Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
William Rogers states in his book "The Christian-Quaker ..." that his specific intent was it is a historical document set down for posterity so that future Children of Light may know the testimony of those founding Quakers who did not follow other founding Quakers who institutionalized those gathered in the inshining Light.
In the First Part of his book Rogers writes on pages 41 and 42:
"Oh, Friends! away with all such discourse, that tells you in one Line, that no Man, Men, no Meetings, but Truth must Rule and Preside; and yet reflect on others, as claiming and pleading for Separate Privileges, and distinct Governments, when in Reality, they plead for nothing, but to be left (according as the ancient Laborers, who were Instruments in God's hand to gather us, did leave us, commit us, and commend us) to the Grace of God, and the teachings thereof, as manifest in every ones Inward Parts' making no mention of having their Dependencies on General, Quarterly, Monthly, or any other Meetings of Men whatsoever; and therefore, we cannot but give forth this as a warning to all, to take heed, that ye be not deceived by the cunning Sleights and Devices of Man, to leave your Teacher, that cannot be removed to the Corner; and instead thereof be found depending on the Dictates, and Prescriptions of fallible Man."
From the beginnings of the gathering of the Children of Light, there was a tension between those who sought to lead the Gathering into outward institutional frameworks and those who would not be led back into identity with outward forms; stating that they would not return to that which they had been led out of.
In the quote above Rogers tells us that there were founding Quakers who said on one hand that the Truth itself in our "inward parts" rules and presides and yet, on the other, imposed dependency on and identity with the outward institutional frameworks of, for example, "General, Quarterly, Monthly Meetings" over against the Gathering. The accused those who would not identify with their outward forms as seeking "separate privileges and distinct governments," which was not the case. Rogers, as a first personal documentarian, shows us that there were founding Quakers in the Gathering who held solely to a Faith in the sufficiency of the direct and unmediated experience of the inshining itself in the conscious and conscience as their only teacher and guide. They did not value outward the establishment outward forms of general, quarterly, monthly, meetings as a help in guiding and instructing the Gathering. For them, the direct and unmediated inshining Presence itself was sufficient to guide their conscience.
This is the significance of Rogers' work for those of us who share the same faith as those founding Quakers who contended against being led back into outward forms. These founding Quakers held firm to the inshining Light alone as their only Guide. Rogers' book is a validation of the ancient spiritual experience that many us of know and experience today.