CHAPTER 7
BEGINNINGS OF ORGANIZATION

GEORGE Fox and his co-workers did not set out to organize a sect, any more than did Martin Luther or John Wesley; there was a world-wide scope in the thoughts and purposes of all three. The first Quaker converts, however, were drawn into close fellowship with each other by their common faith, experience and leadership. Their work, needs and the pressure of a hostile world required organized efforts.1 The earliest groups of Friends were formed largely from Baptist, Seeker and other brotherhood groups, who already enjoyed a measure of group life and organization; they existed apart from the Established Church, disclaimed any relation with the state, and had some form of "business meetings";2 and they were accustomed to meetings for worship which were non-liturgical and often silent. These elements of religious group life were taken over by the Quaker movement, somewhat as the early Christian church inherited forms of organization from the Jewish synagogue.

The early organization of the Quakers was powerfully influenced by George Fox and other dynamic leaders, especially Farnsworth, Dewsbury and Nayler.3 This leadership was not official but personal. William Penn says of Fox, "Though God had visibly clothed him with a divine preference and authority . . . yet he never abused it; but

____________________
1
Bicent. Jour., I, 28.
2
Barclay, Inner Life, pp. 352, 353.
3
BBQ, 134. Fogelklou, op. cit., p. 109.

-73-

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