Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Quakers adopt outward Government and Rules

By all which examples we are instructed how strongly we are to adhere to the Public Communion of the Church, and to suspect all pretended Inspirations which would draw us away from it.

But the Quaker-Notion of the Light within, and their pretence to Infallibility, as consequential to it, does totally root up and destroy all Church-Government and Order; for if the Light within be God, it must be self-sufficient, and not need the Rules or Directions of any other: and who can Dictate to Infallibility, or pretend to Limit it? Upon this ground the Quakers broke off from the Church, and refused to be under the Government of any outward Authority, but Resolv’d themselves each into his own Breast, to the Light there within, and to seek no further. And thus they stood several Years in the Infancy of their State, till they began to grow Numerous and Rich; and then they found the same necessity upon themselves which they had declaimed against in others, to set up Church Authority above the Light within particular persons, else all had gone into Confusion; though this laid them under all the objections they had made against the Church, and effectually overthrows their pretence to Infallibility, or the sufficiency of their Light within. Therefore I have made their church authority another Topic whereby to disprove, by their own Practice and Arguments, their pretended Infallibility; and I would have made a distinct section of this head of Church Government, but that the application of it being to this point of Infallibility, I have chosen rather to give it in the last Number of this Section.

Source: The Snake in the Grass by Charles Leslie, pg 58, 59. Second Edition, 1697

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