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divine spirit; and the more and contrary it might be, the greater evidence it would be of its being right, no matter how inconsistent and unreasonable it might appear to the carnal mind.

The most conscientious of the Shaker proselytes were exposed to run into the greatest absurdities: For believing we had received the spirit of Christ, and that the suggestions of that spirit would lead us to cross all our carnal sense and reason; and believing that we should be sealed over to eternal perdition, if we did not obey that spirit, we did many things shameful in the extreme. For whatever struck the mind or sense, as debasing, crossing, or degrading to the pride of human nature, we were very apt to imagine that we had a gift of God to do that very thing; and that if we avoided doing it, the same condemnation and distress followed in our feelings, as if we had omitted a duty most sacred, and founded on truth and reason. Out of this fanatical delusion arose that spirit, which led many of the young and inexperienced proselytes, (of which I was one) into the many scandalous and foolish words and actions, which for the first two er three years, so justly marked our character. I will take the liberty of naming a few of them, that my meaning may be understood.

Some, when travelling, seeing a fence out of order must stop to rectify it. Others, if they saw sticks or brush in the road, concluded there was a gift of God for him to alight from his horse, and act his faith by throwing out of the road the sticks or stones until he felt justified to mount bis horse again and pursue his journey. This he would do, though the people of the world were present, and calling him a damned fool all the time he was engaged at the work. For he knew there was no harm in doing right; and so much more confident he was of its being right, because he was opposed by those who were full of lust and the Devil.

Sometimes a young Shaker, meeting an acquaintance would feel that he must talk to him, and tell him about his lusts and filthiness, and urge him to confess his sins. He would tell him the judgment and resurrection were come, and that all who lived in the gratification of their lusts, were whores and whoremongers, whether married or not--that they must quit their filthiness, and confess all about it, with their lying, cheating and stealing; that they must restore every thing they had wrongfully taken, or they would be damned henceforth and forever. These things would they speak with such apparent solemnity, that they appeared fully to helieve and feel the importance of what they spoke.

Sometimes they believed they had a gift to visit a family, and act in the same way. Sometimes we had little to say; but then we must do something that we believed we were directed or had a feeling of the spirit to do, such as dancing, walking backwards, or on all-fours, or stripping off a part or all of our clothing, as a sign of the naked situation of those for whom we felt the gift.

These and such like things, with the opposition generally felt to the faith of the Shakers, caused them to be very

much

persecuted; and had it not been for the friendly feelings of their relatives, and the popular sentiment, that all should have liberty of conscience, they would have been driven from the country. This flame of persecution only confirmed the young disciples in the rectitude of their faith, for which I believe many of us would have suffered at the stake.

As we had lost the society and fellowship of all, but those of our own faith, we were suspicious of enemies and injuries from every quarter; nor did we wish to associate with those whom we esteemed the children of the Devil, unless we had some prospect of getting them into our faith. We considered that all titles and distinctions, given to men, only supported their pride; therefore we avoided them, and called every man by his proper

name.

When we were collected together for worship, we first sung a hymn or song, then kneeled down together in mental prayer and thanksgiving. At length we were informed that dancing was the highest act of devotion, and that, wbich was appointed for the worship of God in this his last dispensation. At this some of us were alarmed, but we must comply; and had to agree that nothing was in our way but superstition, and the sanctimonious forms of Anti-Christ, which ought to be rejected as a system of formal, hypocrisy.

We were generally deceived about the intent of dancing, for we expected in this exercise to be filled with joy and transport; but found by experience, and from what we repeatedly heard, that it was designed to mortify the flesh, and keep down the lustful propensities of our nature. We were taught to hate the flesh, and to despise the relation of father, mother, wife, children, &c. with all our mind and spirit;-to have a degraded and ahased feeling of ourselves, as a lump of lust, until we should travel into the nature of God.

As we had now received the Gospel, and had many precious gifts, we must now learn from our teachers that the spirit of the Prophets was subject to the Prophets; that if we wished to travel safe in the Gospel, we must take the council of those who had gone before us, according to Paul's doctrine, “ Be

ye

followers of me, even as I am of Christ.”. From this we learned that our fathers

in the Gospel had not full confidence in all our gifts; but had suffered us to act upon the pivot, where they had once placed us, till we were prepared to take another position, which should better answer their purpose. This was not fully made known to us, till sad experience evinced what it was, with its effi cts and consequences. Yet I well recollect my thoughts and feelings about it at that time; for I viewed it pretty near in its extent, so far at Jeast, as I could any thing I had not experier ced. But having full confidence in their virtue and wisdom, and believing they were sent to us with that Gospel, wbich would lead us out of sin, and bring every thing right, I surrendered every consideration to that confidence. And as I had already learned, that the ways of the spirit were contrary to the ways of common sense and reason; and as I was now cut off from all other society, I was fully prepared to swallow the corroding pills of implicit faith and obedience; especially as they were well tinctured with the perfumes of humility, forbearance, long suffering, &c.

It appeared to us evidently that we were yet in a sinful state. They repeatedly told us, that all the heavy crosses we had taken up would not save us, unless we followed Christ in his ambassadors, by obeying them as they did Christ. It became manifest that some, who had wives, had yielded to their former practice; and the fruit of their embraces plainly shewed, that through the spirit they had, with all their hard dancing, they had not yet mortified all the deeds of the body. These hy honest confessions and promises of amendment in future, had another chance given them to set out for the kingdom. The charity of God bore long towards those who fell hy this sin, if they had a considerable family of children who might be gathered into the faith; or if they possessed a good estate, which might at some future day be dedicated to God.

A man I well knew, who had fallen so frequently in this way, and so frequently had confessed it, that he at length thought he felt a gift, which might answer the purpose of mortifying this propensity. In a room where a number of us were assembled, both brothers and sisters, without giving any previous notice, he openly and clearly exposed a certain part, which he said was to him, as Alexander the coppersmith was to Paul, havirg done him much harm. While he exhibited he exclaimed, " This is my God.No one in the room seemed at that time to doubt the fact, nor his honest intentions to mortify the flesh; but many afterwards doubted whether the purpose, contemplated in the exercise of this wonderful gift, could be effected if a man were to give his body to he burnt for the sin of his soul.

I will relate another case of a similar nature. A certain sis

ier, in the same room, was esteemed unfaithful. A man present felt a gift to cast the Devil out of her. He spoke to her in a very plain and pathetic manner about lust, and its consequences; upon which she retreated and scuttled under a bed. But all her efforts to fly from the mighty power of God were in vain; for he, the brother, was determined to follow her and bring her out to the light. So great was his zeal, that he would not desist, until he had exerted his power to pull her from under the bed.

I might fill many pages wish relations of conduct, shocking to modesty, and piety; as sisters turning heels over head, their mock preaching, their mock praying and singing, their sport and contempt of all religious sects; but I forbear.

The Shakers may call on me to prove that such things, such madness and folly ever existed among them. If th ey should, I say that Matthew Houston and his wife, in their own house, together with others, were present, and saw as clearly as myself, these wonderful operations of the old ghost of darkness. Should they urge me to give the names of those thrus exercised, they shall have them. But as personal slander and invective are not the design of this narrative, I forbear. But such like improprieties have been frequent among the Shakers, at different times and places.

The Shaker ministers, for two or three years from the commencement of their society, said but little about these things to their young proselytes. They taught them, if they felt a gift, that they must go forth in the exercise of it. When any would exclaim against these absurdities, the ministers would either try to justify them on scriptural grounds, or attribute them to the inexperience of the young proselyte. But what absurdities were we not prepared to do? Our reason was completely prostrated; and, as before remarked, we were taught to consider every impression right, which was crossing or opposed to carnal reason; and that acting in opposition to our carnal reason and sense, was the way to receive light and the spirit, which would lead us into all truth. Thus being cut loose from carnal reason, so called, we were left to act without reason in many respects. Instead of having the Devil cast out of us, we had our reason and common sense cast out by fanatical imaginations, which we never had before we found the Shakers; and instead of sitting clothed and in our right mind, like the man out of whom Jesus had cast the devils, we were more like him wben possessed by devils, tearing off his clothes, and cutting himself with stones. At this time we were pests of civil society, and did many things, against which reason and decency will forever remonstrate. Two or three years after we had joined them, we were taught,

that this was entirely a new dispensation---that the truth of God had been perverted by false teachers for more than twelve undred years--and that according to prophecy and the promise of God, this last dispensation or revelation of Christ, was now more fully and effectually made known through a woman, named Ann. Lee, than it had been by the man Christ Jesus. They farther taught us, that the spiritual work of God, and the creating of souls anew, were as impossible to be accomplished without the revelation of God in a woman, as well as in a man, as it would have been for the first man Adam to have propagated his natural posterity without the correspondence of a woman; and that according to the same analogy, there never was any such thing as complete salvation, or of souls truly begotten, until there was a redeemed and spiritual mother, as well as a father, whom they now deciared to be Jesus Christ and mother Ann, the bride and the Lamb's wife. As Eve was the mother of all living in the old creation, and as no natural man could be brought into the world without the correspondence of a woman with a man; so no son or daughter could be born to God without the correspondent doctrine, testimony and faith of the first man and woman in the new creation, they being the only true begotten, and express image of God, and having his nature.

From this it was inferred and understood by the Shakers, that the male and female spirit were in the existence of the one God, when he said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. They apprehended this expression to signify two, the male and the female in one God. As it required the male and female to constitute the man; and as the male and female were created in the image of God, they considered this to be the thing, in which the likeness existed. Farther: they taught us, that as God must be intelligent and wise, so in this the man resembled him; and that all the intelligent part of man was an emanation from God, and sprang out of his nature and existence, it (the intelligent part of man) being in his existence male and female. Thus far the Shakers inclined to go with these doctrines.

By this time we received all they taught for ihus saith the Lord. This being our faith, we felt such condemnation for disobeying their instruction, that we had to confess to them transgression of this, as well as of other evil deeds, or feel miserable.

We were exhorted to labour hard, both in the dance and in our daily man. ual work, in order to get the victory over our proud natures, which hated obedience, and was not subject to the law of God, neither indeed could be that we should crucify our natures daily, and take the counsel of God, and be faithful in all things wbich were taught us. This doctrine, frequently inculcated, produced

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