Hello Diane. All is well. I have been moving forward on creating an electronic version and paraphrasing Rogers treatise. I've almost completed the preface of his treatise, however, the it still needs work. Also, I am close to publishing a section of his treatise from part three that is particularly revealing relative to the workings of the Light in many of the founding Quakers. It seems, when I become too engrossed in discussion here on QuakerQuaker to the detriment of my work on Rogers treatise, the inward Light dims somewhat as a corrective. I find myself sometimes annoyed by this conviction brought down upon me by the Light. Creating an electronic version of the original text, paraphrasing it, and cross-referencing quotations, of his almost 600 page treatise is a labor I had not I had not bargained for when I purchased the facsimile. With that said, It means I must keep to the grindstone. The more I am in Rogers treatise and the more source documents I pursue because he draws from them, the more insight is drawn concerning the unique and revolutionary nature of the founding Quaker experience and the ramifications of Fox, Barclay, and other founding Quakers leading the Quaker Gathering back into that which (outward forms) they had been lead out of in the power and Presence of the Spirit itself within their conscience. I will have the section from the 3rd part of his treatise ready for publication on QualkerQuaker in a couple days.
Diane. I was only recently made aware of "Experiement with Light." If I remember correctly James Schultz mentioned it in one of our discussions here on Quakerquaker.
I did go to the website, however, I've not explored it sufficiently. Are you a member?
I can understand your sense of not feeling Presence through their words. Reading and re-read Rogers' work anchored in Presence itself, my conscience is guided, not by Rogers' outward words, but in the glory of the self-concsious ego resting not in the outward ideas and feelings but in light that shines up between the words themselves and such meaning and understanding floods over and into the conscience in waves of recognition. There is such spiritual power in the struggle Rogers manifests! In the grace of Presence itself my sefl-conscious is further empowered and self-sustaning through the witness of the early Quaker experience leading up to thee separation Rogers' documents.
I concur Diane. There is a prosecutorial spirit behind Rogers action against those who would impose their conscience on others nurtured by a the defensiveness of which you write. And yes, it is recognizable in Fox too. John Wilbur also manifests this defensiveness. Rogers was definitely the warrior for the cause. I find myself returning to the series of letters Rogers reprints in Part Four of his book starting on page 37. The first letter to George Fox is signed by Wilkinson and Story and the others after by Wilkinson. I appreciate the conciliatory nature of Wilkinson's spirit. Then, when I read Fox's responses, I am struck by accusatory and judgemental spirt Fox manifests. I wonder whether you would share your impression of Wilkinson through the letters Rogers published?
Um, with the tithing there was a political issue of solidarity involved. GF & his party wanted the whole group to maintain solid ranks against the practice of tithing -- and not have that unity broken by anyone giving in to avoid persecution...
But that is clearly a case of treating the organization's political stands as if these were more important than respect for God's power to lead each person rightly. The feeling had definitely become ~"If they don't feel led in the same direction as me, they must be listening to The Wrong Spirit.. "
This dubious mentality that had already become far too manifest in the matter of Naylor, the willingness to throw an inconvenient colleague to the wolves rather than risk the group's reputation.
Fox was clearly a man of great faith, but where the mission he hoped to perform for God seemed at risk, it seems as if it was hard for him to trust God's purposes to God... That's been a subtle and powerful test of faith for many of us, yes?
Diane! It is neat to read you have Roger's book. I agree it is not an easy read, however, I hope you will find your labors worth the effort. There are paragraphs in the book that I resorted to actually diagramming the sentences to wrap my mind around his meaning! I have pages of diagrammed sentences, however, it is helpful. Plus, disciplining yourself to read very slowly, so you can gather all the subtle meanings built into his compound complex sentences is helpful. However, the fundamental discipline is reading his work in the Light of Presence itself ... really really really deepening down and experiencing the Foundation in the very act of reading so that your conscious is filled with the Light itself and meaning and understanding comes through the inward Light. Herein Presence itself will bridge over the waters of decades and you will playfully travel along within the invisible space between the words where meaning floats freely along the rays of translucent Light.
A random question. Have you noticed how 17th century use of Jealous and Jealousy have a different nuance than the way we use the same word today?
I also sense Truth bring defended. Isn't it amazing that they really didn't disagree so much on the issues. For example, they were in agreement against the paying of tithes. Where they disagreed was the George Fox contingent wished to impose their conscience against tithing universally through outward institutional rules and structures on the whole of the gathering even among those whose conscience did not go against tithing. Rogers himself says, "Hey George, my conscience is in agreement with yours when it comes to tithing, however, my conscience goes against seeking to use outward rules and institutional structures to impose my conscience on those in our gathering who are of a different conscience."
The Children of Light had been brought out of that type of institutional and outwardly principled coercion and many of the founders of the Gathering we not going to return again to that which God had lead them out.
George Fox and those who agree with him actually came to the point were they said that they were being lead by the spirit of God and that those in the Gathering whose conscience was different must conform to Fox's leading (codified by Barclay) or they were going against God. Just imagine what the complete dismay many of the founding Friends experience hearing these words. The issue wasn't so much that Fox and others wished to establish certain outward forms and institutional structures that some in the gathering fleely followed, it was that they would not tolerate other individuals and meetings that did not conform to their conscience. Fox and others were saying all will conform to his rules, prescriptions, and institutional structures, and those who do not will be banished from the gathering.
It is clear this turn to outward forms as a even partial guide (under the centralized authority of Quarterly and Yearly Meetings) to all members of the gathering went against the experience of the inward Presence of Christ within each individual as the Guide of our conscience and the Anchor of our conscious. This nod toward outward forms represented not an innovation but a return to that which God had lead the Children of Light out of and Charles Leslie (an ardent contemporary critic of the Children of Light and George Fox specifically) writes in The Snake in the Grass (1697):
"It is comical (but Provoking) to see these men so gravely vouch the Practice of the Church throughout the Word, who own no Church in the World but themselves! And for them now to speak against the Pretense of Liberty, in others, as a breach of their unity; when they themselves set up the very same pretense, to break the unity of that Church whereof they were once members! But it is come justly home to them (I wish they may reflect upon it) that they who
Yes! My copy is from amazon. Note, it is a facsimile so it is a copy of the original text. I personally prefer reading from the original. I hope you order it. I would enjoy your impressions.
Early in part three of Christian Quaker Rogers makes clear the nature of the apprehensions many Children of Light had with those who would return to that which they had left behind ...
"That that People, who have been so great Contenders against that Spirit, which would have enforced Outward Forms, and Orders of Men, relating to Conscience, though under the Notion of Assemblies, calling themselves the Church of Christ, should now be more exercised to encourage their Brethren to follow the Orders, Traditions, Examples or Commandments of any relating to Matters of Conscience, and the Things of God ( though under the most plausible Pretences whatsoever ) than that never erring and infallible Guide, which hath been so often exalted amongst them, viz. Christ's Light in the Conscience."
The Christian - Quaker
Part 3, page 17
It is such a blessing and of great encouragement to read of these founding Children of Light and their complete faith in and adherence to the direct guidance of "Christ's Light in the Conscience" without respect to persons or outward forms, traditions, and institutions. Rogers repeatedly uses the phrase: "what God leads out of, he usually leads not into again" specifically in reference to the essential and fundamental experience the Children of Light of being lead out of the first covenant of outward law, practice, creeds, and ordinances into the second covenant through the power of Christ's Presence that writes the inward Law of the Spirit lighting our conscious and conscience.
As I read Rogers words, I feel the disbelief many of the founding Children of Light felt over those in their gathering who wished to turn back toward that spirit or impulse that embraces outward forms, traditions, and institutions. And not only that but those same people cultivated an impulse of imposition in that they demanded conformity to their forms and institutions and the bureaucracy that resulted and threatened excommunication for non-conformity. This impulse went against the impulse of long-suffering, for conscience sake of all in the gathering, in the Light of Christ that was a cornerstone of their life working in their conscience.
Peace in all things through the inward Light of Christ,
When in the Ages and Generations past, the Apostasy first entered as a Flood, I am persuaded, that all who have known the Truth, and have had the Consideration and true Sense thereof upon their Spirits, do concluded, that the thereof sprang through an Inward Departure from the Anointing in themselves (Obedience whereunto according to the respective Measures of Grace given of God, and received by each Member, was a manifestation of that wherein the Unity of the Body stands) and as the Apostasy entered, no doubt but the Traditions and Rudiments of Men came to be exalted; against which the Apostle Paul cautioned the Colossians, saying, Col. 2.8. Beware lest there be any that spoil you through Traditions of Men, according to the Rudiments of the World, and not after Christ; but yet not withstanding, I Question, whether any have been greater Pretenders of Unity, than those who have been exalting the Traditions of Men; and shall leave it to the Judicious Reader to consider, whether a sufficient Evidence hereof appears not in divers Apostatized Churches professing Christianity, wherein is established by Outward means what is to be Believed, and what is to be practiced; and yet doubltless as remote from the Unity, wherein the Fellowship of the Saints in Light doth consist, as the East is from the West, and so in their Unity (being but Outward) have found no more acceptance with the Lord, that the Unworthy Eaters did, whilst they discerned not the Lords Body.
Many of Gods People yet in the Body are Witnesses that, one part of the Testimony which accompanied the Servants of the Lord in those latter Days was against Outward Forms, Traditions, Prescriptions, Decrees, Ordinances of Men, with relation to Matters Spiritual and Divine, and wherein the Consciences of Gods People might be concerned, as being those Rudiments of the World, and of which he hath determined to gather his People (for to the Children of Light they appeared more agreeable to the Nature, and Tenor of the First Covenant than the Second) and not only so, but to establish his Church on the Rock Christ, that so, as they received him, they might walk in him, according to their respective Measures of Grace given them of God to profit withal, and which, as the Apostle declared, was sufficient for them.
Now, Inasmuch as the Testimony of Truth hath been, that what God leads out of, he rarely leads into again; I appeal to Gods Witness in all Consciences, whether Indispensable Establishment of Outward Orders, Prescriptions, and Decrees for the Members of the Church of Christ to walk by, and submit unto, at this Day, and wherein the Liberty of their Consciences may be invaded (of which my meaning is no other Liberty than what the Gospel allows) doth not seen to exalt that sort of Unity, wherein the Fellowship of the Saints in Light doth not consist, and so consequently may become the means to draw the Minds of Gods People outward, and so cause them to look at Outwardthings (under the notions of Things established in the Church) more than to the Anointing in themselves; lest Gods Witness in every Conscience Judge.
I’m not sure whether you will receive this. It has been strong on my mind to share some the William Rogers words with you from his "Christian Quaker." It has been such a blessing to immerse in his words directly; not being dependent on the characterizations of others.
Rogers envisioned the "The Christian Quaker" as a history and line in the sand witnessing to the vision and experience of the Children of Light during the 30 years leading up the writing of his book and the manifestation of those people who would return to the establishment of outward forms to rule those gathered in the Light. This pre-establishment vision which shed all outward forms, traditions, decrees, doctrines, theologies, etc., for the direct inward experience of the Presence and guidance of the Spirit of Christ. Rogers, as a direct witness to the life and experience of the Children of Light, marks this experience foundational and the essential Nature of the Gathering. Prior to the establishment impulse that invaded many amongst the Gathering the inward Presence of Christ was the only true Gospel Order.
I sense I will start sharing and witnessing to power and sufficiency of the inward Presence of Christ again, in a couple months, as I grow further in the knowledge of those Children of the Light who shared and witnessed to the Sufficiency itself. Presence is so strong when the mind is turned upon the invisible and silent words spoken from and through the Light within rather than on those that are seen with the eyes and heard with the ears!
Here is a quote from pages 82-85 of the "Christian Quaker." The italicized works are the authors. The number of characters exceeds the 5000 characters limit per post. So I will finish the quote in a send post.
I doubt not but there are many who are ready to conclude, That an Universal Unity ought to be established in the Churches, by the Assistance of outward Instruments; that as we are Members of one Body, so we may not only be one in Faith, one in Doctrine, but also one in Practice, with relation to Discipline, Order and Outward Forms of Government.
My soul should rejoice to see that Day, wherein we might all be so led by the appearance of Christ’s Spirit in us, under his Government, which ought to be exalted over all, as that this Oneness might thereby be witnessed amongst all the Families of Gods People at this Day. But since it is so with the Church of God at this day, as it was with the Church in the Primitive Days, viz. that there are diversities of Administrations, and diversities of Gifts and Operations in the Body, and through the same Spirit; it behooves every one diligently to watch, that we Judge not one another by reason of these differing exercises; as if these things consisted not with the Unity of the Body.
And since also it is so, that amongst the primitive Believers there were such as practices Circumcision, some made Conscience of keeping a Day, and some that Abstained from eating flesh, and others that did not, and yet a Christian – Liberty and Forbearance was so exercised, as that they were not to be Judging one another about these things, and that we find not that these differing exercises in a Christian – Liberty, did subject any of those Believers exercised therein to the Censure of being out of the Unity of the Body; I therefore do reasonably conclude, that the infallible Mark, whereby any member of the Body is known to be in true Unity with the Body, doth not consist if Profession of Belief of certain Principles and Doctrines, and Practices depending thereon; nor in Obedience to the Measures of others; but in the Circumcision of the heart, and Answer of a good Conscience toward God, and that every Member keeps his own order, Office and Place in the Body, through his Obedience to the Measure and Gift of Grace in himself, which he hath receiv
Hello Diane, Thank you for your comment. Reading the actual words (instead of second and third hand characterizations by others) of those early Quakers who did not share the need or concern for outward institutionalization and the establishment of outward doctrine over the inward doctrine of Presence itself, manifests such inward joy and gratitude. I go about the day in glory and anticipation.
There was actually a series of moments, early in the history of the Quaker gathering, wherein some within the gathering, found it necessary to institutionalize the immediacy of Presence itself by establishing outward rules, practices, and hierarchies. These establishment forces felt outward forms were needful to control and regulate those individuals in the gathering who used the pretense of freedom of conscience for selfish or self-centered behavior. In essence, the establishment forces no longer held to a faith in the sufficiency of the immediacy of Presence as the only Guide, Doctrine, Rule, and Principle. They justified the establishment of these outward forms on the premise that without outward forms and leadership there would be anarchy and disunity. Implicit in this premise is the assumption is the outward forms, by there very nature, would lessen potential disunity.
Right in the midst this this push for institutionalized Presence, another group in the gathering stood up and said, "We do not acknowledge the outward forms you seek to institute. We acknowledge only the inward immediacy of Christ's Presence itself as our Guide and Form. We acknowledge Presence itself and alone as anchoring our conscious and informing our conscience. We acknowledge the inward Form."
It is significant that those who held to the sufficiency of the inward Form (Indwellers) were tolerant of the establishment forces and there wish to set up outward rules and principles. They merely sought to worship in and hold to the inward Rule and Principle. However, the establishment forces were not of the same tolerant spirit and they set about turning their institution against the Indwellers and demanding conformity to their conscience.
This anger initiated a series of letters and pamphlets, by the Indwellers, against the establishment. It is regrettable that these pamphlets contain derogatory words against the establishment that only served to undermine the otherwise beautiful message of the Indwellers. This angry response manifested a spirit that turned direct experience into ideology. Their testimony to direct experience of Presence and its sufficiency in itself, was overshadowed by a spirit that turned the inward experience itself into an outward idea. Only when identity is anchored in and informed by an outward idea does the judgement, criticism, and imposition of others manifest such anger and vitriol. Identity anchored in and informed by outward ideas is threatened by those who make judgement and impositions against them because the very core of personal identity is attacked.
The wonder and mystery of identity anchored in and informed by the inward immediacy of Presence itself is conscious and conscience are no longer bond to outward forms and ideas and judgement and imposition, no longer sting.
I can understand the establishment forces being angered by the Indwellers' holding the Presence itself as sufficient in itself and not embracing the institution of outward forms. I am troubled by the Indwellers lack of watchfullness resulting in their resting somewhat in the idea of Presence rather than in the experience of Presence itself. With that said, I am only troubled because I've known it myself and have recognized it in others like John Wilbur.
None the less, this moment is so powerful because there were some in the gathering who held to a conscious anchored in and a conscience informed by the immediacy of Presence itself even in
Hello Diane. During the process of your study of the Wilkinson/Story schism, did you read Williams Rogers' "The Christian-Quaker distinguished from the apostate & innovator" (1680)? If so, would you be willing to share your impressions? I'm current in the process of gathering as many facsimiles of the writings of those who witnessed that "Government over the Consciences of Believers we take to be contrary to the Principle of Truth and Liberty we have in Jesus Christ."1, against the establishes forces that would impose outward forms over against the inward Law of the Spirit in conscious and conscience.
I am also keen to read John Pennyman's (a supporter of Perrot during the Hat controversy) "Some of the Quakers Contradictions Which They Writ, as Suted the Times and Their Own Interests ..."
Many many more original document,s from those who labored against the establish forces, exist than I initially suspected. This, in spite of the attempts by the establishment forces to erase them from existence.
I am on a long road toward discovery and illumination. As with my study of the Wilber/Gurney schism, I am ever wondering why it is those who spoke out for the sufficiency of the inward Spirit itself, allowed themselves to become so angry at those forces who would bind their consciences to that of another. I mean, why not, even in the face of the misrepresentation and coercion, just look them straight in the eye and say; "I respect your conscience and wish you well in your endeavors. As for those of us of another conscience, we will rest in another place. Please feel free to visit our meeting and worship with us and we trust you will welcome us at yours. Peace in the Light of Jesus Christ."
But no ... both basically end up attacking each other with the outward weapons of ideology, theology, etc. Basically, going back and forth. "You are evil" ... "No, you are evil" ... "No you are evil" ... "No, you are evil " and on and on.
I can say this with certainty though. Had the establishment forces not sought to coerce conformity in the first place through outward weapons of institutional coercion, it may not have degenerated into a mess. It is clear those who struggled with the establishment forces where not interested in imposing their conscience of others. They were okay with other people and meetings with differences. The establishment forces, however, were not so tolerant, so they forced the hand of the others through coercive behavior. There is not much difference between shooting a person with a gun because he does not share your conscience and using institutional coercion to impose a particular conscience against that of another.
Quaker history has shown, the establishment forces imposition of outward institutionalized forms and structures became fertile ground incubating the very thing they sought to overcome.
1. The Christian-Quaker distinguished from the apostate & innovator ... Williams Rogers
Thanks Jim for your precision. I suppose the one thing that stood out to me about the Worthington site (other than the alarming visions which aren't helpful for me in my present condition was this admonition, "Give liberally. This is a warning", which they have highlighted in certain places on the site.
This is something that is just very core to my current understanding and practice. (I am not sure what the root of that utterance is, whether it came in prayer and meditation or from particular traditional writings.)
Give liberally! That is the sort of message that informs my own mind and conduct when I spend time seeking G-d (I have just found out about my Jewish heritage and am having a lot of conversations with Jews, therefore, I have taken up the practice of spelling a Divine reference that way). Anyway G-d usually tells me to share and give and shape up. Sometimes specific information about who to go serve or share with is given.
That is what my spiritual experience is like in practical terms. It seems on this website we generally discuss academic or abstract things, or perhaps organized political things.
But this just plain, "Give Liberally" as a direct instruction for this discipline is quite simple and clear. And clearly Jesus was clear. He was quite directive about sharing and giving as part of our work to seek the Kingdom of G-d.
Good Morning Laura -- My observation is that the Worthington site has helped people. I have used it myself to find what certain early Quakers said; but I now double check.
The 'Guide' has an interesting history in this regard. Worthington is not the first person to alter the work so that it more closely conforms to their own understanding. The 1839 edition, for example, eliminated many references to Jesus, Christ, and God. I have not been able to track down the name of the individual who edited the 1839 edition, but I have come across a review in an 1840 Friends magazine that says the edition was not done by a Friend.
Interestingly, Howard Brinton, when he decided to issue an edition of the 'Guide' in 1946, chose to base his edition on the 1839 edition. I'm not sure why. But the Brinton edition replicates the editing out of deity references and also removes scriptural citations.
What I have learned is that different people approach older works with different attitudes. Some editors view their task as passing on the work they have received with only minimal editorial changes; they might change spelling if it has changed, or punctuation, and of course they will correct obvious typos that got through in previous editions. But basically they view their task as to forward the work without alteration as far as possible.
The second group views older works as an opportunity and occasion to give voice to their own point of view. This kind of editorial approach will freely change the content of the work they are editing because their primary focus isn't the work itself, but their own understanding. Sometimes this is done transparently; for example they may comment on the work in footnotes or with remarks scattered through the work. At its most thorough you can have a line by line commentary. But others will approach the work and change its content to conform to their own understanding without letting the reader know that they have done so. Again, I don't necessarily consider this a terrible thing, but it can result in confusion.
The 'Guide' is not unique in this regard. Another good example of this kind of editorial activity is Thomas a Kempis' 'The Imitation of Christ'. Because Kempis was a devout Catholic, Protestants who like the 'Imitation' have, over the centuries, altered those passages that are specifically Catholic in character; such as those passages exalting the mass. Sometimes this has led to the removal and replacement of an entire chapter. They have often done this without informing the reader of the change.
Something similar happened to Miguel Molinos' 'Spiritual Guide'; an English version of Molinos removed an entire section because of it being too Catholic; again without informing the reader that the editor did this. This version is still being published at this time.
I can understand the impulse. It appears to be very widespread. Because I have a deep love for 'A Guide to True Peace', I have kind of taken it upon myself to let people know about this history of changes and alterations.
Hey Jim, I get that totally. When we are talking facts we are talking facts and delving in to the scholarly things that often concern Quakers, whether William Penn would have been pleased with the scholarly endeavor or no! I know nothing of the Worthingtons personally, and in fact was both startled and impressed, and perhaps somewhat frightened at parts of their testimony! One of the things that I am thinking of in this regard, is that testimony of Truth need not be found to be in harmony with secular rubric and popular thought to be uttered in the Society of Friends if one is called to utter! I have pretty much given up on anything but, "by their fruits ye shall know them". So, I know nothing of anyone's fruits on the Internet, so have no way to know if fruits are matching testimonies, therefore don't get to worked up about Internet people. Might as well get worked up about cartoons!
The Worthingtons are certainly intense. Although I disagree with some of what they say (and I was paying more attention to their own commentary than to their various excerpts from Quaker literature) I find their zeal refreshing!
I just want to mention that Hal Worthington's site is not reliable. I know of one instance where he has significantly changed the work, without noting that he has done so. This is the work 'A Guide to True Peace'. Worthington has substantially changed its contents and added material of his own. I have studied the 'Guide' and can state unequivocally that the 'Guide' as it appears on this site and the 'Guide' as it was published differ in significant ways. It makes me skeptical as to the reliability of the other works posted on that site.