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Full text of "Quakerism : a religion of life"

o war ill more Lecture 



(Quakerism; A Religion of Life 



-CU 



Rufus M. Jones 












_ 

\ STUQIA IN 



Presented to 
THE LIBRARY 

of 

VICTORIA UNIVERSITY 

Toronto 
by 

Mr. R.W. Rogers 



Swartbmore Xecture* 



First Edition, 1908. 

Second Edition, 1912. 

(ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.] 



Swartbmore Xecture, 



QUAKERISM I 

A RELIGION OF LIFE. 

BY 

RUFUS M. JONES, M.A., D.Litt. 

Author of "Social Law in the Spiritual World" etc. 



LONDON : HEADLEY BROTHERS, 

EISHOPSGATE. B.C. 



DA 
1131 



(912. 

tMMANUEi, 



HEAHLKY BKOTHFRS 
PKIMKKS, 

LOM-oX . AND AMiMiK 



preface. 

book is the first of a series of 
public addresses to be known as the 
Swarthmore Lectures. The Lecture 
ship was established by the Woodbrooke 
Extension Committee, at a meeting 
held December Qth, 1907. The Minute 
of the Committee provides for " an 
annual lecture on some subject relating 
to the Message and Work of the Society 
of Friends." The name " Swarthmore " 
was chosen in memory of the home of 
Margaret Fox, which was always open 
to the earnest seeker after Truth, and 
from which loving words of sympathy 
and substantial material help were 
sent to fellow-workers. 



6 preface. 

The Woodbrooke Extension Com 
mittee requested Rufus M. Jones, M.A., 
D.Litt., of Haverford College, Pennsyl 
vania, to give the first lecture on the 
evening preceding the holding of the 
Friends Yearly Meeting of 1908. In 
accordance with this decision, the 
lecture was delivered in the Central 
Hall, Birmingham, on May igth. 

The Swarthmore Lectureship has been 
founded with a two-fold purpose : firstly, 
to interpret further to the members 
of the Society of Friends their Message 
and Mission ; and secondly, to bring 
before the public the spirit, the aims 
and the fundamental principles of the 
Friends. This first lecture presents 
Quakerism as a religion of experience 
and first-hand reality a dynamic, prac 
tical religion of life. 



<auafeerfmn : H IRcliQion of Xtfe, 



RELIGION has always been one of 

the supreme concerns of the race, Pi> 

manent 

and, so far as one may prophesy from 3nteC8t 
the nature of the soul of man, it always 
will be a supreme concern of the race, 
though it will undoubtedly wax and 
wane as the central point of view shifts. 
There are vast bends and eddies in the 
onward current of progress. Some 
times one, and sometimes another, 
commanding interest sweeps into the 
foreground, and religion may seem, for 
the moment, to be a losing power. 



Quahertem : 

Discoveries of new physical forces and 
of rich raw material resources bring on 
eras of unwonted industrial expansion, 
and the drift towards wealth and 
materialism appears, for a time, to be 
the main current of human interest. 
The little prophets who mistake surface 
waves for the ground-swell set of ocean 
currents, begin prematurely to predict 
the exhaustion of religion and the drying 
up of its springs. 

Scientific geniuses hit upon some cen 
tral secret of Nature, and find a new 
clue to the meaning of the riddle. New 
methods of research are proposed with 
amazing results, and men gather to the 
quest with the keenest passion. Ac 
curate knowledge, exact description, 
formulation of unvarying laws, become 
the foremost interests, and it seems 



a tteliofou of Xtfe. 9 

possible to explain every phenomenon 
and event of the world system, and to 
bring everything, from inmost centre 
to farthest periphery, under the reign 
of law. The history of religion again 
seems to be winding up. Little prophets, 
who mistake street lamps for perennial 
stars, hurry to announce that religion 
has about run through its circuit, that 
its meteor flight, with its trail across the 
world, is nearly spent ! 

But they all reckon ill. They have 
used too short a plummet line. They 
have sounded only the shoals and inlets, 
not the deeps of the soul. The bend of 
the current sweeps round a little farther 
as history progresses, and the ancient set 
of the shoreless sea is felt again, and 
the soul is once more aware of its tides 
from the nether springs of eternal life. 

2 



10 Quakerism : 

Emerson was sound in his great pro 
phecy that " we need not fear that we 
can lose anything by the progress of the 
soul. The soul may be trusted to the 
end." 

As in the past, so in the future, the 
primary concerns of serious men will be 
spiritual concerns : how to become 
allied with God, how to enjoy Him for 
ever, how to overcome the fleeting and 
temporal by the power of the permanent 
and eternal, how to build into reality 
that unquenched faith in a Kingdom of 
God which all true prophets have helped 
to kindle. The curve is not backwards 
but forwards. There is a steady, irre 
sistible onward push toward further 
development. We are not called to 
fan a flickering flame or to nurse a dying 
hope. It is not our mission to prop a 



a Keligion ot Xtfe* n 

tottering ark, or to bolster up an arti 
ficial system. We have to deal, rather, 
with the aptitudes and hungers of the 
soul itself, and with religion grounded in 
the very nature of tlu ngs. 

The primary service of a religious body H 
is therefore prophetical , its business is to 
help men to find the clues to the meaning 
and significance and power of life, to fur 
ther the discovery of God, and to assist 
men to draw upon the great reservoirs of 
spiritual energy. The days of the priest 
are over. The demand is now for prophets. 
Men do not want sacred persons to " do " 
their religion for them ; they want 
illuminated leaders who can enlarge their 
vision, who can interpret, in the language 
of to-day, the eternal realities of the 
Spirit. 



12 

" Would God," said a great leader, 
" that all the Lord s people were 
prophets." That is the ideal which 
must always be in our eye a lay religion 
with no sharp distinctions of class 
or privilege, but producing spiritual 
leaders, through whom God, stooping, 
can show sufficient of His light for those 
in the dark to rise by, until all see for 
themselves. 

This distinctly prophetical work has 
always been the mission of Friends. 
No one can read the account of George 
Fox s visit to Oliver Cromwell without 
feeling that Fox was there as a prophet. 
Carlyle has happily put the great 
Quaker s message to the Protector : He 
had " much discourse with him concern 
ing Life and concerning Death ; concern 
ing the Unfathomable Universe in 



H Religion of Xffe. 13 

general, and the Light in it from Above, 
and the Darkness in it from Below ; to all 
of which the Protector carried himself 
with much moderation." Yes, 
George," adds Carlyle ; " this Protector 
has a sympathy with the Perennial, and 
feels it across the Temporary." That is 
what the great Quakers of all generations 
have, in one way or another, been trying 
to do ; to discourse concerning Life 
and Death, concerning the Unfathom 
able Universe, with its Light from Above 
and its Darkness from Below ; concern 
ing the Perennial, which is revealed 
in the Temporal, the Abiding in the 
shifting aspects of Life. 

" Still, as of old, in Beavor s Vale, 

O man of God ! our hope and faith 
The Elements and Stars assail. 

And the awed spirit holds its breath, 
Blown over by a wind of death." 



rcacbtno 
Spirit of 
Earlp 

Quak 
erism. 



14 Quakerism : 

It is our business to-day to have a 
message concerning life and concerning 
death, which helps men to rest their 
souls on God s 

" Immortal Love and Fatherhood 
And trust Him, as His Children should." 

It looked for a brief period as though 
Quakerism was to be a dominant type of 
religion among Anglo-Saxon people. 
Two hundred years ago, there were in 
England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, 
approximately 75,000 Friends, 10,000 
of whom were in the city of London 
alone. In America, they formed the 
chief religious force in Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey. They had, for a gener 
ation, been a leading factor both in the 
religious and political life of Rhode 
Island. In Maryland, they were next 
in influence to the Roman Catholic 



H tRelifltcm of Xtfe. 15 

founders, and they had a large Yearly 
Meeting in Virginia. 

The Carolinas had already had a 
Quaker Governor who had re-organ 
ised the colony, and given its promise 
of future greatness. In New York, 
Friends were building a chain of 
Meeting-houses parallel with the Hud 
son, and were already one of the 
leading denominations in the new 
metropolis, and even in Puritan Massa 
chusetts they were rapidly spreading in 
all the settled parts of the colony. They 
were everywhere robust and virile, with 
great visions of spiritual conquest in their 
eyes ; they undoubtedly cherished the 
faith that God had raised them up to 
restore primitive Christianity, and to be 
the rebuilders of the Church the Church 
of the Spirit. 



16 Quakerism : 

We are not concerned now with the 
story of the slowing down and the 
dwindling power. It is a dreary 
chapter with some comedy, and much 
that is tragic. Our great concern now is 
to deal wisely, if possible, and with some 
of that old time robustness and viril 
ity, with present opportunities. Once 
again, the out-reaching spirit of the early 
days has broken out among us, a new 
enthusiasm has quickened us, and some 
of that old time white-hot conviction of 
a prophetic mission has touched us. We 
are swinging back to the " fiery posi 
tive." The question, then, confronts 
us : what are we here for ? To 
what peculiar mission has God called 
us ? What contribution have we to 
make toward the spiritual progress of 
the world ? 



a tteltaton of Xtfe. 17 

Our supreme testimony, as a Society, ZTbC 1Rcnl 
has been the testimony to the real 
presence of Christ, as an ever-living 
Spirit who reveals Himself to all souls 
of vision and loyalty. We have un 
dertaken, as a people, to demonstrate 
and exhibit that true religion is the 
life of God in the lives of men, to 
present a Gospel, growing, expanding, 
progressing with the enlarging life of 
the race, grounded in the central 
truth that God is forever humanly 
revealing Himself, suffering over sin, 
condemning evil, making hearts burn 
with His love and sacrifice, and 
working now as He worked formerly in 
Galilee and Judea. A Friends meeting 
is organised and held in bold reliance 
on the actual presence and communion 
of the Divine Spirit. Friends have set 



1 8 Quahertsm : 

themselves the task of producing a 
congregational church with no head 
but the unseen Christ, the creation of 
a religious fellowship which is based 
simply on the response of the member 
ship to this living, though invisible 
personal Presence. 

We cannot be the true successors of 
the Quaker apostles of the Common 
wealth era unless we can make this faith 
in God as a present, immanent Spirit, 
live and virile, unless we can give con 
vincing evidence that He voices Himself 
in the deeps of the human soul, and 
that Divine revelation is a continuous 
reality. 

The religion which is to prevail, and 
which is to nourish the heart of the ex 
panding race, will be one that brings to 
men the live faith that God is the 



a lRclt0tou ot Xife. 19 

environing Presence to all souls, and that 
He is building an ever enlarging spiritual 
city a republic of God not in the 
distant heavens, but out of our lives, 
and that the heart of the universe is 
Love a love that triumphs just as fast 
as it wins human lives through which 
to express itself. We are thus called, 
by the very obligation of our spiritual 
pedigree, to be the bearers to-day of a 
type of Christianity which is essen 
tially inward, spiritual and mystical. 

By mystical religion I do not in any 
sense mean something dim, vague or 
hazy ; something occult, that veils the 
stars of our ancient faith in a blur of 
fog ; some vapoury substitute for the 
religion of Christ by which apostles and 
prophets and martyrs and millions of 



20 ^uahertsm : 

" common people " have overcome the 
world. I mean a religion of inward, 
first-hand conviction, a religion rooted 
and grounded in experience, a religion 
whose authority is as little endangered 
by science and criticism, as is the 
authority of the multiplication table, or 
the law of gravitation. 

Few of us who are here can be unaware 
of the situation in the world about us. 
Our generation has passed through the 
most profound and sweeping intellectual 
transition I might almost say, revolu 
tion that has ever been experienced in 
a single generation; for even the Lutheran 
Reformation did not, to anything like 
the same extent, affect the minds of men. 
This generation has witnessed " an 
irresistible maturing of the mind " which 
has made much of our old knowledge 



a tteltoion of Xife, 21 

look as outgrown as baby clothes on the 
grown-up man. 

Science is no longer a series of happy 
guesses which may be right, and which 
may just as well be wrong. It is now a 
well-knit system of knowledge, tested 
and verified by facts, so accurate that if 
a new planet were suddenly hurled into 
space, subject to all the complicated 
attractions of the other heavenly bodies, 
we could tell precisely where it would be 
in its travels a thousand years from this 
minute. The triumphs of science have 
been due to an insistence on facts. The 
victories have been won by turning away 
from vague arm-chair speculation, and 
by exact observation of what actually 
occurs. The result of this laboratory 
method is that the scientist now speaks 
with an unparalleled authority. The 



22 Quakerism : 

eclipse, once assigned to the caprice of 
evil spirits, is now explained by a well- 
charted order of events ; and invisible 
bacteria, obedient to biological laws, 
have completely usurped the place of bad 
demons as the explanation of disease. 
The same thing is true in the domain 
of history. The historian no longer 
guesses, he has become scientific in his 
methods. By patient, painstaking at 
tention to the minute details of ancient 
documents, and by searching scrutiny 
of even the most insignificant features, 
which for centuries meant nothing to 
readers, the historian has made the past 
live again, and has transformed most of 
our ideas about the men and the move 
ments of antiquity. He, too, speaks 
with authority an authority rock- 
ribbed with an array of facts. 



H TCdfflion of OLife. 23 

Well, to put a very great matter into 
a very few words, this is what has hap 
pened : a new interpretation of our 
universe and of its history has come 
among us. It is being given with an irre 
sistible authority, compared with which 
the authority of the Pope of Rome, 
with his slowly builded system of dogma 
and traditions, seems as ineffective as 
would be an army with bow and arrows , 
against one with Maxim guns. 

The youth of the present day are being 
trained to think accurately and to accept 
only what has the compelling, coercive 
power of facts behind it. Whatever 
we may believe on hearsay, or from habit, 
custom and tradition, the generation 
crowding behind us is going to carry 
this reverence for facts, this demand for 
verification and demonstration, to every- 



24 Quakerism : 

thing that affects their lives. This 
spirit is already everywhere abroad 
and must be reckoned with. And 
the most significant result of it is 
a tendency, everywhere more or less 
apparent, to turn away from tradition, 
from superstition, from religion of the 
"ecclesiastical type," to an inward, 
spiritual, more or less mystical, religion. 
The centre of gravity in religious sys 
tems has altered its place. Men are 
asking for a religion which builds solidly 
on the veritable facts of experience. 
They are not satisfied to be told that 
God once dealt directly with men, 
in some remote dispensation when God 
was more neighbourly ; that at the far- 
off origin of this religion of ours, there 
were facts of experience which proved the 
Divine Presence, but that now it must 



H IReliaion of Xife 25 

be taken on hearsay and second-hand 
authority ; that the only evidence of 
God s love is the existence of certain 
" letters " from Him, written when 
the race was young, or the testi 
mony of certain chosen priests who are 
supernaturally raised above the human 
level. They want to feel their own 
souls burn within them with a sense 
of His Presence now. They seek a 
consciousness of finite spirit meeting 
infinite Spirit, an inward testimony to 
the Great Companion of our souls. They 
ask for the evidence, the demonstration, 
of a new creation, which enables a man, 
once weak and sinning, to overcome 
world, flesh and devil, and to live in 
holiness and self-forgetful love. They 
demand a Christ who is " warm, sweet, 
tender even yet " a present Friend, 

4 



26 Quakerism ; 

inspiring, drawing, feeding the soul 
its spring and source of strength, making 
it cry, whether in joy or in affliction : 
" Abba, Father," and giving an earnest 
of the power of the resurrection and 
the dynamic of an endless life. 

The type of religion which is to prevail 
and which will support the individual, 
and nourish the ideals of the nation in 
these days of expanding knowledge and 
of scientific attitude, is one of this 
experimental sort one of inward 
conviction, of first-hand authority, of 
demonstration of the spirit and power. 

It was as the bearers and exponents 
of a dynamic religion of inward experi 
ence and conviction that our founders 
made early Quakerism so very power 
ful. They had felt God s healing 
drop into their souls. As they sat in 



a Heliaton of Xife. 27 

their Meetings, they felt the evil in them 
weakening, and the good raised up, and 
they spoke of what they knew. As 
they walked the fields they were up 
lifted with openings of the personal 
love of God for them. Only by re 
turning to a similar first-hand religion, 
inwardly felt and buttressed on the 
facts of the soul s experience, can we 
speak to our age with power. 

We are in the fringe, as I have said, of 
a great movement of mystical religion. 
It is well under way in almost all parts 
of the world. Cheap substitutes for 
spiritual bread are at a discount every 
where. Dry and juiceless performances 
in the name of religion do not speak to 
the condition of men. The soul of man 
is crying out for something real. As 
always happens at such times, when, as 



a8 Quakerism : 

Milton says, men try to " purge and 
unseal their long abused sight at the 
fountain itself of heavenly radiance," 
there is much confusion, and some ten 
dency to take will-o-the-wisps for celestial 
lights. Unfortunately, it has to be 
added that religious quacks abound, 
and beguile the gullible in shoals. 
The hunger of heart, the silent passion 
for the living God, the ground-swell of 
a deeper spiritual life, are good signs ; 
but there was never a greater need for 
genuine prophets and spiritual guides. 
The easy-going solutions will not do. 
There are no quick elixirs for the soul. 
We can minister to our age only on con 
dition that we become the bearers of a 
religion which verifies itself in experience 
as the laws of the universe do. We must 
make our Meetings places where souls 



H Ucliofon of OLife* 29 

win their deliverance from sin feeding 
places, too, for the hungry soul, and we 
must be able to give the evidence and 
demonstration of a Companion, Friend, 
Saviour, Father, here-present now a 
living, personal Spirit, who is " closer 
than breathing, . . . nearer than 
hands or feet." 

But the utterance of this mystical 
message is only one of our tasks. If we 
are to be true prophets to our age, we - . . 
must reinterpret the historical revelation Gospel. 
of God, so that again it shall become 
quick and powerful. It is never wise 
or safe to sever the connection with his 
tory. All our gains and triumphs, our 
visions and ideals, have in them the 
precious life blood of remote prophets, 
and saints, and martyrs. The spiritual 



30 Quakerism : 

travail oi the ages is in our most modest 
virtue, our most primary doctrine ; it 
is a part of the necessary air we breathe. 
Our generation needs, as truly as the 
first century needed, the dominant ideas, 
the compelling message of the Gospel of 
Christ. In the war of creeds and under 
the mummy-wrappings of " Church- 
ianity " these revelation-truths have 
too often lain obscured and forgotten, 
like a precious pearl in a rubbish heap. 
The world is so accustomed to a pagan 
ised Christianity, and to a scholastically 
transformed faith, that Christ s primary 
truths still sound new and strange. I 
cannot do more than name them here : 
God is always and every where an infinite 
Father. His nature is love and tender 
ness. He shares Himself, He gives 
Himself, He docs the best He can for all 



H TRelioion of Xtfc* 3 1 

His creatures, His method of redemption 
is love and self-sacrifice. The Divine 
Heart bears our sins and carries our 
sorrows, endures the agony which our 
sins involve, travails with us in the 
crucible of pain, in the darkness of death, 
and brings life and immortality to 
light. All men are meant to be sons 
of God ; they are potential sons they 
bear in their being the mark and super 
scription of God ; they never travel 
beyond the tug of Divine love upon them. 
They are intended for royal destiny. 
This temporal sphere is only one stage 
of life. The Father s house has many 
storeys with ever heightening life and 
ever wider freedom, as the spirit co 
operates with the eternal nature of 
things. But each person holds the key 
to his own destiny, and his personal 



3 2 Quakerism : 

choice is of all things the most mo 
mentous. Choices open doors up 
ward or open doors downward, they 
enlarge or shrink the life. Gravitation 
is as real in the spiritual as in the 
physical world. Those who ally them 
selves with God, and join their wills 
to His, form a continually expanding 
society a kingdom of God, coming 
to-day, coming to-morrow, and yet 
always prophetic of farther future 
fulfilment. There is a personal Mind, 
a personal Heart, a personal Will working 
in all things and through all things, 
forever making man, bringing all things 
up to better, and overcoming evil and 
hindrance through love and good-will. 
We have outgrown the intellectual 
systems which sufficed in the days of the 
Hebrew prophets, and under which the 



a IRclioioti of Xife. 33 

writers of the New Testament lived, but 
the vision of God, which is revealed in 
these Scriptures, the aspiration of soul 
for His Kingdom, the loyalty of heart 
to Him, the exuberant joy in His pres 
ence, the discovery of deliverance from 
sin, the certainty of eternal life, the 
incarnation of God, the communion of 
the Holy Spirit, these are the supreme 
spiritual contributions to the life of the 
race, the most precious legacy from the 
past. 

We can keep it only as we learn to put 
it into the very life blood of our gener 
ation, and carry it over in essence and 
spirit, into the thought and prevailing 
conceptions of our time. We must learn 
to translate the Bible into one more 
language, the language of life. We 
must make Christ stand before our 

6 



34 Quakerism ; 

generation as the true type and goal of 
life, always girded for service, and 
exhibiting at every point the meaning 
of His own highest words : " For their 
sakes I sanctify myself." And we must 
go to our practical tasks with a faith 
like His in the infinite worth of man. 

Social There is nothing finer in the pro- 

phetical work of primitive Friends than 
their insistence on the worth of man. 
They saw divine chances, and a possible 
royal destiny in every human being, 
regardless of colour, and however 
hampered or blurred by sin and oppres 
sion. They considered their main 
business to be the emancipation of man 
from everything that bound and 
cramped him. By the right of primo 
geniture, this high estimate of the worth 



H IReliglon of Xtfe. 35 

of man comes down to us as a sacred 
legacy. William James has called 
Quakerism " a religion of veracity, rooted 
in spiritual inwardness," but that is not 
enough. It must manifest its fruits in 
spiritual outwardness. 

There have been vast gains made since 
the Commonwealth days, and, for one 
who has the real perspective, the progress 
of emancipation appears very great. 
But even yet, we have no task before us 
greater than the task to-day of helping 
men and women to possess themselves. 
The deepest cleavage in our modern 
society is the cleavage between the 
rich and the poor a wide gash which 
cuts straight down through humanity. 
Most of us have neighbours who get 
hardly more out of life than did the primi 
tive cave-dwellers human fellows so 



36 (^uafeertsm ; 

low down that they have to reach up to 
touch bottom, and neighbours at the 
other extreme, among " the unemployed 
rich " who, like lotus eaters, 

" Live and lie reclined 
On the hills, like gods together, 
Careless of mankind." 

We have learned, after centuries of 
experiment, that this social trouble is 
too deep to be cured by the easy method 
of flinging alms to poor beggars, or by 
systems of organised charity. The 
millionaire who, in his business, fosters 
iniquitous social conditions and turns 
men into cogs in the vast machinery of 
industry, and then tries to wash his soul 
and his reputation by enormous gifts to 
charity, philanthropy and education, 
is not solving the problem. The woman 
who gives freely to vagrants and to 



a TRcltQiou of Xifc. 37 

public charity, and then does nothing 
to show her own human personal 
interest in those who labour and are 
heavy laden in the circle of her own 
household, and the wider circle of her 
neighbourhood, is not helping to solve 
the problem. 

But we must not take the short cut 
and shipwreck on the shoals of abstract 
theories. The society toward which we 
are toiling and aspiring will not come 
by the proclamation of socialism or 
by any other cure-all scheme. No 
system of sharing goods, or of sharing 
profits, in itself, will accomplish the 
end in view ; nothing short of the sharing 
of life, the spirit of love and brotherhood, 
the personal consecration, not only of 
our wealth, but of ourselves, to our 
fellows will make a good society. The 



38 Quahertsm ; 

millennium will not come by express 
to-morrow. 

Any sharing of goods that is to be effec 
tive must spring out of a genuine spirit 
of love and brotherhood, a spirit that 
finds joy in sharing. No quick panacea 
will transform society, no reshuffling of 
leaden atoms will make a golden group. 
We must, to be sure, make use of every 
sound economic and sociological principle 
which comes to light to change the 
conditions of life and the social environ 
ment of men. In the work of bettering 
the world and of spiritualising humanity, 
we can no more ignore the structural 
principles of society than a bridge-builder 
can ignore the laws of mechanics in his 
work, but there is no sane and efficient 
programme which does not include the 
old-fashioned Quaker faith in the 



a tReliflton of Xtfe. 39 

personal worth of the individual, a faith 
that a man is more precious than the 
gold of Ophir, a vision of the potential 
child of God in the submerged toiler, 
and, with that faith and that vision, 
the readiness to identify ourselves as 
friend with those who need us, the be 
stowal of personal care and sympathy, 
the sharing of the self as well as the 
sharing of money, the cultivation of the 
spirit of consecration to the tasks and 
needs of the neighbourhood group in 
which we live. In the great words of 
the Quaker prophet, John Woolman : 
" We must make it the business of our 
lives to turn all we possess into the 
channel of universal love." 

We must meet the problem of " the 
submerged tenth " with " a vicarious 
tenth," steadily growing into a vicarious 



2>ct>otiott 
to 

national 
3oeals. 



4 Quafeertem ; 

church. Instead of being content with 
preaching about a God who once vicari 
ously suffered for man s redemption, it is 
rather our task so to live in the life and 
power of that Divine love, that Divine 
self-giving, that our lives, kindled and 
aflame with that passion, shall again 
make Christian love real, practical and 
dynamic, and shall exhibit the beauty 
and joy of service, as the Master did. 

The great prophets of the race have 
always been great patriots. They have 
brought to their people a vision of the 
country as it ought to be, they have been 
loyal to the ideal nation. They have 
loved their country too much to spare 
national sins or political blunders or 
short-sighted opportunisms, but their 
main service has always been their 



a ffielfoion ot Xife. 41 

unerring vision of the ideal city, the 
perfect state, the new Jerusalem, the 
city of God with righteousness domin 
ant. 

Friends have sometimes been dull of 
vision for national ideals and they have, 
at some periods, been too absorbed in 
" individual states of mind " to take up 
the prophetical mission to the nation, 
but the pillar Quakers have been 
prophets of the ideal nation, devotedly 
loyal to the country that ought to be. 
It is unmistakably a part of our modern 
mission, not to build dreams of new 
Jerusalems in the skies, but to live, and 
if necessary, die for noble national ideals, 
to make righteousness prevail in the 
nation, here on the solid earth, to enlarge 
the scope of freedom and to promote 
peace through the heightening of national 



4J Quakerism ; 

honour and the expansion of national 
justice. 

Spirit Ot Our Quakerism must, then, be nothing 

ptilH* short of a religion of life, a real experiment 
in the application, the reproduction, of 
Christ s religion. Neither form nor the 
absence of form ; neither creed nor the 
absence of creed will avail, but a kind of 
life which is Divinely begotten, inspired 
and fed from within. It is not " views " 
that are wanted, but the evidence that 
in the hush of our Meetings we find a 
living God, that in our human tasks 
Divine streams of Grace are raining into 
our lives, and currents of spiritual 
energy are coursing through our deeds 
and purposes. And withal we must go 
to our day s work with sunlight on our 
faces. 



H TCeliQfon of Xtfe. 43 

Let those who work the muck-rake 
for sensational news or for commercial 
literature have a monopoly of " seeing 
yellow " ; we must, like the seer of 
Patmos, do our work with a vision of 
the rainbow round the throne of God, 
a vision of hope and promise every 
lime we look up, with an invincible 
faith in the inexhaustible assets of God 
and the ultimate triumph of the Spirit. 
" I saw," says the first prophet of 
Quakerism, " that there was an ocean of 
darkness and death ; but an infinite 
ocean of light and love flowed over the 
ocean of darkness. In this, I saw the 
infinite love of God." Nothing can 
overwhelm a man with a vision like that. 
Let us stop assuming that the great 
days of Quakerism were in the seven 
teenth century, and that we are a tiny 



44 (Siuakertsm ; 

remnant left behind to chronicle the 
story of spent fires and dead issues. 
The great days of Quakerism are to be 
in the twentieth century. This is the 
best " dispensation " that ever was, the 
best era that has yet dawned. The 
momentous question is, shall we quit 
ourselves like men and do, in the high 
spirit of early Friends, the work of this 
age. 

Let us once more raise the white 
banner for a genuine spiritual religion ; 
a religion which finds a present God, 
and has the power of first-hand experi 
ence of Him ; a religion which sees a 
possible son of God in every, person 
about us, and which sends us out with 
holy fervour to bring many sons to 
glory ; a religion which takes up the 
burden of the world s suffering, and 



a ttelfoion of OLife. 45 

carries refreshing and gladness into 
darkened homes and cramped lives 
everywhere ; a religion not confined 
to the narrow area of a church building, 
but permeating the entire community 
and making for the transformation of 
the state into a holy commonwealth ; 
a religion not personified in a priest or 
pastor, but embodied and exhibited 
in a fellowship of saints, a congregation 
of ministering members. 

On one day of Easter week each year, 
multitudes of eastern Christians throng 
the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 
Jerusalem to wait for the descent of 
fire from heaven. They crowd about 
with eager faces, and with genuine faith 
that the miracle will be granted. 
Within, by the empty tomb, stands a 



*6 Quakerism : 

priest with an unlighted torch. Again 
and again he thrusts it into an opening 
in the tomb, and draws it out still un 
lighted. Suddenly, as he pulls it forth 
once more, it kindles into flame. Those 
crowding about believe that it is actual 
Divine fire. Instantly every man in the 
crowd near by rushes with his torch and 
kindles it from the priest s torch, and 
they, in turn, pass the flame on to light 
the torches of those about them ; and 
then each man with his lighted torch 
starts running to kindle the torches of 
those who remained behind in the city 
and field, until the light has spread 
throughout the land. 

My figure is taken from a religion in 
which superstition plays a great part, 
and one feels afraid that the way of 
lighting that first torch would hardly 



a IRclioion or Xtfe* 47 

bear investigation ; but, nevertheless, 
this great eastern pageant of Jerusalem 
suggests a method which will work in 
spreading a true religion and a genuine 
Divine fire. Instead of going to the 
empty tomb, we must go to the living 
Christ who triumphed over the tomb, 
and instead of lighting a physical torch, 
we must have our own spirits kindled 
to burning passion by His Presence in 
us, till " the love of Christ constrains 
us," and then, with unveiled faces, 
reflecting, as from a mirror, the glory of 
the Lord, we can make men see and 
believe in the Christ who is transforming 
us by the Spirit of the Lord. 



48 (Slualtertem ; H IRclioion or Xite* 
Rote. 

For the help of readers who desire 
more detailed information on the history 
and belief of Friends, the following books 
are recommended : 

George Fox s Journal (abridged), edited 

by P. L. Parker, is. and is. 6d. net; 
Thomas Ellwood s Autobiography, is. 6d. 

and 25. 6d. net. 
John Woolman s Journal, Introduction by 

J. G. Whittier, is. 6d. and 2s. 6d. net. 
The Rise of the Quakers, by T. E. Harvey, 

M.A.. is. 6d. net. 
The Story of Quakerism (for young people), 

by E. B. Emmott, is. and 35. 6d. net. 
Quaker Strongholds, by Caroline E. Stephen, 

is. and 2s. 6d. net. 
Authority and the Light Within, by Edward 

Grubb, M.A., 2s. net. 
Social Law in the Spiritual World, by Rufus 

M. Jones, M.A., as. 6d. net. 
The Double Search, by Rufus M. Jones, M.A., 

is. and 2s. net. 
A Dynamic Faith, by Rufus M. Jones, M.A., 

6d. and is. net. 
Essays and Addresses, by John Wilhelm 

Rowntree, 53. net. 
The Guiding Hand of God, by J. Rendcl Harris, 

M.A., is. 6d. 
John S. Rowntree : His Life and Work, 6s. 

net. 
Poems, by J. G. Whittier, Oxford Edition, 

2s. and 33. 6d.