For Those Who Profess to be Friendsby Kenneth Morse
Quakers of George Fox's day had a united testimony, a definite platform upon which they all agreed, and which all may learn by referring to their writings [not to what later generations have written about them].
The world knew that to be a Friend meant to believe in and live according to these testimonies above enumerated. It was a united testimony.
It is stated in the Holy Scriptures that as many as received Christ the Word, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believed in his name. Nothing so much hinders us from receiving the Truth as the fact that our heads get filled with untruth, wrong ideas and notions about religion. The Scriptures say, "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever." God does not change, the gospel delivered to the saints does not change. Truth does not change.
According ot the Scriptures, repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Christ was to be preached amon all nations. Jesus the Messiah is the centre of the true gospel.
Oh my friend, is thy faith centred in Christ or is it a kind of philosophy about relationship to thy fellow men, with little or nothing about sin, conversion, and the future of life? If thee is not building on Christ, thee is building on a sandy foundation, no matter how beautiful a structure it may seem.
Faith without works is dead [James 2:20]. But so-called good works do not save. There can be some good works without a change of heart. But man does not truly love God or Jesus his only begotten Son without such a change - without being "born from above" as Jesus expressed it, or having the heart of stone replaced by a heart of flesh as expressed in Ezekial 11:19. To have truly good fruit - to have all one's works good - the tree must be good - there must be this change of heart, a repentance for sin, and a yielding to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, so that there is a determination to live for God. It should be clear that a birthright membership or any other membership in a religious society is not enough. There must be a yielding to the divine call, the Light of Christ within, which calls for OBEDIENCE to its pointings. May we not mistake our reason or intellect for this Light, but remember it is the Light which rebukes us when we do evil, and calls us to holiness [not of man's contriving, but real holiness]. By obeying the intimations of this Light, we shall grow in knowledge. "First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." Our faith may be small, but if we are obedient, faith will be given us to hold on, and we shall find that in this way lies hope of acceptance at the end of life's journey. Man has built up to himself easier ways, but this way of holiness, of obedience to the LIght within is the way of the daily cross, which Jesus invited all to take up who wished to follow him. It is definitely not a way of selfishness, of selfishly seeking one's own salvation, but its base is the love of God, love toward God, not from God, and God teacheth us to love our fellow-men, and so to desire their temporal and eternal welfare.
NOW concerning them that do go to the Quarterly Meeting, they must be substantial Friends, that can give a Testimony of your Sufferings, and how things are amongst you in every particular Meeting. So that none that are raw or weak, that are not able to give a Testimony of the Affairs of the Church and Truth, may go on behalf of the particular Meetings to the Quarterly Meetings, but may be nursed up in your Monthly Meetings, and there fitted for the Lord's Service . . . for the ...