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that they have so taken each other in marriage. All marriages of other dissenters are celebrated in the established churches, according to the ceremonies of the same. But the marriages of the members of this Society are valid by law in their own meeting-houses, when solemnized in this simple manner.
Quakers marrying out of the Society to be disowned
-This regulation charged with pride and cruelty --Reasons for this disownment are-that mixed marriages cannot be celebrated without a violation of some of the great principles of the Societythat they are generally productive of disputes and uneasiness to those concerned-and that the discipline cannot be carried on in such families.
AMONG the regulations suggested by George Fox, and adopted by his followers, it was determined that persons belonging to the Society should not intermarry with those of other religious professions. Such a heterogeneous union was denominated a mixed marriage; and persons engaging in such mixed marriages were to be disowned.
People of other religious denominations have charged the Quakers with a very censurable pride, on account of their adoption of this law. They consider them as looking down upon the rest of their fellowcreatures, as so inferior, or unholy, as not to deign or to dare to mix in alliance with them, or as looking upon them in the same light as the Jews considered the Heathen, or the Greeks the Barbarian world. And they have charged them also with as much cruelty as pride on the same account. “ A Quaker,” they say,
“ feels himself strongly attached to an accomplished woman. But she does not belong to the Society. He wishes to marry, but he cannot marry
her on account of its laws. Having a respect for the Society, he looks round it again, but he looks round it in vain. He finds no one, whom he thinks equal to this woman; no one, whom he could love so well. To marry one in the Society, while he loves another out of it better, would be evidently wrong. If he does not marry her, he makes the greatest of all sacrifices; for he loses that which he supposes would constitute a source of enjoyment to him for the remainder of his life. If he marries her, he is expelled from the Society, and this without having been guilty of an immoral offence.”
One of the reasons, which the Quakers give for the adoption of this law of dis. ownment in the case of mixed marriage3, is, that they, who engage in them, violate some of the most important principles of the Society, and such indeed as are distinguishing characteristics of Quakerism from the religion of the world.
It is a religious tenet of the Society, as will be shown in its proper place, that no appointment of man can make a minister of the gospel; and that no service, consisting of an artificial form of words, to be pronounced on stated occasions, can constitute a religious act; for that the Spirit of God is essentially necessary to create the one, and to produce the other. It is also another tenet, that no minister of a Christian church ought to be paid for his gospellabours. This latter tenet is held so sacred by the Quakers, that it affords one reason among others, why they refuse payment of tithes, and other demands of the church, choosing rather to suffer, loss by distraints
for them, than to comply with them in the usual manner. Now these two principles are essentials of Quakerism. But no person, who marries out of the Society, can be legally married without going through the forms of the established church. Those, therefore, who submit to this ceremony, as performed by a priest, acknowledge, accord, ing to the Quakers, the validity of a human appointment of the ministry. They ac, knowledge the validity of an artificial service in religion. They acknowledge the propriety of paying a gospel-minister for the discharge of his office. The Quakers, therefore, consider those, who marry out of the Society, as guilty of such a dereliction of their principles, that they can no longer be considered as sound or consistent members.
But, independently of the violation of these principles, which they take as the strongest ground for their conduct on such an occasion, they think themselves warranted in disowning, from a contemplation of the consequences, which have been known to result from these marriages. In the first place, disownment is held to
because it acts as a check upon such marriages, and because, by acting as such a check, it prevents the family-disputes and disagreements, which might otherwise arise ; for such marriages have been often found to be more productive of uneasiness than enjoyment. When two persons of different religious principles, a Quaker for example, and a woman of the church, join in marriage, it is almost impossible that they should not occasionally differ. The subject of religion arises, and perhaps some little altercation with it, as the Sunday comes, The one will not go to church, and the other will not go to meeting. These disputes do not always die with time. They arise, however, more or less, according to circumstances. If neither of the parties sets any value upon his or her religious opinions, there will be but little occasion for dispute. If both of them, on the other hand, are of a serious cast, much will depend on the liberality of their sentiments : but, generally, speaking, it falls to the lot of but few to be free from religious prejudices. And here it may be observed, that points in religion also may occasionally be suggested, which