« AnteriorContinuar »
thereby. Again, in 1664, while many were in prison, and a number had been banished from England for their testimony to the Truth, GEORGE BISHOP addressed the following letter to the King and Parliament:—
“To the King and both Houses of Parliament, thus saith the Lord:—
“Meddle not with My people because of their conscience to Me, “and banish them not out of the nation because of their conscience; “for, if you do, I will send My plagues upon you, and ye shall know “that I am the Lord.
“Written in obedience to the lord, by His servant,
Joseph Smith, in his Catalogue of Friends' Books, gives the title of about Thirty works written by GEORGE Bishop. He is also believed to have written several letters to Oliver Cromwell, during the period extending from First month, 1650, to Sixth month, 1651, inserted and published in the Original Letters and Papers of State, found among the Political Collections of John Milton. GEORGE BISHOP died at Bristol, (England,) the 7th of Ninth month, 1668.
In concluding these remarks, it may be well to assure the reader that, while numerous alterations have been made in orthography, by substituting modern words and phrases for those which have become obsolete, and in re-arranging many complicated and obscure passages, special care has been taken to preserve the exact meaning of the author, and no part of his narrative has been omitted. A copious Index has been carefully prepared for the assistance of such as may desire to refer to this work for facts relating to the History of the Society of Friends.
Phi LADELPHIA, Seventh month, 1885.
T was said of Jesus Christ, that never man spake like him (John viii. 46), whose precept to his followers was, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”—Matt. vii. 12. Had this divine rule been pursued and obeyed by the former magistrates, priests, and government of New England, those many cruelties on a conscientious people had not been inflicted. But that which may make it astonishing to posterity is, that so much tyranny should be acted by a people who pretended to be the most refined professors of the Christian Church throughout the world; as though hanging, cutting-off ears, unparalleled whippings of all ages and sexes without remorse or pity, banishment in extremity of cold into wildernesses and uninhabited places, were the marks or badges by which the Church of Christ was to be known. But, such gross darkness veils the reason and senses of persecutors, that though the Lip of Truth, Jesus Christ, expressly declares, that his disciples shall be known by loving one another; yet the spirit of persecution, cruelty, and malice thinks it does God good service in tyrannizing over and destroying their fellow creatures. But that which, most of all, may be the astonishment and detestation of mankind is, that it should predominate in those who had loudly cried out at the tyranny and oppression of the bishops in Old England, and from whom they fled; but, when settled in a place where they had liberty to govern, made their little fingers of cruelty bigger than ever they found the loins of the bishops. Reader, what is here dedicated to thy perusal, is not intended as a recrimination of the whole people of New England; for some there were, then, who were grieved at those cruelties, which they had not power to withstand, no more than David, when the sons of Zeruiah were too hard for him. But the intent of this is, that Truth and her children may be justified. Persecutors were never satisfied in killing, -witness the Jews, in calling Christ, after crucifixion, a deceiver; the slanders and lies, as well as murdering of the Primitive Christians in the Ten Persecutions; the like on the Waldenses, about the middle of the Fifteenth Century; and the martyrs in Queen Mary's days; the French massacred Protestants about 1570; the savage destruction of the distressed people of Piedmont, by the Duke of Savoy, about the year 1654,-all of whom, after their cruelties and utmost barbarities, that could be invented and acted by heathenish and hellish rage, did still lay the blame and fault on the persecuted; reproaching them with unclean actions in their assemblies for worship, with murders, burning of houses, blasphemies, treasons, rebellions, witchcrafts, madness, enthusiasms, and what not, to justify or lessen their own cruelties. How little the late magistracy and priesthood of the Massachusetts and other Governments of New England have come short, or how near they have trod in the steps of those former persecutors and slanderers of God's people, the following relations may declare, which was presently after they were acted, printed, and published in Two Parts, the first in the year 1661, and the other in 1667,-by that zealous servant of the Lord, George Bishop, which are now both abbreviated and put into one book, in which due care hath been taken to omit no matter of fact that related to the sufferers, nor otherwise than what might avoid prolixity and reiteration. It was thought convenient to revise and present again to the world these following accounts of antichristian cruelty, for that some of the stock and spirit of the former persecuting priests have lately endeavored to destroy or hinder the belief of those two aforesaid parts, thinking, by its length of time, to deny and outface the truths therein asserted. Which is not done, as abhorring what was then acted; but knowing that, by an overruling Providence, persecution is not now practiced as formerly, and that the power of their doing the same is wholly taken from them: for, so long as they could, they exerted the same with their utmost malice and fury, and to show their wicked zeal. That when the Lord visited them, by letting loose the inhumane Indians, who killed and took many of them captives, and depopulated their habitations, instead of looking back at their own past bloody rage on the innocent, they had not a sense of their condition like the heathen king, Adoni-bezek, who, when overtaken by the hand of God for his cruelty to others, said, “As I have done, so God hath requited me.”—9tudges i. 7. But they were so incorrigible, that, on a time of pretended humiliation and inquiry into the cause of that judgment, did conclude one reason thereof was, “That they had not fully persecuted and driven out the Quakers.” Oh, the stupendous and gross darkness of those men how unlike Christians, who are commanded to love their enemies? or the wise man's text, “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and his throne is upholden by mercy?”—Prov. xx, 28. But the priests and rulers of New England had no other way to divert God's judgments but the reverse to the precepts of moral and divine laws. Cotton Mather, in a late book, called, Magnalia Christi Americana, printed in 1702, treating of the Quakers, Book VII., page 23, saith, “That, instead of hanging or killing them, he would “have advised to have had their heads shaven,”—by which he would insinuate, that those whom his countrymen murdered were mad; which shows his own evil spirit in so rendering those innocent martyrs of Jesus. But, if they were mad, who but mad and bloody Massachusetts priests would put people to death for being so? David thought the acting of madness a means, to be protected from the anger of a heathenish king (1 Sam. xxi. 13), but Cotton Mather condemns not his persecuting predecessors for putting such to death; only to palliate the same, gives his judgment that shaving their heads might have been a better way to deal with them. Yet on the next side, page 24, he saith, “If they had not been mad, they had been worthy to die.” But, this is only intended as a preface to the following compendium of the many barbarous and inhuman cruelties of the priests and professors of New England, who, while they were doing some of the worst part of the devil's drudgery, namely, persecution, had the confidence to take or give to themselves the attributes of the most refined professors of the Christian religion, or church in the world, or such like titles of their goodness.
Reader, be of what denomination of Christianity thou wilt, thou art desired to read the following relations with Christian candour and an impartial mind, by which, no doubt, but thou wilt see that those who persecute and tyrannize over their fellow creatures, for their faith and way of worship of God, whatever glorious pretence to religion they make, how unlike they are to true Christians,—who, instead of persecuting, were persecuted; or the blessed Jesus, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again” (1 Pet. ii. 23), but told his disciples, when they would have called for fire to come down out of heaven on the Samaritans, “The Son of 'man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”—Luke ix. 56. So that, let the Massachusetts or any other persecutors endeavour to justify their killing, banishing, whipping, imprisoning, reproaching, slandering, and vilifying of those that do not conform, for conscience sake, to their laws and decrees, know, that they cannot be honest, or just, or disciples of Christ, until they fulfill and obey that great and universal command, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”—Matt. vii. 12.