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a and speak, whether they will hear, or “ whether they will forbear, and shew that “ silence is an abomination to the Lord, be6 cause he has not commanded it to chris: “ tians.” I was willing to transcribe thus much of this paragraph of his, that the reader might have opportunity to examine and judge for himself, how far this author has kept the sacred ground he professes to take on his first setting out. While this quotation was transcribing, the language of the Psalmist occurred : “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? he that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart: he that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.”p I must suppose, that when he asserted - silence is an abomination to the Lord,” he did not recollect that it was written, " there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour ".

He says, that passage, “be still and know that I am God," was spoken to the raging heathen nations. I do not understand it so.

The reader may examine for himself ; but whether spoken to the heathen nations, or any others, they were to be still in order to obtain the knowledge of God. What more appropriate text, or positive command, need be sought to warrani the propriety of silent meetings? He also says positively that we have no foundation in Scripture for them, unless we take the foregoing passage, or that of our Lord spoken to the Devil, “be still, and come out of him.” But, I find the following : “be silent, О ail flesh, before the Lord; for, he is raised up out of his holy habitation.". Again : “the Lord is in his holy temple : let all the earth keep silence betore him.” “ The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence. And Ísaiah says,

e Psalm, xv. 1, 2, 3:

Rev. vi. 1:

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.". And that this state of waiting was in silence, is clearly to be implied from the command of the Lord in the following verse : "keep silence before me, O Islands, and let the people renew their strength : let them come near: then let them speak." Manv passages recommend waiting upon the Lord : such as " Wait on the Lord : be of

Zach. ii. 13.
+ Lam. i. 10.

s Hab. ii. 20.

Isa. xk 31.

u

I

good courage ; and he shall strengthen thine heart.", " Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him."* "I will wait on thy name, for it is good before thy saints.”, Truly my soul waiteth

upon

God : from him cometh my salvation.” And in divers passages, where waiting is mentioned in the text, silence is necessarily implied, as it is inserted in the margin ; and Jeremiah says, “ the Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." Though we do not consider these passages as positive commands for holding silent meetings; neither have we any ordinance or institution for them, as Hibbard alleges; yet waiting is neither preaching nor vocal prayer. The apostle exhorts, not to forsake the assemb. ling of ourselves together; and although we believe it to be our indispensable duty to meet often together for the purpose of divine worship, yet we apprehend no ministry can be profitable to man, nor prayer acceptable to God, unless immediately influenced by the divine spirit. Therefore, when ministers are not thus commissioned for vocal communications in a meeting, silence neces

V

* Psalm, li. 9.

Psalm, xxvii. 14. w Psalm, xxxvii. 7. y Psalm, lxii. 1. 2 Lam. ir. 25.

sarily ensues : and in this silent waiting, we are favoured at times to feel the spirit itself making intercession for us ; under the influence of which, we believe a mental aspiration will ascend with more acceptance before the Father of spirits, than any form of words that do not arise from a heart thus qualified for verbal expressions ; for, He who beholds the secret of every heart, as fully understands the mental aspirations of the soul that loves him, and reverently adores his divine majesty, as if uttered with ever so strong a voice. As God is a spirit, so the soul of man proceeding immediately from him, is likewise a spirit : therefore, the intercourse or communion between the soul and its Creator, must be inward and spiritual: hence, we conceive true and acceptable worship may be silently performed according to that clear declaration of our Saviour : “ God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth."

We, therefore, most surely believe, that the performance of divine worship, and adoration to Almighty God, is the most solemn act which man is capable of being engaged in, and that it is by and through the assisting influence of the divine spirit operating upon the soul, (the soul being passive and submissive thereto) that a right preparation is experienced to draw near in spirit unto God, our Heavenly Father, the only true object of all adoration, and source of all true consolation to the soul.

a John, iv. 24.

As we do not consider our worship to consist merely in silence, so neither in preaching or prayer, but in the attention of the mind being wholly directed towards God in humble dependance upon, and dedication of the soul unto him: in this state, we desire thankfully to receive whatever he sees meet to communicate to us in our religious meetings, whether immediately by the influence of his own spirit, or instrumentally through the medium of gospel ministry, which, with vocal prayer, we highly esteem, when they proceed from the influence of the divine spirit.

As this is a very important subject ; and one in which we materially differ from most other societies ; I am willing, for the reader's further information, to insert the following extracts from some of our authors.

“ When we contemplate the glorious attributes of the Most High, his wisdom, powér, and goodness ; and the dependant state of

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