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A TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH OF GOD
AS HELD BY THE PEOPLE CALLED QUAKERS
BEING A SHORT VINDICATION
OF THEM FROM THE ABUSES
AND MISREPRESENTATIONS OFTEN PUT UPON THEM
BY ENVIOUS APOSTATES AND
MERCENARY ADVERSARIES
BY WILLIAM PENN

TO THE READER


READER,

Occasion having been given us, which we never sought, we continue to improve it to the farther explanation and defence of our so much abused profession; that, if possible, people may see, at least the more sober and candid, that we are not at that distance from truth, nor so heterodox in our principles, as we have been, by too many, either rashly or interestedly represented: but that we hold the great truths of Christianity, according to the holy scriptures, and that the realities of religion are the mark we press after, abuse and awaken people from their false hopes and carnal securities, under which they are too apt to indulge themselves, to their irreparable loss; that by our setting Christian doctrine in a true light, and reviving and pressing the necessity of a better practice, they may see the obligation they are under to redeem their precious time they have lost, by a more careful employment of that which remains, to a better purpose. In this short vindication of our mistaken principles, the ingenious reader may easily discern how ill we have been treated, and what hardships we have laboured under, through the prejudice of some , and the unreasonable credulity of others, and that we are a people in earnest for heaven; and in that way our blessed Lord hath trod for us to glory.

A TESTIMONY TO THE TRUTH OF GOD

By the observation we are led to make from Francis Bugg's late book, upon the bishop of Norwich's giving him his recommendatory letter to the clergy, &c. in his diocese, to relieve, by a collection, the necessities of that beggarly apostate; a copy of which letter the said F.B. hath published in his said book.

And also by the observation we have made on the malicious attempts of the “Snake in the Grass” in the first, second, and third editions, which is a disingenuous and unjust collection from F. Bugg,and some other deserters, of things, for the most part, a long answered; as also lately, by the book entitled, “An Antidote,” &c. (though because his second and third edition have some additions to his first, and that being new vamped, for a better market, he may expect a melius inquirendum after a while; yet should we follow the example of this rattle snake, against the church of which he pretends to be a member, but at present a suspended one, we might in retaliation, not only exceed the “Cobbler of Gloucester,” but the “Scotch Eloquence,” and that master piece, “The Ground of Contempt of the Clergy:”)

And, lastly, by the observation we have made on the relation subscribed by some of the Norfolk clergy, dated October 12th, 1698, we cannot forbear thinking, that as their confederacy is deep, so it aims at nothing less than the ruin of us, and our posterity, by rendering us blasphemers, and enemies to the government, and to be treated as such.

The Norfolk relation from the clergy aforesaid, charges the said people with blasphemy: first, Against God. Secondly, Against Jesus Christ. Thirdly against the holy scriptures, with contempt of civil magistracy, and the ordinances which Jesus Christ instituted, viz. baptism, by water, and the Lord's supper by bread and wine. And Lastly, That the light within, as taught by us, leaves us without any certain rule, and exposes us to the blasphemies aforesaid, with many others.

Now, because this charge refers to doctrine, rather than fact, or particular persons, we think ourselves concerned to say something in vindication of our profession, and wipe of the dirt thereby intended to be cast upon us, in giving our reader a plain account as our principles, free from the perversions of our enemies.

But to manifest how uncharitably and unjustly the said clergymen have reflected upon the people called Quakers, with respect to the said charge, we are contented the reader goes no farther than their own printed relation, dated Nov. 12, 1698, not doubting but by that very relation, and the letters therewith printed, he will meet with entire satisfaction, with respect to the reasonableness and justice of the Quakers' proceedings in that affair, and how ready they were to come to the test, and to bring the pretended charge upon the stage, and to purge themselves from the guilt of the same, provided they might be accommodated with what the common law allows malefactors, viz. a copy of their indictment; but this could not be obtained. And though the said clergy have thought fit to print the charge in general, without any proof, we think ourselves obliged to vindicate our profession, by freely declaring, ( as now we do, without any mental reservation) our sincere belief of the very things they most unjustly charge us with denying.

To Conclude: As it hath pleased the Lord to bless us, In the way we have hitherto been helped to walk in, with that great blessing which ushered in the birth of our blessed lord into the world, viz. “Glory to God, peace on earth, and good will to men;” so we earnestly desire the same upon our neighbours: for though we may not be all of one mind in some doctrinal parts of religion, we must, of necessity, be all of one sentiment in the great and general duty of holiness, or else we can never see God. And if that is our principle aim and endeavour , we shall less fall out by the way, about words, forms, and outside of things: but universal charity, (which is the most excellent way, and without which the best of creeds is but a sounding brass, &c.) will silence controversy, and blot out all ignominious characters; remembering that the Great Judge, at the last day, will determine us, not according to our names, but natures; not our profession, but our lives; not our bare belief ( though unquestionable truths) but works; for “God will bring every work to judgement, with every secret thing whether it be good or evil,” Eccles xii 14.