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the door of the parliament-house with a drawn sword, and wounded several, saying he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, to kill every man that sat in that house." Even admitting the facts correctly stated, and that they were all professed Quakers, as examples of the conduct of that society, without making one distinguishing or qualifying observation, more especially when we recur to the very judicious observations he makes, in respect to the reflections, by some cast upon the Lutheran church with “ a view to render them ridiculous, or odious,” for the conduct of some of its particular members. - In the happiest times," says he, sect. 38, p. 55, 5 and in the best modelled communities, there will always remain sufficient marks of human imperfection ; at least, in the imprudence and mistakes of some, and the impatience and severity of others, but it must betray a great want of sound judgment, as well as candour and impartiality, to form a general estimate of the state and character of a whole church, upon such particular instances of imperfection and error." But our regret is increased under a strong apprehension that our author in this, as in some other particulars, by implicitly following some of the polemical writers of the day, most inimical and invidious toward this society, has been incorrect, as to facts and circumstances, as well as the application of them; how otherwise could he have stated the man with a drawn sword, is indeed such an event took place, to have been a Quaker ? a people, whom he elsewhere represents, as holding it a fundamental principle to reject the use of violence, and the sword, even in the most urgent cases of self-defence; not only holding it speculatively, but as practically adhering to it in all their conduct. This consideration ought to have been sufficient to invalidate the charge, as against the society, even if it had not been publicly denied by them at the time; which circumstance, as well as those relating to the deviation of Naylor, never could have escaped the notice of our author, had he investigated with his usual accuracy, and with that candour and impartiality be so highly recommends; he would then have satisfactorily discovered, that Naylor's misconduct, to which he alludes, and that of his followers, who were few, was openly disapproved by George Fox at the time, and by the society in general; that Naylor himself soon after repented of, and publicly condemned it. But
we cannot impeach Dr. Mosheim's integrity and candour as a historian, so far as to suppose, that if he bad investigated the circumstances with his usual industry and accuracy, he would have stained the character and memory of Naylor, who was, before and after that event to his death, esteemed a pious and religious man, and of no inferior talents, by recording that event only of his life, and that, without noticing his after condemnation of it, much less that he would have left it as a stain attached to the society which condemned it at the time.
The difficulty excited by George Keith, which is represented by our author, as the most serious discord among the Quakers, and as issuing in his excommunication and the reconciliation of his followers with their brethren, does not indicate a very unsound state of the religious body, or its being destitute of that principle of vitality, which most effectually facilitates the healing of wounds. And whilst our author prefers to connect their reconciliation with an “if we may believe public fame," when he might have rested on authentic history, it is remarkable that he useth no if, in asserting that Keith returned to the bosom of the English Church, which can hardly be truly said of a man that never went out from it; Keith having, previous to his joining the Quakers, been a presbyterian, and not a churchman. It is further remarkable, that neither our author, nor his translator, who, on the authority of Burnet, assigns a more worthy motive for his return, were able to mention a single Quaker; that Keith, “though by far the most learned member of the community,” after labouring some years, and having prevailed as far as he saw any prospect of success, carried back with him to the bosom of the church. From this issue, then, of the most serious discord among the Quakers,” our author had no occasion to condole with them on the approaching - annihilation of their sect,” however he might imagine he would have, “if reason gets in among them,” note, page 148.
It may here pertinently be remarked, without pretending to decide whether Keith ever became a churchman in principle, or whether a country living was given him in his old age, as a reward for his indefatigable, though unsuccessful labours, to detach a portion of the Quakers from their religious communion ; that it appears from the printed accounts of his disputations with the Quakers in Lon
don, after his disownment, that he held he had ever been orthodox in the Christian faith, whilst walking among them; hence it became an easy task for them both to vindicate the principles which they really held, and to exculpate themselves from others before falsely charged upon them by their adversaries, and which he now revived against them, by quoting his own writings during that period; to which circumstance, as a means, may be in part owing, that though a number had at first adhered to him, he carried none eventually away. Whether Keith, during this period of labour in London, was converted to the principles of the church of England, and only feigned to hold his former principles as a Quaker, in order more effectually to succeed in carrying off some of them; or whether he really believed bimself, as he said, to have been orthodox, and so was rewarded with a benefice, though a Quaker in principle, is not how material to inquire; yet one or the other of these we must believe to be true; unless we believe a sudden conversion took place at the period when these labours ceased, and the benefice was conferred. *
The limits of these remarks will not admit a correction of every error, but if the man and the woman who predicted to the parliament and to Cromwell, their being broken to pieces, and the rending of the government from him and his house, with the emblematic breaking of the earthen vessel, and the tearing of the cap, really carried those messages under an apprehension of religious duty; there is nothing very objectionable in the manner; and if the other predictions of the Quakers in those days, which our author says were numerous, were as exactly and literally fulfilled, as those two he has selected, it might go far toward shaking the opinion of any candid and unprejudiced man, however strongly he might be fixed in the opinion, that all prophecy had ceased. There are, however, several misrepresentations of the principles and doctrine of this society so palpable and gross, and at the same time in points so im
* When the foregoing was penned, the writer had never seen J. G. Beven's “ Vindication” on this subject: he observes, page 9; “ As to poor Keith, Mosheim and his translator are at variance respecting the motives of what Mosheim calls his return to the bosom of the English church. His uniting with her, for it must be recollected that he had been a presbyterian, was more likely to have been occasioned by the warmth of her bosom, to his declining years in a country living, than by exasperation at the disownment by the Friends, or reconciliation with a body, from which I apprebend he had never strayed."
portant, it would be doing too great injustice to pass them unnoticed.
In sect. vi. p. 153, of their religion in a general point of view, having adopted the opinion that their religion was merely a revival of that of the ancient mystics, it is very evident he has detailed his own ideas iof their principles and doctrine for that of the Quakers; adhering so closely as scarcely ever to lose sight of their particular characteristic terms and phrases ; whereas it is notorious to all acquainted with the style and writing of the Quakers, that they adhere with great strictness, in explaining their principles, to those of the holy Scriptures; perhaps as considering them most intelligible to religious inquirers.
Whilst we consider some of his misrepresentations as resulting, it may be hoped innocently, from the above preeonceived opinion, there is one thing which might escape an inattentive reader, yet tending greatly to mislead him, of which, is in the original, and not foisted into the later impressions by some other hand; it is scarcely possible to entertain a hope so favourable. In giving the Quaker principles, flowing from what he states to be their fundamental principle, the most he says is marked with the points of quotation, p. 156, & seq. and sometimes introduced with they say ; thus conveying to the reader that he is using the language of the Quakers, or at least of their writers; which is entirely foreign from the truth. From the principles thus incandidly introduced, he infers, sect. ix. p. 158, " that the existence of the man Christ Jesus, the account of his divine origin, &c. makes no essential part of the theological system of the Quakers; that they reject the history of the life, mediation, and sufferings of Christ;" and that the American Quakers in particular, without ambiguity, 6 maintain publicly that Christ never existed but in the hearts of the faithful;" insinuating, indeed, that the European Quakers somewhat disguise their real sentiments upon this important point.
When one recurs, with an unbiassed and candid frame of mind, to the works of their most eminent and approved writers upon this subject, or to their continual reference, in their public discourses, to this part of the gospel history, or to their confession of faith, published about the year 1693, signed by a large number of their principal members, and which it appears our author had seen ; it is dif
ficult to account for this important misrepresentation, otherwise than by presuming he was destitute of personal acquaintance with the members of this society (living in Germany, remote from them) and that he had unhappily received an impression that their opinions upon this and some other important points were to be collected from the deductions and inferences drawn by their adversaries, with which he was more conversant, and not from their own approved authors, or even their public profession of their faith, by themselves as a religious body. Yet in the case of the Arminians, (vol. iv. p. 130, he candidly gives their opinions as professed by themselves, in their famous five articles; well observing at the same time, that some others pretended to enter into the secret of their hearts, and to insinuate that they had not truly represented their own religious opinions.
The reader will not be less surprised at the motives assigned for the European Quakers thus disguising their opinions, than at the misrepresentation of the fact; that a religious body whom our author represents, page 149, as braving the power of Cromwell, “ treating with contempt, his promises and threats ;" and who shrunk not from the severer persecutions of the following reign, should, after the revolution, when their religion, with that of other dissenters, was tolerated by statute, be left to disguise their real opinions through fear of the “civil and ecclesiastical powers," p. 152, is neither probable nor credible. Thus one error frequently begets another; having attributed to the Quakers an opinion they never beld, he is put to a conjecture equally erroneous and incredible for a cause why they should disguise it. As flowing from the same principles he asserts that, with other outward forms of devotion, they “ reject the use of prayers,” page 158, which would be too notoriously erroneous to require a correction here, were not this work likely to pass into the hands of many who have never had an opportunity personally to witness their frequent recourse to oral supplication in their meetings for divine worship, and which has ever been their practice from the beginning to the present day; not to mention their many publications, treating of the duty of prayer, and of the true and acceptable manner of performing the same.
The literary works of Barclay and Peon remain to speak