« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
they ought to hold. From the effects of your early training, perhaps, you think of those who differ from you, as being out of the truth. Remember there is a diversity of gifts, but the same Lord ; a difference of administration, but the same God. In his divine wisdom he permits one to see one line of duty, one line of ideas, and another to gather from the same evidence around him different ideas, and a different line of duty. Remember the reply given to One, formerly,–"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ? Follow thou me.” Bear your OWn testimony, and listen to that of others, in love, in kindness, in charity,+but never in judgment. Tell to the world what the Lord tells to you. Do the Master's will, and then leave the results. Remember that the work is the Lord’s. That we are only employed as laborers in his vineyard. Will he not look after his own work? Come away from the seat of judgment and from these undue anxieties.
To those in the younger walks of life, I have great sympathy and love and tenderness for you. The work is not hard, not difficult, not far from you. Simply keep the eye of the mind open to all those clear impressions in your heart. Be not anxious, but watch over every thought in the heart. To walk with God will not require you to stand apart in gloomy solitude, nor prevent you from enjoying the rich blessings of life provided by our Heavenly Father, if you will keep you eye single to what the Father says to you. Again, I seem to hear the inward cry of some spirit, an almost anguished cry, “I have tried to do my duty and be faithful, but the world has not recognized it.
Are you laboring for the position you are to keep in the world 2 If so, it is no wonder you are not satisfied. Remember the work is the Lord’s. You know not what are the influences of the work you have been permitted to perform. It is impossible to estimate the influence of a true heart-devotion to the Lord’s work. Dear hearts, there is no room for discouragement. I cannot express the depth of love and tenderness that is flowing out to you. Be faithful to the Divine influence that is poured out to you. Let your life bear the evidence that you have been with God.
MINUTES OF EXERCISES IN BALTIMORE YEARLY MEETING, 1885.
HE minute of exercises adopted by Men’s Branch of Baltimore Yearly Meeting is as follows:
“ All of our meetings on First-day were attended by interested and appreciative audiences, and much tendering counsel was handed forth, encouraging us to greater diligence and faithfulness in the cause of Truth, and we were encouraged, in the beautiful and impressive language of the poet, to
“So live, that when thy summons comes to join
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”
In the examination into the state of society, much neglect in the attendance of mid-week meetings was evident, showing that there is something needed— something wanted to create new life and more faithfulness among us, and a deep concern was manifested among the younger as well as the older Friends that our Society organization should be preserved, and resuscitated with that life and zeal essential for the advancement of the best interests of our membership, and for the spreading of Truth and good works abroad. Being aroused to an inquiring state of mind concerning the duties and obligations of life which will tend to establish our convictions therein, and a faithfulness to individual admonitions of duty, seemed to be the chief means suggested to attain this end. A deep exercise spread over the body in conseQuence of the fact that we were not yet relieved of that most deplorable stigma upon the fair name of our Society in the vending of spirituous liquors by Some of its members. Yet, while weaknesses are apparent amongst us, it is evident from further reports that we are advancing, and stand upon higher moral ground than ever before. The First-day schools among us show a healthy growth, and we believe that an increased interest in the welfare of Society has been exerted through this agency. A deep concern was felt that they should be so conducted as to advance the cause of Truth. We were also exhorted to be more faithful in the reading of the excellent counsel contained in the Scriptures of Truth, and that more care in this direction in the family circle-would be profitable. We were feelingly entreated during the several sittings of the body to be more faithful in the support of the fundamental doctrines of our Society, and were reminded of the fact that there were no higher doctrines in the world of mankind—that they were the teachings of the blessed Jesus himself. A concern was expressed that we keep a careful watch against the pernicious literature and language that so imperils the higher life, remembering that “just as the twig is bent the tree is inclined.” And we feel that a more guarded care by parents over their children would redound to the well being of the body. The minute in Women’s Branch is as follows: The closing hours of such a yearly meeting as this has been are fraught with deep interest to all who have been present. Words of caution and of lowing encouragement have been tenderly spoken. At the opening session the admonition to the young to be on their guard against frivolity during the intervals between meetings, was felt by some of older growth to be needful watchwords for them too. The potency of love was portrayed so feelingly of our Father's love, of love in the family circle, where each one has something to do in repressing unkind words, in withholding criticism, especially in the presence of children. It was suggested that they are educated incidentally by the manner of those about them, and that the children of this people should be the children of every individual in the Society. We were warned of our responsibility for all such influence, and mothers made to feel that though others may coöperate with them, yet no other care can Supply their places. We have gladly welcomed loving sisters from other fields of labor, who have sympathized with us and strengthened us by words of counsel, and by telling us of their own experience in times of proving, and of the sweet peace that followed their obedience. One expression of a precious sister should be well weighed by doubting minds: “I reasoned, and the opportunity passed.” We were reminded that our meetings are just as we individually make them. It requires prayerful labor in our daily lives to make a good meeting—a healthy church must work. The bread may be handed forth, but if we are not hungering for it we cannot receive it. Go into the inner Sanctuary and talk with God alone, and he will give the blessing. A pure, religious life makes a glad heart; the want of it, a sad one. Epistles from our sister associations produced feelings of cheer, and that from Illinois gives unusual encouragement for hope that our waste places will be rebuilt. The subject of the recognition of First-day schools by our yearly meeting called forth much expression of deep feeling. They have become an institution amongst us, and should be guided by the best wisdom and experience of the Society. A deeply concerned brother visited us with words of earnest advice that we shall not be enticed from our simple spiritual worship by the outward forms and creeds that appeal so easily to our senses. The subject of temperance has elicited general interest, and it has been presented to us so clearly and forcibly that it would seem none of us can shrink from our duty in that respect. The unusual attendance of the youth at each session of this meeting is very encouraging, and their thoughtful deportment gives promise of future usefulness in the Society. We desire to be humbly grateful to the author of all good for the evidence which has been furnished of his loving presence in our midst, enabling us to work together as a band of sisters for the good of the whole household. Under this covering, and desiring the best welfare and spiritual growth of the whole body, we conclude to meet at the usual time next year, if so permitted.
THE IDEAL'S OF NATIONS.
[A discourse on this subject was delivered, Eleventh month 15th, by Canon F. W. Farrar, in Chicago. A report of the same, cut from a daily journal of that city, has been furnished us by our correspondent there, from which the following selections have been made, as worthy the thoughtful consideration of every earnest advocate of national uprightness. The speaker's text was from Deuteronomy, IV., 6.] “Keep, therefore, and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the Nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and Say, surely this great Nation is a wise and understanding people.”
OU will see from this verse that the fame and wisdom of Israel are to be tested solely by her obedience to the laws of God. For Israel, for England, for America, for every nation under the sun there is no other criterion. Mankind has many tests; God has but one. If the ideal of the nation be righteous she will be great and stróng. If the ideal of the nation be base or evil, she will sooner or later perish in her iniquity, and become a hissing and by-word. That lesson you can learn very easily from scripture, for though modern religion has sometimes dwindled into a feeble rill of personal egotism, scripture deals even more with men in masses than with men as individuals, and the reason of this is that in the history of nations God writes more at large the meaning and the secrets of his providence. In our individual lives . they are written in letters so much smaller that we cannot always decipher them, and often we have not had time to master their meaning until it has become too late to profit by them. But the history of nations, though it has less immediate interest for our selfishness, has thus two-fold importance; one, that every one of us individually contributes to the glory or the shame of the nation to which we belong; the other, that if we have no power to save our people from walking in evil paths, we can at least do something to elevate and restrain them, and to preserve in the midst of them a saved and Saving remnant which is dear to God. Let us, then, clearly and fully recognize that we have duties not only as men, but as citizens. These duties require us to help our nation to the attainment of a true ideal. Is the ideal of our people as expressed by its predominant aims and aspirations a right or a wrong—is it a noble or base ideal? So far as it is a wrong can we help to amend it? So far as it is a right can we promote and further it? The ideal of many nations has been delight in war. They have not cared to have any annals which will not be written in blood. Such a people were the ancient Assyrians, of whom we read so much in Scriptures. In the sculptures of their kings' palaces you may see how they exulted to portray themselves. Pass the huge portals, guarded by wings, bulls and lions with human faces, and on every wall you will see delineated people of frightful fierceness, defeating their enemies, swimming rivers, shattering fortresses, dashing cities into potsherds, torturing and slaughtering their prisoners, sweeping from land to land like a devouring fire, while on their heads fly fierce spirits who protect and foster these cruelties, and eagles who trace in their claws the entrails of the slain. In the hall of Targon that king has had himself represented stabbing and butchering his captives with his own hands. In the one domestic scene found among these sculpturings of horror and bloodshed (you may see it if you ever visit the British Museum of London), the son of Sennacherib is seated in a vine-clad arbor at a feast. Opposite to him is his queen among her maidens, and close behind the queen hangs from the branch of a palm tree a ghastly human head with an iron ring drawn through the lip. Such were the awful ornaments of queens' chambers in days of old. Well, did it prosper, this bloody city ? Did it endure, this home of lions and of young lions, where the lion fed its whelps and strangled for his lioness and filled his dens with ravine? Read the prophet Nahum for answer, and you will see how soon it passed away in fire and sword amid the wrath and hatred of the nations. And did war-loving Egypt fare better? We see her triumphant dynasts sweeping into battle amid the serried ranks of her numberless archers; we read pompous enumeration of the victories of her Rameses; but Egypt snapped like one of her own river reeds before the might of Persia, and the fellaheen scooped their mill-stones out of the face of Rameses, the most colossal statue in the world. * * * *
Other nations again, many of them, have had as their ideal the gaining of wealth, for a nation is but the aggregate of its sons, and money, that mammonworship which, as the lore of Scripture again and again tells us, cannot coincide with the service of God, has been the snare of countless individuals. Of all false gods the lowest great spirit that fell is Mammon, who, with the most hypocritical meekness, as sumes the airs of injured innocence and perfect respectability: innocence, even though he transform himself into an angel of light, even though he hide the conscious heart of the doomed under the ephod of the saint, like all false gods. Mammon is the curse of all who put their trust in him. He was the god of ancient Babylon, of ancient Tyre, of declining Rome, of mediaeval Spain. “If the King of Mexico has any gold,” said Cortez, “let him send it to us, for I and my companions have a disease of the heart which is cured by gold.” Yes and it was this disease of the heart which drove the conquerors of Peru and Mexico to their careers of shameless atrocity. But if our pleasant vices are ever made the instrument to punish us, from the deep-vaulted mine springs the fiend, pale avarice, with whip of Scorpions in hand. It was the ancient greed, as well as the inquisitorial bigotry of the Spaniard, which, most of all, moved the fury of England—the predestined scourge of that haughty, cruel and avaricious power. The sun of Athens did not sink more Surely in the Bay of Syracuse than the glory of Spain sank with her armada on the rocky shores of England. What has this material wealth, the only kind of wealth which we recognize, the only kind of wealth which scripture either will not recognize at all, or only with intense warnings, what has it ever done for man or for nations? Was ever any nation the better for having coffers full of gold 2 Look into the history of any civilized nation, analyzed with reference to this one cause of crime and misery, the lives of thousands of their noblest priests, merchants, and men of luxurious life, even their temptation is concentrated
into this. The sin of the whole world is essentially the sin
of Judas. Men do not disbelieve in Christ, but they sell him. Now, in the common name of England and America, we have pleaded not guilty to the other false idols. Can we also plead not guilty to this? I fear not. I fear that we are guilty of it in all ranks down to the poorest ; guilty of it as individuals, and guilty of it as nations. The growth and habit of a
politic luxury, the multiplication of things which are falsely deemed necessary for life, the deepening cleft between capital and labor, the all but total absence of the conception that each one is the steward and not the owner of what we have ; that wealth is a talent intrusted to us for God’s service, not a gift heaped on us for our own aggrandisement; the hard clutch and grip of that selfishness which has never so much as tasted the bliss of doing habitual kindness to those that lack; the proofs everywhere of a passion for amassing money, which gloats, like the rich fool in the parable, over its much goods laid up for many years. Ah, when we are content with all this, are we never afraid of that awful doom which crashed upon the confidence of sensual and self-congratulating ease? “Thou fool! this night—this night they shall require of thee thy soul!” There is no sin in the winning of wealth; norin itspossession, but there is sin--sin which benumbs all nobleness as with a torpedo-touch—sin which envenoms all spirituality of soul as with a serpent's sting, in the worship of wealth ; in the trusting in wealth; in the passionate desire for wealth; in the base idolatry of wealth ; in unworthy means of acquiring wealth ; in the selfish accumulation of wealth; in the selfish Squandering of wealth ; in the measuring by wealth, whether in dollars or in pounds, of the worth and success of life. “Despise the glare of wealth,” said Joseph Hancock in Boston a hundred years ago. “Break asunder with noble disdain the chains with which the Philistines have bound you.” Ah, if the life of England and of America become ever real enough to be guided by the Lord, to whom we profess a lip allegiance, let usjudge of these things not by the smooth tongue of convention but by the plain words of Christ. Riches may increase and may be a blessing if we employ them nobly ; if we set not our heart upon them ; if we use them as the wise men used them who gave to Christ their gold and frankincense and myrrh ; if we use them as Joanna, the wife of Chuza used them, to minister to Him and His ; if we bring them, as Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought them, to His cross; if we bestow them as Barnabas bestowed them to help the needs of His struggling church. Let England then, and let America, learn that swollen fortunes and material prosperity are no signs of a nation's strength. Pagan Rome was never So strong as when her dictators came from the ploughshares, never so weak as when in her colossal wealth she had scarcely a freeman left. In the Middle Ages, Papal Rome stood raking into chests the countless gold of her jubilee, just before she endured her most humiliating disgrace. Spain was dropping to pieces in the rottenness of inward decay just when all the gold of the mew world was flowing like the tide of La Plata into the treasury of her kings. Oh, let us learn that the country’s wealth means a country's weal, and that does not consist in gold, but in the justice, the mercy, the temperance, in the strong, pure hearts of her sons and daughters. Without these, wealth may be but a sign of inward weakness, just as the gorgeous conflagration of your autumnal woods is but the precursor of their barrenness and the proof of their decay.
Once more, as we said, some nations have had a false idea of absolutism. Many, and especially modern nations, have had a false idea of liberty. There is no ideal more grand and inspiring than that of true freedom. But what is freedom ? It is the correlative of order. It is the function of righteousness. Freedom is self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. “August obedience by the world denied is God’s economy to make us free.” Liberty is not the liberty to do wrong unrebuked. It is not to do as We wish, but as we ought. It is not to follow impulses of appetite, but to listen to the dictates of reason. To be free, as Milton said, is the same thing as to be pious, to be temperate, and to be magnanimous. “He is a freeman whom the truth makes free, and all are slaves beside.” The description, of “free man” as one who did what was right in his own eyes, which is rapidly becoming a national idea, is a description not of heroic freedom, but of modern anarchy. Man's liberty ends and it ought to end when that liberty becomes the curse of his neighbors. I look on nothing as more menacing in the whole position of our race than the growth through all classes, the growth Which is most disastrous to all of this base and ignorant notion that a man ought to be free to do what he likes. It seems to me a drying up of the very Springs of national nobleness.
* %. %. 3:
Liberty can not be had but at the price of eternal vigilance. The wise and the refined must not shrink with cowardly fastidiousness from the effort to keep it pure. Nations must have courage enough and nerve enough to put down every form of crime, whether respectable or disreputable, every crime whether plated with gold or clothed in rags, with the infliction of stern, swift and wholesome penalties. Liberty is no true liberty if she suffers the cheat, or the Officer, or the treacherous invader of her own prerogatives to find inviolable refuge under the shadow of her shield. She is false to her mighty beneficence if she deal not with the unblushing, multitudinous immorality of the states which spring up under her shelter, if she does not trample out of existence the hot-beds of temptation. Woe to the nation which is not fearlessly faithful enough to grapple with its own vice and its own corruption. Woe to the nation which has become too feebly timid to repress infamy, too morally perplexed to Scourge the back of crime. Let the hands of every man who stands erect, every man and woman in God's Sacramental altar,tear down from its pedestal the brazen image of such a spurious freedom and break it into pieces. Call it nebushtan, a thing of brass, nor suffer men to exclaim in anger, “Oh, freedom, what crimes are committed in thy name !” To conclude, then, what should be the one and only true ideal of each nation, if it would indeed be a wise and understanding people? Let the frivolous sneer and the faithless deride, but there is only one such ideal. It is duty. It is righteousness. It is the law of Sinai. It is the law of Christ. It is purity of life. It is honesty of trade. It is absolute allegiance to truth. It is the inviolable sanctity of the marriage law. There is a law above all the enactments of human gods, the same in all times. It
is the law written by the finger of God upon the hearts of men, and by that law, unchangeable and eternal, while men despise, fear and loathe rapine, and abhor blood, they will reject with indignation the delusion that any iniquity and any idolatry can ever be anything to man or to nations but a ruin and a curse. If a nation be not the uplifter of this power of righteousness it is predestined to ultimate in irretrievable ruin. The heathen may rage and the people imagine a vain thing, but where they strive to rear their Babels in opposition to his eternal will, God shall, send forth his voice and the earth shall melt away. “For glory,” said Oliver Cromwell to the men of England, “you glory in the ditch which guards your shores; I tell you that your ditch will not save you if you do not reform yourselves.” It is no less true of America. I have said before; I say again, she may be the enlightener of the nations, the beautiful pioneer in the vanguard of the progress of the world, but should the day ever come when she shall choose to spread a table to fortune, or to enshrine Mammon upon her altars; should her commerce become dishonest, her press debased, her society frivolous, her religion a tradition and a sham, then, though the double ocean sweep her illimitable shores, their waves shall but flash to future generations a more Sad, a more desolate, and a more unending dirge. The Bible is still the best hand-book of the worthy citizen, for it teaches us many truths which make nations strong and keep them so. It will teach us firmness in the appointed, inscrutable law of human life, and in the great race of mankind we must hand down to future generations a brighter and ever brighter torch of knowledge and of love. It will teach us to know man simply as man, and to regard all men from the highest to the lowest as absolutely equal before the bar of justice, and it will teach us that the true wealth of a nation is not in gold and silver, but in the souls of strong, contented, and self-respecting men; and it will teach us that the true freedom of a nation lies not in the anarchic right of licensed temptation and unrestricted facilities for crime, but in the bonds of a material obedience deeply cherished by the good, but inexorably enforced on all the bad. When statesmen and nations have learned these lessons they will not be long in learning others. Nations will aim at only such conditions of life and government as shall make it easy to do right and difficult to do wrong. They will see that politics, no less than individual conduct have no other rule than the law of God. Statesmen
will not toil for reward. They will not count on
praise. They will hold allegiance to the loftiest ideal of godliness to be far dearer than claims of party and all the glories of place. They will not be sophisticated by the prudential maxims of an immoral acquiescence. They will sweeten with words of justice and gentleness the conflicts of party. They will be quick to the encouragement of virtue. They will be fixed and fearless, and all the strong and God-fearing men and women, and all the pure and noble, all the bright youth will help them to be inviolable, inexorable in the suppression and extirpation, so far as the powers of government can do it, of all apostasy from the eternal laws of God. Happy are the people that are in such a cause. Blessed are the people that have the Lord for their God.
For Friends' Intelligencer and Journal.
THE ORDER AND METHODS OF FRIENDS” MEETINGS. .
HE plan recommended by “Penn,” in a recent INTELLIGENCER AND Journ AL, in answer to an inquirer, seems in accordance with correct principles, though the title of the piece may be somewhat misleading. A religious meeting consists essentially of two parts, worship and instruction. This may be obServed everywhere. All denominations have first their service for worship, according to their different ideas of what will be most acceptable to God, and then the latter half of the meeting is devoted to the Sermon, or lecture—sometimes it is one and sometimes the other. It is the common experience that a half-hour devoted to worshipful engagements is all the common mind can profitably bear at one time. Perhaps this was intimated in the half-hour of silence which the prophet observed in the worship of the heavenly hosts, as recorded in Revelations. In extending this to an hour Friends may be said to have exceeded the angels! But the results of the experiment have not been altogether satisfactory. “Overdoing is undoing” is a familiar and very pertinent proverb. It would be a profitable exercise for Friends to note the points in which they have overdone the work of reform. “Wisdom is justified of her children,” and wisdom seeks practical good results. These are generally found in a medium course. All extremes are injurious—one nearly as much so as another. There is nothing more beautiful or more profitable for those who are capable of it, than silent worship. But to keep the soul thus engaged for a long time together is impossible for the strongest mind. What must it be then for children and those who can with difficulty lift a thought heavenward 2 Words that are not the wisest are acceptable in exchange for weariSome silence. Hence, after trying a few times, weakly people leave the Friends to their reflections and go off to the Methodist meeting, or the Episcopal service, where something can be heard. Now cannot the two essential parts of a Christian Service, or meeting, be so combined as to fulfil all the requirements of the case? In the best system, they would probably be interspersed through the time of the assembly. But if this cannot be done without a painful disturbance of some minds, then a more definite separation of the two parts might be tried. Reading is only another mode of speaking. It differs little to the hearer whether the thoughts he entertains were put in form a moment ago, or two thousand years ago; for truth is unchangeable, and the best forms of expression are always vital. The Word of God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, for it is one with God. So the thoughts of great authors are always living. Therefore as “a wise house-holder brings out of his treasure things new and old,” Some good reading, unless it can be supplied by memory, which is the same thing in effect, should often,
or always, be united with the present flow of thought. This gives it more consistency and strength—elements very much wanting in the impromptu talk of most men. But the fresh drawn milk, or newly gathered fruits, are no less important to a good feast of wisdom and brotherly love than are the articles which have been long preserved. And some variety is always desirable where many tastes are to be gratified. This is as true of mind as of body. Endless monotony palls on the healthiest appetite. Almost anything which will stir up thought and call forth expression is better than dead vacuity. Even infidelity has done service to religion by driving it to its defence and to fresh exertions. And so a thought imperfectly conceived, or poorly expressed, would often help a meeting, if others would properly assist in giving birth to the struggling truth. Indeed one of the greatest troubles with our meetings is that we become overnice, so that people are afraid to speak. This may make it necessary to grade down some part of the sitting to so low a level that all who wish to do so can open their minds. This is done by other societies in the “class,” or “covenant” meetings, where not only all are at liberty, but all are required to say something. If a good medium could be found and maintained by Friends in this matter there seems reason to believe much good might be effected. Who will make an effort?—for if nothing is tried nothing will be done, and the work of decimation will go on to the end. If we pray sincerely, as the INTELLIGENCER rightly urges us, “O Lord revive thy work,” we must stand ready to make all those movements, both inward and outward, which an active work of revival calls for. The Lord has been ready these many years, but the people have not been ready. They have been afraid to do anything at all different from what their fathers and mothers had done. They thought the engine of reform was rightly placed on its track by George Fox, and should be kept running in that one direction. So on they went, by hill and dale, “O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense or rare,” until they are in danger of bringing up on the desert for want of water and wood. Now George Fox expected nothing of this kind, but rather that Friends would “mind the light” which God keeps burning in every soul, instead of placing a fixed head-light in their engine and going on forever in one direction. It is of the utmost importance, therefore, that we not only pray unitedly, and with all our hearts, that God will revive his work, but that we stand ready to do whatsoever his living light shows us to be expedient for the improvement of our condition, and the gathering of souls into the Kingdom of God here upon earth, by making the doors of that kingdom so wide that all may enter, and so attractive that the well-disposed will desire to enter. E. R.
QUERIES NOT IN THE DISCIPLINE. EditorS INTELLIGENCER AND JOURNAL : RE we not as a people wanting in confidence towards one another? Is it not often the case that members of another meeting coming amongst us, are mistrusted, and looked upon as intruders, unless