made proselytes from the Heathen nations, enjoined these the same customs as they observed themselves. They generally circumcised, at least the proselytes of the covenant, as a mark of their incorporation into the Jewish church, and they afterwards washed them with water or baptized them, which was to be a sign to them of their having been cleansed from the filth of idolatry, and an emblem of their fitness, in case of a real cleansing, to receive the purer precepts of the Jewish religion, and to walk in newness of life.

Baptism therefore was a Jewish ordinance, used on religious occasions: and therefore John, when he endeavoured by means of his preaching to prepare the Jews for the coming of the Messiah, and their minds for the reception of the new religion, used it as a symbol of the purification of heart, that was necessary for the dispensation which was then at hand. He knew that his hearers would understand the meaning of the ceremony. He had reason also to believe, that on account of the nature of his mission, they would expect it. Hence the Sanhedrim, to whom the cognizance of the legal cleansings belonged, when they were informed of the baptism of John, never expressed any surprise at it, as a now, or unusual, or improper custom. They only found fault with him for the administration of it, when he denied himself to be either Elias or Christ.

It was partly upon one of the principles that have been mentioned, that Jesus received the baptism of John. He received it as it is recorded, because "thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness." By the fulfilling of righteousness is meant the fulfilling of the ordinances of the law, or the customs required by the Mosaic dispensation in particular cases. He had already undergone circumcision as a Jewish ordinance, and he now submitted to baptism. For as Aaron and his Sons were baptized previously to the taking upon them of the office of the Jewish priesthood, so Jesus was baptized by John previously to his entering upon his own ministry, or becoming the high priest of the Christian dispensation.

But though Jesus Christ received the baptism of John, that he might fulfil all righteousness, others received it as the baptism of repentance from sins, that they might be able to enter the kingdom that was at hand. This baptism, however, was not initiative into the Christian church. For the Apostles rebaptized some who had been baptized by John. Those, again, who received the baptism of John, did not profess faith in Christ, John again, as well as his doctrines, belonged to the Old Testament. He was no minister under the new dispensation, but the last prophet under the law. Hence Jesus said, that though none of the prophets "were greater than John the baptist, yet he that is least in the kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." Neither did he ever hear the Gospel preached; for Jesus did not begin his ministry till John had been put into prison, where he was beheaded by the orders of Herod. John, in short, was with respect to Jesus, what Moses was with respect to Joshua. Moses, though he conducted to the promised land, and was permitted to see it from Mount Nebo, yet never entered it, but gave place to Joshua, whose name, like that of Jesus, signifies a Saviour. In the same manner John conducted to Jesus Christ. He saw him once with his own eyes, but he was never permitted, while alive, to enter into his spiritual kingdom.


Second baptism, or that of Christ—This the baptism of the gospel—This distinct from the former in point of time; and in nature and essence—As that of John was outward, so this was to be inward and spiritual—It was to cleanse the heart—and was to be capable of making even the Gentiles the seed of Abraham—This distinction of watery and spiritual baptism pointed out by Jesus Christ—by St. Peter—and by St. Paul.

The second baptism, recorded in the scriptures, is that of Christ. This may be called the baptism of the Gospel, in contradistinction to the former, which was that of the law.

This baptism is totally distinct from the former. John himself said,[144] "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire."

[Footnote 144: Matth. 3.11.]

From these words it appears, that this baptism is distinct, in point of time, from the former; for it was to follow the baptism of John: and secondly, in nature and essence; for whereas that of John was by water, this was to be by the spirit.

This latter distinction is insisted upon by John in other places. For when he was questioned by the Pharisees [145] "why he baptized, if he was not that Christ, nor Ellas, nor that prophet," he thought it a sufficient excuse to say, "I baptize with water;" that is, I baptize with water only; I use only an ancient Jewish custom; I do not intrude upon the office of Christ, who is coming after me, or pretend to his baptism of the spirit. We find also, that no less than three times in eight verses, when he speaks of his own baptism, he takes care to add to it the word [146] "water," to distinguish it from the baptism of Christ.

[Footnote 145: John 1. 25]

[Footnote 146: John 1 from 25 to 34.]

As the baptism of John cleansed the body from the filth of the flesh, so that of Christ was really to cleanse the soul from the filth of sin. Thus John, speaking of Jesus Christ, in allusion to this baptism, says,[147] "whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into his garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." By this he insinuated, that in the same manner as the farmer, with the fan in his hand, winnows the corn, and separates the light and bad grains from the heavy and the good, and in the same manner as the fire afterwards destroys the chaff, so the baptism of Christ, for which he was preparing them, was of an inward and spiritual nature, and would effectually destroy the light and corrupt affections, and thoroughly cleanse the floor of the human heart.

[Footnote 147: Mat. 3. 12]

This baptism, too, was to be so searching as to be able to penetrate the hardest heart, and to make even the Gentiles the real children of Abraham.[148] "For think not, says John, in allusion to the same baptism, to say within yourselves, we have Abraham to our Father; for I say unto, you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." As if he had said, I acknowledge that you Pharisees can, many of you, boast of relationship to Abraham by a strict and scrupulous attention to shadowy and figurative ordinances; that many of you can boast of relationship to him by blood; and all of you by circumcision. But it does not follow, therefore, that you are the children of Abraham. Those only will be able to boast of being his seed, to whom the fan and fire of Christ's baptism shall be applied. The baptism of him, who is to come after me, and whose kingdom is at hand, is of that spiritual and purifying nature, that it will produce effects very different from those of an observance of outward ordinances. It can so cleanse and purify the hearts of men, that if there are Gentiles in the most distant lands, ever so far removed from Abraham, and possessing hearts of the hardness of stones, it can make them the real children of Abraham in the sight of God.

[Footnote 148: Math. 3.9.]

This distinction between the watery baptism of John, and the fiery and spiritual baptism of Christ, was pointed out by Jesus Christ himself; for, he is reported to have appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, and to have commanded them [149] "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, says he, ye have heard from me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence."

[Footnote 149: Acts 1.4.]

Saint Luke also records a transaction which took place, in which Peter was concerned, and on which occasion he first discerned the baptism of Christ, as thus distinguished in the words which have been just given. [150] "And as I began to speak, says he, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John, indeed, baptised with water, but ye shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit."

[Footnote 150: Acts II, 15,16.]

A similar distinction is made also by St. Paul; for when he found that certain disciples had been baptized only with the baptism of John,[151] he laid his hand upon them, and baptized them again; but this was with the baptism of the spirit. In his epistle also, to the Corinthians, we find the following expression:[152] "For by one spirit are we all baptized unto one body."

[Footnote 151: Acts 19.]

[Footnote 152: I Cor. 12, 13].


Question is, which of these turn baptisms is included in the great commission given by Jesus to his Apostles, "of baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost?"—Quakers deny it to be that of John, because contrary to the ideas of St. Peter and St. Paul—because the object of John's baptism had been completed—because it was a type under the law, and such types were to cease.

It appears then that there are two baptisms recorded in Scripture; the one, the baptism of John, the other that of Christ; that these are distinct from one another; and that the one does not include the other, except he who baptizes with water, can baptize at the same time with the Holy Ghost. Now St. Paul speaks only of[153] one baptism as effectual; and St. Peter must mean the same, when he speaks of the baptism that saveth. The question therefore is, which of the two baptisms that have been mentioned, is the one effectual, or saving baptism? or, which of these it is, that Jesus Christ included in his great commission to the Apostles, when he commanded them "to go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

[Footnote 153: Eph. 4.5.]

The Quakers say, that the baptism, included in this commission, was not the baptism of John.

In the first place, St. Peter says it was not, in these words: [154] "Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the Ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water;[155] whose antetype baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

[Footnote 154: 1 Peter 3. 20. 21]

[Footnote 155: Antetype is the proper translation, and not "the figure whereunto."]

The Apostle states here concerning the baptism that is effectual and saving; first, that it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, which is effected by water. He carefully puts those upon their guard, to whom he writes, lest they should consider John's baptism, or that of water, to be the saving one, to which he alludes; for, having made a beautiful comparison between an outward salvation in an outward ark, by the outward water, with this inward salvation by inward and spiritual water, in the inward ark of the Testament, he is fearful that his reader should connect these images, and fancy that water had any thing to do with this baptism. Hence he puts his caution in a parenthesis, thus guarding his meaning in an extraordinary manner.

He then shows what this baptism is, and calls it the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, he states it to be the baptism of Christ, which is by the Spirit. For he maintains, that he only is truly baptized, whose conscience is made clear by the resurrection of Christ in his heart. But who can make the answer of such a conscience, except the Holy Spirit shall have first purified the floor of the heart; except the spiritual fan of Christ shall have first separated the wheat from the chaff, and except his spiritual fire shall have consumed the latter?

St. Paul makes a similar declaration: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ."[156] But no man, the Quakers say, merely by being dipped under water, can put on Christ, that is, his life, his nature, his disposition, his love, meekness, and temperance, and all those virtues which should characterise a Christian.

[Footnote 156: Galat 3. 27.]

To the same purport are those other words by the same Apostle:[157] "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized unto Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." And again—[158] "Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him, through the faith of the co-operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." By these passages the Apostle Paul testifies that he alone is truly baptized, who first dies unto sin, and is raised up afterwards from sin unto righteousness, or who is raised up into life with Christ, or who so feels the inward resurrection and glory of Christ in his soul, that he walks in newness of life.

[Footnote 157: Rom. 6.3.4]

[Footnote 158: Colos. 2.12]

The Quakers show again, that the baptism of John could not have been included in the great commission, because the object of John's baptism had been completed even before the preaching of Jesus Christ.

The great object of John's baptism, was to make Jesus known to the Jews. John himself declared this to be the object of it. [159] "But that he should be made manifest unto Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water." This object he accomplished two ways; first, by telling all whom he baptized that Jesus was coming, and these were the Israel of that time; for he is reported to have baptized all Jerusalem, which was the metropolis, and all Judea, and all the country round about Jordan. Secondly, by pointing him out personally.[160] This he did to Andrew, so that Andrew left John and followed Jesus. Andrew, again, made him known to Simon, and these to Philip, and Philip to Nathaniel; so that by means of John, an assurance was given that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ.

[Footnote 159: John 1.31.]

[Footnote 160: John 1.40.]

The Quakers believe again, that the baptism of John was not included in the great commission, because it was a type under the law, and all types and shadows under the law were to cease under the Gospel dispensation, or the law of Christ.

The salvation of the Eight by water, and the baptism of John, were both types of the baptism of Christ. John was sent expressly before Jesus, baptizing the bodies of men with water, as a lively image, as he himself explains it, of the latter baptizing their souls with the Holy Ghost and with fire. The baptism of John, therefore, was both preparative and typical of that of Christ. And it is remarked by the Quakers, that no sooner was Jesus baptized by John with water in the type, than he was, according to all the Evangelists, baptized by the [161] Holy Ghost in the antetype. No sooner did he go up out of the water, than John saw the Heavens opened, and the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. It was this baptism of Jesus in the antetype which occasioned John to know him personally, and enabled him to discover him to others. The baptism of John, therefore, being a type or figure under the law, was to give way, when the antetype or substance became apparent. And that it was to give way in its due time, is evident from the confession of John himself. For on a question which arose between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying, and on a report spread abroad, that Jesus had begun to baptize, John says, [162] "He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease."—This confession of John accords also with the following expressions of St. Paul: [163] "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing, which was a figure for the time then present,"—which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances imposed on them until the time of reformation.

[Footnote 161: Mat. 3. 16.—Mark 1. 10.]

[Footnote 162: John 3. 30.]

[Footnote 163: Heb. 9. 8. 9. 10.]


Quakers show that the baptism, included in the great commission, which appears not to be the baptism of John, is the baptism of Christ, from a critical examination of the words in that commission—Way in which the Quakers interpret these words—This interpretation confirmed by citations from St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Paul.

Having attempted to show, according to the method of the Quakers, that the baptism of John is not the baptism included in the great commission, I shall now produce those arguments, by which they maintain that that baptism, which is included in it, is the baptism of Christ.

These arguments will be found chiefly in a critical examination of the words of that commission.

To enable the reader to judge of the propriety of their observations upon these words, I shall transcribe from St. Matthew the three verses that relate to this subject.

[164] "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

[Footnote 164: Mat. 23.18,19,20.]

The first observation, which the Quakers make, is upon the word "THEREFORE." As all power is given unto me both in Heaven and in earth; and as I can on that account, and as I will qualify you, go ye therefore, that is, having previously received from me the qualification necessary for your task, go ye.

The next observation is, that the commission does not imply that the Apostles were to teach and to baptize as two separate acts, but, as the words intimate, that they were to teach baptizing.

The Quakers say again, that the word "teach" is an improper translation of the original [165]Greek. The Greek word should have been rendered "make disciples or proselytes." In several editions of our own Bibles, the word "teach" is explained in the margin opposite to it, "make disciples or Christians of all nations," or in the same manner as the Quakers explain it.

[Footnote 165: [Greek: didasko] is the usual word for teach, but [Greek: word] is used in the commission; which latter word occurs but seldom in the New Testament, and always signifies to "disciple."]

On the word "baptize," they observe, that because its first meaning is to wash all over, and because baptism with Christians is always with water, people cannot easily separate the image of water from the word, when it is read or pronounced. But if this image is never to be separated from it, how will persons understand the words of St. Paul, "for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body?" Or those of Jesus, "Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" Or, if this image is not to be separated from it, how will they understand the Evangelists, who represent Jesus Christ as about to baptize, or wash all over, with fire? To baptize, in short, signifies to dip under water, but, in its more general meaning, to purify. Fire and water have equally power in this respect, but on different objects. Water purifies surfaces. Fire purifies by actual and total separation, bringing those bodies into one mass which are homogeneous, or which have strong affinities to each other, and leaving the dross and incombustible parts by themselves.

The word "in" they also look upon as improperly translated. This word should have been rendered [166] "into." If the word "in" were the right translation, the words "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost," might be construed into a form of words to be used at the time of baptism.

[Footnote 166: The word in the original Greek is [Greek word] and not
[Greek word]]

But we have no evidence that such a formula was ever used, when any of the Apostles baptized. Indeed, the plain meaning of the word is "into," and therefore all such formula is groundless.[167] "Jesus Christ did not, says Zuinglius, by these words institute a form of baptism, which we should use, as divines have falsely taught."

[Footnote 167: Lib. de Bapt. p. 56, tom. 2. Oper.]

On the word "name," the Quakers observe, that, when it relates to the Lord, it frequently signifies in scripture, his life, or his spirit, or his power. Thus, [168] "in my name, shall they cast out devils." And, [169] "by what power, or by what name have ye done this?"

[Footnote 168: Mark 16. 17.]

[Footnote 169: Acts 4. 7.]

From the interpretation, which has now been given of the meaning of several of the words in the verses, that have been quoted from St. Matthew, the sense of the commission, according to the Quakers, will stand thus: "All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth. In virtue of the power which I have, I will give you power also. I will confer upon you the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you have received it, go into different and distant lands; go to the Gentiles who live in ignorance, darkness, and idolatry, and make them proselytes to my new dispensation; so purifying their hearts, or burning the chaff of their corrupt affections by the active fire of the Holy Spirit, which shall accompany your preaching, that they may be made partakers of the divine nature, and walk in newness of life. And lest this should appear to be too great a work for your faith, I, who have the power, promise to be with you with this my spirit in the work, till the end of the world."

The Quakers contend, that this is the true interpretation of this commission, because it exactly coincides with the meaning of the same commission as described by St. Luke and St. Mark, and of that also which was given to St. Paul.

St. Luke states the commission given to the Apostles to have been [170] "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." The meaning therefore of the commission, as stated by St. Luke, is precisely the same as that stated by St. Matthew. For first, all nations are included in it. Secondly, purification of heart, or conversion from sin, is insisted upon to be the object of it. And thirdly, this object is to be effected, not by the baptism of water, (for baptism is no where mentioned,) but by preaching, in which is included the idea of the baptism of the spirit.

[Footnote 170: Luke 24. 47]

St. Mark also states the commission to be the same, in the following words: [171] "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved." Here all nations, and the preaching of the Gospel, are mentioned again; but baptism is now added. But the baptism that was to go with this preaching, the Quakers contend to be the baptism of the spirit. For first, the baptism here mentioned is connected with salvation. But the baptism, according to St. Peter, which doth also now save us, "is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;" or the baptism of the spirit. Secondly, the nature of the baptism here mentioned is explained by the verse that follows it. Thus, "he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. And these signs shall follow them that believe: they shall speak with new tongues." This therefore is the same baptism as that which St. Paul conferred upon some of his disciples by the laying on of his hands. [172] "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied." Thus, again, it is demonstrated to be the baptism of the spirit.

[Footnote 171: Mark 16.15.]

[Footnote 172: Acts 19.6.]

The commission also, which has been handed down to us by St. Matthew, will be found, as it has been now explained, to coincide in its object with that which was given to Paul, as we find by his confession to Agrippa. For he declared[173] he was sent as a minister to the Gentiles "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Christ." But what was this, the Quakers say, but to baptize them into the life and spirit of a new and divine nature, or with the baptism of Christ?

[Footnote 173: Acts 26.17. 18.]

And as we have thus obtained a knowledge from St. Paul of what his own commission contained, so we have, from the same authority, a knowledge of what it did not contain; for he positively declares, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, that "Christ sent him not to baptize (evidently alluding to the baptism by water) but to preach the Gospel." It is clear therefore that St. Paul did not understand his commission to refer to water. And who was better qualified to understand it than himself?

It is also stated by the Quakers, as another argument to the same point, that if the baptism in the commission had been that of water only, the Apostles could easily have administered it of themselves, or without any supernatural assistance; but, in order that they might be enabled to execute that baptism which the commission pointed to, they were desired to wait for divine help. Jesus Christ said,[174] "I send the promise of my father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with the power from on high; for John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." Now, the Quakers ask, if baptism by water had been the baptism contained in the great commission, why could not the Apostles have performed it of themselves? What should have hindered them more than John from going with people into the rivers, and immersing them? Why were they first to receive themselves the baptism of the spirit? But if it be allowed, on the other hand, that when they executed the great commission, they were to perform the baptism of Christ, the case is altered. It became them then to wait for the divine help. For it required more than human power to give that baptism, which should change the disposition and affections of men, and should be able to bring them from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God. And here the Quakers observe, that the Apostles never attempted to execute the great commission, till the time fixed upon by our Saviour, in these words: "But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." This was the day of pentecost. After this "they preached, as St. Peter says, with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven," and with such efficacy, that "the Holy Ghost fell upon many of them, who heard their words."

[Footnote 174: Luke 24.49.]


Objection to the foregoing arguments of the Quakers—namely, "If it be not the baptism of John that is included in the Great Commission, how came the Apostles to baptize with water?"—Practice and opinions of Peter considered—also of Paul—also of Jesus Christ—This practice, as explained by these opinions, considered by the Quakers to turn out in favour of their own doctrine on this subject.

I have now stated the arguments by which the Quakers have been induced to believe that the baptism by the spirit, and not the baptism by water, was included by Jesus Christ in the great commission which he gave to his Apostles, when he requested them "to go into all nations, and to teach them, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Against these arguments the following question has been usually started, as an objection: "If it be not included in the great commission, how came the Apostles to baptize; or would they have baptised, if baptism had not been considered by them as a Christian ordinance?"

The Quakers, in answering this objection, have confined themselves to the consideration of the conduct of the Apostles Peter and Paul. For though Philip is said to have baptized also, yet he left no writings behind him like the former; nor are so many circumstances recorded of him, by which they may be enabled to judge of his character, or to know what his opinions ultimately were, upon that subject.

The Quakers consider the Apostles as men of the like passions with themselves. They find the ambition of James and John; the apostacy and dissimulation of Peter; the incredulity of Thomas; the dissention between Paul and Barnabas; and the jealousies which some of them entertained towards one another, recorded in holy writ. They believe them also to have been mostly men of limited information, and to have had their prejudices, like other people. Hence it was not to be expected that they should come all at once into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom; that, educated in a religion of types and ceremonials, they should all at once abandon these; that, expecting a temporal Messiah, they should lay aside at once temporal views; and that they should come immediately into the full purity of the gospel practice.

With respect to the Apostle Peter, he gave early signs of the dulness of his comprehension with respect to the nature of the character and kingdom of the Messiah. [175]For when Jesus had given forth but a simple parable, he was obliged to ask him the meaning of it. This occasioned Jesus to say to him, "Are ye also yet without understanding?"

[Footnote 175: Matt. 15.16.]

In a short time afterwards, when our Saviour told him, [176] "that he himself must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things, and be killed, and be raised again the third day, Peter took him and rebuked him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord. This shall not be unto thee."

[Footnote 176: Matt. l6. 21. 22.]

At a subsequent time, namely, just after the transfiguration of Christ, he seems to have known so little about spiritual things, that he expressed a wish to raise three earthly tabernacles, one to Moses, another to Elias, and a third to Jesus, for the retention of signs and shadows as a Gospel labour, at the very time when Jesus Christ was opening the dismission of all but one, namely, "the tabernacle of God, that is with men."

Nor did he seem, at a more remote period, to have gained more large or spiritual ideas. He did not even know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was to be universal. He considered it as limited; to the Jews, though the words in the great commission, which he and the other Apostles had heard, ordered them to teach all nations. He was unwilling to go and preach to Cornelius on this very account, merely because he was a Roman Centurion, or in other words, a Gentile; so that a vision was necessary to remove his scruples in this particular. It was not till after this vision, and his conversation with Cornelius, that his mind began to be opened; and then he exclaimed, "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."

The mind of Peter now began to be opened and to see things in a clearer light, when a new occurrence that took place nearly at the same time, seems to have taken the film still more from his eyes: for while he preached to Cornelius, and the others present, he perceived that "the Holy Ghost fell upon all of them that heard his words, as on himself and the other Apostles at the beginning." Then remembered Peter the words of the Lord, how that he said, "John indeed baptised with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost:" that is, Peter finding that Cornelius and his friends had received, by means of his own powerful preaching, the Holy Ghost, perceived then for the first time, to his great surprise, that he had been executing the great commission of Jesus Christ; or that he had taught a Gentile, and baptized him with the Holy Spirit. Here it was that he first made the discrimination between the baptism of John, and the baptism of Christ.

From this time there is reason to think that his eyes became fully open; for in a few years afterwards, when we have an opportunity of viewing his conduct again, we find him an altered man as to his knowledge of spiritual things. Being called upon at the council of Jerusalem to deliberate on the propriety of circumcision to Gentile converts, he maintains that God gives his Holy Spirit as well to the Gentiles as to the Jews. He maintains again, that God purifies by faith; and he delivers it as his opinion, that circumcision is to be looked upon as a yoke. And here it may be remarked, that circumcision and baptism uniformly went together, when proselytes of the covenant were made, or when any of the Heathens were desirous of conforming to the whole of the Jewish law.

At a time, again, subsequent to this, or when he wrote his Epistles which were to go to the strangers all over Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he discovers himself to be the same full grown man in spiritual things on the subject of baptism itself, in these remarkable words, which have been quoted: "Whose antitype baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." So that the last opinion of Peter on the subject of water-baptism contradicted his practice, when he was but a noviciate in Christ's kingdom.

With respect to the Apostle Paul, whose practice I am to consider next, it is said of him, as of St. Peter, that he baptized.

That Paul baptized is to be collected from his own writings. For it appears, by his own account, that there had been divisions among the Corinthians. Of those who had been converted to Christianity, some called themselves after the name of Cephas; others after the name of Apollos; others after the name of Paul; thus dividing themselves nominally into sects, according to the name of him who had either baptized or converted them. St. Paul mentions these circumstances, by which it comes to light, that he used water-baptism, and he regrets that the persons in question should have made such a bad use of this rite, as to call themselves after him who baptized them, instead of calling themselves after Christ, and dwelling on him alone. [177] "I thank God, says he, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I baptized in my own name. And I baptized also the house of Stephanas. Besides I know not whether I baptized any other, for Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel." Now this confession of the Apostle, which is usually brought against the Quakers, they consider to be entirely in their favour, and indeed decisive of the point in question. For they collect from hence, that St. Paul never considered baptism by water as any Gospel ordinance, or as any rite indispensably necessary, when men were admitted as members into the Christian church. For if he had considered it in this light, he would never have said that Christ sent him not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. Neither would he have thanked God, on account of the mere abuse of it, that he had baptized so few, for doubtless there were many among the learned Greeks, who abused his preaching, and who called it foolishness, but yet he nowhere says, that he was sorry on that account that he ever preached to them; for preaching was a gospel ordinance enjoined him, by which many were to be converted to the Christian faith. Again—If he had considered water baptism, as a necessary mark of initiation into Christianity, he would uniformly have adopted it, as men became proselytes to his doctrines. But among the thousands, whom in all probability he baptized with the Holy Spirit among the Corinthians, it does not appear, that there were more than the members of the three families of Crispus, Gaius, and Stephanus, whom be baptized with water.

[Footnote 177: 1 Cor. I. 14, 15, 16.]

But still it is contended, that Paul says of himself, that the baptized. The Quakers agree to this, but they say that he must have done it, in these instances, on motives very different from those of an indispensable Christian rite.

In endeavouring to account for these motives, the Quakers consider the Apostle Paul as not in the situation of Peter and others, who were a long time in acquiring their spiritual knowledge, during which they might be in doubt as to the propriety of many customs; but as coming, on the other hand, quickly and powerfully into the knowledge of Christ's kingdom. Hence, when he baptized, they impute no ignorance to him. They believe he rejected water-baptism as a gospel ordinance, but that he considered it in itself as an harmless ceremony, and that, viewing it in this light, he used it out of condescension to those ellenistic Jews, whose prejudices, on account of the washings of Moses and their customs relative to proselytes, were so strong, that they could not separate purification by water from conversion to a new religion. For St. Paul confesses himself that "to the weak he became as weak, that he might gain the weak, and was made all things to all men, that he might by all means save some." Of this his condescension many instances are recorded in the New Testament, though it may be only necessary to advert to one. At the great council at Jerusalem, where Paul, Barnabas, Peter, James, and others, were present, it was[178] determined that circumcision was not necessary to the Gentiles. St. Paul himself with some others carried the very letter of the council, containing their determination upon this subject, to Antioch to the brethren there. This letter was addressed to the brethren of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia. After having left Antioch, he went to Derbe and Lystra, where, notwithstanding the determination of himself and the rest of the council, that circumcision was not a Christian rite, he[179] circumcised Timotheus, in condescension to the weakness of the Jews, who were in those quarters.

[Footnote 178: Acts 15.]

[Footnote 179: Acts 16.3.]

In addition to these observations on the practice and opinions of the Apostles, in the course of which the Quakers presume it will be found that the baptism of John is not an ordinance of the Gospel, they presume the same conclusion will be adopted, if they take into consideration the practice and opinions of Jesus Christ.

That Jesus Christ never forbad water-baptism, the Quakers readily allow. But they conceive his silence on this subject to have arisen from his knowledge of the internal state of the Jews. He knew how carnal their minds were; how much they were attached to outward ordinances; and how difficult it was to bring them all at once into his spiritual kingdom. Hence, he permitted many things for a time, on account of the weakness of their spiritual vision.

That Jesus submitted also to baptism himself, they allow. But he submitted to it, not because he intended to make it an ordinance under the new dispensation, but to use his own words, "that he might fulfil all righteousness." Hence, also he was circumcised. Hence he celebrated the Passover. And hence, he was enabled to use these remarkable words upon the cross: "It is fulfilled."

But though Jesus Christ never forbad water-baptism, and, though he was baptized with water by John, yet he never baptized any one himself. A rumour had gone abroad among the Pharisees, that the Jesus had baptized more disciples than John the Baptist. But John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, who had leaned on his bosom, and who knew more of his sentiments and practice than any other person is very careful, in correcting this hear-say report, as if unworthy of the spiritual mind of his master, and states positively; [180] "that Jesus-baptized not."

[Footnote 180: John 4.2.]

The Quakers, lay a great stress upon this circumstance: for they say, that if Jesus never baptized with water himself, it is a proof that he never intended to erect water-baptism into a Gospel-rite. It is difficult to conceive, they say, that he should have established a Sacrament, and that he should never have administered it. Would he not, on the other hand, if his own baptism had been that of water, have begun his ministry by baptizing his own disciples, notwithstanding they had previously been, baptized by John? But he not only never baptized, but it is no where recorded of him, that he ordered his disciples to baptize "with water."[181] He once ordered a leper to go to the priest, and to offer the gift for his cleansings. At another time[182], he ordered a blind man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam; but he never ordered any one to go and be baptized with water. On the other hand, it is said by the Quakers, that he dearly intimated to three of his disciples, at the transfiguration, that the dispensations of Moses and John were to pass away; and that he taught himself, "that the kingdom of God cometh not with observation;" or, that it consisted not in those outward and lifeless ordinances, in which many of those to whom he addressed himself placed the essence of their religion.

[Footnote 181: Mat. 8.4.]

[Footnote 182: John 9.7]



Supper of the Lord—Two such suppers, one enjoined by Moses, the other by Jesus Christ—The former called the Passover—Original manner of its celebration—The use of bread and wine added to it—Those long in use when Jews Christ celebrated it—Since his time, alterations made in this supper by the Jews—But bread and wine still continued to be component parts of it, and continue so to the present day—Modern manner of the celebration of it.

There are two suppers of the Lord recorded in the Scriptures; the first enjoined by Moses, and the second by Jesus Christ.

The first is called the Supper of the Lord, because it was the last supper which Jesus Christ participated with his disciples, or which the Lord and master celebrated with them in commemoration of the passover. And it may not improperly be called the Supper of the Lord on another account, because it was the supper which the lord and master of every Jewish family celebrated, on the same festival, in his own house.

This supper was distinguished, at the time alluded to, by the name of the Passover Supper. The object of the institution of it was to commemorate the event of the Lord passing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered the former from their hard and oppressive bondage.

The directions of Moses concerning this festival were short, but precise.

On the fourteenth day of the first month, called Nissan, the Jews were to kill a lamb in the evening. It was to be eaten in the same evening, roasted with fire, and the whole of it was to be eaten, or the remains of it to be consumed with fire before morning. They were to eat it with loins girded, with their shoes on their feet, and with their staves in their hands, and to eat it in haste. The bread which they were to eat, was to be unleavened, all of it, and for seven days. There was to be no leaven in their houses during that time. Bitter herbs also were to be used at this feast. And none who were uncircumcised were allowed to partake of it.

This was the simple manner in which the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread, which was included in it, were first celebrated. But as the passover, in the age following its institution, was not to be killed and eaten in any other place than where the Lord chose to fix his name, which was afterwards at Jerusalem, it was suspended for a time. The Jews, however, retained the festival of unleavened bread, wherever they dwelt. At this last feast, in process of time, they added the use of wine to the use of bread. The introduction of the wine was followed by the introduction of new customs. The Lord or master of the feast used to break the bread, and to bless it, saying, "Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us the fruits of the earth." He used to take the cup, which contained the wine, and bless it also: "Blessed be thou, O Lord, who givest us the fruit of the vine." The bread was twice blessed upon this occasion, and given once to every individual at the feast. But the cup was handed round three times to the guests. During the intervals between the blessing and the taking of the bread and of the wine, the company acknowledged the deliverance of their ancestors from the Egyptian bondage; they lamented their present state; they confessed their sense of the justice of God in their punishment; and they expressed their hope of his mercy from his former kind dealings and gracious promises.

In process of time, when the Jews were fixed at Jerusalem, they revived the celebration of the passover, and as the feast of unleavened bread was connected with it, they added the customs of the latter, and blended the eating of the lamb and the use of the bread and wine, and several accompaniments of consecration, into one ceremony. The bread therefore and the wine had been long in use as constituent parts of the passover-supper, and indeed of all the solemn feasts of the Jews, when Jesus Christ took upon himself, as master of his own family of disciples, to celebrate it. When he celebrated it, he did as the master of every Jewish family did at that time. He took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to his disciples. He took the cup of wine, and gave it to them also. But he conducted himself differently from others in one respect, for he compared the bread of the passover to his own body, and the wine to his own blood, and led the attention of his disciples from the old object of the passover, or deliverance from Egyptian bondage, to a new one, or deliverance from sin.

Since the time of our Saviour, we find that the Jews, who have been dispersed in various parts of the world, have made alterations in this supper: but all of them have concurred in retaining the bread and wine as component parts of it. This will be seen by describing the manner in which it is celebrated at the present day.

On the fourteenth day of the month Nissan, the first-born son of every family fasts, because the first-born in Egypt were smitten on that night. A table is then set out, and covered with a cloth. On the middle of it is placed a large dish, which is covered with a napkin. A large passover cake of unleavened bread, distinguished by marks, and denominated "Israelite," is then laid upon this napkin. Another, with different marks, but denominated "Levite," is laid upon the first: and a third, differently marked, and denominated "Priest," is laid upon the second. Upon this again a large dish is placed, and in this dish is a shank bone of a shoulder of lamb, with a small matter of meat on it, which is burnt quite brown on the fire. This is instead of the lamb roasted with fire. Near this is an egg, roasted hard in hot ashes, that it may not be broken, to express the totality of the lamb. There is also placed on the table a small quantity of raw charvil instead of the bitter herbs ordered; also a cup with salt water, in remembrance of the sea crossed over after that repast; also a stick of horse radish with its green top to it, to represent the bitter labour that made the eyes of their ancestors water in slavery; and a couple of round balls, made of bitter almonds pounded with apples, to represent their labour in lime and brinks. The seat or couch of the master is prepared at the head of the table, and raised with pillows, to represent the masterly authority of which the Jews were deprived in bondage. The meanest of the servants are seated at the table for two nights with their masters, mistresses, and superiors, to denote that they were all equally slaves in Egypt, and that all ought to give the same ceremonial thanks for their redemption. Cups also are prepared for the wine, of which each person must drink four in the course of the ceremony. One cup extraordinary is set on the table for Elias, which is drank by the youngest in his stead.

All things having been thus prepared, the guests wash their hands, and seat themselves at table. The master of the family, soon after this, takes his cup of wine in his right hand, and the rest at the table doing the same, he says, together with all the others, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine." This is followed by a. thanksgiving for the institution of the passover. Then the cup of wine is drank by all. Afterwards the master of the family says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to cleanse our hands."

Then the master of the family desires the guests to partake of the charvil dipped in salt water, which he gives them with an appropriate blessing. He makes them touch also the dish, containing the egg and shank bone of the lamb, and repeat with him a formula of words suited to the subject. He then takes the second cup of wine, and uses words in conjunction with the rest, expressive of the great difference between this and any other night. After this, copious remarks follow on the institution of the passover. Then follow queries and answers of the rabbis on this subject: then historical accounts of the Jews: then the fifteen acts of the goodness of God to the Jewish nation, which they make out thus:—He led the Jews out of Egypt: he punished the Egyptians: he executed judgment on their gods: he slew their first-born: he gave the Jews wealth: he divided the sea for them: he made them pass through it as on dry land: he drowned the Egyptians in the same: he gave food to the Jews for forty years in the wilderness; he fed them with manna: he gave them the sabbath: he brought them to Mount Sinai: he gave them the law: he brought them to the Laud of Promise: he built the Temple.

When these acts of the goodness of God, with additional remarks on the passover out of Rabbi Gamaliel, have been recited, all the guests touch the dish which contains the three cakes of bread before mentioned, and say: "This sort of unleavened bread, which we eat, is because there was not sufficient time for the dough of our ancestors to rise, until the blessed Lord, the King of Kings, did reveal himself to redeem them, as it is written. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough, which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry; neither had they prepared for themselves any victuals." After this they touch the horse-radish and join in a narration on the subject of their bondage. Then they take their third cup of wine, and pronounce a formula of adoration and praise, accompanied with blessings and thanksgivings, in allusion to the historical part of the passover. After this the master of the family washes his hands and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy Commandments, and commanded us to cleanse our hands." He then breaks the uppermost cake of bread in the dish, and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast brought forth bread from the earth." Then he takes half of another cake of bread, and breaks it, and says, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to eat the unleavened bread." Then he gives every one at the table of each of the two cakes of bread that are broken, and every one repeats audibly the two last blessings. He then takes the green top from the horse-radish, and puts on the balls before mentioned, and pronounces a blessing. He then puts these into the hands of the guests, and they pronounce the same. After this, he cuts the bottom cake, and puts a piece of it upon a piece of horse-radish, and pronounces a formula of words, in allusion to an historical fact.

These ceremonies having been thus completed, the guests sup.

After supper, a long grace is said. Then the fourth cup is filled. A long prayer follows, on the subject of creation. This is again followed by a hymn, enumerating and specifying the twelve wonders which God did at midnight. Another hymn succeeds, specifying the fifteen great works which God did at different times, both on the night, and on the day, of the passover. Then follows a prayer in praise of God, in which a desire is expressed, that they may again he brought to Jerusalem. Then follows a blessing on the fourth cup which is taken; after which another hymn is sung, in which the assistance of the Almighty is invoked for the rebuilding of the temple. This hymn is followed by thirteen canticles, enumerating thirteen remarkable things belonging to the Jews, soon after which the ceremony ends.

This is the manner, or nearly the manner, in which the passover is now celebrated by the Jews. The bread is still continued to be blessed, and broken, and divided, and the cup to be blessed and handed round among the guests. And this is done, whether they live in Asia, or in Europe, or in any other part of the known world.


Second Supper is that enjoined by Jesus at Capernaum—It consists of bread from Heaven—or of the flesh and blood of Christ—But these not of a material nature, like the passover-bread, or corporeal part of Jesus—but wholly of a spiritual—Those who receive it, are spiritually nourished by it, and may be said to sup with Christ—This supper supported the Patriarchs—and must be taken by all Christians—Various ways in which this supper may be enjoyed.

The second supper recorded in the scriptures, in which bread, and the body, and blood of Christ, are mentioned, is that which was enjoined by Jesus, when he addressed the multitude at Capernaum. Of this supper, the following account may be given:

[183] "Labour not, says he to the multitude, for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you."

[Footnote 183: John 6. 27.]

A little farther on, in the same chapter, when the Jews required a sign from heaven, (such as when Moses gave their ancestors manna in the wilderness,) in order that they might believe on him, he addressed them thus: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven: but my father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he that cometh down from heaven, and giveth light unto the world."

Then said they unto him, "Lord, evermore give us this bread." And Jesus said unto them, "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me, shall never thirst."

It appears, that in the course of these and other words that were spoken upon this occasion, the Jews took offence at Jesus Christ, because he said, he was the bread that came down from heaven; for they knew he was the son of Joseph, and they knew both his father and his mother. Jesus therefore directed to them the following observations:

"I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The Jews, therefore, strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living father hath sent me, and I live by the father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth of this bread, shall live forever."

As the Jews were still unable to comprehend the meaning of his words, which they discovered by murmuring and pronouncing them to be hard sayings, Jesus Christ closes his address to them in the following words: "It is the spirit that quickeneth. The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

It appears from hence, according to the Quakers, that Jesus Christ, in mentioning the loaves, took occasion to spiritualize, as he did on all other fit occasions, and to direct the attention of his followers from natural to spiritual food, or from the food that perisheth, to that which giveth eternal life.

Jesus Christ calls himself upon this occasion the living bread. He says that this bread is his flesh, and that this flesh is meat indeed. The first conclusion which the Quakers deduce on this subject, is, that this bread, or this flesh and blood, or this meat, which he recommends to his followers, and which he also declares to be himself, is not of a material nature. It is not, as he himself says, like the ordinary meat that perisheth, nor like the outward manna, which the Jews ate in the wilderness for their bodily refreshment. It cannot therefore be common bread, nor such bread as the jews ate at their passover, nor any bread or meat ordered to be eaten on any public occasion.

Neither can this flesh or this bread be, as some have imagined, the material flesh or body of Jesus. For first, this latter body was born of the virgin Mary; whereas the other is described as having come down from heaven. Secondly, because, when the Jews said, "How can this man give us his flesh?" Jesus replied, "It is the spirit that quickeneth. The flesh profiteth nothing;" that is, material flesh and blood, such as mine is, cannot profit any thing in the way of quickening; or cannot so profit as to give life eternal. This is only the work of the spirit. And he adds, "the words I have spoken to you, they are spirit, and they are life."

This bread then, or this body, is of a spiritual nature. It is of a spiritual nature, because it not only giveth life, but preserveth from death. Manna, on the other hand, supported the Israelites only for a time, and they died. Common bread and flesh nourish the body for a time, when it dies and perishes; but it is said of those who feed upon this food, that they shall never die. This bread, or body, must be spiritual again, because the bodies of men, according to their present organization, cannot be kept for ever alive; but their souls may. But the souls of men can receive no nourishment from ordinary meat and drink, that they should be kept alive, but from that which is spiritual only. It must be spiritual again, because Jesus Christ describes it as having come down from heaven.

The last conclusion which the Quakers draw from the words of our Saviour on this occasion, is, that a spiritual participation of the body and blood of Christ is such an essential of Christianity, that no person who does not partake of them, can be considered to be a Christian; "for except a man eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, he has no life in him."

The Quakers therefore believe, that this address of Jesus Christ to his followers near Capernaum, relates wholly to the necessity of the souls of men being fed and nourished by that food, which it is alone capable of receiving, namely, that which is of a spiritual nature, and which comes from above. This food is the spirit of God; or, in the language of the Quakers, it is Christ. It is that celestial principle, which gives life and light to as many as receive it and believe in it. It is that spiritual principle, which was in the beginning of the world, and which afterwards took flesh. And those who receive it, are spiritually nourished by it, and may be said to sup with Christ; for he himself says, [184] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

[Footnote 184: Rev. 3. 20.]

This supper which Jesus Christ enjoins, is that heavenly manna on which the Patriarchs feasted, before his appearance in the flesh, and by which their inward man became nourished; so that some of them were said to have walked with God; for those, according to St. Paul, [185] "did all eat the same spiritual meat, and did all drink the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ."

[Footnote 185: 1 Cor. 10.3.4.]

This supper is also that "daily bread," since his appearance in the flesh; or, as the old Latin translation has it, it is that supersubstantial bread, which Christians are desired to pray for in the Lord's prayer; that bread, which, according to good commentators, is above all substance, and above all created things. For this bread fills and satisfies. By extinguishing all carnal desires, it leaves neither hunger nor thirst after worldly things. It redeems from the pollutions of sin. It so quickens as to raise from death to life, and it gives therefore to man a sort of new and divine nature, so that he can dwell in Christ and Christ in him.

This supper, which consists of this manna, or bread, or of this flesh and blood, may be enjoyed by Christians in various ways. It may be enjoyed by them in pious meditations on the Divine Being, in which the soul of man may have communion with the spirit of God, so that every meditation may afford it a salutary supper, or a celestial feast. It may be enjoyed by them when they wait upon God in silence, or retire into the light of the Lord, and receive those divine impressions which quicken and spiritualize the internal man. It may be enjoyed by them in all their several acts of obedience to the words and doctrines of our Saviour. Thus may men everyday, nay, every hour, keep a communion at the Lord's table, or communicate, or sup, with Christ.


The question then is, whether Jesus Christ instituted any new supper, distinct from that of the passover, (and which was to render null and void that enjoined at Capernaum) to be observed as a ceremonial by Christians—Quakers say, that no such institution can be collected from the accounts of Matthew, or of Mark, or of John—The silence of the latter peculiarly impressive in the present case.

It appears then, that there are two suppers recorded in the scriptures, the one enjoined by Moses, and the other by Jesus Christ.

The first of these was of a ceremonial nature, and was confined
exclusively to the Jews: for to Gentile converts who knew nothing of
Moses, or whose ancestors were not concerned in the deliverance from
Egyptian bondage, it could have had no meaning.

The latter was of a spiritual nature. It was not limited to any nation. It had been enjoyed by many of the Patriarchs. Many of the Gentiles had enjoyed it also. But it was essentially necessary for all Christians.

Now the question is, whether Jesus Christ, when he celebrated the passover, instituted any new supper, distinct from that of the passover, and which was to render null, and void, (as it is the tendency of ceremonies to do) that which he enjoined at Capernaum, to be observed as an ordinance by the Christian world.

The Quakers are of opinion that no institution of this kind can be collected from Matthew, Mark, or John. [186]St. Matthew mentions the celebration of the passover supper in the following manner: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave to his disciples, and said, take, eat, this is my body."

[Footnote 186: Mat. 26. 26.]

"And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink ye all of it."

"For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

"But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom."

St. Mark gives an account so similar to the former, that it is unnecessary to transcribe it. Both mention the administration of the cup; both the breaking and giving of the bread; both the allusion of Jesus to his own body and blood; both the idea of his not drinking wine any more but in a new kingdom; but neither of them mention any command, nor even any insinuation by Jesus Christ to his disciples, that they should do as he did at the passover supper.

St. John, who relates the circumstance of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his disciples on the passover night, mentions nothing even of the breaking of bread, or of the drinking of the wine upon that occasion.

As far therefore as the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and John, are concerned, it is obvious, in the opinion of the Quakers, that Christians have not the least pretence, either for the celebration of the passover, or of that which they usually call the Lord's Supper; for the command for such a supper is usually grounded on the words, "do this in remembrance of me." But no such words occur in the accounts of any of the Evangelists now cited.

This silence with respect to any command for any new institution is considered by the Quakers as a proof, as far as these Evangelists are concerned, that none was ever intended. For if the sacrament of the supper was to be such a great and essential rite as Christians make it, they would have been deficient in their duty, if they had failed to record it. St. Matthew, who was at the supper, and St. Mark, who heard of what had passed there, both agree that Jesus used the ceremony of the bread and the wine, and also that he made an allusion from thence to his own body and blood; but it is clear, the Quakers say, whatever they might have heard as spoken by him, they did not understand him as enjoining a new thing. But the silence of John, upon this occasion, the Quakers consider as the most impressive in the present case. For St. John was the disciple, who leaned upon the bosom of Jesus at this festival, and who of course must have heard all that he said. He was the disciple again, whom Jesus loved, and who would have been anxious to have perpetuated all that he required to be done. He was the disciple again, who so particularly related the spiritual supper which Jesus enjoined at Capernaum, and in this strong language, that, "except a man eat his flesh, and drink his blood, he has no life in him." Notwithstanding this, St. John does not even mention what took place on the passover night, believing, as the Quakers suppose, that it was not necessary to record the particulars of a Jewish ceremony, which, being a type, was to end when its antitype was realized, and which he considered to be unnecessary for those of the Christian name.


Account of St. Luke examined—According to him Jesus celebrated only the old Jewish passover—Signified all future passovers with him were to be spiritual—Hence he turned the attention of those present from the type to the antitype—He recommended them to take their meals occasionally together in remembrance of their last supper with him; or if, as Jews, they could not relinquish the passover, to celebrate it with a new meaning.

St. Luke, who speaks of the transactions which took place at the passover-supper, is the only one of the Evangelists who records the remarkable words, "do this in remembrance of me." St. Luke, however, was not himself at this supper. Whatever he has related concerning it, was from the report of others.

But though the Quakers are aware of this circumstance, and that neither Matthew, Mark, nor John, give an account of such words, yet they do not question the authority of St. Luke concerning them. They admit them, on the other hand, to have been spoken; they believe however, on an examination of the whole of the narrative of St. Luke upon this occasion, that no new institution of a religious nature was intended. They believe that Jesus Christ did nothing more than celebrate the old passover; that he intimated to his disciples, at the time he celebrated it, that it was to cease; that he advised them, however, to take their meals occasionally, in a friendly manner, together, in remembrance of him; or if, as Jews, they could not all at once relinquish the passover, he permitted them to celebrate it with a new meaning.

In the first place St. Luke, and he is joined by all the other Evangelists, calls the feast now spoken of the passover. Jesus Christ also gives it the same name; for he says, "with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer."

Jesus Christ, according to St. Luke, took bread and broke it, and divided it among his disciples. He also took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it among them. But this, the Quakers say, is no more than what the master of every Jewish family did on the passover night: nor, is it any more, as will have already appeared, than what the Jews of London, or of Paris, or of Amsterdam, or of any other place, where bread and wine are to be had, do on the same feast at the present day.

But though Jesus Christ conducted himself so far as other masters of families did, yet he departed from the formula of words that was generally used upon these occasions. For in the first place, he is described to have said to his disciples, that "he would no more eat of the passover, until it should be fulfilled in the kingdom of God;" and a little farther on, that "he would not drink of the fruit of the vine, till the kingdom of God should come; or, as St. Matthew has it, till he should drink it new with them in his father's kingdom."

By these words the Quakers understand, that it was the intention of Jesus Christ to turn the attention of his disciples from the type to the antitype, or from the paschal lamb to the lamb of God, which was soon to be offered for them. He declared, that all his passover suppers with them were in future to be spiritual. Such spiritual passovers, the Quakers say, he afterwards ate with them on the day of pentecost, when the spirit of God came upon them; when their minds were opened, and when they discovered, for the first time, the nature of his kingdom. And these spiritual passovers he has since eaten, and continues to eat with all those whose minds, detached from worldly pursuits and connexions, are so purified and spiritualized, as to be able to hold communion with God.

It is reported of him next, that "he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave to his disciples, saying, this is my body which is given for you."

On these words the Quakers make the following observations:—The word "this" does not belong to the word "bread," that is, it does not mean that this bread is my body. For the word "bread" in the original Greek is of the masculine, and the word "this" is of the neuter gender. But it alludes to the action of the breaking of the bread, from which the following new meaning will result. "This breaking of the bread, which you now see me perform, is a symbol or representation of the giving, or as St. Paul has it, of the breaking of my body for you."

In the same manner, the Quakers say, that the giving of the wine in the cup is to be understood as a symbol or representation of the giving of his blood for them.

The Quakers therefore are of opinion, when they consider the meaning of the sayings of Jesus Christ both with respect to the bread and to the wine, that he endeavoured again to turn the attention of his disciples from the type to the antitype; from the bread and wine to his own body and blood; from the paschal lamb that had been slain and eaten, to the lamb that was going to be sacrificed; and as the blood of the latter was, according to St. Matthew, for the remission of sins, to turn their attention from the ancient object of the celebration of the passover, or salvation from Egyptian bondage, to a new object, or the salvation of themselves and others by this new sacrifice of himself.

It is reported of him again by St. Luke, after he had distributed the bread and said, "this is my body which is given for you," that he added, "this do in remembrance of me."

These words the Quakers believe to have no reference to any new institution; but they contain a recommendation to his disciples to meet in a friendly manner, and break their bread together, in remembrance of their last supper with him, or if as Jews, they could not all at once leave off the custom of the passover, in which they had been born and educated as a religious ceremony, to celebrate it, as he had then modified and spiritualized it, with a new meaning.

If they relate to the breaking of their bread together, then they do not relate to any passover or sacramental eating, but only to that of their common meals; for all the passovers of Jesus Christ with his disciples were in future to be spiritual. And in this sense the primitive Christians seem to have understood the words in question. For in their religious zeal they sold all their goods, and, by means of the produce of their joint stock, they kept a common table, and lived together. But in process of time, as this custom from various causes declined, they met at each other's houses, or at their appointed places, to break their bread together, in memorial of the passover-supper. This custom, it is remarkable, was denominated the custom of breaking of bread. Nor could it have had any other name so proper, if the narration of St. Luke be true. For the words "do this in remembrance of me," relate solely, as he has placed them, to the breaking of the bread. They were used after the distribution of the bread, but were not repeated after the giving of the cup.

If they relate, on the other hand, to the celebration of the passover, as it had been modified and spiritualized with a new meaning, then the interpretation of them will stand thus: "As some of you, my disciples, for ye are all Jews, may not be able to get over all your prejudices at once, but may celebrate the passover again, and as it is the last time that I shall celebrate it with you, as a ceremonial, I desire you to do it in remembrance, or as a memorial of me. I wish the celebration of it always to bring to your recollection this our last public meeting, the love I bear to you, and my sufferings and my death. I wish your minds to be turned from carnal to spiritual benefits, and to be raised to more important themes than the mere escape of your ancestors from Egyptian bondage. If it has been hitherto the object of the passover to preserve in your memories the bodily salvation of your ancestors, let it be used in future, if you cannot forsake it, as a memorial of your own spiritual salvation; for my body, of which the bread is a representation, is to be broken, and my blood, of which the wine is an emblem, is to be shed for the remission of your sins."

But in whatever sense the words "do this in remembrance of me" are to be taken, the Quakers are of opinion, as far as St. Luke states the circumstances, that they related solely to the disciples themselves. Jesus Christ recommends it to those who were present, and to those only, to do this in remembrance of him. But he no where tells them to order or cause it to be done by the whole Christian world, as he told them to "preach the Gospel to every creature."

To sum up the whole of what has been said in this chapter:—If we consult St. Luke, and St. Luke only, all that we can collect on this subject will be, that the future passover-suppers of Christ with his disciples were to be spiritual; that his disciples were desired to break their bread together in remembrance of him; or if, as Jews, they could not relinquish the passover, to celebrate it with a new meaning; but that this permission extended to those only who were present on that occasion.


Account of St. Paul—He states that the words "do this in remembrance of me" were used at the passover-supper—That they contained a permission for a custom, in which both the bread and the wine were included—That this custom was the passover, spiritualised by Jesus Christ—But that it was to last but for a time—Some conjecture this time to be the destruction of Jerusalem—But the Quakers, till the disciples had attained such a spiritual growth, that they felt Christ's kingdom substantially in their hearts—And as it was thus limited to them, so it was limited to such Jewish converts as might have adopted it in their times.

The last of the sacred writers, who mentions the celebration of the passover-supper, is St. Paul, whose account is now to be examined.

St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, reproves[187] the latter for some irregularities committed by them in the course of their religious meetings. What these meetings were is uncertain. They might have been for the celebration of the passover-supper, for there was a synagogue of Jews at Corinth, of whom some had been converted. Or they might have been for the celebration of the passover as spiritualized by Jesus Christ, or for the breaking of bread, which customs both the Jewish and Gentile converts might have adopted. The custom, however, at which these irregularities took place, is called by St. Paul, the Lord's Supper. And this title was not inapplicable to it in either of the cases supposed, because it must have been, in either of them, in commemoration of the last supper, which Jesus Christ, or the Lord and Master, ate with his disciples before he suffered.

[Footnote 187: Chap. 11.]

But whichever ceremonial it was that St. Paul alluded to, the circumstances of the irregularities of the Corinthians, obliged him to advert to and explain what was said and done by Jesus on the night of the passover-supper. This explanation of the Apostle has thrown new light upon the subject, and has induced the Quakers to believe, that no new institution was intended to take place as a ceremonial to be observed by the Christian world.

St. Paul, in his account of what occurred at the original passover, reports that Jesus Christ made use of the words "this do in remembrance of me." By this the Quakers understand that he permitted something to be done by those who were present at this supper.

He reports also, that Jesus Christ used these words, not only after the breaking of the bread, but after the giving of the cup: from whence they conclude, that St. Paul considered both the bread and the wine, as belonging to that which had been permitted.

St. Paul also says, "for as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." By these words they believe they discover two things; first, the nature of the thing permitted; and, secondly, that the thing permitted, whatever it was, was to last but for a time.

The thing then, which was permitted to those who were present at the passover-supper, was to show or declare his death. The words "show or declare," prove, in the first place, the connexion of the thing permitted with the Jewish passover. For after certain ceremonies had been performed on the passover night, "the showing forth or declaration," as it was called, followed; or the object of the meeting was declared aloud to the persons present, or it was declared to them publicly in what particulars the passover feast differed from all the other feasts of the Jews. Secondly, the word "death" proves the thing permitted to have been the passover, as spiritualized by Jesus Christ; for by the new modification of it, his disciples, if they were unable to overcome their prejudices, were to turn their attention from the type to the antitype, or from the sacrifice of the paschal lamb to the sacrifice of himself, or to his own sufferings and death. In short, Jesus Christ always attempted to reform by spiritualizing. When the Jews followed him for the loaves, and mentioned manna, he tried to turn their attention from material to spiritual bread. When he sat upon Jacob's well, and discoursed with the woman of Samaria, he directed her attention from ordinary, or elementary to spiritual and living water. So he did upon this occasion. He gave life to the dead letter of an old ceremony by a new meaning. His disciples were from henceforth to turn their attention, if they chose to celebrate the passover, from the paschal lamb to himself, and from the deliverance of their ancestors out of Egyptian bondage to the deliverance of themselves and others, by the giving up of his own body and the shedding of his own blood for the remission of sins.

And as the thing permitted was the passover, spiritualized in this manner, so it was only permitted for a time, or "until he come."

By the words "until he come," it is usually understood, until Christ come. But though Christians have agreed upon this, they have disagreed as to the length of time which the words may mean. Some have understood that Jesus Christ intended this spiritualized passover to continue for ever as an ordinance of his church, for that "till he come" must refer to his coming to judge the world. But it has been replied to these, that in this case no limitation had been necessary, or it would have been said at once, that it was to be a perpetual ordinance, or expressed in plainer terms, than in the words in question.

Others have understood the words to mean the end of the typical world, which happened on the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Jews were dispersed, and their church, as a national one, done away. For the coming of Christ and the end of the world have been considered as taking place at the same time. Thus the early Christians believed, that Jesus Christ, even after his death and resurrection, would come again, even in their own life time, and that the end of the world would then be. These events they coupled in their minds; "for[188] they asked him privately, saying, tell us when these things shall be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world?" Jesus told them in reply, that the end of the world and his coming would be, when there were wars, and rumours of wars, and earthquakes, and famine, and pestilence, and tribulations on the earth; and that these calamities would happen even before the generation, then alive, would pass away. Now all these things actually happened in the same generation; for they happened at the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus Christ therefore meant by the end of the world, the end of the Jewish world, or of the world of types, figures, and ordinances: and he coupled naturally his own coming with this event, because he could not come fully into the hearts of any, till these externals were done away. He alluded, in short, to the end of the Jewish dispensation and the beginning of his own spiritual kingdom, or to the end of the ceremonial and the beginning of the Gospel world.

[Footnote 188: Matt. 24.]

Those therefore who interpret the words "till he come" to mean the end of the typical world, are of opinion that the passover, as spiritualized by Jesus Christ, was allowed to the disciples, while they lived among a people, so wedded to religious ceremonies as the Jews, with whom it would have been a stumbling block in the way of their conversion, if they had seen the Apostles, who were their countrymen, rejecting it all at once; but that it was permitted, them, till the destruction of Jerusalem, after which event the Jews being annihilated as a nation, and being dispersed and mixed among the infinitely greater body of the Gentiles, the custom was to be laid aside, as the disuse of it could not be then prejudicial to the propagation of the Gospel among the community at large.

The Quakers, however, understand the words "till he come," to mean simply the coming of Christ substantially in the heart. Giving the words this meaning, they limit the duration of the spiritualized passover, but do not specify the time. It might have ceased with some of them, they say, on the day of pentecost, when they began to discover the nature of Christ's kingdom; and they think it probable, that it ceased with all of them, when they found this kingdom realized in their hearts. For it is remarkable that those, who became Gospel writers, and it is to be presumed that they had attained great spiritual growth when they wrote their respective works, give no instructions to others, whether Jews or Gentiles, to observe the ceremonial permitted to the disciples by Jesus, as any ordinance of the Christian church. And in the same manner as the Quakers conceive the duration of the spiritualized passover to have been limited to the disciples, they conceive it to have been limited to all other Jewish converts, who might have adopted it in those times, that is, till they should find by the substantial enjoyment of Christ in their hearts, that ceremonial ordinances belonged to the old, but that they were not constituent parts of the new kingdom.


Quakers believe, from the preceding evidence, that Jesus Christ intended no ceremonial for the Christian church—for if the custom enjoined was the passover spiritualized, it was more suitable for Jews than Gentiles—If intended as a ceremonial, it would have been commanded by Jesus to others besides his disciples, and by these to the Christian world—and its duration would not have been limited—Quakers believe St. Paul thought it no Christian ordinance—three reasons taken from his own writings on this subject.

The Quakers then, on an examination of the preceding evidence, are of opinion that Jesus Christ, at the passover-supper, never intended to institute any new supper, distinct from that of the passover, or from that enjoined at Capernaum, to be observed as a ceremonial by Christians.

For, in the first place, St. Matthew, who was at the supper, makes no mention of the words "do this in remembrance of me."

Neither are these words, nor any of a similar import, recorded by St. Mark. It is true indeed that St. Mark was not at this supper. But it is clear he never understood from those who were, either that they were spoken, or that they bore this meaning, or he would have inserted them in his Gospel.

Nor is any mention made of such words by St. John. This was the beloved disciple who was more intimate with Jesus, and who knew more of the mind of his master, than any of the others. This was he who leaned upon his bosom at the passover-supper, and who must have been so near him as to have heard all that passed there. And. yet this disciple did not think it worth his while, except manuscripts have been mutilated, to mention even the bread and wine that were used upon this occasion.

Neither does St. Luke, who mentions the words "do this in remembrance of me," establish any thing, in the opinion of the Quakers, material on this point. For it appears from him that Jesus, to make the most of his words, only spiritualized the old passover for his disciples, all of whom were Jews, but that he gave no command with respect to the observance of it by others. Neither does St. Luke himself enjoin or call upon others to observe it.

St. Paul speaks nearly the same language as St. Luke, but with this difference, that the supper, as thus spiritualised by Jesus, was to last but for a time.

Now the Quakers are of opinion, that they have not sufficient ground to believe from these authorities, that Jesus intended to establish any ceremonial as an universal ordinance for the Christian church. For if the custom enjoined was the spiritualized passover, it was better calculated for Jews than for Gentiles, who were neither interested in the motives nor acquainted with the customs of that feast. But it is of little importance, they contend, whether it was the spiritualized passover or not; for if Jesus Christ had intended it, whatever it was, as an essential of his new religion, he would have commanded his disciples to enjoin it as a Christian duty, and the disciples themselves would have handed it down to their several converts in the same light. But no injunction to this effect, either of Jesus to others, or of themselves to others, is to be found in any of their writings. Add to this, that the limitation of its duration for a time, seems a sufficient argument against it as a Christian ordinance, because whatever is once, most be for ever, an essential in the Christian church.

The Quakers believe, as a farther argument in their favour, that there is reason to presume that St. Paul never looked upon the spiritualised passover as any permanent and essential rite, which Christians were enjoined to follow. For nothing can be more clear than that, when speaking of the guilt and hazard of judging one another by meats and drinks, he states it as a general and fundamental doctrine of Christianity, that [189] "the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

[Footnote 189: Romans 14. 17.]

It seems also by the mode of reasoning which the Apostle adopts in his epistle to the Corinthians on this subject, that he had no other idea of the observance of this rite, than he had of the observance of particular days, namely, that if men thought they were bound in conscience to keep them, they ought to keep them religiously. "He that regardeth a day, says the Apostle, regardeth it to the Lord." That is, "as he that esteemed a day, says Barclay, and placed conscience in keeping it, was to regard it to the Lord, (and so it was to him, in so far as he regarded it to the Lord, the Lord's day,) he was to do it worthily: and if he were to do it unworthily, he would be guilty of the Lord's day, and so keep it to his own condemnation." Just in the same manner St. Paul tells the Corinthian Jews, that if they observed the ceremonial of the passover, or rather, "as often as they observed it," they were to observe it worthily, and make it a religious act. They were not then come together to make merry on the anniversary of the deliverance of their ancestors from Egyptian bondage, but to meet in memorial of Christ's sufferings and death. And therefore, if they ate and drank the passover, under its new and high allusions, unworthily, they profaned the ceremony, and were guilty of the body and blood of Christ.

It appears also from the Syriac, and other oriental versions of the New Testament, such as the Arabic and Ethiopic, as if he only permitted the celebration of the spiritualized passover for a time in condescension to the weakness of some of his converts, who were probably from the Jewish synagogue at Corinth. For in the seventeenth verse of the eleventh chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the Syriac runs thus: [190] "As to that, concerning which I am now instructing you, I commend you not, because you have not gone forward, but you have gone down into matters of less importance." "It appears from hence, says Barclay, that, the Apostle was grieved, that such was their condition that he was forced to give them instruction concerning these outward things, and doting upon which they showed that they were not gone forward in the life of Christianity, but rather sticking in the beggarly elements; and therefore the twentieth verse of the same version has it thus: [191]'When then ye meet together, ye do not do it as it is just ye should in the day of the Lord; ye eat and drink.' Therefore showing to them, that to meet together to eat and drink outward bread and wine, was not the labour and work of that day of the Lord."

[Footnote 190: The Syriac is a very ancient version, and as respectable or of as high authority as any. Leusden and Schaaf translate the Syriac thus: "Hoc autem, quod praecipio, non tanquam laudo vos, quia non progressi estis, sed ad id, quod minus est, descendistis." Compare this with the English edition.]

[Footnote 191: Quum igitur congregamini, non sicut justum est die domini nostri, comeditis et bibites. Leusden et Schaaf lordoni butavorum.]

Upon the whole, in whatever light the Quakers view the subject before us, they cannot persuade themselves that Jesus Christ intended to establish any new ceremonial, distinct from the passover-supper, or which should render null and void, (as it would be the tendency of all ceremonials to do) the supper which he had before commanded at Capernaum. The only supper which he ever enjoined to Christians, was the latter. This spiritual supper was to be eternal and universal. For he was always to be present with those "who would let him in, and they were to sup with him, and he with them." It was also to be obligatory, or an essential, with all Christians. "For except a man were to eat his flesh, and to drink his blood, he was to have no life in him." The supper, on the other hand, which our Saviour is supposed to have instituted on the celebration of the passover, was not enjoined by him to any but the disciples present. And it was, according to the confession of St. Paul, to last only for a time. This time is universally agreed upon to be that of the coming of Christ. That is, the duration of the spiritualized passover was to be only till those to whom it had been recommended, had arrived at a state of religious manhood, or till they could enjoy the supper which Jesus Christ had commanded at Capernaum; after which repast, the Quakers believe they would consider all others as empty, and as not having the proper life and nourishment in them, and as of a kind not to harmonize with the spiritual nature of the Christian religion.