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3. Allow of no exempt case : Better one suffer than many. 4. Give no tickets to any that wear high heads, enormous bonnets, ruffles, or rings." Sect. 6, on dress, page, 56.
Although we recommend plainness, yet we have nothing in our discipline so particular as the foregoing, respecting dress; notwithstanding, this author styles it one of George Fox's ordinances. Our plain dress did not originate with him, as will appear by the following quotation from a late author, not of our society.
"But, although extravagance was found among many orders of society, at the time of the appearance of George Fox; yet many individuals had set their faces against the fashions of the world. These consisted principally of religious people of different denominations; most of whom were in the middle classes of life. Such persons were found in plain and simple habits; notwithstanding the contagion of the example of their superiors in rank. It may now be observed, that from these religious persons, habited in this manner, in opposition to the fashions of the world, the primitive Quakers generally sprung. When the Quakers therefore first met in religious union, they met
in these simple clothes; they made no alteration in their dress, on account of their new religion; they prescribed no form or colour as distinguishing marks of their sect; but they carried with them the plain habits of their ancestors into the new society, as the habits of the grave and sober people of their own times." T. Clarkson's Portraiture, vol. 1, pages, 245, 247, 248.
Having long found our plain dress suitable and convenient, we can see no sufficient reason why we should now exchange it for the fluctuating fashions of the world. And is it not cause of admiration, that even men and women of competent understanding, who make a profession of religion, do often manifest such a want of that stability which becomes the dignity of man, as to adopt almost every fluctuating fashion that arises? We believe this is one of those things to which the apostle's exhortation applies: "Be not conformed to this world." Again : "Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair; and of wearing of gold; or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible; even the ornament of a meek and quiet spi
rit, which is in the sight of God of great price.'
Having thus explained what Hibbard calls George Fox's ordinances, I come next to notice one of his allegations, in support of his assertion, that Quakers take George Fox as their oracle: pages 39 and 40, he says: "If they had a 'thus saith the Lord,' to plead "in point of justification, it would be a "sufficient reason; but no; it is only, thus "saith George Fox; and thus saith the "teacher within me. It is a pity that the "Quakers did not see a difference between "the cross of Christ, and the cross of "George Fox, and that they did not follow "Christ rather than George."
These being but his surmises, I will leave them, and proceed to give the reader our sentiments, respecting George Fox.
We do indeed esteem him as a worthy and distinguished instrument in the gathering and founding of our religious society; and, as far as we discover his example and doctrine to be consonant with the example and precepts of Christ, we embrace his doctrine and approve his example, but no farther neither did he ever call the atten
11 Pet. ili. 8, 4
tion of any to himself, his care ever being to recommend to all an inward attention to the teaching of the spirit of Christ in themselves, as the only sure guide and way to salvation, not desiring that any should follow him further than he followed Christ; which is abundantly evident in his own writings. The same may be said of Barclay,
A memorable instance of sentiments similar to these, may be found in a fare well exhortation of John Robinson, an independent teacher in Holland, to his congregation, when a part of them were about to remove into New England, about the year, 1620; in which, he thus addressed them: " Brethren, we are now quickly to part from one another; and whether I may ever live to see your faces on earth, the God of Heaven only knows but whether the Lord hath appointed that or no, I charge you before God and his blessed Angels, that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
"If God reveal any thing to you by any other instrument of his, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth by my ministry; for, I am verily persuaded; I am very confident, the Lord has more truth yet to break forth out of his holy word. For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no further than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn beyond what Luther saw. Whatever part of his will our great God has revealed to Calvin, they will rather die than embrace it ; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man who yet saw not all things. This is
Penn, and Pennington, with the rest of our worthy predecessors, whose pious example we duly esteem; but it is our most special care that our doctrine and principles be consistent with the doctrine and precepts delivered by Jesus Christ our Lord, whom we look to as our Oracle; and whose precepts and commands we desire to fulfil, according to the best of our understanding.
In page 40, he alleges, as his 8th charge, against us that, "The Quakers have assum"ed the name friends, to distinguish them. "from other denominations, whereas they ડેદ are not friends to any, except their own "order; and other denominations are as "good friends to God or man as any of them; yea, better."
The term Quaker was applied to our predecessors in scorn and derision. We
a misery much to be lamented; for, though they were burning and shining lights in their time, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God; but were they now living, would be as willing to embrace further light as that which they first received."
So far John Robinson, animated by a Christian temper, is well worthy the serious attention of all denominations of professing Christians.