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HE CARETH FOR ALL.
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 Far out to sea a little bird,
harsh condemnation, On the other hand we are In wild confusion flew. .
bound to say that we fail to find in the criticisms The red sun set, star after star
that have appeared, a single new thought in defence Came into view,
of the popular Calvinistic theories. The critics not And still the fluttering wings in vain
only do not touch, but they scarcely attempt to Essayed to win the nest again.
touch, our arguments for a reasonable faith. They The distant worlds, through boundless space, ignore the difficulties of their own theory-moral Unswerving kept their way ;
and logical-with a stoicism that is surprising to us. The whirling world sped on without Change or delay;
They are all content with the ordinary platitudes Old spheres burned out; new ones, that night,
on the subject, and with the quotation of texts, the Flashed into brilliancy of light.
meaning of which, as it seems to us, they often
seriously strain, in order to use them in support of One eye supreme the rhythmic march Of planets thus controlled.
their own theological ideas. It will therefore not be One hand there was, whose hollow palm
necessary, even if it were desirable, to attempt to Could all unfold.
reply to these letters. And yet, from where each cry is heard, That eye beheld the fainting bird ;
With regard to the class represented by such
writers we have, however, a word to say. We canAnd, guided by that mighty hand,
not but recognize the fact that a number of dear Across the billows dark
Friends, whom we love and honor, have been grieved It flew, and sank to rest upon
by the publication of these essays. We can honestly A passing bark. Think'st thou, 0, stormed-tossed soul! that He say that this has been the most painful aspect of the Doth not thy weary fluttering see?
service to which we felt ourselves called. "The work -Independent. was not hastily entered upon, nor without a deep
sense of duty, and this difficulty, among others, was A REASONABLE FAITH.
carefully and anxiously weighed.
To appear to unsettle the Church, or to sacrifice
in any degree the unity and harmony that may seem [The British Friend, for Fourth month, contains an to prevail
, is a grave responsibility. But does not article furnished by the authors of the little book, done? It has always been a trying process to lift
Church history tell us that this nust sometimes be “ A Reasonable Faith," making a rejoinder to criti- Truth out of the conventional grooves of thought in cisms upon it. As the book has attracted consider- which it is hampered and distorted. Or, to change able attention amongst Friends in this country, the the figure, it is impossible to remove an unhealthy article will be read, no doubt, with interest, even if growth from a living body without giving pain. It its views should in some cases be dissented from.- may be said that this practically begs the question,
but we are now simply putting the subject from our EDS.]
own point of view, for the sake of explanation. The writers of the religious essays published under There is no doubt that in every attempted reformathe title of " A Reasonable Faith” have no occasion tion in the Church, there have been some tender to be dissatisfied with the results of their under people startled and pained by the new attitude taking. In about four months some thousands of taken. It was so in Luther's days. It was so in copies have been sold, and many thousands of the days of George Fox. It has been so in various thoughtful people have read the little work, one phases of the subsequent history of the Society of might almost say, with avidity; obviously mingled, Friends. in not a few cases, with some anxious solicitude, but To the class of Friends just indicated, and to all, in by far the greater number of instances that have we commend the following quotation from a sound come to our knowledge, with satisfaction and thank and orthodox writer : fulness.
“ There are not a few earnest Christians, who are We think the Society is to be congratulated on ready to receive additional knowledge, provided it be the general tone of the somewhat prolonged discus- in harmony with what they already believe; but who
A STATEMENT BY THE AUTHORS.
are very reluctant to accept correction, or to unlearn. odox has often made men cowards, and is doing so But unless we are willing to be corrected even in our now even in the Society of Friends. The practice of most cherished beliefs, the error which clings to im- repressing thought on religious things, of ignoring perfect knowledge will seriously hinder our spiritual the right and duty of private judgment, or of being progress. There is no foe to the attaiument of truth habitually reticent as to one's real convictions, is more to be feared than mental bias. There is danger producing serious evils. Perhaps to this more than lest while, as we think, we are defending the Gospel, to any other cause the fact is due that we have now we be fighting for an incrustation of base matter so few Friends who are competent to undertake the which hides and defaces the Gospel."
office of elder; so few who, while not called to the But whilst we grieve over the thought that many ministry of the word, have thought out the truth for have been pained by the perusal of these papers, we themselves; have had their personal revelations and are cheered by the knowledge that a far larger num- their deep convictions, and who can therefore disber have been comforted and enlightened ; and that criminate between truth and conventionalism. not a few earnest seekers after God, who were drift- It has been said that the essays contain exaggerated ing into unbelief or despair, perplexed and repelled statements as to what is conventionally called “Evan. by the popular teaching, have found in these essays a gelical” teaching, especially as to the doctrine of the new light and a new hope, and are now able to rejoice atonement. No doubt, as we have endeavored to in an understanding of the Gospel that meets their point out in the third essay, the propitiatory and needs. Many others who, whilst measurably content, expiatory view (which is the Calvinistic view), is were yet not in the full enjoyment of reasonable light often illogically associated by many speakers and and satisfaction, have been led by these papers to con- writers with the simple teaching of God's reconciling sider, and define (in some degree perhaps to redefine) love in Christ. This mixture is in itself mischievous their faith; making it in fact their own and not a and confusing. But in our treatment of this subject, borrowed faith. These are results for which we were it was needful to put the popular teaching in its specially solicitous, and for which we are reverently nakedness in order that its true character might be thankful.
Some of our Friends who have largely sympathized In speaking of this most solemn question of the with the teaching of the essays, have been ready to great sacrifice embraced in the life and death of think that the publication might with advantage haye Christ, we have admitted that there may be many been delayed ; that the Calvinistic tendencies com- aspects of so profound a subject that we have not bated in the book, would have gradually dropped off referred to-many that are even beyond human or cured themselves if let alone. But history does comprehension, Bat we have not failed to point not teach that evils of this kind are likely to be so out that in confronting and opposing a force like the rectified. On the contrary, the misconception is apt power of evil, there must of necessity have been a to become more intense; the conventional rut deepens terrible impact. The delivering Arm. that was and has a firmer grip.
stretched out to rescue the life that stood in the But further than this, we recognize obvious danger breach-suffered truly for our sakes, on our behalf. in delay. Can we shut our eyes to what is going on But this is a very different thing from saying that among our cultured and thoughtful young people ? | God must be propitiated with a victim to satisfy the Is there not abundant evidence that this Calvinistic majesty of the law! teaching is driving many into doubt and perplexity, Öne other point of minor importance may be briefly and that some as a consequence have already lost referred to. It has been said that the essays ought their way in the mazes of unbelief? Let us recall not to have been published anonymously. We think, the lesson to be learned in connection with the pub- however, that the following considerations justify the lication of that admirable book, “Myers' Catholic course taken. We were specially anxious that the Thoughts.” This book, as is well known, was written questions discussed should be considered on their about thirty years before it was published, and was own merits; that those who looked up to the writers withheld all this time on the ground that it would either with respect and confidence, or with different unsettle and disturb many pious minds; and yet, feelings, might all come to the consideration of these looking back with the wisdom that often comes after momentous subjects with judgments unwarped by an event, can we doubt that this delay was a serious any personal bias. The result has shown, we think, misfortune for the Churol? Possibly if the book that this desirable impartiality has been to a conhad been published when the Spirit of Truth enabled siderable extent gained. the author to write it, it might have spared the Many Friends will, we feel sure, read with deep Church much unsettlement and agitation. Bishop interest the following words from the venerable poet Colenso's one-sided Biblical criticism might never J. G. Whittier, on the subject of this little book. have appeared, and the “Essays and Reviews” might Writing to a correspondent in England, he says: have passed away unnoticed, because the Biblical "I am greatly interested in ‘A Reasonable Faith, difficulties which these publications sought to meet and I find myself in accord with it; and think it had been already wisely and reverently dealt with. may be of great service. So far as I can see, it
With regard to our own little Church we would retains and emphasizes all that is vital in Christianask moderate and thoughtful people, who see the ity, while freeing it from much that is Jewish or simplicity and reasonableness of the truth as it is in heathen, much that is false, sensuous, materialistic, , Jesus, and as it was taught by our early Friends, and which manifestly is the cause of fast-growing whether the time has not come for them also to speak doubt and agnosticism. 'A Reasonable Faith' is, in out? The dread of being branded by some as heter- short, Quakerism pure and undefiled."
YEARLY MEETING EPISTLES,
forth the sacred vessels of the temple and he drank
wine before one thousand of his lords, and whilst he As our Yearly Meeting is now at hand, it may not drank the handwriting was seen upon the wall be untimely to offer a suggestion as to the official which disclosed to the terrified king, as interpreted document or documents to be issued as the voice of by Daniel, in substance “King of the East, the the Meeting to the various Yearly Meetings with trumpet calls that calls thee to a tyrant's grave. A which we correspond. Such an expression of the curse is on thy palace walls. Acurse is in thy deeper sense of this assembly, upon the concerns guardian wave. A surge is in Euphrates' bed that which come before it, ought to be most thoughtfully neyer filled its bed before. A surge that, ere the prepared, under a deep sense of responsibility and morn be red, shall load with death thy haughty of religious earnestness. We doubt not the sense of shore.” the meeting upon weighty and vital points will be
That night he was slain and his kingdom was given clearly discernible, but it is surely questionable if to the Medes and Persians. Cyrus, the king by inhersix distinct messages can be so differentiated as to be itance, soon became king also of Midia, and govsent forth authoritatively as the expression of this erned both Midia and Persia. The Lord did not Yearly Meeting. Many Friends hope for the issue forsake his people, but put it in the heart of the of one solemn and judicious epistle, to go forth king to make way for their return, he also provided alike to all our sister Yearly Meetings, and that this means for those that were unable to returu and document shall indeed embody the deeper breath- kindly gave them many of the sacred vessels; and ings of this assembly. The concern applies only to when one of those of the captivity came before him, the women's meeting, as the men's meeting has for he asked why his countenance was sad and queried many years issued one general epistle I greatly if he was sick. To which he gave answer Why desire that the women's meeting may see their way should not I be sad, when the city of our fathers' to a similar course. This would simplify the work sepulchres lieth waste and the gates are burned with of the Epistle Committee, and may enable them to fire? Come, let us rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, improve upon the quality of their work to such an that we be not a reproach.” Then they were helped extent as to render it worthy to be admitted to a more to return, and when they laid the foundation of place as a part of the acknowledged literature of our the temple, the confusion that I have quoted was proSociety.
duced; and for what reason? It was on the same The demand for the preparation of six epistles -- spot and for the same purpose. It was larger and one to each of our sister Yearly Meetings-bas, it more extensive than the first. Those ancient men, seems to me, caused the sending forth of some weak fifty-three years before, had seen the first temple for papers, which did not tend to the edification of the the last time, but they remembered that it was filled Church, and did not adequately represent the deeper with the glory of God so that the ministers could sense of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Women not minister. It had in it the Urim and Thummim, Friends.
S. R. and the spirit of prophecy, and this new one had
none of these, and they had not confidence in it; SERMON.*
and besides, it was being constructed by young men FUR
from twenty years old and upward. They seemed to
have forgotten that the same God that filled the first And as they sung and praised the Lord, the peoit the Urim and the Thummim and the spirit of
was waiting to fill that with glory and also to put in ple shouted with a loud voice as the foundation of it the Urim and the Thummim and the spirit of the temple was laid. But many of the priests and prophecy, Levites, that were ancient men, that had seen the
Oh, if the Christian world could only let go of the first house, when the foundation of this house was past and take hold of the living testimonies of the laid before their eyes, wept, and many shouted. So present, what a blessing it would be to the world. that it was hard to distinguish between the noise of The past has had its noble use and has done its day's them that shouted and of them that wept for it was
work in the daytime, and we should remember, with heard afar off . It may be of interest to remember thankful hearts
, the faithfulness of the fathers; but
their work was theirs and our work is ours. The the cause of this great diversity of sentiment amongst the people. It was at the time of the laying of the persecutions of former days have passed away, and foundation of the second temple at Jerusalem. The we can adopt the language of our own dear poet of
the East: first one had been destroyed. The sacred vessels had been carried away to Babylon. The people had
From our heads have swerved the smiting sword.” been taken captive, and there, by the rivers of Baby
You know the time was when it was pronounced remembered Zion, for they that wasted them required heresy to attempt to advance even the slightest of them mirth, saying "Sing us one of the songs of change, even in science
, and when one who even Zion." How shall we sing the Lord's song in a
dared to utter a different statement was only released strange land ? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my released, as he walked' away he said through his
on terms of recantation ; although, after being thus right hand forget her cunning. But in the time of clenched teeth “ They do move." And it is worthy this captivity the arm of Omnipotenee was stretched of note that none of the philosophers of his day that forth for the deliverance of his people. Belshazzar of note that none of the philosophers of his day that on the night of his impious feast, when he brought his glass, but the young men looked and saw for
BY ROBERT W. FURNAS.
"The crooked lines of law have curved to spare us,
* Preached at Richmond, Ind., Fourth month 12th, 1885.