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CHAP. I. Birth; Parentage; Education ; College Life; hears a Quaker
preacher ; expelled from the College; turned out of doors ; sent to France.
Quaker again; leans to the Quakers; is imprisoned ; writes to the Earl of
CHAP. XVIII. 1683. The first-born; progress of the Colony; dispute with
Lord Baltimore; persecutions in England ; prepares to return ; Letter to
CHAP. XXI. 1692. Disputes about Quaker discipline; writes 'A Key,' &c. ;
news from America; troubles with G. Keith ; Penn deprived of the govern-
fore the magistrates at Wells. 217--281.
CHAP. XXVI. 1704-18. Declines in health; has three apoplectic fits; visited by
thumous slanders refuted; his will. 283290.
As Penn was a Quaker, it seems needful that I should give some account of the history and peculiar principles of the Quaker Society. The Quaker Society was founded by George Fox, who was born at Drayton in Leicestershire, in 1624. George Fox was pat apprentice to a man who was a shoemaker by trade, but who followed grazing, wood-selling &c. as well. George appears to have been employed chiefly as a shepherd and herdsman. He was a youth of great seriousness, of strong feeling, and of great spiritual power, and he lived in times peculiarly adapted to foster and to strengthen these peculiarities of character. Before he was twenty, he believed himself called upon by God to separate bimself from the world, and to employ himself wholly in thinking and speaking of religion, and in efforts to promote right views and feelings on religious subjects among others. For three years he travelled up and down the country, especially in the counties of Warwick, Leicester, and Northampton, seeking out serious people, and conversing with them. When about twenty three he began to preach publicly, and in the course of a few years his labours had become very extensive. In 1650, when about twenty six years of age, he was imprisoned on account of his righteous labours, in Derby gaol, where he was confined for nearly a year; and in a few years more, his name had gone forth through the length and breadth of the land, and his influence was felt
among people of all ranks, and of every sect in the country. The great peculiar doctrine that he taught was, that the light which should guide men was within them; that men's saviour and redeemer was within them; that if men would follow the light within, it would both reveal to them their sins, and lead them to righteousness and peace; that this light was given to every one, and would, if followed, lead every man to a knowledge of God and of his will, to holiness on earth, and to eternal blessedness in heaven. George Fox not only taught people that they might learn the truth without the help of outWard living teachers, but even without books or Scriptures. Though he prized the Scriptures highly, and regarded them as the productions or expressions of the inward light as enjoyed by ancient saints, yet he denied that the possession or a knowledge of the Scriptures was essential to the attainment of true religious knowledge, of Christian holiness, or of eternal life. With respect to the regular living teachers belonging to the various sects, or as he generally termed them, the priests, he regarded them as hinderances to men's improvement in knowledge and holiness.
Hence he laboured to draw men off from these, and to turn them to the great and universal teacher in their own souls. His labours were most abundant, and his success was truly wonderful. He went through every part of the country, preaching in almost every town and village of note in the land, frequently speaking for three hours and upwards at a time ; and almost every where men were convinced of the truth of his doctrines, andavowed themselves his friends. The priests raged terribly, and persecuted him shamefully. But he never seems to have flinched. He went right on. Before long a number of his friends began to preach the same doctrines, and in course of time, the land was almost filled with them. Their zeal and their courage were unbounded, and their labours were unceasing. To preaching they added the powers of the pen and the press, and sent forth papers and books without end. To such an extent did they succeed in spreading their principles, that some even of their persecutors declared, that they had ruined [i. e. drawn over to their side] almost every decent person in the kingdom.
It was when G. Fox had been employed in his reforming labours about fourteen years, that Penn first heard a Quaker preacher. In about six or eight years afterwards, Pem did himself become a Quaker preacher. From this period their peculiar principles, as unfolded in the writings of Fox and Penn, included the following.
1. They held the universality and sufficiency of the inward light, which they sometimes called the heavenly seed, the Word of God, Christ, &c.
2. They denied that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice, and refused to call them God.'
3. They rejected a hired ministry, and contended that all who preach the gospel, should preach it freely.
4. They renounced all human authority in matters of religion, and refused to obey civil authority when it crossed their own convictions of what was true and right.
5. They denied that human learning, such as a knowledge of natural science, or of the dead languages, was essential to qualify a man for the ministry; and contended that Christ made and qualified his own ministers without the aid of Colleges and Universities.
6. They believed in the inspiration of the sacred writers, but they also contended that the same inspiration was granted to men at the present time, and had been granted to men in all ages and in all nations.
7. They believed in perfection; a perfection equal, if not superior, to that of Adam before his fall, denying altogether the necessity or unavoidableness of sin.