The origins and meaning of the phrase "light from any quarter"

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Richard Cronin

Puritan Board Freshman
My church (Presbyterian Church in Ireland) has the following statement in our rule of faith. Its read at every ordination in our church.

11. It is the privilege, right and duty of every person to examine the Scriptures, and each individual is bound to submit to their authority. Having formed a definite conviction as to what the will of God is upon any subject, it is each person’s duty to accept and obey it. In exercising this God-given right of private judgment, individual Christians are not to set their reason above the Word of God, or to refuse light from any quarter. Guided by the Holy Spirit, they are to use their reason to ascertain the divine will, as revealed in Scripture, and are to refuse to subject conscience to any authority except that of the Word of God. In the words of the Westminster Confession “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to His Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship.

The question i have is with this phrase "Christians are not....to refuse light from any quarter"

Do any of you know where this comes from? And especially what it is supposed to convey. I have two ideas but i will share them once ive seen some of the responses.
Thanks.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It's not a special phrase or speech. It means they should not refuse light from anywhere, i.e., not listen to anyone else. Quarter=quarters of the compass is my supposition.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
"Any quarter" typically is the same as "any direction."

There also is a hint of naval warfare, too. The warship was divided into "quarters" for battle stations. "We shall beat to quarters!" is like "all hands on deck."

Some of the hands are lowly, some are officers. But in a time of watchfulness, one listens to the alarm from any quarter, regardless of the status of the person.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
"Any quarter" typically is the same as "any direction."
Yes.
There also is a hint of naval warfare, too. The warship was divided into "quarters" for battle stations. "We shall beat to quarters!" is like "all hands on deck."

Some of the hands are lowly, some are officers. But in a time of watchfulness, one listens to the alarm from any quarter, regardless of the status of the person.
I must say I think this reads too much into the phrase. We needn't see a suggestion of naval warfare, just as we wouldn't read it as a reference to a dormitory for domestic servants (servants' quarters) or a section of a historic town (for instance, Paris's Latin Quarter). The word "quarter" has a general and more specific usages. It is best to read the phrase as "from any direction/place".

The plainest sense of the sentence is that "Christians are not to refuse light from any direction/place."
 
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