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the Church. If persons feel themselves so influenced in their private devotions," that they can sing,” as the apostle says,
" with the Spirit and the understanding *," can “sing and make melody in their hearts to the Lord t;" the Quakers have no objection to this as an act of worship.-But they conceive that music and psalmody, though they might have been adapted to the ceremonial religion of the Jews, are not congenial with the new dispensation that has followed; because this dispensation requires, that all worship should be performed in Spirit and in Truth. It requires that no act of religion should take place, unless the Spirit influences an utterance, and that no words should be used, except they are in unison with the heart. Now this coincidence of spiritual impulse and feeling with this act is not likely to happen, in the opinion of the Quakers, with public psalmodý. It is not likely, that all in the congregation will be impelled, in the same moment, to a spiritual song, or that all will be in the state of mind or spirit which the words of the
* 1 Cor. xiv, 15.
† Ephes, v. 19.
Psalm describe. Thus, how few will be able to sing truly with David, if the following verse should be brought before them: “ As the heart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God!" To this it may be added, that where men think about musical harmony, or vocal tunes, in their worship, the amusement of the creature will be so mixed with it, that it cannot be a pure oblation of the Spirit; and that those who think they can please the Divine Being by musical instruments, or the varied modulations of their own voices, must look upon
him as a being with corporeal organs, sensible, like a man, of fleshly delights-and not as a Spirit, who can only be pleased with the worship that is in Spirit and in Truth.
The Quakers reject also the consecration and solemnization of particular days and times. As the Jews, when they became Christians, were enjoined by the apostle Paul not to put too great a value upon
days, and months, and times, and years so the Quakers think it their duty, as Chris
tians, to attend to the same injunction. They never meet upon saints' days, as such, that is, as days demanding the religious assemblings of men, more than others ; first, because they conceive this would be giving into popish superstition; and secondly, because these days were originally the appointment of men, and not of God; and no human appointment, they believe, can make one day holier than another.
For the latter reason, also, they do not assemble for worship on those days which their own government, though they are particularly attached to it, appoint as fasts. They are influenced also by another reason in this latter case. They conceive, as religion is of a spiritual nature, and must depend upon the Spirit of God, that true devotion cannot be excited for given purposes, or at a given time. They are influenced again by the consideration, that the real fast is of a different nature from that required. this the fast,” says Isaiah *, “ that I have
« I chosen, to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the op
* Islah lviii. 6, 7.
pressed was the Sabbath ordained. Yet prayer itself is sabbathless, and admits of no rest, no intermission at all. hands be clean, we must, as our apostle
pressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the
that are cast out, to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him, and that thou hide not thyself from thy own flesh?" This the Quakers believe to be the true fast, and not the work of a particular day, but to be the daily work of every real Christian.
Indeed, no one day, in the estimation of the Quakers, can be made by human appointment either more holy or more proper for worship than another. They do not even believe that the Jewish Sabbath, which was by the appointment of God, continues in Gospel-times, or that it has been handed down by divine authority as the true Sabbath of Christians. All days with the Quakers are equally holy, and all equally proper for the worship of God. In this opinion they coincide with the ever-memorable John Hales. “For prayer, indeed,” says this ve
If our when
commands us, lift them up every where, at all times, and make every place a church, every day a sabbath-day, every hour canoni
-, cal. As you go to the market, as you
stand in the streets, as you walk in the fields,- in all these places, you may pray as well, and with as good acceptance, as in the church; for you yourselves are temples of the Holy Ghost, if the Grace of God be in precious than
of those which are made with hands."
Though, however, the Quakers believe no one day in the sight of God to be holier than another, and no one capable of being rendered so by human authority, yet they think that Christians ought to assemble for the public worship of God. They think they ought to bear an outward and public testimony for God; and this can only be done by becoming members of a visible church, where they may be seen to acknowledge him publicly in the face of men. They think also, that the public worship of God increases, as it were, the fire of devotion, and enlarges the sphere of spiritual life in the souls of men. “God causes the inward life,” says Barclay, " the more to abound,