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HENRY C. BROWN, Secretary. SUMMER. BOARDING,
A limited number of Boarders for the Summer Season, will be taken at Wild Orchard, about one mile from Fernwood, On P & C. R. R. Beautiful, high Situation, surrounded by large shade trees, pure water, perfect drainage, and thirty minutes from the house to Broad Street Depot. Carriages to and from all trains. Large Airy Rooms, fresh vegetables from Our own garden, and milk and cream from our own cows.
To those wishing to spend a quiet summer, in the Country, with very easy access to the city, Wild Orchard presents peculiar attractions. For full particulars, address. *
JOSIAH WHITE, Fernwood, Del. Co., Pa.
1020 ARCH STREET,
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The Friends' journa/.
INTELLIGENCER. Vol. xlii.—No. 13.
PH,LADELPHIA, FIFTH MONTH 9, 1885.
JOURNAL. Vol. xiii.-No. 641.
EDs.] The writers of the religious essays published under the title of “A Reasonable Faith ” have no occasion to be dissatisfied with the results of their undertaking. In about four months some thousands of copies have been sold, and many thousands of thoughtful people have read the little work, one might almost say, with avidity; obviously mingled, in not a few cases, with some anxious solicitude, but in by far the greater number of instances that have come to our knowledge, with satisfaction and thankfulness. We think the Society is to be congratulated on the general tone of the somewhat prolonged discus
sion on the book which has taken place in the pages of two of our periodicals. With but small exception there has been no bitterness, no denunciation, no harsh condemnation, On the other hand we are bound to say that we fail to find in the criticisms that have appeared, a single new thought in defence of the popular Calvinistic theories. The critics not only do not touch, but they scarcely attempt to touch, our arguments for a reasonable faith. They ignore the difficulties of their own theory—moral and logical—with a stoicism that is surprising to us. They are all content with the ordinary platitudes on the subject, and with the quotation of texts, the meaning of which, as it seems to us, they often seriously strain, in order to use them in support of their own theological ideas. It will therefore not be necessary, even if it were desirable, to attempt to reply to these letters.
With regard to the class represented by such writers we have, however, a word to say. We cannot but recognize the fact that a number of dear Friends, whom we love and honor, have been grieved by the publication of these essays. We can honestly say that this has been the most painful aspect of the service to which we felt ourselves called. The work was not hastily entered upon, nor without a deep sense of duty, and this difficulty, among others, was carefully and anxiously weighed. To appear to unsettle the Church, or to sacrifice in any degree the unity and harmony that may seem to prevail, is a grave responsibility. But does not Church history tell us that this must sometimes be done? It has always been a trying process to lift Truth out of the conventional grooves of thought in which it is hampered and distorted. Or, to change the figure, it is impossible to remove an unhealthy growth from a living body without giving pain. It may be said that this practically begs the question, but we are now simply putting the subject from our own point of view, for the sake of explanation. There is no doubt that in every attempted reformation in the Church, there have been some tender people startled and pained by the new attitude taken. It was so in Luther's days. It was so in the days of George Fox. It has been so in various phases of the subsequent history of the Society of Friends. To the class of Friends just indicated, and to all, we commend the following quotation from a sound and orthodox writer: “There are not a few earnest Christians, who are ready to receive additional knowledge, provided it be in harmony with what they already believe ; but who are very reluctant to accept correction, or to unlearn. But unless we are willing to be corrected even in our most cherished beliefs, the error which clings to imperfect knowledge will seriously hinder our spiritual progress. There is no foe to the attainment of truth more to be feared than mental bias. There is danger lest while, as we think, we are defending the Gospel, we be fighting for an incrustation of base matter which hides and defaces the Gospel.” But whilst we grieve over the thought that many have been pained by the perusal of these papers, we are cheered by the knowledge that a far larger number have been comforted and enlightened; and that not a few earnest seekers after God, who were drifting into unbelief or despair, perplexed and repelled by the popular teaching, have found in these essays a new light and a new hope, and are now able to rejoice in an understanding of the Gospel that meets their needs. Many others who, whilst measurably content, were yet not in the full enjoyment of reasonable light and satisfaction, have been led by these papers to consider, and define (in some degree perhaps to redefine) their faith; making it in fact their own and not a borrowed faith. These are results for which we were specially solicitous, and for which we are reverently thankful. Some of our Friends who have largely sympathized with the teaching of the essays, have been ready to
think that the publication might with advantage have
been delayed; that the Calvinistic tendencies combated in the book, would have gradually dropped off or cured themselves if let alone. But history does not teach that evils of this kind are likely to be so rectified. On the contrary, the misconception is apt to become more intense; the conventional rut deepens and has a firmer grip. But further than this, we recognize obvious danger in delay. Can we shut our eyes to what is going on among our cultured and thoughtful young people 7 Is there not abundant evidence that this Calvinistic teaching is driving many into doubt and perplexity, and that some as a consequence have already lost their way in the mazes of unbelief? Let us recall the lesson to be learned in connection with the publication of that admirable book, “Myers' Catholic Thoughts.” This book, as is well known, was written about thirty years before it was published, and was withheld all this time on the ground that it would unsettle and disturb many pious minds; and yet, looking back with the wisdom that often comes after an event, can we doubt that this delay was a serious misfortune for the Church 7 Possibly if the book had been published when the Spirit of Truth enabled the author to write it, it might have spared the Church much unsettlement and agitation. Bishop Colenso's one-sided Biblical criticism might never have appeared, and the “Essays and Reviews " might have passed away unnoticed, because the Biblical difficulties which these publications sought to meet had been already wisely and reverently dealt with. With regard to our own little Church we would ask moderate and thoughtful people, who see the simplicity and reasonableness of the truth as it is in Jesus, and as it was taught by our early Friends, whether the time has not come for them also to speak out? The dread of being branded by some as heter
odox has often made men cowards, and is doing so now even in the Society of Friends. The practice of repressing thought on religious things, of ignoring the right and duty of private judgment, or of being habitually reticent as to one's real convictions, is producing serious evils. Perhaps to this more than to any other cause the fact is due that we have now so few Friends who are competent to undertake the office of elder; so few who, while not called to the ministry of the word, have thought out the truth for themselves; have had their personal revelations and their deep convictions, and who can therefore discriminate between truth and conventionalism. It has been said that the essays contain exaggerated statements as to what is oonventionally called “Evangelical" teaching, especially as to the doctrine of the atonement. No doubt, as we have endeavored to point out in the third essay, the propitiatory and expiatory view (which is the Calvinistic view), is often illogically associated by many speakers and writers with the simple teaching of God's reconciling love in Christ. This mixture is in itself mischievous and confusing. But in our treatment of this subject, it was needful to put the popular teaching in its nakedness in order that its true character might be See Il. In speaking of this most solemn question of the great sacrifice embraced in the life and death of Christ, we have admitted that there may be many aspects of so profound a subject that we have not referred to—many that are even beyond human comprehension, But we have not failed to point out that in confronting and opposing a force like the power of evil, there must of necessity have been a terrible impact. The delivering Arm. that was stretched out to rescue—the life that stood in the breach—suffered truly for our sakes, on our behalf. But this is a very different thing from saying that God must be propitiated with a victim to satisfy the majesty of the law One other point of minor importance may be briefly referred to. It has been said that the essays ought not to have been published anonymously. We think, however, that the following considerations justify the course taken. We were specially anxious that the questions discussed should be considered on their own merits; that those who looked up to the writers either with respect and confidence, or with different feelings, might all come to the consideration of these momentous subjects with judgments unwarped by any personal bias. The result has shown, we think, that this desirable impartiality has been to a considerable extent gained. Many Friends will, we feel sure, read with deep interest the following words from the venerable poet J. G. Whittier, on the subject of this little book. Writing to a correspondent in England, he says: “I am greatly interested in ‘A Reasonable Faith,’ and I find myself in accord with it; and think it may be of great Service. So far as I can see, it retains and emphasizes all that is vital in Christianity, while freeing it from much that is Jewish or heathen, much that is false, sensuous, materialistic, and which manifestly is the cause of fast-growing doubt and agnosticism. “A Reasonable Faith is, in short, Quakerism pure and undefiled.”
YEARLY MEETING EPISTLES.
As our Yearly Meeting is now at hand, it may not be untimely to offer a suggestion as to the official document or documents to be issued as the voice of the Meeting to the various Yearly Meetings with which we correspond. Such an expression of the deeper sense of this assembly, upon the Concerns which come before it, ought to be most thoughtfully prepared, under a deep sense of responsibility and of religious earnestness. We doubt not the sense of the meeting upon weighty and vital points will be clearly discernible, but it is surely questionable if six distinct messages can be so differentiated as to be sent forth authoritatively as the expression of this Yearly Meeting. Many Friends hope for the issue of one solemn and judicious epistle, to ge forth alike to all our sister Yearly Meetings, and that this document shall indeed embody the deeper breathings of this assembly. The concern applies only to the women's meeting, as the men's meeting has for many years issued one general epistle I greatly desire that the women's meeting may see their way to a similar course. This would simplify the work of the Epistle Committee, and may enable them to improve upon the quality of their work to such an extent as to render it worthy to be admitted to a place as a part of the acknowledged literature of our Society.
The demand for the preparation of six epistles — one to each of our sister Yearly Meetings—has, it seems to me, caused the sending forth of some weak papers, which did not tend to the edification of the Church, and did not adequately represent the deeper sense of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women Friends. S. R.
EY ROBERT W. FURNAS.
And as they sung and praised the Lord, the people shouted with a loud voice as the foundation of the temple was laid. But many of the priests and Levites, that were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept, and many shouted. So that it was hard to distinguish between the noise of them that shouted and of them that wept for it was heard afar off. It may be of interest to remember the cause of this great diversity of sentiment amongst the people. It was at the time of the laying of the foundation of the second temple at Jerusalem. The first one had been destroyed. The sacred vessels had been carried away to Babylon. The people had been taken captive, and there, by the rivers of Babylon they had sat down. They had wept when they remembered Zion, for they that wasted them required of them mirth, saying “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land Ž If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. But in the time of this captivity the arm of Omnipotence was stretched forth for the deliverance of his people. Belshazzar on the night of his impious feast, when he brought
* Preached at Richmond, Ind., Fourth month 12th, 1885.
forth the sacred vessels of the temple and he drank wine before one thousand of his lords, and whilst he drank the handwriting was seen upon the wall which disclosed to the terrified king, as interpreted by Daniel, in substance “King of the East, the trumpet calls that calls thee to a tyrant's grave. A curse is on thy palace walls. A curse is in thy guardian wave. A surge is in Euphrates’ bed that neyer filled its bed before. A surge that, ere the morn be red, shall load with death thy haughty shore.”
That night he was slain and his kingdom was given to the Medes and Persians. Cyrus, the king by inheritance, soon became king also of Midia, and governed both Midia and Persia. The Lord did not forsake his people, but put it in the heart of the king to make way for their return, he also provided means for those that were unable to return and kindly gave them many of the sacred vessels; and when one of those of the captivity came before him, he asked why his countenance was sad and queried if he was sick. To which he gave answer “Why should not I be sad, when the city of our fathers’ sepulchres lieth waste and the gates are burned with fire? Come, let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, that we be not a reproach.” Then they were helped more to return, and when they laid the foundation of the temple, the confusion that I have quoted was produced; and for what reason 2 It was on the same spot and for the same purpose. It was larger and more extensive than the first. Those ancient men, fifty-three years before, had seen the first temple for the last time, but they remembered that it was filled with the glory of God so that the ministers could not minister. It had in it the Urim and Thummim, and the spirit of prophecy, and this new one had none of these, and they had not confidence in it; and besides, it was being constructed by young men from twenty years old and upward. They seemed to have forgotten that the same God that filled the first was waiting to fill that with glory and also to put in it the Urim and the Thummim and the spirit of prophecy.
Oh, if the Christian world could only let go of the past and take hold of the living testimonies of the present, what a blessing it would be to the world. The past has had its noble use and has done its day's work in the daytime, and we should remember, with thankful hearts, the faithfulness of the fathers; but their work was theirs and our work is ours. The persecutions of former days have passed away, and we can adopt the language of our own dear poet of the East:
“The crooked lines of law have curved to spare us,
You know the time was when it was pronounced heresy to attempt to advance even the slightest change, even in science, and when one who even dared to utter a different statement was only released on terms of recantation; although, after being thus released, as he walked away he said through his clenched teeth “They do move.” And it is worthy of note that none of the philosophers of his day that had passed the age of forty ever would look through his glass, but the young men looked and saw for themselves.