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the great toleration which was then granted to all sects, and even encouragement given to all innovations, this sect alone suffered persecution. From the fervour of their zeal, the quakers broke into churches, disturbed public worship, and harrassed the minister and audience with railing and reproaches. When carried before a magistrate, they refused him all reverence, and treated him with the same familiarity as if he had been their equal. Sometimes they were thrown into mad-houses, sometimes into prisons: Sometimes whipped, sometimes pilloried. The patience and fortitude with which they suffered, begat compassion, admiration, esteem. A supernatural spirit was believed to support them under those sufferings, which the ordinary state of humanity, freed from the illusions of passion, is unable to sustain.
"The quakers creep'd into the army: But, as they preached universal peace, they seduced the military zealots from their profession, and would soon, had they been suffered, have put an end, without any defeat or calamity, to the dominion of the saints. These attempts became a fresh ground for persecution, and a new reason for their progress among the people.
"Morals, with this sect, were carried, or affected to be carried, to the same degree of extravagance as religion. Give a quaker a blow on one cheek, he held up the other: Ask his cloke, he gave you his coat also. The greatest interest could not engage him in any court of judicature, to swear even to the truth. He never asked more for his wares than the precise sum which he was determined to accept. This last maxim is laudable, and continues still to be religiously observed by that sect.
"No fanatics ever carried farther the hatred to ceremonies, forms, orders, rites, and positive institutions. Even baptism and the Lord's supper, by all other sects believed to be interwoven with the very vitals of Christianity, were disdainfully rejected by them. The very Sabbath they profaned. The holiness of churches they derided; and they would give to these sacred edifices no other appellation than that of shops, or steeple-houses. No priests were admitted in their sects: Every one had received, from immediate illumination, a character much superior to the sacerdotal. When they met for divine worship, each rose up in his place, and delivered the extemporary inspirations of the Holy Ghost: Women were also admitted to teach the brethren, and were considered as proper vehicles to convey the dictates of the spirit. Sometimes a great many preachers were moved to speak at once: Sometimes a total silence prevailed in their congregation.
"Some quakers attempted to fast forty days in imitation of Christ; and one of them bravely perished in the experiment. A
female quaker came naked into the church where the protector sat; being moved by the spirit, as she said, to appear as a sign to the people. A number of them fancied, that the renovation of all things had commenced, and that clothes were to be rejected, together with other superfluities.-The sufferings which followed the practice of this doctrine, were a species of persecution not well calculated for promoting it."
The quakers were particularly favoured by James II., owing to the interest which Penn, the settler of Pennsylvania, had with that monarch. That person took a lead in the controversy concerning the Indulgence, by publishing a pamphlet, entitled, "Good Advice to the Church of England."
Next her, the buffoon Ape, as atheists use,
And paid at church a courtier's compliment.-P. 120.
The sect of free-thinkers, who professed a disbelief in revealed religion, was to be found even among the fanatical ranks of the Long Parliament. Harvey, Martin, Sidney, and others, were considered as the chiefs of this little party. After the restoration of Charles II., these loose principles became prevalent among his gay courtiers, and were supposed to have been privately adopted by the king himself, who was educated by the sceptic Hobbes. As the free-thinkers taught a total disbelief of revelation, and indifference for religious forms, they left their disciples at liberty occasionally to conform to whatever creed, or form of worship, might appear most conducive to their temporal interests. Sunderland was supposed to belong to this sect, for he made his change to Popery, without even the form of previous instruction or conference; evincing to the whole world, that, being totally indifferent about all religions, he was ready to embrace any that would best serve his immediate views. This statesman's character, as a latitudinarian in religion, is mentioned with great bitterness by the Princess Anne, afterwards queen, in her private correspondence with her sister, the Princess of Orange.---See Dalrymple's Memoirs, Vol. II. p. 169. 8vo. edit. Dryden probably intended a sarcasm at Sunderland, or some such time-serving courtier, for his occasional conformity with the royal faith, of which there were several instances at the time. These persons, as they attended James to mass, were compared to Naaman, who, on adopting the Jewish religion, craved an indulgence for waiting upon his master to the house of the idol Rimmon. It is hinted in "The Hind and Panther Transversed,"
that Dryden's satire is personal; for he is made to quote the lines, and to add, by way of commentary, “That gails somewhere! Egad, I cannot leave it off, though I were cudgelied every day for it."
The church party, among other pamphlets intended to ridicule the Declaration of Indulgence, and as a parody of the addresses of the dissenters on that occasion, published, "To the King's Most Excellent Majesty, the Humble Address of the Atheists, or the Sect of Epicureans." After congratulating the king on having freed his subjects from the solemn superstition of oaths, they proceed : “ Your majesty was pleased to wish, that all your subjects were of your own religion; and perhaps every division wishes you were of theirs; but, for our parts, we freely declare, that if ever we should be obliged to profess any religion, we would prefer the Church of Rome, which does not much trouble the world with the affairs of invisible beings, and is very civil and indulgent to the failings of human nature. That church can ease us from the grave fatigues of religion, and, for our monies, allow us proxies, both for piety and penances: We can easily swallow and digest a wafer deity, and will never cavil at the mass in an unknown tongue, when the sacrifice itself is so unintelligible. We shall never scruple the adoration of an image, when the chiefest religion is but imagination; and we are willing to allow the Pope an absolute power to dispense with all penal laws, in this world and in another. But before we return to Rome, the greatest origin of atheism, we wish the Pope, and all his vassal princes, would free the world from the fear of hell and devils, the inquisition and dragoons, and that he would take off the chimney-money of purgatory, and custom and excise of pardons and indulgencies, which are so much inconsistent with the flourishing trade and grandeur of the nation. As for the engagements of lives and fortunes, the common compliment of addressers, we confess we have a more peculiar tenderness for those most sacred concernments; but yet we will hazard them in defence of your majesty, with as much constancy and resolution as your majesty will defend your indulgence; that is, so far as the adventure will serve our designs and interest.
From the Devil-Tavern, the 5th of
The bristled baptist Boar, impure as he,
The sect of Anabaptists, whose principal tenet is the disallowing of infant baptism, arose in Germany and the Low Countries about the year 1521. This new light, for such it was esteemed, happened unfortunately to appear to some of the most ignorant and ferocious of the Low German burghers and boors. Thomas Muncer, by birth a Saxon, was the principal apostle of this sect. He preached both against the Papists and Luther, recommending the eschewing of open crimes, the chastening of the body by severities of abstinence, and the wearing a long beard. With these tenets, he combined that of an immediate intercourse with God, by demanding of him signs and tokens, which would be infallibly granted, and that of an universal community of goods. These two last doctrines, concerning spiritual and temporal matters, were admirably calculated to turn the heads of his followers. Being banished from Saxony, he seized upon the monastery of Muhlhans, from which he expelled the monks; and afterwards made a convert of one Pfeifer, a daring enthusiast, who, because in a dream he had put to flight an innumerable number of mice, made no doubt he was destined to vanquish all principalities and powers. Muncer easily prevailed on this visionary conqueror to head the miners of the country of Mansfeldt, in some ferocious inroads into Saxony. The Dukes of Saxony and Brunswick, the Landgrave of Hesse, and other German princes, marched against these madmen, whom Muncer stimulated to resistance, by assuring them, that a rainbow, which happened then to be visible, was an indubitable sign of victory. The poor deluded wretches accordingly suffered themselves to be quietly cut to pieces, with their eyes fixed on the heavenly sign, in expectation of divine assistance. was made prisoner, and recanted before his death, only blaming the princes for their cruelty and oppression to their vassals, which drove them to desperation ;-so, if he lived a false prophet, he died a true preacher. His death, and that of Pfeifer, with the slaughter made among their followers, did not extirpate the heresy; and the most dreadful consequences attended, for some time, the VOL. X.
progress of these enthusiastic, opinions. A tailor, called Bockholdt, better known by the name of John of Leyden, with his associates, Rotman, Matthews, and Cmpperdoling, in 1535. actually possessed themselves of the city of Munster, expelled the bishop, and commenced the reign of the saints. Their leader, under the strange and horrible delusion that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost, played the most outrageous pranks of lust and cruelty that ever madness dictated: Yet, amidst their frenzy, the Anabaptists had valour and conduct sufficient to defend the city for a length of time against the bishop and his allies; and, while the unfortunate inhabitants were in the utmost misery, the enthusiasts themselves revelled in the indulgence of every licentious appetite. At length the city was taken, and a cruel, though deserved punishment, inflicted upon those who had been the leaders in this holy warfare. John of Leyden himself was torn to pieces with hot pincers. Alter this memorable event, those who retained the principles of this sect were not desirous of being distinguished by a name which the excesses of these fanatics had rendered an abomination to all the Christian world. They were generally confounded with the Independents, with whom they hold many principles in common, particularly, I believe, the disavowal of any clerical order. Yet if, for a time, they "lurked in sects unseen,' as Dryden assures us, the sunshine of general toleration soon brought them out under their own proper appellation. We have, among the addresses of various classes of dissenters upon the Declaration of Indulgence, that of the Anabaptists in and about the city of London, who, indeed, were the very first in expressing their thanks and loyalty. The Anabaptists of Leicestershire, the Independents and Baptists of Gloucester, the Anabaptists of Cheshire, Shropshire, and Staffordshire, &c. &c. &c. all came forward with loyal acclamations on the same occasion.
With greater guile
False Reynard fed on consecrated spoil;
Was chased from Nice, then by Socinus nursed.-P. 121.
Arius, the propagator of a great heresy in the Christian church, denied that God the Son was equal to God the Father, or that he was co-existent with him. See page 16. This doctrine he maintained in the council at Nice against Athanasius, the champion of orthodoxy; and although his doctrines were condemned by the general council, and he himself banished, yet his party was so powerful as to accomplish his restoration, and the banishment of Athanasius, who fled into the Thebais, or deserts of Upper Egypt. The schism