Society of Friends, the original Meeting of Quakers

 

 

"The Quakers were not a sect, but are in the power of God which was before sects were."   -George Fox

 

Reality in religion is the Quaker message- a concept of religion from which all formality is absent, a statement in which the soul is in vital relationship with God. -Discipline, London Yearly Meeting 1911

 

"God through Christ, hath placed a principle in every man to inform him of his duty and to enable him to do it.  By this principle we understand something that is divine, and though in man, yet not of man, but of God: and that it came from him and leads to him all those that will be led by it." -Wm. Penn

 

The early Friends, to the scandal of the orthodoxy of the time, insisted that the heathen who had never heard of the scriptures or of Christ in the flesh could yet be saved if they were obedient to such light as they had.  -Bradshaw, The Personality of George Fox, 1919.

 

The light that shines into man's heart is not of man, and must ever be distinguished both from the conscience which it enlightens, and from the natural faculty of reason.

-London Yearly Meeting minute 1916.

 

"Conscience follows the judgment, doth not inform it: but this light, as it is received, removes the blindness of the judgment, opens the understanding, and rectifies both the judgment and the conscience.  The conscience is an excellent thing where it is rightly informed and enlightened; wherefore some of us have fitly compared it to the lantern, and the light of Christ to the candle; a lantern is useful, when a clear candle burns and shines in it, but otherwise of no use.  To the light of Christ then in the conscience, and not to man's natural conscience, it is that we continually commend men."  -Barclay

 

When I appealed to that of God in their consciences, the light of Christ Jesus in them, they could not bear to hear of it.  To that of God in your consciences I speak; let that of God in all consciences answer.  -Fox

 

Barclay distinguishes sharply between the universal saving light and the ordinary faculties of conscience and reason.  Wood, 1930/38   "As God gave two great lights to rule the outward world, the sun and the moon (greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night), so hath he given man the light of his son, a spiritual divine light, to rule him in things spiritual;  and the light of reason to rule him in things natural." -Barclay,  Apology 1678

 

"We do further rightly distinguish this from man's natural conscience; for conscience being that in man which ariseth from the natural faculties of man's soul, may be defiled and corrupted.  For example, a Turk who hath possessed himself with a false belief that it is unlawful for him to drink wine, if he do it his conscience smites him for it: but though he keep many concubines, his conscience troubles him not, because his judgment is already defiled with a false opinion that it is lawful for him to do the one and unlawful to do the other." -Barclay, Apology 1678

 

The light that shines into man's heart is not of man, and must ever be distinguished both from the conscience which it enlightens, and from the natural faculty of reason. Yearly Meeting, Epistle 1879

 

The Inward Light was not just the conscience, nor the natural light of reason: it was a divine clearness which enlightened and gradually built up the conscience, and it taught an intuitive wisdom beyond reasoned argument.   -The Quaker Message, Lucas 1948