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commended that one or two friends, if they saw fit, should advise with them in love and wisdom. In
process of time, however, this evil seems to have increased; for as the Society spread, numbers pressed forward to become Gospel-ministers. Many supposed that they had a call from the Spirit, and rose up and preached, and, in the heat of their imaginations, delivered themselves unprofitably. Two or three persons also, in the phrensy of their enthusiasm, rose up occasionally, and spoke at the same time. Now this was easily to be done in a religious society where all were allowed to speak, and where the qualifications of ministers were to be judged of in part by the truths delivered, or rather, where ordination was no mark of the ministry, or where an human appointment of it was unknown. For these reasons that mode of superintendence, which had only been suggested by George Fox, and left to the discretion of individuals, was perfected into an establishment, out of imperious necessity, in after times. Men were appointed to determine between the effects of divine inspiration and human imagination ; to judge between the cool and sound,
and the enthusiastic and defective ; and to put a bridle as it were upon those, who were not likely to become profitable labourers in the harvest of the Gospel. And as this office was rendered necessary on account of the principle, that “no ordination or human appointment could make a minister of the Gospel," so, the same principle continuing among the Quakers, the office has been continued to the present day.
It devolves upon the elders again, as a second branch of their duty, to meet the ministers of the church at stated seasons, generally once in three months, and to spend some time with them in religious retirement. It is supposed that opportunities may be afforded here of encouraging and strengthening young ministers, of comforting the old, and of giving religious advice and assistance in various ways; and it must be supposed, at any rate, that religious men cannot meet in religious conference without some edification to each other. At these meetings queries are proposed relative to the conduct both of ministers and elders, which they answer in writing to the quarterly meetings of ministers and elders, to which they be
long. Of the ministers and elders thus assembled it may be observed, that it is their duty to confine themselves wholly to the exhortation of one another for good. They can make no laws, like the antient synods and other convocations of the clergy, nor dictate
Neither can they meddle with the government of the church. The Quakers allow neither ministers nor elders, by virtue of their office, to interfere with their discipline. Every proposition of this sort must be determined upon by the yearly meeting, or by the body at large.
Worship-consists of prayer and preaching—nei
ther of these effectual but by the Spirit—hence no liturgy or form of words, or studied sermons in the Quaker-church-Singular manner of delivering sermons—Tone of the voice usually censured-this
may arise from the difference between nature and art-Objected, that there is little ra. riety of subject in these sermons-variety not so necessary to Quakers--Other objections— Replies
--Olservations of Francis Lambert of Avignon. As
no person, in the opinion of the members of this Society, can be a true minister of the Gospel, unless he feels himself called or appointed by the Spirit of God, so there can be no true or effectual worship, unless it come through the aid of the same Spirit.
The public worship of God is usually made to consist of prayer and of preaching.
Prayer is a solemn address of the soul to God. It is a solemn confession of some
weakness, or thanksgiving for some benefit, or petition for some favour. But the Quakers consider such an address as deprived of life and power, unless it be spiritually conceived. “ For the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings, which cannot be uttered *.'
Preaching, on the other hand, is an address of man to men, that their attention may be turned towards God, and their minds be prepared for the secret and heavenly touches of his Spirit. But this preaching, again, cannot be effectually performed, unless the Spirit of God accompany it. Thus St. Paul, in speaking of himself, says, “ And my speech and my preaching were not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and with power; that your
faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God t." So the Quakers believe, that no words, however excellent, which men may deliver now, will avail, or will produce that faith which
* Rom. viii. 26.
t i Cor. ii. 4.