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after all, to be mistaken, it happens somewhat unifortunately that they will open their eyes upon the truth, when it will be too late to have made the discovery. ;":, vi; 4. XXIV. When the tailors. Muggleton and Reeves thus failed in their attempts to put a new patch upon a garment which required it not, a far more honourable destiny awaited the preaching of a shoemaker of Nottingbam, who, about the same time, forsook his awk to teach a new form of religion. . .
. . ! 3 This man, George Fox, A.D. 1650, instituted the sect denominated Quakers. In: narrating their own history, they state, that in the begivning of the 17th century, many persons conceived the rer cent settlement of the church, under Queen Eliza beth, to be imperfect, and even the dissenters to have retained many formalities and observances contrary to a true reformation, and to a pure and spiritual worship. Hence the more enlightened, withdrawing themselves from public communion with all such ill-regenerated societies, wrapped theinselves up in contemplation, and sought the Lord in the shades of retirement. Emi. pent in this class was that honourable, elder Fox, who having been himself quickened: by the immediate touches of divine. love, directed his brethren where they might find the like consolation. But though Fox refused communion with
other religious societies, he frequently, with violent zeal, intruded himself into their meetings, with the view of inveighing against their abomina. tions. If by such intemperance he seemed to in vite and court persecution, it must be owned that the spirit of the times did not suffer him to be disappointed. Every man's hand was lifted up against him ; and even the Protector, so indulgent to all other persuasions, was no protector of the Quakers. Fox, during his itinerant labours, publicly opposed a preacher who had asserted that the more sure word of prophecy, mentioned 2 Peter, i. 19, was none other than the Scriptures; while his opponent maintained it to be the inward teaching of the Spirit. For this outrage he was cast into prison at Nottingham, and being brought, in the following year, before two justices in Derbyshire, he desired them, with an audacious, contempt of court, to tremble at the word of the Lord: on which one of them, Gervas Bennett, termed his party Quakers *. They themselves, however, alleging the primitive example of 3 John, 14, have adopted the title of
* Fox was a deluded fanatic, wandering from county to sounty, 'sperrding whole days in the hollow of a tree, and imam gining himself gifted with prophecy and the power of working miraclest. Clarkson, in his Portraiture, denies the story of the leathern doublet; and Ellwood, the Quaker, says, “ Fox was deep in divine knowledge, powerful in prayer, sound in judgment, &c." All sensible men, however, consider him as a melancholy fapatic. Fox declared he was forbidden by
to See Christian Observer, 1813, Review of Tuke's Faith of the Quakers.
God to take off his hat to men. About 1649, many vision. aries imitated' hiin; and women, glad to embrace a religion which permitted them to harangue, entered what they called steeple-louses, during the time of service, and jealously de, cried the teaching of ment. To be agitated by convulsive motions, was common to all these visionaries; but the name of Quaker would now be ill applied to their successórs, who are all immoveable as a gallery of statues. It is not surprising, that even a tolerant government should formerly have regarded them as disturbing the peace of the country, and on that account deserving of being watched and restrained; for they every where termed ministers hirelings, false prophets, deceivers of the people; they interrupted the public service; they declared against places of worship, and the observance of the Sabbáth; they appeared in habits covered with allegorical representations of some impending calamity. In instruction they rested little on the grand doctrines of original sin and redemption ; but turned the attention of men to a Christ within them, who seem ed to preclude the acknowledgment of a Redeemer without. In 1654, the first meeting of the Friends, in London, was held at a private house in Watling Street; they afterwards assembled at the Bull and Mouth Inn. 1: About this time, whatever Mr. Clarkson may affirm to the contrary, a female Friend appeared, naked in. Whitehal Chapel † ; and a person with a drawn sworu, pretending a commission, wounded several members of Parliament. Mr. Hume, however, for the sake of stage effect, has given a very false representation of the story of James Naylor. This enthusiast had been an officer in Lambert's troop, an admired if See Coote's Mosheim, vol. v. p. 469; More's Mystery of Godliness, b. x. ch. 13.
Mosheim, vol. v. p. 470.
Friends; although, in public addresses, and in ordinary dealings, they are content to appear un. der the modest designation of-the People called Quakers. At the Restoration, Keith and Fisher, men of learning and abilities, and soon afterwards William Penn, reduced Quakerism to a systematic form *. The Friends, in the infancy of their sect, were molested in their simple worship; but though they suffered persecution in the reign of Charles II. they allow that that monarch discountenanced the severities of the Parliament. They
speaker, and a man of good natural endowments. He certainly permitted divine honours to be paid him on entering Bristol, being preceded by a multitude strewing their garments in the way, and exclạiming, “ Hosannah to the Sun of righteousness.” But it is not true, that to every question proposed to him, after his apprehension, he replied only, “ Thou hast said it.” On the contrary, there appears to have been much method in his madness. He defended himself under the charge of permitting worship to be paid him, by declaring, that he deemed it offered entirely to the Christ within him. sFor myself,” said he, “ as a frail creature, I abhor earthly honours; but I receive them as a sign, and I had authority from God to receive them.” Naylor endured persecutions with obstinate inflexibility. When he was whipped, branded in the forehead, and bored in the tongue, his followers licked
his wounds. But hard labour, and meagre fare, in Bridewell, : brought him to his senses, and produced an acknowledgment
of sorrow for his blasphemies. ..*For an account of the life and writings of Barclay, see the General Dictionary. Sewell, in his History, gives an ample account of Keith. Fisher is particularly mentioned in a German work, Unschuldige Nachrichten.
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COMMONWEALTH. [17th Cent. admit also, that Penn was a favourite with James II. and speak with grateful acknowledgment of the acts passed in their behalf during the reigns of William and Mary and of George I.
The Quakers abound chiefly in England, Ireland, and America ; their system seeming too grave for French volatility, and too plain for the voluptuous climates of the south *. They have monthly, quarterly, and yearly meetings, for the admission of members, the censure of transgressors, the settlement of differences, the education of their children, the care of the poor, the registry of births and burials, and, though last, not least, the allowance of MARRIAGES †. The yearly, or spring meeting, is, in particular, a grand pairing time: it is the races, the assize week, the county meeting, and the watering-place of the Quakers. The legislature indulges them in their objection to the solemnization of marriages by ministers of the Established Church. Matrimony is performed in their meeting-houses, by a declaration of the two parties of their consent to live with each other in the state of wedlock. The Quaker women, being admitted to the ministry,
* Their numbers in England and Wales are computed at 50,000; in Scotland at not more than 300.
+ In the meetings there is no president; the wisdom of God being thought alone fit to preside. All labour is undertaken gratuitously, except, perhaps, the extra diligence of a single clerk.