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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 religious 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 believe it required of him, to these points. Is there any well-disposed person under inward discouragement,

this person

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 refresh: ment 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

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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. Those 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 be 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 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. 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

They go 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 Quakerministers 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 7


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them the churches in America, where they diligently labour in the vineyard, probably for a year a two, at a distance from their families and friends. And here it


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 voyages, on such occasions, is allowed to be defrayed out of the fund which is denominated by the Quakers their “ National Stock.”




EldersTheir appointmentone part of their

office to watch over the doctrines and conduct of ministers account of their origin-another part of their office to meet the ministers of the church, and 10 confer and exhort for religious good-none of them 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 ministäy, 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



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