Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Jh the Revelation, Rev. vil. 20. 'Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me;' and that where the substance is attained, it is unnecessary to attend to the shadow.which doth not confer grace, and concerning which, opinions so different, and anhnesities so violent, have arisen.

"Now, as we thus believe that the grace of God, which comes by Jesus Christ, is alone sufficient for salvation, we can neither admit thai it is conferred on a few only, whilst others are left without it, nor thus asserting its universality, can we limit its operation to a partial cleansing of the soul from sin, even in this life. We entertain worthier notions both of the power and goodness of our heavenly Father, and believe that he doth vouchsafe to assist the obedient to experience a total surrender of the natural will to the guidance of his pure unerring Spirit; through whose renewed assistance they are enabled to bring forth fruits unto holiness, and to stand perfect in their present rank, Matt. v. 48. Eph. iv. 13. Col. iv. 12.

"1 here are not many of our tenets more generally known than our testitimony against oaths, and against war. With respect to the former of these, we abide literally by Christ's positive injunction, deliveredin his sermon on the mount, ' Swear not at all," Matt. v. 34. From the same sacred collection of the most excellent precepts of moral and religious duty, from the example of our Lord nimself. Matt. v. 39, 44, &c. Matt. xxvi. 52, 53. Luke, xxii. 51. John, xviii. 11. and from the correspondent convictions of his Spirit in our hearts, we are confirmed in the belief that wars and fightings are in their origin and effects utterly repugnant to the Gospel, which still breathes peace and good.will to men. We also are clearly of the judgment, that if the benevolence of the Gospel were generally prevalent in the minds of men, it would effectually prevent them from oppressing, much more from enslaving, their brethren (of whatever colour or complexion,) for whom, as for themselves, Christ died; and would even influence their conduct in their treatment of the brute craation, which would no longer groan, the victims of their avarice, or of their false ideas of pleasure.

"Some of our ideas have in former times, as hath been shown, subjected our friends to much suffering from government, though to the salutary purposes of government our princVplri> :ire

a security. They inculcate submission to the laws in all cases wherein conscience is not violated. But we hold, that, as Christ's kingdom is not of this world, it is not the business "f the civil magistrate to interfere in matters of religion, but to maintain the external peace and good order of the community. We therefore think persccutir,:i, even in the smallest degree, unwarrantable. We are careful in requiring our members not to be concerned in illicit trade, nor in any manner to defraud the revenue.

"It is well known that the society, from its first appearance, has disused those names of the months and days, which, having been given in honour of the heroes or false gods of the heathen, originated in their flattery or superstition; and the custom of speaking to' a single person in the plural number, as having arisen also from motives of adulation. Compliments, superfluity of apparel and furniture, outward shows of rejoicing and mourning, and the observation of days and times, we esteem to be incompatible with the simplicity and sincerity of a Christian life ; and public diversions, gaming, and other vain amusements of the world, we cannot but condemn; They are a waste of that time which is given us for nobler purposes; and divert the attention of the mind from the sober duties of life, am! from the reproofs of instruction by which we are guided to an everlasting inheritance.

"To conclude: although we have exhibited the several tenets which distinguish our religious society as objects of our belief, yet we are sensible that a true and living faith is not produced in the mind of man by his own effort, but is the free gift of God in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 8. nourished and increased by the progressive operation of his Spirit in our hearts, and our proportionate obedience, John, vii. 17. Therefore, although for the preservation of the testimonies given us to bear, and for the peace and good order of the society, we deem it necessary that those who are admitted into membership with us should be previously convinced of those doctrines which we esteem essential, yet we require no formal subscription to any articles, either as a condition of membership, or a qualification for the service of the church. We prefer the judging of men by their fruits, and depending on the aid of Him, who, by his prophet, hath promised to be 'a spirit of judgment, to him that sitteth in judgment,' Isa. xxvifK 6. Without this, then; is a danger of receiving numbers is.to outward communion, without any addition to that spiritual sheep-fold, whereof cur blessed Lord declared himself to be both the door and the shepherd, John, 7. 11; that is, such as know his voice and follow him in the paths of obedience.

"In the practice of discipline, we think it indispensable that the order recommended by Christ himself be invariably observed, Matt, xviii. 15—17.

"To effect the salutary purposes of discipline, meetings were appointed at an early period of the society, which, from the times of their being held, were called quarterly meetings. It was afterwards found expedient to divide the districts of those meetings, and to meet more frequently: from whence arose monthly meetings, subordinate to those held quarterly. At length, in 1669, a yearly meeting was established, to superintend, assist, and provide rules for the whole, previously to which general meetings had been occasionally held.

"A monthly meeting is usually composed of several particular congregations, situated within a convenient distance from each other. Its business is to provide for the subsistence of the poor, and for the education of their offspring i to judge of the sincerity and fitness of persons appearing to he convinced of the religious principles of the society, and desiring to be admitted into membership ; to excite due attention to the discharge of religious and moral duty ; and to deal with disorderly members. Monthly meetings also grant to such of their members as remove into other monthly meetings certificates of their membership and conduct; without which they cannot gain membership in such meetings. Each monthly meeting is required to appoint certain persons, under the name of overseers, who are to take care that the rules of our discipline be put in practice; and when any case of complaint, or disorderly conduct, comes to their knowledge, to see that private admonition, r.greeably to the Gospel rule before mentioned, be given, previously to its being laid before the monthly meeting.

"When a case is introduced, it is usual for a small committee to be appointed to visit the offender, to endeavour to convince him of his error, and to induce him to forsake and condemn it. If they succeed, the person is by minute declared to have made satisfaction for the offence; if not, he is disowned as a member of the society.

:' In disputes between individuals, it

has long baen the decided judgment of the society, that its members should Doc sue each other at law. It therefore enjoins all to end their differences byspeedy and impartial arbitration, agreeably to rules laid down. If any refuse to adopt this mode, or, having adopted it, to submit to the award, it is the direction of the yearly meeting that such : be disowned.

"To monthly meetings also belongs the allowing of marriages; for our society hath always scrupled to acknowledge the exclusive authority of the ; priests in the solemnization of marriage. I Those who intend to marry appear together, and propose their intention to the monthly meeting; and if not attended by their parents and guardians, produce a written certificate of their consent, signed in the presence of wit1 nesses. The meeting then appoints a committee to inquire whether they be | clear of other engagements respecting j marriage; and if at a subsequent meet: ing, to which the parties also come and declare the continuance of their intention, no objections be reported, they have the meeting's consent to solemnize their intended marriage. This is done in a public meeting for worship, j towards the close whereof the parties i stand up, and solemnly take each other for husband and wife. A certificate of t the proceedings is then publicly read, ! and signed by the parties, and afteri wards by the relations and others as I witnesses. Of such marriage the month! ly meeting keeps a record; as also of I the births and burials of its members. i A certificate of the date of the name of : the infant, and of its parents, signed by ; those present at the birth, is the subject of one of these last-mentioned re1 cords; and an order for the interment, ; countersigned by the grave-maker, of I the other. The naming of children is without ceremony. Burials are also conducted in a simple manner. The body, followed by the relations and friends, is sometimes, previously to interment, carried to a meeting; and at the grave » pause is generally made : on both which occasions it frequently falls out that one or more iriends present have somewhat to express for the edification of those who attend; Dot no religious rite is cocsidcred as an essential part of burial.

"Several monthly meetings compost - a quarterly meeting. At the quarterly : meetings are produced written answers j from the monthly meetings to certain queries respecting the conduct of their members, and the meeting's care over 'them. The accounts tjius received are digested into one, which is s'er.t, also in the form of answers to queries, by representatives to the yearly meeting. Appeals from the judgment of monthly meetings are brought to the quarterly meetings, whose business also it is to assist in any difficult case, or where remissness appears in the care of the monthly meetings over the individuals who compose thtm.—There are seven yearly meetings, viz 1. London.to which come representatives from Ireland ;— 2. New England;—3. New York;— 4. Pennsylvania and New Jersey ;—5. Maryland;—6. Virginia ;—7. the Carolinas and Georgia.

"The yearly met ting has the general superintendence of the society in the country in which it is established ; and, therefore, as the accounts which it receives discover the state ot inferior meetings, as particular exigencies require, tr as the meeting is impressed with a sense ef duty, it gives forth its advice, making such regulations as appear to be requisite, or excites to the observance of those already made ; and sometimes appoints committees to visit those quarterly meetings which appear to be in need of immediate advice. Appeals from the judgment of quarterly meetings are here finally determined; and a brotherly correspondence, by epistles, is maintained with other yearly meetings.

"In this place it is proper to add, that, as we believe women may be rightly called to the work of the ministry, we also think that to them belongs a share in the support of our Cliristian discipline ; at;d that some parts of it, wherein their own sex is concerned, devolve on them with peculiar propriety; accordingly they have monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings of their own sex, held at the same time and in the same place with those of the men; but separately, and without the power of making rules: and it may be remarked, that, during the persecutions which in the last century occasioned the imprisonment of so many of the men, the care of the poor often fell on the women, and was by them satisfactorily administered.

"In order that those who are in the situation of Ministers may have the tender sympathy and counsel of those of either sex, who by their experience in the work of religion, are qualified for that service, the monthly meetings are advised to select such, under the denomination of elders. These, and ministers approve by their monthly meetings, have meeting? peeuliar to themselves, called meetings of ministers and

elders; in which they have an opportunity of exciting each other to a discharge of their several duties, and of extending advice to those who may appear to be weak, without any needless exposure. Such meetings are generally i held in the compass of each monthly, quarterly, and yearly meeting. They are conducted by rules prescribed by the yearly meeting, and have no authority to make any alteration or addition to them. The members of them unite with their brethren in the meetings for discipline, and are equally accountable to the latter for their conduct.

"It is to a meeting of this kind in London, called the second-day's morning meeting, that the revisal of manuscripts concerning our principles, previously to publication, is intrusted by the yearly meeting held in London; and also the granting, in the intervals of the yearly meeting, of certificates of approbation to such ministers as are concerned to travel in the work of the ministry in foreign parts, in addition to these granted by their monthly and quarterly meetings. When a visit of this kind doth not extend beyond Great Britain, a certificate from the monthly meeting of which the minister is a member is sufficient; if to Ireland, the concurrence of the quarterly meeting is also required. Regulations of similar tendency obtain in other yearly meetings.

"The yearly meeting of London, in the year 1675, appointed a meeting to be held in that city, for the purpose of advising and assisting in case of suffering for conscience-sake, which hath continued with great use to the society to this day. It is composed of friends, under the name of correspondents, chosen by the several quarterly meetings, and who reside in or near the society. The same meetings also appoint members of their own in the country as correspondents, whoare to join theirbrethren in London on emergency. The names of all these correspondents, previously to their being recorded as such, are submitted to the approbation of the yearly meeting. Those of the men who are approved ministers are also j members of this meeting, which is called the meeting for sufferings; a name arising from its original purpose, which is not yet become entirely obsolete.

The yearly meeting has intrusted the meeting for sufferings with the care of printing and distributing books.and with the management of its stock ; and, considered as a standing committee ot the; yearly meeting, it hath a general care of whatever rrtay arise, during the inlervals of that meeting, affecting the; society, and requiring immediate at-i tention, particularly of those circum-1 stances which may occasion an appli-' cation to government.

"There is not, in any of the meetings which have been mentioned, any presi-; tlent, as we believe that divine wisdom i alone ought to preside; nor hath any | member a right to claim pre-eminence over the rest. The office of clerk, with a few exceptions, is undertaken voluntarily by some member; as is also the keeping of the records. When these are very voluminous, and require a house for their deposit,(as is the case in London, where the general records of' the society in Great Britain are kept,) J a clerk is hired to have the care of them;; but except a few clerks of this kind, and i persons who have the care of meeting-h(«ises, none receive any stipend or j gratuity for their services in our reli-. gious society." See a pamphlet entitled A Summary of the History, Doc- j trine, and Disci/dine of the Quakers ; \ Sewell's and Butty's Mist, of the Qua- j kcrs; Base's Sufferings of the Qua- \ X~ers; Pcnn's Works; Barclay's A/io- j Logy for the Quakers; jVealc's Hist. of\ the Puritans; Claridge's Life and Posthumous lYorks; Bevan's Defence ofthe Doctrines oftheQuakers;Adams's View of Beligions; Tuke's Principles of Religion as firofessed by the Quaker's; Gough's History of Quakers; Clarkson's Portraiture of Quakerism.

QUIETISTS, a sect famous towards the close of the seventh century. They were so called from a kind of absolute rest and inaction, which they supposed i the soul to be in when arrived at that' state of perfection which they called the unitive life; in which state they imagined the soul wholly employed in contemplating its God, to whose influence it was entirely submissive, so that he could turn and drive it where and how he would.

Molinos, a Spanish priest, is the re-1

i)uted author of Quietism; though the j lluminati, in Spain, had certainly taught something like it before. Molinos j had numerous disciples in Italy, Spain,! France, and the Netherlands. One of j the principal patrons and propagators i of Quietism in France was Marie Bou- j veres de la Motte Guyou, a woman of: fashion, and remarkable for her piety. | Her religious sentiments made a great; noise in the year 1687, and were de-j dared unsound by several learned men, I cspcciaHy Bossuet, who opposed them in the yeitr 1697. Hence arose a controversy between the prelate last men

tioned and Fenelon, archbishop of Cimbray, who seemed disposed to favour the system of Guyou, and who, in 1697, published a book containing several of her tenets. Fcnelon's book, by means of Bossuet, was condemned in the year 1699, by Innocent XII. and the sentence of condemnation was read by Fenelon himself at Cambray, who exhorted the people to respect and obey the papal decree. Notwithstanding this seeming acquiescence, the archbishop persisted to the end of his days in the sentiments, which, in obedience to the order of the pope, lie retracted and condemned in a public manner.

A sect similar to this appeared at Mount Athos, in Thessaly, near the end of the fourteenth century, called Hcsyc/iasts, meaning the same withQuietists. They were a branch of the Mystics, or those more perfect monks, who.by long and intense contemplation, endeavoured to arrive at a tranquillity of mind free from every degree of tumult and perturbation.

QUIETNESS, in a moral sense, is opposed to disorderly motion, to turbulency, to contention, to pragmatical curiosity, to all such exorbitant behaviour, whereby the right of others is infringed, their peace disturbed, their just interest or welfare any ways prej udiced. It is a calm, steady, regular way of proceeding within the bounds and measures prescribed by reason, justice, and charity, modesty and sobriety. It is of such Importance, that we find it enjoined in the sacred Scripture; and we are commanded to study and peruse it •with the greatest diligence and care. 1 Thess. iv. 11. The great Dr. Barrow has two admirable sermons on this subject in the first volume of his Works. He justly observes, 1. That quietness is just and equal.—2- It indicates humility, modesty, and sobriety of mind—3. It is beneficial to the world, pre serving the general order of things.—

4. It preserves concord and amity.—

5. It begets tranquillity and peace.—

6. It is a decent and lovely thing, indicating a good disposition, and producing good effects.—7. It adorneth any profession, bringing credit and respecrthereto.—8. It is a safe practice, keeping us from needless encumbrances and hazards: whereas, pragmaticalness, interfering with the business and concern of others, often raises dissensions, involves in guilt, injures others, shows our vanity and pride, and exposes to continual trouble and danger.

QUINQUAGESIMA. a Sunday so called, because it is the fiftieth day Ixftre Easter, recltoned in whole numbers. Shrove Sunday.

QU1N 1'ILIANS, a sect thatappeared in Phrygia, about 189 ; thus called from their prophetess Quintilia. lathis sect the women were admitted toperform the sacerdotal and episcopal functions They attributed extraordinary gifts to Eve for bavins first eaten of the tree of knowledge; told great things of Mary, the sister of Mises, as having

been a prophetess, &c. They ridded, that Philip the deacon had four daughters, who were a!l prophetesses, and were of their sect. In the>e assemblies it was usual to see the virgins entering in white robes.personating prophetesses. The errors of the Quintihans were at first looked upon as folly and madness; but, as they appeared to gain ground, the council of Laodicea, in 320, condemned it.


RANTERS, a denomination which I arose in the year 1645. They set up the light of nature under the name of Christ in men. With regard to the church. Scripture, ministry, &c. their sentiments weie the same as the Seekers. See Seekers.

RASHNESS consists in undertaking an action, or pronouncing an opinion, I ■without a due examination of the" grounds, motives, or arguments, that ought first to lie weighed.

RASH JUDGING. See Judging [

READING (public) OF THE SCRIPTURES See Scriptures.

REALISTS, a term made use of to denote those Trinitarians who are the most orthodox, in opposition to the Socinian and Sabellian schemes. It was also the name of a sect of school philosophers, formed in opposition to the Nominalists. The former believed that universals are realties, and have an actual existence out of the mind ; while the latter contended that they exist only in the mind, and are only ideas.

REASON, a faculty or power of the mind, whereby' it draws just conclusions from the true and clear princi pies. Many attempts have been made to prove reason inimical to revelation; but nothing can be nnore evident than that it is of considerable use in know ing, distinguishing, proving, aad defending the mysteries of revelation ; although it must not be considered as a perfect standard by which all the mysteries of religion must be measured before they are received by fnith. "In things," says Dr. Watts, "which are plainly and expr ss!y asserted in Scripture, and that in « sense which contradicts not other parts of Scripture, or natursl light, our reason must submit, and believe the thing, though it cannot find the modus or manner-of its being:

so in the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation, which are above the reach of our reason in this present state. But we cannot, nor must we, be led to take the words of Scripture in such a sense as expressly and evidently contradicts all senne nod reason, as transubstantiation: ♦or the two great lights of God, reason and revelation, never contradict each other, though one be superior to the other.

'• Therefore reason has a great deal to do in religion, viz. to find out the rule (of faith,) to compare the parts of tuis rule with one another, to explain the one by the other, to give the grammatical and logical sense of the expressions, and to exclude self-contradictory interpretations, as well as interpretations contrary to reason. But it is not to set itself up as a judge of those truths expressed therein, which are asserted by a superior and infallible dictator. God himself; but reason requires and commands even the subjection of all its own powers to a truth thus divinely attested ; for it is as possible and as proper that God should propose dectrines to our understanding which it cannot comprehend, as duties to our practice which we cannot see the reason of; for he is equally superior to our understand- . ing and will, and he puts the obedience of both I: a trial." See Religion and Revelation, and books there recommended; also Porteus' Sermon*, ser. J. vol. i; Jenyn's Internal Evidence, \>122; Rylances Contemplations, vol. i. p. 83; Theological Miscellany, vol. ii. p. 531; Jin Essay on the Use and Abuse of Reason in Matters of Religion, by Witsius, and translated by Carter; Dr. IVatts't Strength and Weakness of Human Reason.

HECLUSE, among the Papists, a person shut up in a small cell of an her. mitaga or monastery, and cut off no,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »