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testimony of others that God may be truly worshipped, the Quakers consider as an important and sublime part of their churchservice, and as possessing advantages which are not to be found in the worship which proceeds solely through the medium of the mouth.
For, in the first place, it must be obvious, that in these silent meetings men cannot become chargeable before God, either with hypocrisy or falsehood, by pretending to worship him with their lips, when their affections are far from him, or by uttering a language that is inconsistent with the feelings of the heart. It must be obvious again, that every
man's devotion, in these silent meetings, is made az it ought to be, to depend upon himself; for no man can work out the salvation of another for him. A man does not depend at these times on the words of a minister, or of any other person present; but his own soul, worked upon by the divine influence, pleads in silence with the Almighty its own cause. And thus, by extending this idea to the congregation at large, we shall find a number of individuals offering up at the
same time their own several confessions, pouring out their own several petitions, giving their own thanks severally, or praising and adoring, all of them, in different languages adapted to their several conditions, and yet not interrupting one another.
Nor is it the least recommendation of this worship, in the opinion of the Quakers, that, being thus wholly spiritual, it is out of the power of the natural man to obstruct it. No man can break the chain, that thus binds the spirit of man to the Spirit of God; for this chain, which is spiritual, is invisible. But this is not the case, the Quakers say, with any oral worship. “ For how," says Barclay, alluding to his own times, Papists say their mass, if there be
there to disturb and interrupt them? Do but take away the mass-book, the chalice, the host, or the priests' garments; yea, do but spill the water, or the wine, or blow out the candles (a thing quickly to be done), and the whole business is marred, and no sacrifice can be offered. Take from the Lutherans and Episcopalians their liturgy, or common prayer-book, and no service can be said. Remove from the Calvinists, Arminians,
Socinians, Independents, or Anabaptists, the pulpit, the bible, and the hour-glass, or make but such a noise as the voice of the preacher cannot be heard, or disturb him but so before he come, or strip him of his bible, or his books, and he must be dumb: for they all think it a heresy to wait to speak, as the Spirit of God giveth utterance; and thus easily their whole worship may be marred.”
Quakers reject every thing ostentatious and spirit
less from their worship-Ground on which their meeting-houses stand, not consecrated the latter plain-Women sit apart from the men—no pews -nor priests' garments_nor psalmody-no one day thought more holy than another-but as public worship is necessary, days have been fixed upon for that purpose.
Jesus Christ, as he was sitting at Jacob's Well, and talking with the woman of Samaria, made use of the following among other expressions in his discourse.
6 Wome, the hour cometh, when ye
shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.
These expressions, the Quakers generally render thus. I tell
I tell you that a new dispensation is at hand. Men will no longer worship at Jerusalem, more acceptably than in any other place. Neither will it be expected of them, that they shall worship in temples, like the temple there. Neither the glory, nor the ornaments of gold and silver, and precious stones, nor the splendid garments of the high priest, will be any parts of the new worship that is approaching. All ceremonies will be done away, and men's religion will be reduced simply to the wor-, shipping of God in Spirit and in truth. In short, the Quakers believe, that when Jesus Christ came, he ended the temple, its ornaments, its music, its Levitical priesthood, its tithes, its new moons and sabbaths, and the various ceremonial ordinances that had been engrafted into the religion of the Jews.
The Quakers reject every thing that appears to them to be superstitious, or formal,
or ceremonious, or ostentatious, or spiritless from their worship.
They believe that no ground can be made holy; and therefore they do not allow the places on which their meeting-houses are built to be consecrated by any human forms.
Their meeting-houses are singularly plain. There is nothing of decoration in the interior of them. They consist of a number of plain long benches with backs to them. There is one elevated seat at the end of these. This seat is for their ministers. It is ele
. vated for no other reason, than that their
be the better heard. The women occupy one half of these benches, and sit
from the men. The benches are not intersected by partitions. Hence there are no distinct pews
for the families of the rich, or of such as can afford to pay for them; for, in the first place, the Quakers pay nothing for their seats in their meeting-houses; and in the second, they pay no respect to the outward condition of one another. If they consider themselves when out of doors as all equal to one another in point of privileges, much