« PreviousContinue »
O awake then, awake out of the sleep of this world Behold the Judge is at hand, and the midnight cry is coming upon you as a thief in the night. Prepare, prepare, or you are excluded for ever! And remember, salvation is from sin, or it will never be from wrath : so said the angel, “ Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins :" for it is the 66 pure in heart that see God; and nothing unlike him can please him, and less live with him for ever.'
The eternal God reach unto you by his powerful Spirit, break your peace in the broad way, touch you deeply with a sense of your disobedience to him, give you true contrition and repentance, and create in you a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within you: to conclude, make you holy, make
you zealous, and make you charitable; that you may do, as well as say, and not only profess, but possess, the truth of the living God in your inward parts; that pearl of price, that hidden and eternal treasure. So shall you know that the times of refreshiug are come from the presence of the Lord, and that the kingdom is again restored unto Israel! Israel, the Prince of eternal peace, who hath prevailed with God for man; whose sceptre is “a sceptre of righteousness, and of whose dominion there shall be no end." So come, Lord Jesus ; come quickly. Amen.
Written, in behalf of the said people, for the informa
tion and good of all, by
.BY A ,
W. PENN'S KEY.
The Principles of the People called Quakers are farther
Explained und Confirmed,
By W. PENN.
Published in the Year 1695.
TAOUGH I submit to controversy as my drudgery, not my pleasure, otherwise than as it is my duty; yet, I cannot but say, I am glad that the public contradiction of a name, less author, to a small treatise of mine, called, A Key, clearing our principles from vulgar apprehensions, gives me farther occasion to declare and justify them to the world : in the doing of which, I shall endeavour, with God's assistance, so to govern myself, that my antagonist shall see it has not been in his power, with all his scornful and abusive treatment of me, my friends, and our holy religion, to provoke me to any other towards him, in my reply, than what is suitable to Christianity; whilst with great levity and prejudice, he will by no means allow us to be Christians.
My reply will be short, but I hope clear and satisfactory; in order to which, I shall observe this method : · I. His mistakes in point of fact, and the use he would make of them.
II. His insinuations and insincerity.
IV. His pretended answers and interpretations of scripture. And,
Our principles, so far as declared, and by scripture de
fended in the Key, maintained against the attempts of this author, and farther explained and confirmed for a public good,
I. His mistakes in point of fact, and the use he would make
of them. He begins his answer with a passage merely personal, and not at all relative to the nature of the discourse, viz. about a pamphlet, writ in defence of the bill for excluding the duke of York, intituled, “A few words about the touchy point of succession :” teaching the parliament, That when they had made first an address to the duke to relinquish his right to the crown; if he refused, then (but not before) they might not only justly, but civilly exclude him by act.
When,' (says he) "I had perused this piece, without judging the merits of the cause, or the wittiness of the argument, I concluded that W. P. was then a man principled for the civil liberties of his country.'
Answer. But if I may be so bold with this author, pray, why then principled for civil liberties, and not afterwards ? And why this upon me at all? But why at this time, and upon this occasion, of so differing a nature, to be brought in by head and shoulders, as the proverb is? But what if I never writ such a pamphlet ? (as to be sure I did not) What is to be said to, and of, such an author, in such a case, and in such a time, and to a man under my circumstances ? Let him know then, that I did not only never write such a pamphlet, but I am sure that I do not remember I ever read one of such a title, or heard of it; nor was I of that principle, and therefore I return the civility of his conclusion to him again; for, I thank God, I was always so much for civil liberties, that I thought no man ought to lose them for his religious principles. And farther, that they were never to be secured by this or that man, but by a good and equal constitution of government; as some papers by me, which I writ at that time, as well as divers persons yet living, of good reputation, can evidence for me.
But his next paragraph explains the matter; wherein he speaks thus; 'I could no otherwise reconcile the folly of bis prevarications in the late reign, than by imputing them to his intemperate zeal for a boundless liberty of con
science, according to the doctrine of king James's declaration.'
In this he would be charitable, but let him first be just : if there were no prevarications, then there is no need of an intemperate zeal for liberty to shadow or reconcile them to any former principles. And I am so much a friend to him and his brethren, that I wish them free from all intemperance, and prevarications too, and that in all reigns. And if it be possible, or worth while, to reconcile him better to my conduct, let him peruse my 'Great Case of Liberty of Conscience, printed 1671, and my "Letter to the states of Embden, 1672,' and my “Present State of England, 1675,' and he will find I was the same man then, and acted by the same principles. Not more intemperate in the reign that favoured it, than in the reign I contended with, that did not favour it: and no man but a persecutor, which I count a beast of prey, and a declared enemy to mankind, can, without great injustice or ingratitude, reproach that part I had in king James's court : for 1 think I may say, without vanity, upon this provocation, I endeavoured at least to do some good at my own cost, and would have been glad to have done more: I am very sure I intended, and I think I did, harm to none, neither parties nor private persons, my own family excepted : for which I doubt not this author's pardon, since he shews himself so little concerned for the master of it.
Page 8. Our adversary misses again notoriously in point of fact, when he charges me, Of revenging myself upon J. Faldo and T. Hieks, for baffling of me twenty years ago.'
Answer. I had no revenge in my eye when I writ that Key; for it was writ in pity, not in anger; to inform, and not to be revenged. I must beg my reader to peruse it, who then can best judge if it tastes of that rank spirit, and whąt spirit this man is of, that shows such indignation at it; as well as see how meanly he has performed his pretence of an answer, that meddles not with a twentieth part of it, though on different subjects.
It is not in my nature to remember injuries twenty years ago, though this man commits them unprovoked: nor had I any temptation to it, since I had all the satisfaction I could desire, but their conversion. Concerning the first, I must refer myself to impartial readers : and of the last, the famous Barbican and Wheeler-street public disputes do give this man the lie. For at the last, T. H. did not appear, and at the first he shrunk away. And if ever any such public dispute determined with a visible advantage on either side, the impartial, not of our communion, gave it us. And for the encomium he bestows upon them, with the poor Indian, that desired not to go to heaven, if the cruel Spaniard went thither, I must say, Let not my soul go where their souls are gone, if they did not heartily repent of their great wickedness, against the people of God called Quakers, and their holy profession, before they died.
Page 9. He saith, “The light within is no scripture ex. pression, and the nation had called nothing the light within, but the effects of the perceptive powers of our minds, that is, our thoughts.'
Answer. By nation, he must either understand a parliament or synod : for I presume he has not spoke with all the nation. But if the common-prayer, established by act of parliament, have any share in the
sense of the nation, or the synod or assembly of divines, that sat between the years of forty and fifty at Westminster, he will find another light owned by them, than man's own thoughts : wbich being all the light within that is owned by this opposer, I may well return upon him that scripture, misquoted by him, page 43. “ If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness !"-Take heed that the light in thee be not dark
I shall consider his abuse of scripture in another place ; and shall say no more upon it at this time, than that this darkness being our author's light, he cannot comprehend the true light; but with it opposes the true light, and the chil. dren of it. But that the light within should not be a scripture. expression, is very strange : pray, what is enlightening, but light within? Can a man's mind be lighted, and have no light there? The light is said to shine in our hearts : can that be, and not within ? But more of this when I come to consider his oppositions to the light.
Page 15, 18, 19. Notwithstanding their empty pretence, the Quakers learn their religion not from the light within, but from one another. They cannot name one that was a Quaker, that was not made so by hearing them, or reading their books. That Quakerism is erected by art, method, and management; by consults and clubs; all subordinate to a general assembly; and not from the sufficiency of any principle in themselves, either of natural or supernatural donation.'
Answer. This is also false in fact; there being many that came in a good measure ripe to the communion of that
peo. ple, having for the most part the same sentiment; as all did' from their own convictions by the same prineiple, though mediately or ministerially. "But if this man had considered well, he would have spared this absurdity; for