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duced into the Irish Church Bill, then before Parliament: but difficulties arose in consequence of the views of Friends being more restricted than those of the framer of that bill, as to the nature of a rent-charge substituted for tithe; which they still considered that of an Ecclesiastical demand.
On the 22nd of the Sixth month, the following petition was presented by Dr. Lushington :■ —
"To the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled.
"The petition of John Williams, of New Garden, near Carlow, a member of the Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, now a prisoner in Carlow jail for non-payment of tithes, "Respectfully sheweth:
"That your petitioner was sued in the Court of Exchequer for twothirds of three years' tithe of his farm, amounting to i'2(J, claimed by an individual as Lessee of the dean and chapter of the diocese of Leighlin ; and no defence being taken, the judgment of said Court was obtained against him for about £38, including costs, and execution issued against his person; under which he was arrested and committed to the gaol of Carlow, where he has been imprisoned for more than two months, and is without any prospect of relief.
"That your petitioner has not administered any cause whatever for so rigorous a proceeding, by offering obstruction to the usual course provided by law; whereby demands of this nature may be levied on a simple process and with moderate costs, by distraint of property; that the stock on his farm has never been removed, nor sought to be placed out of the reach of the claimant: nor has he ever entered into any combination to prevent the execution of a legal warrant, or in any wise to set at nought the authority of the law.
"That he is restrained from the payment of his claim, in common with all other claims of like nature, by a conscientious persuasion that the compulsory maintenance of the ministers of religion, or of an Ecclesiastical Establishment, is at variance with the pure and spiritual character of the Christian dispensation: and believing it to be his religious duty to bear an open and practical testimony to this important principle, he has submitted peaceably to such penalties as the law inflicts for refusing to yield an active compliance with its requsitions.
"That the Religious Society of Friends, of which your petitioner is a member, have steadily supported these views for near two hundred years; and have thereby, in an age when the rights of conscience were less respected than they are at present, been involved in grievous suffering both of person and property; but that, under the sanction of Acts of Parliament in that case provided, a less oppressive mode of enforcing such demands has for many years past been generally resorted to by the claimants. The case of your petitioner, however, affords a proof, that the Legislative protection is imperfect; and that, under the existing laws, a peaceable and unoffending individual may, at the will of any person having a legal claim for tithe, be visited ttith the tremendous penally of imprisonment for life.
"Your petitioner therefore respectfully submits his case to your consideration, in the hope that some legislative relief may, in the course of the present session, be afforded to him and all those who without such relief may be subjected to similar sufferings for conscience sake. "JOHN WILLIAMS."
"County of Carlow Gaol,
With the approbation of the King's ministers concerned, a Bill was prepared, which would have effected both the liberation of the prisoner, and the relief of Friends in Ireland from the like liability to suffering; notice of actions for tithe in the superior courts having been given to several of them; under which it would have been optional with the plaintiff, on judgment obtained, to proceed against either the person or goods of the defendant. But the substance of this Bill, (which had received much attention from Friends and considerable discussion with the Attorney-General for Ireland,) was at length incorporated with another Act, by which the intended relief from imprisonment or excessive seizures on Ecclesiastical demands was extended at once to England and Ireland. The Bill received the Royal assent; and John Williams was liberated by an order directed to the Sheriff of Carlow, on the 24th of Ninth month, 1835.
1 have noticed the case in last volume, p. 193, with due acknowledgment of the kindness of Government shewn to us on this occasion.— Ed.
Art. II. Derivations and Meanings of Words, continued.
It is quite as well that we should know, and consider, what these terms imply etymologically; since it is the use of words beside their proper meaning, or without a definite meaning attached, that keeps many well-disposed persons in religious and doctrinal ignorance; not only preventing their growth as believers, in the truth of Christ, but causing them also to remain as impediments in the way of others ; who honestly desire to follow it out—to the full understanding of ' the faith which was once [and once for all] delivered to the saints.' Jude 3.
Sect is clearly a Latin word put in English; and the term aecta (which is classical and in Cicero) may mean either an opinion or nray of thinking and discoursing, ('and consequently of acting in peculiar cases) or, the people who are of that way; or, lastly, the interest, or fartion, which these may keep up in the religious, or (as in Roman and Jewish history) the political world. There was the sect of Csesar in one of these, as well as the sect of the Pharisees in the other.
If we derive secta from the verb seco, to cut, it will imply simply the schism, or cutting off'by this means of a few from the many; and in this sense (as observed of that frightful word heresy, by Milton) it may chance to imply a very innocent, nay a laudable thing. For the minority has not seldom been found, upon the great inquest of time, to be in the right; and to have separated on sufficient and reasonable grounds from the rest. Yet does the very name ' sect' always let down those to whom it is applied, for the time, in general estimation.
But if we prefer to take another verb, eequor, for the origin of this term, and say that persons are denoted sectarians because they follow such, or such an one in what he says and does, putting authority and tradition in the place of reasonable persuasion, there will be quite as much of meaning in it; and that of a rather more objectionable kind. "But the pharisees, except they first wash their hands up to the elbows, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders." Here was an imitation in practice, grounded on authority and example alone—for surely the man's hands must, at some times, have been so clean as in no wise to need that ablution! Yet such is our sheepish nature—so prone are we to tread in the track which another has beaten before us,—that nothing ia more common in the religious world to this day: and a considerable part of our own quaker-observances can on no other principle be accounted for. So that we ought to be very careful how we clap the brand of pharisaism on the backs of others.
Let us now shew the term in its better acceptation. Christ saith (John x. 27.) 'My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.' And the Apostle (Phil. iii. 27.) 'Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.' Here is the ' sect' of Christ and his Apostles: of which we read (Acts xxviii. 22.) that it was ' every where spoken against.' But on what account? Because it was the ride of the order to wear the phylactery of such a size, the borders of the garment of a certain breadth? Nay—but because, wherever it came, the world was turned upside down, by its pertinacious teaching and undeniable practice of those things against which no law could stand! The great world was, in its own esteem, orthodox: and these preachers of the kingdom of God; these promoters of ' love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance,'—heretics and sect-masters; and every where decried!
This opposition to ' the works of the flesh'—the hateful catalogue of which you may read in the same passage—was something more, however, than the exercise of ' a religious scruple.'
(To be contmued.)
Art III.—A Proposal for open communion in the Society of Friends;
rejected by Pontejract Monthly Meeting.
Ackworth, llth Twelfth Mo., 1836. It seems desirable, in the present state of things among us, that some Monthly Meeting should Bend up through its Quarterly to the Yearly Meeting, such a proposition as the following:
"To the Yearly Meeting. It being manifest that differences on doctrinal subjects, of a nature unlikely to be soon reconciled (but which, with time and patience, may nevertheless be removed) prevail among' Friends in many parts of the nation; in consequence of which some of our members have been dismissed from offices which they held in their own Meetings, or have resigned them; and others have seceded, or are are likely to secede from our body, without ioining themselves to any other denomination:
"And it being likewise demonstrable (from our history and our rules) that we do not constitute a Society on the basis of a mere form of doctrine, or mode of worship—nor were at first so gathered ; but rather by an agreement in our Christian testimonies against war, oaths, and a ceremonial priesthood with the observances it is calculated to uphold; as also in a Christian discipline:
"And there having arisen out of this union on practical subjects, and our long continuance therein, various Society Funds, vested in properties real and personal, with divers Trusts constituted solely of our members for the administration of these; to wit, our meetinghouses, burial-grounds, public-schools, bequests of various amounts, and other charities; aided (it is true) from time to time by the voluntary contributions of Friends, but resting also for their support in great part on such Funds and properties:
"And it not appearing that there is, in the case of such Friends as have been mentioned, anything of a nature to disqualify them from maintaining our Christian testimonies, or from holding in trust and administering our Society Funds; or, further and more especially, anything of a nature to require, or make it equitable, that l/iey and their children (most of whom would probably follow their parents) should be deprived af all future benefit from any such Funds; whether for general purposes, or for education and other Christian and useful objects, maintained among us:
"And it being, lastly, highly expedient that, in the defence and maintenance of our said Christian testimonies, and in our applications to Parliament, and intercourse with Government on such subjects, Friends should still come forward, as one body, under that denomination; and not be weakened as a Society, and weaken the cause they have so long supported, by division:
"It is proposed that the Yearly Meeting do, either by separating a Committee of Representatives, or by deliberation in the Meeting itself, or in such other way as shall seem best, devise, and propose to Friends who may have so separated, or whose cases may require it, some plan or terms of outward union ; which may enable them to continue in profession with us (though differing in some points respecting doctrine and worship), and to hold in Trust, and administer our several Funds and properties, and derive from them the intended benefit to themselves and families in like manner as heretofore."
This proposition was offered by the author in person to his Monthly Meeting of Pontefract, held at Bamsley, the 19th of Twelfth mo., 1836. It was read once through by the Clerk; and after a number of observations made by different Friends (in one case not in a very charitable spirit) rejected.—Ed.
RELIGIOUS AND LITERARY JOURNAL BY A FRIEND.
No. CXV. PRO PAT RI A. 1837.
Art. I.—A Chronological Summary of events and circumstances connected with the origin and progress of the doctrine and practices of the Quakers. Continued from p. 286.
A.D. The Yearly Meeting thank/idly records THE Abolition OF J 834. Slavery In The British Dominions.
Yearly Meeting, Fifth month, 26th, 1834. "In contemplating the Act of the Legislature, which has passed since our last Yearly Meeting, for the Abolition of Slavery in the British dominions, this Meeting desires reverently to record its gratitude to Almighty God for disposing our Legislature to this great act of justice and mercy."
It is but justice to the Society, which here briefly notices the consummation of its desires and labours in the negro's behalf, to say that it has been mainly accessory to the Abolition of Slavery (as before to that of the Slave Trade, not merely by its seasonable petitions to Parliament, and by the unwearied attention of its Committee to the task of procuring and diffusing the necessary anti-slavery publications, but also by furnishing to the Abolitionists 'the sinews of war,' in the shape of large contributions in money.
Vol. V. v