Quaker Women

Reasons for the Necessity of Silent Waiting, In order to the Solemn Worship of God,... 1774 London

If the Lord alone can prepare the Heart, stir it up, or incline it towards unfeigned Holiness, how can any Man apprach him acceptably till his Heart be prepared by him; and how can he know this Preparation except he wait in Silence to feel it? It is by the Spirit that Believers have Access to the Father, and are not the Impressions and Influences of the Spirit to be felt and distinguished from the Workings of our own carnal Minds? If they are, ought not Believers to wait patiently in silent Submission of Soul, in order to distinguish when the golden Sceptre is stretched out, which give Liberty to approach the sacred Presence? And must not the Preparations of the Heart by the Spirit, make us sensible of our real Wants, before we can ask aright; and also of our miserable State, before we can seek that Relief which is proper for us?...

...Nay, will not five Words spoke from a good Understanding under the Influence of the Holy Spirit, have more Weight with the Almighty, than five Thousand uttered from a lukewarm, insensible, or careless Mind? Can we suppose the infinitely wise Creator of all Things is, like short-sighted Man, either to be deceived or pleased with our much speaking?...

Can any thing be more consistent with a silent dependent Waiting, than a Mind stayed upon God, in a sincere Confidence and firm Expectation of divine Help; and if it behoves a Christian to have his Mind thus frequently stayed upon the divine Power, how much more in solemn Worship, and near Approaches to the sacred Presence, who cannot possibly be deceived, or amused by the Arts of Composition, or the Powers of human Eloquence; and who has passed a Sentence of Condemnation on the too common Practice of drawing near to him with the Mouth, and honouring him with the Lips, whilst the Heart is far from him?

There is an essential Difference betwixt praying in Reality as the Spirit shall teach us, and praying in Form as Men and Books advise us. Those who pray under the Guidance of the holy Spirit, pray with additional Fervency, knowing their Attention fixed on God alone, their Understandings are opened into a true discerning of the spiritual Wants, and their Souls quickened to a lively, humble, sincere Worship; wherein their Spirits are refreshed, and gain Strength in the Lord, and in the power of his Might. On the other hand, Men and Books may furnish with fair Seemings and plausible Expressions, but they cannot effect that Brokenness of Spirit, that Contrition of Heart, and Sensibility of Soul which the Spirit of God gives. ... How necesary then is a humble Waiting in Silence, truly to know what Spirit we are of, before we offer any thing to the living God?

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