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One condition of progress is far-seeing leadership.A body whose education is mediocre may be very worthy, but is not very progressive, and the Friends, with all their inclination towards justice and righteousness, were 50 One Hundredth Ajiniversary of hardly as open to adapt themselves to changed con- ditions as the bodies which in every locality had at least one trained leader who kept in touch with the advancing thought and to some extent carried his congregation with him.
This took away some of the hardness from their theology and created tolerance and kindliness in their relation to other bodies. It could not therefore allow itself to crush the conscience of another by any decrees of State.
On the other hand, that which the Friends every- where down to the last half century held as their most priceless possession, the meeting for worship, free, without human head or leader, without pre- arrangement of services, without any compulsion upon any one to speak unless the Divine impulse was felt, with the recognition that to hear the Di- vine Voice there must be the attentive and re- sponsive soul in silence before it, without distinc- tion of worldly condition, as to learning, or station, or sex, or age, this meeting seems not to have met the recognition among Christians that the attitude of Friends to moral problems has commanded.
It 52 One Hundredtli Anniversary of is indeed spoken of as a beautiful opportunity for a few mystical souls, but for the busy American multitude the pragmatic test is applied. In Great Britain it holds its own among Friends and in certain sections of this country.
They were certainly not more intelligent than other bodies, nor were they more responsive to ex- ternal influences, nor were they in a general way more anxious for the right thing, and except for this devotion to their consciences and their belief Fallowfield Friends' Meeting House.
51 in its enlightenment by the Divine Voice, their pri- ority in many moral movements would be difficult to explain.
George Fox had impressed upon them the idea in his earlier ministry that they were not founding a sect, but preaching a spirit which would gather into its fold in time all the Christian bodies ; and something of this Catholic outlook was still ex- istent.