should hold slaves.
When the Quakers first arose, it was a custom in England
, as it still is on the continent of Europe
, to say thou
to an inferior, or equal, and you
to a superior.
They saw in this custom an infringement of the great law of human brotherhood; and because they would ‘call no man master,’ they said thou
to every person, without distinction of rank.
To the conservatives of their day, this spiritual democracy seemed like deliberate contempt of authority; and as such, deserving of severe punishment.
More strenuously than all other things, they denied the right of any set of men to prescribe a creed for others.
The only authority they recognized was ‘the light within;’ and for freedom to follow this, they were always ready to suffer or to die.
On all these subjects, there could be no doubt that Elias Hicks
was a Quaker of the old genuine stamp.
But he differed from many others in some of his theological views.
He considered Christ
as ‘the only Son of the most high God;’ but he denied that ‘the outward person
,’ which suffered on Calvary was properly the Son of God.
He attached less importance to miracles, than did many of his brethren.
He said he had learned more of his own soul, and had clearer revelations of God and duty, while following his plough, than from all the books he had ever read.
He reverenced the Bible