« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
silence which remained unbroken unless Some One felt called upon to speak. The women had as much to do with the government of the Society as the men had. Thus the doctrine of the equality of all human beings made Friends, from the beginning, the advocates of woman's rights; it also made them later the opponents of slavery. It is true that Friends were often narrow. They forbade music, an amusement harmless in itself, and one of the most precious gifts of God. They did not allow pictures and statuary in their houses. They also discouraged learning, for although their children were all sent to school, it cannot be denied that they undervalued the refining and elevating influence which reading and study bring. Besides being narrow, Friends often carried out the letter of simplicity in speech, behavior, and apparel, and forgot the spirit. They forgot that simplicity in speech meant not only the use of thee and thou, but the absence of double meaning; they forgot that if they were forbidden the use of oaths they must be all the more careful that their yea meant yea, and their nay, nay. They forgot simplicity in behavior meant integrity and self-respect, not the mere refusal to raise the hat and bow the knee; that plainness of attire did not mean that the cloth was to be cut in such and such a manner, but that it was to be neat, quiet, and inexpensive, not requiring too much time or attention. Yet with all their faults Friends have had a great influence in the world’s history. They set an example of thriftiness, sobriety, purity, honesty and courage which is not to be forgotten in a day. It is said that their work is done and that they are fast disappearing. It may be so. I have no statistics to deny the statement, but I can say that if the form is dying, the spirit still lives. That spirit which was ahead of its day and generation at its birth has still much to teach the people. It has helped toward religious toleration; it has more work to do in that direction. It has shown that women as well as men are capable of governing; it will help them to obtain their independence. But above and beyond these, it has inculcated the principles of peace, of love, and of good-will to all men. May the workings of the spirit continue until the whole world is knit together in the bond of an eternal brotherhood. Then we shall not weep over the vanished form.
THE PATH WAY OF PROGRESS.
THE following discourse was delivered in Boston by T. G. Milsted and recently published in the Christian Register. It very forcibly presents the true progress of the world through the influence of religion. Referring to the reading of passages in the 20th, 21st and 22d chapters of the book of Exodus, he says: I read those passages to remind you that there was a time when those crimes and misdeeds were the common, every-day doings of men, when the morality and humanity which could keep men from doing them were very uncommon. There was a time when there was no law but that of the strongest; when the
Stranger who, by any mischance of sea or land fell into a man's power was considered his slave, and his life was at the disposal of his captor. There was a time in Israel when every one did what was right in his own eyes. There was no power to restrain him ; and the prophet rose up and cried, “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.” What was to be done? Where should the remedy be sought? The world could meet strength with nothing but strength : one crime was met with another; an eye was demanded for an eye, a life for a life. Then it was that the prophet of God came forth, and, in the name of religion, said, “Thou shalt not do these things,” giving no reason except that God so willed it. And this is the great fact to be emphasized. Those ten commandments, most of which are now only common morality and have dropped out of the teaching of religion on to the page of the statutebook, were at one time the highest religion of the world. Through religion only they came into the world. In that rude, early age, the morality that is common now was far above the people; and it was religion that brought it down to them or, rather, lifted them up to it. Many a page of the Old Testament shows us that matters which are now subjects of the commonest legislation were once entirely within the sphere of religion. Those principles of law and justice which make civilization possible, and which are now only secular, were in the first place religious. The misdeeds and crimes of men were not forbidden till religion forbade them. We owe the foundations of the State to principles that were first taught by religion. The social fabric of Europe and America to-day is reared on the ten commandments. They are the foundation of our country, our State, our homes. They were rightly called the laws of God, for they set forth the conditions ordained of God on which alone civilization can be reared. The principles of our common law first fell from the lips of the prophet. Likewise, if you go back and trace the genesis, the beginning, of all that we call right, the virtues, goodness, you will find that they had their beginning in religion. Why, even such a secular sentiment as patriotism was once a religious feeling; for, in early times, the king was most prominent as the representative of God. Treason against him was the same as treason against God. We see this strongly brought out in the Old Testament, where it tells that David refrained from killing Saul simply because he was “the Lord’s anointed.” Further, Jerusalem was the beloved and holy city simply because it was the city
of God. And though the respect for king or ruler and the love of one’s country have, to a large extent,
become separate from religion, yet at first such feelings were entirely religious. This is not true of the Jews only, but of all early conditions of society. The Egyptians prostrated themselves before Rameses II., and said, “We are come before thee the lord of heaven, the lord of the earth,” etc., identifying the king more than did the Jews even, with the Supreme Being. Sentiments and beliefs which now are secular had to be upheld, during the early stages of civilization, by the sanction and authority of religion. Law came everywhere into life through religion: it pointed out the path men had to advance from barbarism or anarchy to civilization. But we need not go so far away as Palestine or Egypt to find proof of this truth: it works about us to-day, and the nineteenth century has furnished notable instances of it. The code which Moses brought forth and to which he gave the highest sanction of religion had been largely accepted by mankind. They found that, to exist as civilized nations, they must give the Mosaic code all the force of statute law. Then religion dropped that old code, and went on to something better. The Mosaic law had done all it could, and the world was ready for a step beyond it. It is hard for us to realize the condition of the world eighteen centuries ago, before it had taken that step; for, to get a true picture of ancient times, we should have to empty our present world of its charities, its humanities, its philanthropy, and all the finer, disinterested graces of life. The great cities of olden time were very different from anything in Christendom to-day. They were filled with multitudes of people wholly uncared for. In their dark and unknown corners were lived out tragedies of misery and grief that no man heeded, so long as they did not concern himself. The sick and maimed were allowed to lie in the street and die. The blind and dumb had no home, no refuge from the common battle of life, but had to take their chances with the rest. The maniac wandered at will through the public ways or was driven to a distance, where he could do no harm. In going over the sites and through the ruins of ancient cities, we see the temples where the people bowed before their gods; we see the monuments that they erected to their national greatness and to perpetuate the memory of their great achievements; we See all the noble works that ancient art was called upon by public zeal or private enterprise to build. But is it not strange that explorers have never yet unearthed the ruins of a hospital or an asylum ? have never found in that ancient world a home for the orphan or the aged? have seen no trace of all those charitable institutions that now adorn Christendom 7 These things were wholly unknown to the ancient world, were foreign to the aim and Scope of the life of ancient times. There was no one then to take up the cause of the down-trodden ; no voice to plead for them in the halls of legislature nor even in the temples of religion. The highest among the people were wholly separated from the lowest, and would have scorned the idea that there was any bond of union between them. There were no ties binding the slave and his master, none between the few on the top of the wave of life and the multitudes engulfed in its depths. From a humane stand-point, the world was in a chaotic condition, just as centuries before in the time of Moses, it had been morally chaotic. Again, what was the remedy ? What was to be done? As in that first instance at which we looked, it was the man of God who again came forth and in the name of religion proclaimed all men equal and brothers, no matter whether they were weak or strong, great or small, bond or free. And it was the man of God who
first said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor and the maimed and the halt and the blind.” And with what result 2 The truths which Jesus proclaimed, which at first were entirely religious, have slowly become secular, just as did the Mosaic code. He first taught that all men were free and equal, and at last the Constitution of the United States declares the same truth. He first said, “Go out into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, the lame and the blind;” and at last the laws of this State and this city make provision for so doing. Look at the laws which in this State and this city supply the great lack of charity and benevolence that we saw in the civilization of ancient times, and you will find that those laws repeat and are based on truths that first fell from the lips of the master. Our charitable laws and all laws and customs of like character were Once religion, were rejected and laughed at as being wholly in the air; but at last Christendom has accepted them, and written them upon its statue books. To take an illustration : eighteen hundred years ago there was no such thing as a hospital in all Europe, nor in all the length and breadth of the Roman Empire. To be sure, Rome had hospitals for her soldiers, but for them alone. They were built by her prudence, and were on no higher level than her commissariat; and the Roman Senate would have deemed him a madman, if any one had proposed to build an asylum out of the public treasury, and gather into it the poor, the lame and the blind. But the monasteries and convents, the houses of religion,--as soon as they were established, began to open their doors to the sick and injured. Then Christian men of wealth saw that this was a good thing, and built homes especially for those who needed care ; and, at last, the State saw that it was a good thing, and now the asylums and hospitals are largely taken out of the hands of religion. Yet through it they first came into being; and the Legislature of Massachusetts, when it enacts a law to build a new hospital, does not stop to think that it is only obeying Him who said, what the world had not thought of till then,_Go out into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the sick, the poor, the lame and the blind. In enacting any such law the Legislature did but reënact what was already written in the New Testament. We see this process of the secularization of religious truth at different stages of progress in this country. There are some places in the south-western part where the charities that are here entirely Secular are still a matter of religion. Even in this land there are some places where there is no such official as an overseer of the poor. In times of trouble the churches raise money, and a committee or the minister must play the part of overseer of the poor. In such places religion is largely taken up with these matters. But as soon as such communities get farther along in the path of civilaztion, they will make the mere bodily charities a secular matter, and religion will press on to something higher. And now I think the mission of religion is plain : it is to be the advance-guard of the world, the advancing ideal that is always ahead of the race. Its mission is to go before mankind, and point out the pathway that leads into new regions of life. Religion is ever standing on Mount Sinai, handing down newer, better tables of the law, which, though at first religious, in time become Secular; for religion repeats and reiterates the law of God till it becomes the law of men till it is written in their statute-books and in their lives. Then, when One step is gained, it presses on to something better, holds out a higher ideal, proclaims a higher law, thus forever “guiding the nations groping on their upward way.” Religion keeps the race ever looking heavenward. It stands above the world, interpreting the laws of heaven and then making those laws binding upon earth; giving new messages of the spirit that bring into the paths of men a diviner light, that leads them farther away from darkness to a closer walk with God.
[To be concluded.]
Contributed to Friends' Intelligencer and Journal. A CHAPTER FROM A HOSPITAL DIARY.1
EVENTH month, 23d.—Capt. Charles W. was ad-2 mitted to our hospital this afternoon at 4 o'clock, sick of yellow fever. Fear he will be very ill; has already been prostrated several days without medical attendance. I trust our efforts to restore him to health will be blest. He tells me he is trying to be a Christian, and has a Christian's blessed hope. I am cheered by this assurance. He must not be left alone. I shall have care of him through the day, and Mr. F. will watch him at night. 24th.-Found the Captain this morning in a very high fever, attended with delirium. Mr. F. says this has been his condition all night, and he has been extremely restless, but is now cheerful, and talks to me about his wife and three children, George, Charley and Lulu. Poor fellow, he says he wants to live for his family, but feels resigned to the will of God. “You will take care of me?” he said in a beseeching way. I promised, with divine help to do all that lies in my power, and I intend to be faithful so far as my strength will hold out. What a spell this stranger thas thrown around me —perhaps it is the bond of Christian fellowship, and his kind, affectionate nature that has won me so. He is So grateful, and so satisfied with any little attention paid him, such as combing his hair and bathing his face and hands. However restless he may be, if I sit by him with his hands in mine, he is always soothed and quieted. I have been reminded to-day of what my own dear sons might have been to me; but the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be his holy name. 25th.-Our patient is very sick—quite delirious. There is little to build upon, but our good Doctor is hopeful, and is doing all that skill and experience can do. Dear Father, bless the means that are being used to save this life—so precious to the loved ones at home. I leave him feeling very despondent, for I have seen so much of this treacherous disease; but I commit the poor fellow this night to bis and my Father's holy care. 26th.-Found the Captain a shade better this morning. He had a bad night, was very delirious,
1Charleston, S. C., 185-.
calling frequently his little George. Strange to say not an improper word or profane expression has escaped his lips in all his ravings. Surely he must be a pure hearted man. “Blessed are the pure in heart.” 27th.-Our patient is in a drowsy stupor this morning, which Mr. F. Says has continued all night, his mind wandering, but quite composed. I fear this lethargy is an unfavorable symptom. Tried to rouse him by asking questions about his home. It had the desired effect for awhile;—he saw the ruse, however, and Smilingly said: “I know you are trying to keep me awake.” He has been suffering from a terrible hemorrhage all day, with constant delirium. I fear he is past hope, though the Doctor continues hopeful. . As I leave him for the night, my only confidence is in committing him to the keeping of the great Physician. 28th.-The blessed Sabbath. Dreaded to go into the hospital this morning, fearing to find our patient worse, but, thanks to my Heavenly Father, he is apparently better. If the terrible hemorrhage could only be checked I think there might be reason for hope. After bidding him “good morning,” I reminded him that this was the blessed resurrection morn. “Oh, yes,” said he, “I know that my dear wife and my church brethren will be praying for me to-day.” He is very much prostrated, and craves ice constantly. This is certainly the most malignant case of yellow fever I have ever seen. The fever is now broken, but is assuming a typhoid form. God help the poor sufferer. 29th.-The Captain is decidedly worse this morning, but perfectly resigned and patient. His mind is in such a wandering state, and his condition is so depressed, that I have had but little conversation with him. In the few lucid intervals I have tried to cheer him, but not at any time to induce him to believe he will recover, though I have said nothing discouraging. I am satisfied that when “the Master cometh and calleth for him, he will be found ready.” In all my experience among the sick and dying I have never witnessed such patience. Even in his wildest delirium he can be controlled by words of kindness. 30th.-The Doctor thought the Captain a shade better when he came this morning. Wish I could be so hopeful. I do not see any change, only he is not so depressed ; this may be a hopeful sign. As nothing is impossible with God, I think he will hear the prayer of his servant and raise him up from this bed of sickness. He is so entwined around our hearts that neither Mr. F. or myself is willing to entrust him to any care but our own, night or day. 31st.—The Captain continues the same and the Doctor is hopeful. He is always glad to see me when I enter the hospital; seemed more so this morning than usual—is always ready for me to bathe him and comb his hair. I told him that I so loved “that pretty curl’” of his that when he got well and went home he would have to leave it for me. He seemed quite cheerful for a while, spoke of an expected voyage to Lisbon—to take all his family with him ; talked of his wife and little ones with all the pride of a devoted husband and father.
Eighth month, 1st.—Mr. F. called me down last night thinking Captain W. was dying. He continues Very ill, but is not so near death as Mr. F. thought. 2d—Our patient is very low to-day, and says he Will not recover. I asked if he had any messages he wished delivered to his family. He made some requests, and said he trusted he would meet them in the Heavenly home. 3d.—Found the Captain speechless and in a dying Condition but conscious. On asking if he knew me he pressed my hand and looked up with a sweet Smile. He has lain perfectly quiet all day. Think he enjoyed heavenly communion. I will not leave him to-night. How I dread the last closing hours, and he can hardly live to the rising of another sun. “Lord, let thy servant depart in peace.” 4th-Our dear patient left us at 8 this morning, and is now spending his first Sabbath in the “New Jerusalem.” He passed away without a struggle or groan, just as an infant falls asleep upon its mother's breast. God help the widowed wife and the fatherless little ones. We commend them to thy pitying care, O, Father; may they lean on thee and find strength and consolation in this sad hour ! M. E. F.
For Friends Intelligencer and Journal. OATHS AND THE TEMPERANCE PLEDGE. N the INTELLIGENCER AND Journ AL of Eighth month 29th, “E. H. M.” seems considerably exercised, even to the verge of indignation, that your N. Y. correspondent “T.” should have connected the signing a temperance pledge with the taking an oath, and implied that the one as well as the other is “trampling upon the command of Jesus,” in that regard. But if he will duly consider the matter in all its bearings I think that he will find that there is good ground for at least an honest difference of opinion in regard to it. At the outset it is very evident that the injunction of Jesus was intended to comprehend far beyond the judicial Oath, or an attestation embracing an invocation of the aid or the vengeance of Deity. Not only does he also distinctly prohibit the invocation of things other than Deity, but he brings the matter down to the narrowest limits; “let your communication be yea, yea; nay, nay, for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” And the apostle James is just as explicit. “But above all things my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath; but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay ; lest ye fall into condemnation.” In both cases, not only are we commanded to abstain from oaths, but from everything baving any relation thereto. Now certainly there must be some reason in this. It is evident from the whole tenor of his teaching that the mission of Christ, and consequently of christianity, is to secure a substitution of the substance for the shadow, the type for the anti-type. It is also plain, at least it should be plain to every member of the Society of Friends, that this substance is an indwelling, divine, supernatural principle of infinite
intelligence—the grace or gift of God to each individual as the only safe guide and governor. Now man being a free agent, this indwelling seed or light of divinity becomes a practical guide to any one only as he ceases to depend on other things for guidance, and gives his allegiance to this, and concentrates his attention upon its “still small voice” in the conscience or faculty of consciousness. That God requires a whole-hearted allegiance is so clearly set forth in scripture, and is so perfectly in consonance with right reason that it needs no further demonstration. That God is only to be known as he makes himself manifest within man, and that salvation from sin is only attainable by attention to his voice, (his commands) within man, is equally clear from both Scripture and right reason. It is palpable that the judicial oath is based upon a conception of God that involves direct antagonism to the fundamental truth of christianity. It is also palpable that any attestation or assertion in regard to our being saved or preserved from sin that involves the invocation of a dependence on something besides the spirit of God manifest within, or which is something besides a practical and unequivocal acknowledgment, (a simple “yea, yea”), of the all-sufficiency of the indwelling spirit of God, or which does not involve an unequivocal denial (a simple “nay, nay ”) of everything besides the indwelling spirit of God as being efficient to salvation from sin, must also be based upon a conception of God that involves directantagonism to this fundamental truth of christianity, and is not only a distinct violation of Christ's command in that regard, but may with the greater propriety be connected with judicial oaths as having an influence in common therewith adverse to the promulgation of the simple faith of christianity. This simple faith of christianity, in one sense, may be regarded as the peculiar inheritance of the Society of Friends, and the members of that society may properly be looked upon as false to their profession unless they are consistent exponents thereof. And I being a member of the Society of Friends, professing to believe that an entire dependence upon, and strict obedience to the indwelling divine light, is the only possible efficient means of preservation from sin, if I should nevertheless connect myself with an organization in which the signing a pledge, requesting a resolution of the mind begotten by the excitement of social intercourse in connection with the persistent solicitation of fellow members—an invocation of selfstrength or mere human strength, or perhaps, more correctly, the invocation of human weakness—is set forth as a means of preservation from sin, would I not be practically denying my profession if I should thus sanction the taking by any one of such a pledge, a solemn promise to do or not to do a certain thing, having reference to his future success in resisting
temptation, with no dependence for the fulfilment
thereof but the present determination of his own mind and the continuance of his present social surroundings to uphold that determination, would I not be encouraging him to depend upon something besides the guidance of Christ in his heart? Would I be keeping “my eye single to the light within '' and doing all in my power to induce him to do the same * Would I not be practically turning from the faith of my profession back to a future dependence on the “weak and beggarly elements?” If it is objected that there are those who need outward helps and instrumentalities, the answer is that though outward instrumentalities are useful and even necessary in their place, it is only such as are of a nature to direct the mind to the substance or light within as the dependence, and not such as are of a nature to lead the mind to an invocation of other things, or to depend on other things as substitutes for the light within. If obedience to the guidance of a divine intelligence, which is immediately present in the conscience, is the only means of Salvation, it follows that the alleged potency of anything as a means of preservation that is not clearly auxiliary to this indwelling divine intelligence, or that does not clearly point to it as the sole dependence, must be illusory, misleading, and obstructive to the practical comprehension of the one true means. The light of Christ is immediately present in the heart or conscience of every man, an efficient saviour to all those who practically accept it as such. It is a Substantial reality, in man but not of man ; a distinct intelligence as much superior to the intelligence of man as the infinite is superior to the finite. It is allsufficient of itself, and needs not the aid of human ingenuity, but it does need that the attention of the mind may not be distracted by the devices of human ingenuity, and the influence of the light within obScured thereby. Hence, to encourage a dependence on any other arrangement or device for preservation from sin virtually amounts to a denial of the light within. Even though it may be truly said of a device of this kind that it does have at least a temporary influence to preserve from a certain form of evil, when it is remembered that there is immediately available to every man a completely furnished, allsufficient remedy which comprehends in its scope not merely the temporary suppression of a branch of iniquity, but the complete eradication of the very root thereof, the acceptance of the former (being an imputation of the insufficiency of the latter) really amounts to a direct antagonism, and is excusable only when there is ignorance of the latter. To depend on an inadequate remedy when an all-sufficient remedy is immediately at hand would be an act of egregious folly under any circumstances, but in the present case, where God’s government of his own creation in his Own way or by his own appointed means is involved, it is an act inseparable from iniquity itself, except where ignorance calls forth the exercise of mercy. Let a man be thoroughly and practically convinced of the substantial reality of the indwelling light of Christ as the only rightful governor of the conscience, and lord of creation, and there is inevitably begotten thereby in the mind an overwhelming sense of love to God, and of the tremendous responsibility resting upon man as God’s intelligent free agent, which keeps him ever on the alert in watchfulness of that inward principle which is a saviour against all forms of iniquity, and which is with him wherever he goes, with
out regard to changes of his Social connections or sur
roundings. And is it possible that Friends now find So little prospect of useful and practical labor in calling the children of men up to this, our advanced profession, that our members must go back to labor in darkness in association with or in imitation of those who dwell in darkness and to fortify the misconceptions of those whose works are founded upon misconception—thus exalting and magnifying the impotent devices for preservation from evil, which, in the absence of an adequate conception of the immediate presence of God as the sole teacher of his children, have been begotten and set up by human ingenuity, and are now in our midst, retarding the establishment of God’s kingdom or government on the earth, being the very substance of idolatry, contaminating the civilization of the nineteenth century 2 “Let the dead bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” is the language addressed to all those who make profession of salvation by Christ or the immediate guidance of the divine I. W. G.
EDUCATION: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOLS.1
BY THOS. W. SIDWELL. DUCATE means to lead, to bring up, as 'a child; education, the act of bringing up, instruction. It comprehends all that series of instruction which enlightens the understanding and develops the physical and spiritual part of man. * Education should prepare man to exercise his powers for the attainment of the noblest ends. It should teach him to do and to be and to live rationally, thereby securing the most of this life and of its continuance “beyond.” It begins at the cradle and continues to the grave, and employs as agencies everything which influences man. We shall not, however, treat the subject in all its breadth, but shall confine our remarks to that which begins in the primary school and ends at the entrance to college or the university. The object is not to condemn the public schools, but to show the superiority of well conducted private schools, especially Friends' Schools, and the importance of placing children in them when possible. That my position may not be misunderstood allow me to say I am in favor of our government's providing a system of public or free instruction. I rejoice that the liberality of our people extends the blessings of enlightenment to millions who would otherwise ever remain in ignorance; and I believe the continuance of our republican institutions depends much on the public Schools. I am not one to oppose or criticize the many thousand faithful teachers and officers employed in them. They can do little more than they are doing. Our government must provide for the masses and not for individuals. It must educate children of all nationalities, Jew and Gentile, Catholic and Protesttant, as well as those who have no religious belief,
1An Essay read at Lincoln, Va., Eighth month, 16th, 1885, at a Conference under the auspices of the Educational Committee of Baltimore Yearly Meeting.