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A Portraiture of Quakerism, Volume 1 by Clarkson

We seldom see a noisy or an irascible Quaker


"To

discharge their gambling debts, the Siamese sell their possessions, their families, and at length themselves. The Chinese play night and day, till they have lost all they are worth, and then they usually go and hang themselves. In the newly discovered islands of the Pacific Ocean, they venture even their hatchets, which they hold as invaluable acquisitions, on running matches. We saw a man, says Cooke, in his last voyage, beating his breast and tearing his hair in the violence of rage, for having lost three hatchets at one of these races, and which he had purchased with nearly half of his property."

But it is not necessary to go beyond our own country for a confirmation of these evils. Civilized as we are beyond all the people who have been mentioned, and living where the Christian religion is professed, we have the misfortune to see our own countrymen engaged in similar pursuits, and equally to the disturbance of the tranquillity of their minds, and equally to their own ruin. They cannot, it is true, stake their personal liberty, because they can neither sell themselves, nor be held as slaves. But we see them staking their comfort, and all their prospects in life. We see them driven into a multitude of crimes. We see them suffering in a variety of ways. How often has duelling, with all its horrible effects, been the legitimate offspring of gaming! How many suicides have proceeded from the same source! How many persons in consequence of a violation

of the laws, occasioned solely by gaming, have come to ignominious and untimely ends!

Thus it appears that gaming, wherever it has been practised to excess, whether by cards, or by dice, or by other instruments, or whether among nations civilized or barbarous, or whether in ancient or modern times, has been accompanied with the most violent excitement of the passions, so as to have driven its votaries to desperation, and to have ruined their morality and their happiness.

It is upon the excitement of the passions, which must have risen to a furious height, before such desperate actions as those, which have been specified, could have commenced, that the Quakers have founded their second argument for the prohibition of games of chance, or of any amusements or transactions, connected with a monied stake. It is one of their principal tenets, as will be diffusively shewn in a future volume, that the supreme Creator of the universe affords a certain portion of his own spirit, or a certain emanation of the pure principle, to all his rational creatures, for the regulation of their spiritual concerns. They believe, therefore, that stillness and quietness, both of spirit and of body, are necessary for them, as far as these can be obtained. For how can a man, whose earthly passions are uppermost, be in a fit state to receive, or a man of noisy and turbulent habits be in a fit state to attend to, the spiritual admonitions of this pure influence? Hence one of the first points in the education of the Quakers is to attend to the subjugation of the will; to take care that every perverse passion be checked; and that the creature be rendered calm and passive. Hence Quaker children are rebuked for all expressions of anger, as tending to raise those feelings, which ought to be suppressed. A raising even of their voices beyond due bounds is discouraged, as leading to the disturbance of their minds. They are taught to rise in the morning in quietness, to go about their ordinary occupations with quietness, and to retire in quietness to their beds. Educated in this manner, we seldom see a noisy or an irascible Quaker. This kind of education is universal among the Quakers. It is adopted at home. It is adopted in their schools. The great and practical philanthropist, John Howard, when he was at Ackworth, which is the great public school of the Quakers, was so struck with the quiet deportment of the children there, that he mentioned it with approbation in his work on Lazarettos, and gave to the public some of its rules, as models for imitation in other seminaries.


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