Abbildungen der Seite

manner in which he had borne it, and the useful way in which he had spent his time while under it, (but particularly in the production of “ No Cross, No Crown,” in which work he inculcated, even when in bonds, that bonds were to be endured for religion's sake,) to find that one, who had received as it were his own baptism, had, when tried by the fire, come out of it like pure gold. And that these sentiments were then uppermost in the mind of the dying minister, there is no doubt; for, though the particulars of this interesting interview are not known, it is yet recorded that Thomas Loe, in taking his final leave of William, gave him the following exhortation : “ Bear thy cross, and stand faithful to God; then he will give thee an everlasting crown of glory that shall not be taken from thee. There is no other way that shall prosper, than that which the holy men of old walked in. God hath brought immortality to light, and life immortal is felt. His love overcomes my heart. Glory be to his name for evermore !”

It is now pleasing to relate that the Admiral, though he had discarded his son,


began again to relent. He could not help thinking, however his son might have been mistaken, that at least he was sincere, or that his steady perseverance in the course he had taken, in spite of all persecution, was a proof of his integrity. He now allowed him to be at his own house, though he did not see him, and caused it to be signified to him through his mother, that he might return to Ireland, there to execute a commission for him.

William Penn was greatly cheered by this, though partial, gleam of returning love on the part of his father, and accordingly prepared for his journey. In the month of August he reached Cork. He entered immediately upon his father's business. In the intervals, however, of his leisure he attended to the concerns of his own religious society. He preached, as occasion offered, both at Cork and Dublin. He attended the national meeting of the Quakers in the latter city. He wrote also several little tracts to promote the religion he had espoused. Among these was his Letter “To the young convinced.” He meant by the latter appellation such as had lately become converts to

his own religious faith. He began by explaining to these, whom he considered to have been called out of the pleasures and vanities of the world, the nature of their new calling. He visited them, he said, as a traveller in the same path, in bowels of tenderness and compassion, to exhort them to make this their calling and election sure. For this purpose he invited them to hold meetings for worship frequently, to beware of all lightness, jesting, and a careless mind, and to endeavour as much as possible, both by their conversation and conduct, to keep in the simplicity of the cross of Christ. If the world was constant to its own momentary fashions, the more it became them to be constant in their testimony against it. If, however, in doing this they should meet with heavy exercises, they were not to murmur against God, but to give themselves up to his will. No external fear was to shake them : for that same Power, which had wrought a change in their hearts, was able to carry them through this their terrestrial trial. - But his great employment, during his leisure, was in visiting those of his poor * brethren


brethren who were in prison on account of their religion, a case which he could well estimate by reflecting upon that which had been his own. He held religious meetings with these in their gaols, in which he endeavoured to comfort them to the utmost of his power. He drew up also an account of the cases of several, most of whom were then in confinement for no other reason than that they had been found worshiping in places which the law did not then recognise. This account, which was of the nature of an address, he presented to the Lord Lieutenant with his own hand; and he followed it up with such unremitting zeal, calling in the aid of his father, and of all those courtiers, whom he could interest, that at length an order in council was obtained for their release.

Having executed his father's commission, he returned to England. On his arrival there a reconciliation took place, to the joy of all concerned, but particularly of his mother; after which he took up his residence in his father's house.



A. 1670-preaches in Gracechurch-street-is taken up

and committed to Newgate-is tried at the Old Bailey and acquitted-account of this memorable trialmattends his father on his death-bed-dying sayings of the latter ---publishes - The People's ancient and just Liberties asserted-disputes publicly with Jeremy Ives at High Wycomb-writes to the Vice-chancellor of Oxford publishes A seasonable Caveat against Poperymis again taken up for preaching, and sent to the Tower, and from thence to Newgate.

In the year 1670 the famous Conventicle Act was passed by Parliament, which prohibited Dissenters from worshiping God in their own way. It had been first suggested by some of the bishops. The chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury had previously printed a discourse against toleration, in which he asserted as a main principle, that it would be less injurious to the Government to dispense with profane and loose persons than to allow a toleration to religious Dissenters. “ This act,” says Thomas Ellwood, “ brake down and overran the bounds and banks anciently set for the defence and security of Englishmen's lives, liberties, and properties, namely, trials by jury, instead thereof


« ZurückWeiter »