The Fundamental Principle of the People Called Quakersand Some of its ConsequencesGeorge Fox writes in his Journal, 1652: "I directed them to the divine Light of Christ and his Spirit in their hearts, which would let them see all the evil thoughts, words and actions that they had thought, spoken and acted; by which Light they might see their sin, and also their Saviour Christ Jesus to save them from their sins. This I told them was their first step to peace, even to stand still in the Light that showed them their sins and transgressions, by which they might come to see they were in the fall of old Adam, in Darkness and Death, strangers to the covenant of promise and without God in the world, and by the same Light they might see Christ that dies for them to be their Redeemer and Saviour, and their Way to God."
On various occasions, George Fox used the expression, "That of God in you" (Journal, Friends Book Store Edition, pp. 250, 264, 299, 304, 306). It is very plain that by this phrase, he meant nothing else than the Light of Christ, for on pages 304 and 306, he uses the two expressions interchangeably: "To the Light of Christ in your consciences, which searcheth and trieth you, turn your minds; stand still and wait there to receive the righteous law, which is according to that of God in the conscience." ". . . them that are out of the obedience to the Light of Christ Jesus in the conscience, which is the Guide and Leader of all who are tender of that of God in their conscience."
He also refers to the Light as "the principle of God" (p.302), and so does Isaac Penington (Some Things of Great Weight): "It is a great and hard matter to come into a capacity of knowing and receiving the Truth . . . That which gives the true capacity is a Principle of Life from God . . . The Spirit himself sows this Principle and is received in this Principle. And he that receives this Principle and is born of the Principle, receives and is born of the Spirit; and he that receives it not, nor is born of it, neither hath received nor is born of the Spirit . . . He that receives this Principle from the hand of God receives Life and enters into the covenant of life, and feels the pure fear, wherein God cleanseth the heart, and whereby he keeps the heart clean, and feels the laws of God daily writing there by the finger of God's Spirit, and feels the power and sense of the Spirit to teach and cause obedience . . . That in the heart which discovers iniquity, reproveth it, witnesseth against it, and striveth with the mind to turn it from it and to wait for life and power from on high, THAT is this very Principle. In that is the divine nature, even the nature of God's Spirit, which was always against sin and ever will so be."
Some appear to have misunderstood what George Fox meant by "that of God," and it is hoped that the above will remove any misconception on the subject.
The remaining extracts are from The Life and Posthumous Works of Richard Claridge, London, 1726:
An Exhortation to Silence:
Therefore let us continue, and travel from day to day, waiting to receive from teh Lord as he is pleased to dispense unto us. The times and seasons of refreshment are in his hand, who opens and shuts when he pleases. 'Tis our duty patiently to attend in humility and silence; for we are nothing, have nothing, and can do nothing acceptable to him but as we receive from him, who giveth unto every one of us severally, as and when he will. He is the Giver, and we are the Receivers; and therefore it behoveth us to wait upon him in deep silence and stillness, "for our strength is to sit still," Isa. 30:7. "For the Lord is good unto them that look for him, unto them that quietly wait for his salvation." 'Tis therefore good for us to have an eye unto our Leader and Commander, and not to move or act in our own will and time; but to wait to be moved and acted by him in his will and time, who moveth, withdraweth, and returneth according to his own most holy pleasure.
O the excellent nature and property of true silence! In silence the Voice of the Lord is heard, his work known, and his power felt. He that is a stranger to silence knows little of the beginning or progress of the Christian travel. 'tis no wonder that such an one mistakes his way, and turns aside to the right hand or the left, while the silent waiter is preserved from wandering. For in silent waiting, the Lord draws nigh to us and illuminates us by his Light, opens us by his Power, quickens us by his Life, sanctifies us by his Spirit, and leads and guides us by his truth. So that if we keep low in silent waiting before the Lord, we shall certainly be shewn the way wherein he would have us to go. As Israel after the flesh knew when to travel and when not by the motion or mansion (staying) of the cloud, that was upon the tabernacle; so spiritual Israel has a certain Guide to direct them in their travels, that they may neither go before nor stay behind him. Now this Guid is the Light of Christ, which as we faithfully mind, we cannot err; for in it the eye is opened to see and discover between the precious and the vile, between the infallible and the fallible, between the true Light, and all false lights, between a true motion and a false one, between substance and shadow, faith and fancy, truth and imagination, the mystery of God and the mystery of iniquity. (p.130)
Plainness of Apparel
We are not obliged, as the Franciscans are, to one particular habit (garb), but we are at liberty in our apparel, provided all vanity and superfluity be avoided; no man or woman tied to any one form or fashion but that of modesty and moderation and such as becomes the followers of Jesus.
Tho' we would have all Friends go plain in their clothes, yet it is not any plainness that is for a characteristick of religion, or mark of holiness, or distinction of order or society; for many ill men and women may go very plain in their habit; but such a plainness as is opposed to superfluity and slovenliness.
Our Friends never placed holiness in clothes nor in any outward things whatsoever. Holiness is an essential attribute of God, originally in him, and derivatively from him in the souls of the faithful. There was under the Law an external holiness . . . but since the pure evangelical dispensation was introduced, that outward, dedicative holiness ceased with the Levitical priesthood, and now inward holiness in heart and mind is the only holiness declared of in the scriptures of Truth, and required as absolutely necessary to communion with God here and hereafter. We do believe that holiness is indispensibly required of us in all our conversation, and that we ought to glorify God in all we do, whether we eat or drink or wear, but yet there is no holiness in meats or drinks or apparel . . . But we do believe and in our measures do, through the Grace of God, witness that as any one comes to experience the work of sanctification in the inward man, the outward will also be influenced by it; Holiness being like the "precious ornament upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments," Psalms 133:2. (pp.520-524)
R. C. was also about this time (1722) concerned in several publick meetings tenderly to reprove those that sat in time of prayer, a practice which he judged to be very indecent and irreverent (p.318).
How One Joined the Society of the People Called Quakers.
He (a stranger) pressed Richard Claridge to inform him what methods he must take to be admitted into the Society of the People called Quakers. R. C. answered: That the Quakers had no external forms or rites of admission, but as persons came to be joyned or united to Christ in Spirit by the sanctifying and purging operations of the Spirit of God in their hearts, so they came to be the one and the same holy Society or Communion in the Lord. That Christ was to be sought for and found within, &c. and so dismissed him. (p.312)
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