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CoMMUNICATIONS MUST BE ADDRESSED AND PAYMENTS MADE TO
Practical Value of Membership with Friends....
1 AT PUBLICATION OFFICE, No. 1020 AROH STREET. Martha Mellor.............. 3 TERMS :—TO BE PAID IN ADVANCE. Religious Growth... . e ‘o Educational • * * * * * * * * * * * * i The Paper is issued every week. Ethical Teaching in Friends’ Schools........................, The FORTY-SECOND VOLUME commenced on the 14th of Extracts from Letters *******:: *ś Second month, 1885, at Two DoDLARS AND FIFTY CENTs to Society Self-Respect..............................................i.2% : subscribers receiving it through mail, postage prepaid. Editorial: “Friends.”................................... * G SINGLE NUMBERS, SIX CENTS. * to o is to o e o e g o e o e & !. ool, s, sl S. - :---- • * * * * * IT IS DESIRABLE THAT ALL SUBSCRIPTIONS COMMENCE AT The New Orleans Exposition. “so-o-o-o-o: TEIE BEGINNING OF THE VOLUME, I)ay by Day a e s a e s e e s so e e o see e s so so e o se e s e o so e s e o e < * * * s 6 & 8 ...& # e. g. so to o, ot 3.x: R.E.MITTANCES by Mail should be in CHECKS, DRAFTS, or | Personal Influence of our Teachers...................o. P. O. Mos EY-ORDERS; the latter preferred. Money sent by Mail | Weimer in Winter........................... :*:::::: #.* 12 will be at the risk of the person so sending. - Poetry; Consecration—The New Year........... ..............:... 13 AGENTS :—EDWIN BLACKBURN, Baltimore, Md. Local Information..............................-----------. 14 JosłPH. S. CoEIU, New York. The Library 15 BENJ. STRATTAN, Richmond, Ind., Current Events........................................................................ ..... 16 Entered at the Post-Office at Philadelphia, Penna., as Second- Items........---------------------------------------. 16 Notices............... “............------------------------------------------.................. 16 class matter.
PRACTICAL WALUE OF MEMBERSHIP WITH FRIENDS.
Read at the After-meeting Conference at Race Street Meeting,
We are social beings, dependent for our greatest happiness upon our relations one with another. How we may make the most of each other for each others' good, is a problem not by any means so much attended to, nor so well understood as it ought to be. We have various forms of organization that are social in the broader sense. For the purposes of government, under our Republican form, all the members of a community are associated together by a perpetual compact, the object being the mutual protection of each others’ personal rights. This is a matter of necessity. Each surrenders a portion of his natural liberty in return for the protection which organized government affords. Each gives up the privilege of robbing and abusing others, in order that he himsel may not be robbed and abused. •o
And there are associations of men in endless variety. that have for their object pecuniary gain; and others in equal variety for educational, literary, charitable and other similar purposes; but no one of these, nor even all combined, can supply the full want that exists in order to derive the highest good from the social relation. Viewing the human race as a whole, from the earliest historic periods, we are forced to the conclusion that the sentiment of religion, or reverence for some higher power, is almost universally implanted in the human breast, and moral
with those attributes of benevolence and goodness
nize this divine element in man, and make its enlight-
yaluable one, but going more is needed by which, in frequent intéréâûâû interchange of views on
subjects connector highest welfare, our ideas may become enlarged, and we may be more effectu ally helps to each other, to our children and those
| | | | 1 who are to come after us. As “a threefold cord is not easily broken,” so is there strength and power for good in organized and combined effort. As individuals we must all pass away, one by one, but an association or society endowed with perpetual existence, may be made not only the means of our being greatly more useful to each other while living, but a repository of our efforts for good, so that their influence may extend to succeeding generations. Especially is a rightly founded religious organization important in reference to children; and in this connection we may see the great value of our peculiar system of birthright membership, which should not be carried so far, however, as to relieve our young people from the responsibility of choosing their own course when they arrive at years of maturity. The parental guardianship is liable to cease at any moment by the death of the parent. How important, then, that within the bosom of an intelligently conducted organization, children may be surrounded by influences that, while at all times aiding, may also, in some measure at least, supply the place of parental care when that shall be prematurely withdrawn. In the view thus presented of the divine element in man, as his highest attribute, but to be developed jointly with the intellect; of the perfect unity of all truth, whether religious or scientific; of the necessity for combined action, and of the advantages of a permanent organization, it is not easy to conceive of a more perfect form of association for the ends desired, than the Religious Society of Friends, as it exists and holds and conducts meetings at this place, with such further modifications and improvements as will suggest themselves as time goes on. The aged, the middle-aged, and the young, are here brought into harmonious co-operation. It is a mutual work in which all may be helps to each other. There are none so wise or so proficient in the knowledge of divine things, but that they may learn some things from their own less gifted associates; and there are none so ignorant but that they can, from the diversity of gifts, and varied experiences of life, impart something that may be profitable to others. The practice of Friends in uniformly providing schools for the education of their children, at the same time they provided places for religious worship, shows they well understood from the first, that the two things should go hand in hand. “Are there schools established for the education of our youth, under the care of teachers in membership with us, and superintended by committees appointed either in the Monthly or Preparative meetings?” Such is the query to be annually answered in each Monthly and Quarterly Meeting, and reported to the Yearly Meeting. Again, our Yearly Meeting, feeling the evil of committing the children “to the care of transient persons of doubtful character and sometimes of very corrupt minds,” in order to “procure such tutors of our own religious persuasion as are not only capable of instructing them in useful learning to fit them for the business of this life, but to train them in the knowledge of their duty to God and one towards another,” advised, among other things, “That a lot of ground be provided in each Monthly or Preparative Meeting, sufficient for a garden, orchard, grass
for a cow, etc., and a suitable house erected thereon.” All this shows that intellectual education has ever been regarded, not as a mere incidental, but as an essential feature of the organization, or, in other words, that the Society is not merely a religious, but also an educational institution. The great superiority of Friends' schools everywhere, combining as they do in effect religious as well as secular education, is generally acknowledged. They seem to be more highly prized by a discriminating outside public, than by some, even of our own members, and as a result of their pecuniary success, they can generally be made free to the children of Friends. That this desirable state of things should continue, it is obvious that there must be a succession of those willing to devote themselves to the care and labor it involves, embracing not merely the schools, but the general affairs of society. It remains to speak of the advantages arising from the freedom of opinion enjoyed by Friends; and by Friends in this connection is meant members of the Yearly Meeting held at this place and the six other Yearly Meetings in correspondence with us. It would be a solecism to say freedom of thought is allowed among us, for freedom of thought is the natu ral right of every one. It is more correct to say that there is no attempt among us to abridge this right, nor freedom of expression either, so long as it is confined within reasonable limits, and exercised with due respect for the feelings and equal rights of others. If there is any one thing more detrimental than every other to the progress and development of truth, it would, in the nature of things, seem to be the upholding of a fixed creed or declaration of faith or belief, as if it were possible for finite beings like ourselves, to reduce to any set form of words or phrases the ultimatum of divine truth, beyond which no progress could be made, and to attempt which even would be heresy. Truth itself does not change, but our knowledge of what is truth is continually changing, and we must acknowledge it and change accordingly, or we are slaves to the worst form of bigotry. What we believe to-day to be truth, we to-morrow may find to be error, and must admit it or stultify ourselves. Belief is not a thing of choice. We cannot believe things, whatever their nature may be, that our common sense teaches us are incredible and absurd. We may profess to believe such and such things, and in a measure persuade ourselves that we do, and hold ourselves out to the world as upholding them, without having in any manner exercised our honest judgments about them, but such a course is highly derogatory to the character of true manhood, and tends to perpetuate darkness and superstition. To be free from the jarring of discordant factions, wrangling over theological dogmas, wholly nonessential, if not absurd in their character, and to enjoy the love and unity to be found only in the free toleration of individual opinion, is one of the important things for which the body of Friends before mentioned have great reason to, and ought to feel devoutly thankful.