EXTREMES OF FANATICISM
Trueblood says people today are surprised when they learn that the founders of Quakerism were "highly charged" and lived lives that were "extremes of fanaticism" and that this often led "to sharp personal conflicts." He gives us one example of how some Quakers in their enthusiasm died crazy things."
James Naylor was a Yorkshire farmer who got caught up in the Quaker enthusiasm "and promptly became an eloquent exponent." He began to feel Jesus so closely that he started telling people they should honor him as people honor Jesus in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In 1656 he rode into the city of Bristol with a few "flatterers" singing "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Israel." We read, "Nayler was examined in the House of Commons where he claimed, in evident sincerity, that the honor was not done to him as an individual but as a sign of Christs Second Coming and being revealed in His saints.' By a narrow majority Nayler escaped the death penalty, but a terrible sentence was passed. After being severely flogged in the streets, Nayler was set in the pillory for two hours, his forehead was branded with a B, as a blasphemer, and his tongue, the instrument of his brilliant speech, was bored through with a hot iron. After all this he was imprisoned." After he was released he realized the damage to the cause he had done telling his friends "the Lord knows it was never in my heart to cause you to mourn." One writer has said that his speeches and writings came "to be regarded as the most beautiful record of Christian experience which any Quaker has written in more than three centuries."
"The excitement of Christians for the second coming of Christ has always made some act especially strange and made many feel that the success or failure of Gods dispensation rests on their shoulders."
After the first 40 years and the Act of Toleration in England: "Without the clear and present danger of imprisonment Friends became a more quiet people and soon began to illustrate some of the features which are part of the familiar caricature of the mild and decent Quaker who gets rich by honest dealings and by tending to his own business." After 40 years, (1954-1994) the UC is mellowing out, too.
The focus of their efforts shifted to America.
Trueblood writes that there are only 200,000 Quakers world wide: "The number seems pitifully small" but he says Quakers over the centuries have influenced society. One of the most known is William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.
One book says "Though Quakers have not made much use of the Trinitarian formula, often pointing out that the Trinity is a word which is not found in the Bible."
Quakers "deny the special authority of an ordained clergy." This means Betty has to stretch here. Encyclopedia says they have drastically changed over the centuries in that "they have modified their stand on pacifism. Today only a small minority of the Quakers of draft age take the position of conscientious objector."
"Initially the Friends believed that all mankind would accept their teachings. But this did not happen."
"The colony of Pennsylvania, a 'Holy Experiment constructed on the principles of Quakerism, was founded in 1681 by William Penn."
The Quakers grew in strength in the colonies but they lost much popular esteem when they refused to support the military drive against the Indians in the French and Indian War. They withdrew and lived quietly. A few Quakers did serve in the American Revolutionary army and were called the "fighting Quakers."
Go into any Christian bookstore and there are books and tracts against what they perceive as cults who teach blasphemy. The same type of thing happened to the Quakers. Before TV people often read and debated religious and political works and debates. They often attended speeches and debates. The audience was boisterous like we learn in Shakespeares time. William Penn held fierce public debates with orthodox ministers in front of thousands of noisy people. Books and tracts against small religious groups were published and Penn and others would fire off a counter writing to defend themselves. One book, that is in the spirit of books in Christian bookstores called The Kingdom of the Cults that lists a bunch of religions from socially accepted religions such as the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses to the feared sects like the UC, was called A Guide to the True Religion by an Anglican minister that denounced everyone from Catholics to Quakers. He especially attacked the Quakers as a dangerous group calling them "wicked and damnable."
The hate and fear and disgust is the same in all books like this one and the Underwoods. Penn wrote a book. He "replied to it in a fierce attack called The Guide Mistaken. He wrote angrily against the falsehoods of the Anglican book. Once a Presbyterian minister debated him about one of his books and this led to his imprisonment in the Tower. Penn had not said the correct thing about the Trinity. Human history is the history of thought police. Pepys (pronounced peeps) wrote in his diary about Penns imprisonment. He is not a Quaker and his diary has been a classic in English Literature. Penn was from a very famous family so he was noticed. Pepys wrote that Penn went to jail because of one his books: "W. Pens book against the Trinity." Pepys even writes that he had his wife read the book. One writer of his day called the book a blasphemous book against the Deity of our Blessed Lord."
Penn recanted his views on the Trinity. If he hadnt he might never have been released from the Tower.
One book says, "Penn and the Quakers were classed as Unitarians because they would not acknowledge one Godhead subsisting in three distinct and separate persons ... Non-Quaker biographers of more recent years agree that ... he was not an Athanasian and rejected the metaphysical, scholastic doctrine that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were each separate and distinct persons or substances, and yet one."
Rev. Moon is also not an Athanasian. This is the worst heresy possible in Christendom.
"The real controversy in Penns time, as throughout all the Christian centuries, was over the definition or interpretations of Christ." One biography of Penn says that his "lack of lucidity" in "Penns Christology" has led to theological discussions, both Quaker and non-Quaker, down to our time."
The UC has no "lack of lucidity." It is as clear as a bell in its theology.
Penn, like the DP, rejected the notion that men are saved only by believing in Jesus. In his book Primitive Christianity Revived he says Christ is the mediator between God and man but each person must take responsibility and free himself from sin: "It is impossible to be saved by Christ without us, while we reject his work and power within us." He stressed living a daily life of high ethical standards. In one of his books, Fruits of Solitude, "he deals with nearly one hundred virtues and their opposites, and covers nearly all of the details of private and public living. The mere catalogue of these virtues gives a clear insight into Penns own character; and his treatment of many of them shows him to have been a seer and prophet of the highest standard of ethics."
He wrote that Quakers are the "truer Turners of the World upside down." They were to be "a living, walking Tabernacle."
He wrote extensively on educating children to be moral and was eager that his own children should be "children of wisdom" and he wrote two writings just for them. They were printed before he left for America and called A Letter to my Wife and Children and Fruits of a Fathers Love.
One renowned critic and editor of the Edinburgh Review "whose caustic criticism doomed many a book to oblivion, said of Penns letters: "There is something, we think, very touching and venerable in the affectionatences of its Whole Strain, and the patriarchal simplicity in which it is conceived, while the language appears to us to be one of the most beautiful specimens of that soft and mellow English" and goes on to say such things as "rich" and "sweetness."
Penn wanted his children to know his values. In his book On Education, he wrote that children need to learn to write well and some "useful parts of mathematics, and some business. ... Have but few books, but let them be well chosen and well read, whether of religious or civil subjects. measure both religion and learning by practice. Reading many books is but taking off the mind too much meditation. Reading yourselves and nature, in the dealings and conduct of men, is the truest human wisdom." He was idealistic and practical.
"Penn fought with books and speeches and petitioning the government. He fought the Blasphemy Bill of 1697. The purpose of the bill was to crush the outbreak of Unitarian thought that had become so controversial. He wrote to politicians in parliament and elsewhere that it would cause 'Severe Suffering' for some people who are real Christians but misunderstood because of 'a Circumstance of Words and Terms.' He worked feverishly distributing his protest among members of the House of Lords, where the bill originated, and it was one of the influences which caused it to be dropped."
In his three American colonies, he established complete toleration, and forbade all persecution and discrimination for consciencess sake." "One of the great heroes in the long struggle for liberty."
Jefferson and many others praised Penn and his writings for freedom and his constitution. James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution declared: "Pennsylvania may well be proud of such a founder and lawgiver as William Penn," who was a champion "in the cause of civil and religious liberty."
He tried to build a religious commonwealth . He was idealistic and naive in his "holy experiment."
He wrote his constitution in America of complete religious liberty when it was the death penalty in England to deny the Trinity and the virgin birth.
Penn was studying to be a lawyer at Oxford. He father, a famous man and Admiral in the navy, was proud of him. They were very close. Penn was expelled from Oxford because he refused to attend chapel services that were mandatory. The Anglican Church was the state church. He felt they had no right to force him to believe in it.
His father , Sir William, was so outraged he beat him and kicked him out of the house. A few days later he was back. When he was 23 he became a Quaker and began a lifelong struggle for religious freedom.
To stop his sons religiosity, he sent the 18-year-old on a vacation touring Europe. The father was grooming him to high public office but at a school in France his Father sent him to he spent two years studying theology instead.
He heard a Quaker preacher and joined immediately the little band of "religious radicals who were reviled by respectable society and subject to official persecution."
He quickly got into trouble. He was a brand new member and attending a meeting of Quakers in London "when a soldier stormed in and tried to break up the gathering. Quakers believed that one should hold their tempers and never act with violence. He hadnt absorbed that then and They tried to stop him but before they could reach him he angrily threw the soldier down a flight of stairs. The soldier came back with more soldiers and he and everyone there were put in jail. After a couple of weeks his father arranged his release. But he was soon back in trouble again because he published an article and was witnessing his beliefs. He had not gotten permission to publish from the Bishop of London who had to approve all written religious writings. Quakers openly disobeyed that and many laws because they felt it was not of God. So he spend nine dismal months in the dreary Tower of London. The thick stone walls of the Tower made the cells cold in winter and hot as an oven in the summer. Many people died there."
Penn planned his "Great Experiment" a utopia in America.
Encyclopedia says, "Bent on converting a reluctant world to righteousness, the first Quakers would stop at nothing to preach the Truth. Penn joined the sect in this spirit and was imprisoned four times for publicly stating his beliefs in word and print. He published 42 books and pamphlets in the seven years immediately following his conversion." Fox was trying "to control the excesses of Radical Quakers" so the government would not persecute them so much. Penn got married and got more mellow than millenarian? Oh? He worked politically and wrote to change things.
The cornerstone of his constitution in Pennsylvania was absolute religious freedom. It was to be a haven for religious minorities. The governor was given limited power and more was given to the assembly of men elected for one year.
He felt the Indians were equal to anyone. He learned their language, ate their food and honored their customs. Mennonites and other small religious groups came.
At Oxford as he walked the streets he saw Puritans in the stocks being pelted with stones and watched them being dragged off to prison.
His father was a close friend of the King. The college tried to fine him first but finally expelled him. His mother wept as she watched her husband thrash her son.
When he accepted their teachings he wept and he was so shaken that he couldnt speak and stayed at their house.
He could have gotten out of going to jail. The judge saw he wore fancy clothes. He had just joined and not completely transferred his lifestyle yet and the judge knew he was of nobility and asked him his name. He recognized it immediately and said he could go but he refused and stayed with his friends. This was in Ireland . His father began writing letters from Ireland from friends of the family saying he had joined what we call a "Cult".
When he told his Father he had joined the little band of Quakers, Admiral Penn who was used to people obey his orders was so beside himself with rage that he couldnt talk. It was not just that his son was throwing away a career and bringing shame to his family, but it was also just plain dangerous, extremely dangerous, to be a non-conformist. Anything that looked bizarre and out of the ordinary made everyone hysterical. The next morning he was still angry and upset and explained to his son how he was throwing away everything for these despised people. They talked a long time but William was totally committed. He went to live with the Quakers and became a leader and worked relentlessly for the rest of his life. He was a catch because he was from a famous family and his name got him in to many upper level influential people.
His father tried to again to talk some sense into him. The Quakers were a hated sect, the most extreme of all the Puritans. Once again, they argued and in desperation his father told him to pack his clothes and leave the house for good.
This was a tragic day for the Penn family. His mother, Lady Penn, pleaded with her husband but he wouldnt stand to have a member of such a vile group in his house. William flung himself into the Quaker movement.
If he would recant his beliefs he had written in The Sandy Foundation Shaken in the public market place he would be released or else he would be a prisoner for the rest of his life. He immediately answered when told this that "my prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot." The king sent his own personal chaplain to the Tower to see Penn. He was young too and they hit it off and tried to figure out how he could write and get out. How could he follow a shoemaker?
Penns father visited him in the Tower and although they loved each other deeply, William would not break under his fathers questioning and pleading. William told his father the rumors and statements against them were not true in that they were not Christians and believed in Jesus as the messiah. He told his father he hadnt denied Jesus.
Penn wrote a book in prison when it was freezing in winter and suffocated in the heat in summer. He could not have any Quaker visitors or mail. He could not even leave his tiny cell to walk outside in a courtyard.
The King read his book and decided he did believe in Jesus so he set him free to be in custody of his father like conservatorship are used today. The father gave up trying to change him by this time and told him he was now so notorious that he should leave the country and go to Ireland. William wanted to tell his father he was going to marry a Quaker girl but he could see his Father was so devastated already by what had happened he decided to wait. This kind of scene is what tens of thousands of Unification Church members have had in telling their families that they had joined a sect hated by America because Time Magazine and some ministers hated it. Journalists and ministers and government leaders did not study the church and see it as good. When deprogrammings started members felt even less inclined to go home out of fear of violence from hired thugs grabbing them off the street and imprisoning them for the sole purpose of breaking their faith. My wife was the first deprogrammed member in the UC. She was tied to a chair and screamed at for hours on end by Ted Patrick who belittled her for being so stupid and possessed and crazy. She ran out of the house screaming for help but a neighbor in yard didnt know what to do when they caught up to her and her mother talked to her like she was retarded and sick and these men would take her home by force for her own good. Clara pleaded for the neighbor to help her but the goons roughly took her back as she kicked and screamed for help. Her mother put her in an mental ward for severely insane people. The doctors came in this ward but would not listen to her or let her make a phone call. Finally she got a guard to get a message out to the church . Father had sent a church leader, Mrs. Spurgin, to Omaha and she with the American Civil Liberties Union got her out and she made news and got an interview in the local newspaper. Ted Patrick went on to become famous and thousands of kidnaping and many trials and millions of dollars and bad press for the UC.
When he got to Ireland he found the Quakers there to be severely persecuted. He went to Cork prison and saw Quaker children in stocks and getting little food or drink. He screamed at the guards for torturing children and innocent religious people who believed in Jesus as much as they did. He yelled at the top of his voice in rage "This is English abusing English! How can such things go on?"
He worked long hours getting little sleep. He spent some of his time looking after his fathers estate there in Ireland and used his families name to get access to the ruling class to try to get his friends released. He first went to the major carrying a written petition. The major sneered at him and shouted out, "You Quakers should be lashed out of town" and threw the paper to the ground. Persecution to Quakers was like water off a duck and Penn went to one nobleman after another and finally got them out of jail.
He even gave an elaborate banquet for the nobility and presented his case. Some even went to a Quaker meeting to hear him preach. Then he received news his father was dying. He went home to England and his mother pleaded with tears for her oldest son to give up his radical ideas and ways and take over the family that now needed him. His mother told him she could not handle her youngest son because he was straying off and he needed his older brother to straighten him out. She begged him to fill his fathers shoes and become a great man like him in England. He just shook his head. It was Gods will he said.
There was a law that said no persons could meet to plot against the government and anti-cultists search for laws to use to get the government to use force against them. The Church of England priests used that law against the Quaker meetings. Of course it made no sense because Quakers are non-violent. But logic has nothing to do with people when it comes to religion. Satan riles them up with fear of anything that seems to rock the boat. Fox and Penn and others spent a lot of time and energy and money in court helping church members who were jailed for meeting. They refused to hide and meet secretly and not speak out and write and witness. So they were constantly getting bad press and in court by frantic upset family members related to the dangerous cult members, church leaders and government officials
On his deathbed his father said he now admired his son and the Quakers and gave his blessing and told him to go and preach and "shun all manner of evil." Penn was famous and constantly watched and soon he was in prison again. He married and immediately told his wife he felt called to go and proseltyze in Europe. She quickly approved for she was as much a fanatic and dedicated as he was and told him, "Thy duty to God must come first." He got translators and traveled from town to town proseltyzing and teaching. When he found a few isolated Quakers he revived them as Paul had done in his world travels to build the small sect to be strong. The Quakers he met were thrilled to see him and energized to witness and take the persecution bravely. One reason they converted people was because of their absolute and quiet strenghth when attacked. They did not hate anybody and felt such joy to have found the true Jesus that they sang songs of happiness. They were happy no matter what happened to them -- even in jail and when their children were tortured. They were in ecstasy and absolutely nothing could make them unhappy because of the joy of their religion and their community of wonderful strong, and moral and loving friends. They loved meeting together and sharing their love of God and of their strict morality of purity and their desperation to witness and convert people from the orthodox religion that was so far from having a deep relationship with Christ and truth.
Penn did anything George Fox wanted him to do. He idolized his leader and adored him and saw him as an historical great leader who had brought a message that would sweep the earth. He would do anything for him. Penn got Fox out of jail once by going personally to King James who was a Catholic and could identify with the Quakers because Catholics were also a persecuted minority in England. Catholics would be severely persecuted in America that was primarily a Protestant country. There were many books and fears of the Pope in America. The division between the Catholics and Protestants has been a deep one for over 400 years and often in history it has been violent between them as it is now in Ireland. This breaks Jesus heart that Christians are divided and fearful of each other and turn to violence.
Penn began each day by meeting for prayers, and they held a second prayer meeting before supper. His wife always supported his traveling and work even when pregnant and living in a time when many children died.
He named the city Philadelphia which means "brotherly love."
When he was 13 he was profoundly moved by a Quaker missionary Thomas Loe who came to their home and spoke to his father and him.
He wrote of the inhumanity and futility of religious persecution.