Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

vants.

till many ages after, that men wou'd have the word You, as tho' they were double, instead of Thou employed in speaking to them; and usurped the flattering titles of lordfhip, of eminence, and of holiness, which mere worms bestow on other worms, by afsuring them that they are with the most profound respect, and an infamous falfhood, their most obedient, humble ser

'Tis to secure our felves mure strongly from such a shameless traffick of lies and flattery, that we thee and thou a king with the same freedom as we do a beggar, and falute no person ; we owing nothing to mankind but charity, and to the laws respect and obedience.

Our apparel is also somewhat different from that of others, and this purely, that it may be a perpetual warning to us not to imitate them. Others wear the badges and marks of their several dignities, and we those of christian humility. We fly from all assemblies of pleasure, from diversions of every kind, and from places where gaming is practis'd; and indeed our case wou'd be very deplorable, should we fill with such levities, as those I have mention'd, the heart which ought to be the habitation of God. We never swear, not even in a court of justice, being of opinion that the most holy name of God ought not to be prostituted in the miserable contests

betwixt man and man.

When we are obliged to appear before a magistrate upon other peoples account, (for law-suits are unknown among the friends) we give evidence to the truth by fealing it with our yea or nay; and the judges believe us on our' bare affirmation, whilst so many other Christians forfwear themselves on the holy Gospels. We never war or fight in any case; but it is not that we are afraid, for so far froin shuddering at the thoughts of death, we, on the contrary, bless the moment which unites us with the Being of beings; but the reason of our not using the outward sword is, that we are neither wolves, tygers, nor mastiffs, but men and Christians. Our God, who has commanded us to love our enemies, and to suffer without repining, would certainly not permit us to cross the seas, merely because murtherers cloathed in scarlet, and wearing caps two foot high enlist citizens by a noise inade with two little sticks on an ass's skin extended. And when, after a vi&tory is gain'd, the whole city of London is illuminated; when the sky is in a blaze with fireworks, and a noise is heard in the air of thanksgivings, of bells, oforgans, and of the cannon, we groan in filence, and are deeply affected with sadness of spirit and brokenness of heart, for the sad havock which is the cccafion of those public rejoicings.

L E T

L E T T E R II.

ON THE

Q. U A K E R S.

S Ver

UCH was the substance of the con

versation I had with this very singular person ; but I was greatly furpriz'd to fee him come the Sunday following, and take me with him to the Quakers meeting. There are several of these in London, but that which he carried me to stands near the famous pillar call’d the Monument. The brethren were already assembled at my entering it with my guide. There might be about four hundred men and three hundred women in the meeting. The women hid their faces behind their fans, and the men

cover'd with their broad-brim'd hats ; all were seated, and the silence was universal. I past through them, but did not perceive so much as one lift up his eyes to look at me.

This silence lasted a quarter of an hour, when at last one of them rose up, took off his Hat, and after making a variety of wry faces, and groaning in a most lamentable manner, he partly from

his

were

B 5

his nose, and partly from his mouth, threw out a strange, confus’d jumble of words, (borrow'd as he imagin’d from the Gospel) which neither himself nor any of his hearers understood. When this distorter had ended his beautiful soliloquy, and that the stupid, but greatly, edified, congregation were separated, I ask'd my friend how it was possible for the judicious part of their assembly to suffer such a babbling. We are oblig'd, says he, to suffer it, because no one knows when a man rises up to hold forth, whether he will be mov'd by the fpirit or by folly. In this doubt and uncertainty we listen patiently to every one, we even allow our women to hold forth; two or three of these are often inspired at one and the same time, and 'tis then that a most charming noise is heard in the Lord's house. You have then no priests, says I to him. No, no, friend, replies the Quaker, to our great happiness. Then opening one of the friends books, as he callid it, he read the following words in an emphatic tone: God forbid we should presume to ordain any one to receive the Holy Spirit on the Lord's day, to the prejudice of the rest of the brethren. Thanks to the Almighty, we are the only people upon earth that have no priests. Wouldest thou deprive us of so happy a distin?ion? Why fou'd we abandon our babe to mercenary

nurfes,

nurses, when we ourselves have milk enough for it? These mercenary creatures wou'd foon domineer in our liouses, and destroy both the mother and the babe. God has said, freely you have receiv’d, freely give. Shall we after these words cheapen, as it were, the gospel; sell the Holy Ghoft, and make of an assembly of Christians a mere shop of traders? We do not pay a set of men clothed in black, to affist our poor, to bury our dead, or to preach to the brethren ; these offices are all of too tender a nature, for us ever to entrust them to others. But how is it poffible for you, says I, with fome warmth, to know whether your discourse is really inspir'd by the Almighty? Whosoever, says he, shall implore Christ to enlighten him, and shall publish the Gospel truths, he may feel inwardly, such an one may be assur'd that he is inspir'd by the Lord. He then pour’d forth a numberless multitude of Scripture-texts, which prov'd, as he imagin’d, that there is no such thing as Christianity without an immediate revelation, and added these remarkable words: When thou move stone of thy limbs, is it mov'd by thy own power? Certainly not, for this limb is often sensible to involuntary motions ; confequently he, who created thy body, gives motion to this earthly tabernacle. And are the several ideas of

B6

which

« AnteriorContinuar »