« 前へ次へ »
and exceptions—the occasional extravagances of women on a footing of social equality with man, a great man under excessive excitement. Boyle, and gave them, in his society, meetings of civil the philosopher, had great faith in “ the mar discipline of their own, where they transacted row of the thigh bone of a hanged man” for the their own affairs of association, and learned to cure of certain complaints ; and left the recipe rely on their own, intellectual and moral reamongst his papers. Bacon, notwithstanding the wonderful advance of his mind beyond the mind But before going at large into his doctrines, of his own age, held some notions nearly as ab- let us take a rapid view of his career, and his surd : but who measures those great men by their disciples. foibles ? It would be easy to bring a ludicrous He was born in 1624, at Drayton, in Leiceslist of extravagances, follies, and eccentricities, tershire, and apprenticed there to a small farcommitted by three-fourths of our martyrs and mer and shoemaker. To the farming he voreformers; but it would be an invidious task. luntarily attached himself; and as he advanced We have better things to estimate them by : to manhood, working
alone in the solitary fields
, and, in the same manner, stripping away the outer his active and sensitive mind began powerfully coat of trivial absurdities from George Fox, we to turn its inquiries upon itself-upon its own shall behold him one of the greatest and most nature and destiny,– what it was, why here, noble-minded of reformers. We shall find him and whither advancing, - questions that one one of those rare characters that have but a would imagine must vividly affect every living single object in existence, and are ready to sa spirit, but which appear little to visit the mulcrifice everything for it—the establishment of titude, and sink deep only into minds of a cerTruth as the rule and the good of man: and we tain temperament. Soon satisfying himself that shall find him not more quick-sighted to discover Christianity was the best and only guide in this it, than bold to avow and maintain its cause. On inquiry--the only philosophy which can solve almost all those great questions of civil and re the great mystery of human existence,-he next ligious polity which the world is now coming to was anxious to possess himself of the best means a late discussion of, he made up his mind at of studying it. Taught, as the bulk of people once, and as at one splendidleap across the broad are, and ever have been, not to depend upon morass of the errors and sophistries of ages. The their own inquiries, but to lean upon somebody grand discovery at which he arrived was the in the shape of a priest, he immediately went to clear perception of the spirituality and all-suffi those who had the greatest reputation in his ciency of Christianity,—that it is a law to which neighbourhood. How well qualified they were we must bend all our morals, manners, and in to instruct such a mind as his, may be sufficiently stitutions, and not seek in vain to make it con understood from this :-the first advised him, in form to them. His system was therefore simply order to settle his spirit, “ to chew tobaeco, and the system of the New Testament, not as it is sing psalms.” He went afterwards to a Dr. interpreted by partial interests and preconcerted Cradock of Coventry, who began to condole very creeds, but by the broad, common-sense impres- sympathetically with him, till George happened sions of men—the fountain of all true knowledge to set his foot on the edge of a flower-bed, as in politics and morals, as well as in religion—the they walked in the garden, which put the priest source whence all true philosophers and origina- | into a passion,
as if his house was on fire,” tors of systems do but draw their lights, and and all was over. He went therefore to the whence historians have yet much to learn and right source at once,—the New Testament,-and much to teach ; eventually remoulding all so studying it night and day with the deepest ear. ciety, by reviewing the human annals in its nestness, often standing with it whole days ir spirit, and meting all actions by its stand.. his hand in a hollow tree,—at length he saw the ard. The Christian system is that alone which whole Christian system in so clear and beauti. recognises the great rights of humanity; civil ful a light, that he was not only filled with hap and religious liberty, in its fullest extent ; piness for himself, but felt it his bounden dut: the casting down of all monopolies in religion, to go forth and proclaim it to the world. Τ. in trade, in education; the abrogation of every him the gospel appeared a free gift tha law, however ancient, however sanctioned by every one might literally come, and receive i grave authorities or extended practice, which without money and without price,—the Bible is not founded on the eternal principles of jus a book that every one might study for himselt tice, and the erection of the divine law of Love —and that, to every such sincere student, woul in its stead. It holds in abhorrence customs, be vouchsafed free teaching of the Eternal Spi however deemed by ages and nations to be allow-rit, and that he would be led to a perfec able, the customs of national bloodshed, and knowledge of the divine will; that the grea national force, for determining questions of right. essence of Christianity was Love, and that a This was his system, a system certainly of most true Christians must, in reality, become a ban Radical Reform,—the system of abandoning the of brothers. Against mercenary preaching, th pernicious doctrine of expedience, the autho. vanity and pride of life, against all oppressio rity of names and precedents,—and substituting and systematized wrong,—war, slavery, the plun that of “ doing to others, as you would be done der of wrecks,-he wrote to the authoritie: by;" and so far was it carried beyond the no and preached to the people, with a fiery an ions of that age, and even of this, that it placed I impetuous eloquence. Hlow far he was qualifie
for this great undertaking, we may learn from a and the poor with anything but the most thovery competent judge, William Penn, who had rough courteousness, kindness, and compassion. seen human life from the palace to the cottage, For these he always expressed the greatest symand whose own honourable and capacious mind pathy, and so organized his own Society, as to made him a fitting evidence. Penn says, George restore them to the rights and consideration of Fox was above the ordinary size, of a graceful In the meeting-houses there was to be countenance, and having an eye so piercing that no place of distinction, except a railed gallery many who contended with him were unable to or platform in front for the ministers, and a bear it ; that he had great majesty of presence seat under it for the elders and overseers, that and that his addresses to the people possessed they might face the people, and preserve order. a strange and stirring power, so that whole mul Besides this, there were to be no separate seats, titudes-collected in market-places, in the open -no squire's pew with its superior splendour, fields, under the shade of large trees, on wild no aristocratic elevations or seclusions in the house heaths, sea-shores, or amongst the mountains of of God. All the seats were of the plainest deWales, Scotland, and Westmoreland, and amid scription, and free to every one alike. The poor the forests of America, or the plantations of the were to have a good English education given to West Indies-were wonderfully moved, and their children ;—and they themselves were not melted, subdued, or exalted, by his grave and expected to wait till their necessities compelled burning eloquence, and by the bold, simple dig them to come and receive a niggard allowance, nity of the doctrines he taught. His system of their needs were to be kindly, privately, and dea free gospel, and renouncement of the vanities licately inquired into by proper persons, and as of the world, was sure to bring upon him all the unostentatiously relieved. So it was, and so it vengeance of the proud and interested ; yet, in is to this day. spite of this, not only the common people, but Penn says,—and his life shows it,—that Fox clergy, magistrates, and officers of the army, possessed, on all occasions, the most undaunted came over to his opinions, and enrolled them courage. Though of an ardent temperament, selves in his new Society. No idea can be formed yet he possessed such self-command as rarely, if from the numbers or character of the Society of ever, to be thrown off his guard, by insult and outPriends of the present day, of the number and rage, and he manifested the most forgiving discharacter of those who mustered to its forma position. He was simple, dignified, and manly in tion from every quarter. Vast numbers, dur behaviour; grave, yet affable and pleasant in coning the hot persecution which fell upon them, versation ; and so ready in reply, as to continualwent with Penn to his settlement in America, ly baffle his most subtle antagonists. One instance especially from the neighbourhood of Kideley may be given:-He was imprisoned in Launceston Park, in Derbyshire, a favourité resort of Fox's. Jail, and brought up for trial before Judge Glyn. Fox himself appears to have been in prison not He was ordered to take off his hat. Fox inquired less than a dozen times, and frequently for a what authority there was in law or scripture for long period at once, as in Lancaster and Sear this compulsion ; at which the Judge fell into a borough gaols, where he lay for two years-pri passion, and cried, “Take him away jailer; I'll ferk sons of the most filthy and dreadful descrip him !” Soon after he sent for him again; and on tion, and so open to the weather, that he is said seeing him, exclaimed, “Come! where had they scarcely to have been dry all that time.
hats from Moses to Daniel ? Come, answer me, It is not possible, in an article of this kind, to -I have you fast now !” Fox immediately refollow his career at length. It is enough to say, plied,—" The three children were ordered to be that a host of able and zealous coadjutors ga thrown into the furnace with their coats, hose, thered about him, whose names, labours, and and hats on.” The judge instantly shouted,singular adventures, may be found in Sewell's - Take him away, jailer !” history of this people. For the propagation of He married the widow of a Welsh Judge, his sentiments, George Fox, as I have already (Fell,) at Swarthmore, in Westmoreland ; and, on hinted, visited all parts of the kingdom, some of this occasion, set the example of that justice to them many times, -and extended his travels into all parties which he had made the law to his own the West Indies, America, Germany, and Hol Society. He called the children of the widow land. He had interviews with Cromwell, in together, and ascertained from themselves, that which that great and wily adventurer used all they were not only satisfied with the marriage, that cant slang, and dealt in those double enten but that it would be no detriment to their indres which he adopted towards the Puritans. heritance. He died at the age of sixty-seven, “ George,”-he would say, shaking him cordially having seen a large community established on by the hand at parting,—" come often, for I feel his principles, and that, too, through a career of if thou and I were often together, we should be the most violent persecution,-through the imnearer to each other."
prisonment of thousands at a time, and the deIn the presence of Protector or King, he struction and seizure of their property, to the never for a moment lost that simple dignity amount of more than a million sterling in which distinguished him,-a Christian dignity of value. mind, so opposite to pride, that, while it made Of his disciples, the most illustrious were Penn, him feel no abjectness in the presence of human the founder of Pennsylvania, and Barclay, the greatness, never inspired him towards the low author of the famous “ Apology” for Quakerism,
a gentleman of the house of Gordon, and whose were shut in together, the rest of them said to patrimonial estate of Ury in Scotland, is now in this ancient man, — Come, father, you are the the hands of his descendant, the well-known oldest man among us; you shall be our foreman.' Captain Barclay. These are all I have now And when the Coroner had sworn them on the room to mention, except Thomas Ellwood, the jury, the coffin was uncovered, that they might friend of Milton, whose autobiography may be look upon the body. But the old man, disturbed said to be one of the most picturesque of books, in his mind at the interruption they had given full of the character and scenes of those singular him, was grown somewhat fretful upon it, and times. Let us take one scene from Newgate, in said to them,–* To what purpose do you show 1662:" When we came there, we found that us a dead body here ? You would not have us side of the prison very full of Friends, as indeed think, sure, that this man died in this room. were, at that time, all the other parts of that How then shall we be able to judge how this prison and most of the prisons about town; and man came by his death, unless we see the place our addition caused a great throng on that side ; wherein he died, and wherein he hath been kept notwithstanding which, we were kindly welcomed prisoner before he died ? How know we but by our Friends whom we found there, and en the incommodiousness of the place wherein he tertained by them as well as their condition was kept may have occasioned his death? Thercwould admit. We had the liberty of the hall, fore show us the place wherein this man died.' which is on the first story over the gate, and “ This much displeased the keepers, and they which, in the day time, is common to all pri began to banter the man, thinking to have beaten soners on that side, felons as well as others, to him off it; but he stood tightly to them. Come, walk in, and beg out of; and we had also the li. come,' said he, though you have made a fool berty of some other rooms in the daytime ; but in of me in bringing me in hither, ye shall not the night, we all lodged in one room, which was find a child of me now I am here. Mistake not large and round, having in the middle of it a yourselves. I understand my place, and your great pillar of oaken timber, which bore up the duty; and I require you to conduct me and my chapel. To this pillar we fastened our ham brethren to the place where this man died. Remocks at one end, quite round the room, and in fuse it at your peril ! three degrees, or three stories high, one over the “ They now wished they had let the old man go other; so that they who lay in the upper and about his business, rather than by troubling him, middle rows of hammocks, were obliged to go to have brought this trouble on themselves. But bed first, because they were to climb up to the when they saw he was peremptory, the Coroner higher by getting into the lower. The sick and told them they must show him the place. weakly persons lay in beds on the floor ; and, “ It was evening when they began this work, though the room was large, and pretty airy, yet and by this time it was grown bed-time with us, the breath and steam that came from so many so that we had taken down our hammocks, bodies of different ages, conditions, and consti which, in the day, were hung up by the walls, tutions, packed up so close together, was enough and had made them ready to go into ; and were to cause sickness amongst us, as I believe it did. undressing ourselves in readiness to go into Many were sick, and one soon died.
them, when, on a sudden we heard a great noise “ This caused some bustle in the house. The of tongues, and of tramplings of feet coming up body was put into a coffin, and carried down in towards us; and, by and by, one of the turnkeys to the lodge, in order that the Coroner might opening our door, said,— Hold, hold, don't un. inquire into the manner of his death ; and the dress yourselves : here's the Coroner's Inquest manner of their doing this is thus :-As soon as coming to see you.' the Coroner is come, the turnkeys run out into “As soon as they were come to the door,-fer the street under the gate, and seize upon every
within door there was scarce room for them to man that passes by, till they have got enough to come,—the foreman, who led them, lifting up make up the Coroner's Inquest; and so resolute his hands, said, 'Lord bless me, what a sight these rude fellows are, that, if any man resist is here! I did not think there had been so much or dispute it with them, they drag him in by cruelty in hearts of Englishmen, to use Englishmain force, not regarding what condition he is men in this manner! We need not now ques. of; nay, I have been told, they will not stick tion,' said he to the rest of the jury, how to stop a coach, and pluck the men out of it. this man came by his death ; we may rather won
“ It so happened that at this time, they lighted der that they are not all dead, for this place is on an ancient man, a grave citizen, who was enough to breed an infection among them.' trudging through the gate in great haste; and Well,' added he, “if it please God to lengthen him they laid hold on, telling him he must come my life till to-morrow, I will find means to let in, and serve upon the Coroner's Inquest. He the King know how his subjects are dealt with.'” pleaded hard, begged and besought them to let Which it appears he did, for the next day they him go, assuring them he was going on very ur. were removed to Bridewell. The rest of the gent business, and that the stopping him would prison scenes and characters are equally curious. be greatly to his prejudice. But they were deaf Honeypot, the noviciate pickpocket, the man to all entreaties, and hurried him in, the poor who slily slipped into prison amongst the crowd man chafing without remedy.
of Quakers, hoping for good living out of the ge“ When they had got their complement, and neral mess, and always thrust in his knife and
fork first, though he paid nothing, -and the ge had glimpses of; but it can only be said of Fox, neral condition and contents of Newgate at that that he fully comprehended it. The Puritans period, furnish a grand picture for the student and Covenanters fought for their liberties and of man under all aspects. But I must here close their altars:—they resisted the aggressions of this sketch.
ecclesiastical establishments; but they did not Such were Fox and his first disciples,—such deny their right to exist :—the Republicans was their early career. And what were the doc- fought for their own freedom with one hand, and trines they proposed to the world ? They were held with the other their fellow men in bondage : principally these.
---but Fox claimed freedom for all,--one right for ist, The influence of the Divine Spirit on the all,0
-one law for all,—for man in every situaspirits of his creatures.
tion, character, and aspect-for white and for 2d, The Spirituality of Christianity ; conse
black. It did not square with his notions of quently the non-essentiality of ceremonies. Christianity that we should be free ourselves,
3d, The civil and religious freedom of all and hold others in slavery ; that we should settle men ; consequently an abhorrence of tyranny, in the lands of the pagans, and drive them out political or ecclesiastical, in the shape of the of their ancestral possessions, as the nominal despot or the priest.
Christians of those and these times did and do in 4th, The Anti-Christianity of War.
America, in the Indies, and at the Cape of Good 5th, The free gift of the Gospel ; consequently Hope. The non-conformists resisted the coma dislike of hirelings.
pulsory demands of uniformity of creed and cere6th, The Anti-Christianity of Oaths.
mony of the Establishment; but Fox resisted 7th, The contempt of fawning and flatteries, and denounced establishments themselves. Howand foolish titles given to men, as inconsistent ever all other reformers, biassed by the force of with our self-respect, our respect for truth, and education, might overlook the absolutely free as repugnant to the meek and brotherly spirit of nature of Christianity,-given to be the charter Christianity, and degrading to our immortal and of liberty, the birthright of Hope in Earth and in intellectual nature.
Heaven, to all men—given to be the solace of all 8th, The equality of the sexes,--no sex in souls, partaking the form, the affections, and the sufferall one in Christ Jesus;consequently elevating ings of men throughout the world-given the female world to the highest pitch of honour, break the bonds of the captive and to let the usefulness, and felicity.
oppressed go free,”—to be enjoyed without per. 9th, Simplicity and purity in language, in mission from Pope or Patriarch, conclave or manners, and in dress.
convocation, fully and fearlessly, wherever two I do not mean to say that these comprised all or three are met in Christ's name,-its freedom, their doctrines. They held others with the and freedom-giving 'spirit did not escape the Christian world in general; but these they held single-eye of Fox. In the declaration, that in contra-distinction to most of their own times. “ God has made of one blood all the nations of The influence of the Divine Spirit, now in some the earth”-in the avowal of Christ, that “ the shape or other received by all denominations, heathen lorded it over one another, but it should was then held by some as little short of madness, not be so with his disciples”-their bond and and ridiculed without measure by others. The their distinction should be Love,-he saw the law spirituality of Christianity was then as little of brotherhood and not of subjection. The comprehended. All reformers before them, and same recognised independence of the Christian the Puritans, their cotemporaries, were so little code which leads to the abjuration of politiilluminated on the subject, that, though they cal and ecclesiastical despotism led him to were determined not to conform to the ceremo resist, despise, and expose those assumptions nial set up, they were all busy in framing cere of absurd titles, those demands of servile obei. monies for themselves, Fox at once pronounced sance and empty flatteries by mere wealth and ceremonies and externals to be the beggarly ele factitious rank, which degrade both givers and ments of Christianity,—its essence, a renewed receivers, and fill the world with so much vitality of mind. So far, indeed, did he outgo misery from the reckless and vindictive rancour the ordinary grasp of public opinion, that at this of over-fed pride. Civility to all, servility to day the Christian world has much to learn before none, was his rule and principle of action, and it can comprehend the full nature of that system brought upon him and his friends unbounded which shall go on till “ they shall no more teach insult and outrage ; but they and the whole every man his neighbour, and every man his community have reaped and will reap the benefit brother, saying, Know the Lord ; for they shall of it. In that day there was a different style all know him, from the least of them to the of address to the rich and the poor-a practice greatest.”
still common on the continent—you to a gentleThe great doctrine of civil and religious free. man, thou to a man; and so odious and opposed dom,-a doctrine of the most superlative im.. to the whole spirit of the gospel did it appear to portance,-a doctrine on which depends not Fox, that he adopted the singular number in merely the present happiness, but the spiritual speaking to every individual; and his followers destinies of men, inasmuch as tyranny and have retained the practice to the present day, ignorance go hand in hand, and ignorance and though the cause has ceased. The language has crime :-this great doctrine his cotemporaries firmly settled into the other form, and the
world is not, in this particular, likely to conform | insulted and abused ;—from such a state of things to a very small minority.
to one of sudden political rest and security It has been said that a great change has taken under the Toleration Act, the transition must place in the Society of Friends. That they have have been of a most sedative nature. Like the abandoned the bold and innovating spirit, and sudden ceasing of physical torture, it must have many of the eccentricities of their ancestors, left upon them a most exquisite sense of ease. and have silently let fall, or greatly modified, They would be sufficiently inclined to repose many of their opinions. They have changed themselves, and in that repose to look round exactly as every religious, and almost every and consider what they had lost, and what reother human community does. The effervescence mained. They would see a government no longer of their first zeal has evaporated with time ; and in hostility to them, and would be disposed to a as the spirit has escaped, they have clung more grateful abstinence from irritation. From being closely to the letter. They have changed, too, regarded by their fellow-citizens with hatred, with the silent change of the spirit and character and pursued by them with outrage, as they were, of general society. Who does not see the wide for renouncing what were called the courtesies, difference between this age and the puritanic but what they deemed the flatteries of the time, age in which they arose ? Then all the ele the use of such appellatives, as your Honour, ments of political and religious unrest were in a your Grace, your Excellency,-because they saw state of chaotic turbulence. The common people the men so addressed possessing neither honour, were only beginning to be imbued with, and to grace, nor excellence ; for refusing to bow, take feel the full influence of, that scriptural know off the hat, and so on,—they had now ledge, language, and imagery, which the diffusion respect by their firmness, and confidence by their of the Bible in the vernacular tongue had pro integrity in all their transactions, and would, duced. They were in the orgasm of intellectual therefore, be disposed to enjoy a position of intoxication. The Puritans in England, and social kindness from which they had, for a time, the Covenanters in Scotland, were full of that been thrown. From their renouncement of public Bible light which had burst on them in such a amusements and the dissipations of society, they novel torrent, that it had half illumined and were compelled to seek happiness in the bosom half bewildered them. Their speech was a tissue of their own families, and hence became a peculi. of prophetic and apostolic phrases,—they were arly domestic people : and, besides this, seeing ready to fight and to die for their principles. the havoc which had been made in their estates,
The despotism of the Stuarts, pressing upon the during the rage of persecution, they would now patience of the nation till it snapped, concurred set about, as good citizens and fathers of families, with this religious enthusiasm to rouse the whole to repair them by sedulous habits of commercial realm into one scene of confusion and strife.industry. All these causes operating together, The different sects had not learned their own and with them their consequences, the satisnature, and the real goal of their endeavours; faction they came to feel in the full and free the Presbyterians and Independents wrestled exercise of their own mode of religious worshipnot only for liberty, but for power. All these in th domestic relations—in the growth of circumstances have changed ; the boundaries of their fortunes,-it was natural they should bereligious liberty have been better defined by the come a quiet people, a people submissive to good continual labours of great and good men of all government, a people unworldly in their appear. parties; no contrast can be greater than the ance, but worldly in their substance. This they one between the Baptists, Independents, and have become: and the error has been that they Presbyterians of that day and of this. The have become too much so. They are aware of Friends have only partaken, in common with all the purity of their Christian faith,—but they have other denominations, in the changes wrought by not been zealously enough affected to its diffuthe same spirit passing over them. They have sion; they are sensible of the nobility and moral become a more orderly, quiet, less-excited people; grandeur of their great principles, but they but they have not dropped one tenet, or aban have not laboured enough to make the worla doned one principle that I am aware of. It is sensible of this too, and to invite its assistance true, they have abated their public testimony to to their propagation. In all instances they have their principles in some particulars, and heigh-held fast by their principles ; but, perhaps, in tened it in others; and herein, I think, they only one have they stood forward as became have most mistaken or forsaken their real duty, their high moment, and made common cause and have failed to conform to the advance of with the public for their success. This brilliant knowledge both political and religious.
exception has been in their resistance to Negro The cessation of persecution must have pro slavery:—the consequence has been a triumph duced a strong effect upon
them. From a state so splendid and so beneficent, that it ought not of perpetual harassing and outrage,-from merely to stimulate, but to pledge them to simihaving their meetings broken up by drunken lar experiments. squires and rancorous parsons, by mobs and The high scriptural doctrine of human right, soldiery,--their meeting-houses pulled down by which they had adopted, compelled them, from order of government,-themselves shut up by the first, to denounce this detestable invasion of thousands in most filthy and miserable dun it. Fox, on his visit to the West Indies, pubgeons, their property plundered, their families licly exhorted those who listened to him to use