« ZurückWeiter »
'Knock the teeth out of his head.' When they had hauled me to the common mossside, a multitude following, the constables and other officers gave me some blows over my back with willow-rods, and thrust me among the rude multitude, who, having furnished themselves with staves, hedge-stakes, holm or holly bushes, fell upon me, and beat me upon the head, arms, and shoulders, till they had deprived me of sense; so that I fell down upon the wet common. When I recovered again. and saw myself lying in a watery common, and the people standing about me, I lay still a little while, and the power of the Lord sprang through me, and the eternal refreshings revived me, so that I stood up again in the strengthening power of the eternal God, and stretching out my arms amongst them, I said with a loud voice: Strike again! here are my arms, my head, and cheeks!' Then they began to fall out among themselves."
In 1635, Fox returned to his native town, where he continued to preach, dispute, and hold conferences, till he was sent by Colonel Hacker to Cromwell, under the charge of Captain Drury. Of this memorable interview, ne gives an account in his 'Journal:'
Interview with Oliver Cromwell.
After Captain Drury had lodged me at the Mermaid, over against the Mews at Charing Cross, he went to give the Protector an account of me. When he came to me again, he told me the Protector required that I should promise not to take up a carnal sword or weapon against him or the government, as it then was; a: d that I should write it in what words I saw good, and set my hand to it. I said little in reply to Captain Drury, but the next morning I was moved of the Lord to write a paper to the Protector, by the name of Oliver Cromwell, wherein I did, in the presence of the Lord God, declare that I did deny the wearing or drawing of a 'carnal sword, or any other outward weapon, against him or any man; and that I was sent of God to stand a witness against all violence, and against the works of darkness, and to turn people from darkness to light; to bring them from the occasion of war and fighting to the peaceable Gospel, and from being evil-doers, which the magistrates sword should be a terror to.' When I had written what the Lord had given me to write, I set my name to it, and gave it to Captain Drury to hand to Oliver Cromwell, which he did. After some time, Captain Drury brought me before the Protector himself at Whitehall. It was in a morning, before he was dressed; and one Harvey, who had come a little among friends, but was disobedient, waited upon him. When I came in, I was moved to say: Peace be in this house;' and I exhorted him to keep in the fear of God, that he might receive wisdom from him; that by it he might be ordered, and with it might order all things under his hand unto God's glory. I spoke much to him of truth; and a great deal of discourse I had with him about religion, wherein he carried himself very moderately. But he said we quarrelled with the priests, whom he called ministers. I told him I did not quarrel with them, they quarreled with me and my friends. But, said I, if we own the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, we cannot hold up such teachers, prophets, and shepherds, as the prophets, Christ, and the apostles declared against; but we must declare against them by the same power and spirit.' Then I shewed him that the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, declared freely, and declared against them that did not declare freely; such as preached for filthy lucre, divined for money, and preached for hire, and were covetous and greedy, like the dumb dogs that could never have enough; and that they who have the same spirit that Christ, and the prophets, and the apostles had, could not but declare against all such now, as they did then. As I spoke, he several times said it was very good, and it was truth. I told him: That all Christendom, so-called, had the Scriptures, but they wanted the power and spirit that those who gave forth the Scriptures, and that was the reason they were not in fellowship with the Son, nor with the Father, nor with the Scriptures, nor one with another.' Many more words I had with him, but people coming in, I drew a little back. As I was turning, he catched me by the hand, and with tears in his eyes said: 'Come again to my house, for if thou and I were but an hour of a day together, we should be nearer one to the other; adding, that he wished me no more ill than he did to his own soul. I told him, if he did, he
wronged his own soul, and admonished him to hearken to God's voice, that he might stand in his counsel, and obey it; and if he did so, that would keep him from hardness of heart; but if he did not hear God's voice, his heart would be hardened. He said it was true. Then I went out; and when Captain Drury came out after me, he told me the lord Protector said I was at liberty, and might go whither I would. Then I was brought into a great hall, where the Protector's gentlemen were to dine. I asked them what they brought me thither for. They said it was by the Protector's order, that I might dine with them. I bid them let the Protector know I would not eat of his bread, nor drink of his drink. When he heard this, he said: 'Now I see there is a people risen that I cannot win, either with gifts, honours, offices, or places; but all other sects and people I can.' It was told him again, That we had forsook our own, and were not like to look for such things from him.'
Fox had a brief meeting with Cromwell very shortly before the Protector's death, which we shall subjoin, adding Mr. Carlyle's characteristic comment:
Cromwell's Last Appearance in Public.
'The same day, taking boat, I went down (up) to Kingston, ard from thence to Hampton Court, to speak with the Protector about the sufferings of friends. I met him riding into Hampton Court Park; and before I came to him, as he rode at the head of his life-guard, I saw and felt a waft (whiff) of death go forth against him.'Or in favour of him, George? His life, if thou knew it, has not been a merry thing for this man, now or heretofore! I fancy he has been looking this long while to give it up, whenever the Commander-in-chief required. To quit his laborious sentrypost; honourably lay up his arms, and be gone to his rest-all eternity to rest in George! Was thy own life merry, for example, in the hollow of the tree; clad permanently in leather? And does kingly purple, and governing refractory worlds instead of stitching coarse shoes, make it merrier? The waft of death is not against him, I think-perhaps, against thee, and me, and others, O George, when the Nell Gwynne defender and two centuries of all-victorious cant have come in upon us! My unfortunate George-a waft of death go forth against him: and when I came to him he looked like a dead man. After I had laid the sufferings of friends before him, and had warned him according as I was moved to speak to him, he bade me come to his house. So I returned to Kingston, and the next day went up to Hampton Court to speak further with him. But when I came, Harvey, who was one that waited on him, told me the doctors were not willing that I should speak with him. So I passed away, and never saw him more.'
Amidst much opposition, Fox still continued to travel through the kingdom, expounding his views and answering objections, both verbally and by the publication of controversial pamphlets. In the course of his peregrinations he suffered frequent imprisonment sometimes as a disturber of the peace, and sometimes because he refused to uncover his head in the presence of magistrates, or to do violence to his principles by taking the oath of allegiance. After reducing— with the assistance of his educated disciples, Robert Barclay, Samuel Fisher, and George Keith-the doctrine and discipline of his sect to a more systematic and permanent form than that in which it had hitherto existed, he visited Ireland and the American plantations, employing in the latter nearly two years in confirming and increasing his followers. He died in London in 1690, aged sixty-six.
That Fox was a sincere believer of what he preached, no doubt can be entertained; and that he was of a meek and forgiving disposition towards his persecutors, is equally unquestionable. His integ
rity, also, was so remarkable that his word was taken as of equal value with his oath. Religious enthusiasm, however, amounting to madness in the earlier stage of his career, led him into many extravagances, in which few members of the respectable society which he founded have partaken. Fox not only acted as a prophet, but assumed the power of working miracles-in the exercise of which he claims to have cured various individuals, including a man whose arm had long been disabled, and a woman troubled with king's evil. On one occasion he ran with bare feet through Lichfield, exclaiming: 'Wo to the bloody city of Lichfield!' and, when no calamity followed this denouncement as expected, he found no better mode of accounting for the failure than discovering that some Christians had once been slain there.
The writings of George Fox are comprised in three folio volumes, printed respectively in 1694, 1698, and 1706. The first contains his Journal;' the second, his Epistles the third, his 'Doctrinal Pieces.'
WILLIAM PENN (1644-1718), the son of an English admiral, is celebrated not only as a distinguished writer on Quakerism, but as the founder of the state of Pennsylvania in North America. In his fifteenth year, while a student at Oxford, Penn embraced the doctrines of the Society of Friends. He was expelled the university, and his father sent him abroad to travel on the continent. He returned at the end of two years, accomplished in all the graces of the fine gentleman and courtier. In a short time, however, the plague broke out in London, and William Penn's serious impressions were renewed. He ceased to frequent the court and to visit his gay friends, employing himself in the study of divinity. His father conceived that it was time he should again interfere. An estate in Ireland had been presented to the admiral by the king; it required superintendence, and William Penn was despatched to Dublin, furnished with letters to the Viceroy, the Duke of Ormond. Again the cloud passed off; Penn was a favourite in all circles, and he even served for a short time as a volunteer officer in the army. One day, however, in the city of Cork, he went to hear a sermon by the same Quaker preacher that he had listened to in Oxford. The effect was irresistible: Penn became a Quaker for life. His father sent for him home, and finding him immovable in his resolution to adhere to the despised and persecuted sect, he turned him out of doors. William Penn now began to preach and write in defence of the new creed. He was committed to the Tower, but this only increased his ardour. During a confinement of eight months in 1688-9, he produced four treatises, the best of which,No Cross, no Crown,' enjoyed great popularity. In 1670, shortly after his release, he was again taken up and tried by the city authorities. The jury sympathised with the persecuted apostle of peace, and would
return no harsher verdict than 'Guilty of speaking in Gracechurch Street.' They were browbeat by the insolent court, and kept two days and nights without food, fire, or light; but they would not yield, and their final verdict was 'Not Guilty.' Penn and the jury were all thrown into Newgate. An appeal was made to the Court of Common Pleas, and Penn was triumphant; thus vindicating the right of juries to judge of the value of evidence independent of the direction of the court. Admiral Penn died in 1670, having been reconciled to his son, whom he left sole executor of his will. The admiral's estate was worth £1500 a year, and he had claims on the government amounting to about £15,000. In consideration of these unliquidated but acknowledged claims, Charles II. granted to William Penn-who longed to establish a Christian democracy across the Atlantic-a vast territory on the banks of the Delaware in North America. Penn was constituted sole proprietor and governor. He proposed to call his colony Sylvania, as it was covered with woods. The king suggested, in compliment to the admiral, that Penn should be prefixed, and in the charter the colony was named Pennsylvania. With the aid of Algernon Sidney, articles for the settlement and government of the new state were drawn up by Penn. They were liberal and comprehensive allowing the utmost civil and religious freedom to the colonists.
The governor sailed to America in 1682, ana entered into a treaty of peace and friendship with the native tribes, which was religiously observed. The signing of this treaty under an elm-tree, the Indian king being attended by his sachems or warriors, and Penu accompanied by a large body of his pilgrim-followers, forms one of those picturesque passages in history on which poets and painters delight to dwell. The governor having constituted his council or legislative assembly, laid out his capital city of Philadelphia, and made other arrangements, returned to England. He landed in June 1684 For the next four years and a half, till the abdicátion of James II., Penn appears in the novel character of a court favourite. He attended Whitehall almost daily, his house was crowded with visitors, and in consequence of his supposed influence with the king, he might, as he states, have amassed great riches. He procured the release of about fourteen hundred of his oppressed Quaker brethren who had been imprisoned for refusing to take the oath of allegiance or to attend church. Penn was accused of being a Jesuit in disguise, and of holding correspondence with the court of Rome. Even the pious and excellent Dr. Tillotson was led to give credence to this calumny, but was convinced by Penn of the entire falsehood of the charge. In our own day, an eminent historian, Lord Macaulay, has revived some of the accusations against Penn, and represented him as conniving at the intolerance and corruption of the court. Specific cases are adduced, but they rest on doubtful evidence, and seem to prove no more than that Penn, misled by a little vanity and self-importance,
had mixed himself up too much with the proceedings of the court, and could not prevent those acts of cruelty and extortion which disgraced the miserable reign of the last of the Stuart monarchs. The uniform tenor of Penn's life was generous, self-sacrificing, and beueficent. After the Revolution, Penn's formal intimacy with James caused him to be regarded as a disaffected person, and led to various troubles; but he still continued to preach and write in support of his favourite doctrines. Having once more gone out to America in 1699, he there exerted himself for the improvement of his colony till 1701, when he finally returned to England. His latter days were imbittered by personal griefs and losses, and his mental vigour was prostrated by disease. He died in 1718.
Besides the work already mentioned, Penn wrote 'Reflections and Maxims relating to the Conduct of Life,' and 'A Key, &c. to discern the Difference between the Religion professed by the Quakers, and the Misrepresentations of their Adversaries.' To George Fox's 'Journal,' which was published in 1694, he prefixed 'A Brief Account of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers' His works fill three volumes; and an excellent Life of Penn has been written by Mr. Hepworth Dixon (1851, and much enlarged in 1872). The style of Penn's works is often harsh and incorrect, but his language is copious and his enthusiasm occasionally renders him forcible and impressive. The first of the subjoined specimens is extracted from his No Cross, no Crown.'
Against the Pride of Noble Birth.
That people are generally proud of their persons, is too visible and troublesome, especially if they have any pretence either to blood or beauty; the one has raised. many quarrels among men, and the other among women, and men too often for their sakes, and at their excitements. But to the first: what a pother has this noble blood made in the world, antiquity of name or family, whose father or mother, great-grandfather or great-grandmother, was best descended or allied? what stock or what clan they came of? what coat of arms they gave? which had, of right, the precedence? But, methinks, nothing of man's folly has less show of reason to palliate it.
For, first, what matter is it of whom any one is descended, that is not of ill-fame; since 'tis his own virtue that must raise, or vice depress him? An ancestor's character is no excuse to a man's ill actious, but an aggravation of his degeneracy; and since virtue comes Lot by generation, I neither am the better nor the worse for my forefather: to be sure, not in God's account; nor should it be in man's. Nobody would endure injuries the easier, or reject favours the more, for coming by the hand of a man well or ill descended. I confess it were greater honour to have had no blots, and with an hereditary estate to have had a lineal descent of worth: but that was never found; no, not in the most blessed of families upon earth; I mean Abraham's. To be descended of wealth and titles, fills no man's head with brains, or heart with truth; those qualities come from a higher cause. 'Tis vanity, then, and most condemnable pride, for a man of bulk and character to despise another of less size in the world, and of meaner alliance, for want of them; because the latter may have the merit, where the former has only the effects of it in an ancestor; and though the one be great by means of a forefather, the other is so too, but 'tis by his own; then, pray, which is the bravest man of the two?
'Oh,' says the person proud of blood, it was never a good world since we have had so many upstart gentlemen!' But what should others have said of that man's ances