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which correctly represent their actual situation, that such a practice may rather be deemed to be enjoined by the apostolic precept"Render to all their dues." But, to those various complimentary expressions, from the use of which Friends consider it to be their duty to abstain, there is, on the other hand, this radical objection, that, according to their general usage, and, in a great plurality of instances, they represent falsehood. To call a man Sir, or Master, who has no authority over us-to declare ourselves to be his obedient servants, when we know that we are no such thing—to style him, as a matter of course, honourable or reverend, when he is nei. ther the one nor the other, and to describe him as the most celebra. ted, though he be destitute of all celebrity-is, in our apprehension, to depart from that plain law of truth, by which the words of Christians ought ever to be strictly regulated. That truth of speech, which in the Holy Seriptures is opposed to the lying tongue, and which is so clearly and so earnestly enjoined, obviously consists in the honest and complete conformity of our words (according to their acknowledged signification) to facts and realities. Since, then these complimentary expressions are not truly conformed to facts and realities; since, according to their commonly-received meaning, they denote feelings, dispositions, or relations, in those who use them, which have no existence; they may justly be considered inconsistent with simple and unbending veracity."

Persons are sometimes heard to remark that the expressions in question are not to be understood literally-and those which appear to express subjection, are to be interpreted as indicative only of civility that their signification is either lessened or lost-that they may even be considered as meaning nothing and hence, it is easily concluded that the formal use of such terms involves no sacrifice of truth. But, the reflecting reader will scarcely fail to detect the fallacy of these observations. There are none of the expressions in question, which can fairly be interpreted in a subordinate sense. Used as they are, in a familiar manner, as current tokens of respect it is evident, that they serve such a purpose, only because of their intrinsic meaning; and that meaning is undisputed and unaltered. So far, indeed, are some of these terms from being of uncertain ap plication, or destitute of signification, that there are scarcely any 1 Rom. xiii. 7.


words in our language, of which the sense is more obvious, or more clearly fixed. Who does not know, for example, that an humble and obedient servant is a person of lowly mind and servile condition, who obeys his master-that an honourable or reverend individual is an individual truly worthy of honour or reverence that a most celebrated or most illustrious author, is an author who has attained to a very high degree of literary fame-and that the plural personal pronouns denote a plurality of persons? The meaning of such terms is plain, and cannot be disputed; and, all that can be urged on the other side of the question will, probably, be found to resolve itself into a single position; viz. that the falsehoods which these expressions represent are so customary, that they are become inefficacious that they no longer deceive. That this effect has, in a very considerable degree, taken place, may readily be admitted; but this result affords no sufficient excuse for the adoption of such a mode of speech. It may justly be contended, that the use of words, which, according their known signification, represent things untrue, constitutes a falsehood-that, however absurd or unavailing that falsehood may be, it is nevertheless real-that such a practice arises out of an evil origin—that it is, in its nature, evil—and that, although it may defeat its own ends, and lose its effect in proportion to its prevalence, it can never change its character, or cease to be inconsistent with an exact obedience to the law of Christ.

To the sincere-hearted Christian, who has, hitherto, perceived no evil in the use of a complimentary phraseology, may be addressed the remark, that there are various degrees of insincerity, and that the passage from the lesser to the greater measures of it is exceedingly easy. He who has no scruple, for example, to declare himself (without any foundation in literal truth) to be the humble, obedient, or devoted, servant of the person whom he addresses, is in danger, as it appears to me, of advancing a step further, and of making other less formal professions of civility or service, which he is equally without the intention of fulfilling. Thus his sense of truth is gradually weakened; his feelings and intentions, and the words by which he expresses them, become more and more dissonant; and, at length, his communications assume the character of insincerity in so great a degree, that our dependance upon them for practical purposes is very materially shaken. Scarcely any one, who is conversant with the business of the world, can fail to have

remarked how easily these consequences result from the sacrifice, however formal, of literal truth. It may, indeed, be admitted, that this remark will not apply, in any great degree, to the more common and less conspicuous terms of compliment; but all these expressions are of the same nature, they appertain to the same principle, and they naturally lead to one another. On the whole, therefore, it may fairly be concluded, that the line of true safety, in reference to the present subject, must be drawn at the bottom of the whole system, and must preclude the use, in conversation and addresses, of any expressions which are merely complimentary, and which, according to their plain and acknowledged meaning, represent any falsity.

There is another particular, connected with the plainness of speech peculiar to Friends, of which a very brief notice will be sufficient. It is their practice, as my reader is probably well aware, to avoid the commonly-adopted names of months and days, and to indicate those periods by numbers, according to the order of their succession: as, the first, second, or third month: the first, second, or third day, &c. Their reason for making this alteration is simple and forcible. All the days of the week, and many of the months of the year, have received the names, by which they are usually described, in honour of false gods. Thus, January is the month of Janus, Thursday the day of Thor, &c. This relic of heathenism is not only needless and indecorous, but, according to our sentiments, is opposed to the tenor and spirit, as well as to the letter, of those divine commandments, addressed to the Israelites, which forbade the use of the names of false gods, and every other the slightest approach to idolatrous practices.' Idolatry, was, indeed, a sin which easily beset that ancient people, and to which, in the present enlightened state of society, Christians are but little tempted. But, it will scarcely be denied, that the various precepts contained in the Old Testament, on the subject, form a part of that law which changes not; and that the standard of truth, in this particular, was elevated rather than lowered by the introduction of the Gospel dispensation. Although, therefore, we may now be in no danger of falling away into the worship of false gods, it appears that the maintenance of a custom which had its origin in such a worship, and by which a verbal honour is still given to ideal deities, or to devils, is inconsistent

1 See Exod. xxiii. 13; Josh. xxiii. 7; comp. Deut. xii. 3: Ps. xvi. 4, &c.

with the pure piety and unmixed devotion of the simple Christian.'


The more consistent part of the Society of Friends consider it to be their duty to uphold the standard of plainness, not only in speech, but in manners, or behaviour. Their general views, on this branch of our subject, are in full accordance with those of all the humble followers of a crucified Redeemer. Where is the seriously-minded Christian, who will not allow, that servility, vanity, and affectation in manners, afford a sure indication of a worldly spirit, and of a heart not yet converted from darkness to light; and, on the other hand, that a true simplicity in our carriage toward other men, whether they are our inferiors, our equals, or our superiors, is one of the most genuine ornaments of the Christian character ?

There is also another part of plainness in behaviour, respecting which Friends are on common ground with other Christians; I mean the absence of levity-religious seriousness. An innocent and wholesome cheerfulness is far, indeed, from being precluded by the law of Christ: for, what persons have so true an acquaintance with pure pleasure, as those upon whom are shining the beams of the Son of Righteousness; or, who are so much at ease and at liberty to enjoy themselves, as they who have obeyed the calls of duty, and have trodden the path of the cross? While this allowance may be made without reserve, it is, perhaps, no less evident that a lightness and wantonness of manners, and an ill-regulated, extravagant, mirth, are totally at variance with the great features of the Christian life. No one, surely, will be found to indulge in them, who entertains any adequate notions of the importance of his moral condition, of the great purposes for which he is called into

1 May it not be considered, in some degree, discreditable to the religious profession of our country, that the votes of the British Parliament, passed as they are, after the daily recitation of prayers addressed to the ever-blessed Jehovah, in the name of Christ, should, when printed, uniformly bear about them the stamp of classical heathenism? These documents are dated in Latin: "Die Veneris, Quarto Martis; Die Mercurii, Secundo Julii," &c,

being, of the immortality of his soul, and of the terrors and hopes respectively set before him in the Christian revelation.

Having made these remarks on that simple and serious deportment which all real Christians endeavour to maintain, I may proceed to remark, that there are certain particulars of conduct and manners, in which Friends observe a plainness of behaviour, in a great degree peculiar to themselves. We conceive it to be our duty to abstain from the use of those obeisances, upon which, in the world, and more especially in the upper classes of society, a scrupulous attention is very generally bestowed. In presenting ourselves before our fellow-creatures, we believe it right to avoid the submissive inflection of the body and the taking off of the hat, as a token of personal homage.

The principles on which is founded our objection to these practices are, in part, the same as those which have been stated under the last head. The bowing-down of the body and the pulling-off of the hat, in honour of man, are actions perfectly coincident with a servile and complimentary phraseology. Words in the one case, and actions in the other, are obviously intended to denote the same thing; namely, that the person addressing submits himself to the superior dignity and authority of the person addressed. Whether, then, it be by our expressions or by our carriage that we cherish and foment the vanity one of another-whether the complimentary falsehood be spoken or acted-we cannot but entertain the sentiment, that, in adopting, in either way, the customs prevalent in the world, we should be departing from that simplicity and godly sincerity by which our conversation among men ought ever to be regulated.

There is, however, another reason, of a very substantial nature, why Friends conceive it to be their duty to avoid some of these obeisances; namely, that they are the very signs by which Christians are accustomed to denote their submission to the Almighty himself. This is generally understood to be the case, more particularly with the taking-off of the hat, as a mark of homage-a practice usual among Friends, as well as among other Christians, on certain occasions of a religious nature. When we approach God in prayer, or address others in his name, we uniformly take off the hat, and kneel or stand uncovered before him. It is probable that, in every age of the world, there have been certain customary external

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