תמונות בעמוד

outward object, reducesit to a state of absolute tranquillity, silences every inward motion and affection, and plunges it, as it were, into the abyss of Deity. They neither observe the institution of baptism, nor do they renew the remembrance of Christ's death, and of the benefits that result from it, by the celebration of the eucharist. They look upon these two institutions as merely Judaical, and allege, that our Saviour observed them for no other end than to show for once, in a visible manner, the mystical purification of the soul, under the figure of baptism, and the spiritual nourishment of the inward man, under that of the eucharist.

XI. The moral doctrine of the Quakers, which is remarkable for its excessive austerity, is chiefly Their moral comprehended in the two following precepts; first, precepts. “ That the faithful are either to avoid entirely every thing that tends to gratify the external senses and passions, every thing that can be ranked under the denomination of sensual or bodily pleasure ; or, if such rigorous abstinence be impossible in this present state, and contrary to the evident laws of nature, such pleasure is to be so modified and restrained by reason and meditation, as to prevent its debasing and corrupting the mind. For as the whole attention of the mind must be given to the voice and orders of the internal guide, so, for this purpose, all possible care must be taken to remove it from the contagion of the body, and from all intimate and habitual commerce with corporeal objects.” By the second leading precept of morality among the Quakers, all imitation of those external manners, that go by the name of civility and politeness, as also several matters of form, usual in the conduct of life, and in the connexions of human society, are strictly prohibited as unlawful. Hence they are easily distinguished

from all other Christian sects, by their outward deportment , and their manner of life. They never salute any person they meet in their way, nor employ in their conversation the usual manner of address, and the appellations that civility and custom have rendered a matter of decency, at least, if not of duty ; they never express their respect for magistrates, or persons in authority, either by bodily gestures, titles of honour, or in general by any of the marks of homage that are paid them by persons of all other denominations. They carry their pacific sentiments to such

an extravagant length, as to renounce the right of self-defence, and let p'ass with impunity, and even without resistance, the attacks that are made on their possessions, their reputation, nay, on their lives. They refuse to confirm their testimonies by an oath, to appear in behalf of their property before a civil tribunal, or to accuse those who have injured them. To these negative parts of their external conduct, they add peculiar circumstances of a positive kind, that discover the same austere, stiff, proud, and formal spirit; for they distinguish themselves, in a striking manner, from the rest of their fellow-citizens, by the gravity of their aspect, the rustic simplicity of their apparel, the affected tone of their voice, the stiffness of their conversation, and the frugality of their tables. It is however affirmed by persons of credit, who are eyewitnesses of what passes among the members of this sect, that the modern, and more especially the English Quakers, whom trade has furnished with the means of luxury, have departed from this rigid and austere manner of life, and daily grow more reconciled to the outward pleasures and enjoyments of the world. These more sociable Quakers are also said to modify and explain the theology of their ancestors, in such a manner, as to render it more rational than it was in its primitive state. At the same time it is certain, that many of the members of this sect have either a false notion, or no notion at all, of that ancient theology. XII. The principles of this community seem to exclude

the very idea of order, discipline, and ecclesiastiCalor cal government. Its leading members however, government. began to perceive, in process of time, that without laws and rulers it could not subsist, but must inevitably fall into confusion and ruin. They accordingly erected a council of elders, who discuss and determine matters of a doubtful or difficult nature, and use all possible care and diligence in inspecting the conduct of the brethren, and in preventing whatever they look upon as prejudicial to the interests of the community. The names of those that enter into the state of wedlock are given in to those leading members, who also keep an exact register of the births and deaths that happen in their society. They exercise, moreover, a certain degree of authority over those who speak in their meetings ; since it is well known, that in

Their form of ecclesiastical

some places these speakers show their discourses to the ruling elders before they deliver them, in order that they may judge whether or no they are fit to be repeated in public. For since the abuse that was made of the unbounded liberty that every individual had to instruct and exhort the congregation, and to speak and harangue when the pretended spirit moved them, new regulations have been observed; and this liberty has been considerably modified, in several places, to avoid the mockery, contempt, and censure, to which the community was constantly exposed, by the absurd, incoherent, and insipid discourses of many of its members. There are also in some of the more considerable congregations, and more especially in those that are erected at London, certain persons, whose vocation it is to be always prepared to speak to the people, in case none of the congregation find themselves inwardly moved, or disposed to perform that office. The appointment of these professed speakers was designed to remedy an inconveniency that frequently happened in the Quaker meetings, even that the whole assembly was dismissed without either instruction or exhortation, because none found themselves moved to speak. It is indeed to be observed, that this public discourse is not looked upon by the Quakers as an essential part of their religion and worship; for the brethren and sisters do not meet that they may hear the words of an external teacher, but that they may listen with recollection to the voice of the divine instructer, which every one carries with him in his own breast, or, to use their own phrase, that they may commune with themselves. Nevertheless, as these mute assemblies excite the laughter of their adversaries, and expose them to the reproach of enthusiasm and phrensy, they have, on that account, appointed fixed speakers, to whom they give a small salary, that the whole time of their meeting may not be passed in silence.

The Quakers have, annually, a general assembly of the whole sect, which meets at London, the week before Whitsunday, and is composed of deputies from all their particular congregations. They still complain, notwithstanding the toleration they enjoy, of certain severities and hard

Ind The truth of this account of fixed speakers, appointed to discourse and exhort, when the spirit does not move any of the other brethren, and rewarded for their pains, is denied by the writer of the Letter to Dr. Formey : we leave the decision of the matter to those who have an opportunity of examining the fact. VOL. IV.


ships; but these are entirely owing to their obstinate refusal to pay those tithes, which, by the laws of the land, are designed for the support of the established church.



1. AFTER various scenes of trial and perplexity, the

Mennonites at length found, during this century, The various the tranquillity they had long sought after in vain. Mennonites. They arrived indeed at this state of repose by very slow steps; for though, in the preceding age, they were admitted to the rights and privileges of citizens in the United Provinces, yet it was a long time before their solicitations and pleas of innocence could engage the English, the Swiss, and Germans, to receive them in their bosom, and to abrogate the laws that had been enacted against them. The civil magistrates, in these countries, had still before their eyes the enormities committed by the ancient anabaptists; and beside theycould not persuade themselves, that a set of men, who looked upon all oaths as sinful, and declared that magistracy and penal laws have no place in the kingdom of Christ, had the qualities and sentiments that are necessary to constitute a good citizen. Hence we find, even in this century, several examples of great severities employed against the anabaptists, and some instances of even capital punishments being inflicted on them. But now, that the demonstrations of their innocence and probity are clear and unquestionable, they enjoy the sweets of security and repose, not only in the United Provinces, but also in England, Germany, and Prussia, where they procure,' by their honest industry, and particularly by their

The various fortunes of the Mennonites.

e The severities exercised in Switzerland against the Mennonites are recorded by • Ottius, in his Annal. Anabapt. p. 337, and more particularly those that they suffered in the year 1693, by Hottinger, in his German work, entitled Schweizerische Kirchen Historie, vol. i. p. 1101, nor, even in this present century, have they been treated more mildly in the canton of Berne, as appears from Schyn's Historia Mennonitar. cap. X. p. 239, in which we find the letters of the states general of the United Provinces inierceding with that canton in their behalf. A severe persecution was set on foot against them in the Palatinate in the year 1694, which was suspended by the intercession of William III. king of Great Britain. See Schyn, ibid. p. 265. Bishop Burnet mentions some instances of Anabaptists suffering death in England during the seventeenth century, in the first volume of his History of his own Times.

Union and

stored among

application to trade and commerce, an ample subsistence for themselves and their families.

11. The wiser members of this community easily perceived, that their external tranquillity would neither be stable nor permanent, unless theirintestine con cara mene discords were removed, and their ancient disputes, them. about trifling and unimportant matters, charitably terminated. They accordingly used their most zealous endeavours to diffuse the sweets of charity and concord throughout their sect; nor were their labours altogether unsuccessful. In the year 1630, a considerable part of the anabaptists of Flanders, Germany, and Friesland, concluded their debates, in a conference held at Amsterdam, and entered into the bonds of fraternal communion, each, notwithstanding, reserving to themselves a liberty of retaining certain opinions. This association was renewed, and confirmed by new resolutions, in the year 1649, by the anabaptists of Flanders and Germany, between whom great divisions had reigned. All these formed a bond of union with those branches of the sect that were most distinguished by their moderation; and they mitigated and corrected, in various respects, the rigorous laws of Menno and his successors.

III. Therefore, at this day, the whole community may be divided into two large sects, the one comprehend- Different sects ing the more refined anabaptists, remarkable for of anabaptists. their austerity, who are also called Flemings or Flandrians; and the others called, in the Dutch language, the grosser anabaptists, who are of a milder complexion, and an easier and more moderate character, and go commonly under the denomination of Waterlandians. We have given already a particular account of the origin and etymology of these denominations. Each of these sects is subdivided into a variety of branches, more especially the refined and austere anabaptists, who have not only produced two separate societies, distinguished by the names of Groningenists, and Dantzigers or Prussians, but also a considerable number of more obscure and inconsiderable factions, which differ in doctrine, discipline, and manners; and agree in nothing

f Herm. Schyn, Plenior Deductio Historiæ Mennonit. p. 41, 42.
g So called, because they met at certain stated times in the city of Groningen.

h They derive this denomination from their adopting the manners and discipline of the Prussians.

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