« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
forbidden, gives them a rule to which he expects them to conform, when they should either prophesy or pray: but to give women a rule to be observed during their preaching, and to forbid them to preach at the same time, is an absurdity too great to be fixed upon the most ordinary person, and much more upon an inspired Apostle.
That the objection has no foundation, the Quakers believe again, from the consideration that the ministry of women, in the days of the Apostles, is recognized in the New Testament, and is recognized also, in some instances, as an acceptable service.
Of the hundred and twenty persons who were assembled on the day of pentecost, it is said by St. Luke that some were women. That these received the Holy Spirit as well as the men, and that they received it also for the purpose of prophesying or preaching, is obvious from the same Evangelist. For first, he says, that "all were filled with the Holy Ghost." And secondly, he says, that Peter stood up, and observed concerning the circumstance of inspiration having been given to the women upon this occasion, that Joel's prophecy was then fulfilled, in which were to be found these words: "And it shall come to pass in the last days,
s Acts, Chap. 1.
that your sons and your daughters shall prophesy -and on my servants and handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my spirit; and they shall prophesy."
That women preached afterwards, or in times subsequent to the day of pentecost, they collect from the same Evangelist. For he mentions Philip, who had four daughters, all of whom prophesied at Cæsarea. Now by prophesying, if we accept St. Paul's interpretation of it, is meant a speaking to edification, and exhortation, and comfort, under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It was also a speaking to the church: it was also the speaking of one person to the church, while the others remained silent.
That women also preached or prophesied in the church of Corinth, the Quakers show from the testimony of St. Paul: for he states the manner in which they did it, or that they prayed and prophesied with their heads uncovered.
That women also were ministers of the Gospel in other places; and that they were highly serviceable to the church, St. Paul confesses with great satisfaction, in his Epistle to the Romans, in which he sends his salutation to different persons, for whom he professed an affection or an esteem: " thus
t Acts 21. 9.
u 1 Cor. 14.
▼ 1 Cor. 11. 5.
w Romans 16. 1.
"I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church, which is at Cenchrea." Upon this passage the Quakers usually make two observations. The first is, that the Greek word, which is translated servant, should have been rendered minister. It is translated minister, when applied by St. Paul to y Timothy, to denote his office. It is also translated minister, when applied to St. Paul and Apollos. And there is no reason why a change should have been made in its meaning in the present case. The second is, that History has handed down Phoebe as a woman eminent for her Gospel labours. "She was celebrated, says Theodoret, throughout the world; for not only the Greeks and the Romans, but the Barbarians, knew her likewise."
St. Paul also greets Priscilla and Aquila. He greets them under the title of fellow-helpers or fellow-labourers in Jesus Christ. But this is the same title which he bestows upon Timothy, to denote his usefulness in the church. Add to which, that Priscilla and Aquila were the persons of whom St. Luke says, "that they assisted Apollos in
y 1 Thess. 3. 2.
z 1 Cor. 3. 5.
a In Universâ Terrâ celebris facta est; nec eam soli Romani, &c.
b Acts 13. 24. 26.
expounding to him the way of God more perfectly."
In the same epistle he recognizes also other women, as having been useful to him in Gospel-labours. Thus "Salute Tryphena, and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord." "Salute the beloved Persis, who laboured much in the Lord."
From these, and from other observations, which might be made upon this subject, the Quakers are of opinion, that the ministry of the women was as acceptable, in the time of the Apostles, as the ministry of the men. And as there is no prohibition against the preaching of women in the New Testament, they see no reason why they should not be equally admissible and equally useful as ministers at the present day.
Way in which Quakers are admitted into the ministry-When acknowledged, they preach, like other pastors, to their different congregations or meetings-They visit occasionally the different families in their own counties or quarterly meetings-Manner of these family-visits-Sometimes travel as ministers through particular counties or the kingdom at large-Sometimes into foreign partsWomen share in these labours-Expense of voyages on such occasions defrayed out of the national stock.
THE way in which Quakers, whether men or
women, who conceive themselves to be called to the office of the ministry, are admitted into it, so as to be acknowledged by the society to be ministers of the Quaker-church, is simply as follows.
Any member has a right to rise up in the meetings for worship, and to speak publicly. If any one therefore should rise up and preach, who has never done so before, he is heard. The congregation are all witnesses of his doctrine. The elders, however, who may be present, and to whose