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since last year?” It would be interesting to linger a little over the stored up records of the answers to this query; and we can imagine the prayerful gravity of our fathers, as the truthful quiet admission, that there was no continuance of the glory of the early day of awakening, and that the household of their faith was growing less and less every year, was made. But the eternal Truth was unalterable and Friends knew of what they spoke. They knew from blessed inward experiences that they had not been following cunningly devised fables, and that the Christian order under which they were regulating their earthly lives, was that which Christ Jesus directed, and to which the Apostolic Church conformed. They knew the way they had pointed out, was the way of virtue and the path of peace. Obedience toward God and beneficence toward man were their cardinal principles. Barclay (he of our own times), announces that toward the close of the 18th century, the plain second query of the ancient days, which asked, “Is there among you any growth in the truth 7" was changed to, “‘How do Friends prosper in the truth 2' exhibiting the distinctive feature of quietism, a morbid introspection ; more anxiety being shown about the internal feelings of the individuals composing a church, than about the salvation of sinners and the gathering of them into the visible Church.” Now as to the fate of the many thousands of lopped off members, may we not believe the mass of these, instead of seeking again the House of their Fathers found a congenial refuge in the newly formed Unitarian Church, which rose in great vigor in England in this century | It was a great and effective recoil from Calvinistic dogma, under the leadership of many eminent theologians, the most distinguished of whom, perhaps, was Dr. Joseph Priestly. Barclay declares: “From the year 1719, Unitarianism spread to so great an extent among the Presbyterian Churches, that nearly the whole denomination was extinguished, and the Unitarians became a distinct body of churches in England.” Those not attracted to that communion were probably drawn into the rising Methodist body. The zeal, self-denial, deep fervor, and generous spirit of the first apostles of Methodism, as well as their vehement anti-Calvinism must have drawn to them the innocent outcasts of Quakerism. At any rate we have evidence that they returned no more to the Society of Friends. And here may we not see how great and vital principles of Christian Truth became profitably engrafted on many other powerful stocks, and may, in the good providence of the Eternal Wisdom, be leavening the lump in a most effective way, for the coming of Christ's Spiritual Kingdom on the earth. The Society of Friends became more and more in harmony with the teaching of the popular “orthodox” bodies as the century died away, and the 19th sped on to its first quarter, and here, perhaps, is the secret of the first great division of the Society. One branch tends back further and further toward the pit from which they were digged—the rock from which they were hewn ; and our's looks hopefully forward, while resolving to keep in tact the distinctive vital principles which we are assured are fundamental truth. Our coming Yearly Meeting will be a time of deep
interest and of active and earnest effort to rebuild and restore that which seems to have been lying waste. May the Master of Assemblies, be with us, blessing and consecrating the labors of those who are zealous in his cause—the cause of Truth and Righteousness upon the earth. S. R.
For Friends' Intelligencer and Journal.
MARRIAGE AND DIWORCE.
Of all the regulations of our excellent Discipline, there are, perhaps, none that are more to be admired and appreciated than those relating to the marriage contract. The safeguards that are placed around our members to prevent undue haste, or deception of parents, or any clandestine arrangement in the accomplishment of this weighty undertaking, seem to be all that could be desired for the convenience and future happiness of the parties, as well as for a compliance with the law of the land and the general usages of society. Then the ceremony, sublime in its simplicity, and binding in its solemnity, commends itself by the beauty of its diction, and by the feeling of reverence which it inspires. It admits the entire equality of the sexes, ignores the aid of man in its utterance, acknowledges the presence of the Most High, and invokes His aid for the faithful keeping of the covenant. The closing phrase of this impressive ceremony should be duly weighed and solemnly considered by all persons who contemplate entering upon the marriage relation, “Until death shall separate us.” This allows no room for separation during life, and makes no provision for “incompatibility of temper,” or any other incongruous condition. The compact thus solemnly entered upon is for life, and it must be kept in the tenderness of pure affection, and with a fidelity that knows no wavering. How utterly at variance with the principles of our Society, with the spirit of its Discipline, and with the spirit and letter of the marriage ceremony, is a legal application for divorce; an appeal to the civil courts to have them break a compact, or annul a covenant, which we had invoked Divine assistance to help us keep inviolate. How paltry seem all questions of property, or of carrying points, when contrasted with the solemnity of the marriage contract. The marital relation necessarily implies mutual concessions, and no one should enter upon it without feeling ready and willing to concede much to the one who has been chosen as a companion for life; but after the union has once been formed, the thought, the bare possibility, that it can be severed, save by death, should never be permitted to enter the mind of either party. It is gratifying to note that in the Society of Friends, separations of husband and wife are very rare; and it would be still more satisfactory if we could say that divorces under any and all circumstances were inadmissible. Perhaps the time may come when an application for a divorce shall be regarded as a forfeiture of the right of membership in the Society. While our own record is nearly clear on this subject, we may with just cause lament that in this enlightened age, and in our own favored land, the laws are such that divorces are readily obtained, and the state of Society is such that applications for them are alarmingly on the increase. The moral sentiment with regard to the looseness of the marriage bond, must be admitted to be one of the crying evils of the day; indeed, it is one to which thoughtful people in the different religious bodies, are giving their earnest and serious attention. No doubt the members of the Representative Committees, in our several Yearly Meetings, are alive to the importance of the subject, and are “keeping themselves advised" as to the probability of the passage of a national law, or of such modifications of our State laws as may be likely to ameliorate the present condition of affairs, and render the marriage tie nearly, if not quite indissoluble. The writer of this article felt deep regret, a few months ago, to learn that so many of our conscientious Friends had cast their suffrages for a man who had been divorced from one wife, and married to another. But this is a matter of the past; we cannot go back to repair it; but shall we not in the future, use whatever influence we may possess for the eradication of an evil which is seriously threatening to sap the foundations of civil society. H. * Fourth mo. 24th, 1885.
A REMARKABLE SERMON.
EDITORS INTELLIGENCER AND JOURNAL: I know not that the following account has ever appeared in print; it was found among the papers of my father and mother, (who have rested from their labors for more than forty years), Nathan and Ruth Spencer, the latter a minister belonging to Duanesburg Quarterly Meeting, who traveled considerably in Canada, New England, and the Middle States. Thinking that the account might be interesting to some, and might be confirming to minds that are wavering on the subject of divine interposition or inspiration, I send it to you. B. W. JNew Salem, Albany Co., N. Y.
A Remarkable Instance of Divine Interposition in time of great Strait and Difficulty, as stated by Stephen Grellet.
A native of Sweden, since residing in the south of France, (with whom Stephen since became acQuainted), some years past had occasion to go from one port to another in the Baltic Sea, on business. When he came to the place from which he expected to sail the vessel was gone, but by inquiry he found a fishing boat going that same way, on which he embarked. After getting out at sea, the men observing he had several trunks or chests on board, concluded he must be rich, and therefore they would throw him overboard. This he heard them express amongst themselves, which gave him great uneasiness, being alone among such a set of men without any way to make his escape. However, he took occasion to open one of his trunks, in which were books, and they seeing this, said one to another, it was not worth while to throw him overboard; they did not want books. They then asked him whether he was a priest, and he not knowing what better to resort to for safety told them he was, at which they seemed pleased; and said they would have a sermon
next day, it being, as they called it, Sunday. All this still increased the anxiety and distress of his mind, believing himself to be as incapable of such an undertaking as it was possible for any man to be, for he knew not much about the Scriptures, neither did he believe in them, nor did he yet believe in any divine inspiration or revelation unto man whatever. Thus going forward, they at length came to a small island in the sea, perhaps a quarter of a mile in circumference where were a number of such like men. By this time he found he had got amongst a company of pirates who had chosen the little sequestered spot in the sea to deposit their treasures. He was taken to a cave and introduced to an old woman, they telling her they had got a priest and were going to have a sermon next day. She said she was very glad of it, for she had not heard the word of God in a great while. His case now appeared desperate indeed ; preach he must, and yet he knew nothing about preaching. If he refused or undertook and did not please them, death he expected would be his portion. In this deplorable situation he passed the night, not having power to stay or settle his mind on anything to offer to the people, and to call upon God whom he believed to be inaccessible was altogether vain, so that he could not with all the powers of his mind devise any way whereby he might be saved. When morning came he arose and walked to and fro, still shut up in dark distress, striving with all his might to collect something, but could not even one sentence. When the time came for the meeting to begin, he returned to the cave where he found them assembled and a table with a Bible on it, and a seat provided for him, and they all sat, he believed, for the space of half an hour, in profound silence, and even then the exceeding distress and anguish of his soul was as great as human nature was capable of enduring without any way opening to address the people. At length these words came before him : “Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.” He arose and delivered them, and then other pertinent matter was presented, and so on from little to more until his understanding became enlightened, and his heart enlarged in a manner wonderful to himself, to treat on subjects suiting their condition, such as the excellent rewards of the righteous, the judgments awaiting the wicked, the necessity of repentance and amendment of life, the universality of the love of God to the children of men, etc., which had such a powerful effect on the minds of those poor wicked wretches that they were exceedingly broken into tenderness and tears, weeping to such a degree that there were wet spots on the ground where they sat, while he was no less astonished at the unbounded goodness of an Almighty Creator in thus interposing to save his natural and spiritual life, and well might exclaim that it was the Lord's doings and marvelous in his eyes. Under an awful sense thereof his heart became filled with thankful acknowledgments which it was beyond the power of language to convey. What a marvelous change was thus savingly brought about by Divine interposition | He who a little before disbelieved in an intercourse or communion between God Almighty and the soul of man became an humble believer and a happy partaker of its blessed effects on the human mind, and they who so lately meditated his death now became filled with love and good will towards each other and particularly to him, manifesting affectionate kindness and willingness to render him all the service in their power, and next day they fitted out one of their vessels and carried him where he desired to go. From that time he became an entirely changed man —free from sentiments of infidelity, and a sincere believer in the power and efficacy of the principles of truth.
ENGLISH FRIENDS AND THE WAR IN THE SOUDAN.
It is gratifying to learn from a late number of The Friend (London), that Friends in England are alive to the importance of presenting their testimony in favor of peace. At a late sitting of the Meeting for Sufferings of London Yearly Meeting, there was an earnest discussion on the duty of Friends as regards the war in the Soudan, and it “was decided, with a very large amount of unanimity, to memorialize the Prime Minister. A few Friends were asked at once to leave the room and draft a short memorial, This was soon accomplished ; the Meeting expressed thorough satisfaction with their work, and the presentation of the following document at the earliest opportunity was entrusted to Joseph W. Pease.”
To the Right Honorable William Ewart Gladstone, M.P., First Lord of the Treasury: The Memorial of the Society of Friends, as represented by the Standing Committee of their Yearly Meeting, Sheweth, That we believe the Goyernment are already aware that the Society of Friends has from its first rise held the view that all war is contrary to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have observed with deep sorrow the development of the war in the Soudan from its commencement. It is being carried on at a great sacrifice of the lives of our own countrymen and a fearful slaughter Of the native tribes. We earnestly hope and entreat that no effort may be spared by the Government of the Queen to bring this war, whatever may be its object or aim, to a speedy close. We regard it as not only contrary to the spirit of Christianity, but opposed to that which is just and right in our intercourse with other nations. Signed on behalf of the Committee aforesaid. RICHARD LITTLEBOY, Clerk.
London, Third month 27th, 1885.
The same paper, echoing some remarks made at the time of the adoption of the above memorial, says: “Friends in the country are sometimes inclined to move responsibility off their own shoulders on to the Meeting for Sufferings, and to rest as if all was done when it had taken action. The issue of documents by that body will be of little avail unless the Society at large, in all its ramifications, responds to its appeals. And why should either individual members or subordinate meetings ever wait in a good cause for promptings from the superior ones 2 We are often reminded of the wise advice of the Yearly Meeting of 1700 not to ‘expect or depend upon this (the Yearly) Meeting for particular direction from time to time.’”
It appears however, by the date of the following paper, that at least one Monthly Meeting did not
wait for the action of any superior body to manifest its testimony on the subject:
THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS ON THE WAR IN THE SOUDAN.
The Society of Friends, maintaining their wellknown testimony of the incompatibility of all war with the teachings of Christ, deeply deplore, in Common with Christians of other denominations, the destruction of life now going on in the Soudan.
They hail with satisfaction the growing disposition in the public mind not to be carried away by the Cry for vengeance raised by some portion of the press in COnnection with the fall Of Khartoum.
They ask their fellow Christians to consider whether it has not become the solemn duty of individuals and churches earnestly to oppose the continuance of the war; especially as its purpose is now changed or changing to one which may involve the iniquity of fastening a foreign yoke on the Soudanese.
It may be urged that till the people as a whole are Christians in reality as well as in name, it cannot be expected that the national policy will be governed by Christian principle in its entirety, but real Christians are not therefore absolved from the duty of accepting it themselves, and of striving steadily to increase its influence in the State. Though not the majority, they are a large and powerful part of the nation, and they might do much now and at all times to preserve or restore peace by calm and peaceable counsel in times of international difficulty, by pleading against the spirit of revenge, by seeking opportunities for establishing international arbitration, and by publicly upholding the golden rule of doing to others as we would they should do unto us—a rule applying equally to nations and individuals.
Issued by order of a meeting (held at Leeds, on the 11th of March, 1885) of members of the Society of Friends resident in the towns of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Brighouse, Skipton and Settle, and the intervening district, known as “Brighouse Monthly Meeting of Friends.”
(Signed) JOHN EDWARD WILSON,
Clerk to the Meeting.
MEETINGS “IN THE POWER.”
EDITORS INTELLIGENCER AND JOURNAL :
In the INTELLIGENCER of the 11th inst., there appears a note from my friend Thomas Garrigues, expressing surprise and sorrow for some suggestions contained in an article of mine in the INTELLIGENCER of Second month 21st, to the effect that in a named meeting there might be advantage in reading approved essays setting forth the views of our Society for the benefit of interested attenders. If we enjoy the liberty that the spirit gives, having but one guide or governor, God’s will revealed in us, need we be afraid to use the liberty it gives, because some other society or person has either used or abused it. Should we not rather be afraid to depart from the faith that God through His indwelling Spirit can guide us rightly, and thereby refuse or fail to accept any change of form or custom that He leads us to ?
In asking these questions, I do not wish to be understood as approving or disapproving any given change in our forms, but to aid in relieving our Society from bondage to customs. The suggestion to East Jordan Friends, was not for a permanent change in the usual method of conducting our meetings, but for the temporary adoption of a specified course to meet an especial need, and made what was
felt to be due allowance for silent worship, which lies at the foundation of our faith, permitting each individual to come into direct communion with the Spirit of God. George Fox's admonition to hold all our meetings in the power of God, has been before us for two hundred years and yet we lack now, and have long lacked the aggressive life, liberty and growth that the Society had in his day, it seems to me, because we have refused to let the Spirit lead us in its own way into this power. The phrase has become, too generally, a traditional one, full of truth but without regenerating power over us, for want of a spiritual experience of its truth. Too often, our Society habits have had a higher place with us than the Inward Light, which we have practically forbidden to shine outside the limitations of these habits. Should a few members in each of our decreasing meetings earnestly act on the advice of George Fox, and try to feel the power of God operating in their souls during the meeting hour I have faith to believe that all such meetings would revive, pass out of their lethargy or deadness, through the proper movements, suited to each special need, into newness of life and power. Under this power we would have the wideliberty of action and method that early Friends had, and would judge one another's action, not by the rule of fixed customs, but by the fruit produced. Changes simply for the sake of change are not prudent or desirable, but any action prompted by conviction of duty and in a true purpose should be left untrammeled until its fruits justify or condemn it. (2 Cor. iii, 17; Gal. v., 1.) Chicago, Fourth month, 19th 1885. J. W. P.
From the minute book of the Secretary of the West Chester, Pa., First-day School we clip the following, and shall present from time to time such hints and practical lessons from this source as we deem may prove helpful to others engaged in this field of labor. In this school the classes are all named and these minutes are the result of the Secretary’s visits to each class in turn. They are read to the teachers when assembled once a month, where they are discussed with a view to their aid and improvement in this work for the benefit of the children.—EDs.
In all the smaller classes visited this month I find it the custom to read first a chapter from the Old or the New Testament, after which a moral subject is considered, either in the form of a story, a chapter from some work suited to the comprehension of the pupils, or from the life of some historical character of Biblical times.
In the class answering to the name of Charity the subject has been temperance. Readings, conversation and original productions from the class, with the effect to awaken thought have kept them all very much interested. One dissenting spirit objected to the enthusiasm which cries down all uses of alcohol,
considering it always injurious and unnecessary. Perhaps it will be proper to say right here, a word I would like to, in regard to the method of instilling temperance principles into the hearts of the young. The cause of temperance has been tried in many ways, it has been studied and fought and prayed over by thousands of men and women of the ablest minds, who have the morals of the community at heart. The victim to drink is followed from the first moment of his temptation to the end of his misery. The distressing incidents of his career form a volume full of awful warnings to those in danger of temptation. We are all awake to the fact that there must be a still better attempt made to allay the course of this evil, and we have struck the key-note to more successful work by taking into hand the effort to work with the children: We see in them the means of achieving results which hitherto have failed, and so we make the subject one apart from all others, to which we call their attention. Now it is the manner of dealing with it that I have at heart. Very few of our teachers have made the subject one of scientific research, very few who are posted in regard to the effects of alcohol upon the human system, and they must of necessity resort to whatever printed matter they can gather upon the subject. Inasmuch as there are extremists in this as in all causes, there has necessarily been put afloat upon the public quantities of sensational tracts rehearsing the sorrow and sin and horror of a drunkard's life; stories of broken hearts, of desolated homes, of insanity and murder and all that is the outpouring of evil. It is all true beyond question of a doubt, but I cannot feel that it is helpful to dwell upon it. The reading of these bitter experiences is not the wisest way of directing the young mind away from the evil. It appals and shocks but it does not instruct. Some individual natures may have to be frightened out of wrong doing, but this is not true of the majority. It is not true of children. It is not true of the girl or boy who is just beginning to realize the fact that life is something more than merely eating and sleeping, wearing new clothes and studying Latin verbs. If we cannot instruct ourselves so as to furnish the evidence of the wrong, and the manner in which it works in detail upon each organization, we cannot instil the good that we wish from the mere reading of past experiences. The children that we have under our care are bright intelligent children. Their natures are refined and we want to keep them so. Is there not a tendency against this in dwelling upon Scenes of immorality ? Do we teach at all in presenting these scenes? I do not teach my child the sin of murder by reading stories of murder. We all feel that the newspapers are working evil infiuences by printing and publishing so many stories of sickening crime, that by so doing they are feeding a depraved taste and breeding evil thinking, and yet we gather up temperance tracts and, sometimes without even reading them previously, give them to our classes as temperance food. Will you, as teachers, not think about this, and prepare carefully the lesson which you hope to work for good 7 Do not, in the effort to teach temperance, dwell solely upon intemperancel Then again avoid the doggerels in which the tem
perance moral is lost because of the poor effort to dress it up. There is no poetry at all about so many of the poor rhymes that attempt to be poetical. It is by training the thought of the young child upward, in every way, that we build up character. It must be helped into thinking beautiful thoughts—if it commits anything to memory let it be a truth told in an earnest soul-inspiring manner. There are so many able minds to-day, presenting to the public in an intelligent cultivated way lessons upon all moral subjects, that it needs only a little careful research to find that which is above criticism, which will be sure of attracting thought and surer of exerting an ennobling influence.
PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING OF ORTHODOX FRIENDS.
This body held its sessions in this city, last week, occupying the Meeting-house at Fourth and Arch streets. The attendance was about as usual, though differing from the experience of former years (except 1884), the weather remained bland and clear throughout. In the men's meeting, Joseph Walton and Joseph Scattergood acted as clerks. The sessions of the first and second days were mostly occupied by reading and considering the minutes of the Representative Committee (“Meeting for Sufferings”), which referred to several different subjects of interest. The Trustees of the “Charleston fund” had applied to the Committee for advice as to the course to be pursued where applications for aid in erecting meeting-houses, etc., were received from the limits of Yearly Meetings in which separations had taken place, in reference to which the Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia had taken no action. In reply, they had been authorized to consider such applications, where they were satisfied that the meetings were likely to be held in accordance with the principles, usages and testimonies of Friends, without respect to the divisions that had occurred. On the recommendation of the Trustees, the Meeting for Sufferings had made during the year fifteen appropriations out of this estate, amounting in all to $5,325. Six of these were for meetings in North Carolina, one for a meeting in Virginia, and four each for meetings in Indiana and Kansas.
The Committee had made active exertions in behalf of Temperance, by addressing a circular letter to the Mayor and Magistrates of Philadelphia (personal interviews being also had with them), and by memorials and interviews, with the Governor and Legislature. Trustees had been appointed to hold the securities representing the sum of $10,000 left as a trust by the late Charles L. Willitts. These trustees were authorized to attend to the preparing, publishing and distributing of religious reading matter among the colored people of the Southern States, and in Liberia, as directed by the will. The Book Committee reported 3,087 volumes and 5,017 pamphlets of Friends' approved writings; of which 926 volumes and 406 pamphlets were sold during the year, and 2,161 books and 5,161 pamphlets were given away. The value of the stock on hand in possession of the Meeting for Sufferings was said to be $20,802. The places of distribution of books and pamphlets, in re
sponse to applications or otherwise, were chiefly Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and Canada; a few being sent also to the West Indies and Calcutta. Other subjects occupying the attention of the Meeting for Sufferings were, improvements in keeping the records of Monthly and other Meetings; the ancient testimony of the Society of Friends in reference to the use of plural language to single persons, and of complimentary expressions and actions, as “hat honor;” and also the removal of the hat on entering a place of worship. An essay in relation to music, singing and Scripture reading, in meetings for worship, was reported by the Committee. It emphatically condemned the practices, as a departure from ancient usage, and said that if they should be continued, it would surely open the door for a formal liturgy, since if the Scriptures are to be read, it will be argued that it is best to read prescribed selections, and if there is to be music a demand will arise for performances by the best skill, and all manner of instruments will be introduced. A minute was also presented from the Committee in reference to the connection of members of this Yearly Meeting with missionary societies, one of which has been established and is maintained amongst women Friends. There was a prolonged discussion of this minute. One of the younger members spoke in favor of endorsing the organization. He said that the women who formed the Society had done so with a sincere desire to Christianize heathens by establishing schools and teaching the people the Gospel. The Friends who wished to go out as missionaries were not actuated by mercenary motives, and did not regard themselves as ordained preachers. They only desired to give to others now in ignorance of the Gospel the benefits of the truth. A number of the older members spoke against endorsing the movement as being a departure from the usage of the Society. Richard Estabrook said that he had observed with sadness that when it had been introduced dissension and discord had been produced. The Friends would lose to a large extent the influence for good which they now exercise, if they permitted themselves to become imbued with the spirit of restlessness and change, which seems to pervade modern society. The minute was finally referred to the Committee on Sufferings to take action in the matter. The minute relating to the uncovering of the head upon entering Meeting-houses was adopted, with a warning to all members to maintair, the ancient testimony of this subject. The business of the book house at 304 Arch street was reported as flourishing. Authority was given the managers to rent the adjoining building to accommodate the enlarged business requirements. The sessions were concluded on Sixth-day, those of the last three days having been mainly occupied with the answering of the queries and other routine business. In reference to the opening of the Meeting on Second-day, Friends' Review has this paragraph ; “Supplication was offered by two Friends, one of them a minister from another Yearly Meeting ; but no acknowledgment of this exercise occurred in either case, by rising, or even by the removal of the hat on the part of the considerable number of those sitting with their heads covered ”