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In this extremity, Samuel Shattock,' a Friend who had been banished under the last-mentioned law, came to England : and application being made to the king by Edward Burrough, who was admitted to a personal audience, Charles granted his mandamus, dated 9th September, 1661, to stop the severities in New-England; and appointed Samuel Shattock his deputy to carry it to Boston.
Nor were the good offices of Charles II. confined to our Friends of New-England. Notwithstanding the continuance of persecution in England, the king generally appeared inclinable to grant relief, and frequently received the personal application of George Whitehead" and others, on behalf of their suffering brethren. In 1672, he released, under the great seal, such Friends as were imprisoned on account of the oath of allegiance, to the number of about four hundred ; and the society had some respite from persecution; but not being protected by law, persecutors and informers soon recommenced their oppression, and at the king's decease about fifteen hundred were in prison or prisoners.
Although the practice of inflicting corporal punishment on Friends seems in England to have fallen into disuse at the restoration ; yet the reign of Charles II. must be considered as the time of the greatest suffering to our society. The imprisonments were long, often terminating only with the life of the prisoner. In this reign also, the crowds shut up together increased in many places the common sufferings of confinement : which in some were also augmented by the violent tempers of magistrates, or by the barbarity of jailers. The fines imposed by the new laws were exacted with a rigour that generally oppressed the sufferer, and sometimes left him nearly destitute of household goods; and several families experienced a separation of the near connexions of life, by the execution of that law? which subjected our Friends to banishment.
It is well known that James II. to favour, as is supposed, the religion to which he was attached, suspended the operation of the penal laws against dissenters. Our Friends had their share in the benefit arising from this ineasure ; but it was not until the reign of king William, that they obtained some degree of legal protection. Besides their
v Sewel, 280, 281.
Sewel, 586, 1684,
w G. If bitehead's Life, passini..
x Ibid. page 353 z 16 Car. II. c. 4.
disuse of the national forms of worship, their refusing to swear, and to pay tithes, had been among the principal causes of their sufferings. In the reign of William and Mary, an act was made,a which, with a few exceptions, allowed to their affirmation the legal force of an oath; and provided a less oppressive mode of recovering tithes, under a certain amount. These provisions were made perpetual in the reign of George l, and thus Friends, who received the advantage of the act of toleration, in common with other dissenters, have been in a great measure relieved from persecution.
At the same time that the society in England experienced the vicissitudes which have been thus briefly mentioned, similar circumstances befell our Friends in Freland. In that nation also they propagated their principles, settled meetings, suffered persecution, and were at length relieved by law.
The means of persecution, though now generally condemned by our countrymen, are not wholly removed ; and we are still liable to suffer in the Exchequer, and in the Ecclesiastical Court; but this must be understood only with respect to Great Britain and Ireland; for in America, the people at present are not bound to support a national ministry; nor, when this was in some parts the casc, were methods of enforcing payment employed, so tedious and so severe as in England.d
It has been already mentioned, that our Friends above a century ago had made their appearance in New-England; from whence all the violence of their persecutors had not been able to expel them. They were also early to be found in other colonies, in divers of which they underwent persecution; but on the acquisition of Pennsylvania by William Penn, many of them were induced to remove into that new province; which soon became, and still remains to be, the largest settlement of Friends in America. They are settled, however, in most of the other states and
a 6th and 8th William III. c. 34. b 1st George I. c. 6.
c Those who are desirous of particular information respecting Friends in Ireland, may consult Edmundson's Journal, and Rutty's History of the Rise and Progress of the People called Quakers. . d It is worthy of remark, that in the province of Massachusetts, in which the most sanguinary laws had been made and put into execution against Friends, the first law was made exempting them from contributing to the support of the public ministry: an act of assembly having passed for that purpose in 1731, Jonathan Belcher being governor
provinces of North America ; and although they have enjoved a great share of tranquillity, yet, during the commotions which terminated in the separation of the United States from the dominion of Great Britain, Friends were involved in great trouble, by refusing to join in the military services which were required of them: and many were reduced, from circumstances of ease, if not of affluence, to the verge of want, by the excessive seizures which were made of their property, to recover the fines imposed for their refusing to serve personally, or by substitute, in war.
General Belief. Universal and saving Light. Worship. Ministry.
Women's preaching. Baptism and the Supper. Universal Grace. Perfection. Oaths and Har, Government. Deportment. Conclusioni.
We agree with other professors of the Christian name, in the belief of one eternal God, the Creator and Preserver of the universe ; and in Jesus Christ his Son, the Messiah, and Mediator of the new covenant.
When we speak of the gracious display of the love of God to mankind, in the miraculous conception, birth, life, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Saviour, we prefer the use of such terms as we find in Scripture ; and contented with that knowledge which Divine Wisdom hath seen meet to reveal, we attempt not to explain those mysteries which remain under the veil; nevertheless, we acknowledge and assert the divinity of Christ, who is the wisdom and power of God unto salvation.
To Christ alone, we give the title of the Word of God, and not to the Scriptures ; although we highly esteem these sacred writings, in subordination to the Spirit, from which they were given forth; and we hold, with the apostle Paul, that they are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.e
We reverence those most excellent precepts which are recorded in Scripture to have been delivered by our great
a Heb. xii. 24. b 1 Cor. i. 24. ¢ Jolin i. 1. d2 Pet. i. 21. 'e 2 Tim, iii. 15. Lord, and we firmly believe that they are practicable, and binding on every Christian; and that in the life to come, every man will be rewarded according to his works. And further, it is our belief, that, in order to enable mankind to put in practice these sacred precepts, many of which are contradictory to the unregenerate will of man, every man coming into the world, is endued with a measure of the light, grace, or good Spirit of Christ; by which, as it is attended to, he is enabled to distinguish good from evil, and to correct the disorderly passions and corrupt propensities of his nature, which mere reason is altogether insufficient to overcome. For all that belongs to man is fallible, and within the reach of temptation; but this divine grace, which comes by him who hath overcome the world, is to those who humbly and sincerely seek it, an all-sufficient and present help in time of need. By this, the snares of the enemy are detected, his allurements avoided, and deliverance is experienced through faith in its effectual operation; whereby the soul is translated out of the kingdom of darkness, and from under the power of Satan, into the marvellous light and kingdom of the Son of God. · Being thus persuaded that man, without the Spirit of Christ inwardly revealed, can do nothing to the glory of God, or to effect his own salvation ; we think this influence especially necessary to the performance of the highest act of which the human mind is capable: even the worship of the Father of lights and of spirits, in spirit and in truth; therefore we consider as obstructions to pure worship, all forms which divert the attention of the mind from the secret influence of this unction from the Holy One. Yet, although true worship is not confined to time and place, we think it incumbent on Christians to meet often together,k in testimony of their dependence on the heavenly Father, and for a renewal of their spiritual strength; nevertheless, in the performance of worship, we dare not depend, for our acceptance with him, on a formal repetition of the words and experiences of others : but we believe it to be our duty to lay aside the activity of the imagination, and to wait in silence to have a true sight of our condition bestowed upon us; believing even a single sigh,' arising from such a sense of our infirmities, and of the need we have of Divine help, to be more acceptable to God, than any performances, however specious, which originate in the will of man.
f Matt. xvi. 27.
John i. 9. h Ibid. xvi. 33.
i 1 Jolin ii. 20, 27, in Jer. xxiii. 30---32. n Matt. x. 8. o Joel. ii. 28, 29. p Acts li. 16, 17. qEph. iv. 5.
From what has been said respecting worship, it follows that the ministry we approve must have its origin from the same source ; for that which is needful for man's own direction, and for his acceptance with God," must be eminently so to enable him to be helpful to others. Accord. ingly we believe that the renewed assistance of the light and power of Christ, is indispensably necessary for all true ministry; and that this holy influence is not at our command, or to be procured by study, but is the free gift of God to chosen and devoted servants. Hence arises our testimony against preaching for hire, in contradiction to Christ's positive command, 6 Freely ye have received, freely give;"'n and hence our conscientious refusal to support such ministry, by tithes or other means.
As we dare not encourage any ministry, but that which we believe to spring from the influence of the Holy Spirit, so neither dare we attempt to restrain this influence to persons of any condition in life, or to the male sex alone; but as male and female are one in Christ, we allow such of the female sex as we believe to be endued with a right qualification for the ministry, to exercise their gifts for the general edification of the church; and this liberty we esteem a peculiar mark of the gospel dispensation, as foretold by the prophet Joel, and noticed by the apostle Peter.
There are two ceremonies in use among most professors of the Christian name, Water Baptism, and what is termed the Lord's Supper. The first of these is generally esteemed the essential means of initiation into the church of Christ; and the latter of maintaining communion with him. But as we have been convinced, that nothing short of his redeeming power, inwardly revealed, can set the soul free from the thraldom of sin; by this power alone we believe salvation to be effected. We hold, that as there is one Lord and one faith, so his baptism is one, in nature and operation; that nothing short of it can make us living members of his mystical body; and that the baptism with water, administered by his forerunner John, belonged, as the latter confessed, to an inferior and decreasing dispensation,"
r John iii. 30.