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is to stand, except they be accompanied by that power, which shall demonstrate them to be of God.
From hence it appears to be the opinion of the Society, that the whole worship of God, whether it consist of prayer or of preaching, must be spiritual. Jesus Christ has also, they say, left this declaration record, that “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth *." By worshipping him in truth they mean, that men are to worship him only when they feel a right disposition to do it, and in such a manner as they judge, from their own internal feelings, to be the manner, which the Spirit of God then signifies.
For these reasons, when they enter into their meetings, they use no liturgy or form of prayer. Such a form would be made up of the words of man's wisdom. Neither do they deliver any sermons that have been previously conceived or written down. Neither do they begin their service immediately after they are seated. But when
* John iv, 24.
they sit down, they wait in silence*, as the Apostles were commanded to do. They endeavour to be calm and composed. They take no thought as to what they shall say. They endeavour to avoid, on the other hand, all activity of the imagination, and every thing that rises from the will of man. The creature is thus brought to be passive, and the spiritual faculty to be disencumbered, so that it can receive and attend to the spiritual language of the Creator t. If, during this vacation from all mental activity, no impressions should be given to them, they say nothing. If impressions should be afforded to them, but no impulse to oral delivery, they remain equally silent. But if, on the other hand, impressions are given
* Mat. X. 19.
Acts i. 4. + They believe it their duty (to speak in the Quakerlanguage) to maintain the Watch, by preserving the imagination from being carried away by thoughts originating in man ; and, in such watch, patiently to await for the arising of that life which, by subduing the thoughts, imaginations, and desires of man, produces an inward silence, and therein bestows a true sight of his condition upon him, giving him to discern his frailties, to feel his spirit humbled, his spiritual wants supplied, and acceptable worship to prevail in Spirit and in truth.
to thein with an impulse to utterance, they deliver to the congregation, as faithfully as they can, the copies of the several images, which they conceive to be painted upon their minds.
This utterance, when it manifests itself, is resolvable into prayer or preaching. If the minister
engages prayer, he kneels, and the whole company rise up, and the men with the minister take off their hats, that is, uncover their heads*. If he preaches only, they do not rise, but remain upon their seats as before, with their heads covered. The preacher, however, uncoyers his own head upon this occasion and stands.
There is something singular in the manner, in which the Quakers deliver themselves when they preach. In the beginning of their discourses they generally utter their words with slowness, indeed with a slowness, which sometimes renders their meaning almost unintelligible to persons unaccustomed to such'à mode of delivery; for seconds sometimes elapse between the sounding of short sentences or single words, so
* 1 Coru chap, xi.
that the mind cannot easily carry the first words, and join them to the intermediate, and connect them with the last. As they proceed, they communicate their impressions in a brisker manner; till, at length, getting beyond the quickness of ordinary delivery, they may be said to utter them rapidly. At this time some of them appear to be much
ffected, and even agitated by their subject. This method of a very slow and deliberate pronunciation at first, and of an accelerated one afterwards, appears to me, as far as I have seen or heard, to be universal : for though undoubtedly some may make less pauses between the introductory words and sentences than others, yet all begin slower than they afterwards proceed.
This singular custom may be probably accounted for in the following manner. The Quakers certainly believe that the Spirit of God furnishes them with impressions on these occasions, but that the description of these is left to themselves. Hence a faithful watch must be kept, that these may be delivered to their hearers conformably to what is delivered to them. But if so,
But if so, it may perhaps be necessary to be more watchful at
the outset, in order to ascertain the dimensions as it were of these impressions, and of their several tendencies and bearings, than afterwards, when such a knowledge of them has been obtained. Or it may be that ministers, who go wholly unprepared to preach, have but a small view of the subject at first. Hence they speak slowly. But as their views are enlarged, their speech becomes quickened, and their feelings become interested with it. These, for any thing I know, may be solutions, upon Quaker-principles, of this extraordinary practice.
Against the preaching of the Quakers an objection is usually made by the world; namely, that their ministers generally deliver their doctrines with an unpleasant tone. But it may be observed that this, which is considered to be a defect, is by no means confined to this Society. Persons, of other religious denominations, who exert themselves in the ministry, are liable to the same charge. It
be observed also, that the difference between the accent of the Quakers, and that of the speakers of the world, may arise in the difference between art and nature. The