By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield
In 1620, because the religious laws of England forbade any religion but that of the English national church, the Pilgrims sought a new life in the New World. On board the ship were evangelical Protestants and Quakers. Forty-one men signed the Mayflower Compact declaring they would promote “the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith,” covenanting to create “a Civil Body Politic with just and equal laws.”
After their sixty-six
horrendous day voyage, feeling the solid ground beneath their feet, they fell
upon their knees and prayed, and as William Bradford writes, the prayer went
something like this; Bless ye God of heaven, who brought us over ye vast and
furious ocean, delivering us from all ye perils and miseries thereof.
More families fleeing religious persecution followed. One such group was the Amish. They sought asylum between 1717 and 1750. The Quakers and Amish are similar, yet upon a closer look, one realizes they are very different from one another.
These two Protestant
religious groups formed during the 16th century during the
Protestant Reformation when a rebellion broke out against the medieval church
and the people desired a personal interpretation of the Bible.
religion was founded by Jakob Ammann, a Swiss Anabaptist leader. The Quakers,
or as they are often called, the Religious Society of Friends, were founded in
England by George Fox and focuses on the idea of an inner light that guides
individuals to live a spiritual life.
William Penn joined the Religious Society of Friends at age twenty-two. Quakers believed in and obeyed their “inner light” (also called inward light), which Quakers believed to come directly from God. They refused to bow, even take off their hats to any man, and strictly refused to take up arms. Quakers refused to swear an oath of loyalty to the King because of their beliefs. They obeyed and followed the command of Christ Jesus who said not to swear, as stated in Matthew 5:34. They also adhered to a “thee and thou” language to be more like their Savior—to be no respecter of persons. William Penn founded the Quaker colony in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, city of “Brotherly Love.”
wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled
by him…Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” William
Eliza Paul Kirkbride Gurney (1801–1881) visited President Lincoln at the White
House on October 26, 1862, one Sunday afternoon during the height of the Civil
War, and said:
“I come in the
love of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—that blessed gospel
which breaths glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill to
men. In common with the members of my own Society.”
Eliza quoted from memory Philippians 4:6: “But in everything, by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let our requests be made known unto God.” Eliza went on to claim Psalm 91:7–12 “ a thousand may fall…” and ended with this, “May our Father in heaven guide thee by His own unerring counsel through the remaining difficulties of thy wilderness journey, bestow upon thee a double portion of that wisdom which cometh down from above, and, finally when then thou shalt have served thy generation according to the will of God, through the fullness of His atoning, pardoning love and mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord, receive they ransomed spirit into that rest.”
moved to tears, said, “We are indeed going through a great trial—a fiery trial.
In the very responsible position in which I happened to be placed, being a
humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all
are, to work out his great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts
may be according to His will and that it might be so, I have sought His aid.”
Many of the
Quakers strong religious beliefs can be seen in Eliza’s prayer for President
Lincoln and shown in the earliest forming of America’s foundations. And at
first glance, you might imagine seeing the Quakers today in their capes and prayer
caps, speaking the thee and thou language which set them apart; however, this
is far from true now.
Amish both practice pacifism, live simple, humble lifestyles, believe in
non-violence, do not take oaths, and live communally. Both practice
Christianity and have for years.
centuries, changes occurred in the Quaker culture.
have embraced modern-day technology. However, the Old-World Amish lifestyle,
which my novel Love’s Final Sunrise depicts, continues to keep their
communities separate from anything that appears to be worldly. Most Quakers have
blended into society as a whole.
The Amish have continued in the custom of their ancestors and have kept their distinct language, style of clothing and even their haircuts. The men wear plain black or dark suits without decoration. The women wear modest plain-colored dresses with a cape and apron.
The way the
Amish wear their hair is different from the way the modern women wear theirs.
Men wear their hair short and have long beards with no mustaches. Women never cut
their hair but wear it in a bun and cover it with a prayer Kapp.
styles of the Quakers are not restricted. Though their mode of dress usually is
not flashy, they have no requirements for their physical appearance. They can
wear their hair anyway they please.
It’s easy to
point out an old-order Amish person from a crowd based on their dress. You
can’t with a Quaker. While visiting Amish country, you can always spot those Amish
buggies, their horses clipping down the road in a ground-covering trot. Old-order
Amish do not use electricity in their homes or shops; they sport a very
fully embraced technology. They use modern tools and conveniences. Computers
and cell phones are part of their lifestyle. They follow their business or
professional goals, sometimes continuing on to college if they desire. Whereas
Amish never go past the eighth grade. Their skills and trades are taught to
them by their families, providing ample avenues of productivity.
identifying quality of an Amish home is that they are heavily rooted in Scripture.
They rely on rules to keep order inside their community, and all Amish say they
are Christians and that the Bible is the Word of God.
Quakers continue to practice “the inner light.” This has made many a person
follow their conscience and intuition before the Word of God. Consequently
today, not all Quakers identify as Christians. Some even say they are members
of a universal religion.
Many Quakers continue
to regard their Bible highly, but it is not the only Holy Book that formulates
Amish do not
have church buildings; they hold services in member’s homes. They have a church
hierarchy, which includes a bishop, minister and deacon. When a person is old
enough, they get baptized and take communion.
Quakers don’t have churches either; they hold meetings in meeting houses. However, they don’t believe in clergy or formal liturgy. Believers minister to one another. They don’t believe in ceremonies like baptism or communion because everyone can have a direct relationship with God.
political involvement. They do not vote and are not part of a political party.
Quakers actively participate in the political arena, especially in promoting peace and justice. They have
taken stands against slavery (as we have seen with Eliza), human trafficking,
poverty, climate change and other human rights abuses.
There are some
modern-day Quakers who still use the manner of “plain speaking” and continue to
use the “thee” form without any corresponding change in verb form, for example,
is thee, or was thee.
Quakers once made up more than 10 percent of the population of the thirteen colonies. Now, they represent a small fraction of the population.
Amish population in the United States is around 360,000 individuals. There are
about 75,000 Quakers in the United States. However, unlike the Amish who reside
only in the United States and about 6,000 in Canada, Quakers live in 87
different countries, about 400,000 total.
Amish have differences, yet, as other ethnic religions have proved—withstood
the portals of time and continued in their commitment to live according to
their religious beliefs and values.
One can only imagine the hopeful prayers of those brave pilgrims encouraged the ship's sails to billow forth. After centuries of wars and hardships, the Mayflower Compact rings true to this day and continues to promote the glory of God and advance the Christian faith through our individual lives. These wise stewards of the Word knew that just and equal laws must prevail so God’s people can declare His Word until He returns. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NKJV). Please visit the blog to comment on this post.
Love’s Final Sunrise: New Yorker Ruth Jessup and Amish-bred Joshua Stutzman lived in different worlds; their lives collided into catastrophic proportions battling wits against a psychopath and The New World Order...
Fleeing for her life and suffering from amnesia, Ruth finds herself in an hourglass of yesteryear. Can Joshua’s Amish ways help them survive these final three-and-one-half years?
“To be honest, I’m not usually drawn to fiction. But for this no-nonsense nonfiction lover, Love’s Final Sunrise was a risk that paid off in full measure. I highly recommend this author’s way of weaving intrigue, romance, and Christian principles. Lori Ann Wood
“My readers are my encouragers and God's Word is my inspiration!”
Catherine is an award-winning author of the inspirational
historical romance Wilted Dandelions, and Destiny Series, Swept
into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz
Her newest book, is the inspirational Amish futuristic
romance, Love's Final Sunrise.
World Book Encyclopedia Vol 12 Copyright 1961