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share in producing it, under the same influence. The first of these may be called their moral education. The second their discipline. The third may be said to consist of those domestic, or other customs, which are peculiar to them, as a society of christians. The fourth of their peculiar tenets of religion. In fact, there are many circumstances interwoven into the constitution of the society of the Quakers, each of which has a separate effect, and all of which have a combined tendency, towards the production of moral character.
These auxiliary causes I shall consider and explain in their turn. In the course of this explanation the reader will see, that, if other people were to resort to the same means as the Quakers, they would obtain the same reputation, or that human nature is not so stubborn, but that it will yield to a given force. But as it is usual, in examining the life of an individual, to begin with his youth, or, if it has been eminent, to begin with the education he has received, so I shall fix upon the first of the auxiliary causes I have men. tioned, or the moral education of the Quakers, as the subject for the first division of my work.
Of this moral education I may observe here, that it is universal among the society, or that it obtains where the individuals are considered to be true Quakers. It matters not, how various the tempers of young persons may be, who come under it, they
must submit to it. Nor does it signify what may be the disposition, or the whim, and caprice of their parents, they must submit to it alike. The Quakers believe that they have discovered that system of morality, which christianity prescribes; and therefore that they can give no dispensation to their members, under any circumstances whatever, to deviate from it. The origin of this system, as a standard of education in the society, is as follows.
When the first Quakers met in union, they consisted of religious or spiritually minded men. From that time to the present, there has always been, as we may imagine, a succession of such in the society. Many of these, at their great meetings, which have been annual since those days, have delivered their sentiments on various interesting points. These sentiments were regularly printed, in the form of yearly epistles, and distributed among Quaker families. Extracts, in process of time, were made from them, and arranged under different heads, and published in one book, under the name of (d) Advices. Now these advices comprehend important subjects. They relate to customs, manners, fashions, conversation, conduct. They contain of course recommendations, and suggest prohibitions, to the society, as rules of guid
(d) The Book is intitled "Extracts from the minutes made, and from "the advices given, at the yearly Meeting of the Quakers in London, "since its first Institution."
ance: and as they came from spiritually minded men on solemn occasions, they are supposed to have had a spiritual origin. Hence Quaker parents manage their youth according to these recommendations and prohibitions, and hence this book of extracts (for so it is usually called) from which I have obtained a considerable portion of my knowledge on this subject, forms the basis of the moral Education of the Society.
Of the contents of this book, I shall notice, while I am treating upon this subject, not those rules which are of a recommendatory, but those, which are of a prohibitory nature. Education is regulated either by recommendations, or by prohibitions, or by both conjoined. The former relate to things, where there is a wish that youth should conform to them, but where a trifling deviation from them would not be considered as an act of delinquency publicly reprehensible. The latter to things, where any compliance with them becomes a positive offence. The Quakers, in consequence of the vast power they have over their members by means of their discipline, lay a great stress upon the latter. They consider their prohibitions, when duly watched and enforced, as so many barriers against vice or preservatives of virtue, Hence they are the grand component parts of their moral education, and hence I shall chiefly consider them in the chapters, which are now to follow upon this subject.