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depths of Election and Reprobation, instead of feeling an awful thankfulness for their own condition as the elect, and the most tender and affectionate concern for those, whom they considered to be the reprobate, indulging a kind of spiritual pride on their own account, which has ended in a contempt for others. Thus the doctrines of Christianity, wonderful to relate, have been made to narrow the love of Christians ! The Quaker-religion, on the other hand, knows no such feelings as these. It considers the Spirit of God as visiting all men in their day, and as capable of redeeming all, and this without any exception of persons; and that the difference of creeds, invented by the human understanding, will make no difference in the eternal happiness of man. Thus, it does not narrow the sphere of salvation ; it does not circumscribe it either by numerical or personal limits. There does not appear, therefore, to be in the doctrines of the Quaker-religion any thing that should narrow their love to their fellow-creatures, or any thing that should generate a spirit of rancour or contempt towards others, on account of the religion they profess.
There I see,
There are, on the contrary, circumstances, which have a tendency to produce an opposite effect.
in the first place, no reason why the general spirit of benevolence to man in his temporal capacity, which runs through the whole Society, should not be admitted as having some power in checking a bitter spirit towards him in his religious character.
I see, ägain, that the sufferings which individuals of this community so often undergo on account of their religious opinions, ought to have an influence with them in making them tender towards others on the same subject. Virgil makes the Queen of Carthage say to Æneas, “ Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco;"
Not unacquainted with misfortunes myself, I learn to suecour the unfortunate.”, -So one would hope, that the Quakers, of all people, ought to know how wrong it is to be angry with another for his religion.
With respect to that part of the trait, which relates to speaking acrimoniously of other sects, there are particular circumstances in the customs and discipline of the Sociéty, which seem likely to prevent it. VOL. 111.
It is a law of the Society, enforced by their discipline, as I showed in a former volume, that no member is to be guilty of detraction or slander. Any person breaking this law would come under admonition, if found out.
This induces an habitual caution or circumspection in speech, where persons are made the subject of conversation. And I have no doubt that this law would act as a preventive in the case before us,
It is not a custom, again, with the Quakers to make religion a subject of common talk. They, who know them, know well how difficult it is to make them converse either upon their own faith or upon the faith of others. They believe that topics, on religion, familiarly introduced,, tend to weaken its solemnity upon the mind. They exclude such subjects also from ordinary conversation, upon another principle. For they believe that religion should not be introduced at these times, unless it can be made edifying. But if it is to be made edifying, it is to come, they conceive, not through the medium of the activity of the imagination of man, but through the passiveness of the soul under the influence of the Divine Spirit.
Trait of benevolence includes, again, a tender feel.
ing towards the brute-creation-Quakers remarkable for their tenderness to animals--this feature produced from their doctrine, that animals are not mere machines, but the creatures of God, the end of whose existence is always to be attended to in their treatment and from their opinion as to what ought to be the influence of the Gospel, as recorded in their own Summary.
The word Benevolence, when applied to the character of the Society, includes also a tender feeling towards the brute-creation.
It has frequently been observed by those, who are acquainted with its members, that all animals belonging to them are treated with a tender consideration, and are not permitted to be abused ; and that they feel in like manner for those, which may be
oppressed by others; so that their conduct is often influenced in some way or other upon such occasions.
It will be obvious, in inquiring into the truth of this quality in the character of the Quakers, that the same principles, which I
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