14 October 2007

Robert Barclay

In the words of Robert Barclay, one of the first generation of Quakers:

"All true and acceptable worship to God is offered in the inward and immediate moving and drawing of his own Spirit, which is neither limited to places, times, nor persons: for though we be to worship him always, and that we are continually to fear before him, yet as to the outward signification thereof in prayers, praises or preachings, we ought not to do it in our own will, where and when we will; but where and when we are moved thereunto by the stirring and secret inspiration of the Spirit of God in our hearts; which God heareth and accepteth of, and is never wanting to move us thereunto when need is, of which he himself is the alone proper judge. All other worship then, both praises, prayers or preachings, which man sets about in his own will and at his own appointment, which he can both begin and end at his pleasure, do or leave undone as himself seeth meet, whether they be a prescribed form, as a liturgy, &c., or prayers conceived extempore by the natural strength and faculty of the mind, they are all but superstitions, will-worship, and abominable idolatry in the sight of God, which are now to be denied and rejected, and separated from in this day of his spiritual arising, however it might have pleased him (who 'winked at the times of ignorance,' with a respect to the simplicity and integrity of some, and of his own innocent Seed, which lay, as it were, buried in the hearts of men under that mass of superstition) to 'blow upon the dead and dry bones,' and to raise some breathings of his own and answer them; and that until the day should more clearly dawn and break forth."

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.