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truths,. to maintain which Friends are grounds of the secession, and the ques. bound together, he found reason to believe tion how far the seceders are justified in that another work was equally if not more their contention that modern Quakerism, necessary, namely, to
among as exemplified in the spirit and practices Friends themselves the purity of their of the London Yearly Meeting and bodies original testimony. His object was to in correspondence with it, has forfeited unite such Friends as thought and felt the true character of the original Society with him in a closer bond of sympathy, of Friends. Some of those who are in and to furnish a common expression for sympathy with the seceders hold very their convictions.
strong views on this last point. On 20th In April, 1860, he addressed a circular May, 1871, Thomas Drewry, of Fleetletter from Cockermouth to several like wood, a member of Preston Monthly minded Friends, inviting them to meet in Meeting, addressed a written protest to conference. There was no immediate re. the London Yearly Meeting and to the sult, but on October 17, 1862, the first Charity Commission, in which he main. conference took place in London, and was tains that “what is called the Society of attended by seventeen persons. For seven Friends” has undergone fundamental years similar conferences were held about changes in faith and doctrine, and is now every four months in different places up properly speaking “a body of Separaand down the country, the attendance tists,” and has consequently no right to averaging some twenty-five persons. In retain “Trust Property, which belongs 1868 Sargent with two others went to not to it, but belongs to those who adhere America, to visit the little groups of to the original faith of the Society of Friends, known as the Smaller Bodies, Friends, for whose sole use and benefit which had already made a decisive stand the several Trusts were created, by their for primitive Quakerism as they under- predecessors in religious profession." * stood it. On the voyage home, these The London Yearly Meeting took no nothree Friends were strongly impressed tice of this protest; and the charity comwith the duty of separating themselves in missioners probably regarded it as brutum like manner from the tendencies of the fulmen, for, though strongly worded, it London Yearly Meeting. The last confer. specifies none of the innovations of which ence was held on October 10, 1869; and in gen terms it complains. Yet in January, 1870, its place was taken by a those acquainted with Quaker usages it is general meeting for Friends in England, a very significant document. The Friends initiated at Fritchley in Derbyshire, wbere when they express dissent from a position Sargent and some of his associates re. advanced in their meetings, as not being sided and kept up regular meetings for in accordance with Friends' principles, do worship. This General Meeting has since not argue, do not give their reasons. been held twice a year, usually at Fritch. They simply state how it affects their own ley or Belper, and has maintained an offi- feeling. They say: "I do not feel comcial correspondence with kindred bodies fortable about this; I do not feel easy in in America. Sargent was the clerk of the my mind under it.” A condition of things meeting, and remained its leading spirit which produces so decided a discomfort until his death on December 27, 1883.
and uneasiness in the inind of any recog. The British Friend for July, 1884, con- nized member as is indicated by Thomas tains a report of the last May Meeting at Drewry’s protest, is a serious matter Fritchley, communicated by a member of among Friends. Their constitution knows the Larger Body. He describes the small nothing of the rule of majorities; they meeting-house as well filled, and bear tes. never take a vote; the harmony of senti. timony to the excellence of the spirit ment is everything with them; if a memwhich prevailed. " Neither in meeting ber feels and says " You are out of accord nor out of it, did I hear one word ap- with your true principles,” and if he is not proaching a want of Christian love towards at once lopped off as a false accuser, the those from whose views they differ.” The rise of the feeling which he expresses is membership of this independent organ- of itself, from the Quaker standpoint, sufization is not exclusively composed of ficiently condemnatory of the existing seceders from the Larger Body; it com. position of the body. prises also some who have joined them. We cite Drewry's protest because it is selves to it on becoming Friends from an English docuineni, but it will be ob. “convincement," a proof of the vitality of this little flock.
* See this protest in W. Hodgson's The Society of
Friends in the Nineteenth Century, 1876, vol. ii., pp. But now comes the consideration of the 394-7.
served that we quote it from an American meekly dwelt in the cold shade of popular source,* and to America we must look for neglect are gratified to accept. Yet one the most numerous and the clearest ex. would think it must be apparent to all but pressions of revolt from the modern drift the blind, that not as Quakers is their of the Quaker body:t John Wilbur's co-operation welcomed by the outside “Journal” (1859) is a storehouse of valu- sects; but they are acknowledged as brethable testimony on the subject; and the ren on the precise ground that what is two remarkable volumes of receot denom- essentially distinctive of Quakerism they inational history published in 1875 and have practically abandoned. Their incon1876 by Williain Hodgson, of Philadel. sistency is praiseworthy in the eyes of phia, lay the whole case very fairly before the successors of their ancient opponents; the impartial reader. These publications and just because they are inconstant to have been ignored by the official repre. the teachings of their founders, they are sentatives of the Society of Friends in admitted to fellowship. In the height of this country; yet they constitute a start the Beacon controversy, that shrewd and ling indictment of the modes of thought strong Evangelical thinker, Dr. Wardlaw, which now find shelter beneath the re- addressed to Friends some remarkable trimmed mantle of Quakerism. In En- congratulations on an evident revolution gland we have Daniel Pickard's “ Expos in their sentiments. “I have given,” he tulation" (1864), and a not inconsiderable says, “in copious extracts, the views of number of tracts and pamphlets, uttering J. J. Gurney on the doctrine of justificawaroing notes in a similar spirit; but the tion. They are clear, simple, and Scripmain body goes on its way unheeding tural. But — are they Quakerisın?" He them.
details, with the skill of a practised theoThis apathy under remonstrance, this logian, the discrepancies on this head quiet determination neither to cope with between Gurney and Barclay; and he the damaging criticisms directed against adds, “ And, indeed, on this and on varithem nor to retrace their course, which is ous other points, it cannot fail to strike characteristic of the existing leaders of the most superficial reader, what a perfect Quaker opinion, is one of the great diffi- contrast there is between the writings culties in the way of those who are anx. of Mr. Gurney and those of the early ious to fulfil their part in reasserting the Friends."* ancient principles of the body. They A third and perhaps the most formidamay say what they like; it excites no ble difficulty with which those jealous for controversy, and produces no movement. the ancient principles of Friends have to Quakerism has hung up its broad brim contend is the unquestionable fact that and turned down its collar, the writings the introduction of the new régime has of its founders lie dusty on its shelves, been followed by symptoms of denomi. it speaks a new language and adopts national prosperity and success. The unwonted ways, and to the call of the chronic leakage from Friends' families to old prophetic voices, which charmed its the membership of other bodies has been younger ears and roused its fresher heart, appreciably checked. While not increas. it is mute.
ing, or even holding its ground relatively Another serious difficulty experienced to the population, the Society of Friends by Friends of the old stamp is that the has been able to stem the process of fur. very things which they feel it their duty ther decline. Much new activity prevails to oppose and denounce, as fatal to the within its borders. Though not activity real spirit of Quakerism, are contributing of a kind which approves itself to those to a certain accession of outside interest who prize the spirit of the ancient testiand favor extended to the denomination mony, it is evidence which cannot be gain. by other bodies of Christians. No doubt said of reviving zeal, stirring life, and the people called Evangelicals hail with earnest religious occupation. Lovers of increasing satisfaction the new departures the Society's foundation truths shake their of the people called Quakers. They re- heads, and think and say that it is all gard them as moving in the right direc- wrong, that it is going on a false tack, that tion, and gladly hold out a fraternizing it is encouraging the tacit substitution of band, which those who have so long the world's religion for the Spirit's teach
ing. Nevertheless, the experiment proIt was published as an advertisement in the British duces what to the experimenters are satFriend (a Glasgow monthly) for September, 1871.
† See Modern Quakerism Examined, and Contrasted Friendly Letters to the Society of Friends, on with that of the Ancient Type, 1876, by Walter Edger- some of their distinguishing principles. By Ralph ton, of Indianapolis.
Wardlaw, D.D., 1836, p. 367, etc.
isfying results, and so the change goes | ble source of doctrines of faith and rules
of practice. Take away that, directly or Of this change, by his industrious writ- indirectly, and you dig up Quakerism by ings and his great personal influence, the roots. In the “Theses” of his famous Joseph John Gurney (1788–1847) was the "Apologia,” the Scottish laird, Robert prime mover. With the exhibition of Barclay, as is well known, formulated the Gurneyism, in its principles and results, teaching of Fox in such a way as expressly Wilbur's “Journal” and Hodgson's his. to confront the positions of the authoritatory are largely occupied. The names of tive document of Scottish religion, the J. J. Gurney and Elias Hicks are the dan. Westminster Confession of Faith. The ger signals on either hand of the true Confession states (i. 10) that “the suFriends' course. Both are rationalists, in preme Judge by which all controversies of the sense in which Robert Barclay speaks religion are to be determined, and all of the pretended rational ” Socinians of decrees of councils, opinions of ancient his day; and their followers divide be writers, doctrines of men, and private spirtween them the characteristics which he its, are to be examined, and in whose sencondemns. One set, the Gurney party, are tence we are to rest, can be no other than “all for literal Scriptures;” the other, the the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture." Hicksian schismatists, are for “natural “ Nay,” says Barclay echoing in his light.” Describing them equally as “fun- scholastic style the study of uncouth utterdamental departures from Quakerism,” ances of the midland seer — “other there Hodgson is, if anything, somewhat more can be, other there is.” The Voice that lenient in his handling of Hicksism than speaks mediately in Scripture speaks imof Gurneyisın, though he has not an atom mediately in the soul of man. The Scrip of sympathy with the doctrinal point of tures of truth "are only a declaration of view of either. Nor is this unnatural. the fountain, and not the fountain itself, An outsider, especially one who had not therefore they are not to be esteemed the reached a clear apprehension of the dif- principal ground of all truth and knowlference between the light of Christ with, edge, nor yet the adequate primary rule in, and the innate light of nature and of faith and manners. “ They are and conscience, would be inclined to say that may be esteemed a secondary rule, subor. Gurneyism is false to the Quaker method, dinate to the Spirit.” • By the inward while Hicksism employs it to the produc- testimony of the Spirit we do alone truly tion of results foreign to Quaker' habits know them.” “The Spirit is the first and of thought; Gurneyism is wrong root and principal leader." * branch, Hicksism grafts wild olives on It is customary with modern Quakers the original stem.
to decry Barclay, partly on the ground of We have nothing to do here with Hicks. the scholastic form in which he cast his ism. It has never been a power in this propositions and bis elaborate logical de. country. The Barnard schism, which ductions from them. True it is that he weakened the Society in Ireland at the captivates the mind rather than entrances beginning of this century, is chiefly re. the heart; we do not always experience markable for having been the occasion in his pages the same rare sense of spirwhich gave the Rathbones of Liverpool itual refreshment, as from the gushing to the Unitarian body. It left no indepen- streams of a living fountain, which_condent witness, and when Hannah Barnard stitutes the abiding charm of Fox's died, in 1828, she had already survived “ Letters or the tracts of Nayler and the memory of the intended separation. Deusbery. But in the statement of the Other movements of similar character in fundamental thing in Quakerism he does more recent years have possessed no in- but put into transparent and solid sen. herent vitality, and have rapidly withered tences, crystal clear, the unalloyed subaway.* But Gurneyism is in full swing; stance of the daily teaching of his great modern Quakerism is Gurneyism. predecessors and coadjutors. Rejecting The fundamental postulate of pure orig. Barclay, Friends must pece
cessarily reject inal Quakerism is the supremacy of the along with him those in whose spirit he Spirit, speaking within, as the only infalli- speaks; and this they do. With the exthere is not one of the founders of the obtain a saving knowledge of God, is a Society whose most express statements being taught in the school of Christ, are not repudiated by the present mem- through obedience to the inspeaking bers.
ception of Fox, whose name is surrounded The best account and defence of Hicksism (and with a sentimental reverence which few cognate movements up to 1828), from the pen of one of Quakers are hardy enough to disturb, t. its more Evangelical representatives, is to be found in Samuel M. Janney's History of the Religious Society * Barclay's Apology; Theses Theol. prop. 3. of Friends, from its Rise to the year 1828, 4 vols., † Yet see “George Fox, his Character, Doctrine, and 1859-67.
Work ;” an Essay by a member of the Society of
Word,' and faith in the revelations of his It is not a case of development, but of Holy Spirit innediately in the heart.” laying a new foundation; perhaps it would From this shifting of the base, every be better to say it is a desertion of the other doctrinal change bas proceeded. Quaker foundation for that of the so-called Wardlaw, with a true instinct, seizes upon Evangelical sects. The doctrine of the the altered aspect of the doctrine of justiSpirit, in vogue with the majority of fication, as affording the most conspicuous Friends at the present day, reaches no proof that what is now held and taught higher than the level attained, as we have among Quakers is not Quakerism; and seen, in the Westminster Confession. Wilbur, in three brief sentences which The independent testimony of the Spirit, put Gurneyism into a nutshell, concen. as supreme Judge of the ineaning of Scrip: trates his opposition upon this particular ture and first-hand Expositor of the mind point.* The true friend is saved by the of God, is becoming, or has become, an work of Christ within, with which he inust extinct factor in Quaker theology. Those co-operate in the persistent self-abnega. who were once pre-eminent for their alle- tion of faith and obedience. But the giance to the direct word of the Spirit modern Quaker, like the ordinary Evanhave succumbed to a bibliolatry, all the gelical, throws bimself upon the work of more helpless as it is tempered by no Christ without, to which he attaches himinternal school of biblical criticism. It is self by the act of credence, and which the ancient Quaker doctrine of inspira- justifies him simpliciter, without respect tion, that the spiritual writings of their to obedience. Here we have the atone. own founders proceed from the same ment by a work done for us, in place of fountain as the teachings of Holy Writ, the atonement of a work wrought in us. and are inspired in the same way; but “Instead of submitting, therefore, to die that for the true understanding and profit. with Christ, and to abide the painful able reading of either, the Spirit, the only struggle of yielding up the will and wis. lawful judge and interpreter, is necessary. dom of the flesh, these,” says John Wil. The modern doctrine has lost the widih bur, “ have moulded and fashioned to of the one position, and missed the depth themselves a substitute, by professedly of the other, and is indistinguishable from extolling and claiming the faith of Christ's crude servility to the letter that killeth. incarnate sufferings and propitiatory sacWhen the London Yearly Meeting put rifice upon the cross without the gates of forward in its general epistle of 1836 ihe Jerusalem, as the whole covenant of salva. statements that the sacred Scripture is tion, and by him thus accomplished with"the only divinely authorized record of out them.”+ the doctrines of true religion,” “the ap. Hence, on the one hand, there is little pointed means of making known to us the trace in modern Quakerism of the broad blessed truths of Christianity,"" the only doctrine of the Light of the World, of divinely authorized record of the doctrines Christ as the spiritual illuminator who which we are bound as Christians to be. visits every soul in every age, in every lieve, and of the moral principles which clime, in every religion and non-religion, are to regulate our actions,” the raison and abides with those who will receive d'être of the Society was gone. William him and obey him, quite independently of Southall, of Leominster, was warranted in the intervention of bistorical knowledge, declaring that this language " went to the or of a written word of truth. To the subversion of the very foundation of Qua- spiritual grandeur and the redeeming effikerism.”* For, as Hodgson truly says, cacy of this old conception the modern the principle always promulgated in the Quaker is strangely dull. He cannot trust writings of early Friends is "that the himself to teach his ancient principles in appointed means' for the soul of man to the full sweep of their original power.
And, on the other hand, the high docFriends (Edward Ash, M D.), 1873. In this able pam- trine of Christian perfection, on which phlet George Fox's doctrine of the Inward Light in all Barclay is so nobly strong, is faintly heard men is explicitly denied; and it is maintained that there has been no such thing as immediate revelation since if at all, scarce believed in, never preached the days of the Apostles. The reply by George Pitt, with the unction and vigor of vital experi. “ Immediate Revelation True, and George Fox not Mistaken,” 1873, is a fine piece of genuine Quaker theology.
• Wilbur's Journal, p. 286. • Hodgson, i. 305-7.
7 Wilbur's Journal, p. 273.
ence, among present-day Friends, Mr. This, at any rate, is the opinion of some Stopford Brooke's powerful plea for the among their own members. The innova. possibility of sinlessness as a practical tions do not go on without wavering aim of living men,* which recently startled voices. Among the most remarkable for the decorous believers in “one God and their outspokenness, and their thorough twenty shillings to the pound,” takes a saturation with the old, uncompromising position which would flutter if not horrify spirit of the Quaker protest, are the incan. the elect of modern Quakerism. They descent tracts of W. B. S. [Sissison] of betray no sign of yielding an inward re- Plumstead. He does not directly attack sponse to the doctrine, at once humble the Society or its members, but there is and bold, of Barclay's eighth proposition, no mistaking who are intended to come in in the exposition of which he maintains for a share of the denunciations heaped that “there may be a state attainable in upon so-called revivalists in general, on this life, in which to do righteousness may those who "preach on heavenly things become so natural to regenerate souls, that from a natural ground only,” on “blind in the stability of it they cannot sin. . . guides and lying, chattering prophets, with Or is Christ unwilling to have his servants your horn-blowers of the press," on thoroughly pure?” To have reached this fleshly arts of continual singing, mumstage, Barclay makes no personal preten. bling, and 'praying,' to make up for this sion, but the presence of its ideal is a absence of the manifest presence of the perpetual inspiration to him. And when blessed and glorious God.”. We have even the hope of it has vanished, the glory quoted only some of his inildest words ; of the Christian consummation is un the direction in which they point is evi. dreamed of. Among the successors of dent. What is to be said on the other Fox and Barclay, salvation is reduced to side ? a minimum, and not only the Quaker The inheritor of a great name, himself breadth but the Quaker height is shrunk a man of rare conscientiousness and selfaway.
devotion, who consecrated his studies to Altered views lead to altered methods. a radical investigation of the sources of And the adoption of the new methods has the Quaker inovement,* and gave his soul produced what is called a revival. But it to Gospel labors, Robert Barclay, of Rei. is not a resurrection of the original Quak- gate (1833-1876), has left behind him a erism, either in form or in spirit. The volume of sermons, written for delivery in revival is the astonishing spectacle of the the mission meetings of Friends. His introduction of nearly everything which biographer explains his position as that of the first leaders of Quakerism distrusted, one holding with Friends, " that God does rejected, denounced, and abhorred. Set enable his ministers effectually to preach sermons, constructed prayers, religious His Gospel without any previous meditaservices prearranged as to time, mode, and tion or preparation," and also as holding circumstance, hymns sung to order, Scrip" with the majority of Christians, that God tures read by measure, a limping congre- does equally bless the word preached when gationalism intruding on the trustful rest this blessing has been asked on the diliwhich waited patiently for the Spirit, a gent study of the Scriptures” (p. viii). I deliberate effort of missionary endeavor This is, in effect, to place the ministry of doing duty for the rush of the old freedom the Spirit on precisely the same level as when the power of the truth came upon the ministry of the letter; and, whatever all - this is the new picture, this is what else may be said about it, the position is Quaker periodicals put on record, some incompatible with the first principles of times with misgiving, often with satisfac. early Friends. Barclay's sermons tion. Let it be granted that these are all doubtless very effective in delivery, and very excellent things in their own way. they are markedly superior to many utterThis, however, is not the way in which we expect to see the people called Friends
* The historical acumen, combined with elaborate walking. It is not the way of their birth, research, displayed in Barclay's “Inner Life," etc., their strength, or their testimony. It may But how little it is accepted by Friends of the primitive
must excite the admiration of every competent reader. be thought a better way; but the plain En-type as justly appreciating the significance of the Quaker glish of this is, that the quondam Quakers movement, may be seen in an able examen of the have hit upon something which they con- work, published, in 1878, by Charles Evans, M.D., of
Philadelphia ceive to be better than Quakerism.
† “Sermons" by Robert Barclay, author of the “Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Common
wealth,” with a brief memoir. Edited by his widow, * What Think ye of Christ? Unitarian Association 1878. Sermon, 1884.
İ The italics are ours.