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We have also made diligent search, and cannot find any account of a female going naked, as mentioned in the same note, and believe it is untrue.
That George Keith was a man of learning and a member of our society, and wrote several pieces in support of our tenets, is true ; but that he gave way to a contentious spirit, and endeavoured to lay waste what he himself had assisted to build up; and was, after much patient labour and forbearance disowned by friends, we acknowledge; and that an opposition was made to the establishment of meetings for discipline, by some through ignorance, who afterward saw their error and condemned it, and by others from mistaken motives; but that our fundamental opinions have been the same from the first promulgation of them, we confidently assert.
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be of divine original, and give full credit to the historical facts, as well as the doctrines therein delivered ; and never had any doubt of the truth of the actual birth, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as related by the evangelists, without any mental or other reserve, or the least diminution, by allegorical explanation; and there is not, nor ever has been, any essential difference in faith or practice between Friends in Europe and America ; but a correspondence is regularly maintained, and love, harmony, and unity have been preserved down to this day; and we hope and believe, under divine favour, nothing will be able to scatter or divide us.
We do not wish to meddle with those called mystics, or to adopt many of their expressions. We presume there were sincerely religious people among them: but we think religion is a simple thing, the work of the Spirit of God in the hearts of men; and as to our tenets and history, we refer to Fox, Barclay, Penn, Sewel, Gough, &c. and declare, that we never had, nor now have, any other doctrines to publish, and that there are no religious opinions or practices among us which have not been made known to the world.
When any person, by submitting to the influence and operation of the Spirit of God, becomes thereby qualified, and is called to the work of the ministry, after having made full proof thereof to the satisfaction of the congregation, he or she is accepted and recommended as such ; but as to
any person being appointed with a stipend, small or great, or preparing a sermon to be delivered in our meetings, to be previously examined, or without such examination, there never was any such practice among us. Our ministers, elders, overseers, and other friends appointed to religious services, receive no pecuniary pay, but spend their time and their own money freely on such occasions, at home and abroad; yet proper attention is given to those in low or poor circumstances of every description, besides contributing our full proportion to the support of the general poor. Equally untrue is the insinuation that we are ashamed of our silent meetings, having experienced them to be both profitable and refreshing, as by waiting on the Lord, we renew our strength in him.
Having referred to divers books for further information respecting us, and a more minute refutation of the other false charges, we shall content ourselves at present with this general answer.
Signed by direction and in behalf of a meeting representing the religious society called Quakers in Pennsylvania, New-Jersey, &c. beld in PHILADELPHIA, the 22d of 111 Month, 1799.
JOHN DRINKER, CLERK.
New-Bedford, 12th Month 9, 1911.
SAMUEL ETHERIDGE, JUN.
WE are authorized by the representative body of the Yearly Meeting of Friends for New England, who, as a standing committee, have the general care of whatever may arise affecting the society, during the intervals of that meeting, to request of thee, that in order to refute some of the gross misrepresentations of the Society of Friends, contained in Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, now republishing by thyself, thou wilt be so obliging as to annex to that work some extracts which we now forward to thee, together with a short Summary of our History, Doctrine, and Discipline, as printed in London, in the
We feel desirous, that the Summary should be added, in the hope, that future Historians, finding it in connexion with so celebrated a work, will be so candid as to give our own account of our principles, rather than to take the account from those who were Danting either in knowledge or liberality toward us.
i The following corrections of the MISREPRESENTATIONS, principally of the Translator, of Mosheim, were written by gentlemen who had not (all of them) seen the preceding Vindication of the Quakers, which was penned in Philadelphia. This will account for the repetition of the same things, which, in a fow instances, appears.
OF MOSHEIM'S ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF THE
It is not to be wondered at, that Mosheim, in his Ecclesiastical History, should have said some things amiss, among the many things which he has said; and as his work is much read, and in general deservedly admired, his ill report extends further, and does more injury, than that of an inferior author. What degree of credit is to be given to that part, which treats of the Society called Quakers, will, I hope, appear from the following remarks; in making which, I wish to acquit him of ill will, and to allow for his want of personal acquaintance with his subject, and the strangeness with which the simplicity of a Friend must appear in the eye of a Lutheran.
His account of our origin, needlessly inserted in his history of the Arminians, wherein we are compared to a rank weed, springing up from the neglect of reason, may be passed over, as a rhetorical flourish, inserted to fill up
the antithesis, or to serve as a foil to relieve the subject on which he was treating. But, when he makes us his more immediate theme, in whatever he is deficient, or whatever foreign matter he may have allowed himself to add, we have a right to expect, that in his assertions he be well founded and accurate. In the following passages, taken from Maclaine's 8vo. English edit. of 1768, he appears to me to be, either ill informed, inaccurate, or liable to a charge of malevolence, which it is not pleasant to bring against so learned and instructive an author. In page 29, line 2, the Quakers are said to have made use of their pre
* The following is taken from a small 12mo. vol. by Joseph Gurney Bevan ; entitled, "A Refutation of some Modern Misrepresentations of the Society of Friends, " &c. &c. Printed in London, in 1800.
tended inspiration to excite the“ most vehement commotions in church and state.” Now I appeal to the English history, and defy any man to show that in the state, any commotions were ever excited by these people, much less, if that were possible, through design. Whitelock, a member of parliament, and a circumstantial recorder of transactions at the time of which Mosheim treats, although he now and then mentions the Quakers, relates no commotion to which they gave rise. As to the church, it is possible, she might be troubled at seeing her authority disputed; but as the avowed ground of all dissent is the apprehension of error in the establishment from which it separates, the Friends must be contented with the common lot of Reformers, as to the public opinion.
The next ill-founded, or unfounded, assertion of which I shall take notice, is in page 30, line 14, &c. where Mosheim confederates Barclay, Keith, and Fisher, into a triumvirate, in order to raise that beautiful fabric of our discipline, which he seems to think could never have arisen from what he calls the gross ignorance of Fox. As I may have future occasion to vindicate George Fox's memory from this and other aspersions, it will here only be necessary to seek for the authority on which Mosheim rests his assertions. As he cites none, and in citations he is generally liberal, it is not very unfair to suppose he had none; but as the discipline has been an object of admiration, and George Fox an object of contempt, it was difficult to believe that it had him for its author; and therefore not unnatural to ascribe it to others. Nevertheless, our own historical memoirs do not ascribe the establishment of the discipline to either of those three persons. If we understand by discipline, either the setting up of the monthly meetings, or the mode of proceeding in them, we have no records from which we can even infer that Barclay, Keith, and Fisher, had any share in it; or that it was not chiefly, if not wholly, brought about by the means of Fox. Indeed it is from his works alone, that we have any clear account of the business. He describes circumstantially his journeys through England, for the purpose of establishing monthly meetings. It was in 1667, the year in which Barclay, then nineteen years old, joined the Society; and whose youth, therefore, both as a man and a Friend, makes it improbable he should so soon be a colleague of George