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Spirit of our God." Therefore, it is not death, even so now grace reigneth, through by our works wrought in our will, nor righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus yet by good works considered as of them. Christ our Lord. All this is effected, not selves, that we are justified, but by Christ, by a bare or naked act of faith, separate who is both the gift and the giver, and from obedience, but in the obedience of the cause producing the effects in us. As faith ; Christ being the author of eternal he hath reconciled us while we were ene- salvation to none but those that obey him. inies, so doth he also, in his wisdom, save The Society of Friends believes that and justisy us after this manner; as saith there will be a resurrection both of the ihe same apostle elsewhere : “ Not by righteous and the wicked; the one to works of righteousness which we have eternal life and blessedness, and the other done, but according to his mercy he saved to everlasting misery and torment ; agree. us, by the washing of regeneration and ably to Matt. xxv. 31–46, John v. 25— renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he 30, 1 Cor. xv. 12–58. That God will shed on us abundantly through Jesus judge the world by that Man whom he Christ, our Saviour, that being justified hath ordained, even Christ Jesus the Lord, by his grace, we should be made heirs ac- who will render unto every man according cording to the hope of eternal life.” We to his works; to them, who by patient renounce all natural power and ability in continuing in well-doing during this life ourselves, to bring us out of our lost and seek for glory and honor, immortality and fallen condition and first nature, and con- eternal life; but unto the contentious and fess that as of ourselves we are able to disobedient, who obey not the truth, but do nothing that is good, so neither can obey unrighteousness, indignation and we procure remission of sins or justifica- wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every tion by any act of our own, so as to merit soul of man that sinneth, for God is no it, or to draw it as a debt from God due respecter of persons. to us; but we acknowledge all to be of The religious Society of Friends has and from his love, which is the original always believed that the holy scriptures and fundamental cause of our acceptance. were written by divine inspiration, and God manifested his love toward us, in the contain a declaration of all the funda. sending of his beloved son, the Lord Je- mental doctrines and principles relating to sus Christ, into the world, who gave him- eternal life and salvation, and that what. self an offering for us and a sacrifice to soever doctrine or practice is contrary to God, for a sweet smelling savor; and them, is to be rejected as false and errohaving made peace through the blood of neous; that they are a declaration of the the cross, that he might reconcile us unto mind and will of God, in and to the sevehimself, and by the eternal Spirit, offered ral ages in which they were written, and himself without spot unto God, he suffered are obligatory on us, and are to be read, for our sins, the just for the unjust, that believed and fulfilled by the assistance of he might bring us unto God.
divine grace. Though it does not call In a word, if justification be considered them “ the Word of God," believing that in its full and just latitude, neither Christ's epithet peculiarly applicable to the Lord work without us, in the prepared body, Jesus ; yet it believes them to be the words nor his work within us, by his Holy Spirit, of God, written by holy men as they were is to be excluded; for both have their moved by the Holy Ghost ; that they were place and service in our complete justifi. written for our learning, that we, through cation. By the propitiatory sacrifice of patience and comfort of the Scriptures, Christ without us, we, truly repenting and might have hope; and that they are able believing, are, through the mercy of God, to make wise unto salvation, through faith justified from the imputation of sins and which is in Christ Jesus. It looks up in transgressions that are past, as though them as the only fit outward judge and they had never been committed ; and by test of controversies among Christians, the mighty work of Christ within us, the and is very willing that all its doctrinrs power, nature and habits of sin are de. and practices should be tried by them, stroyed; that, as sin once reigned unto freely admitting that whatsoever any do, pretending to the spirit, which is contrary As the Lord Jesus declared, " Without to the scriptures, be condemned as a delu- me, ye can do nothing," the Society of sion of the devil.
Friends holds the doctrine that man can As there is one Lord and one faith, so do nothing that tends to the glory of God there is but one baptism, of which the and his own salvation without the immewater baptism of John was a figure. The diate assistance of the Spirit of Christ ; baptism which belongs to the gospel, the and that this aid is especially necessary in Society of Friends believes, is not the the performance of the highest act of putting away the filth of the flesh, but the which he is capable, even the worship of answer of a good conscience toward God, the Almighty. This worship must be in by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This spirit and in truth ; an intercourse between answer of a good conscience can only be the soul and its great Creator, which is not produced by the purifying operation of the dependant upon, or necessarily connected Holy Spirit, transforming and renewing with, any thing which one man can do for the heart, and bringing the will into con another. It is the practice therefore of the formity to the divine will. The distinc society to sit down in solemn silence to tion between Christ's baptism and that of worship God; that each one may be en. water is clearly pointed out by John: “Igaged to gather inward to the gift of divine indeed baptize you with water unto repent- grace, in order to experience ability reve. ance, but he that cometh after me is migh- rently to wait upon the Father of spirits, tier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy and to offer unto him through Christ Jesus to bear, he shall baptize you with the Holy our holy Mediator, a sacrifice well pleasing Ghost and fire, whose fan is in his hund, in his sight, whether it be, in silent mental and he will thoroughly purge his floor and adoration, the secret breathing of the soul gather his wheat into the garner, but he unto him, the public ministry of the gospel, will barn up the chaff with unquenchable or vocal prayer or thanksgiving. Those, fire."
who are thus gathered, are the true wor. In conformity with this declaration, the shippers," who worship God in the spirit
, society holds that the baptism which now rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confi. saves is inward and spiritual; that true dence in the flesh.” Christians are baptized by one Spirit In relation to the ministry of the gospel, into one body;" that “as many as are the society holds that the authority and baptized into Christ have put on Christ;" qualification for this important work are and that “if any man be in Christ, he is the special gift of Christ Jesus, the great a new creature: old things are passed Head of the church, bestowed both upon away, behold all things are become new, men and women, vithout distinction of and all things of God."
rank, talent, or learning; and must be reRespecting the communion of the body ceived immediately from him, through the and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the revelation of his spirit in the heart ; agreeSociety of Friends believes, that it is in- ably to the declarations of the apostle : ward and spiritual—a real participation of “ He gave some apostles, and some prohis divine nature through faith in him, and phets, and some evangelists, and some obedience to the power of the Holy Ghost, pastors and teachers, for the purifying of by which the soul is enabled daily to feed the saints, for the work of the ministry, upon the flesh and blood of our crucified for the edifying of the body of Christ"and risen Lord, and is thus nourished" to one is given by the Spirit
, the word and strengthened. Of this spiritual com- of wisdom, to another the word of knowmunion, the breaking of bread and drink. ledge, by the same Spirit ; to another faith; ing of wine by our Saviour with his disci. to another the gifts of healing—to another ples was figurative; the true Christian sup- the working of miracles,-to another proper being that set forth in the Revelations : phecy—to another discerning of spirits ; * Behold, I stand at the door and knock: to another divers kinds of tongues ; to if any man hear my voice and open the another the interpretation of tongues ;door, I will come in to him and will sup but all these worketh that one and ihe selfwith him, and he with me."
same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” “If any man speak, | lieves itself bound by the express com. let him speak as the oracles of God; if mand of our Lord : “ Swear not at all," any man minister, let him do it as of the and that of the apostle James : “ But ability which God giveth ; that God in all above all things, my brethren, swear not; things may be glorified through Jesus neither by heaven, neither by the earth, Christ."
neither by any other oath; but let your Viewing the cominand of our Saviour, yea be yea and your nay nay, lest ye fall “ Freely ye have received, freely give,” into condemnation;" and therefore, its as of lasting obligation upon all his minis. members refuse, for conscience sake, ters, the society has, from the first, stead. either to administer or to take an oath. fastly maintained the doctrine that the Consistently with its belief in the purity gospel is to be preached without money and spirituality of the gospel, the society and without price, and has borne a con cannot conscientiously unite in the obser. stant and faithful testimony, through much vance of public fasts, and feasts, and holy suffering, against a man-made hireling days, set up in the will of man. It be. ministry, which derives its qualifications lieves that the fast we are called to, is not and authority from human learning and bowing the head as a bulrush for a day, ordination; which does not recognise a and abstaining from meats or drinks; but direct divine call to this solemn work, or a continued fasting from every thing of a acknowledge its dependence, for the per- sinful nature, which would unfit the soul formance of it, upon the renewed motions for being the temple of the Holy Ghost. and assistance of the Holy Spirit. Where It holds that under the gospel dispensation a minister believes himself called to reli. there is no inherent holiness in any one gious service abroad, the expense of ac- day above another, but that every day is complishing which is beyond his means, to be kept alike holy; by denying ourif his brethren unite with his engaging in selves, taking up our cross daily and fol. it and set him at liberty therefor, the meet- lowing Christ. Hence it cannot pay a ing he belongs to is required to see that superstitious reverence to the first day of the service be not hindered for want of the week; but inasmuch as it is necessary pecuniary means.
that some time should be set apart to meet The Society of Friends believes that together to wait upon God, and as it is fit war is wholly at variance with the spirit that at some times we should be freed from of the gospel, which continually breathes other outward affairs, and as it is reasonpeace on earth and good-will to men. able and just that servants and beasts That, as the reign of the Prince of peace should have some time allowed them for comes to be set up in the hearts of men, rest from their labor; and as it appears nation shall not lift up sword against na- that the apostles and primitive Christians tion, neither shall they learn war any used the first day of the week for these
They receive, in their full and purposes : the society therefore, observes literal signification, the plain and positive this day as a season of cessation from all commands of Christ: “I say unto you unnecessary labor, and for religious re. that ye resist not evil, but whosoever shall tirement and waiting upon God; yet not smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him so as to prevent them from meeting on the other also,”—“I say unto you, love other days of the week for divine worship. your enemies; bless them that curse you, The society has long borne a testimony do good to them that hate you, and pray against the crying sin of enslaving the for them that despitefully use you and per- human species, as entirely at variance secute you, that ye may be the children with the commands of our Saviour, and of your Father which is in heaven.” They the spirit of the Christian religion; and consider these to be binding on every likewise against the unnecessary use of Christian, and that the observance of them intoxicating liquors. i would eradicate from the human heart Friends believe magistracy or civil gov. those malevolent passions in which strife ernment to be God's ordinance, the good and warfare originate.
ends thereof being for the punishment of In the same manner, the society be-evil-doers, and the praise of them that do
well, While they feel themselves re- that, daily living in the fear of God and strained by the pacific principles of the under the power of the cross of Christ, gospel from joining in any warlike mea. which crucifies to the world and all its sures to pull down, set up, or defend any lusts, they may show forth a conduct and particular government: they consider it a conversation becoming their Christian produty to live peaceably under whatever fession, and adorn the doctrine of God our form of government it shall please Divine Saviour in all things. Providence to permit to be set up over In the year 1827, a portion of the memthem; to obey the laws so far as they do bers in some of the American yearly meet. not violate their consciences; and, where ings, seceded from the society, and set up an active compliance would infringe on a distinct and independent association, but their religious scruples, to endure patiently still holding to the name of friends. The the penalties imposed upon them. The document issued by the first meeting they society discourages its members from ac- held, bearing date the 21st of 4th month, cepting posts or offices in civil government 1827, and stating the causes of their se. which expose them to the danger of yio. cession, says, “Doctrines held by one lating our Christian testimonies against part of society, and which we believe to war, oaths, &c., and also from engaging be sound and edifying, are pronounced by in political strise and party heats and dis- the other part to be unsound and spu. putes, believing that the work to which we rious.” The doctrines, here alluded to, are particularly called, is to labor for the were certain opinions promulgated by spread of the peaceful reign of the Messiah. Elias Hicks, denying or invalidating the
It also forbids its members to go to law miraculous conception, divinity and atonewith each other; enjoining them to settle ment of our Lord Jesus Christ, and also their disputes, if any arise, through the the authenticity and divine authority of arbitration of their Brethren; and if pecu- the holy scriptures. These, with some liar circumstances, such as the cases of other notions, were so entirely repugnant executors, trustees, &c., render this course to the acknowledged and settled principles impracticable or unsafe, and liberty is ob- of the society, that endeavors were used tained to bring the matter into court, that to prevent the promulgation of them. The they should on such occasions, as well as friends and admirers of Elias Hicks and his in suits with other persons, conduct them- principles were dissatisfied with this opposelves with moderation and forbearance, sition to their views; and after some years without anger or animosity; and in their of fruitless effort to get the control of the whole demeanor evince that they are under meetings of Friends, they finally withdrew the government of a divine principle, and and set up meetings of their own. In this that nothing but the necessity of the case secession some members in New York, brings them there.
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Ohio and Indiana In conformity with the precepts and yearly meetings, and a few in New Eng. examples of the apostles and primitive land went off from the society. In the believers, the society enjoins upon its others; viz., London, Dublin, Virginia members a simple and unostentatious and North Carolina, no separation took mode of living, free from needless care place. This new society, commonly and expense; moderation in the pursuit known by the appellation of Hicksites, of business ; and that they discountenance after the name of its founder,) being still music, dancing, stage plays, horse races, in existence, claiming the title of Friends, and all other vain and unprofitable amuse- and making a similar appearance in dress ments ; as well as the changeable fashions and language, some notice of the separaand manners of the world, in dress, lan- tion seemed necessary, in order to prevent guage, or the furniture of their houses ; ' confusion.
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS.
BY WILLIAM GIBBONS, M.D.,
Nore.- In the following sketch, I have autobiography, written in a simple and given what I believe to be the doctrines unembellished style, and containing a of that portion of the Society of Friends plain and unstudied narration of facts. of which I am a member. No doubt By this it appears, that in very early like there are different opinions among them, he indulged a vein of thoughtfulness and as there were among primitive Friends, on a deep tone of religious feeling, which, in some subjects not reducible to practice, or creasing with his years, were the mean in regard to which we cannot appeal to of preserving him, in a remarkable de experience, and which, in reference to gree, free from the contamination of evi scripture, may be differently understood. example by which he was surrounded. I alone am responsible for what I have The period in which he lived was distin. written—the society having no written guished by a spirit of anxious inquiry, and creed.
a great appearance of zeal, on the subjeci WILLIAM GIBBONS. of religion. The manners of the age were Wilmington, Del., 7th month, 1843. nevertheless deeply tinctured with licen.
tiousness, which pervaded all classes of ORIGIN OF THE SOCIETY.
society, not excepting professors of reliThe Society of Friends originated in gion. Under these circumstances, George England about the middle of the 17th cen. Fox soon became dissatisfied with the tury. The chief instrument in the divine mode of worship in which he had been hand for the gathering and establishment educated. Withdrawing, therefore, from of this religious body was George Fox. the public communion, he devoted himself He was born in the year 1624. He was to retirement, to inward meclitation, and carefully educated according to the re- the study of the scriptures. While thus ceived views of religion, and in conform- engaged in an earnest pursuit of divine ity with the established mode of worship. knowledge, his mind became gradually His natural endowments of mind, although enlightened to discover the nature of true they derived but little advantage from the religion ; that it consisted not in outward aid of art, were evidently of a very supe profession, nor in external forms and cererior order. The character of this extra monies, but in purity of heart, and an ordinary man it will not, however, be upright walking before God. He was in necessary here to describe with critical structed to comprehend, that the means minuteness. The reader, who may be by which those necessary characteristics desirous of acquiring more exact infor- of true devotion were to be acquired were anation on this head, is referred to the not of a secondary or remote nature; that journal of his life, an interesting piece of the Supreme Being still condescended, as