Page images

These being remains of the corruptions introduced among the professors of christianity, which, with many others, crept in a

rites, external ceremonies, or institutions of the law peculiar to the Jewish nation, but was a perpetual command and standing ordinance, respecting the honour of one Almighty Being, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, and as such, ought to be regarded by us, and by all the generations of those who with the heart believe, as well as with the tongue confess, that the Lord he is God, and that there is none else besides him, Deut. iv. 35, who hath declared I am the Lord, that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isaiah, xlii. 8.

Convinced of this great and everlasting truth, both by the testimony of the holy Scripture, and the mani❤ festation of that divine principle, which leads those who are faithful to its teachings, from all that would dishonour the name of God either in word or deed, our ancient friends were conscientiously concerned to refrain from the use of those names of months and days which had been ascribed by way of honour to the idols of the heathen, and in conformity to their false worships this concern rested upon them from a firm persuasion, that the glorious gospel day and time was come, wherein the Lord was fulfilling his covenant with Israel, viz. I will take away the names of Baalim* out of his mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. Hosea, ii. 17.

This word Baalim, being the plural number of Baal, signifying Lord, has relation to the names of divers idols of the heathen, worshipped in several places.

mongst them in times of darkness and apostacy; among which, was that of uncovering the head in shew of honour to men, with divers flattering titles, as your honor; your lordship; the Rev. &c. all which, we believe, were introduced to gratify the unreasonable humours of proud ambitious men. We, therefore, reject them as being repugnant to the nature and spirit of christianity; and apprehend, that herein our practice is consistent with the general tenor and example of Scripture,* which is clearly evinced in the cautionary precept of Elisha : "Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person; neither let me give flattering titles unto man; for, I know not to give flattering titles: in so doing, my Maker would soon take me away."

Our Saviour also saith: "How can ye believe which receive honour one of another; and seek not the honour that cometh from God only."


It doth not appear, that the holy men of old uncovered their heads before kings and princes. See the three holy men cast into the fiery furnace, with their hats on. Dan. iii. 21.

Job. xxxii. 21.

h John v. 44.

We, therefore, professing to be his followers, not only decline the use of the forementioned tokens of honor, but also those of bowing the body, and uncovering the head to man, these being tokens of reverence due to the Almighty alone. But, any such thing as an ordinance for keeping on the hat in time of meeting, and while eating, as this author alleges, I have never known in our society. We wear our hats, as our other clothes, for usefulness and convenience keep them on, or off, as is most comfortable, both at the table and elsewhere: and, consistent with apostolic doctrine, the minister, while in the exercise of his public mission, hath his head uncovered and, from a sense of the awfulness of approaching the Divine Majesty in vocal supplication, when a minister is thus engaged, we manifest our reverence by uncovering our heads.

I apprehend the reader has ere this discovered the fallacy of Hibbard's asserted belief, that our principles and forms are

i 1 Cor. xi. 4.

hostile to the Scriptures; seeing that we practise according to our real sense and understanding of them. But, what judgment can I form of his practice, who so strenuously contends, that the Scriptures are not only the word of God, but also an all-sufficient rule for faith and practice? Surely, if they are the all-sufficient and only rule, it is the duty of every professing christian to observe and follow their example, as well as precept, in all things which are evidently clear, whether great or small. And we find, that when our Saviour reproved the Scribes and Pharisees for omnitting the weightier matters of the law, he did not condemn even the paying of tithe of mint, anise, and cum"These min; but, on the contrary, says: ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."k


Hibbard asserts, as before stated, page 36, that we take George Fox for our oracle in that of "his plain dress, &c."

Does it not bespeak a want of candour in him, thus to charge that upon us, as an error

Mat. xxiii. 23.

for which he produces neither reference nor quotation from any of our writings that amounts to the least proof? Nor do I see occasion for him to refer us to George Fox in this particular, seeing it is evident to our own understanding, that a plain garb, or dress, made for convenience and usefulness, is the most rational and consistent.

And is it not extraordinary, that a Methodist preacher should speak of plain dress as an error, and thereby reflect not on us only, but on many of his Methodist brethren and sisters, whose becoming plainness and simplicity of dress bespeak their approbation of it; and when it is also strongly recommended by John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist society; and thus enforced in their discipline?

"Quest. Should we insist on the rules concerning dress?

"Answer. By all means. This is no time to give any encouragement to superfluity of apparel. Therefore give no tickets to any, till they have left off superfluous orIn order to this, 1. Let every one who has the charge of a circuit, read the thoughts upon dress, at least once a year in every large society. 2. In visiting the classes, be very mild, but very strict



« PreviousContinue »