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William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

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18. Honour is used for service and esteem to
all states and capacities : honour all men. 19.
Yet there is a limitation in a sense to the
righteous by the Psalmist ; to honour the godly,
and contemn the wicked. 20. Little of tliis
honour found in the world's fashions. 21. Tlie

29



226



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



third reason against them is, they mock and
cheat people of the honour due to them. 22.
The author and his friends are for true honour.
23. The fourth reason is, that if the fashions
carried true honour in them, the debauched
could honour men, which cannot be. 24. The
fifth reason is, that then men of spite, hypocrisy
and revenge, could pay honour, which is impos-
sible. 25. The sixth reason is drawn from the
antiquity of true honour. 26. The seventh
reason is from the rise of the vain honour, and
the teachers of it, wherein the clown, upon a
comparison, excels the courtier for a man of
breeding. 27. The eighth reason against these
honours is, that they may be had for money,
which true honour cannot be. 28. The ninth
and last reason is, because the Holy Scripture
expressly forbids them to true Christians. 29.
As in the case of Mordecai. 30. A passage
between a bishop and the author in this matter.
31. Likewise the case of Elihu in Job. 32. Also
the doctrine of Christ to his disciples. 33. Paul
against conforming to the world's fashions. 34.
Peter against fashioning ourselves according to
the world's lusts. 35. James against respect to
persons. 36. Yet Christians are civil and man-
nerly in a right way. 37. But unlike the world
in the nature of it, and motives to it. 38. Tes-
timonies in favour of our dissent and practice.

1. The third evil effect of pride is, an ex-
cessive desire of personal honour and respect.

Pride loves power, that she might have
homage, and that every one may give her
honour ; and such as are wanting in this, ex-
pose themselves to her anger and revenge.
As pride, so this evil effect, is more or less
diffused through corrupt mankind ; and has
been the occasion of great animosity and mis-
chief in the world.

2. We have a remarkable instance in holy
writ, of what malice and revenge the heart of
proud man is capable, when not gratified in
this particular. It almost cost Mordecai his
neck, and the whole people of the Jews their
lives, because he would not bow himself to
Haman, who was a great favourite to king
Ahasuerus. And the practice of the world,
even in our own age, will tell us, that not
striking a flag or sail ; and not saluting certain
ports or garrisons ; yea, less things, have given
rise to mighty wars between states and king-
doms, to the expense of much treasure, and
more blood. The like has followed about the
precedency of princes, and their ambassadors.
What envy, quarrels and mischiefs, have
happened among private persons, upon con-
ceit that they have not been respected to their
degree of quality among men, with hat, knee.



or title ; even duels and murders not a few.
In France* I was myself once set upon about
eleven at night, as I was walking to my lodg-
ing, by a person who way-laid me, with his
naked sword in his hand, and demanded satis-
faction of me, for taking no notice of him, at
a time when he civilly saluted me with his
hat; though the truth was, I saw him not when
he did it. Suppose he would have killed me,
for he made several passes at me, or I in my
defence had killed him, when I disarmed him,
(as the earl of Crawford's servant who was
by saw) I ask any man of understanding or
conscience, if the whole round of ceremony
were worth the life of a man, considering
the dignity of his nature, and the importance
of his life, both with respect to God his crea-
tor, himself, and the benefit of civil society 1

3. But the truth is, the world, under its de-
generacy from God, is as much out of the
way, as to true honour and respect, as in other
things ; for mere shows, and those vain ones
too, are much of the honour and respect ex-
pi'essed in the world. A man may say con-
cerning them, as the apostle speaks of science,
that is, they are honours and respects, " false-
ly so called ;" having nothing of the nature
of true honour and respect in them ; so pride
only loves and seeks them, and is affronted
and angry for want of them. Did men know
a true Christian state, and the honour that
comes from above, which Jesus teaches, they
would not covet these vanities, inuch less in-
sist upon them.

4. And here give me leave to set down the
reason more particularly, why I, and the peo-
ple with whom I walk in religious society,
have declined as vain and foolish, several
worldly customs and fashions of respect, much
in request at this time of day. I beseech thee,
reader, to lay aside all prejudice and scorn,
and with the meekness and inquiry of a sober
and discreet mind, read and weigh what may
be alleged in our defence : and if we are mis-
taken, rather pity and inform, than despise
and abuse our simplicity.

5. The first and most pressing motive upon
our spirits, to decline the practice of these cus-
toms of pulling off the hat, bowing the body
or knee, and giving people gaudy titles and
epithets, in our salutations and addresses, was,
that sight and sense, which God, by his light
and spirit, has given us of the Christian world's
apostacy from God, and the cause and effects
of that great and lamentable defection. In the
discovery of this, the sense of our state came
first before us, and we were made to see him
whom we pierced, and to mourn for it. A day



* Which was before I professed the communion
I am now of.



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



227



of humiliation overtook us, and we fainted to
that pleasure and delight we once loved. Now
our works went beforehand to judgment, a
thorough search was made, and the words of
the prophet became well understood by us :
" Who can abide the day of his coming, and
who shall stand when he appears 1 He is like
a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap." And,
as the apostle said, " If the righteous scarcely
be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sin-
ner appear?" " Wherefore," says the apostle
Paul, " knowing the terrors of the Lord, we
persuade men :" to do what ? To come out
of the nature, spirit, lusts and customs of this
wicked world : remembering Jesus has said,
that for every idle word man speaketh, he
shall give an account in the day of judgment.
This concern of mind and dejection of spi-
rit, was visible to our neighbours ; and we
are not ashamed to own, that the terrors of
the Lord took such hold upon us, because we
had long, under a profession of religion,
grieved God's Holy Spirit, which reproved us
in secret for our disobedience ; that as we ab-
horred to think of continuing in our old sins,
so we feared to use lawful things, lest we
should use them unlawfully. The words of
the prophet were fulfilled on us : " Wherefore
do I see every man with his hands on his
loins?" Many a pang and throe have we
had; our heaven seemed to melt away, and
our earth to be removed out of its place ; and
we were like men, as the apostle said, " upon
whom the ends of the world were come."
God knows it was so in that day ; the bright-
ness of his coming to our souls discovered,
and the breath of his mouth destroyed, every
plant he had not planted in us. He was a
swift witness against every evil thought, and
every unfruitful work ; and, blessed be his
name, we were not offended in him, or at his
righteous judgments. Now it was, that a
grand inquest came upon our whole life :
every word, thought and deed was brought to
judgment, the root examined, and its tendency
considered. " The lust of the eye, the lust of
the flesh, and the pride of life," were opened
to our view ; the mystery of iniquity in us.
By knowing the evil leaven, and its divers evil
effects in ourselves, how it had wrought, and
what it had done, we came to have a sense
and knowledge of the states of others : and
what we could not, nay, dare not live and con-
tinue in ourselves, as being manifested to us
to proceed from an evil principle in the time
of man's degeneracy, we could not comply
with in others. I say, and that in the fear
and presence of the all-seeing just God, the
honours and respect of the world, among other
things, became burdensome to us : we saw
they had no being in paradise, that they grew



in the night-time, and came from an evil
root ; and that they only delighted a vain and
ill mind, and that much pride and folly were
in them.

6. We easily foresaw the storms of reproach
that would fall upon us, for our refusing to
practise them ; yet we were so far from being
shaken in our judgment, that it abundantly
confirmed our sense of them. For so exalted
a thing is man, and so loving of honour and
respect even from his fellow-creatures, that so
soon as in tenderness of conscience towards
God, we could not perfoi-m them, as formerly,
he became more concerned than for all the
rest of our differences, however material to
salvation. So that let the honour of God, and
our own salvation, do as they will, it was
greater heresy and blasphemy to deny him
the homage of the hat, and his usual titles of
honour ; to refuse to pledge his health, or play
with him at cards and dice, than any other
principle we maintained.

7. Though it be frequently objected, that
we seek to set up outward forms of precise-
ness, and that it is but as a green ribbon, the
badge of the party, to be better known ; I do
declare in the fear of Almighty God, that
these are but the imaginations and vain con-
structions of men, who have not had that
sense, which the Lord hath given us, of what
arises from the right and the wrong root in
man. And when such censurers of our sim-
plicity shall be inwardly touched and awakened,
by the mighty power of God, and see things as
they are in their proper natures and seeds, they
will then know their own burden, and easily
acquit us without the imputation of folly or
hypocrisy herein.

8. To such as say that we strain at small
things, which becomes not people of so fair
pretensions to liberty and freedom of spirit ;
I answer with meekness, truth and sobriety ;
first, nothing is small which God makes matter
of conscience to do, or leave undone. Next,
inconsiderable as they are made by those who
object to our practice, they are so greatl}^ set
by, that for our not giving them, we are beat-
en, imprisoned, refused justice, &c. to sav no-
thing of the derision and reproach which have
been frequently flung at us on this account.
So that if we had wanted a proof of the truth
of our inward belief and judgment, the very
practice of those who opposed it would have
abundantly confirmed us. But let it suffice
to us, that " wisdom is justified of her chil-
dren :" we only passively omit the practice
of what we are taught to believe is vain and
unchristian, in which we are negative to
forms ; for we leave off", we do not set up
forms.

9. The world is so set upon the ceremoni-



228



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



ous part and outside of things, that it has
pleased the wisdom of God in all ages, to
bring forth his dispensations with very differ-
ent appearances to their settled customs ;
thereby contradicting human inventions, and
proving the integrity of his confessors. Nay,
it is a test upon the world : it tries what pa-
tience, kindness, sobriety and moderation they
have. If the rough and homely outside of
truth stumble not their minds from its recep-
tion, whose beauty is within, it makes a great
discovery to them. He who refuses a precious
jewel, because it is presented in a plain box,
will never esteem it to its value, nor set his
heart upon keeping it ; therefore I call it a
test, because it shows where the hearts and
affections of people are, after all their great
pretences to more excellent things.

10. It is also a trial upon God's people, in
that they are put upon the discovery of their
contradiction to the customs generally re-
ceived and esteemed in the world ; which
exposes them to the wonder, scorn, and abuse
of the multitude. But there is an hidden
treasure in it : it inures us to reproach, it
learns us to despise the false reputation of the
world, and silently to undergo the contradic-
tion and scorn of its votaries ; and finally,
with a Christian meekness and patience, to
overcome their injuries and reproaches. Add
to this ; that it weans thee from thy familiars ;
for by being slighted of them as a ninney, a
fool, a fanatic, &c. thou art delivered from a
greater temptation, and that is, the power and
influence of their vain conversation. Last of
all, it enlists thee in the company of the
blessed, mocked, persecuted Jesus ; to fight
under his banner, against the world, the flesh,
and the devil : that after having faithfully
suffered with him in a state of humiliation,
thou mayest reign with him in a state of
glorification ; who glorifies his poor, despised,
constant followers, with the glory he had with
his Father before the world began. This
was the first reason of our declining to practise
the before-mentioned honours, respects, &c.

11. The second reason, why we decline
and refuse the present use of these customs
in our addresses and salutations is, from the
consideration of their very emptiness and
vanity ; that there is nothing of true honour
and respect in them, supposing them not to be
evil. And as religion and worship are degene-
rated into form and ceremony, and even they
not according to primitive practice, so are
honour and respect too ; there being little of
these in the world, as well as of the other ;
and to be sui'e, in these customs, none that is
justifiable by Scripture or reason.

12. In Scripture we find the word honour
often diversly used. First, for obedience : as



when God saith, "they that honour me;" tliat
is, that keep my commandments. " Honour
the King ;" that is, obey the King. " Honour
thy father and mother ,*" that is, saith the
apostle to the Ephesians, " Obey thy father
and thy mother in the Lord, for that is right."
Take heed to their precepts and advice ; pre-
supposing always, that rulers and parents
command lawful things ; else they dishonour
themselves to enjoin unlawful things ; and
subjects and children dishonour their superi-
ors and parents, in complying with their un-
righteous commands. Also, Christ uses this
word so, when he says, " I have not a devil,
but I honour my Father, and ye dishonour
me :" that is, I do my Father's will, in what
I do ; but you will not hear me ; you reject
my counsel, and will not obey my voice. It
was not refusing hat and knee, or empty titles ;
it was disobedience ; resisting him whom God
had sent, and not believing him. This was
the dishonour he taxed them with ; using him
as an impostor, whom God had ordained for
the salvation of the world. Of these dishon-
ourers, there are but too many at this day.
Christ has another saying to the same effect ;
" That all men should honour the Son, even
as they honour the Father ; and he that hon-
oureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father,
which hath sent him :" They who hearken
not to Christ, and do not worship, nor obey
him, do not hear, worship, nor obey God.
As they pretended to believe in God, so they
were to believe in his Son ; he told them so.
This is manifested in the case of the centurion,
whose faith was so much commended by Christ,
where, giving an account of his honourable
station, he tells him, " He had soldiers under
his authority ; and when he said to one. Go,
he went ; to another, Come, he came ; and to
a third. Do this, he did it." In this he placed
the honour of his capacity, and the respect of
his soldiers, and not in hats and legs : nor are
such customs yet in use amongst soldiers,
being effeminate, and unworthy of masculine
gravity.

13. In the next place, honour is used for
preferment to trust and eminent employments.
The Psalmist, speaking to God, says, " For
thou hast crowned him with glory and hon-
our:" again, " Honour and majesty hast thou
laid on him :" that is, God had given Christ
power over all his enemies, and exalted him
to great dominion. Thus the wise man inti-
mates, when he says, " The fear of the Lord
is the instruction of wisdom, and before hon-
our is humility." That is, before advancement
or preferment, is humility. He has this say-
ing also, "As snow in summer, and as rain in
harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool :"
that is, a fool is not capable of the dignity of



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



229



trust, employment, or preferment ; these re
quire virtue, wisdom, integrity, diligence, of
which fools are unfurnished. And yet, if the
respects and titles in use amongst us, are to
go for marks of honour, Solomon's proverb
will take place upon the practice of this age,
which yields so much of that honour to a
great many of Solomon's fools ; who are not
only silly men, but wicked too ; such as re-
fuse instruction, and hate the fear of the Lord;
which only maketh one of his wise men.

14. As virtue and wisdom are the same, so
folly and wickedness. Thus Shechem's con-
duct to Dinah, Jacob's daughter, is called :
so is the rebellion and wickedness of the
Israelites in Joshua. The Psalmist expresses
it thus : " My wounds stink because of my
foolishness ;" that is, his sin. And, " The
Lord will speak peace to his saints, that they
turn not again to folly," that is, to evil. " His
own iniquities," says Solomon, "shall take the
wicked himself, and he shall be holden with
the cords of his sins : he shall die without in-
struction, and in the greatness of his folly, he
shall go astray." Christ puts foolishness with
blasphemy, pride, thefts, murders, adulteries,
wickedness, &c. I was the more willing to
add these passages, to show the difference that
there is between the mind of the Holy Ghost,
and the notion those ages had of fools who
deserve not honour, and that which is gene-
rally meant by fools and folly in our time :
that we may the better understand the dispro-
portion there is between honour, as then un-
derstood by the Holy Ghost, and those who
were led thereby ; and the apprehension of it,
and practice of these latter ages of professed
Christians.

15. But honour is also taken for reputation,
and so it is understood with us : "A gracious
woman (says Solomon) retaineth honour ,-"
that is, she keeps her credit ; and, by her vir-
tue, maintains her reputation of sobriety and
chastity. In another place, " It is an honour
for a man to cease from strife ;" that is, it
makes for his reputation, as a wise and good
man. Christ uses the word thus, where he
says, " A prophet is not without honour,
save in his own country :" that is, he has
credit, and is valued, save at home. The
apostle to the Thessalonians has a saying to
the same effect : " That every one of you
should know how to possess his vessel in
sanctification and honour ;" that is, in chastity
and sobriety. In all which, nothing of the
fashions by us declined is otherwise concerned,
than to be totally excluded.

16. There is yet another use of the word
[honour] in Scripture, and that is to functions
and capacities : as, " an elder is worthy of
double honour :" that is, he deserves double



esteem, love and respect ; being holy, merci-
ful, temperate, peaceable, humble, &c. es-
pecially one who " labours in word and doc-
trine." So Paul recommends Epaphroditus
to the Philippians ; " Receive him therefore in
the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in
reputation." As if he had said, let them be
valued and regarded by you in what they say
and teach. This is the truest and most natu-
ral and convincing way of testifying respect
to a man of God, as Christ said to his disci-
ples, " If ye love me, ye will keep my say-
ings." The apostle bids us, " to honour
widows indeed ;" that is, such women as are
of chaste lives, and exemplary virtue, are
honourable. Marriage is honourable too, with
this proviso, that the bed be undefiled: so that
the honour of marriage, is the chastity of the
married.

17. The word honour in the Scriptures is
also used of superiors to inferiors ,* which is
plain in that of Ahasuerus to Haman: "What
shall be done to the man whom the king de-
lighteth to honour ?" AVhy, he mightily ad-
vanced him, as he did Mordecai afterwards.
And more particularly it is said, " That the
Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and
honour:" that is, they escaped the persecution
that was like to fall upon them, and by means
of Esther and Mordecai, enjoyed, not only
peace, but favour and countenance too. In
this sense, the apostle Peter advised men, " to
honour their wives ;" that is, to love, value,
cherish, countenance and esteem them, for
their fidelity and affection to their husbands ;
for their tenderness and care over their chil-
dren, and for their diligence and circumspec-
tion in their families : no ceremonious be-
haviour, or gaudy titles, are requisite to
express this honour. Thus God honours holy
men : " They that honour me, I will honour ;
and they that despise me, shall be lightly
esteemed :" that is, I will do good to them, I
will love, bless, coimtenance, and prosper
them who honour and obey me : But they
that despise me, that resist my spirit, and
break my law, shall be lightly esteemed, or
accounted of: they shall not find favour with
God, nor with righteous men. So we see it
daily among men : if the great visit, or con-
cern themselves to aid the poor, we say, that
such a great man did me the honour to come
and see or help me in my need.

18. I shall conclude this with one passage
more, and that is a very large, plain, and
pertinent one : " Honour all men, and love
the brotherhood :" that is, love is above hon-
our, which is the esteem and regard thou
owest to all men ; and if all, then thy infe-
riors. But why, for all men? Because they
are the creation of God, and the noblest part



280



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



of his creation too ; they are also thy own
kind : be natural, have compassion, and assist
them with what thou canst ; be ready to per-
form any real respect, and yield them any
good or countenance thou canst.

19. Yet there seems a limitation to this
command, honour all men, in that passage of
godly David, " Who shall abide in thy taber-
nacle '.' who shall dwell in thy holy hill ? He
in whose eyes a vile person is contemned ; but
he honoureth them that fear the Lord." Here
honour is confined to godly persons, and dis-
honour is made the duty of the righteous to
the wicked, and a mark of their being righte-
ous, that they dishonour, slight, or disregard
them. To conclude this Scripture inquiry
after honour, I shall contract it under thi'ee
capacities ; superiors, equals and inferiors :
honour to superiors, is obedience ; to equals,
love; to inferiors, countenance and help: that
is honour after God's mind, and the holy peo-
ple's fashion of old.

20. But how little of all this is to be seen
in a poor empty hat, bow, cringe, or gaudy
flattering title? Let the truth-speaking witness
of God, in all mankind judge. For I must
not appeal to corrupt, pi'oud, and self-seeking
man, for the good or evil of these customs ;
which, as little as he would render them, are
loved and sought by him and he is out of hu-
mour and angry, if he has themi not.

This is our second reason, why we refuse
to practise the accustomed ceremonies of hon-
our and respect, because we find no such notion
or expression of honour and respect, recom-
mended to us by the Holy Ghost in the Scrip-
tures of truth.

21. Our third reason, for not using them as
testimonies of honour and respect is, because
there is no discovery of honour or respect
made by them : it is rather eluding and
equivocating it ; cheating people of the hon-
our or respect that is due to them ; giving
them nothing in the show of something.
There is in them no obedience to superiors ;
no love to equals ; no help or countenance to
inferiors.

22. We declare to the whole world, that
we are for true honour and respect : we hon-
our the king, our parents, our masters, our
magistrates, our landlords, one another ; yea
all men, after God's way, used by holy men
and women of old time : but we refuse their
customs, as vain and deceitful; not answering
the end they are used for.

23. But there is yet more to be said : we
find that vain, loose, and worldly people, are
the great lovers and practisers of them, and
most deride our simplicity of behaviour. Now
we assuredly know, from the sacred testimo-
nies, that those people cannot give true hon-



our, who live in a dishonourable spirit ; they



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 50 of 105)