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minister of Mansfield in time of divine service, for which he was set in the stocks, and turned out of the town.t The likc treatment he met with at Market-Bosworth, and several other towns. § At length the magistrates of Derby confined him six months in prison, for uttering divers blas
+ Mr. Neal is considered as passing over this treatment of Fox in too 6 cursory a manner:” and is blamed for placing his conduct in the most invidious light it would bear, disturbing the minister. But, surely, if Mr. Fox spoke while the minister was preaching, without waiting till he bad guished his discourse, it was disturbing him by ad unseasonable interruption. But this circumstance is not to be clearly ascertained by Sewel. The treatment which Fox met with was iniquitous and violent to an extreme degree. The hearers of the minister 5 converted the place of divine worship into a scene of lawless riot, and the time set apart for the service of God into an enormous abuse of a fellow-creature; manifesting their religion to be such,” observes Mr. Gough with great propriety, « at the time when it should most affect their minds, as admitted of injury, revenge, and violating the peace and order of society. For they assaulted Mr. Fox in a furious manRor, struck him down, and beat him eruelly with their hands, bibles, and sticks, whereby lie was grievously bruised. After they had thus Fented their rage, they haled him out, and put him into the stocks, where he sat some hours : and then they took him before a magistrate, who, seeing how grossly he had been abused, after much threatening, set him at liberty. But still the rude multitude, insatiate in abuse, stoned him out of the town, though hardly able to go, or well to stand, by reason of their violent usage." It should be remarked here, that the magistrate's conduct was extremely culpable, in not inflicting a punishment on these disturbers of the peace, for this unjust and violent attack on a man who had done them no harm, but meant to do them good; and in pot affording to him his protection. Gough's Hist. vol. i. p. 84-86. Ed.
s Sewel, p. 22. This was the language of the mittimus, by which Fox and another were committed to the house of correction : we regret that Mr. Neal should have adopted it, without giving his reader the grounds on which the severe epithet was applied to their opinions. After the service of a lecture, at which Mr. Fox had attended, was finished, he spoke what was on his mind, and was heard without molestation : when he had done, an officer took him by the hand, and carried him before the magistrates. Being asked, “why he came thither he answered, that “God had moved him to it:" and added, that “God did not dwell in temples made with hands; and that all their preaching, baptism, and sacrifices, would never sanctify them; but that they ought to look un. to Christ in them, and not unto men, for it is Christ that sanctifies." As they were very full of words sometime disputing, and sometime deriding, he told them, “ they were not to dispute of God and Christ, but to obey him.” At last they asked him, “if he was sanctified ?” he replied, “yes :" “if he had no sin ?” his answer was, “Christ my Savior hath taken away my sin, and in him there is no sin." To
phemous opinions. pursuant to a late act of parliament for that purpose. By this time there began to appear some other visionaries, of the same make and complexion with George Fox, who spoke in places of public resort ; being moved (as they said) by the Holy Ghost; and even some women, contrary to the modesty of their sex, went about streets, and entered into churches, crying down the teachings of men, and exhorting people to attend to the light within themselves.
It was in the year 1630, that these wandering lights first Feceived the denomination of QUAKERS, upon this ground, that their speaking to the people was usually attended with convulsive agitations, and shakings of the body. All their speakers had these tremblings, which they gloried in, asserting it to be the character of a good man to tremble before God. When George Fox appeared before Gervas Bennet, Esq. one of the justices of Derby, October 30, 1650, he had one of his agitations, or fits of trembling upon him, and with a loud voice and vehement emotion of body, bid the justice and those about him tremble at the word of the Lord; whereupon the justice gave him and his friends, the name of QUAKERS, which, being agreeable to the next question, “ How he and his friends knew Christ was « in them ?” he replied, “ by his spirit, which he hath given us." Then they were asked, “ if any of them were Christ?” to which insidicas query he answered, “ nay, we are nothing; Christ is all.” He was next interrogated, " If a man steal, is it no sin ?” to which his reply was, “ All unrighteousness is sin.” With what candor, with what propriety, with what truth, could the charge of blasphemy be grounded on these declarations, especially by the magistrates who examined and committed bim ? The names to the millimus were Ger. Bennet and Nuth. Barton : both of them were independents, the latter an uffieer and preacher: men whose own tenets implied a supernatural influence, and admitted no interference of the civil magistrate in spiritual concerns, but were pointed in favor of universal tolcration: one of whom could himself have no commission to preach but on the ground of God's moving him to it. These were the men who accused Fox of blasphemy, and imprisoned him: "a remarkable instance," observes Mr. Gough, of the inconsistency of men with themselves in different stations of life:" a remarkable instance, it may be added, how the law may be wrested and justice perverted by passion and prejudice. Mr. Neal's manner of relating this transaction, unhappily, conceals the criminal conduct of these magistrates, and is too much caleulated to perpetuate the prejudice which misled and governed them. Sewel's History, p. 24, and Gough’s History vol. i. p. 90-94. ED.
their common behavior, quickly became the distinguishing denomination of this people.*
At length they disturbed the public worship by appearing in ridiculous habits, with emblematical or typical representations of some impending calamity; they also took the liberty of giving ministers the reproachful names of hirelings, deceivers of the people, false prophets, &c. Some of them went through divers towns and villages naked, denouncing judgments and calamities upon the nation. Some have famished and destroyed themselves by deep melancholy; and others have undertaken to raise their friends from the dead. Mr. Baxter says, $ many franciscan fri. ars and other papists have been disguised speakers in their assemblies; but little credit is to be given to such reports.t
• The above paragraph has given great offence, and is severely censured by Mr. Gough, as an opprobrious description approaching to searrility” The plain fact, as it stands in Sewel, has none of those circumstances of agitations, a loud voice and vehement emotions, with which Mr. Neal has described it, and for which he has quoted no authority. Fox, according to Seuel, having bid the justice and those about him to tremble at the word of the Lord," Mr. Bennet took hold of this weighty saying with such an airy mind, that from thence he took occasion to call him, and his friends, scornfully, QUAKERS. This name was eagerly taken up and spread among the people. As to the convulsive emotions with which, it is said, the preaching of these christians, was accompanied, it is but fair to hear their advo. eate. “ We readily admit," says Mr. Gough, “these promulgators of primitive christianity had no university education, were not trained in sehools of oratory. It was plain truth and righteousness they sought to follow and recommend in a plain simple way, without the studied decorations of fine language, or the engaging attractions of a graceful motion; they spoke not to the head, or to the eye, but to the hearts of their auditors. Being themselves animated, and deeply affected in spirit with the inward feeling of the power of that truth, to the knowledge of which they aimed to bring others, that thereby they might be saved ; an unaffected warmth of zeal in recommending righteousness, and testifying against vice and wickedness might produce a warmth of expression and action also, which to an invidious eye might appear convulsive: but their convulsions did not bereave them of understanding; they spake with the spirit and with the understanding also, of things which they knew, and testified of things which they had seen. And their doctrine was often effectual to open the understanding of their hearers, to see clearly the state of their minds, both what they were and what they ought to be.” Googh's Hist. vol. i. p. 96, note. Ed.
Baxter's Life, p. 77. + If but little credit is to be given to such reports, it may be asked, why are they introduced : when, if not refnted, they tend to mislead
It cannot be expected that such an unsettled people should have an uniform system of rational principles. Their first and chief design, if they had any, was to reduce all revealed religion to allegory; and because some had laid too great stress upon rites and ceremonies, these would have neither order nor regularity, nor stated seasons of worship, but all must arise from the inward impulse of their spirits. Agreeable to this rule, tbey declared against all sorts of clergy, or settled ministers ; against people's assembling in steeple houses ; against fixed times of pub. lic devotion, and consequently against the observation of the sabbath. Their own meetings were occasional, and when they met, one or another spake as they were moved from within, and sometimes they departed without any one's being moved to speak at all.
the reader, and to fix a reproach on an innocent people? Is it becoming the candor and dignity of an historian, by recording, to appear to give them a sanction. As to the case in hand, Mr. Baxter, on wlose author. ity Mr. Neal speaks, though he was a great and excellent man, was not entirely exempt from the influence of prejudice and credulity. In general, stories to the discredit of a new, despised and hated sect are, often, eagerly adopted and spread with circumstances of aggravation, So it happened to the first christians. This has befallen the methodists in our own times. And the quakers, being particular objects of priestly indignation, had reason to complain of this. They were often confounded with an ephemeron sect, whose principles were totally incompatible with theirs, called ranters, and whose practices outraged all decency and order. An active preacher amongst the quakers, Mr. Edward Burroughs, and the celebrated Barclay, wrote against the practices of these people. Gough's History, vol. i. p. 128-9, nole: and vol. iii. p. 15. Ed.
!! This is not accurate, or is applicable only to the infancy of the sect, For, though they did not esteeni one house more holy than another, and believed all times equally the Lord's, and that all days should be sabbaths or times of continual rest and abstinence from evil; yet as soon as their numbers were sufficient for the purpose, they held fixed and regular meetings for worship, particularly on the first day of the week, which they chose as more convenient, because more generally accepted than
any other. In 1654, meetings were settled in many places in the north, and also in the city of London, which were held in private houses, till the body growing too large to be accommodated in them, a house known by the name of Bull-and-Mouth, in Martin's-Le-Grand" near Aldersgate-street, was hired for a meeting-house. And no body of christians were more open, steady, and regular, than they have been in their public associations for worship or discipline. Sewel's Histo: ry, p. 80, 81. Googh's Hist. vol. i. p. 144 and 509. Ed.
The doctrines they delivered were as vague and uncertain|| as the principle from wbich they acted. They de. nied the holy scriptures to be the only rule of their faith, calling it a dead tetter, and maintaining that every man bad a light within himself, which was a sufficient rule. They denied the received doctrine of the trinity and incarnation. They disowned the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper ; pay, some of them proceded so far as to deny a Christ without them; or at least, to place more of their dependence upon a Christ within. They spake little or nothing (says Mr. Baxter*) about the depravity of nature; about the covenant of grace; about pardon of sin and reconciliati on with God; or about moral duties.t But the dis
| The account which Mr. Neal gives of the sentiments and practices of the quakers in this and the preceding paragraph, is not drawn up with the accuracy and precision, not to say, candor, which should mark the historic page. It has too much the appearance of the loose, desultory representation, which those who had not investigated their priuciples, nor looked into their writings, would exhibit of this sect.
It is, I think, introduced at an improper place, in too early a period of their history; when Mr. Neal himself has related only what concerned George Fox, and before his followers were formed into a body. At That time it was not to be expected, that their principles should be made into a system; and their doctrines being delivered as the assertions of individuals only, and deriving their completion from their different tastes, capacities, and views, would to the public eye wear the aspect of variety and uncertainty. But long before Mr. Neal wrote, their principles had assumed a systematic form. Penn had published bis key, and Robert Barclay his « Catechism and Confession of Faith," and that elaborate work his “ Apology." The propositions illustrated and defended in this treatise exhibit a concise view of the chief principles of the quakers; and that they inay speak for themselves we will give them in the Appendix No xü. Ev.
* Baxter, p. 77. + This quotation is not correct. Mr. Baxter's words, concerning the strain of their preaching, are these. “They speak much for the dwelling and working of the spirit in us; but little of justification, and the pardon of sin, and our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.” Here is nothing said about their neglecting to insist on “ moral duties." The great object of Fox's zeal, we are told, was a heavenly temper and a life of righteousness: and his endeavors to propagate true religion and righteousness were not confined to public or private meetings, but exerted in other places as occasion offered ; particularly, in courts of judicature, to admonish to justice, and caution against oppression : In markets, to recommend truth, candor, and fair dealings, and to bear Iris testimony against fraad and deceitfal merchandise: At publie