« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
as we ought ; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, we believe it indispensabiy necessary for all reverently to wait to be renewedly clothed with “ the spirit of grace and supplication,” before they attempt vocally to address the Divine Ma. jesty.
Our Saviour taught, that men ought always to pray and not to faint ;' and the apostle exhorts, to "pray without ceasing ;" yet this cannot be understood as applicable to vocal prayer, but to the mental aspirations of the soul whose eye is steadily directed to its divine leader, the spirit of truth, which was promised to guide into ail truth.
The mind thus preserved under the influence of this spirit, observes its motions, and dares not go before this true leader, so as to attempt the solemn act of vocal prayer, unless moved thereunto by the spirit, even as Christ testifies on another occasion," for it is not ye that speak, but the spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
From the preceding, and what has been heretofore stated on the subjects of worship
.. Rom viii. 26.
p Zech. xii. 10.
1 Thes. v. 17.
and ministry, it must appear that it would be inconsistent for us to unite with others, considering the manifest difference between our belief of the nature of those solemn duties of divine worship, and that of most other denominations, whose practice is to engage in vocal prayer, and other external acts of devotion, without waiting for a special and immediate qualification, or professing a necessity so to do.
Hence, our declining to unite with others, arises not from a lack of charity, but from the
very different view of the nature of those solemn duties and the necessary qualifications preparatory thereto; for there must be a want of faith on our part in the performance of those who profess no necessity of waiting for the divine influence leading or moving thereunto : and the apostle saith, do whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
Nevertheless, we charitably believe, there are truly religious people in the different denominations, who still continue in those forms of worship, with which we cannot unite ; they perhaps having never fully seen into a more excellent way, while acting in sincerity and uprightness of heart towards God, they are accepted in his sight.
Page 114, contains a charge, that “ the " Quakers have robbed God, by refusing to
pay tribute to the governments they have 16 lived under. Their refusal is contrary to
the command which saith, be subject not u only for wrath but also for conscience sake. ; “ And speaking of the civil governments « the apostle saith, “ The powers that be are " ordained of God, and he that resists the
power resisteth the ordinances of God ; « and they that resist shall receive to them46 selves damnation.”
Without admitting the propriety of his charges as being applicable to us, I proceed to state our practice in relation to civil governments.
We are not unmindful of the injunction, “ render unto Cæsar' the things which are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's :" and freely contribute to the support of civil government, and relief of the poor ; but as demands have been sometimes made which we cannot comply with, consistently with our uniform testimony against war, our refusal herein is neither through obstinacy, nor any disregard to civil government ; but, to preserve a conscience void of offence in the divine sight, and rendering unto God the things that are his ; for believing that war of every kind is utterly incompatible with the precepts and spirit of the gospel, we judge it inconsistent for us to comply with any requisition for its support, as well as actively to engage in it.
As the principles and practice of our soci. ety in refusing to give countenance to war, either offensive or defensive, are different from most others, I will endeavour further to explain our principles thereon.
We are professing to be christians; or, in other words, to be followers of Christ, who saith, “ If ye love me, keep my commandments :" and who has given these clear comminds in that excellent sermon on the mount:
I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smiie thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Again ; “ Love your enemies : bless them that curse you : do good to them that hate you ; and pray for them which despitefully use you and pesecute you.
That ye may be the chii dren of your Father which is in hea. ven.” Now, as Christ tells us,
ту friends, if ye do whatsoever I command
« Ye are
nce in you,” we have no belief, that merely profesGod sing to be his followers, will ever entitle any
that to his favour, whilst in their practice, they atible are violating his commands.
And as we spel, look to him as our law-giver, we apprehend Apy that no arguments or testimonies whatever #ill are to be held in competition with his clear
precepts and commands. And he expressly socio testifies, “ My kingdom is not of this world: war, If my kingdom were of this world, then Eerent would my servants fight, that I should not Esther be delivered to the Jews : but now is my
kingdom not from hence.”,
What could more fully establish the rectiwho tude of our faith and practice in this particBande ular, than this clear declaration of our Lord como respecting the nature of his kingdom? We, vuol therefore, at the risque of our property, and sil: whatever sufferings may be incurred, decline isht affording our aid and encouragement to the in; support of war ;"believing it to be entirely urse repugnant to the commands of Christ, who
came not to destroy men's lives, but to save them.'
As it is only by living in obedience to the nea spirit and precepts of the gospel, that we can
ever come to inherit the blessings annexed
* Jobn, xvüi. 36.