« VorigeDoorgaan »
out of place at all public amusements; in all, ment, sprinkling of infants, bowing at the scenes of riot and intemperance; so that, name of Jesus,” &c. But Queen Elizabeth, whatever the inclination, the Quaker, in whose memory as a Protestant Reformer is Quaker garb, dare not mingle in such com so highly cherished by the Episcopalian pany. The husk, as we have termed it, Church, insisted on the re-introduction of worn under parental authority, thus becomes these observances, and took care that they a safeguard and protection to the young, should be rigidly enforced. The act of a protection even against inclination; for Conformity was passed in 1554, and by this we are not to suppose the youth of any sect all the Romish ceremonies which the Queen devoid of the taste for amusement which is or her advisers were pleased to continue, a characteristic of that period of our exist- became law, in opposition to the principles
In after years, the man has often to and entire spirit of the Reformation. This look back with gratitude on the protecting of course induced violent discontent; and power of that garb, and those peculiarities, very many of the true reformers refused to which he felt irksome as a youth; and see- comply, and formed small associations on ing the service they rendered to himself, he principles opposed to one or other of the inculcates their observance on his successors, prescribed forms. Hence arose those numeindeed, enforces it, so long as parental author- rous bodies of Dissenters, which, in the time ity endures. Thus, however much we may of Charles I., had become so powerful; and be inclined to dislike or censure these pecu- which, however they might differ on other liarities, we shall find it difficult to deny points, were unanimously agreed in denying their utility; and we shall also find that a the divine right of Bishops, and thus renportion of our feeling of contempt arose from dered themselves obnoxious to ecclesiastical an insufficiency of our own information. We authorities. But, amidst all the distaste for are ever too ready to smile at what we do certain forms and ceremonies, no sect vennot understand; and, in our journey through tured to proscribe them all; it was left for life, we often feel the smile of scorn dissi- George Fox to found a religion on the New pated by an enlarged power of comprehen- Testament alone; to dispense with all priestsion, and succeeded by respect, and perhaps craft, and priesthood, with all forms and even by admiration. While on the subject observances and ceremonies, and to declare of dress, we may further remark that the that worship was a spiritual act between Quaker garb is professedly a mere retention man and his Maker, a tribute to be offered of the usual costume of that period when independently of human assistance and unacQuakers were first associated as a body, and companied by any human inventions. Our a refusal to comply with the ever-changing author informs us that, vagaries of fashion. So much for the husk.
“ No reformer, prior to George Fox, had altoWe wish to place it in its true light, and to gether rejected ceremonies in the performance of remove those erroneous impressions which public worship, or ihe observance of any religious result from mistaking it for the kernel. rite upon admittance into a community of mem
Quakerism may be said to date its exist-bership: But he, regarding worship alone in the ence from the preaching of Fox; prior to light of a spiritual act, between the heart of man this some Quaker doctrines had been vague, waiting, and more particularly called upon his fol
and his Maker, instituted a worship of silent ly proinulged, but, under the majestic
and lowers to rely upon that measure of divine light energetic mind of Fox, they received form or grace which it has pleased God to place in the and character; they became distinct and hearts of all men for their edification, guidance, intelligible; so that to him alone must be and right understanding of his revealed law, proattributed the establishment of the sect. It vided they are willing to submit to its silent teachwill be recollected by all who are conver- ings. He considered that it is only by the free sant with the history of the Reformation, becomes sanctified, and that, by it alone, men can
operation of this divine principle that the heart that the participators in that great move- become spiritually baptized into the Church of ment aimed at a far more extensive subver- Christ, or can become spiritually partakers of the sion of the ceremonies of the Romish Church body and blood of our Saviour. 'Which inward than they had the power to achieve ; thus and spiritual participation is the only true essential we find the more eminent of these reformers of these ceremonies, as practised by most of the inveighing bitterly against certain observan-Christian churches. Neither had any one, before ces, which, as they said, " plainly savor of this, called the attention of mankind so particupopery." Among such objectionable ob- law of Moses and the new law of the Gospel; servances are enumerated, “ figured music pointing out that the former
, with its ceremonies and organs, the forms of sponsors, the use and ordinances, was expressly given to the Jews, of the cross in baptism, kneeling at the sacra-1 and to them only; and, as St. Paul says, is to be
looked upon by us as a schoolmaster to prepare | secration of churches and churchyards, all us for the better and more spiritual dispensation, forms of prayer, written sermons; all were which ended the old law,* and in whose glad of no avail : churches themselves were sutidings the whole Gentile world are made participators as well as the Jews. Nor had any one perfluous, and the sacredness of any edifice before endeavoured to establish a system of public declared a fable. This was atheism and worship of a nature so entirely spiritual, allowing treason in the eyes of the clergy, and of all of no prescribed act, either of prayer or of exhor-over whom their influence extended. tation. His object was to lead people back to the The boldness with which Fox preached primitive simplicity and purity of the Gospel pre- these doctrines is shown in his own
" Jourcepts, to which the superstitious ceremonies of nal,” but there are other authentic sources the Romish Church were so glaringly opposed ; to of information, which bear ample testimony call them off from all dependence upon outward ceremonies, to that inward and spiritual religion
to the courage he displayed. by which alone they can know Christ to be their God and their Saviour; and to convince them that
« « When I heard the bell toll to call the peothe mere knowledge and belief of what Christ had ple together in the steeple-house, it struck at my done and suffered for them when personally upon together, that the priest might set forth his wares
life, for it was like a market bell to gaiher people earth, was not of itself sufficient 10 obtain this for sale. Oh! the vast sums of money that are without a further knowledge, through the Holy Spirit , of his righteous government in their hearts.” got by the trade they make of selling the Scrip.
tures, and by their preaching, from the highest
bishop to the lowest priest. What one trade in Since Christianity was first preached by the world is comparable to it?. Notwithstanding the immediate followers of Christ, no such the Scriptures were given forth freely, Christ comdoctrine as this had ever been broached. manded his ministers to preach freely, and the Peter, Mahomet, Luther, Wycliffe, Calvin, all covetous hirelings and diviners for money. But
prophets and apostles denounced judgment against Wesley, and the thousand minor powers in this free spirit of the Lord Jesus was I sent that have succeeded, all had their ceremo-forth to declare the word of life and reconciliation nies performed by priests;
all looked on the freely, that all might come to Christ, who gives priest as a being whose offices were essen- freely, and renews up into the image of God, which tial to the safety of the soul. George Fox man and woman were in before they fell." » alone, of all the world, repudiated 'priest- p. 46. craft, and dared to deny the right of a hu
Here we are presented with the origin of man mediator between God and man, He
the Quaker tenet against a paid clergy of acknowledged but one mediator; one whose services were not to be doled out in pittan- their founder the Quakers conceive them
any description ; and from the doctrines of ces apportioned to the coin returned. It selves called upon to protest openly against therefore is not remarkable that the priest- such a ministration of the Gospel, as being hood of whatever denomination should rise contrary to the special injunctions of Christ, as one man against the Quaker, and de- and the practices of the apostles and early nounce him from the pulpit as an atheist Christian church. Hence, they refuse to and a traitor; an enemy alike to religion pay all tithes or church demands, patiently and to law. Such was the case ; and when submitting to the legal penalties attached to we remember how vast, how subtle, how such refusals, and to the rapacity of their ramified, how extended is that power and enemies, who, in the early periods of the influence he attacked, we cannot wonder society, carried their plunder to so great that the Quaker was hunted from place to
an excess as not only to involve many in place like a beast, was torn from his home total ruin, but also to subject them to long and family, was thrown into the most filthy and cruel imprisonments, which, in many dungeons, was flogged, maimed, crippled,
cases of particular hardship, terminated in and murdered, merely on a false charge of death. Hence, in 1662, twenty died in difirreligion and disaffection, originating entirely ferent prisons in London, and seven more in the vengeance of a priesthood whose after their liberation, from their ill-treatoffices he declined, and with whose emolu- ment. In 1664 twenty-five died, and in ments the spread of such opinions must of 1665, fifty-two more. The number which necessity interfere. riage, the marriage form, the churching of perished in this way, throughout the whole
kingdom, amounted to three hundred and women, the sprinkling of infants, the admi
sixty-nine. nistration of the sacrament, the ceremony of It would be a subject of interesting inconfirmation, the funeral service, the conquiry, but foreign to the objects of a literary * Gal. iii. 24, 25.
review, whether the grand features of this
mission of George Fox, and the practice of monarchical or republican, but taught obedience to his early followers resulting from it, are not the magistrate, by enforcing purity of morals. It based upon more solid principles of Chris-was a plain, honest, and zealous attempt to clear tianity, and are not more closely allied to which had long obscured it; to release the minds
the gospel from the mist of error and superstition, its pure spirit than the world at large gene- of the people from the shackles of school-wisdom, rally adınit to be essential ? Quakerism is and the subtleties of polemical divinity; to hold grounded on the passage —" that the grace out to them the true nature of that redemption of God which brings salvation had appeared which it offers to all mankind, a redemption deto all men, and that the manifestation of the pending upon faith in Christ, repentance from sin, spirit of God was given to every man to and transformation from the world, but not upon profit withal.” Fox maintained, that by a by fallible men. He pleaded alone for religious
outward rites and ordinances, or creeds drawn up faithful obedience to the inward teachings liberty, for a free toleration of all religious opiof this Holy Spirit we become God's people, nions; a principle which in itself involves emanand by its aid alone acquire a clear under-cipation of mind, and lays the foundation for the standing of the Scriptures ; but which in- universal and equal rights of all men, the privi. ward monitor, if continually neglected, or leged classes as well as those below them; and ef. after the example of Felix, dismissed for a sectually resists the encroachments of either party more convenient season, will in time be upon the just rights of the other, by inculcating withdrawn, leaving the heart reprobate, and the great Christian rule of doing as we would be
done by.”—p. 48. abandoned to its own wicked devices ; for God has declared, “my spirit shall not al
The “ Journal” of George Fox was proways strive with man." Gen. vii., 3.
This inward principle is the good seed, nounced by the late Sir James Mackintosh which being sown in all soils, flourishes in
to be “ one of the most extraordinary and
instructive documents in the world;" and some, pines away or is choked in others, and in some individuals finds no root at all.
he adds, that “no man of competent judg. Scriptural authority, if it be literally inter- ment can peruse it without revering the preted, is at least in favor of Fox's testi- virtue of the writer.” To his efforts, sin
gle-handed, or nearly so, we may ascribe antichristian, and in direct opposition to the the establishment and rise of the Quakers, dictates of Christ, and the practice of the which, as Bancroft in his “ History of the apostles and early church. And further, in
United States” declares, is one of the most accordance with his emulation of the noble remarkable events in the history of man. It and disinterested example of the early Chris- marks," says he, “ the moment when inteltian pastors, who ministered the word of life
lectual freedom was claimed unconditionally without fee or reward; and with his rejection it was the consequence of a great moal
by the people as an inalienable birthright. of all outward ceremonies and forms of worship, because they had degenerated into reli- warfare against corruption; the aspiration gious rites, and which he considered as so tion from the long reign of bigotry and su
of the human mind after a perfect emancipamany stumbling blocks and impediments to that spiritual devotion required of man by his perstition.” Maker. Again, it would appear to support
In another passage, Bancroft describes his great Christian principle, that no system truth is to be sought by listening to the
how Fox arrived “at the conclusion that of policy whatever should be founded on expediency; but upon that golden precept of voice of God in the soul. This principle," Christ's, of doing unto others as we would says he, "contained a moral revolution. It they should do unto us,”-a maxim that if established absolute freedom of mind, treadfaithfully acted upon would do away at once
ing idolatry under foot, and entered the with all grounds of contention and warfare, strongest protest against the forms of a hier.
The Quakers therefore as a body may be archy. It was the principle for which Soconsidered universal philanthropists; and in
crates died, and Plato suffered ; and now their Christian love and good will to all men the people, he was resisted everywhere
that Fox went forth to proclaim it among which is injurious to the free and just rights with vehemence, and priests and professors, of man, as they are often the foremost sup, like the raging waves of the sea.
magistrates and people, swelled against him porters of those devised for his good.
It is worthy of remark, that this storm of “ The mission of G. Fox was no republican persecution should have raged most fiercely doctrine, disguised under the form of theology. It during the protectorate of Cromwell, a man never interfered with the existing powers, whether I who has the credit of resisting the influence
of priesthood and priestcraft when directed The following extracts will give some idea against himself. We are especially told by of the treatment which this most sincere D'Aubigné, in his “History of the Reforma- and truly pious man was made to suffer, and tion,” that “the rise of the plebeian sects, it will also exhibit his own character in its which swarmed in England, was encourag- true light. ed by the freedom of the popular government under the commonwealth.” What “ The next morning he was summoned before this freedom could have been does not ap- the magistrates, to whom he gave further offence pear very obvious; imprisonment in dun- by declaring to them that the fruits of their priests' geons underground, and beneath other dun- preaching were void of Christianity, and that, geons occupied by felons, and so arranged without the possession of that which they profess
ihough ihey were great professors, they were that the lower dungeon received all the ed' He was, upon this, committed 10 gaol as a filth from the upper one; pelting with stones heretic, a blasphemer, and a seducer;' and by orand rotten eggs in the pillory ; beating with der of the magistrates, lie was shut up among the holly-bushes ; laceration with pitchforks ; lowest class of felons, and the gaolers were enthreshing with long poles ; these are feats, couraged to treat him with the greatest brutality, either performed by the executive or sanc- declaring to him that he should never come out tioned by the administrators of the common again but to be hanged; and so confident were weal. George Fox, however, went on his
his enemies in accomplishing his ruin and death, way whenever he was liberated, renewing person, who was shortly to be executed.”—P: 97.
that numbers visited him in prison as a condemned on all occasions his testimony against a " At Carlisle he suffered an illegal imprisonhireling ministry, payment of tithes, swear- ment for several months, and at the approaching ing, ceremonies, and forms; and preaching assizes his enemies made sure of leading him to his favorite doctrine of the divine light of the gallows; but, not being able to substantiate Christ in the soul of man. His sufferings any legal charge against him, he was never were renewed again and again, often with brought up for trial. The high-sheriff
, and a comout the slightest provocation, but sometimes pany of bilter Scotch priests, were so misled by
their rancorous feelings, that they had him guardfrom his own intemperate zeal; intemperate, ed by three musqueleers to shoot him upon any because personal interference with the mode pretence of escape. For a time they would suffer of worship chosen by others is at all times no one to have access to bim excepting themselves; of doubtful propriety, and in many instances they sometimes came into his cell as late as the
tenih hour, and their deportment was ' exceeding. fectly unjustifiable. But Fox's day was 'y rude and devilish; they were not fit to speak one of all manner of religious excesses and he grieved to think such people should call
of the thing of God, they were so foul-mouthed; Baptists, Presbyterians, and Independents, themselves ministers of God; but the Lord, by were struggling for the mastery, and all his power, gave them dominion over them all, and striving to possess themselves of some of the let ihem see both their fruits and their spirits." emoluments of priestcraft. Wild, blood- During this confinement he was often cruelly beaten thirsty, and persecuting, all seemed to lose with a large cudgel, at the caprice of the undersight of the peaceful character of Christian- gaoler; who, entering his cell one day, fell upon ity, and to contend with a fury more allied him without the shadow of an excuse for such to the ravings of madmen than the behaviour calling out all the time, as a pretext, • Come out of
abominable cruelty, and beat him most furiously, of sincere disciples of a meek and peace the window," although George Fox was on the preaching master: All these wrangling opposite side of the room to it.
While he was so Dissenters thought it an outward symbol of beaten,' he was moved of the Lord to sing psalms, sanctity to wear their hair closely cropped; being filled with joy: upon which the exaspebut Fox wore his very long, falling grace
rated gaoler brought in a fiddler to annoy him; but fully, over his shoulders, a practice which while he played George Fox so overpowered him obtained generally among his followers, and by his singing, ' being moved by the everlasting from a passage in his journal it would ap- and confounded, and went away, leaving him to
power of the Lord God,' that they were struck pear that he entertained some scruple the unmolested enjoyment of his heartfeli hymns against its being cut: he wished it to be of praise, and rejoicing that he was thus found understood that true religion did not con- worthy to suffer for the sake of his great Lord and sist in this outward mark, an observation Master, whose precepts he had thus far totally which would lead one to believe that he and faithfully declared, without respect of persons. eschewed rather than aimed at a peculiar Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and assumption of holiness in his appearance or against you falsely for my sake, Rejoice, and
persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil apparel. His long hair gave additional of- be exceeding glad for great is your reward in fence to the " crop-tars, roundheads” heaven.'— Mait. v. 11, 12.
"In this prison he became acquainted with
of the day.
James Parnell, a youth of only sixteen years, but | brought them both a light and a few handfuls of remarkable for his early piety and religious life. straw, which they burnt to purify the air. The He had been so struck with Fox's preaching and smoke arising upon this occasion penetrated doctrine, that he frequently visited him while in through the chinks of the floor above, and found bonds, eagerly seeking instruction; and the Lord its way into the chamber occupied by the under quickly made him a powerful minister of the word gaoler and some thieves, who immediately began of life, and many were turned to Christ by him.' to revenge themselves, hy pouring down upon Travelling soon after into Essex, as an acknow. them through the chinks whatever ihey could obledged minister of the Quakers, he was imprisoned tain to annoy them, and make their condition still with many others in Colchester Castle, and sub-. more deplorable; at the same time abusing them jected to the cruelty of a merciless gaoler, who with the foulest language. In this place they was encouraged in his brutality by the magistrates were sometimes left in want both of food and themselves. At this time James Parnell was ex. water, owing to the brutality of the gaoler and his tremely debilitated by severe indisposition, and wife; who often abused and beat those who was confined in a place called the oven, a large brought them a few necessaries and comforts. hole in the wall, and so high from the ground that the whole particulars of the infamous treatment it was only accessible by a short ladder, and a to which they were subjected, from the misconrope, because the ladder was not sufficiently long. duct of their unfeeling keepers, are too offensive From this place he was constrained by the gaoler for recital; and when such abuses no longer exto come down every day for his food, refusing ist in our public goals are best left untold.”-p. him the advantage of any assistance which his 131, fellow prisoners would gladly have rendered him. Climbing up one day to this incommodious dormi Cromwell, who was well acquainted with tory, with his day's provision in one hand, he Fox, both personally and by reputation, missed his hold of the rope through weakness, and was cognisant of all these proceedings; and falling down was so much shaken, that he died it certainly seems to us a lasting stigma on very soon afterwards in consequence of his fall. his character that he allowed them. On After his death, his persecutors, to cover their own one occasion, after a long interview, when self to death. Thus he died a martyr to his reli- Fox was about to leave, Cromwell seized gious convictions, about two years after he had him by the hand, and said, with tears in his joined the Quakers.”—p. 98.
eyes, “ Come again to my house ; for if · During his confinement with those unfortunate thou and I were but an hour a day together and depraved characters, of both sexes, his sincere we should be nearer one another;" and he piety and kindly feeling united to his good exam ordered that Fox should be conducted to the ple, had a great effect upon the minds of his
great hall, to dine with his gentlemen. This wretched companions; they treated him with respect, and several of thein became sincere and true
honor was, however, flatly refused by the penitents, so powerfully and so feelingly had be unambitious Quaker: “Tell the Protector," faid open to them the profligacy of their evil said he, “that I will neither eat of his bread courses.”—p. 100
nor drink of his drink.” When Cromwell • The assizes being now ended, and the prison received the message he remarked—- Now ers refusing upon principle to pay a fine they con: I see there is a people arisen that I cannot sidered most illegal, since nothing had been proved win either with gifts, honors, offices, or against them to justify their apprehension,* much less their imprisonment, and judging from the places; but all other sects and people I malice of their enemies íhat they were not likely can.” This anecdote and subsequent events to he liberated very soon, demanded a free prison, show the exhibition of friendly feeling toand told the gaoler they should discontinue to pay wards Fox to have been ostensible only; him for the hire of his room, for which they had for he never raised a finger to assist him or hitherto given him seven shillings a week each to do him justice when so foully ill-used; person, as well as seven shillings a week for each the anecdote exhibits also the talent of the of their horses. Upon this notification, the gaoler, Protector in correctly estimating the hollowwho was an abandoned character, and had been iwice branded with a hot iron as a thief (as well ness and mercenary spirit of his self-righteous as his wise and the under gaoler), shut them up
followers. The following short quotations in a foul dungeon, called Doomsdale, which was show that Fox himself remonstrated with noisome and pestilential, on account of its being the Protector on the cruel oppression of his the common sewer of the prison, the floor of persecuted sect :which was so thick in mire, that it was over their shoes, and afforded no place where they could “ The travellers entering London by Hyde either sit or lie down. In this dreadful place they Park, met the Protector in his coach, attended by were denied by their exasperated keeper even a his life-guard, and surrounded by a great concourse little straw or a lighı; but some kindly disposed of people. George Fox immediately, rode up to people of the town hearing of their sad condition the coach side, from whence he would have been
* They had been arrested for travelling and repelled by the guards, had not Cromwell caught preaching by the way.
sight of him and beckoned him to approach. He