The Quakers

By Hugh Barbour; J. William Frost | Go to book overview

9
A SPIRITUAL EXISTENCE

THE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY CONTEXT

At first sight the stance of Friends in 1725 appears to bear little relationship with the spontaneous outbursts that created and sustained Quakers in the 1650s. Denouncing injustice, going naked for a sign, calling for political transformation, interrupting church services, pronouncing judgment on society, welcoming the imminent millennium, were either absent or little emphasized after 1700. Far from identifying with the poor and outcast, Quakers viewed these groups as social problems to be helped by workhouses and relief. Friends had become respectable artisans, farmers, and merchants with only a smattering of the poor or gentry.

The transformation in relations with the external world was paralleled by changes within the Meeting. Early Friends used a minimum of organization, which was designed to ease the sufferings of those imprisoned and to coordinate the work of the traveling ministers. By 1725 virtually every part of Quaker procedures had been standardized and written down in books of "Christian and Brotherly Advices," and a Friend's life from birth until death took place under a maze of regulations. Exuberance gave way to steady habits.

The causes of these changes lie in the heritage bequeathed by the first generation, the evolution of the outside society faced by Friends, and the Meetings' creative response to new conditions. The early eighteenth century was not a time of regression or decline from the religion of the First Publishers of Truth. In all religious movements, the high drama of the foundation eventually gives way to coalescing, definition, and preservation of the traditions.

From the beginnings of the movement, Friends had insisted that the governance of the Light led to strict moral behavior. Quakers were just as "puritanical" as other religious radicals and had insisted upon due order within meetings for worship and Christian behavior in the outside world. Precise standards for be-

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The Quakers
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Denominations in America ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Series Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Part One the Quakers: A History of Friends in America 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2: The Religious Setting of the Early Friends 11
  • 3 - The Lamb's War and the Awakening of the North of England 35
  • 4: Quaker Worship and Ethics and Their Transformation, 1652-1662 39
  • 5 - The Mission to America 58
  • 6: England, 1660-1689 61
  • 7: The Quaker Colonies 73
  • 8: A Tolerated Society of Friends 83
  • 9: A Spiritual Existence 95
  • 10: A Disciplined Christian Life 107
  • 11: Crisis and Reformation 119
  • 12: The American Revolutions 137
  • 13: Quaker Migrants to Carolina and the Midwest; Eastern Philanthropists 153
  • 14: Separations 169
  • 15: The Midcontinent in the Midcentury, 1828-1867 185
  • 16: West and Midwest, 1867- 1902 203
  • 17: The Liberal Transformation 219
  • 18: Suburban and College Friends 231
  • 19: Creativity in Peacemaking 247
  • 20: Social Service and Social Change, 1902-1970 261
  • 21: New Forms of Quaker Interaction, 1960-1987 271
  • Part Two a Biographical Dictionary of Former Quaker Leaders in America 281
  • A 285
  • B 287
  • C 301
  • D 311
  • E 313
  • F 315
  • G 321
  • H 327
  • J 337
  • K 343
  • L 347
  • M 351
  • P 357
  • R 363
  • S 365
  • T 369
  • U 371
  • V 373
  • W 375
  • Appendix: Chronology 381
  • Bibliographic Essay 385
  • Index 393
  • About the Authors 409
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