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long. Of the ministers and elders thus assembled it
may be observed, that it is their duty to confine themselves wholly to the exhortation of one another for good. They can make no laws, like the antient synods and other convocations of the clergy, nor dictate
article of faith. Neither can they meddle with the government of the church. The Quakers allow neither ministers nor elders, by virtue of their office, to interfere with their discipline. Every proposition of this sort must be determined upon by the yearly meeting, or by the body at large.
Worship—consists of prayer and preaching—nei.
ther of these efectual but by the Spirit—hence no liturgy or form of words, or studied sermons in the Quaker-church-Singular manner of delivering sermons—Tone of the voice usually censured this
may arise from difference between na. ture and art-Objected, that there is little variety of subject in these sermons_variety not so necessary to Quakers Oiher objections-Replies-
Observations of Francis Lambert of Avignon. As no person, in the opinion of the Quakers, can be a true minister of the Gospel unless he feel himself called or appointed by the Spirit of God, so there can be no true or effectual worship, except it come through the aid of the same Spirit.
The public worship of God is usually made to consist of prayer and of preaching.
Prayer is a solemn address of the soul to God. It is a solemn confession of some
weakness, or thanksgiving for some benefit, or petition for some favour.
But the Quakers consider such an address as deprived of life and power, except it be spiritually conceived. “ For the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings, which cannot be uttered *"
Preaching, on the other hand, is an address of the man to men, that their attention may be turned towards God, and their minds be prepared for the secret and heavenly touches of his Spirit. But this preaching, again, cannot be effectually performed, except the Spirit of God accompany it. Thus St. Paul, in speaking of himself, says, “ And my Spirit and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and with power, that your
faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God t." So the Quakers believe, that no words, however excellent, which men may deliver now, will avail, or will produce that faith which
is to stand, except they be accompanied by that power which shall demonstrate them to be of God.
From hence it appears to be the opinion of the Quakers, that the whole worship of God, whether it consist of prayer or of preaching, must be spiritual. Jesus Christ has also, they say, left this declaration upon record, that “ God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth *"
By worshipping him in truth they mean, that men are to worship him only when they feel a right disposition to do it, and in such a manner as they judge, from their own internal feelings, to be the manner which the Spirit of God then signifies.
For these reasons, when the Quakers enter into their meetings, they use no liturgy or form of prayer. Such a form would be made up of the words of man's wisdom. Neither do they deliver any sermons that have been previously conceived or written down. Neither do they begin their service immediately after they are seated. But
* John iy. 24.
when they sit down, they wait in silence * as the Apostles were commanded to do. They endeavour to be calm and composed. They take no thought as to what they shall say. They endeavour to avoid, on the other hand, all activity of the imagination, and every thing that rises from the will of man. The creature is thus brought to be passive, and the spiritual faculty to be disencumbered, so that it can receive and attend to the spiritual language of the Creator t. If, during this vacation from all mental activity, no impressions should be given to them, they say nothing. If impressions should be afforded to them, but no impulse to oral delivery, they remain equally silent. But if, on the other hand, impressions are given
* Matt. x, 19.
Acts i. 4. † They believe it their duty (to speak in the Quakerlanguage) to maintain the Watch, by preserving the imagination from being carried away by thoughts originating in man ; and, in such watch, patiently to await for the arising of that life which, by subduing the thoughts, imaginations, and desires of man, produces an inward silence, and therein bestows a true sight of his condition upon him, giving him to discern his frailties, to feel his spirit humbled, his spiritual wants supplied, and acceptable worship to prevail in Spirit and in truth.