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paper credit. "If a member becomes bankrupt, a committee is appointed to inspect his affairs. If his insolvency is reported to have been produced by misconduct, he is disowned, and cannot be received back till he has paid his whole debts, even although he may have been discharged on a composition. If he has failed through misfortune, he continues in the society, though no contributions are received from him till his debts are fully paid.

When Quakers disagree, they ieldom scold; and never fight or go to law. George Fox recommended them to settle all their differences by arbitration; and they have adhered to this practice ever since. Where the arbitrators are puzzled about the law, they are to agree on a case, and confult counsel. When a Quaker disagrees with a person out of the society, he generally proposes arbitration in the first instance; if this be refused, he has no scruple of going to law.

We should now proceed to give some account of what Mr Clarkfon has called the four Great Tenets of the Quakers; but the length to which we have already extended thefe remarks must confine our observations to very narrow limits. The first is, That the civil magistrate has no right to interfere in religious matters fo as either to enforce attendance on one mode of worship, or to interdict any other which is harmless. In this, certainly, their doctrine is liable to very little objection. Their second great tenet is, That it is unlawful to fwear upon any occasion whatsoever. We have not leisure now to discuss this point with Mr Clarkson ; indeed, from the obstruction which this scruple has fo often occafioned to law proceedings, it has been difcuffed much oftener than any of the rest. Those who want to fee a neat and forcible abftract of the Quaker reasoning on the subject, bad better look into Barclay at once, instead of 'wading through the amplification of Mr Clarkson. Their third great tenet is, That it is unlawful to engage in the profession of arms. This is founded entirely upon a literal interpretation of certain texts of fcripiure, requiring men to love and bless' their enemies, and to turn one cheek to him who had fmitten the other, &c. It is commonly .supposed, we believe, i that these expressions were only meant to

shadow out, by a kind of figure, that amicable and gentle dif· position by which, men should be actuated in their ordinary

intercourse with each other, and by no means to be made the formal directors of their conduct through life. In any other sense, indeed, they would evidently amount to an encouragement to all forts of violence and injustice, and would entirely disable and annihilate all civil government or authority among men. If evil is not to be refifted, and if the man who takes a cloke is to be pressed to a coat also, it is plain that the punishment of thieves and rob. bers must be just as unlawful as the reafting of invaders. It is re

markable, markable, indeed, that the Quakers do not carry their literal submission to the scripture quite this length. They would struggle manfully for their clokes; and, instead of giving the robber their coats also, would be very glad to have him imprisoned and flogged. If they can get rid of the letter of the law, however, in any case, it does appear to us, that there are occasionally stronger reasons for dispensing with the supposed prohibition of war than with any of the others. If they would be justified in killing a wild beast that had rushed into their habitation, they must be justified in killing an invader who threatens to subject them and the whole community to his brutal lust, rapacity, and cruelty.. We must call it a degrading superstition that would withhold the hands of a man in such an emergency. The last great tenet is, That it is unlawful to give pecuniary hire to a gospel ministry. This, again, is entirely a war of texts, aided by a confused reference to the history of tythes, from which the following most logical deductions are made.

: First, that they are not in equity dues of the Church--secondly, that the payment of them being compulsory, it would, if acceded to, be an acknowledgment that the civil magistrate had a right to use force in matters of religion--and, thirdly, that, being claimed upon an act which holds them forth as of divine right, any payment of them would be an acknowledgment of the Jewish religion, and that Christ had not yet actually come.' III. 141.

After perusing all that we have now abstracted, Mr Clarkson's readers might perhaps have been presumed capable of forming some conclusion for themselves as to the Quaker character; but the author chooses to make the inference for them, in a dissertation of 150 pages, to which we must satisfy ourselves, for the present, with making this general reference.' We must use the same liberty with the miscellaneous particulars, which fill nearly as many pages with an attempt to prove that the Quakers are a very happy people, that they have done good by the example of their virtues, and that those who have thoughts of leaving the society, had better think twice, before they take a step of so much consequence.

We come now to say a few words on the subject of their interior government, which appears to us to be formed very much upon the model of the Presbyterian churches established in this part of the kingdom. The basis of the whole system is, that every member of the society is not only entitled, but bound in duty, to watch over the moral and religious deportment of any other whom he has an opportunity of observing, and to interfere for his admonition and correction when he sees cause. Till the year 1698, this duty was not peculiarly imposed upon any individual; but, since G 2 :

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that time, four or five persons are named in each congregation, under the title of overseers, who are expected to watch over the conduct of the flock with peculiar anxiety. The half of these are women, who take charge of their own sex only. Four or five congregations are associated together, and hold a general monthly meeting of deputies, of both sexes, from each congregation. Two or more of each sex are deputed from these monthly meetings to the general quarterly meeting, which reunites all the congregations of a county, or larger district, according to the extent of the Quaker population ; and those, again, send four of each sex to the great yearly meeting or convocation, which is regularly assembled in London, and continues its sitting for ten or twelve days.

The method of proceeding, where the conduct of a member has been disorderly, is, first, by private admonition, either by individuals, or by the overseers; where this is not effectual, the case is reported to the monthly meeting, who appoint a committee to deal with him, and, upon their report, either receive him back into communion, or expel him from the society by a written document, entitled, A Testimony of Disownment. From this sentence, however, he may appeal to the quarterly meeting, and from that to the yearly. These courts of review investigate the case by means of a committee; of which none of those who pronounced the sentence complained of, can be members.

In the monthly meetings, all presentations of marriages are received, and birtis and funerals registered ;-contributions and arrangements are made for the relief of the poor ;-persons are disowned, or received back ;--and cases of scruples are stated and discussed. They likewise prepare answers to a series of standing queries as to the state and condition of their congregations, which they transmit to the quarterly meeting. The quarterly meeting hears appeals,-receives the reports in answer to these queries,—and prepares, in its turn, a more general and comprehensive report for the great annual meeting in London. This assembly, again, hears appeals from the quarterly meetings, and receives their reports ; and finally, draws up a public or pastoral letter to the whole society, in which it communicates the most interesting particulars, as to its general state and condition, that have been collected from the reports laid before it makes such suitable admonitions and exhortations for their moral and civil conduct, as the complexion of the times, or the nature of these reports have suggested and recommends to their consideration any project or proposition that may have been laid before it, for the promotion of religion, and the good of mankind. The slave-trade has, of late years, generally formed one of the topics of this general epistle, which is printed and circulated throughout the society. In all their meetings, the male and female deputies hold their meetings, and transact their business, in separate apartments, meeting together only for worship, or for making up their general reports. The wants of the poor are provided for by the monthly meetings, who appoint certain overseers to visit and relieve them : the greater part of these overseers are women; and whatever they find wanting in the course of their visits, money, clothes, or medicines, they order, and their accounts are settled by the treasurer of the monthly meet. ing. Where it happens that there are more poor in any one district than can easily be relieved by their more opulent brethren within it, the deficiency is supplied by the quarterly meeting to which it is subjected. The children of the poor are all taught to read and write at the public expense, and afterwards bound apprentice to trades ;-the females are generally destined for service, and placed in Quaker families. :

Such,' says Mr Clarkson, with a very natural exultation on the good management of his favourites, • such is the organization of the discipline or government of the Quakers. Nor may it improperly be called a government, when we consider, that, besides all matters relating to the church, it takes cognisance of the actions of Quakers to Quakers, and of these to their fellow-citizens ; and of these, again, to the state ; in fact, of all a&tions of Quakers, if immoral in the eye of the society, as soon as they are known. It gives out its prohibitions. It marks its crimes. It imposes offices on its subjects. It calls them to disciplinary duties. This government, however, notwithstanding its power, has, as I observed before, no president or head, either permanent or temporary. There is no first man through the whole society. Neither has it any badge of office, or mace, or constable's staff, or {word. It may be observed, also, that it has no office of emolument by which its hands can be ftrengthened, neither minister, elder, clerk, overseer, or deputy, being paid : and get its adminiftration is firmly conducted, and its laws are better obeyed than laws by persons under any other denomination or government.' I. 246, 247. :

We have nothing now to discuss with these good people, but their religion: and with this we will not meddle. It is quite plain to us, that their founder George Fox was exceedingly insane ; and though we by no means suspect many of his present followers of the same malady, we cannot help saying that their doctrines are a little too high-flown for our humble apprehension. They hold that God has at all times communicated a certain portion of the spirit, or word, or light, to mankind; but has given very different portions of it to different individuals : that, in consequence of this inward illumination, not only the antient patriarchs and prophets, but many of the old heathen philosophers, G3

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were very good Christians : that no kind of worship and preaching can be acceptable or profitable, unless it flow from the immediate inspiration and movement of their inward spirit; and that all ordination, or appointment of priests, is therefore impious and unavailing. They are much attached to the Holy Ghost; but are supposed to reject the doctrine of the Trinity; and openly reject the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, with all other rites, ordinances, and ceremonies, known or practised in any Christian church. These tenets they justify by various citations from the New Testament, and the older fathers; as any one may see in the works of Barclay and Penn, with rather more satisfaction than in this of Mr Clarkson. We enter not at present into these disputations.

Upon the whole, we are inclined to believe the Quakers to be a tolerably honest, painstaking, and inoffensive set of Christians. Very stupid, dull, and obstinate, we presume, in conversation ; and tolerably lumpish and fatiguing in domestic society : active and methodical in their business, and narrow minded and ill informed as to most other particulars : beneficent from habit and the discipline of the society; but cold in their affections, and inwardly chilled into a sort of Chinese apathy, by the restraints to which they are continually subjected: childish and absurd in their religious scruples and peculiar usages, and singularly unlearned as a sect of theologians; but exemplary, above all other sects, for the decency of their lives, for their charitable indulgence to all other persuasions, for their care of their poor, and for the liberal participation they have afforded to their women in all the duties and honours of the society.

We would not willingly insinuate any thing against the general sincerity of those who remain in communion with this body; but Mr Clarkson has himself noticed, that when they become opulent, they are very apt to fall off from it; and indeed we do not recollect ever to have seen either a Quaker gentleman of fortune, or a Quaker day-labourer. The truth is, that ninety-nine out of

a hundred of them are engaged in trade; and as they all deal · and correspond with each other, it is easy to see what advan

tages they must have as traders, from belonging to so great a corporation. A few follow the medical profession; and a still smaller number that of conveyancing ; but they rely, in both, on the support of their brethren of the society. It is rather remarkablė, that Mr Clarkson has not given us any sort of estimate or calculation of their present numbers in England, though, from the nature of their government, it must be known to most of their leading members. It is the general opinion, it seems, that they are gradually diminishing.

ART.

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