« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
excluded; else blood would bar virtue, and no man that wanted the one should be allowed the benefit of the other; which were to stint and bound nobility for want of antiquity, and make virtue useless.
No, let blood and name go together; but pray, let nobility and virtue keep company, for they are nearest of kin. Tis thus posited by God himself, that best knows how to apportion things with an equal and just hand. He neither likes nor dislikes by descent; nor does he regard what people were, but are. He remembers not the righteousness of any man that leaves his righteousness, much less any unrighteous man for the righteousness of his ancestor.
them of more than ordinary virtue, whose examples have given light to their families. And it has been something natural for some of their descendants to endeavour to keep up the credit of their houses in proportion to the merit of their founder. And, to say true, if there be any advantage in such descent, 'tis not from blood, but education; for blood has no intelligence in it, and is often spurious and uncertain; but education has a mighty influence and strong bias upon the affections and actions of men. In this the ancient nobles and gentry of this kingdom did excel; and it were much to be wished that our great people would set about to recover the ancient economy of their houses, the strict and virtuous discipline of their ancestors, when men were honoured for their achievements, and when nothing more exposed a man to shame, than his being born to a nobility that he had not a virtue to support.
But if these men of blood please to think themselves concerned to believe and reverence God in his Holy Scriptures, they may learn that, in the beginning, he made of one blood all nations of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth; and that we are descended of one father and mother; a more certain original than the best of us can assign. From thence go down to Noah, who was the second planter of human race, and we are upon some certainty for our forefathers. What violence has rapt, or virtue merited since, and how far we that are alive are concerned in either, will be hard for us to determine but a few ages off us.
[Penn's Advice to his Children.]
Next, betake yourselves to some honest, industrious course of life, and that not of sordid covetousness,
but for example, and to avoid idleness. And if you change your condition and marry, choose with the guardians, or those that have the charge of you. Mind knowledge and consent of your mother, if living, or of neither beauty nor riches, but the fear of the Lord, and a sweet and amiable disposition, such as you can love above all this world, and that may make your habitations pleasant and desirable to you.
But, methinks, it should suffice to say, our own eyes see that men of blood, out of their gear and trappings, without their feathers and finery, have no more marks of honour by nature stamped upon them than their inferior neighbours. Nay, themselves being judges, they will frankly tell us they feel all those passions in their blood that make them like other men, if not farther from the virtue that truly dignifies. The lamentable ignorance and debauchery that now rages among too many of our greater sort of folks, is too clear and casting an evidence in the point: and pray, tell me of what blood are they come?
and meck. Live in the fear of the Lord, and he will And being married, be tender, affectionate, patient,
and you your offspring. Be sure to live within compass; borrow not, neither be beholden to any. exceeds the due bounds of friendship, neither will a Ruin not yourselves by kindness to others; for that true friend expect it. Small matters I heed not.
Let your industry and parsimony go no further than for a sufficiency for life, and to make a provision for your children, and that in moderation, if the Lord gives you any. I charge you help the poor and needy; let the Lord have a voluntary share of your income for the good of the poor, both in our society and that he that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord." others; for we are all his creatures; remembering
Howbeit, when I have said all this, I intend not, by debasing one false quality, to make insolent another that is not true. I would not be thought to set the churl upon the present gentleman's shoulder; by no means; his rudeness will not mend the matter. But what I have writ, is to give aim to all, where true nobility dwells, that every one may arrive at it by the ways of virtue and goodness. But for all this, I must allow a great advantage to the gentleman; and therefore prefer his station, just as the Apostle Paul, who, Know well your incomings, and your outgoings after he had humbled the Jews, that insulted upon the may be better regulated. Love not money nor the Christians with their law and rites, gave them the ad-world: use them only, and they will serve you; but vantage upon all other nations in statutes and judg- if you love them you serve them, which will debase ments. I must grant, that the condition of our great your spirits as well as offend the Lord. men is much to be preferred to the ranks of inferior people. For, first, they have more power to do good; and, if their hearts be equal to their ability, they are blessings to the people of any country. Secondly, the eyes of the people are usually directed to them; and if they will be kind, just, and helpful, they shall have their affections and services. Thirdly, they are not under equal straits with the inferior sort; and consequently they have more help, leisure, and occasion, to polish their passions and tempers with books and conversation. Fourthly, they have more time to observe the actions of other nations; to travel and view the laws, customs, and interests of other countries, and bring home whatsoever is worthy or imitable. And so an easier way is open for great men to get honour; and such as love true reputation will embrace the best means to it. But because it too often happens that great men do little mind to give God the glory of their prosperity, and to live answerable to his mercies, but, on the contrary, live without God in the world, fulfilling the lusts thereof, His hand is often seen, either in impoverishing or extinguishing them, and raising up men of more virtue and humility to their estates and dignity. However, I must allow, that among people of this rank, there have been some of
them; it may be your case, and as you mete to others, Pity the distressed, and hold out a hand of help to God will mete to you again.
Be humble and gentle in your conversation; of few words I charge you, but always pertinent when you speak, hearing out before you attempt to answer, and then speaking as if you would persuade, not impose.
Affront none, neither revenge the affronts that are done to you; but forgive, and you shall be forgiven of your heavenly Father.
In making friends, consider well first; and when you are fixed, be true, not wavering by reports, nor deserting in affliction, for that becomes not the good
Watch against anger; neither speak nor act in it; for, like drunkenness, it makes a man a beast, and throws people into desperate inconveniences.
Avoid flatterers, for they are thieves in disguise; their praise is costly, designing to get by those they bespeak; they are the worst of creatures; they lie to
* While the influence of education, here spoken of by Penn, is unquestionable, the fact of the hereditary transmission of qualities, both bodily and mental, has been equally well ascer tained, although the laws by which it is regulated are still in some respects obscure.-Ed.
flatter, and flatter to cheat; and, which is worse, if you believe them, you cheat yourselves most dangerously. But the virtuous, though poor, love, cherish, and prefer. Remember David, who, asking the Lord, 'Who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell upon thy holy hill?' answers, He that walketh uprightly, worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart; in whose eyes the vile person is contemned, but honoureth them who fear the Lord.'
father, who sometimes beat him with great severity, particularly when the son persisted in remaining covered in his presence. To prevent the recurrence of this offence, he successively took from Thomas all his hats, so that, when he went abroad, the exposure of his bare head occasioned a severe cold. Still, however, there remained another cause of offence; for whenever I had occasion,' says Ellwood, to speak to my father, though I had no hat now to offend him, yet my language did as much; for I durst not say "you" to him, but "thou" or "thee," as the occasion required, and then he would be sure to fall on me with his fists. At one of these times, I remember, when he had beaten me in that manner, he commanded me (as he commonly did at such times) to go to my chamber, which I did, and he
Next, my children, be temperate in all things: in your diet, for that is physic by prevention; it keeps, nay, it makes people healthy, and their generation sound. This is exclusive of the spiritual advantage it brings. Be also plain in your apparel; keep out that lust which reigns too much over some; let your virtues be your ornaments, remembering life is more than food, and the body than raiment. Let your fur-followed me to the bottom of the stairs. Being come niture be simple and cheap. Avoid pride, avarice, thither, he gave me a parting-blow, and in a very and luxury. Read my No Cross, no Crown.' There angry tone, said, "Sirrah, if ever I hear you say is instruction. Make your conversation with the most thou or thee to me again, I'll strike your teeth down eminent for wisdom and piety, and shun all wicked your throat." I was greatly grieved to hear him men as you hope for the blessing of God and the comsay so, and feeling a word rise in my heart unto fort of your father's living and dying prayers. him, I turned again, and calmly said unto him, sure you speak no evil of any, no, not of the meanest ; "Should it not be just if God should serve thee so, much less of your superiors, as magistrates, guardians, when thou sayest thou' or thee' to him." Though tutors, teachers, and elders in Christ. fall, and he turned away, and left me standing there. his hand was up, I saw it sink, and his countenance But I, notwithstanding, went up into my chamber and cried unto the Lord, earnestly beseeching him that he might see whom he fought against, and for that he would be pleased to open my father's eyes, what; and that he would turn his heart.'
Be no busybodies; meddle not with other folk's matters, but when in conscience and duty pressed; for it procures trouble, and is ill manners, and very unseemly to wise men.
In your families remember Abraham, Moses, and Joshua, their integrity to the Lord, and do as you have them for your examples.
Let the fear and service of the living God be encouraged in your houses, and that plainness, sobriety, and moderation in all things, as becometh God's | chosen people; and as I advise you, my beloved children, do you counsel yours, if God should give you any. Yea, I counsel and command them as my posterity, that they love and serve the Lord God with an upright heart, that he may bless you and yours from generation to generation.
And as for you, who are likely to be concerned in the government of Pennsylvania and my parts of East Jersey, especially the first, I do charge you before the Lord God and his holy angels, that you be lowly, diligent, and tender, fearing God, loving the people, and hating covetousness. Let justice have its impartial course, and the law free passage. Though to your loss, protect no man against it; for you are not above the law, but the law above you. Live, therefore, the lives yourselves you would have the people live, and then you have right and boldness to punish the transgressor. Keep upon the square, for God sees you therefore, do your duty, and be sure you see with your own eyes, and hear with your own ears. Entertain no lurchers, cherish no informers for gain or revenge, use no tricks, fly to no devices to support or cover injustice; but let your hearts be upright before the Lord, trusting in him above the contrivances of men, and none shall be able to hurt or supplant.
But what has given a peculiar interest to Ellwood in the eyes of posterity, is the circumstance of his having been a pupil and friend of Milton, and one of those who read to the poet after the loss of his sight. The object of Ellwood in offering his services from Milton some assistance in his own studies. One as a reader was, that he might, in return, obtain of his friends, as we learn from his autobiography, 'had an intimate acquaintance with Dr Paget, a physician of note in London; and he with John Milton, a gentleman of great note for learning throughout the learned world, for the accurate pieces he had written on various subjects and occasions. This person, having filled a public station in former times, lived now a private and retired life in London; and, having wholly lost his sight, kept always a man to read to him, which, usually, was the son of some gentleman of his acquaintance, whom, in kindness, he took to improve his learning.' The autobiography contains the following particulars of
[Ellwood's Intercourse with Milton.]
He received me courteously, as well for the sake of Dr Paget, who introduced me, as of Isaac Pennington, who recommended me, to both of whom he bore a good respect; and having inquired divers things of me, with respect to my former progressions in learning, he dismissed me, to provide myself of such accommodations as might be most suitable to my future studies. I went, therefore, and took myself a lodging as near to his house (which was then in Jewin-Street) as conve
THOMAS ELLWOOD (1639-1713) is the last writer among the early Quakers whom we think it neces-niently I could; and, from thenceforward, went every sary to mention. He was a man of considerable day, in the afternoon (except on the first days of the talent, and remarkably endowed with the virtues of week), and sitting by him in his dining-room, read to benevolence, perseverance, and integrity, which have him such books, in the Latin tongue, as he pleased to been so generally displayed by the members of the hear me read. Society of Friends. He seems to have been totally free from the violent and intolerant disposition by which George Fox was characterised. From an interesting and highly instructive Life of Ellwood, written by himself, it appears that his conversion to the principles of Quakerism gave deep offence to his
At my first sitting to read to him, observing that I used the English pronunciation, he told me if I would have the benefit of the Latin tongue (not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converse with foreigners, either abroad or at home), I must learn the foreign pronunciation. To this I consenting, he in
structed me how to sound the vowels, so different from the common pronunciation used by the English (who speak Anglice their Latin), that (with some few other variations in sounding some consonants, in particular cases, as C, before E or I, like Ch; Sc, before I, like Sh, &c.) the Latin thus spoken seemed as different from that which was delivered as the English generally speak it, as if it was another language.
I had, before, during my retired life at my father's, by unwearied diligence and industry, so far recovered the rules of grammar (in which I had once been very ready), that I could both read a Latin author, and, after a sort, hammer out his meaning. But this change of pronunciation proved a new difficulty to me. It was now harder to me to read, than it was before to understand when read. But
Labor omnia vincit
And so did I, which made my reading the more acceptable to my master. He, on the other hand, perceiving with what earnest desire I pursued learning, gave me not only all the encouragement, but all the help he could; for, having a curious ear, he understood, by my tone, when I understood what I read, and when I did not; and accordingly would stop me, examine me, and open the most difficult passages
Thus went I on for about six weeks' time, reading to him in the afternoons, and exercising myself, with my own books, in my chamber in the forenoons. I was sensible of an improvement.
But, alas! I had fixed my studies in a wrong place. London and I could never agree for health. My lungs (as I suppose) were too tender to bear the sulphureous air of that city; so that I soon began to droop, and, in less than two months' time, I was fain to leave both my studies and the city, and return into the country, to preserve life; and much ado I had to get thither. * [Having recovered, and gone back to London,] I was very kindly received by my master, who had conceived so good an opinion of me, that my conversation (I found) was acceptable to him; and he seemed heartily glad of my recovery and return; and into our old method of study we fell again, I reading to him, and he explaining to me as occasion required. *
Some little time before I went to Aylesbury prison, I was desired by my quondam master, Milton, to take a house for him in the neighbourhood where I dwelt, that he might get out of the city, for the safety of himself and his family, the pestilence then growing hot in London. I took a pretty box for him in Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice, and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well-settled in it, but was prevented by that imprison
But now, being released, and returned home, I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country. After some common discourses had passed between us, he called for a manuscript of his, which, being brought, he delivered to me, bidding me to take it home with me, and read it at my leisure, and, when I had so done, return it to him, with my judgment thereupon.
When I came home, and had set myself to read it, I found it was that excellent poem, which he entitled 'Paradise Lost.' After I had, with the utmost attention, read it through, I made him another visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment for the favour he had done me, in communicating it to He asked me how I liked it, and what I thought of it, which I modestly but freely told him; and after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said
to him, Thou hast said much here of Paradise Lost; but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found?' He made me no answer, but sat some time in a muse; then brake off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.
After the sickness was over, and the city well cleansed, and become safely habitable again, he returned thither; and when, afterwards, I went to wait on him there (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever my occasions drew me to London), he showed me his second poem, called 'Paradise Regained,' and, in a pleasant tone, said to me, 'This is owing to you, for you put it into my head at Chalfont; which before I had not thought of.'
having resolved to follow his father's occupation, travelled for many years about the country as a repairer of metal utensils. At this time he is represented to have been sunk in profligacy and wickedness, though, as we find a love of dancing and ringing bells included among what he afterwards looked upon as heinously sinful tendencies, it is probable that, like many other religious enthusiasts, he has greatly exaggerated the depravity of his unregenerated condition. One of his most grievous transgressions was that of swearing immoderately; and it appears that even while lying in wickedness, his conscience often troubled him. By degrees his religious impressions acquired strength and permanence; till, after many doubts respecting his acceptability with God, the divine authority of the Scriptures, and the reality of his possession of faith (which last circumstance
pedigree and manner of bringing up, that thereby the goodness and bounty of God towards me may be the more advanced and magnified before the sons of men. For my descent, then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation, my father's house being of that rank that is meanest and most despised of all the families of the land. Wherefore I have not here, as others, to boast of noble blood, and of any high-born state, according to the flesh, though, all things considered, I magnify the heavenly majesty, for that by this door he brought me into the world, to partake of the grace and life that is in Christ by the gospel. But, notwithstanding the meanness and inconsiderableness of my parents, it pleased God to put it into their hearts to put me to school, to learn me both to read and write; the which I also attained, according to the rate of other poor men's children, though, to my shame, I confess I did soon lose that I had learned, even almost utterly, and that long before the Lord did work his gracious work of conversion upon my soul. As for my own natural life, for the time that I was without God in the world, it was, indeed, according to the course of this world, and the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 2, 3. It was my delight to be taken captive by the devil at his will, 2 Tim. ii. 26, being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so strongly work, both in my heart and life, that I had but few equals, both for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God. Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and terrify me with fearful dreams and visions. For often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have been greatly afflicted while asleep with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who, as I then thought, laboured to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid. Also I should, at these years, be greatly troubled with the thoughts of the fearful torments of hell-fire, still fearing that it would be my lot to be found at last among those devils and hellish fiends, who are there bound down with the chains and bonds of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. These things, I say, when I was but a child but nine or ten years old, did so distress my soul, that then, in the midst of my many sports and childish vanities, amidst my vain companions, I was often much cast down and afflicted in my mind therewith, yet could I not let go my sins. Yea, I was also then so overcome with despair of life and heaven, that I should often wish either that there had been no hell, or that I had been a devil, supposing they were only tormentors, that if it must needs be that I went thither, I might be rather a tormentor then be tormented myself.
A while after, these terrible dreams did leave me, which also I soon forgot; for my pleasures did quickly cut off the remembrance of them, as if they had never been; wherefore, with more greediness, according to the strength of nature, I did still let loose the reins of my lusts, and delighted in all transgressions against the law of God; so that, until I came to the state of marriage, I was the very ringleader in all manner of vice and ungodliness. Yea, such prevalency had the lusts of the flesh on my poor soul, that, had not a miracle of precious grace prevented, I had not only perished by the stroke of eternal justice, but also laid myself open to the stroke of those laws which bring some to disgrace and shame before the face of the world.
In these days the thoughts of religion were very grievous to me; I could neither endure it myself, nor that any other should; so that when I have seen some read in those books that concerned Christian piety, it
would be as it were a prison to me. Then I said unto God, 'Depart from me, for I desire not the knowledge of thy ways,' Job xx. 14, 15. I was now void of all good consideration; heaven and hell were both out of sight and mind; and as for saving and damning, they were least in my thoughts. 'O Lord, thou knowest my life, and my ways are not hid from thee.'
But this I well remember, that, though I could myself sin with the greatest delight and ease, yet even then, if I had at any time seen wicked things, by those who professed goodness, it would make my spirit tremble. As once, above all the rest, when I was in the height of vanity, yet hearing one to swear that was reckoned for a religious man, it had so great a stroke upon my spirit, that it made my heart ache. But God did not utterly leave me, but followed me still, not with convictions, but judgments mixed with mercy. For once I fell into a creek of the sea, and hardly escaped drowning. Another time I fell out of a boat into Bedford river, but mercy yet preserved me; besides, another time being in the field with my companions, it chanced that an adder passed over the highway, so I, having a stick, struck her over the back, and having stunned her, I forced open her mouth with my stick, and plucked her sting out with my fingers, by which act, had not God been merciful to me, I might, by my desperateness, have brought myself to my end. This, also, I have taken notice of with thanksgiving: when I was a soldier, I with others were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it; but when I was just ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my room; to which when I had consented, he took my place, and coming to the siege, as he stood sentinel, he was shot in the head with a musket-bullet, and died. Here, as I said, were judg ments and mercy, but neither of them did awaken my soul to righteousness; wherefore I sinned still, and grew more and more rebellious against God, and careless of my own salvation.
Presently after this I changed my condition into a married state, and my mercy was to light upon a wife whose father and mother were counted godly; this woman and I, though we came together as poor as poor might be (not having so much household stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both), yet this she had for her part, 'The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven,' and The Practice of Piety,' which her father had left when he died. In these two books I sometimes read, wherein I found some things that were somewhat pleasant to me (but all this while I met with no conviction). She also often would tell me what a godly man her father was, and how he would reprove and correct vice, both in his house and among his neighbours, and what a strict and holy life he lived in his days, both in word and deed. Wherefore these books, though they did not reach my heart to awaken it about my sad and sinful state, yet they did beget within me some desires to reform my vicious life, and fall in very eagerly with the religion of the times; to wit, to go to church twice a-day, and there very devoutly both say and sing as others did, yet retaining my wicked life; but withal was so overrun with the spirit of superstition, that I adored, and that with great devotion, even all things (both the high-place, priest, clerk, vestment, service, and what else) belonging to the church; counting all things holy that were therein contained, and especially the priest and clerk most happy, and, without doubt, greatly blessed, because they were the servants, as I then thought, of God, and were principal in the holy temple, to do his work therein. This conceit grew so strong upon my spirit, that had I but seen a priest (though never so sordid and debauched in his life), I should find my spirit fall under him, reverence him, and knit unto him; yea, I thought for the love I did bear unto them (supposing they were the ministers of God), I could