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province it more immediately belongs to judge of the fitness of ministers, observe the tenour of his discourse. They watch over it for its authority; that is, they judge by its spiritual influence on the mind, whether it be such as corresponds with that which may be presumed to come from the spirit of God. If the new preacher delivers any thing that appears exceptionable, and continues to do so, it is the duty of the elders to speak to him in private, and to desire him to discontinue his services to the church. But if nothing exceptionable occurs, nothing is said to him, and he is allowed to deliver himself publicly at future meetings. In process of time, if, after repeated attempts in the office of the ministry, the new preacher should have given satisfactory proof of his gifts, he is reported to the monthly meeting to which he belongs. And this meeting, if satisfied with his ministry, acknowledges him as a minister, and then recommends him to the meeting of ministers and elders belonging to the same. No other act than this is requisite. He receives no verbal or written appointment or power for the execution of the sacerdotal office. It may be observed also, that he neither gains any authority, nor loses any privilege, by thus becoming a minister of the Gospel. Except, while in the im

mediate exercise of his calling, he is only a common member. He receives no elevation by the assumption of any nominal title, to distinguish him from the rest. Nor is he elevated by the prospect of any increase to his wordly goods in consequence of his new office; for no minister in this society receives any pecuniary emolument for his spiritual labours.

When ministers are thus approved and acknowledged, they exercise the sacred office in public assemblies, as they immediately feel themselves influenced to that work. They may engage also, with the approbation of their own monthly meeting, in the work of visiting such Quaker families as reside in the county, or quarterly meeting to which they belong. In this case they are sometimes accompanied by one of the elders of the church. These visits have the name of family visits, and are conducted in the following man


When a Quaker minister, after having commenced his journey, has entered the house of the first family, the individual members are collected to receive him. They then sit in silence for a time. As he believes himself concerned to speak, he delivers that which arises in his mind with religious freedom. The master, the wife, and the

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other branches of the family, are sometimes severally addressed. Does the minister feel that there is a departure in any of the persons present, from the principles or practice of the society, he speaks, if he believes it required of him, to these points. Is there any well disposed person under any inward discouragement; this person may be addressed in the language of consolation. All in fact are exhorted and advised as their several circumstances may seem to require. When the religious visit is over, the minister, if there be occasion, takes some little refreshment with the family, and converses with them; but no light or trifling subject is ever entered upon on these occasions. From one family he passes on to, another, till he has visited all the families in the district, for which he had felt a concern.

Though Quaker ministers frequently confine their spiritual labours to the county or quarterly meeting in which they reside, yet some of them feel an engagement to go beyond these boundaries, and to visit the society in particular counties, or in the kingdom at large. They who feel a concern of this kind, must lay it before their own monthly meetings. These meetings, if they feel it right to countenance it, grant them certificates for the purpose.

These certificates are necessa

ry; first, because ministers might not be personally known as ministers out of their own district; and secondly, because Quakers, who were not ministers, and other persons who might counterfeit the dress of Quakers, might otherwise impose upon the society, as they travelled along.


Such persons, as thus travel in the work of the ministry, or public friends as they are called, seldom or never go to an inn at any town or village, where Quakers live. They go to the houses of the latter. While at these, they attend the weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings of the district, as they happen on their route. They call also extraordinary meetings of worship. these houses they are visited by many of the members of the place and neighbourhood, who call upon and converse with them. During these times they appear to have their minds bent on the object of their mission, so that it would be difficult to divert their attention from the work in hand. When they have staid a sufficient time at a town or village, they depart. One or more guides are appointed by the particular meeting, belonging to it, to show them the way to the next place, where they propose to labour, and to convey them free of expense, and to conduct them to the house of some member there. From this

house, when their work is finished, they are conveyed and conducted by new guides to another, and so on, till they return to their respective homes.

But the religious views of the Quaker ministers are not always confined even within the boundaries of the kingdom. Many of them believe it to be their duty to travel into foreign parts. These, as their journey is now extensive, must lay their concern not only before their own monthly meeting, but before their own quarterly meeting, and before the meeting of Ministers and Elders in London also. On receiving their certificates, they depart. Some of them visit the continent of Europe, but most of them the churches in America, where they diligently labour in the vineyard, probably for a year or two, at a distance from their families and friends. And here it may be observed, that, while Quaker ministers from England are thus visiting America on a religious errand, ministers from America, impelled by the same influence, are engaging in Apostolical missions to England. These foreign visits, on both sides, are not undertaken by such ministers only as are men. Women engage in them also. They cross the Atlantic, and labour in the vineyard in the same manner. may be mentioned here, that though it be a prin


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