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when his children assemble themselves diligently together to wait upon him; so that, as iron sharpeneth iron, the sceing of 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 re
ligious ligious 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
” “the Word of God” for the Scriptures_nor the word “ Trinity”-nerer pry into the latter mystery-believe in the manhood and divinily of Jesus Christ also in a resurrection, l'ut never attempt to fathom that subject-Make lille 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 Irenæus, 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 a
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, Word, and Holy Spirit, according to the Scriptures, but not according to the notions of men; and that these three are truly and properly onc, of one nature as well as will. Isaac Pennington, an antient Quaker, 7