A Letter to the Truly Concernedby Kenneth S. P. Morse, published by him, early 20th century
William Penn referred to the doctrine of the Light of Christ within as the fundamental principle of the people called Quakers, the corner stone of their fabric, the root of the goodly tree of doctrines that grew and branched out from it. As time has gone on, some have lopped off some of the branches of this tree, and others seem ready to cut the tree down. True religion is the desire to please God, and there is no way to please Him but by obeying Him. Many are blind because they do not want to see. In the hope that there are some who really want to please God, the following thoughts are presented for their consideration.
We belong to God, we are His creatures, yet, like the prodigal son, we have no right to call God Father except we have known the second birth. Since we belong to God, our time belongs to Him, also our money, and we are responsible to Him for how we spend both time and money. Does he want us to spend our time in dancing, listening to prize fights on the radio, playing cards, in foolish jesting or at the picture show? Do the moving picture shows portray a Christian or unchristian way of life? Can one claim to be a servant of the God of Truth and take part in impersonations, skits or plays?
Jesus said that for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account in the day of judgment, and that it is not what goes into the mouth but the words that come out of the mouth that defile us. Is it fitting for servants of Christ to take upon their lips the words of popular songs? He once said to some of His disciples, Ye know not what spirit ye are of. But it is not hard to tell what spirit many popular songs are of. If we did but think if the meaning of the words of the best of the non-religious songs, the words would be found to be inappropriate. Is it right for Christians to be so thoughtless? Since God is the God of Truth and the devli the father of lies, of what spirit are we if we sing words which are not true concerning us? Applying his to hymns, is it not to sing lies to the Lord? As for all the religious performances acted at man's bidding as happens in programmed meetings, how can we imagine that God is pleased if we take part in such things? Verily, He desires obedience and not performances in our own time and will.
What excuse can a Christiana servant of Christgive for wearing ornaments? Does one wear ornaments and superfluities to please God? If we are living to self, ornaments are understandable, but we cannot serve two masters: if self is on the throne, Christ is not. Why dost thou wear that ring or that necktie, youn man, or why those earrings and painted lips, young woman? Please answer the question to thyself in all soberness. What necessity does a Christian have to follow the styles? College and high school students are not shamed to show to what school they belong. Are we ashamed to acknowledge ourselves the followers of Christ? Oh, but we must not be conspicuous, som ewill say. We cannot let our light shine and remain inconspicuous. We are to be witnesses for Christ, and it is the devil's doctrine that we must be inconspicuous and miust keep still and not speak up for Christ and only show by our lives where we stand. The followers of Christ do not belong to the worldJesus said so himself: then why would we try to look like the world? Some say the outside does not matter, but both Paul and Peter thought otherwise, and admonished Christian women of their day against the wearing of gold and pearls and costly array. Some people don't know that these words of caution are in the Bible (I Tim. 2:9 and I Peter 3:3). We also need to be carefyl not to copy the world in indecent exposure of the body in athletic games, when swimming, etc.
Now as to the "plain language." "Thee is" and "thou art are merely different dialects, just as "he makes" and "he maketh" are different dialects, but th euse of "you" to one person had a special origin in respect of persons. The word corresponding to "thee" or "thou" is still used in most of the European languages in speaking to intimate friends, children, animals, servants, enemies and God, but it is NOT used when one wishes to show respect. Then people run into great absurdities, "Your excellency" in Portugal, "She" even to men in Italy, "Lord" in Poland, "they" in Germany, and "you" in French, Czech and Turkish. All of a piece with this "politeness" are such titles as Mister and Missis, where in Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and Poland, the same word means both "Mister" and the Lord in heaven. Also along the same line is the baring of the head to the dead, to women, to royalty, and to the flag, just the same as to God. Is this not idolatry? The peole called Quakersthos who really did quake, and feared the Lordwere jealous of God's honor, and would not give His honor to another, and that is why they did not take part in such idolatrous custom, and that is wy they did not call the days of the week and months of the year by the names of heathen gods.
We have the same God in the twentieth century as people had in the seventeenth. Why, then, should we feel at liberty to indulge in practices which Friends once felt to testify against and to depart from? Holiness was required of them, is it not required of us also?
Listen to what William Penn says of the ROOT: "The Light of Christ Within, who is the light of the world, and so a light to you, that tells you the truth of your conditin, leads all that take heed unto it out of the darkness into God's marvelous light; for light grows upon the obedient. It is sown for the righteous, their way is a shining light, that shines forth more and more to the perfect day.
Well! and what does this blessed Light do for you? 1. It sets all your sins in order before you; it detects the spirit of this world in all its baits and allurements, and shows how man came to fall from God, and the fallen estate he is in.
2. It begets a sense and sorrow in such as believe in if for this fearful lapse. You will then see him distinctly whom you have pierced, and all the blows and wounds you have given Him by your disobedience; and you will weep and mourn for it, and your sorrow will be a godly sorrow.
3. After this, it will bring you to the holy watch, to take care that you do so no more, that the enemy surprise you not again: then thoughts as well as words and works will come to judgment, which is the way of holiness, in this the redeemed of the Lord do walk. here you will come to love God above all, and your nabors as yourselves. Nothing hurts, nothing harms, nothing makes afraid on this holy mountain; now you come to be Christ's indeed, for you are his in nature and spirit, and not your own, and when you are Christ's, the Christ is yours, and not before: and here communion with the Father and with the Son you will know, and the efficacy of the blood of cleansing, even the blood of Jesus Christ, that immaculate Lamb, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, and which cleanseth from all sin the consciences of those that, thru the living faith, come to be sprinkled with it from the dead works to serve the living God."
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 ...
I am not Amish or Mennonite, but some people who come to my website are interested in knowing more about these groups. I can recommend these books as authoritative and relatively inexpensive sources of further information.