페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

is indeed a want of gradation in their affections, which may be traced upon some occasions. In making their wills, for example, they are not apt to raise up an eldest son to the detriment of the rest of their offspring. And this certainly is a proof, that they do not possess the gradation of affection of many other people. Happy is it for their own feelings, and the welfare of their families, that they give this proof to the world of this equal affection for their children. : That this feature is only an appearance, and not a reality, I shall show by stating many outward circumstances in the Quakerconstitution, which may be preventive of apparent animation, but which can have no influence on the heart.

We must all of us be sensible, that both opinions and customs have an effect on the warmth or coldness of our characters. Who would expect, if two faithful portraits coul have been handed down to us from antiquity, to find the same gravity or coldness of countenance and manners in an Athenian as in a Spartan? And, in the same manner, who can expect that there will not VOL. 111.

T

be

be a difference in the appearance of Quakers and other people?

The truth is, that the discipline and education of the Society produce an appearance of a want of animation, and this outward appearance the world has falsely taken as a symbol of the character of the heart. Can we expect that a due subjugation of the passions, which is insisted upon in true Quaker-families, will give either warmth to the countenance, or spirit to the outward manners? Do not the passions animate and give a tone to the characters of men ? Can we see, then, the same variety of expression in the faces of the individuals now under our consideration as in those of others on this account? The actions of men, again, enliven their outward appearances ; but Quakers, being forbidden to use the address of the world, can assume no variety of action in their intercourse with others. The amusements, again, of the world, such as of music and the theatre, reach the mind, and, animating it, give a certain expression to the countenance; and the contemplation upon these amusements afterwards produces a similar though a slighter effect. But in what

Quakers

Quakers can you see sensibility from the same cause? The dress too of the members of this Society gives them an appearance of gravity and dulness. It makes them also shy of their fellow-citizens.

But gravity, and dulness, and shyness, have generally, each of them, the appearance of coldness of

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

CHAPTER XV.

Another trait is that of Evasiveness in Speechthis

an appearance only, arising from a peculiar regard to truth--and from a caution about the proper use of words, induced by circumstances in the discipline, and by the peculiarities in the Quaker

language. It is alleged against the members of this Society, as another bad feature in their character, that they are not plain and direct, but that they are evasive in their answers to any questions that may be asked them.

There is no doubt that the world, who know scarcely any thing about the Quakers, will have some reason, if they judge from their outward manner of expression, to come to such a conclusion. There is often a sort of hesitation in their speech, which has the

appearance of evasiveness. But though there

may be such an appearance, their answers to questions are full and accurate when finally given; and unquestionably there is

no

no intention in them either to hold back any thing, or to deceive.

This outward appearance, strange to relate, arises in part from an amiable trait in their character ! Their great desire to speak the truth, and not to exceed it, occasions often a sort of doubtfulness of speech. It occasions them also, instead of answering a question immediately, to ask other

questions, that they may see the true bearings of the thing intended to be known. The same appearance of doubt runs also through the whole Society in all those words, which relate to promises, from the same cause ; for the Quakers, knowing the uncertainty of all human things, and the impossibility of fulfilling but provisionally, seldom, as I have observed before, promise any thing positively, that they may not come short of the truth. The desire, therefore, of uttering the truth has in part brought this accusation upon their heads.

Other circumstances also, to be found within the constitution of the Society, have a tendency to produce the same effect.

In their monthly, and quarterly, and yearly meetings for discipline, they are

taught

« 이전계속 »