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PRACTICAL VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP WITH FRIENDS. philosophers recognize this as one of the nationella
ments of the human character.. Beclouded as it has
rance and superstition, man is, nevertheless, by means
science can properly be divorced from religion. It
who are to come after us. As "a threefold cord is for a cow, etc., and a suitable house erected thereon. not easily broken,” so is there strength and power for All this shows that intellectual education has ever good in organized and combined effort. As individ- been regarded, not as a mere incidental, but as an uals we must all pass away, one by one, but an asso. essential feature of the organization, or, in other ciation or society endowed with perpetual existence, words, that the Society is not merely a religious, but may be made not only the means of our being greatly also an educational institution. The great superiority more useful to each other while living, but a reposi- of Friends' schools everywhere, combining as they tory of our efforts for good, so that their influence do in effect religious as well as secular education, is may extend to succeeding generations. Especially generally acknowledged. They seem to be more is a rightly founded religious organization important highly prized by a discriminating outside public, in reference to children; and in this connection we than by some, even of our own members, and as a may see the great value of our peculiar systein of result of their pecuniary success, they can generally birthright membership, which should not be carried be made free to the children of Friends. That this so far, however, as to relieve our young people from desirable state of things should continue, it is obvious the responsibility of choosing their own course when that there must be a succession of those willing to they arrive at years of maturity. The parental devote themselves to the care and labor it involves, guardianship is liable to cease at any moment by the embracing not merely the schools, but the general death of the parent. How important, then, that affairs of society. within the bosom of an intelligently conducted or- It remains to speak of the advantages arising from ganization, children may be surrounded by influences the freedom of opinion enjoyed by Friends; and by that, while at all times aiding, may also, in some Friends in this connection is meant members of the measure at least, supply the place of parental care Yearly Meeting held at this place and the six other when that shall be prematurely withdrawn.
Yearly Meetings in correspondence with us. It In the view thus presented of the divine element would be a solecism to say freedom of thought is in man, as his highest attribute, but to be developed allowed among us, for freedom of thought is the natu jointly with the intellect; of the perfect unity of all ral right of every one.
It is more correct to say truth, whether religious or scientific; of the necessity that there is no attempt among us to abridge this for combined action, and of the advantages of a per- right, nor freedom of expression either, so long as it manent organization, it is not easy to conceive of a is confined within reasonable limits, and exercised more perfect form of association for the ends desired, with due respect for the feelings and equal rights of than the Religious Society of Friends, as it exists others. and holds and conducts meetings at this place, with If there is any one thing more detrimental than such further modifications and improvements as will every other to the progress and development of truth, suggest themselves as time goes on. The aged, the it would, in the nature of things, seem to be the upmiddle-aged, and the young, are here brought into holding of a fixed creed or declaration of faith or harmonious co-operation. It is a mutual work in belief, as if it were possible for finite beings like ourwhich all may be helps to each other. There are selves, to reduce to any set form of words or phrases none so wise or so proficient in the knowledge of the ultimatum of divine truth, beyond which no divine things, but that they may learn some things progress could be made, and to attempt which even from their own less gifted associates; and there are would be heresy. none so ignorant but that they can, from the diver. Truth itself does not change, but our knowledge sity of gifts, and varied experiences of life, impart of what is truth is continually changing, and we something that may be profitable to others.
must acknowledge it and change accordingly, or we The practice of Friends in uniformly providing are slaves to the worst, form of bigotry. What we schools for the education of their children, at the believe to-day to be truth, we to-morrow may find to same time they provided places for religious worship, be error, and must admit it or stultify ourselves. shows they well understood from the first, that the Belief is not a thing of choice. We cannot believe two things should go hand in hand.
things, whatever their nature may be, that our com"Are there schools established for the education of mon sense teaches us are incredible and absurd. We our youth, under the care of teachers in membership may profess to believe such and such things, and in with us, and superintended by committees appointed a measure persuade ourselves that we do, and hold either in the Monthly or Preparative meetings ?” ourselves out to the world as upholding them, without Such is the query to be annually answered in each having in any manner exercised our honest judgMonthly and Quarterly Meeting, and reported to the ments about them, but such a course is highly deYearly Meeting
rogatory to the character of true manhood, and tends Again, our Yearly Meeting, feeling the evil of to perpetuate darkness and superstition. committing the children to the care of transient To be free from the jarring of discordant factions, persons of doubtful character and sometimes of very wrangling over theological dogmas, wholly noncorrupt minds,” in order to "procure such tutors of essential, if not absurd in their character, and to our own religious persuasion as are not only capable enjoy the love and unity to be found only in the free of instructing them in useful learning to fit them for toleration of individual opinion, is one of the importthe business of this life, but to train them in the ant things for which the body of Friends before knowledge of their duty to God and one towards mentioned have great reason to, and ought to feel another," advised, among other things, "That a lot devoutly thankful. of ground be provided in each Monthly or Preparative Meeting, sufficient for a garden, orchard, grass SIMPLE duty hath no place for fear,--Whittier.