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gistrates. He dictated some to the Pope, to the Grand Turk, and even to the emperor of China.* And as a sovereign displays himself, from his balcony, to his admiring subjects, G. Fox tells us, that at a great meeting," he was moved by the Lord to take off his hat, and to stand awhile, to let the people look at him, for some thousands were there." And to crown the climax, he declared, that having Christ in him, he was equal with God, and was the judge of the world!
From A. D. 1644 to the close of his life, Fox went on to plant, with a bold hand, the standard of mysticism. He soon found associates armed with zeal equal to his own. Naylor, Jarnsworth, Howgill, Burroughs, Penn, and Whitehead, are enrolled among their first elders. These, with the exception of Penn, were men of the lowest education, and of superficial minds, but of great sensibility. They had the misfortune to be seduced in their youth by the doctrines of the mystics, which had hurled reason from her throne in no weak minds. In them it met no barrier from the scriptures or from science; they shared, therefore, the same fate.
This however, was no bar in their way. Folios can be written without the aid of learning, and without even the weight of brains, or the solidity of intellect. And there is a height of eloquence to which a mind labouring under a specific derangement can alone ascend. The feelings and passions are lashed into fury. They are titled with the holy and much injured name of inspiration; they set reason and judgment at defiance; the sober argument of science, and the habit of profound research would only extinguish its flame. Their motto was from the oracle:
"Cedamus Phoebo, et moniti meliora sequamur."
§ 9. Such were these men. Believing themselves inspired, and armed with apostolic powers, they issued from their obscurity
* Catal. of Quak. books quoted by the grand jury of Norfolk, 1699, and Bugg. Pict. p, 334.
† Vol. i. p. 369.
+ Fox's Great Myst. p. 282, 248, and his Saul's Errand to Damas. p. 8. Howgill's works, A. D. 1676, p. 232, and Penn, in his Invalidity of Faldo, admits Fox's words, and explains; and this doctrine of equality with God is taught by Taulerus, the mystic, whom Barclay applauds (Apol. p. 363.) See the Sermons of Taulerus, quoted by Brown, Quakerism, p, 434, 435, &c.
to turn the world to righteousness. They used the language of scripture with a convenient ambiguity: Christ was the "light within:" his blood was within; the spirit was the same; the cross was the power of God within; they had an appearance of piety to excess, a zeal that approached almost to madness; an assurance to presumption; patience to apathy; a perseverance to the neglect of even self-preservation.*
They had no difficulty in adapting themselves to the lowest class of the people. Their declaration against tythes, was just and imposing. They offered their followers liberty from church power, from hireling priests, and from the grievous burden of supporting the ministry. Their eloquence was of the most frantic nature; to a perpetual and monotonous flow of verbiage, they united all their peculiarity of gestures; they shook the head; they nodded; they shrugged the shoulders; their brawny arms dangled by their sides, or assumed the mort threatening postures; their frames shook; their mouths foamed; then with deep intonations, ushered forth by a singular quavering, they “would bellow as they'd burst the heavens." Then their looks wild and haggard, from toils and fastings, and cruel sufferings from an unrighteous magistracy, added fearfully to the effect, and made awful impressions on the superstitious and young. They
"Denounced and prayed with fierce devotion ;-
“And gifted mortified groans:
Made children with their tones to run for't; "As bad as bloody bones, and Lunford!"
The natural disposition of these men had, at first, urged them on to attempt their innovations; but their energies were called forth, and their zeal excited to an amazing degree, by the visible impressions which they had made on the illiterate multitude: and as much by the hosannahs with which their disciples cheered them in their singular career.§ They struggled, they suffered,
* See Journal, vol. i. Passion.
† See the petition of the county of Lancaster, (E.) in Leslie's Snake, &c. sec. 3.
Fox's Jour. i. 502.
"O! blessed be the day in which thou wast born"" O! dear heart, go on conquering and to conquer," &c. See Sew. vol. ii. book viii. p. 104.
they wrote, they published, and industriously scattered about every item of their inspirations.
§ 10. Their success in England and in Ireland, was considerable. Fanaticism had poured out her intoxicating influence on the multitude. The tyranny of a bloody hierarchy was continuing to drive men from her protection. Error and heresy are often more zealous and active than truth. They seized with avidity on the opportunities presented to them of joining the wandering multitude into their folds; they affected more conversions to Quakerism by the distribution of their books, than by their declamations; to this object they devoted extensive funds. When the society was organized, the respective meetings were laid under heavy contributions. Out of these a fund was formed to defray the expense of printing and publishing the works of their authors. Every facility was thus offered to those who chose to enter the lists. This, as might justly be expected, called forth hosts of writers. The expenses were promptly met: and effectual means were taken to distribute their works without trouble on the part of the authors. The quantity of Quakerbooks, by this means, poured from the press, is almost incredible. Whiting's catalogue of their books alone, consists of two hundred and thirty-two pages. It contains a list of three thou sand six hundred and eleven books. Upwards of six hundred other volumes were added; making 4269 volumes. Each impression of these contained about a thousand copies on an aver age. Thus the society, previous to A. D. 1715, had sent forth four million two hundred and sixty-nine thousand volumes and tracts.* From the same funds they have kept Barclay afloat. They published an edition of twelve thousand; of these, ten thousand copies were distributed gratis. They had their booksellers in London who were actively engaged in selling and distributing their works. In the country, men were employed to carry them on pack horses, in all directions; and they have been known to scatter their books and tracts along the highways and in the streets.t
* Bugg's Pict. of Quak. part 3, p. 101. † Do. p. 103.
§ 11. But of all the causes which operated in favour of this Society, persecution was, perhaps, the most efficient. Man, prompted by his feelings, will always take the part of the oppressed and if the oppressed manifest the courage of a man under his sufferings, and the forgiving spirit of a christian, let his cause be bad or good, the people will always laud his cause and bless the martyr. Persecution will make the most ordinary character become popular. It is true of every sectarian, and of every society, that the blood of their martyrs is the seed of their church. Had the Welch let Fox talk his day, and then peaceably take himself away, their churches had not heard his name. But his imprisonment, and subsequent sufferings in Cornwall, spread his name, and Quakerism, in that region widely.* The Saxons managed things better: the severest stroke that fell on their fanatic Behmen, was the sentence of the electoral prince, and the learned divines at Dresden, who dismissed him with these words: "We cannot condemn thee, because we cannot understand thee."t
Why has England been so slow in listening to reason, to the common feelings of humanity, and to the mild religion of Jesus, which breathes the spirit of liberty to the conscience? Her distinguished divines and civilians had been long raising their entreating voice; they had made the most feeling appeals to her misguided government; they had implored her, but in vain, to arrest, or at least to soften down the fiery persecutions of such priests as Bancroft, and Laud, and Sheldon-men who had stained the mitre with the best blood of the nation. Her Welch divine, Roger Williams, had ably advocated the doctrine of toleration to all sects. Her learned Owen had once and again, amid the ragings of the most unnatural persecutions, presented his appeals in behalf of toleration and indulgence. Her illustrious Milton had followed him with luminous arguments. Her bishop Taylor, and her Locke, had brought all the weight of piety and talent into the field. Yet Williams, and the Baltimores, and Penn, were the first who could carry the thing into effect--but it was on the shores of America!‡
* Gough's Hist. p. 217. Neal's Hist. vol. iv. p. 306. Bost. edit.
† Memoirs of Behmen, by Okely. Edit. of &. D. 1780.
Gibbon, with an insiduous sneer, remarks, "I am sorry to observe
Had the English magistracy taken Fox, and entreated him kindly; had they sent him home, fed and clothed, to his troubled relatives, (for he had not, like the Arabian impostor, taken care to convert his relations first,) and had the wits attacked his motley system with the couplets of Hudibras, they had dispersed his followers; and, perhaps, have spared the church of God the existence of modern mysticism!
§ 12. The reception of Fox in Scotland was very different: though he left England with a prophecy, and set his foot on Scottish ground with a marvellous vision of the seed of God sparkling about him, which betokened countless hosts flocking to his standard there, he failed almost totally in the object of his pilgrimage.
This was owing to the genius and habits of that people. The author of " Modern Europe,” like† many other theorists, who theorise, and prejudge, instead of collecting facts and reasoning from them, has formed a very erroneous view of the religious character of the Scottish nation. The Presbytery has not, as he supposes, breathed a gloomy and fanatical spirit among them. That people has ever been characterized by a bold and un
that the three writers by whom the rights of toleration”---(to have written intelligibly he should have said conscience)----have been so nobly defended, Bayle, Leibnitz, and Locke, are all laymen." Dec. and Fall of Rome, vii. ch. 54, ad fin. Note. Mr. Williams first led the way, in A. D. 1643 or 1644. with his book, The Bloody Tenant, or a Dialogue between Truth and Peace. In this book his strong miud urges those arguments which, at the distance of fifty years, the great Locke pursued with greater energy and success. See Verplank's Histor. Disc. delivered before the New York Histor. Soc. 1818, and the Analectic Magaz. Feb. 1819, p. 142. Williams reduced to practice his theory in Rhode Island, when the Quakers disturbed his peaceful province. Though he had the power, he attacked them only by his invectives, syllogisms, and puns. He wrote a book against Fox and Burroughs, which he named The Fox digged out of his Burrows. Dr. Owen's first Plea appeared in A. D. 1647; Milton's in A. D. 1658; then bishop Jeremy Taylor; Penn, in A. D. 1681; and Fenelon, and then Locke, in A. D. 1689. See Dr. Owen's Two Pleas for Indulgence and Toleration, and Neal's Hist. Purit. vol. iv. 309, 310. Bost. edit. of 1817. Bayle began to publish his works in A. D. 1611, after he had accepted a professor's chair at Rotterdam. For Leibnitz, he was an infant," mewling and puking in his nurse's arms," when the immortal Owen published his first Plea. Leibnitz was born A. D. 1646.--These Independent Clergymen, were unquestionably the first teachers of religious liberty. See Orme's Memoirs of Dr. Owen. Lond 1820, p. 99, &c. Edinb. Review, No. 71, p. 229.
* Jour. vol. i. p. 448.
Vol. iii. p. 196.