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The Quakers in England.
would hold its votaries through obloquy and persecutions even unto death. The courage and honesty of England deserted the court and took up their abode among the sectaries. These lost all chance of official recognition in State affairs or court society, but a sense of a deeper loyalty and of a higher career was more than an equivalent for the loss.
Hence when the young Oxford undergraduate developed some distaste for the established forms, and rather than absent himself from certain unauthorized religious meetings with his companions, allowed himself to be expelled from the University, he did not receive a warm wel. come at home. Driving from the house did not accomplish a cure, but an extended visit to Paris and to the theological school at Saumur was more effective, and he returned “a most modish person, grown quite a fine gentleman.” *
This did not last long, and a growing serious ness took him to a meeting of Friends in Cork, 1 whither he had gone to attend to his father's Irish estates. He there heard the words from the mouth of Thomas Loe which determined his religious association, his attitude towards society and government, and his lifelong convictions.
f This was in 1866. George Fox had been
preaching for twenty years, and multitudes apparently ripe for the new teaching had flocked Ja to his standard. There were already thousands y of Quakers, as they were called in opprobrium.
They were inhumanly persecuted, but they throve on it. The jails were full of them, and foul places the jails of those days were, but more crowded into the meetings, full of the martyr spirit. w It is not necessary to give here a full account giof Quaker doctrine. Only such portions will be a referred to as seem to have some bearing on the
an production of the type which afterwards found Laits way into Pennsylvania and embodied itself 1. in the frame of government, the laws, the insti
tutions, and the customs of the State. 6. That the Divine Being speaks directly to ; the heart of every man was the central point of
the teaching-central in that it was the tenet most pressed by the ministers as of vital consequence to the individual believer, and central in that it was logically “the root of the goodly : tree of doctrine which sprang from it.”* Their
Christian lives consisted in obedience to this Vis voice, variously called the Seed, Grace, Light of
is • William Penn.
10 A Quaker Experiment in Government. Christ, Word of God, Christ Within. George Fox said it was his business to point men to Christ and to leave them there, and almost any one of the countless sermons of which we have abstracts in the Journals of Friends contains in more or less obscure and mystical language the statement that the kingdom of God is within men. This doctrine was effective in their mouths and contagious, and thousands of Christians settled down under its influence, to draw their spiritual nourishment and impulses from this Divine Source. The plain layman looked to the Spirit of God to guide him in the comprehension of the Bible and other sources of spiritual truth,".. and to a greater or less extent in the affairs ofot daily life ; the church officer performed his functions under a sense of its continual direction; as the minister preached and preached only when * he apprehended it gave him a direct and immcdiato message to the congregation before him. I Men could not determine its course. Into the hearts of the most illiterate came its power, and words uttered by them were as authoritative as,.. if spoken by the university graduate. It re-13 duced to a spiritual level all ranks of birth, sex, fortune or education. The message, not the
} form of its delivery nor the messenger through Mvhom it came, was to be the object of reverence, qor that message was from God, who selected Mamong His servants the one to deliver it. If in pa meeting the ministers sat upon a higher bench Bacing the congregation, it was only for convenHience of speaking and not to assume direction,
nd not infrequently came the inspired voice of *xhortation or prayer from the commonest, ihnember of the crowded assemblage. No line was drawn between clergy and laity. It was a spiritual democracy as well as a social one. No
ordination made any hierarchy-only there was as formal recognition that upon this man or
alroman God had conferred a spiritual gift of .. Dis bome sort to benefit the world. 16 The Grace was universal. Every man in
Christian or heathen lands had felt its influence, and if yielded to, his salvation might be effected. it It was the function of the missionary to call atjetention to it, to turn hearts to the Christ within,
Jas well as to inform them of the Christ of hisla:tory, whose Deity and Atonement they plainly Firstated, to weaken dependence upon anything huheman and to induce everyone to take his own iespiritual responsibility upon himself. The delivporances of this Divine grace were at first slight