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it is through the same redeeming love, and the fountain from which they proceeded. for the same purpose that, under the “new (Eph. vi. 17; Heb. iv. 12; Rev. xix. covenant,” he now sends the Spirit of his 13.) Son into our hearts, a mediator and inter- Our testimony on Divine Worship, cessor, to reconcile us, and render us obe the Ministry, 8-c.—We believe that they, dient to the holy will and righteous law of that worship the Father aright, must wor. God. We believe that all, that is to be ship him in spirit and in truth, and not in savingly known of God, is made manifest a formal manner. (John iv. 24.) Hence, or revealed in man by his Spirit, (Rom. when we meet together for public worship, i. 19 ;) and if mankind had been satisfied | we do not hasten into outward performto rest here, and had practised on the ances. (1 Pet. iv. 11.) For, as we believe knowledge thus communicated, there would that of ourselves, and by our own natural never have existed a controversy about reason, we can perform no act that will religion, and no materials could now have be acceptable to God, or available to cur been found for the work, of which this own advancement in righteousness, with. essay forms a part. (Deut. xxviii. 15, out the sensible influence of his good 29.)
Spirit (1 Cor. xii. 3.): much less can we, Our testimony concerning the Scrip. without this divine aid, be useful to others, tures.-We believe that the scriptures or minister at set times, seeing that this have proceeded from the revelations of essential requisite is not at our command. the Spirit of God to the saints; and this Therefore it is our practice, when thus belief is founded on evidence furnished by met together, to sit in silence, and with. the same Spirit to our minds. We expe- draw our minds from outward things, to rience them to be profitable for doctrine, wait upon God, and “ feel after him, if for reproof, for correction, for instruction haply we may find him.” (Psalm xlvi. in righteousness. But as they are a de- 10.) And in these silent opportunities we claration from the fountain only, and not are often strengthened and refreshed tothe fountain itself, they bear the same gether by his heavenly presence. (Matt. inscription as the sun-dial: “ Non sine xviii. 20.) This manner of worship we lumine"-useless, or a dead letter, with believe to be more acceptable to our great out light ;* because the right interpreta. Head, “who seeth in secret,” than set tion, authority and certainty of them, and, forms of prayer or praise, however speconsequently, their usefulness, depend on cious, performed in the will of man. (1 the assurance and evidence of the same Cor. ii. 13; Luke xii, 12.) Yet we do not Spirit by which they were dictated, given exclude the use of a rightly qualified minto the mind of the reader. (2 Cor. iii. 6.) istry, but believe it to be a great blessing For, although we believe that we may be to the church. Nor do we exclude vocal helped and strengthened by outward prayer, when properly authorized; though means, such as the scriptures, and an au. we bear testimony against the custom of thorized gospel ministry : yet it is only appointing times and persons for this by the Spirit that we can come to the true solemn service by human authority; be. knowledge of God, and be led “ into all lieving that without the immediate operatruth.” Under these several considera- tion of the divine power, “ we know not tions, we cannot accept these writings as what we should pray for as we ought." the foundation and ground of all religious (Rom. viii. 26.) knowledge, nor as the primary rule of I have before stated it as our belief, faith and practice; since these high at that outward rites and ceremonies have tributes belong to the divine Spirit alone, no place under the Christian dispensation, by which the scriptures themselves are which we regard as a purely spiritual ad. tested. Neither do we confound cause ministration. Hence we hold that the and effect by styling thein the Word of means of initiation into the church of God,” which title belongs to Christ alone, Christ does not consist in the water-bap
tism of John, which decreasing rite has * Phipp's
Original and Present State of vanished (John iii. 30); but in Christ's Man."
baptism, (Matt, iii, 11,) or that of the
Holy Spirit; the fruits of which are repentance and the new birth. Neither do we believe that spiritual communion can be maintained between Christ and his church, by the use of the outward "elements" of bread and wine, called the "supper," which is the type or shadow only; but that the true communion is that alluded to in the Revelations: "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
Our testimonies against war, slavery, and oaths, are generally well known, and have their rise in the convictions of the spirit of truth in our minds, amply confirmed by the precepts and commands of Christ and his apostles, to which we refer the reader.
pliments in our intercourse with men, as having their origin in flattery, and tending to nourish a principle, the antagonist of that humility and meekness, which, after the example of Christ, ought to attach to his disciples. We also decline giving the common names to the months and days, which have been bestowed on them in honor of the heroes and false gods of antiquity, thus originating from superstition and idolatry.
A hireling ministry, or the practice of taking money for preaching, we testify against, as contrary to the plain precept and command of Christ, "Freely ye have received, freely give." Further, we hold that to constitute a minister of Christ requires a special gift, call, and qualification from the blessed Master, and that neither scholastic divinity, philosophy, nor the OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SOCIETY
forms of ordination, confer in any degree either ability or authority to engage in this service of Christ, (1 Cor. ii. 4, 5, 13,) who has forewarned us that without him we can do nothing for ourselves. (John xv. 5.) As we believe that gifts in the ministry are bestowed by the Head of the Church, so we presume not to limit him in the dispensation of them, to any condition of life, or to one sex alone; seeing that male and female are all one in Christ. And this liberty we look upon as a fulfilment of prophecy, having received abundant evidence of its salutary influence in the church. (Acts ii. 16, 17; xxi. 9.)
We refrain from the use of the plural number to a single person, and of com
We inculcate submission to the laws in all cases where the "rights of conscience" are not thereby violated. But as Christ's kingdom is not of this world, we hold that the civil power is limited to the maintenance of external peace and good order, and therefore has no right whatever to interfere in religious matters.
The purposes of our discipline are, the relief of the poor, the maintenance of good order, the support of our testimonies, and the help and recovery of such as are overtaken in faults.
In the practice of discipline, we think it indispensable that the order recommended by Christ himself be invariably observed: "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother; but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be estab lished. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church." (Matt. xviii. 15, 16, 17.)
To effect the salutary purposes of discipline, meetings were appointed at an early period of the society, which, from the times of their being held, were called
We condemn frivolous and vain amusements, and changeable fashions and super-quarterly meetings. It was afterwards fluities in dress and furniture, shows of found expedient to divide the districts of rejoicing and mourning, and public diver- those meetings, and to meet more fre sions. They are a waste of that time quently; whence arose monthly meetings, given us for nobler purposes, and are in- subordinate to those held quarterly. At compatible with the simplicity, gravity, length in 1669, a yearly meeting was esand dignity that should adorn the Chris- tablished, to be held in London, to supertian character. intend, assist, and provide rules for the whole. Previously to this time, general meetings had been held occasionally.
A monthly meeting is usually composed of several particular congregations, situated at convenient distances from each other. These are called preparative meetings; because they prepare business for the monthly meetings. It is the business of the monthly meeting to provide for the subsistence of the poor, and for the education of their offspring; to judge of the sincerity and fitness of persons appearing to be convinced of the religious principles of the society, and desiring to be admitted into membership; to excite due attention to the discharge of religious and moral duty; and to deal with disorderly members. Monthly meetings also grant to such of their members, as remove into other monthly meetings, certificates of their membership and conduct, without which they cannot gain membership in such metings; and they grant certificates to ministers concerned to visit neighboring meetings in the service of the gospel, setting forth that their concern has been laid before their own meeting and approved of. Each monthly meeting is required to appoint certain persons, under the name of overseers, who are to take care that the rules of our discipline be put in practice; and, when any case of delinquency comes to their knowledge, to visit the offending member, agreeably to the gospel rule before mentioned, previously to its being laid before the monthly meeting.
When a case is introduced, a committee is appointed to visit the offender, to endeavor to convince him of his error, and to induce him to condemn or forsake it. If this be done to the satisfaction of the meeting, a record is made accordingly, and the case is dismissed. If not, he is disowned from membership.
In disputes between individuals, it has long been the decided judgment of the society, that its members should not sue each other at law. It therefore enjoins on all to end their differences by speedy and impartial arbitration, agreeably to rules laid down in the discipline. If any refuse to adopt this mode, or having adopted it, if they refuse to submit to the award, they are liable to disownment.
To monthly meetings also belongs the allowing of marriages; for our society has always scrupled to acknowledge the au
thority of priests, or hireling ministers, in the solemnization of this rite. Those, who intend to marry, inform the monthly meeting of their intentions, when a committee is appointed both from the men's and women's meeting, to make inquiry if the parties are clear from other similar engagements; and if found to be so, the consent of parents or guardians being shown, the marriage is allowed by the meeting. It is performed in a public meeting for worship, or in a meeting held at the house of one of the parties, towards the close of which they stand up, and solemnly take each other for husband and wife. The certificate is then signed, read, and attested. A committee appointed by the monthly meeting attends the marriage to see that it be orderly accomplished, moderation observed, and to deliver the certificate to the recorder. Of such marriages the meeting keeps a record, and also of the births and burials of its members.
Births and burials are unaccompanied with rites and ceremonies. At burials a solemn pause is made, and an opportunity afforded for those who may be concerned, to communicate their exercises.
Several monthly meetings compose a quarterly meeting. At the quarterly meeting are produced written answers from the monthly meetings to certain queries respecting the conduct of their members, and the meeting's care over them. The following are the principal subjects thus regularly brought into view by the queries: Attendance of all the meetings, with punctuality; clearness from disorderly conduct therein; prevalence of love and unity; absence of tale-bearing and detraction; speedy endeavors to heal differences; careful education of children; their frequent reading of the scriptures; their restraint from reading pernicious books and from corrupting intercourse; absence of traffic in ardent spirits, and of the use of them as a drink; avoiding places of diversion, and the frequenting of taverns ; observance of temperance in other respects; providing for poor members, and schooling their children; faithful support of testimony against oaths, an hireling ministry, war, fraudulent or clandestine trade, dealing in prize-goods and lotteries;
care to live within their circumstances, and to keep to moderation in trade; punctuality to promises, and just payment of debts; timely attention to such as give ground for uneasiness in these respects; dealing with offenders in the proper spirit und without delay, for their help, and when necessary to disown, seeking right authority; support of schools under the care of the meeting, At the close of the answers to the queries, certain advices are read in the preparative and monthly meetings, in the conclusion of which Friends are enjoined to conduct the affairs of their meetings in" the peaceable spirit and wisdom of Jesus, with decency, forbearance" and love of each other."
A summary of the answers to the queries is made out in the quarterly meeting, and forwarded to the yearly meeting, thus setting forth the general state of society. Appeals of disowned persons, from the judgment of the monthly meetings, are brought to the quarterly meetings for revision.. It is also the business of these meetings to assist in any difficult cases that may be presented by the monthly meetings, or where remissness appears in the care of these bodies over their members.
The yearly meeting has the general superintendence of the society within the limits embraced by the several quarterly meetings of which it is composed; and therefore, as the accounts which it receives discover the state of inferior meetings, as particular exigencies require, or as the meeting is impressed with a sense of duty, it gives forth its advice, makes such regulations as appear to be requisite, or excites to the observance of those already made, and sometimes appoints committees to visit those quarterly and monthly meetings which appear to be in need of immediate advice. Each yearly meeting forms its own discipline. Appeals of disowned members from the judgment of quarterly meetings are here finally determined. A brotherly correspondence, by epistles, is maintained with other yearly meetings.
As we believe that women may be rightly called to the work of the ministry, we also think that to them belongs a share in the support of our discipline; and that
some parts of it, wherein their own sex is concerned, devolve on them with peculiar propriety. Accordingly, they have monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings of their own, held at the same time with those of the men, but separately, and without the power of making rules.
In order that ministers may have the tender sympathy and counsel of those, who by their experience in religion, are qualified for that service, the monthly meetings are advised to select such, from both sexes, under the denomination of elders. These, together with the approved ministers, have meetings peculiar to themselves, called meetings of ministers and elders;" in which they have an opportunity of exciting each other to the discharge of their respective duties, and of extending advice to those who may appear to need it, without needless exposure. Such meetings are generally held within the compass of each monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting. They are conducted by rules prescribed by the yearly meeting, and have no authority to make any alterations of, or additions to the discipline. The members of the select meeting, as it is often called, unite with their brethren in the meetings for discipline, and are equally amenable to the latter for their conduct.
Those who believe themselves required to speak in meetings for worship, are not immediately acknowledged as ministers by their monthly meetings; but time is taken for judgment, that the meeting may be satisfied of their call and qualification. It also sometimes happens that such, as are not approved, obtrude themselves as ministers, to the grief of their brethren. But much forbearance is used towards these, before the disapprobation of the meeting is publicly expressed.
In order that the yearly meeting may be properly represented during its recess, there is a body called the Meeting for Sufferings, or Representative Committee, composed of a certain number of members appointed by each quarterly meeting. It is the business of this meeting to receive and record the account of sufferings from refusal to pay fines and other military demands, sent up annually from the quarterly meetings; to distribute useful religious books; to advise or assist our members
who may incline to publish any manu- , of the meeting. In matters which elicit script or work tending to promote the cause a difference of sentiment, personal and of truth, or the benefit of society; and in censorious remarks are discouraged, and general to act on behalf of the yearly care is taken to exercise a spirit of conmeeting in any case where the welfare of descension and brotherly love. Thus it the body may render it needful. It keeps often occurs in our meetings, that defera record of its proceedings, which is an- ence to the views and feelings of a few nually laid before the yearly meeting. consistent members will prevent the body Except this meeting and the meeting of from adopting a measure in which there ministers and elders, all our members have is otherwise great unanimity, a right to attend the meetings of business, The Yearly Meetings of New York, and to take part in the proceedings; and Genessee, Baltimore, Ohio, and Indiana, they are encourged to do so. We have hold an epistolary correspondence with no chairman or moderator, and the duty Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, according to of the clerks is limited to recording the ancient practice. But the Yearly Meeting proceedings. We decide no question by of London has declined this intercourse vote, but by what appears to be the sense since the separation in 1827.
THE GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH.
BY LEWIS MAYER, D. D., YORK, PA.
The German Reformed Church, as its | but, since 1803, included in the new canname imports, comprises that portion of ton of St. Gall. the family of reformed churches who About the time of Zwingli's birth, the speak the German language and their people of Tokkenburg had effected their descendants, and as such is distinguished emancipation from the condition of serfs from the French Reformed, the Dutch Re- to the saintly abbey, and now breathed formed, &c. It embraces the reformed the air of freedom in all its delightful churches of Germany and of the German freshness; and the future reformer, inpart of Switzerland, and their brethren haling the same enlivening air from his and descendants in other countries, par. infancy, and growing up to manhood ticularly in the United States of Amer- under its influence, became the champion ica.
of liberty, in all the forms in which the The founder of this church was ULRIC human mind is by nature free. ZWINGLI, a native of Switzerland. He Possessing talents of a high order, and was born on the 1st day of January, cultivated by the best education which the 1484, at Wildhaus, a village of the ancient times could afford, and a lofty genius could county of Tokkenburg, then a dependency attain; taught, at the same time, by the of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Gall, under Spirit of God, and guided by him into a the guardianship of the canton of Schweitz, knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus ;