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People of other religious 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 marry her, he is expelled from 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 occasiuns, 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, choosing rather to suffer loss by di
straints 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 a 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 no longer be considered as sound or consistent mem. bers.
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 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 on 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 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 con
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 6