Faith and Practice
Observing the prevailing power of prejudice, and the easiness of mankind to be imposed upon, especially on the side of uncharitableness, we have the less wondered at the treatment which we, as a people, have suffered. The credulous have been excited to look upon us as heretics, while, blessed be God, our aim and bent have been the very power and work of religion upon our souls, that we might be God’s workmanship, through Christ Jesus, His blessed Son; taking this to be the very life and soul of true religion, the effect and fruit of the Divine nature, which makes us Christians indeed here and fits us for glory hereafter. And because we have chosen retirement, moderation, self-denial—the spirit and substance of religion—and therefore sequestered ourselves from more outward communions, we have been disingenuously represented to the world; on which account I have published this little treatise, for the sake of others as well as in our own vindication, but theirs especially that are under prejudices.
A Quaker View of the Christian Revelation
The purpose of this leaflet is to bring to the attention of the reader the particular view of the meaning of the Christian revelation that was held by the early Friends. These Quakers of the seventeenth century were convinced that they were experiencing a revival of original Christianity in all its power and glory. It is the hope of the author that the reader may be led from an intellectual understanding of this revelation to that other part of faith – experience.
A Question of Authority
Concerning the order and government of the church of Christ
Many professing the Christian name seem to imagine that though the assistance of the Holy Spirit was necessary to the introduction and support of the Christian religion in primitive times, but that it has no need of it now. It has become so matured by man’s wisdom and learning, which had no share in its origin, that it is fully capable of going alone. So that now it would appear in great measure to have become another thing, and to stand upon another foundation. Though its professors still call Christ their head, and account themselves His body, yet many of them expect to receive no immediate direction from Him, nor to feel the circulation of His blood, which is the life and virtue of true faith. Thus deservedly incurring the reproof of the apostle implied in this query: “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh? [Gal. 3:3]”
Our Divine Lord
In restating in terms of today the unchanging message of Christ, we wish to affirm our conviction that it is more than a philosophy which men have reasoned out. It is “the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” It is the testimony to the Way, the Truth, and: the Life by which alone we can come to the Father.
Peace Be with You: A Study of the Spiritual Basis of the Friends Peace Testimony
The peace testimony is one of the most distinctive hallmarks of the Society of Friends. It is a witness which grows out of a profound understanding of life in Christ. The fruit of the peace testimony is love manifested in countless ways: refusal to take part in military endeavors, finding a manner of living that does not exploit the labor and resources of others, working for a more just and equitable social, political, and economic order, and sacrificial giving to those in need.
Just as prayer was central to the life of the early church, it is central to Friends today. Prayer has many facets — love, adoration, thanksgiving, surrender, confession, transformation, guidance, supplication, intercession, cleansing, purification, healing, forgiveness, praise, and the quiet joy of being in the presence of God. Prayer is daily communion with God, in which we come to know Jesus as Friend, Teacher, and Lord. This daily practice has been important to Friends through the centuries, as exemplified by London Yearly Meeting’s query: “Do you make a place in your daily life for inward retirement and waiting upon God that you may learn the full meaning of prayer and the joy of communion with Him? And do you live in daily dependence upon His help and guidance?” Many Friends through the years have taken a time aside each day for retirement, a time of quiet prayer, often reading a Bible passage followed by quiet prayer and reflection. Friends have been encouraged through the years to turn to God throughout each day and night in inward prayer, worship, and surrender, always endeavoring to place God at the center of life, and praying to abide in Christ’s Life and power, and under the guidance of the Inward Teacher. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The Holy Spirit
How shall we think of the Spirit? We may be so materialistic in our conceptions as to put the spiritual down as unsubstantial. In reality it is the real and the substantial, the cause of every effect. Our Lord said: God is Spirit. And as such He lives outside space and time. He cannot be localized. Evidences of His continuous and universal action meet us both in the vastness of the world without, as in the profound mystery of the world within. But He Himself embraces all. Nature proceeds out of his creative depths. Its beauty and harmony are the speech of the divine Spirit from day to day.
The Outward and the Inward Christ
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God.” The Jesus of sacred history is the Christ of inward experience. The life which was lived out before men so long ago is the life wrought out in men in this our day. All the qualities of that blessed life, the unfoldings of Divine nature, the results of the Incarnation are available today through the Indwelling. If it be true, that “no man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him,” it is also true: “No man hath beheld God at any time: if we love one another, God abideth in us and His love is perfected in us: hereby we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” The blessed Paraclete in our hearts is the true extension of the coming of the Eternal Word in human flesh. Christ was God made visible through the lens of a pure humanity. And today He is made visible again in the measure in which we keep the lens of our humanity clean and transparent for His Spirit.
True Spiritual Liberty
True spiritual Liberty is one of the most glorious things in the World, but it is little understood and frequently abused by many. I beseech Almighty God to preserve you, His people, in the right knowledge and use of the liberty, which Jesus Christ is redeeming us into.