Chapter 27 » 27.37

Friends and the Christian church


Jesus, when he took up the little children and said, ‘Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven’, was speaking of Jewish children, who, according to the Jewish custom, would not have been baptised, and the Quaker position is really summed up in the words ‘John indeed baptised with water, but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Spirit’. It is the inward change, the inward purification, the spiritual fact and not the outward symbol, that belongs in truth to the Kingdom of God. Neither in the refusal to baptise nor to take the supper do Friends set forth a negation. They assert, on the contrary, the positive truth that the religious life is the inward life of the spirit. But no place or time can limit its action, nor any symbol adequately express it.

John Wilhelm Rowntree, 1902

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