« PoprzedniaDalej »
FALSEHOOD AND ENVY,
AND THE MARTYRS OF JESUS, AND SUFFERERS
FOR HIS SAKE,
In Answer to Corton MATHER, a priest of Boston, his Caluinies, Lies, and
Abuses of the People called Quakers, in his late Church History of New
England. With Remarks and Observations on several Passages in the same, and his Con.
sessions to the Just Judgments of God on them.
BY JOHN WHITING.
“Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought
forth falschood. He made a pit and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his mun head, and his
violent denling shall come down upon his own pate.”—Psa. vii. 14-16. “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented
not of the works of their hands, . . . . . neither repented they of their mur. ders," Gri-Rev. ix. 20, 21. See also Rev. xvi. 9.
in Gracious-Street, 1702.
TORASMUCH as Cotton Mather, a Presbyterian priest of T Boston, has lately published an History of New England, wherein, notwithstanding his many confessions to the judgments of God, and misery that hath come upon them and followed them, which hath been ever since they put the servants of the Lord, called Quakers, to death, and the cloud of infamy that still lies upon them for it; yet he still endeavours to magnify their own Church and State, as renowned for the degree of reformation professed and attained by evangelical churches, and the example of the best reformed churches, and answering the character of good men, that they have given great examples of the methods and measures wherein an evangelical reformation is to , be prosecuted,—those great examples which have been occurring among churches, -as they have been a precious odour to God in Christ, so he hopes they will be a precious odour unto His people, a specimen of many good things, &c., when they have been so much the reverse of all that is great and good in their practices and persecutions; and not only so, but also vilely traduces our Friends, and casts many unworthy reflections on them; as if, though he would not altogether excuse their persecutors, yet he endeavours to cast the blame on the innocent sufferers, calling them heretics, madmen, &c., to cover their own guilt, instead of confessing it, as they ought to do, that they might find mercy and forgiveness with the Lord. I shall therefore descend to examine and answer some particular passages in relation both to them and our Friends, though not all or everything that might justly be excepted against in his said history, wherein I could convict him of falsehood and partiality in inany things, even as to themselves; for that would require a volume of itself; but only some particulars that more immediately concern us, and the Truth we profess; for which, and the testimony thereof, many have suffered so largely and deeply, even to the laying down their lives for its sake. In which answer I shall intermix, as I have occasion, some brief hints of their laws, and the grievous sufferings inflicted by them on our Friends, of which some that are hardly or but briefly mentioned in the former relations of George Bishop, but out of other books and manuscripts, of which I have many by me on that subject; and also, his own confessions to the just judgments of God, and misery that have followed and come upon them since, as the reward of their doings; both which will render the work the more perfect and complete. And so I shall proceed:
First, Priest Higginson, in his Preface or Attestation to the work, after he has confessed to their degeneracy, which I shall mention on another occasion, says, page 4: “We are far from thinking that we have attained a perfect reformation. Oh, no! our fathers did in their time acknowledge there were many defects and imperfections in our way;" page 5, “and when the Lord shall make Jerusalem, or the true Church of God, and the true Christian religion, a praise in the earth, and the joy of many generations, then the mistakes of these times will be rectified.” Observe, if they were not right in their beginning or forefathers' days, and yet are degenerated, as he, and Cotton Mather too, confesses, even from that little they then had, what are they now, when they are so much declined, and much more defective and imperfect than they were, though they, indeed, were never a true Gospel church, as George Keith said of that of the same stamp in Scotland,* and when they are guilty of so many more grosso mis
# Way Cast Up, page 59.
takes as they have been since, in persecuting the people of God? It seems they were far from being so perfectly reformed or complete as to want nothing in those days, but had many defects, imperfections, and mistakes then, which must be rectified in time; and yet imprison, and lock up in chains, hunger and cold, whip and beat to a jelly, men and women near to death, banish on pain of death, and put to death, even in such a barbarous manner as aforesaid, the servants of the Lord, to keep them from coming among them. And is that the way to rectify those defects, imperfections, and mistakes, by committing greater, in persecuting them in such a manner that saw their shortness and defects, and came in the love of God to help rectify then? And how will those defects, imperfections, and mistakes be rectified, if they exclude all further light and information, in order to further reformation? The shortness and defects of their way have long been seen, in many respects, as to the attaining everlasting life; and therefore many of us, the people by them in scorn called Quakers, have left them and their way, and come into the way of the Lord, which is strength to the upright, even the highway which our God hath cast up in the desert, (where streams break forth, the brook in the way,) which is called the “way of holiness," in which, though the unclean cannot pass over it, the way. faring men, though fools, as to the world, shall not err therein; the path of the just, which is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day; but the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble; "and we are resolved, by God's grace," as G. Keith once said,* “never to return unto them, for the Lord hath said unto us, 'Let them come unto you, but go not ye unto them;' the Lord hath added divers who were among them, and under that profession, unto us, and will, we doubt not, add many more, yea, thousands in due time, and bring them to His Zion, which He hath begun to build," saith he, “in great glory, even in and among the people in scorn called Quakers.” And when the Lord shall make Jerusalem the praise of the whole earth, and the joy of many generations, they that
* Way Cast Up, pages 50, 60.