Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE ART OF CULTIVATING MORAL POWER.

|PRINCIPLES.

1. “Life is kindled by life; hence the highest in children is roused only by example.”—Richter. 2. “Omit negative propositions; nerve us with incessant affirmations. Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”—Emerson. 3. A good or bad habit scarred into the brain pours forth its results almost spontaneously. “The reiterated choice of good and evil gradually determines character.”—G. Eliot. 4. For every character, no matter how low its moral plane, there is a possible easy step upward. 5. Order, neatness, beauty of surroundings, discipline, are means toward a moral effect. 6. Injustice and unkindness arise chiefly from incapacity for “imagining ourself to be somebody else;” hence cultivate sympathetic feeling. 7. Moral training should be gradual and continuous. It is as impossible morally as it is intellectually to pass from one grade of power to another without passing through the intermediate steps. 8. The order of moral development is, first, quick, vivid feeling; second, sound judgment; third, right action. These, however, act and react upon each other. 9. The moral power of a child must develop before it becomes the moral power of an adult. To expect of the child the moral power of the adult is to discourage so as to prevent growth, or to force an unsound development. 10. A wrong thing done lessens the power to do right; hence compulsion may be useful in securing negative results. 11. Positive increase of moral power can arise only through self-control. 12. Not the pupil’s feeling toward the teacher, but the teacher's feeling toward the pupil, is significant. 13. To scorn another is to be incapable of rendering him moral assistance.—N. Y. Journal of Education.

LIWING FAR OFF.

A lady was visiting a friend whose home was remote from her own, and, indeed, was remote from the great centres of population. It was a secluded place, moreover, and its seclusion and remoteness struck the visitor forcibly. “I should not think,” she said to her friend, “you would like living so far off.” “So far off from where?” was the interrogative answer, to which reply was not easy. Great cities might be at a distance. There might be even no large towns in the immediate vicinity. But this place was her home, the centre of her life. Why should not the view be reversed ? Why should not the thought be, These places are far off from me?

Surely, on many accounts, this is the wiser way of reckoning. The home, wherever Providence has ordered that it should be placed is the centre. When one is there, he is not “far off.” It makes all the difference in the world where we run our meridians. He has learned the lesson of contentment who runs his through his home. “Far off from where?” He

is not far off, he is at what ought to be for him the very centre of the universe. There are inconveniences and privations attendant upon residence remote from other men, but the family under such circumstances can wisely make itself its own centre, and not add the evil of discontent to other and necessary inconveniences.—Selected.

EXTRACTS FROM LETTERS.

I AM deeply concerned for the welfare of our beloved Society that we may abide with patience the turning and overturning of the Divine hand which is surely preparing us for a greater work in the service of truth, than we have had, perhaps, in many years. Individual faithfulness will cause our light to shine, for there is that at work in our midst that will remove, as it were, the bushel under which we have been hiding our light.

I have wondered many times whether you could realize what comfort and encouragement your weekly messenger, the Friends' Intelligencer brings to our homes, even to the nethermost branches. In unity there is strength, and if more Friends could only be induced to make some little sacrifice, or dispense with some of their cheap papers, that are really doing little or no good in their families, they then could afford to take Friends’ Intelligencer, or Journal, which would give the needed encouragement, of which so many, especially our isolated Friends, are so sorely in need. How we can do this that they may be united more closely with the body is the question I am trying to solve. My cup is full to overflowing with interest in your work so important in our Society.

I THINK the declension in the west is more from social causes than otherwise. Friends do not as formerly feel any care to locate in groups or neighborhoods with their fellow members, so that themselves and their children may have the benefit of congenial association. It is said of the French that they have no word in their language which expresses the English idea of a home, and I think this is too much the case with the people of the “new west.” They are ready at any time upon a slight pecuniary advantage, to pull up stakes and move on towards the outskirts—thus encouraging a restless, uneasy disposition in themselves and children which prevents that adhesive influence which a permanent home brings around it and fosters.

According to the census, the decline of the Society of Friends is not peculiar to it, but extends to most other denominations except those who are devoted to emotional or ritualistic observances, and I hope while we have any regard or veneration for the principles of the Society, we shall not for the sake of members, sacrifice these on the altar of popularity.

“I KNow some say, Let us have good laws, and no matter for the men that execute them. But let them consider that though good laws do well, good men do better, for good laws need good men, and are abolished or evaded by ill men; but good men will never lack good laws, nor allow ill ones.”— William Penn.

FRIENDS INTELLIGENCER.

PHILADELPHIA, THIRD MO. 28, 1885.

SACRED SCRIPTURES.—The influence on the mind of mankind of a thoughtful, reverent study of the ancient books which have so long been esteemed among Christians, as well as Hebrews, as sacred, is now an important practical question in the Society of Friends. So much light has been brought to bear upon these by the researches of explorers, by the deciphering of Egyptian and Assyrian inscriptions, and the unfolding of ancient rolls of papyrus, which give collateral information, that we are quite behind the ordinary degree of information, if we content ourselves with a merely superficial reading of the text. It may be that some have feared that the spirit of the ancient narrative will be lost if we scan closely the letter, or that the irreconcilable points will be so evident on such a critical examination as to lead to the utter rejection of the books which have comforted and instructed the long generations of the faithful. YWe do not share the apprehension of those who would shut themselves up in ignorance to avoid skepticism. Not so did our fathers of the Society of Friends. The elaborate study and logical arguments of Robert Barclay are as solidly effective as those of any accredited authority in the Christian Church. While this eminent confessor was fully convinced, and he openly taught, that the Divine Spirit was the true leader and guide of human life, and held that the immediate revelation of the Spirit to the heart of man is the immovable foundation of all Christian faith, he and every other great writer of our communion has taken care to find abundant testimony from the Scriptures themselves that this was the faith of the saints of all the generations of mankind. Barclay asks; “How comes David to invite us to taste and see that God is good, if this cannot be felt and tasted ?” Every Friend of experience in the way of life has so felt and tasted, and can bear glad witness to the fundamental truth of Quakerism that the Holy Spirit is very close to the pure in heart. And the Apostle John could ascribe his knowledge and assurance, and that of all the saints, to the same source as did the Friend: “Hereby we know that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” (1 John iv, 13.) And again—(v, vi) “It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” But Barclay, a profound student of the Scriptures, and a spiritually enlightened Friend,

could declare that the Spirit contradicts not Scripture nor right reason. The accepted ground of our Church is that from the revelations of the Spirit of God to the saints of old have proceeded those Scriptures which are profitable “for instruction in righteousness,” and that the inward testimony of the Spirit is the seal of Scripture promises. The exact text in the Revised Version is “Every Scripture, inspired of God, is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in rightness.” It surely is not justifiable to neglect and ignore the testimony of the dedicated and experienced of the ages past, on the ground that the teaching of the Divine Spirit makes the testimony of the Bible of no avail to help man on his heavenward journey. It is needed for our teaching, because at every step we find important corroborative testimony to that which we have felt to be eternal truth ; it is needed for reproof, for the Most High, who loveth righteousness, has pronounced his judgments against sin in all ages, thus correcting the partial or false conceptions of fallible men, and we are never too well furnished unto all good works. We are entirely averse to any reversion to the worship of the letter, but we wish to remind those who know well how the letter may be used to pervert vital truth, that by any fair and just interpretation of the “Scriptures inspired of God,” they fully confirm the fundamental principles of our Church. And no ministers of any Christian name have made more use of the testimony of the Scriptures of Truth in proof of their ministry than have our inspired brethren and sisters of the Society of Friends. The real weapons of our warfare are not carnal, nor intellectual, but spiritual; but we have need of the use of the whole armor of the Christian, and his full equipment, if we are to prove ourselves worthy of our heritage. r

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

With her knowledge, she became eminently qualified to declare of the unsearchable riches of His glorious kingdom. So great was her unshaken faith in the allSustaining power of His mercy, that she was often heard to say, “The Lord will provide.” Living thus above the things of earth, her mind was centered in the infinite love of the Father, whose inspiration led her often to speak words of consolation to the downCast and depressed, and to warn the indifferent and ungodly. And when the summons came to surrender her stewardship, it found her ready, and waiting for the change. Surrounded by her sorrowing family, slowly her life ebbed away, as praise and thanksgiving fell from her lips. She was frequently heard to repeat the words of the aged Simeon, “Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” “Take me to thy heavenly arms,” were the last audible words that fell from her lips, save a benediction bestowed upon one of her grandchildren. Growing gradually weaker, she passed without a struggle to the higher life beyond. A. H.

CHAMBERLAIN.—On Third mo. 18th, 1885, in West Chester, Pa., Palmer Chamberlain, in his 82d year.

DARLINGTON.— Suddenly, on the evening of Third mo. 9th, 1885, Ann, widow of the late Stephen Darlington, of Pocopson, Chester co., Pa., in her 81st year; an elder of Birmingham Monthly Meeting.

More than a passing notice is due her memory. She Was a diligent attender of all our meetings, and seldom Since the memory of her children was absent from her accustomed seat. It is hard to realize “the place that Once knew her shall know her no more.” Her mission in life extended little beyond the home, but quietly and faithfully was that mission performed. Her sympathies were with those in the humbler walks Of life, and there are many that can testify to deeds of kindness done just at the time when most needed.

Quiet and retiring she lived, and thus she died, apparently without sickness or pain; and of her it may be said : “Well done thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

GRIEST.--On Seventh mo. 10th, 1884, after years of patient suffering, Mary Ann Griest, widow of Cyrus Griest, in the 79th year of her age; an elder of Monallen Monthly Meeting.

...GRIEST.-On Third mo. 20th, 1885, after a short illness of pneumonia, Jesse W. Griest, in the 48th year of his age; a member of Monallen Monthly Meet111g. RENDERDIN E.—On Second-day morning, Third mo. 16, 1885, Benjamin Kenderdine, aged 67.

PARKER.—On Third month 6th, 1885, near White Rock, Kan., Anna E., wife of Alonzo H. Parker, and daughter of Henry L. and Amy C. Pratt, of Chester Co., Pa., aged 28 years.

PUGH. – In Oxford, Pa., Adriana Pugh, aged 83 years.

TYSON.—On Second mo. 25th, 1885, at 217 Madison avenue, Baltimore, Md., Mary I. Tyson, in the 82d year of her age; daughter of the late Isaac Tyson, Sr., of the same city.

WILLETS –On Third-day, Third mo. 10th, 1885, at Flushing, L. T., Thomas S. Willets, in the 66th year of his age.

Thus has one passed from “works to rewards,” giving evidence of his desire to do his Heavenly Father's will, which enabled him to feel at the close of life, that he Was prepared for the change that awaited him. In his removal, the meeting of which he was a life-long and efficient member, as well as his family and friends, have sustained an irreparable loss that will long be felt in the community. The very large audience assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to his memory upon the solemn occasion, and the testimony

given to the bright example of his Christian life, all give evidence that he had lived up to his convictions of duty, and when the summons came, gently was the “silver chord loosed ” from earth and all its endearments, and the immortal spirit entered the Heavenly Mansion of peace and joy. E. H. B.

CORFESPON DEN CE.

EstEEMED FRIENDs: In a recent number of the Friends' Quarterly Examiner, published in London, I find an excellent article on “Denominational Education,” which was read at a meeting on education of New York Yearly Meeting of Orthodox Friends. We hear occasionally even those who are concerned members of our Society say that we have now no need of separate schools: that the education given by our excellent public school system is enough for them ; and that the efforts of Friends had much better be directed toward the elevation and improvement of these schools, than maintaining separate schools of their own. The convincing reply to this view is given as follows:

The growth of the public school system has made it possible for the children of our members to be educated at less expense than was involved in the support of our own elementary schools. We have been content to let other churches and the State furnish to our youth of talent and energy the advantages for higher education which they have sought. In these facts may be found one of the causes, and a most important one, for the decline in our membership in the past. Hosts of men and women, who had a birthright membership with us, are to be found among the most earnest and efficient laborers in other religious denominations. Thank God for the good work they are doing in the churches where they are found to-day. We would not wish them or their churches one whit less prosperity than they enjoy. Rather would we bid them God-speed in their work. But might they not have been equally useful in the world had they been retained in the church of their fathers?

If the World has no further use for the denomination which was founded by George Fox, no more effectual means can it adopt by which to quietly and gracefully extinguish itself than to turn over the education of its youth to somebody else. Or, what is equivalent, let us neglect our own educational institutions until they fall below the standard of the schools and colleges about us in point of advantages for thorough and liberal culture ; let this be well established as Our future policy, and it will not require many generations to rid the world of the last Quaker.

There is an old saying that has become an educational maxim of the age, that “what a nation would have its people practice, it must put into its schools.” Not more true is this of the nation than of the Church. If Quakerism is to be perpetuated it must be made a part of education. I believe there is not a distinctive doctrine of the Friends that cannot be intelligibly presented to the boys and girls in the classes of our schools. No such mystery or abstruseness belongs to the tenets of Our church as should make it necessary to commit their exposition or propagation to a select few. Any young man: Or young woman, competent to take charge of the intellectual training of students in an intermediate school, may master the grounds of belief in our distinctive views, and communicate them to their classes.

I have sometimes seen what I consider a wholly groundless fear presented even by those of unusual intelligence, and of an unquestionably earnest and

religious life. This fear is referred to and answered in the following words: In this connection, it may not be out of place to asSert that the highest intellectual culture is in no wise antagonistic to the deepest spiritual life. It is to be deplored that any necessity should exist for such a statement amongst Christian people in this age of the world. But, now and then, in the ranks of the reli gious men and women who are devoting all their energies and their lives to the work of the Gospel, those are found who tremble with fear lest an effort toward the highest and best mental training of the young may throw an obstacle in the way of the coming of the grace of God in their hearts. The fallacy that there is somehow a virtue in being ignorant can be the only ground on which the higher education of the membership can be regarded as detrimental to the religious life of the church. Men are saved because of their belief and knowledge, not by reason of their doubt and ignorance. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of light. The Christian religion is not a religion of barbarism. In the history of Christian civilization, whenever a revival of true religion has arisen amongst the people, it has been followed by a revival of learning. It is reasonable, therefore, to conclude that renewed religious activity in the Society of Friends will bring as one of its néCessary results, if the Spirit is allowed to have free COUrse amongst us, a revival of intellectual life.

Want of space forbids us to quote further, but the whole article is full of excellent suggestions and valuable thoughts, and will well repay a careful and attentive perusal. Although many of the important testimonies of our Religious Society have been, at least to a considerable extent, adopted by other denominations since the days of George Fox, and some of the work of early Friends is thus taken up and carried on by the world at large, we are by no means prepared to say that the mission of the Society is accomplished, and that it has not still as important a part to perform in the world as in the days of its early founders. Animated by this belief—this earnest conviction—let us train our children, not merely to give a passive assent to the beliefs, the traditions, the practices of our fathers, but to have an intelligent knowledge of the foundation upon which they built,and be ever “ready to give a reason for the faith” that is in them. . Thus, and thus alone, can we hope to preserve for the benefit of generations yet unborn that Society in which we have been nurtured, and which we believe to have been in the past the instrument of great good, and which we cannot willingly let die. EDWARD H. MAGILL. Swarthmore College, Third mo. 21st, 1885. A DEAR Friend who has been spending the present winter at this lovely place (Santa Barbara), upon the border of the western ocean, writes thus to a Friend in New York : What a blessed thing is letter writing ! Here I am; away off in California, thousands of miles away, with vast plains and high mountains between us, and still a bit of paper, dropped in a box, in a few days singles thee out from the millions, and is placed in thy hands; and so, across the continent, friend communes with friend. We had a pleasant journey, with fine weather and agreeable fellow-travelers, and felt some fatigue. I was surprised, however, to find the next day after arriving in San Francisco my fatigue was all over.

I attended a Friends' meeting in San Francisco, composed of twelve persons, of both branches of Friends, and the Friend who ministered to us was of our side. We had a good meeting. I think the spirit of prayer was permitted to all, judging from the profound stillness and trembling of some, and one young man who sat next to me was moved to tears. I thought, although separated from the main body, “Thou, O Lord, art here !” and, indeed, we felt it had been good for us to be there. I think there is a work for some of our Friends to do in this part of the world. Friends have been very kind to me in many ways, to make me forget I am so far from the loved ones at home. I find a few Friends in Santa Barbara, but they have as yet no meeting. They feel a meeting would be a strength to them. I hear Orthodox Friends have a Monthly Meeting at Los Angelos. We have spent two months at Santa Barbara very delightfully, the weather being the most perfect I ever enjoyed, the thermometer never getting above 75 deg., and never below 62 deg., except in the evening, when wood fires are comfortable; no fogs, no winds, no cloudy days—all sunshine. With the exception of one day and two nights, we have had no rain since we left home. The trees and flowers are tropical, and very beautiful. The fruits are good, but not so high flavored as ours. We have had strawberries ever since we came. There is a fine beach, and we sit much of the time there, watching the surf, while musing and thinking of the dear ones at home. The weather is so warm that many are bathing. I cannot realize that it is the second month of the year. There is something in the air that makes every one comfortable. I must not forget to tell thee how beautiful are the evening clouds in this land. They seem to wrap me in their glory. As I look upon them, I think how wonderfully our Heavenly Father frescoes the heavens, how beautiful He makes everything, what harmony is in all His works | If we could only keep ourselves in the Divine Harmony, what might we not attain Ż C. R. IN reading the communication from J. W. P., in a recent Friends' Intelligencer, I thought of another meeting, composed of a few members, and sometimes attended by a few friendly people. In sitting in thi meeting, I have queried whether the reading of a Psalm, or something of a deep, religious and tendering nature, would not awaken thought, and render the after silence more fruitful in spiritual blessing. A silent meeting is refreshing to many, but the faces of others show that their needs have not been ministered unto. These attend meeting, hoping for improvement, and need something beyond themselves to lead their thoughts into a spiritual state, wherein may come their help. J. E. Third month 8th, 1885.

THE question of silent worship, when there is no vocal outcome from it, is indeed a perplexing one. Perhaps no less perplexing as we recognize how inadequate is the vocal ministry, sometimes, purporting to be a legitimate outcome from the waiting. My own feeling is, notwithstanding J. W. P.'s putting of affairs at East Jordan, that it is not wise to attack the long-established form, but when there is ability for enlarged service, let it be in a conference such as is held at Race street, Philadelphia, without encroaching on the quiet hour, and the sanctity long associated with it. In our organization, which can boast so little direct authority and so much independent thought, it is wise not to arouse prejudice, but to compass ends through mediums not tending to diyide. —ommo-o-om-

For Friends' Intelligencer.

CONCERNING CERTAIN CLAUSES IN THE DISCIPLINE.

BY THOS. H. SPEAKMAN.

Attention has recently been called to a clause in the Discipline of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, making it a disownable offence for any in membership with us to “deny the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the immediate revelation of the Holy Spirit, or the authenticity of the Scriptures.” There is another cause of our discipline equally objectionable, wherein parents and heads of families are earnestly advised, as to those under their care, in regard to the Scriptures, “that they excite them to the diligent reading of these excellent writings which plainly set forth the miraculous conception, birth, holy life, wonderful works, blessed example, meritorious death, and glorious resurrection, ascension and mediation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to educate their children in the belief of those important truths, as well as in the belief of the inward manifestation and operation of the holy spirit on their own minds.” It is truly said that the early settlers of our New England States, fleeing from intolerance and persecution in the mother country, which they in their day denounced, no doubt in the most virulent terms they knew how to use, had no sooner themselves become well seated in power than they began to exercise a degree of intolerance and persecution, quite surpassing anything they had suffered themselves. Some of our early Friends had sorrowful occasion to know the truth of this. So in regard to the mutual toleration of individual opinions. Each one claims the right to think for himself, but is not always careful to see that the same right is respected in others. The matter before us furnishes ample illustration of these principles. These clauses are already in the Discipline, and there are those among us who accept the doctrines they contain and believe them to be important. These have as much right to the enjoyment of their opinions, and to be respected in that enjoyment as those who hold an opposite view. And they have possession on their side, and even though their numbers be comparatively small, their rights are the same, though they should not insist upon maintaining their position to the injury of the body. That these clauses of the Discipline are a source of uneasiness to a large body of our members, and a serious obstacle to the prosperity and well-being of the society cannot be denied. On the part of many Friends, there is a fear even to talk on the subject

matter contained in them. So far from any attempt being made to enforce them by the dread penalty of disownment, no one has ever thought of such a thing and the at empt to do it would doubtless be the surest method of procuring their speedy eradication. Throughout the length and breadth of our seven yearly meetings no such thought has apparently ever entered the mind of any one. To the fullest extent of the meaning of those terms therefore, these disciplinary clauses are what is called a “dead letter ’’ The instinctive feeling on the part of all is that the doctrines contained in them—however, proper to be cherished and upheld by individual members, are emphatically not such as one member has a right to call upon another to believe, nor such as the Society in its aggregate capacity has a right to enforce upon its individual members. Such being the existing fact, can it be otherwise than highly detrimenta} to the best interest of the Society to have upon the pages of its discipline, anything so entirely foreign to the feelings and instincts of its members? It must be granted that we are in a weak and pitiable condition if we have not the strength to make our discipline conform to the actual sentiments and feelings of our members. But we must remember the position with which we set out that individual members have the undoubted right to believe and cherish these doctrines or such and so many of them as they may think proper; and here is the ground upon which all should harmoniously unite. It must not be asked to erase these clauses from the discipline because the doctrines they enunciate are false, for this would be to invade the rights and shock the feelings of those who consider them true, and prize them, and raise an unprofitable controversy. Those who were instrumental in procuring the insertion of these clauses committed two errors. First causing the Society as a body to assert the truth of those things. Secondly, inserting them in the discipline to impose them as a creed, on all the members. Now to assert the falsity of these things so long as there is any considerable part of our individual members to support them is as much an error, as it was originally for the body to assert their truth, and two wrongs cannot make one right. The true and only ground upon which they can and ought to be omitted from the discipline is that they are matters for individual opinion, and not such as the Society can attempt to force upon its members, and for the best interest of the Society they cannot be too speedily eliminated. The following quotation from William Penn's “No Cross No Crown " shows the estimation in which creeds were held not alone by him among early Friends: “And it is observable, that as pride, which is ever followed by superstition and obstinacy, put Adam upon seeking a higher station than God placed him in ; and as the Jews, out of the same pride to out-do their pattern, set their post by God's post, and taught for doctrines their own traditions, insomuch that those that refused conformity to them ran the hazard of Crucify, Crucify; so the nominal Christians from the same sin of pride, with great superstition and arrogance, have introduced instead of a spiritual worship and discipline, that which is

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »