Be Not Conformed to this Worldby Kenneth S. P. Morse
from The Friend of Truth #14, Tenth Month, 1940.
It would seem appropriate at this time to call attention of concerned readers to the fact that it is just as possible to be conformed to the world in speech as it is in dress. In most of the European languages, there seems to be an absurd idea that it is disrespectful and impolite to address people as "thee" or "thou." These pronouns are reserved to be used to children, servants, cats, dogs, horses, to dearly beloved ones, to those one wishes to insult, and to God! For the stranger, or superior, or the ordinary acquaintance, other forms are invented, such as, You, They, Your Grace, Your Lordship, The Lord, and Your Excellency. Of course "thou" is still good enough to use to God in prayer! There is no real or reasonable doubt that the use of "you" in speaking to one person arose in the same way in English. What was the origin of such a peculiar shunning of the pronoun "thou?" The result is plain: men felt that the language they used to God was not good enough for man, and so there surely was something wrong about the "you" language. It may definitely be said, that it is an invention of the fallen nature. The example of God and Christ and the holy apostles, as recorded in the Bible, is to use "thou," "thee," and "thy" when speaking to but one person. Is there not likewise something worldy about such usages as "Good morning," "Merry Christmas," "Happy New Year," and the common titles "Mister," "Misses," "Sir," "Madam," "Reverend," and the like? The world certainly has no scruples about using them, accepts them heartily, and expects them. Do not these titles belong to the honor which is from below, from the world, and not to the honor which comes from God? "How can ye believe, who receive honor one from another, and seek not the honor which comes from God only (John 5:44)?
The same kind of exalting of man as tho he were at least equal with God occurs in the uncovering of the head, which is done in time of prayer, and also to show respect to man, sometimes dead, and sometimes living. Brethren, these things ought not so to be!
FRIENDS, I do warn and exhort you all in the Presence of the Lord God, to Meet together in the Measure of Life, that with it ye may be guided up to God, and in Unity kept together up to him, the Father of Light and Life; and God Almighty be with you! And that the Dread and Terror of the Lord may among you be, and Deceit confounded; and that with the Measure of Life all your Minds may be guided up to God, that so ye all in Peace and Love may be kept.
And let this be sent among Friends, to be read ...
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