« הקודםהמשך »
them. The accounts thus received, are digested into one, which is sent, also in the form of answers to queries, by representatives, to the Yearly meeting. Appeals from the judgment of Monthly meetings, are brought to the Quarterly meetings; whose business also it is to assist in any difficult case, or where remissness appears in the care of the Monthly meetings over the individuals who compose them.'
The Yearly meeting has the general superintendence of · the Society in the country in which it is established it and
therefore, as the accounts which it receives discover the state of inferior meetings, as particular exigencies require, or as the meeting is impressed with a sense of duty, it gives forth its advice, makes such regulations as appear to be requisite, or excites to the observance of those already made; and sometimes appoints committees to visit those Quarterly meetings which appear to be in need of immediate advice. Appeals from the judgment of quarterly meetings are here finally determined ; and a brotherly correspondence, by cpistles, is maintained with other Yearly meetings.
In this place it is proper to add, that, as we believe women may be rightly called to the work of the ministry, we also think that to them belongs a share in the support of our Christian discipline; and that some parts of it, wherein their own sex is concerned, devolve on them with peculiar propriety ; accordingly they have Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly meetings of their own sex, held at the same time and in the same place with those of the men; but separately, and without the power of making rules; and it may be remarked that during the persecutions, which in the last century occasioned the imprisonment of so many of the men, the care of the poor often fell on the women, and was by them satisfactorily administered.
In order that those who are in the situation of ministers may have the tender sympathy and counsel of those of either sex," who, by their experience in the work of religion, are qualified for that service, the Monthly meetings are advised to select such under the denomination of Elders. These, and ministers approved by their Monthly
k There are seven Yearly meetings, viz. 1 London, to which come Representatives from Ireland, 2 New England, 3 New-York, 4 Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 5 Maryland, 6 Virginia, 7 The Carolinas and Georgia.
I See the last note. m Fox, 461,492.
meetings," have meetings peculiar to themselves, called Meetings of Ministers and Elders ; in which they have an opportunity of exciting each other to a discharge of their several duties, and of extending advice to those who may appear to be weak, without any needless exposure. Such meetings are generally held in the compass of each Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly meeting. They are conducted by rules prescribed by the Yearly meeting, and have no authority to make any alteration or addition to them. The members of them unite with their brethren in the Meetings for discipline, and are equally accountable to the latter for their conduct.
It is to a meeting of this kind in London, called the Second day's Morning meeting, that the revisal of manuscripts concerning our principles previously to publication, is intrusted by the Yearly meeting held in London; and also the granting, in the intervals of the Yearly meeting, of certificates of approbation to such ministers as are concerned to travel in the work of the ministry in foreign parts; in addition to those granted by their Monthly and Quarterly meetings. When a visit of this kind doth not extend beyond Great Britain, a certificate from the Monthly meeting of which the minister is a member is sufficient; if to Ireland, the concurrence of the Quarterly meeting is also required. Regulations of similar tendency obtain in other Yearly meetings.
The Yearly meeting of London, in the year 1675, appointed a meeting to be held in that city, for the purpose of advising and assisting in cases of suffering for conscience sake, which hath continued with great use to the society to this day. It is composed of friends under the name of correspondents, chosen by the several Quarterly ineetings, and who reside in or near the city. The same meetings also appoint members of their own in the country as correspondents, who are to join their brethren in London on emergency. The names of all these correspondents, previously to their being recorded as such, are submitted to the approbation of the Yearly meeting. Those of the men
n Those who believe themselves required to speak in meetings for worship, are not immediately acknowledged as ministers by their Monthly meetings; but time is taken for judgment, that the meeting may be satisfied of their call and qualification. It will also sometimes happen, that such as are not approved, will obtrude themselves as ministers, to the grief of their brethren; but much forbearance is used toward these, before the disapprobation of the meeting is publicly testified.
who are approved ministers are also members of this meeting, which is called the Meeting for Sufferings; a name arising from its original purpose, which is not yet become entirely obsolete.
The yearly meeting has intrusted the Meeting for Sufferings with the care of printing and distributing books, and with the management of its stock;' and, considered as a standing committee of the Yearly meeting, it hath a general care of whatever may arise, during the intervals of that meeting, affecting the society, and requiring immediate attention; particularly of those circumstances which may occasion an application to Government.
There is not in any of the meetings which have been mentioned, any president, as we believe that Divine Wisdom alone ought to preside; nor hath any member a right to claim pre-eminence over the rest. The office of clerk, with a few exceptions, is undertaken voluntarily by some member; as is also the keeping of the records. Where these are very voluminous, and require a house for their deposite, as is the case in London, where the general records of the society in Great Britain are kept, a clerk is hired to have the care of them ; but except a few clerks of this kind, and persons who have the care of meeting-houses, none receive any stipend or gratuity for their services in our religious society.
Thus have we given a view of the foundation and establishment of our discipline; by which it will be seen, that it is not, as hath been frequently insinuated, merely the work of modern times; but was the early care and concern of our pious predecessors. We cannot better close this short sketch of it, than by observing, that if the exercise of discipline should in some instances appear to press hard upon those, who neglecting the monitions of divine counsel in their hearts, are also unwilling to be accountable to their brethren; yet, if that great, leading, and indispensable rule, enjoined by our Lord, be observed by those who undertake to be active in it, 6 Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them," it will prevent the censure of the church from falling on any thing but that which really obstructs the progress of truth. Discipline will then promote, in an eminent degree, that love of our neighbour, which is the mark of discipleship, and without which a profession of love to God, and to his cause, is a vain pretence, “ He," said the beloved disciple, 66 that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also."
o This is an occasional voluntary contribution, expended in printing books, houserent for a clerk, and his wages for keeping records, the passage of ministers who visit their brethren beyond sea, and some small incidental charges.
p Matt. vii. 12.
The following Tables have been compiled with much at. tention and pains from the best authors; and it is therefore hoped that they will be considered as a useful addition to Dr. Mosheim's work; and the more so, as they are not confined to the persons and things contained in it.
The dates, that are placed in the columns which contain the Sovereign Princes and Popes, are designed to mark the year of their decease.
As several of the Ecclesiastical and Theological Writers, mentioned in these tables, deserve a place also among Profane Authors, on account of their Philosophical, Literary, or Historical Productions; so their names will be repeated in the two distinct columns that contain the learned men of each century.
It is further to be observed, that the Romish Church, even long before the time of the Reformation, looked upon many persons as Heretics, whom we, on our principles, cannot consider in the same light, and whose doctrines really tended to promote that Reformation in which we glory. I have therefore, in many places, added the words real or reputed after Heretics, rather than seem to submit to the decisions of a superstitious Church in this matter.