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Tribunal, and thereby robbing the Almighty of a right which belonged exclusively to himself—that they overthrew the Christian religion in the very nature of it, for it was
spiritual, and not of this world; in the very practice of it, for this consisted of meekmess; in the promotion of it, for it was clear that they never designed to be better themselves, and they discouraged others in their religious growth; and in the rewards of it, for where men were religious out of fear, and this out of the fear of men, their religion was condemnation, and not peace
that they opposed the plainest testimonies of divine writ, which concurred in con
demning all force upon the conscience
noble principle of reason that they acted contrary to all true notions of government, first, as to the nature of it, which was justice ; secondly, as to the execution of it, which was prudence; and, thirdly, as to the end of it, which was happiness.----Having discussed these several points, he proceeded to answer certain objections, which he supposed might be made to some of the positions he had advanced, and concluded by attempting to show, by means of a copious appeal to history, that they who fettered the consciences of others and punished for conscience sake, reflected upon the sense and practice of the wisest, greatest, and best of men both of ancient and modern times.
When he had finished the above works the time for his liberation from prison approached. This having taken place, he travelled into Holland and Germany. His object was to spread the doctrines of his own religious society in these parts. Of the particulars of his travels we have no detailed account. We know only that he was reported to have been successful, and that he continued employed on the same errand during the remainder of the year.
A. 1672-returns to England-marries-settles at Rick. mansworth—travels as a preacher-writes «« The Spirit of Truth vindicated' -r. The new Witnesses proved old Heretics”_" Plain Dealing with a traducing Anabaptist” A Winding Sheet for the Controversy ended”-" Quukerism a new Nick-name for old Chris
tianity”- Letter to Dr. Hasbert. William Penn, after his return from the Continent, entered into the married state. He was then in the twenty-eighth year of his age. He took for his wife Gulielma Maria Springett, daughter of Sir William Springett of Darling in Sussex, who had fallen at the siege of Bamber, during the civil wars, in the sérvice of the Parliament. She was esteemed an extraordinary woman, and not more lovely on account of the beauty of her person than of the sweetness of her disposition. After their marriage they took up their residence at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire.
It must be obvious that William Penn, now married and settled, and in the possession of an abundant fortune, might have led the life of a gentleman of leisure. But he had entered upon the important office of a
minister of the Gospel. This therefore kept him in no inconsiderable employ; for meetings for worship were then held at one place or another (many ministers travelling) almost every day in the week. The disputes too in the religious world, which obtained in these times, and in which the Quakers were engaged, called him frequently forth as an author. Of these disputes the following were conjoint and fruitful causes. In the preceding year Charles the Second had issued a declaration of indulgence to tender consciences in matters of religion, in consequence of which not less than five hundred Quakers had been released from prison. This indulgence was extended also to Dissenters at large. Now one would have thought that the leaders of the different religious sects, all of which had felt the iron hand of persecution, would have enjoyed this respite in solacing each other, and enlarging the boundaries of love between them. But far otherwise was the fact. Enjoying the sunshine of the King's indulgence, and feeling a liberty to which they had not been accustomed, many of them began to grow bold, and to have a longing to venture out into controVOL. I.
versy. Thus, when man has been lorded over, he feels too generally a disposition to play the tyrant himself. In this situation, however, they did not dare to attack the Church. Now it happened at this time that the great body of the Dissenters were well affected towards the Quakers; for, first, the Quakers never sculking under persecution, but worshiping at regular times, and this openly in their own meeting-houses, and on the very ruins of the same when they were destroyed, were always to be found by the civil magistrate; and, secondly, the number to be so found was sufficient to glut the most insatiable executioners of the laws. From these two causes the Quakers helped to bear off the blow, or to keep the great force of the stroke, from the other Dissenters, Hence the latter, and particularly the Baptists, began to be attached to them; and this attachment became at length such, that many left their own particular societies and joined them. The leaders then of several of the religious sects, finding their congregations growing less by such defections, and feeling that the fetters were in some measure taken from their arms by