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The oscillations of feeling that have taken place within me since I dared disclose my vision of the future to Fred: Maurice have been very great and painful, but not such as in any degree to affect the stability of my intention. What hast thou' (a spirit has at times said to me) to justify thy chalking out for thyself an uncommon course ? Hast thou thoroughly investigated the Established Church, so as to make it right for thee to join it; and even if that be the case, is thy acquiescence sufficient to authorise thy signing the Articles and becoming a minister? What art thou, or what dost thou think thyself, that thou shouldst think that God has chosen thee as an expounder of His Word ?' Then at other times, and that too when my mind has seemed most itself and has rested firmest, these doubtings have seemed snares of the evil one, and a deep and solemn answer has come up out of the depth of my soul, referring me to my doubts long struggled with, my honest and earnest efforts to think our Society right, the everlasting yearning after a dispensation of the Gospel in God's time, and my having felt how unjustly Friends and Dissenters have treated the Established Church. Still my views need progression, and every piece of evidence must be carefully sought out and turned over before I dare move outwardly. Thou teacher of the simple, Thou strengthener of the weak, Thou who lovest and knowest all things, guide me, and let me know Thy guidance !
My dear mother begged me to defer an outward movement for some time to come, and I assented to her suggestion. It was for my father's sake.
12th month, 29th.-The disingenuous conduct of the Yearly Meeting Committee towards the evangelical
RELIGION AND LAW.
Friends appears to me to have arisen necessarily out of the constitution and discipline of the Society, and to be no otherwise chargeable on the members of that committee than as showing that they allow their part as Friends completely to overlay their duties as men.
I take the root of the evil to be the indistinction between law and religion, and on this confusion I believe nearly the whole of our discipline to be founded. That the dictates of religion are ever to be obeyed in preference to worldly laws is a position that needs no proof; and it is equally clear that human laws ought ever to acknowledge and derive help from religion. But they can never be identified without consequences injurious to both. Indeed the laws of social polity and the dictates of religion must ever be in a sense antithetical to each other. It is true that the completeness of the Christian character would not allow a man to be otherwise than a good citizen; and thus in an individual, citizenship is included in Christianity. This, however, is only ideally true, for a man cannot become a good subject, but by obeying all the laws of the state in which he lives; and therefore the Christian cannot act out his religion without transgressing his duty as a citizen, except in a state of which the laws are framed in a spirit of accordance with that religion.
The antithesis is this : religion contemplates men only as they ought to be, law as they exist; religion looks solely at the inward mind, law solely at the outward act; religion has to do solely with ideas, law, practically, solely with facts.
It must be right in innumerable cases for a man to be allowed by law to do that which by religion it
would be very wrong for him to do. Nay, it is in the nature of the office of all magistrates and peace officers to do that which as men they have no right to do; and their doing it is only to be justified on the supposition of their personality being merged in their office.
Consider then that part of our discipline which has to do with affairs of trade, such as the rule respecting failures; or the query, 'Are Friends careful to avoid defrauding the king, &c. ?' and several others. It has often almost shocked me—early prejudice alone prevented it from quite doing so—that these should be so near the solemn question which indeed the Church has a right to ask of her members, “Is there any growth of the truth amongst you?' It is clear that the answering of these queries can avail nothing in a religious point of view, nor indeed in any other, except as rules salutary to keep up a voluntary combination of men, and then at the expense of the highest duties of citizenship, by sustaining imperium in imperio.
The history of our Society, looked at in relation to the two facts of religious well-being and members, will show how this has acted. A decent exterior has been preserved by expelling all those that would not help to preserve it; our members, in relation to the progression of the population of this kingdom, have diminished; and what has become of our spirituality ?
Religion, the foundation of a Church, and law, the foundation of a state, ought indeed to have points of intercommunion. But woe to that system in which the distinction between the two is overlooked, for hypocrisy and injustice must unerringly be amongst the consequences.
REMOVAL TO LONDON-BAPTISM,
2nd month, 26th, 1837.—I spent about a week in Southampton, during which I had some very happy hours. Dear old N. C. blamed me for being instrumental in publishing • Letters to a Friend,' and it opened the way for my telling my opinions to my father and to him, in a more direct manner than I had previously done, for which I am very thankful.
While thy faith is sound, know that nothing is a delusion, nothing a temptation in any sense in which a temptation is to be dreaded.
To his SISTER.
HATTON GARDEN, first day, evening. MY DEAREST REBECCA,—The more I see of the evangelical Friends, the better pleased I am with my resolution to have no direct connection with them. I give them credit for having started under a solid conviction of certain truths, and I cordially rejoice in their having manifested little or none of a spirit of party bitterness. I am scarcely less pleased with the charge that some of the traditionals bring against them of being undecided and ill-compacted, as it is in some sort a proof of their sincerity. But there are two things which I find very general amongst them that I especially object to: one is a disposition to regard the ordinances in what I apprehend to be a wrong light; and the other an indifference to one of the most beautiful truths held by our Society as contradistinguished from the Dissenters—the idea of a Church.
It seems to me that the only right clue out of our errors is the reception of right views of the influence of the Holy Spirit, and till these are attained, the Sacraments cannot be seen in their true character.
From MS. book. 3rd month, 19th.–To-morrow evening I propose to go home, where I suppose I shall
I remain for three weeks, and almost immediately after my return I hope to be baptised. O my God! Thou art witness that it is hard, very hard for me thus to go against the wishes of my dear father. Never certainly before have I had such a hard trial, and perhaps I never may again. It is a deep and solemn sense of duty—it is a gnawing unsatisfiedness in remaining where I am, that urges me on. I wish to deny nothing, but the Church is substantially right, and God has appointed me to do my little might in her cause. The state in which I am now is not indeed one of settledness or happiness; but it is one in which I feel that I am right, and here is no small part of my confidence. Since I took up or more fully and boldly carried out right and scriptural views of the Church, I have been able to understand and take an interest in much of the Bible which before was sealed up to me; and I have felt (let me record this with deep reverence and a