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NEW AT HEN I ANS
NOBLE BERE ANS:
Being Answers to several ATHENIAN MERCURIES,
IN BEHALF OF THE
People called QUAKERS.
Pablished in the Year 1692.
PART I. In Answer to the Athenian Mercury of the 7th Inftant. TAM heartily forry to fee men, professing so much I ingenuity, fall so much below their pretensions. Your design, at first, carried the face of instruction, and gave us hopes of a general improvement of useful learning; and for that reason your papers were as welcome to us as any other people; especially those that referred to natural philofophy, mathematicks, and history; insomuch, that some of us collected them as they came out, and others bought them as they were VOL. iy. Ff
completed into volumes; being much concerned if at any time trivial or light questions were considered, as an unworthy diversion from the end by you in the beginning proposed. But you have not only been led, upon fuch occasions, to exceed too often the bounds of modesty, but you have taken occasion also to violate those of Christianity, in falling upon people's opinions in religion, instead of giving your own impartially; and upon their persons likewise, and at last, the society itself; as if your business were to expose them, instead of inforining them, and to increase animosities, rather than to take up their time with more peaceable and profitable subjects. What if you were led to speak of any principle held by the people called Quakers ? Could not that have been done as indifferent persons, which you, by your very design, would be peak yourselves to all persuasions, and not as party-disputants and angry antagonists ? Might not the intention of the people have passed for good and sincere, though any part of their doctrine had, in your opinion, been unfound; but you must use hard words and names for both things and persons A sober and unconcerned answer, upon any question that might be sent you relating to their belief, would have taken better with every body that deserved your pains, and have brought us sooner to reflect upon our mistakes, if such they were: but, in earnest, it looks as if you were almost aground, and wanted matter, that fo fpecious a design as this first shewed itself, Should dwindle away into froward controversy and perfonal invectives about religion ; or that you are not fufficient for your work, that can so easily be moved out of your province.
and have brovich every Boo their beliefque
and pursue your own business with more care and exactness; and, before you go, suffer yourselves first to be a little better informed of what you have so irregularly and undeservedly censured. • You také occasion at these words, "Truth is always ? perfecuted,' to say, “That will indifferently serve
Turk, e Turk, Jew, Heathen, or Heretick, as well as the " Quakers.' This is harsh and unchristian. Are none worse than we? And we as great Hereticks as any ? You judge before you conviet us: it is too gross partiality, and false in every degree. But whatever the persecuted be, the perfecutor, to be sure, is always in the wrong; which is your case against the Quakers : but you recriminate, and will prove us persecutors. That were to the purpose indeed. Let us hear it.
You excommunicate such as will not be subject to ? your injunctions :' and good reason too, if they are injunctions of civil order. He that joins himself to any fociety, is obliged to the rules of that fociety; and every society has, and must have, that power ups on the members that constitute it, or confusion follows, and the society dissolves. For instance, injunctions about 'civil controversies, care of poor orphans, ( due and orderly proceedings relating to marriages, &c. are to be complied with, without the reproach of persecution : and yet farther too; look upon what principles of communion any person enters into any fociety, if he leave them, or any of them, it is nos persecution to disown him in that thing wherein he alters, so that it touches not person or estate; for that is perfecution in a proper sense; which is not our case. But we • imprison such as disturb our meetings.' How this will be proved is hard to tell; and yet if it be persecution, it will light hardest elsewhere, even upon thofe, perhaps, that you account us Hereticks for feparating from. But, thanks be to God, we can and do deny the charge. "See,' say you, · Francis Bugg's
One blow more:' but if this be Athenian, it is not Berean, to condemn an whole people upon another man's authority, that you are not assured was well grounded. Besides, it is a book we have answered ; which you take no notice of; and that is unfair, if you knew of it; and if you did not, you ought to have asked, before you had espoused another man's allegations. This is not answerable to that candor you profess; and we must tell you, that Francis Bugg is
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an apoftate Quaker, an angry, unreasonable and cla. morous man; often and again detected, and proved inconsistent with himself; and you will find, in the issue, of no reputation to your charge against us. But did you ever read our orders of discipline, or have you been ever eye or ear-witnesses of our injunétions upon conscience? If you have, you should have mentioned them, and shewn us our fault; but your evidence here, is what a discontented man fays, who speaks ex parte, and is judge in his own cause, against a body of people he was once among, and zealous for ; who, upon a private controversy, because he had nor his own will, took pet at those that could not be brought to humour him; and from thence ran out from the very profession of a Quaker; which shews the foundation wrong, that quits a principle, for being difpleased in a man or men. What will become of fociety, if such humours are uncontroulable, or they must give the rule or law to the whole ?
Your next proof of our being persecutors, is from a passage of Geo. Fox, and Geo. Roff, in their let. ters to O. Cromwell, by which we perceive your new acquaintance, and with what tools you work; which we are sorry for, both for your sakes and theirs. But those passages are plainly wrested by you ; for they advise O. Cromwell to go on in the work he was called to; and what was that, pray? Is there one word of imposing religion upon the people of those countries, or forcing them to abjure or renounce their own ? No, not a title of it. Where then is the persecution ? But inasmuch as they were countries that did persecute, by which means the truth of God had not a free entrance or passage, but inquisitions in Popish,
the rule or lacur being proff, in the
all that conformed not to their respective establishments; therefore he should have made it his business to open the way for a true liberty of conscience, that truth might not suffer under violence, nor persecution for conscience sake oppress its professors. This is the upshot of those passages, their very scope and ten