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church of Christ was to be under his governie ment, and built upon him, the only true foundation; consequently its members were not left to any uncertainty; they had the spirit of Christ; for according to the Scriptures, “ if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his." Rom. viii. 9. The true church therefore consisting of living members influenced by the holy Head, they necessarily know when the ministry proceeds from the spirit. And although it may be possible for human learning and parts' to become very correct in the knowledge of the letter; yet the ministry of the spirit not accompanying the letter, these never can rise any higher, unless they receive the gift of the ministry. This gift we believe is only at the disposal of him from whom all perfect gifts proceed, and not in the power of any man or set of men to confer upon another. We believe also that the gift of the spirit is not confined to nation or sex, that it is bestowed upon all; and that the gift of the ministry is bestowed upon females as well as males: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond
nor free, there is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ.” Gal. iii. 26, 27, 28. If then we are, when baptized into Christ, all one in him (and we believe no one can be a minister of Christ until baptized into him), whether male or female, we all receive of his spirit; and those whom it may please him to put into the ministry will be to the edification of the body of Christ, which is his church. That females were to receive the gift of prophecy appears from the following: “I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy.” Joel ii. 28. The apostle Peter, on the memorable day of Penticost, makes use of this same passage, confirming the right of prophecy to the female sex. And though Paul for the purpose of guarding the church in his day from unnecessary questions, and a consequent disturbance of the solemnity, enjoined that a woman should not be suffered to speak in it, but should enquire of her husband at home; yet it appears plain that he had no view to forbid them the right to minister when they should be thereunto called; for we find he has instructed them in what manner they should appear. every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with
her head uncovered dishonoreth her head." 1 Cor. xi. 5. He has also spoken by way of approbation of women in the ministry of the gospel : “And I intreat thee also, true yoke fellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also and with other my fellow labourers whose names are in the book of life.” Philip.iv. 3. The society of Friends being satisfied that females were called to the ministry amongst them, and have ing every necessary, assurance that it was agreeable to the wise administration of the Head of the church, have not believed that they should be excluded, but own them in the ministry, and are often, edified by their labours in the gospel. One of the duties which we are satisfied is vested in the church, is a careful attention to this subject. Those who have had ex. perience and have long stood firm in obedience to the spirit of Christ, are necessarily bound to take notice of appearances in the ministry; and where any come forth who have mistaken their gift, timely to counsel and caution them. Thus the living members are: instrumental to preserve all in their proper places : instructing one another in the opening of that light which makes manifest. But though
We are satisfied that male and female are called to the ministry; we do not believe they are to be paid for their labours, or to preach by contract. But agreeably to the eharge of Christ to his disciples, “ Freely ye have received, freely give.” Mat. x. 1. We cannot therefore own any in the ministry who disobey this command of Christ. But as it was the duty of the church in the primitive day to give to the poor amongst them, so we believe we are also in duty bound to provide for our poor, as well ministers as others. Although we esteem a living and authorized ministry, and believe it is a blessing to the church, yet as we consider all true ministers to be the servants of Christ, who only can render effectual their services, so we are satisfied that they must necessarily wait for his instruction in every step they take in this solemn duty. But should any rise and attempt to speak in his name, under the influence or choice of the creaturely will, without his spirit accompanying them, we believe such would contribute to their own condemnation, and by no means profit the people. Therefore. as we do not unite with those who are hire. lings, so neither do we own such to be the ministers of Christ, who profess to be always
ready, and who make it their rale to preacha * at all times when an assembly are gathered.
OF DIVINE WORSHIP.
As it was the practice of the primitive believers in Christ to meet together for the purpose of worshipping him, so we believe it remains to be a duty enjoined upon all his followers down to the present day. They were formerly instructed on this important occasion, and encouraged to believe by the promise of Christ, “ that where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt. xviii. 20. We therefore believe that it is our indispensable duty publicly to assemble ourselves together in order to worship the living God. But our manner of meeting in silence, has been spoken of as being no where warranted by the example of primitive believers, or the testimony of the holy scriptures. But as the gospel dispensation is purely spiritual, and as no formal acts without the spirit can constitute divine worship; we therefore are satisfied that we ought to