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For Friends' Intelligencer and Journal.
PHILADELPHIA YEARLY MEETING TEMPERANCE WORK. S the subject of temperance is engaging the attention of many at the present time, I have thought it would interest not a few Friends to know when our religious society became interested in the subject, and how patiently it labored therein for near
a century ere it became mostly clear of having its
members engaged in dealing in spirituous liquors, or using them as a drink. I have therefore appended some extracts from the autobiography of our esteemed friend, the late Samuel Comfort. He, being much interested in the cause, collected a statement of the action of the yearly meeting in reference thereto from 1738 to 1832. The query, amended a few years after 1832, remained so until 1873, when the subject again claimed the attention of the yearly meeting and was changed to its present form. It will be seen that the work has interested the Society for nearly a hundred and fifty years. H. M. L. Philadelphia, Ninth month 22d.
The first record on the subject of spirituous liquors by the yearly meeting was in 1738: 1738.-The proposal of Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, respecting the great number of public houses, being considered, it is recommended to such of the Friends of the quarterly and monthly meetings, belonging to this meeting as are magistrates, that they use their endeavors to lessen the number of persons recommended for that service, and that Friends be careful not to sign petitions to recommend any but such as are proper persons, or where there is a real necessity. 1746.-We entreat our young Friends with readiness to receive and give place to the labor of love, and wholesome admonitions bestowed on them by their parents and others, and to renew our advice not only to the young, but those of riper years, to avoid the keeping of much company and resorting to taverns and ale houses, as great inconvenience attends this practice, not only the subjecting yourselves to the temptation of drinking to excess; but hereby an opportunity is offered for men of corrupt minds, to sow the evil seeds of loose principles, perhaps to the calling in question the great truths of religion contained in the Holy Scriptures. 1777.-Considering the snares and difficulties, to our young people and others, which are attendant on keeping houses of public entertainment, beer houses and dram shops, whereby the reputation of truth has greatly suffered, and in Some places the children and families concerned herein have been brought into disgrace and loss, both spiritually and temporally, it is the united sense and judgment of this meeting, that Friends ought not to give way to the desire of outward gain arising from Such employments, but keep themselves clear thereof by attending to the pointings of pure wisdom, which will lead us to seek a way of supporting Ourselves and families, in business more consistent with our holy profession and not liable to such Snares and dangers.
The following minutes of the yearly meeting are the first that particularly appeared under the title of “Spirituous Liquors,” in 1777: 1777–An increasing concern and exercise having prevailed amongst Friends in several of our quarterly meetings, respecting the unnecessary use of spirituous liquors which had greatly tended to the corruption and depravity of the morals of mankind, thereby increasing guilt in our country, under which consideration this meeting is engaged to exhort and admonish Friends to use great caution in that of distilling, or the encouraging of distilling, or using distilled Or Spirituous liquors of any kind. And in regard to the practice of destroying grain by distilling Spirits out of it: It is the sense and judgment of this meeting, that such practice be wholly discouraged and disused amongst Friends, and that Friends ought not to sell their grain for this purpose, nor use or partake of liquors made out of grain ; which this meeting directs the quarterly and monthly meetings to take proper notice of, and make report of their case to next yearly meeting. 1778.-The advice of last year again recommended. 1779.-A fresh concern is now revived to enforce the advice communicated to our quarterly and monthly meetings in 1777 and repeated last year, to dissuade the members of our religious Society from the keeping of houses of public entertainment, and retailing spirituous liquors, and against distilling such liquors from grain or selling it for that purpose, or making use of such liquors. Friends in their several meetings are earnestly desired to use their further endeavors to those who do not regard this united sense and judgment of their brethren, agreeably to the sense of this meeting expressed in the minutes before mentioned. 1780.-As it appears that the endeavors used to discourage the distillation of spirits from grain, and selling it for that purpose, and to dissuade any of our members from keeping public houses, have been attended with some good success, the care of Friends is desired to be continued in these matters, agreeably to the sense and judgment of this meeting last year, and if any continue in those practices, or others should undertake them, to send an account to the meeting next year. The subject was revived from year to year, until at last monthly meetings were authorized to testify against such as continued to persist in the practice of distilling or selling spirits from grain. and the subject relative to the distillation, importation, dealing in, and unnecessary use of spirituous liquors was recommended to the quarterly and monthly meetings. In 1796 the following minute was made in the yearly meeting and sent to the subordinate meetings: 1796.-The meeting being at this time painfully exercised with the accounts of so many remaining under the idolatrous spirit of covetousness as to prefer temporal gain to unity with their brethren, in a firm unshaken testimony against the unnecessary use of, and profit sought from a traffic in spirituous liquors. Under the weight and pressure of this deeply interesting concern, quarterly and monthly meetings are afresh urged to renew their patient and persevering labor with such, manifesting that the practice, if continued in by any of our members, cannot admit of any countenance while there is a faithful adherence to the Divine principle of good-will to men. The concern was kept alive for several years and much labor bestowed, and there were sometimes more and sometimes fewer engaged therein. 1n 1830, the following, together with other concerns and exercises of the yearly meeting was sent down in the Extracts: 1830.- A concern has been revived in this meeting that our testimony against the unnecessary use of distilled spirituous liquors may be faithfully maintained, and a desire felt that the work of reformation be promoted by the advancement of this righteous Cause annongst our members; that the use of ardent Spirits as a drink, and the desolating effects thereof may be avoided, and the fruits of temperance and moderation be increasingly manifested in all our conduct and business of life. 1832.-The yearly meeting in considering the state of Society having proceeded to the fourth query, the Subject of the distillation, common use and traffic in Spirituous liquors, occasioned a lively interest. After due deliberation a committee of forty-five Friends was appointed to consider the proper course for this meeting to take in order to advance the testimony of truth and promote the good of society. 13th of the month and 6th of the week. The committee to whom was referred the above subject produced the annexed report, which was read, and after Solid and deliberate consideration united with by the meeting, viz.:
In solidly deliberating on the weighty subject committed to them, and after a free expression of sentiment it was agreed to propose to the yearly meeting that the words “out of grain” be expunged from the paragraph, page 60 of the Discipline under the head of Moderation and Temperance. And it was the judgment of the committee that monthly meetings ought to take an early opportunity, tenderly to treat with such of our members who are concerned either in the importation, distillation or sale of spirituous liquors. And if, after faithful, patient labor to convince them of the awful demoralizing effect of their conduct, and its inconsistency with the testimony of our religious society, they cannot be prevailed upon to relinquish the business, that said meetings be at liberty to put the discipline as now amended, in practice against them. And the committee are also of the judgment, that a tender religious care ought to be extended to such of our members as are in the use of spirituous liquors as a drink, or handing it out in harvest, or at other times, in order to dissuade them from the practice.
Signed on behalf of the committee, all the members being present.
In a few years from the above date, by the patient labor of concerned Friends, all were induced to give up the business of dealing in spirituous liquors rather than lose their right of membership, and the Society was cleared from the subject it had so long labored in for a reformation. The fourth query was amended by taking the word “unnecessary” out of it, and altering it to stand “Are Friends clear of the
distillation or sale of spirituous liquors, and are they careful to discourage the use thereof as a drink” 1873. The query was changed to its present form.
From the Christian Register. WHAT IS TRUE CIVILIZATION ? BY CAZNEAU PALFREY, D. D.
HERE is in human nature a native tendency to progress, or at least a native susceptibility of it. The operation of this tendency is the theme of history. The most highly endowed and active races have lifted themselves out of barbarism, advanced in knowledge and arts, and achieved what we call a civilization. History is a narrative of a succession of these civilizations, each of which has risen, culminated, suffered decadence, and given place to another. No one, however, has flourished entirely in vain. Each has realized something substantial, which it has left as an enduring possession to its successor. But no one has had at its centre a principle of sufficient vitality to insure its perpetuity. The civilization of Greece and Rome was mainly, though not exclusively, sensuous. It consisted largely in the multiplication of the means of luxurious living. But the uncontrolled senses tend natually to excess and degradation. The decay of Roman civilization presents one of the saddest chapters of human history. What Rome finally became, amid all her wealth, art, and literature, is sufficiently shown by the concurrent testimony of Paul in his terrible arraignment of the heathen world, the indignant verses of Juvenal, and the sarcastic prose of Tacitus. Another example of the lapse of a superficial civilization into luxury, and thence into gross Sensuality and moral degradation, is seen in the condition to which France was brought in the times of Louis XV., when the shameless licentiousness of a dissolute court engendered a pestilential moral atmosphere, which required a fierce tempest of revolution for its dispersion. And what shall be said of the civilization of our own age and conntry 2 What promise is there in our condition of a higher and more enduring type of civilization than has yet been realized 2 In answer to this question it is usual to point to the wonderful discoveries and inventions of the age, to the machinery by which the power of human hands has been multiplied by millions, to the rapid development of the material resources of nature, the discovery of mighty physical forces, and the subjection of them to man’s daily service. The steam-engine, the last improvements of the printing-press, the railroad, the telegraph, the telephone,—these, which, though not exclusively ours, have yet their widest operation among us, are thought to be the surest pledges of an enduring progress. They may indeed become so, but not necessarily. Everything depends on the use that is made of them. They are simply power which may be directed to a good or a bad end. The railroad easily lends itself to monopoly, and enables a few individuals to direct the courses of traffic to their private advantage instead of the public good. The telegraph is liable to a similar abuse in unscrupulous hands. Or it might become a terrible instrument under the control of a despotism, and arm it with a power unknown to that of Rome, which was said to make a dungeon of the whole habitable earth. The press may become a fountain of moral corruption. The mighty explosive forces which have come to the knowledge of this generation, and which have been so useful in leveling the highways of traffic and travel, may be used by ignorant and wicked men in waging a fruitless war between the laboring and employing classes, whose claims can be adjusted only by mutual love. Not therefore to power over physical forces, but to the character that stands behind that power and directs its use, are we to look for the surest signs of civilization. Just in proportion as man gains power over the external world does he need a corresponding moral development, both to preserve the harmony of his own nature and to fit him for his more extended sphere. When important trusts are put into a man’s hands, he is often required to give bonds for a faithful administration of them. So, when man is intrusted with extraordinary powers over nature, he ought to be placed under the bonds of firm and strict moral principle for a wise and beneficent employment of them for the good of his race. Thus only does dominion over nature become a real blessing and a means to the true elevation of all mankind. The most complete mastery over physical forces that man can be imagined to gain would at best only make of him a mighty giant, whereas he was meant to be a Seraph. Thus have men been striving, unconsciously or with the dimmest sense of what they were aiming at, for higher and fuller life. Their conception of social and individual well-being has been partial. Some have placed it in one thing and some in another. Elements of good and evil have been variously, sometimes grotesquely, mingled in them. Now, this blind impulse receives its complete interpretation only in Christ. In him, humanity comes to a full consciousness of its own ideal perfection. If we were asked for a complete definition of the idea of civilization, for an exhaustive inventory of the contents of that word, what would we say but that it is the condition of a community of which every member is a well-developed man in mind, body, and soul—all whose faculties, physical, intellectual, aesthetic, moral, spiritual, are in full, proportionate, harmonious exercise ? We cannot spare one of these elements out of our idea of a true civilization, and we can add nothing to them to make that idea more complete. Yet this is but a description of the perfect man in Christ Jesus. I say, then, that the highest civilization man can aspire to or imagine, and, the kingdom of Christ, of God, of heaven on earth, are one and the same thing. Truly, as Paul says, what men waited for with earnest expectation, amid groans and travail, was the manifestation of the sons of God, of Christ, the well-beloved son, and of those who became sons of God through likeness to him. Thus is Christ the bright morning star of human progress, perpetually heralding new dawns, ever pointing to a perfect day. A reformer in a Christian land cannot act independently of Christ. He is in a
world in which Christ's sacred presence has been felt for ages. Something of Christ's spirit is the indefeasible inheritance of every native of Christendom. Some of Christ's law has been organized in all Christian society. The reformer is indebted to Christ for his idea, and Christ has prepared the favorable circumstances in which he undertakes its realization. Every good thing, really conducive to a healthy civilization, that he can attempt to accomplish, is a part of Christianity. If there is any seeming evil connected with religion that he seeks to remove, it is a corruption of Christianity, which its true friends also would gladly see abolished. Why does a nation ever grow old 2 It has a constant influx of fresh life: the young are ever present to fill the vacated places of the old, to carry On the national idea, to fulfil the national purpose. It would seem that a nation, with its successive generations closely interwoven, might exist and act as a long-lived person, and continue while the world lasts. Why is it that history only exhibits a succession of decayed nations? The chief reason seems to have been that the central principle of the nation’s life, the idea that inspired it, was limited, that it was at length exhausted, and then progress stopped, and the national spirit died out. In other words, the national life was not deeply seated enough to last. But Suppose the informing principle of a nation’s life to be an inexhaustible one, capable of indefinite expansion, of unfolding to satisfy the ever rising and ever widening aspirations itself inspires, and creating new forms of society to meet the exigencies of an ever progressive community. That were an experiment that has never yet been tried. We see no reason why such a nation should ever die. Now, this is precisely the condition of a thoroughly Christian nation. A Community composed of individuals filled with the Spirit of Christ, tending to the production of a Christian life, would have at its heart an inexhaustible principle of life, it would have for its moving impulse an ever progressive ideal. It would inherit the promise, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never viewed from the religious standpoint, as the taking of Oaths, etc. The writer has signed the temperance pledge frequently and has induced others to do so, and believing that there is nothing in that act inconsistent with the religion of him who came “to seek and to save those that were lost,” he desires to protest against any such erroneous construction, and to present a few reasons why the pledge should be taken.
For Friends' Intelligencer and Journal.
in the INTELLIGENCER AND Journ AL, of Ninth month 26th, has doubtless attracted the attention, and to some extent aroused the righteous indignation of all temperance workers who read this valuable weekly paper. To the credit of the Society of Friends be it said that it occupies as advanced ground upon the subject of temperance reform, and includes, in proportion to its membership, as many active workers in the good cause, as any other religious body. Many of these workers have, in all probability, made repeated use of the temperance pledge in their efforts to reclaim the unfortunate men with whom they have come in contact: they have done so believing it to be a perfectly proper way to attain the desired end, and it is with great surprise that they read an article like the one referred to, which is a labored effort to prove that the temperance pledge is as objectionable, when
The temperance pledge is merely a written or printed promise to do what all should do, but what many do not do—abstain from the use of intoxicants as a beverage. It is no doubt true, as I. W. G. intimates, that the indwelling spirit now teaches that intoxicants must not be used, yet the time is not long past when members of the Society of Friends who claimed to be led by the same divine light, both used and sold intoxicating drinks. They were good people, too, and were consistent members of the Society, but their moral vision was still obscured, or they
lacked the knowledge of the evil which we now pos
Sess, and so they unwittingly did that which the Spirit of truth will not now permit us to do. And thus it seems possible for a lack of knowledge to lead Conscientious people astray, even while they think they are being led by the truth. Regarded as a promise for future conduct, the temperance pledge is no more to be condemned than is a promissory note, which is also a promise to be redeemed by future action. It is no doubt true that if all men occupied the high religious ground which I. W. G. takes, promissory notes and all contracts would not be needed in the business world, for then a man’s verbal promise would be as good as his bond. But, unfortunately, humanity has not yet reached that lofty plane, and we must deal with men as we find them—not as we would have them or as they ought to be. * The temperance pledge is especially valuable because it induces men to make a full self-committal to total abstinence. A man who merely has the mental purpose, the good intention, to abstain, is not nearly as likely to do so, as the one who has signed the promise to abstain. The most meagre knowledge of human nature will teach us the vast difference between an ill-formed purpose and a well-defined promise “in black and white.” In conclusion, let us suppose a case which will effectually test the value of the pledge. Here are a half dozen uneducated laboring men, who spend threefourths of their poor wages in getting drunk, and then go home and abuse their wives and children. (It requires no imagination whatever to see this picture: it can be seen all about us in its hideous reality every day). Led, as we believe, by the spirit of him who came “to seek and to Save” just such poor fellows as these, and believing that they are his and our “brethren,” we go to them some day after they have recovered from the effects of drink and try to induce them to give up their drinking habits and lead better lives. Now, how shall we proceed 2 If we use the metaphysical language of our friend I. W. G., these men will know nothing of what we say, for they are so ignorant as to scarcely know they have a soul. But if we present the temperance pledge and urge them to
sign it, and offer to sign it with them—here is something tangible, and entirely within their comprehenSion, and they will take this first step in a right direction, if our powers of persuasion are great enough to lead them to it. And once having taken this step they may in the future attain to the lofty heights of faith and true religion where they may enjoy the spiritual companionship of those who like our friend I. W. G. are spiritually minded. The temperance pledge has been to many a man the first step toward a life that has redeemed a misspent past—toward a life of right-thinking and true-doing; in a word, toward a truly religious life. And we believe that to offer this means of reformation to those who may be helped by it, and to urge them to use it, is to obey in truth the command of the spirit of Christ in the soul—as quoted by I. W. G. in his communication— “Let the déad bury their dead, but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” But let the preaching be done in a language that all may understand, and let us not hesitate to use means of grace that may reach and reclaim any poor wanderer, no matter how
far he may have strayed. I. R. Norristown, Pa.
Every atom in nature seeks, and in time acquires its own level. Thus man, though he may be placed by circumstances in an improper sphere, will rise or fall by virtue of his own gifts and ability to his regulation height.
We are the builders of our own temples. God and nature furnish the material and permit human skill to work it into shape. The great lack of soul power and mental energy renders most of us imperfect architects. Too late we learn we are the master mechanics of fate—and the little span of life finds us waiting houseless with our implements of labor rusted and our given material wasted, crying, “Lord I have been misused, my efforts unappreciated. Take me to thy better home.”
The worth and beauty of a life may not always be reckoned by its successes. God scores our efforts; and there is a long column in his account book for earnest endeavor.
Days that are beautified by firm faith and smiling patience are sunshine to the possessor and his neighbors. S. L. OBERHOLTZER.
True life can never be developed among throngs and noises. We must betake ourselves into desert places. In a word, we must get away from men, and view life from such distance as may be realized by intimate, divine fellowship. As it is necessary to stand back from his work in order that the artist may see how it is shaping itself, so it is often necessary for us who are doing Christ's work to retire into solitary places, that we may look at it from the altar of worship, or perhaps from the valley of humiliation. —Joseph Parker.
INTELLIGENCER AND JOURNAL.
HowARD M. J.ENKINs, Managing Editor.
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: HELEN G. LONGSTRETH. LOUISA. J. ROBERTS. SUSAN ROBERTS. RACHEL W. HILLBORN. LYDIA. H. HALL.
– PHILADELPHIA, TENTH MONTH 10, 1885.
***It should be explicitly understood that the editors do not accept any responsibility for the views of correspondents and contributors who sign their articles. The signature—whether by a full name, initials, or other characters—must be the Voucher for an independent expression.
*** As a rule, we cannot notice communications unaCCompanied by a name. We need to know who it is that addresses us.
WOMEN IN THE CHURCH.
THE Christian Union, in a review of an editorial, “As to Woman's Preaching” in the Congregationalist, shows the growing liberality of the times. Not many years since, the Apostle Paul was cited as the unanswerable authority for the silence of women in the churches, but now we hear occasional confessions of their service in church affairs even beyond the limits of the Christian festival, the pic-nic or the fair. In a few liberal congregations women sometimes fill the pulpit without “unsexing themselves,” and everywhere they are counted upon as the faithful workers in Bible classes and Sabbath-schools, but still a complete equality of man and woman in religious worship and in the exercise of the ministerial function is far from being recognized by the church-going world. To Friends who so fully believe in the right of woman to teach and to preach without regard to what was the proper sphere for her in the first century, it sounds strange to hear any argument upon the question—somewhat like it would to revive the question of the rightfulness of human slavery. We have so long been accustomed to see our sisters stand bravely before our congregations, and, in the power which is from on high, give utterance to the thoughts which they believe will be helpful to their hearers, that we can scarcely imagine what our simple service would be were their lips sealed and their vocal offerings excluded. For this freedom we are thankful, for the opportunity which women enjoy to be helpful to our own liberal Society, we are grateful, and rejoice that
our lines have been cast in these favored places. In the independent assemblies of women there is need every one for to be on the alert to contribute whatever of strength or wisdom she may possess, that the whole body may be wise and strong, remembering that women of other faiths have not the opportunity of sharing in church government. When women are
called upon in business meetings to consider and act upon matters relating to their government, they must remember that this right which is sometimes highly prized is peculiar to our organization, and that in other denominations they are governed by laws in whose making they have no share. This equality in the church is one of the blessings which we owe to the wisdom of George Fox, but it must also be assumed that the women of his time were earnest and true, and worthy to share in the Solemn trusts committed to them. Sincerity and earnestness should still be characteristic of the women of our Society.
OUR STANDARD OF TRADE OR BUSINESS. r
IT has often been said, and quite recently in an address published in the columns of our own paper, that Friends as a society, in the views they held and the morality they practised, were at the time of their rise, and for many years thereafter, far in advance of the people by whom they were surrounded. It is not now our purpose to dwell upon this fact, as in these latter days too many of us have relied too much upon the good name and good deeds of Our ancestors, but we want to put the query whether We of the day are keeping our standard high and pure?
Especially on the subject of “trade or business.” We rejoice to see modern society slowly yet surely advancing in manners and morals as education, civilization and religious truth progress, and although very much remains to be done ere the Christian standard is reached, yet we believe we are traveling towards it. As a religious body entrusted with the precious legacy of keeping bright the “light” that So surely guided our predecessors, is it not well for us to pause and consider our present status on this one point, of trade? We need to examine into, and perhaps revise, our code as set forth in our Book of Discipline, lest we fall short of the advanced thought of to-day. Or it may be we do not reach the standard therein laid down, inasmuch as we occasionally hear of some member being engaged in that which is unlawful to us. Let there be a close examination by those whose duty it is to keep watch and ward over the flock. And if any are found to be remiss in “trade or business” let them be dealt with tenderly, justly and with great charity, but let them not dishonor the church by any unlawful support. For there is but one law for our people—that of righteousness. We may grow in influence through our culture, our wealth, or Soundness as to doctrine, but the query “what lack I yet 7” will still be mournfully uttered, if we neglect in any measure to live up to the true standard of right dealing one with another in the ranks of trade, or engage in any traffic that tends to impoverish or retard the growth of mankind towards a fuller and higher christian standard.