The Missing Cross to Purity



William had been engaged with another preacher in visiting Friends' meetings in the country, one of which had been broken up by a magistrate, who wrote to Sir William, telling him what tumult his son had been making, and the admiral immediately dispatched a letter ordering him to come home. The Friend, who had been traveling with him, advised him to obey his father. William decided to do so, and on his return he came to London; but, before going to Wanstead, he attended a meeting in the city. After that meeting, happening to be in the house of a Friend who resided in the neighborhood, Gulielma Maria Springett came in and was introduced to him; this was in the year 1668, and was the first time he ever saw his future wife.

The manuscript account continues :-"Returning home, his father told him he had heard what work he had been making in the country, and after some discourse bid him take his clothes and be gone from his house, for he should not be there any longer. Also, that he should dispose of his estates to them that pleased him better. William gave him to understand how great a cross it was to him to disoblige his father, not because of the disposal of his estates, but “from the filial affection he bore to him." Thus father and son parted, William declaring his deep sorrow, but his still deeper conviction that he must in the first place obey God. Kissing his mother and his sister Margaret, he left the house with their cries of distress sounding in his ears.

But his mother, well knowing his deep feeling and devotedness, never allowed her heart to be hardened against her son. She saw him occasionally, and supplied him with the means of procuring the necessities of life; while the Friends received him cordially in their midst as a brother beloved.

His mother was secretly sending him money from time to time. Finally Lady Penn won her husband's consent to allowing William to return home; but his father treated William like a stranger and gave up trying to help a son, who, in his opinion, was such an ungrateful and stiff-necked fellow.

The Admiral had hoped that both he and his son could enter the nobility. Later in life, the Admiral had suffered an impeachment hearing by jealous rivals. The impeachment was dropped, and he retired to Ireland. The king, anxious to reward him, was about to raise him to the peerage under the title of Viscount Weymouth; but his son William, having become a Quaker and protesting loudly against all titles as vanities of the flesh, it seemed ridiculous to give a title that would descend to such a strange fanatic, and the king's good intentions were checked. So the admiral, through his nuisance of a son, failed to attain what was, no doubt, one of the chief objects of his life's ambition.

The people of the court and town in the England of Charles II were a very dissipated and an unprincipled set. Most of the fashionable people were proud of their lack of morals, and the plays, the writings, and even the speech of the ruling class were coarse and vulgar beyond belief. William Penn saw all this, and his nature, being on a higher plane and more serious than that of his father's friends, turned instinctively to those who were living clean and respectable lives. In the jumble of new ideas and new religions he found comfort in the simplest and quietest sect; and now, having publicly declared himself a Quaker, he became one of their eminent preachers.

The Quakers were glad to have a man of William Penn's education and position join their ranks. Penn himself kept his cavalier dress, and even continued for a time to wear his sword, which was a sign of a person of fashion. Early in his Quaker faith, he asked the advice of George Fox about keeping his sword, and the latter, in spite of his views, said, "I advise you to wear it as long as you can." Afterwards, meeting Penn without the sword, he said, "William, where is your sword?" "Oh," said Penn, "I have taken your advice. I wore it as long as I could."

Site Editor's Comment: Fox not telling Penn to stop wearing his sword illustrates and important part of the true Christian religion. While lying, stealing, murder, adultery, drunkenness, swearing, etc., were clearly not permissible within the Quaker membership; no one was to criticize another for what was not against the moral law of the Scriptures. No one was to be criticized about food, drink, or observation of days. These matters were left to individual conscience, including the wearing of a sword; Penn wore it until the Lord spoke through the light of his conscience, showing him that he did not want him to wear the sword.

When we each start on our Christian journey to purification, we all have a hundred problems which have to be dealt with. Only the Lord can see through these tangled brambles of our passions, habits, bondages, and pleasures - to know in what order to deal with each. What he may ask one person to give up first, may be for another to be his last - or another may never be asked to give it up - only the Lord knows, if and when it is necessary. If we make up rules about carrying a sword, or what to not drink, or what days should be observed - we are creating a new law, legalism, a form of religion - not a religion of freedom of conscience heart - which is true Christianity.

The new minister was very useful to the religious party he had joined. Besides preaching, he wrote a number of tracts, the first of which he called Truth Exalted. In this he attacked, according to the custom of the times, all religious views that differed from his own, and answered the criticisms of other sects. He was even more useful in interceding for Quakers who had been put in prison. Having friends at court, and being still regarded as something of a courtier, he could appeal to the officers of state better than others of the new sect. His arguments in favor of setting the Quaker prisoners at liberty were listened to respectfully by the high officials, but his requests at that time were not granted.

About this time he attended the death-bed of Thomas Loe. This eminent minister, we may remember, had been the messenger of good to William Penn while at Oxford; and it was by his powerful ministry that he was afterwards convinced. The following account of the last hours of his beloved and venerated friend is found in a letter of William Penn to Isaac Penington.

"I found him in readiness to depart. Friends, much affected, stood around his bed. When I came in and had set myself upon the bedside, so shook was he by the power of the Lord, and overcome by the ravishing glory of his presence, that it was wonderful to all the Friends. Taking me by the hand, he spoke thus :

'Dear heart, bear your cross, stand faithful for God and bear your testimony in your day and generation; and God will give you an eternal crown of glory that none shall ever take from thee. There is not another way. Bear your cross. Stand faithful for God. This is the way the holy men of old walked in; and it shall prosper. God has brought immortality to light, and immortal life is felt in its blessedness. My heart is full. My cup runs over. Glory, glory to his name forever! Friends, keep your testimonies. Live to God and He will be with you. Be not troubled. The love of God overcomes my heart.'

It effected more than all the outward potions given him; for it so enlivened his spirits and raised him that he soon after got up and walked about, saying to us, 'Many times when I have seemed to be going, the Lord has shined upon my tabernacle and raised it up.' But it was, then, the will of the Lord that, after all his labor, perils, and travels, he should there lay down his body amongst his ancient friends. He lay some time speechless, his spirit being centered; and at last he went away with great stillness, having finished his testimony, and left many demonstrations of his service and much fruit of his diligent labor. My soul loved him while living, and now bemoans his loss when dead. The day following, we laid the mortal part in the ground, it having done its Master's work.

Two men, who belonged to the congregation of the Presbyterian preacher Thomas Vincent in London, became Quakers. Thomas Vincent was very angry and called Penn unpleasant names. So Penn and his friend George Whitehead challenged Vincent to an open debate in the latter's church. The challenge was accepted.

Penn and Whitehead went to Vincent's church, which was crowded, and as they pushed their way forward Vincent denounced them in no measured words. The two Quakers joined in the wordy warfare, and began a heated religious argument, while the congregation hissed and flung at them such names as "blasphemers" and "villains." Vincent himself kept interrupting, and at length, pretending to be shocked at what the two men were saying, began to pray for them. The people blew out the candles that lit the church and tried to eject the two Quakers. The meeting ended in uproar.

Not in the least daunted by the harsh and unkind criticisms that were showered on him from all sides, Penn wrote more pamphlets, criticizing the religious views of some of the older sects, and calling many of their ideas relics of the ignorance and superstition of the Middle Ages. He was a clear and powerful writer and showed his satisfaction in stating in black and white the views that had led him to believe that truth was to be found in the religion of the Quakers rather than in any other creed. This was doubtless more satisfactory to him than holding noisy and hot-tempered arguments with opponents on street comers or in public halls, and won for him the reputation of being the ablest of all the early Quaker leaders. Samuel Pepys, of the famous Diary, says thus frankly of Penn's pamphlet, The Sandy Foundation Shaken, "I find it so well written that I think it is too good for him ever to have written it; and it is a serious sort of book and not fit for everybody to read."

Site Editor's Comment: Peppy's was a secular person, unaware of the ability of the true Teacher, Christ to teach his people himself, training his true ministers himself, and speaking and writing by His Spirit within his true ministers. Penn was one such minister trained - readjusted, restored, set to rights and perfected — to be like his teacher. Luke 6:40-48. In this pamphlet, Penn challenged the Trinity as being unscriptural, a man-made invention, and a denial that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three separate persons, but rather the three were all one spirit - the specifics contained, being a very complex paper. (Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD, Deu 6:4). He also stated that: 1) "imputed righteousness" of Christ was not sufficient for salvation by simply claiming it, unless it was followed by works of faith, repentance to complete remission of sin, which is purification; and 2) "the impossibility of God pardoning sinners [permanently] without a full satisfaction," — a complete change of heart [the new man] by grace being necessary to receive the pardon, approval, and heavenly reward from God. These three positions cut at the root all the Protestant sect's belief in a heavenly reward without anything required of their members, other than claiming the blood in confession, water baptism, and periodic eating of bread and wine.

The great controversy between Quakers and others sects of Christianity was exactly what the blood of Jesus purchased for the believer.

The other sects said, (and say), Jesus' sacrifice made any believer righteous and justified, with nothing else required on their part.

The Quakers said his blood purchased forgiveness for past sins with sincere repentance; and with faith received from and authored by the Lord, with their accompanying obedience in repentance with remission of sin to complete purification, they were imputed a righteousness; and that justification and lasting righteousness only came after the workings of grace to convince them of sin and remove it from their hearts; thus the Quakers said Christ's blood could cleanse them from all sin and the desire to sin, not just forgive them for sins.

In reply, the other sects screamed in outrage, the blood of Jesus did it all — I am saved by belief! You Quakers are blasphemers by denying the power of the blood and sacrifice of Jesus. Since Jesus did it all, I don't have to do anything.

While the Quakers said: your belief has saved from what? If you are still sinning, you are not saved; and the blood of Jesus is more powerful than to justify your presumption of being saved. The blood of Jesus is powerful enough to cleanse your heart of even the desire to sin, providing you abide in his Spirit and Light to receive cleansing through the process of convincement and further repentance — by carrying the inward cross of self-denial. The saving grace of Christ is to be experienced, not just presumed. This blood of Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, is to be felt and witnessed in the hearts and consciences of people; by which blood they are sanctified and are cleansed from all their dead works. Such experience righteousness, justification, and sanctification by possession of Christ to be their Lord and King, controlling their every word and deed.

Penn stated this in a letter to a friend, explaining the position he staked in The Sandy Foundation Shaken:

I say that Jesus Christ was a sacrifice for sin, that He was set forth to be a propitiation for the sins of the whole world; to declare God's righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, etc., to all that repented and had faith in his Son. Therein the love of God appeared, that He declared his good will thereby to be reconciled; Christ bearing away the sins that are past, as the scapegoat did of old, not excluding inward work; for, until that has begun, none can be benefited. Though it is not the work, but God's free love that remits and blots out, of which, the death of Christ, and his sacrificing of himself, was a most certain declaration and confirmation. In short, that declared remission, to all who believe and obey, for the sins that are past; which is the first part of Christ's work, (as it is a king's to pardon a traitor, before he advances him), and to this the acquittal imputes a righteousness, (inasmuch as men, on true repentance, are imputed as clean of guilt as if they had never sinned), and thus far justified; but the completing of this, by the working out of sin inherent, must be by the power and Spirit of Christ in the heart, destroying the old man and his deeds, and bringing in the new and everlasting righteousness. So, that which I wrote against, is such doctrine as extended Christ's death and obedience, not to the first, but this second part of justification; not the pacifying [of] conscience, as to past sin; but I wrote against complete salvation, without cleansing and purging, from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, by the internal operation of his holy power and Spirit.

Obedience leads to righteousness. Rom 6:16.
While we seek to be justified by Christ, Gal 2:17

(Justification is not instant, we must seek justification along with righteousness,
both of which result from obedience to commands heard. )

The outcry which was thus raised soon stirred up the persecuting spirit in some of the heads of the Church which he had forsaken. They were not slow in procuring an order for his imprisonment in the Tower, on an accusation of blasphemy. None of his friends except his father, who was not likely to avail himself of the permission, was allowed to visit him there. His servant, who alone had free access to him, brought him word that the Bishop of London was resolved that he should either publicly recant, or die a prisoner. To this he replied,

You may tell my father, who I know will ask you, that these are my words in answer ,"My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot, for I owe obedience of my conscience to no mortal man." But I have no need to fear; God will make amends for all. They are mistaken in me; I value not their threats and resolutions. In me they shall behold a resolution that is above fear, conscience, that is above cruelty, and a baffle put to their designs by the spirit of patience - the companion of all the tribulated flock of the blessed Jesus, who is the "author and finisher of the faith that overcomes the world."

That "faith which overcomes the world" was now his in truth; and its sustaining power kept up his spirit in the solitude to which he was condemned. And though he could not then go forth from place to place as a preacher of righteousness, his pen could send abroad his thoughts even more widely than his voice. Conscious of this, he used indefatigably in his Lord's service the talent he could command. Beside some rejoinders to the attacks of his enemies, which he sent forth from the Tower, he there and then wrote his great work, No Cross, No Crown. As coming from the pen of so young a man, this work, on account of the intimate knowledge of ecclesiastical history and the breadth of thought which it displays, was regarded as a marvelous composition, and passed through several editions during the author's lifetime. Finding that many serious persons, who were not mere quibblers, were led by the representations put forward against him to think that he did not recognize the deity of Christ the savior, because of its not being noticed in The Sandy Foundation Shaken, he wrote Innocence with her Open Face. In this work he gave a full exposition of his convictions on that important subject. His statements indicate so much careful examination and clearness of intellect, that I think it right in this connection to quote some of them. He says :

That which I am credibly informed to be the greatest reason for my imprisonment, and that noise about blasphemy which has pierced so many ears of late, is my denying the divinity of Christ, which most busily has been suggested as well to those in authority, as maliciously insinuated among the people. Therefore, let me plead with you to be impartial and considerate in the perusal of this my vindication; which, being written in the fear of the Almighty God, and in the simplicity of Scripture dialect presented to you, I hope my innocence will appear beyond scruple.

To thoroughly understand the true relationship of God the Father, to the Son of God, see the Footnote to 1 John 5:7.

But still there remained his un-recanted declarations of the unscriptural character of the scholastic terms, and the other teaching against which he wrote in The Sandy Foundation, Shaken. From these he did not recede in the slightest degree, when writing Innocence with her Open Face. Instead of doing so, his remarks only went to confirm or reiterate his former statements. Thus he concludes :

However positively I may reject or deny my adversaries' unscriptural and imaginary doctrine of satisfaction, let all know this, that I pretend to know no other name by which remission, atonement, and salvation can be obtained, but Jesus Christ the savior, who is the power and wisdom of God. As for justification by an imputed righteousness, I still say that whosoever believes in Christ shall have remission and justification; but then it must be such belief, such faith as can no more live without works than a body without a spirit; therefore I assert that true faith comprehends evangelical obedience. And herein Dr. Stillingfleet (then Anglican Bishop) comes to my support by this plain assertion, that is:

'Such, who make no other condition of the gospel but believing, ought to have a care to keep their hearts sounder than their heads,'

thereby intimating the great imperfection and danger of such a notion. God Almighty bears me record that my design was nothing less or more than to wrest those sin-pleasing principles out of the hands, heads, and hearts of the people, from the fond persuasion of being justified by the personal righteousness of another, without any relation to their own obedience to God - that they might not continue in sin based on such a trust, until irrecoverably overtaken by eternal punishment.

* See the Footnote to Romans 5:1 to understand that righteousness is only imputed to those, who with obedient works of commanded repentance, have received purification and the fruit of the Spirit.

William Penn, still continuing a prisoner without being brought to trial, despite all he had written and published, at length addressed a long letter to Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, asking him to interfere. He showed how contrary it was to every principle of justice, and every legal idea, ancient or modern, to keep a man imprisoned for holding certain opinions which he really did not hold, without allowing him an opportunity of clearing himself on open trial; and he asked, even if he did hold all the opinions objected to, by what law could he be legally imprisoned for doing so; and, if they wished to convince him of error, could they hope to effect it by such means. He says in conclusion :

I make no apology for my letter as trouble; because I think the honor that will accrue to you by being just, and releasing the oppressed, exceeds the advantage that can succeed to me. And I am well assured any kindness and justice it may please you to employ on that account cannot miss a plentiful reward from God, and praise of all virtuous men.

This letter bears date the 1st of Fifth-month, 1669, and in little more than a month after it was written the writer was released, after about eight months' imprisonment. On the 24th of Eighth month he sailed from Bristol for Cork, where he arrived on the 26th. By his father's express orders; he was again to undertake the management of the Shangarry estate.

He then began to look about to see how he could be of most service to the people who were of his own religious faith.



By this time no one could doubt that William Penn had courage, for it took considerable bravery to face and endure imprisonment in the Tower of London as he had done, and this show of courage won admiration even from his father the Admiral. At this time Sir William was having troubles of his own. The command of his fleet had been taken from him, and he was suffering from the gout; altogether he was not in a very pleasant frame of mind, but he softened sufficiently toward his son to ask him to go again to Ireland to look after the family property there, although the request was made through William's devoted mother, and not directly. When he wrote to his son, he showed that he still rather doubted William's filial regard, for he said, "If you are ordained to be another cross to me, God's will be done, and I shall arm myself as best I can against it."

When William reached Ireland, he found the lot of the Quakers was then no better than it had been before. Their very virtues - for they were generally a hard-working and thrifty people - had set many against them. Indeed, nearly all the Quakers in Cork had been lodged in prison. Even in prison, however, they managed to carry on their affairs; for, said Penn, “they turned the jail into a meetinghouse and a workhouse, for they would not be idle anywhere."

He at once set to work to help these friends of his, and drew up a statement of the charges against the imprisoned Quakers and a defense of them, and with the help of some friends took the matter to the Lord Lieutenant at Dublin, with the result that before long the Quakers in Cork were given their freedom. Encouraged by this success, he made it his business to try to free people of his religion whenever he found them in the grasp of the law.

During his continuance in Ireland, he usually resided either at Dublin or Cork. His sympathy with those who were suffering on account of their religion led him often to visit those who were in prison, and to hold meetings among them. He also wrote several tracts to promote the cause of religion, one of which was "A Letter to the Young Convinced.*" Some idea of the spirit of this production may be formed from the following extracts:

In the tender love of Jesus Christ, I earnestly entreat you, let us no more look back upon our ancient [previous to being convinced] pastimes and delights, but with holy resolution press on, press on; for they will steal away our precious souls, beget new desires, raise the old life, and finally ensnare and pollute our minds again; and what will be the end of such rebellion but woes and tribulations from the hand of the just God, world without end. Neither let us enter into many reasonings with opposers, for that is the life which God's power is revealed to slay; it is the still, the quiet, and the righteous life that must be exalted over all. And this I say in a sound understanding, through the mercies of the Lord, that deadness, darkness, and anguish of spirit will be the end of such disputing, pragmatic Christians whose religion consists much more in words than works, confessing than forsaking, and in their own will-performances and external observations, than in the reformation and conversion of their souls to God. We who have known something more of the Lord may also reduce our good conditions to an utter loss by seeking to comprehend dubious matters in our understandings, and disputing about them with every opposer whom the devil, in a way of temptation, shall present to us; which does no way advance our growth and increase in the noble principle of Truth.

And I beseech you, my dear friends, let not the fear of any external thing, overcome the holy resolution we have made, to follow the Lamb, Christ Jesus, through all the tribulations, trials and temptations, he and his followers meet with. O let us be valiant in God's cause on earth, who have but a few days to live. Let the constancy of the world to the momentary fashions, pleasures and pollutions of it, the more ardently stir us up to express ours, for the honor of our God against them all, who will reward us for whatsoever we bear, suffer, or part with, on his account. Let neither father nor mother, sister nor brother, wife nor child, house nor land, liberties nor life itself, deter us from our holy constance; but as the faithful ancients did, through deserts, wildernesses, and solitary places, in goat-skins and sheep-skins, endure torments and bitter mockings in this earthly pilgrimage, for the inheritance which is everlasting. So my dear friends, let us do as we have them for our example. Let us however be careful to show all due respect to our relations, not to be exalted nor any way unruly, lest there be just cause taken against us, and the blessed Truth should suffer; but in the still, retired, holy and patient life, which this pure Spirit of light and truth, as seriously and diligently wailed on, certainly brings into, let us all dwell and abide; so shall we feel the powerful operation of God's holy Spirit, to the more complete redeeming of our exercised souls, from under the dominion of sin, and to the giving us all a clearer understanding and sounder judgment, of those things that are to be parted from, as the pleasures, cares and customs of the world, that stand in the fallen nature and only nourish the same, but crucify the self-denying Lord of glory; and also of the things of God and his spiritual kingdom, which are to be adhered to, that in his pure wisdom which is from above, we may be all kept and preserved, over all the snares and temptations of the adversary, both on the right hand and on the left.

And as one who is a traveler in his way, I even beseech, caution and admonish you all in the holy awe of God, that you never forbear meeting and assembling yourselves, with the holy remnant amongst whom we first received our blessed convincement. O forever let us honor the Lord's Truth, and those who sincerely profess the same; but more especially such as were in Christ before us, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Beware of lightness, jesting or a careless mind, which grieves the holy Spirit, that stands ready to seal us unto the day of our perfect redemption; but let us be grave, weighty and temperate, keeping low in body as well as mind, that in all things we may be examples, and a sweet savor for God, who has loved and called us. And my dear friends, keep in the simplicity of the cross of Jesus, even in plainness of speech, and out of the world's flattering and deceitful respects; for we are as well to be a cross in our garb, gaits, dealings and salutations, as religion and worship, to this vain, adulterated and apostatized generation. In the pure measure of Truth that has been manifested to every particular, and has convinced us of the unrighteousness of the world, and the vanity and emptiness of all its professions of God, Christ and religion, let us stand and abide, that we may feel it to be our refuge and strong tower, when the enemy shall approach, either by inward exercises, or outward bonds and suffering, which may overtake us for the trial of our most precious faith; so shall we sensibly experience that heavenly blood of cleansing which only can give remission, cleanse from all sin, and finally purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God."

*To be convinced of the Quaker doctrine, means to have become certain of the way required for salvation; not to receive salvation itself. All of these newly convinced people had previously been devout readers of the Bible, professed that Jesus was the Son of God, had been baptized, attended sect services, etc.; but they were all still captive to sin, and knew there had to be a way to become free of even the desire to sin. When they heard the way proclaimed to become pure, to become free of sin, their hearts bore witness to that truth; so they joined with others seeking to become free of sin, by waiting in silence to hear from the Teacher within, to obey Him, and to receive his changing grace that taught them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, godly life in their world then; to be redeemed from all iniquity, and purified - and to then have a zeal for good works energized and prompted by God. This process, from convincement to purity, required them to continue working out their salvation over time with fear and trembling. Because they trembled in the presence of God's Spirit working on their hearts, showing them their sins, convicting them of the secrets in their hearts, they trembled - or quaked - thus they became known as Quakers.

He managed the family estate in Ireland so well that when he went back to London in 1670, his father decided to forgive his son all the trouble he had put him to, and the courtier father and the Quaker son were completely reconciled. That did not mean, however, that the son had given up any of his opinions. It happened that at about the same time the government decided that the new religion was winning too many converts, and so put into effect a law that made unlawful any meetings for religious worship other than those held by the Church of England, by the terms of which law the magistrates were allowed to fine and imprison offenders without giving them a trial by jury; it also allowed to those who gave information about such illegal meetings one third of all the fines that were imposed. Whenever the Quakers held a meeting, therefore, some enemy was sure to give notice of it, and many Friends were imprisoned and more were fined, of course to the advantage of meddling busybodies.

In the year 1670 the famous Conventicle Act was passed by Parliament, which prohibited dissenters from worshipping God in their own way. It had been first suggested by some of the bishops. The chaplain of the Archbishop of Canterbury had previously printed a discourse against toleration, in which he asserted as a main principle that it would be less injurious to the Government to dispense with profane and loose persons than to allow a toleration to religious dissenters. " This act," says Thomas Ellwood, " broke down and overran the bounds and banks anciently set for the defense and security of Englishmen's lives, liberties and properties, namely, trials by jury, instead of directing and authorizing justices of the peace, (and that, too, privately out of sessions), to convict, fine, and by their warrants seize upon offenders against it, directly contrary to the Great Charter." [Magna Carta]

It was impossible that an act like this could pass without becoming a source of new suffering to William Penn situated as he then was, first, as a minister of the Gospel, and, secondly, as a man who always dared to do what he thought to be his duty. Accordingly he was one of the earliest victims to its decrees; for, going as usual with others of his own religious society to their meeting-house in Gracechurch-street to perform divine worship, they found it guarded by a band of soldiers. Being thus hindered from entering it, they stopped for a while about the doors. Others who came up joined the former and stopped also, so that in a little time there was a considerable assembly on the spot. By this time William Penn felt himself called upon to preach; but he had not advanced far in his discourse when he and William Mead were seized by constables, who produced warrants signed by Sir Samuel Starling, then lord mayor, for that purpose. The constables after they had seized them conveyed them to Newgate, where they were lodged, that they might be ready to take their trial at the next session of the Old Bailey.

This arrest was made known next morning to Admiral Penn by the following letter :


This comes by the hand of one who can best allay the trouble it brings. As true as ever Paul said it, such as live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution; so for no other reason am I at present a sufferer. Yesterday I was taken by a band of soldiers with one Captain Mead and in the evening carried before the mayor; he proceeded against me according to the ancient law; he told me I should have my hat pulled off, for all I was Admiral Penn's son. I told him I desired to be in common with others, and sought no refuge from the common usage. I discoursed with him about the hat, but he avoided it. Because I did not readily answer him as to my name, William, when he asked me in order to a mittimus, he told his clerk to write one for Bridewell, and there he would see me whipped himself, for all I was Penn's son that had starved the seamen. I told him I could very well bear his severe expressions concerning myself, but was sorry to hear him speak those abuses of my father that was not present; at which the assembly seemed to murmur. In short, he committed that person and me as rioters; and at present we are at the sign of the Black Dog, in Newgate market.

And now, dear father, be not displeased nor grieved; what if this is designed of the Lord for an exercise of our patience. I am very well, and have no trouble upon my spirits besides my absence from you at this juncture. Well, eternity which is at the door, (for He that shall come will come, and will not tarry), that will make amends for all. The Lord God everlasting consol and support you by his holy power, and preserve you to eternal rest and glory. Amen.

Thy faithful and obedient son,

My duty to my mother.

William Penn

According to Quaker custom, Penn kept his hat on before the mayor, and this so maddened that official, that he said the prisoner "should have his hat pulled off, for all he was Admiral Penn's son." Then he went on to abuse the Admiral himself, saying that he had starved the sailors of his fleet, and repeating other stories that were popular among the Admiral's enemies. He threatened to send young William to Bridewell Prison, and see that he was soundly whipped! Finally Penn was taken to a certain jail known as the Black Dog, where he was locked up with a number of other Quakers and Baptists and Independents, who had all been holding meetings in despite of the law.

Penn and a man named William Mead were put on trial in the Old Bailey* early in September, 1670, charged with having preached at an unlawful meeting, thereby causing a great concourse and tumult, to the disturbance of the king's peace and the great terror of many of his subjects. The two prisoners went into court with their hats having been removed before their entrance; the judges ordered the officers to put the hats back on the prisoners' heads, and then began to question them about their wearing hats in court. Despite the judges being responsible for their hats being on in court, they used that as an excuse to fine each man forty marks for such "contempt of court." The prisoners were not allowed lawyers to defend them, and the judges proceeded to make sport of the two Quakers, as if the trial were a form of bull-baiting. Penn said that he had broken no law, but had only been worshiping God according to his own conscience. He stood up for his rights as an Englishman, and appealed to the jury to uphold their rights as Englishmen; this so impressed the jury that in spite of all the efforts of the judges, the jury would only find him, "guilty of speaking" in Gracechurch-street, and of no crime whatever. The judges sent the jury out again and again, finally keeping them locked up for two days and nights without beds or food, but the jury was not to be browbeaten. The judges at last had to accept the verdict, "not guilty," but in revenge fined each of the prisoners forty marks and ordered them imprisoned until the fines were paid; and in addition, actually fined and sentenced the jury for bringing in what they considered a mock verdict!

*The transcript of this famous trial is available on this site.

Penn and Mead and the jury were then sent to Newgate, where they simply refused to buy their liberty by paying the unjust fines. Thus ended this famous trial, which was sustained by William Penn with so much ability at the age of twenty-five. A few days afterwards he wrote to Admiral Penn :


I desire you not to be troubled at my present confinement; I could scarce suffer on a better account nor by a worse hand, and the will of God be done. It is more grievous and uneasy to me that you should be so heavily exercised, God Almighty knows, than any worldly concernment. I am cleared by the jury; and they are here in my place, and resolved to lie till they get out by law. Every six hours they demand their freedom by advice of counsel. They (the Court) have so overshot themselves that the generality of people much detests them. I entreat you not to purchase my liberty.

I desire in fervent prayer the Lord God to strengthen and support you, and to anchor your mind in thoughts of the immutable, blessed state which is over all perishing concerns. I am, dear father, your obedient son,

William Penn

The next day he wrote :


I am truly grieved to hear of your present illness. If God, in his holy will, did see fit that I should be freed, I could heartily embrace it; yet, considering I cannot be free except on such terms as strengthen their arbitrary and base proceedings, I rather choose to suffer any hardship.

I am not without hope that the Lord will sanctify the endeavors of your physician unto a cure, and then much of my solicitude will be at an end. Solace your mind in the thoughts of better things, dear father.

There had never been in England, up to this period, a settled and defined usage with regard to verdicts. Judges had sometimes fined inconvenient and persistent juries, and it had practically been an undetermined question how far they had a right to bring in verdicts contrary to the views of the court. This great point was now to be decided. Suit was brought by Edward Bushell and his fellow jurors against Sir Samuel Starling, the Lord Mayor, and Sir John Howell, the Recorder of London, for illegal imprisonment. The Court of Common Pleas adopted the view that the bench, though at liberty to offer suggestions to the jurymen for their consideration, may not lawfully coerce them; and confirmed the doctrine of Lord Coke, that the jury, and not the judge, were the arbiters in regard to facts; and that the province of the judge was to point out and apply the law to such facts as are found by the jury. The issue of the trial was that the prisoners were ordered to be discharged. This celebrated trial was productive of important beneficial results to the people of England. It awakened their attention to the arbitrary and oppressive proceedings of the courts under the pretended sanction of law, by which the most flagrant violations of justice were often practiced with impunity. The able and undaunted manner in which the prisoners contended for their rights and liberties, and the noble stand made by the jurors against the rude and shameless attempts of the Court to browbeat and intimidate them, opened the eyes of the people to their true interests, and the necessity of claiming their chartered privileges; and thus the trial was instrumental in establishing them on a firmer basis than they ever were before; the freedom of juries being now asserted by a solemn judicial decision.

[It was Penn's eloquent pleas to the jury as free Englishmen to never abrogate their rights, which inspired the jury to courageous resistance to the tyranny of the judicial officials of the City and court. See Trial.]

The Court of Common Pleas decided that the fines were unlawful and ordered the jury set at liberty. Penn and Mead, however, had been fined for wearing their hats in court, and there is no knowing how long they might have been kept in prison if the Admiral, who was ill, had not disregarded his son's letters, and paid the fines of both Penn and Mead, when they were at once set at liberty. Penn later wrote a book about this trial and published it, which was widely read in England, and resulted in Parliament passing several laws designed to prevent such outlandish abuses of unchecked power in the courts. The recorder was investigated and lost his job. In his Journal, Fox also reports that the above abuses, and many more, the "mayor's name became a stink and the Lord cut him off."

The case of the courageous jurymen, (Thomas Vere, Edward Bushell, and ten others), was reviewed on a Writ of Habeus Corpus and England's Chief Justice Vaughan delivered the opinion of the court which established The Right to Juries to give their verdicts according to their convictions or conscience. In effect, this established the legal precedent of jury nullification, which still exists in USA and English courts; although in the USA, the judge often questions potential jurors of their willingness to forego disagreement with the law, resulting in nullification; excusing any potential jurors who do, regardless of conscience.

The account we have of the trial was published soon after the trial was held, with a preface and a long appendix, which discussed very fully all the questions of civil liberty involved, and had a great deal to say of Magna Carta and other sources of British freedom. Some one, signing himself S. 5., wrote an answer to it, attacking Penn's father for stealing prize-money and amassing ill-gotten riches for a conscientious fool of a son, who made such a noise in court that the judge could not charge the jury. As for the Quakers, they were a libeling, lying, discontented people, who would set the country in a flame. When the king seized their meeting-house, they broke in the doors, overpowered the constables, and kicked and spurned the officers who attempted to break up their unlawful assembly. Against this attack Penn wrote a long reply called Truth Rescued from Imposture; and, reading all these three documents together, it does not seem that the original Quaker report of the trial is at all seriously impugned.

The publication of the report and the sturdy conduct of Penn and William Mead, as described in it, were unquestionably useful. It was another effort in the long struggle of Anglo-Saxon liberty; and although it is not possible to point to any specific change in criminal trials as the result of it, yet, together with the other protests, it gradually, in the course of years, educated public opinion and wrought the improvement which has now long been enjoyed in all English-speaking countries.

When Penn reached home he found that his father had only a few days to live. Their meeting must have been an affecting one. The admiral had been thinking what terrible things might happen in the future to his stubborn offspring, who had such a passion for making a martyr of himself in loathsome prisons. He had accordingly sent a friend to the Duke of York to make his dying request that the duke would watch over his son and intercede with the king when necessary for his protection. Both the duke and the king sent back the kindest answers and promises, which must have greatly relieved the dying admiral; and these promises were afterwards fulfilled to the letter.

The admiral could no longer quarrel with his son; natural affection had got the better of all other feelings. As he approached death, he reviewed his life and times, focusing of how he was prepared for the next life. He declaimed against the wickedness and impurity of the age and prophesied judgments upon England for the dissolute and profane lives of her gentry and nobility. He also realized his own shortcomings, and as described by William, gave this excellent fatherly advice to his eldest son and principal heir:

"Son William, I am weary of the world. I would not live over my days again if I could command them with a wish; for the snares of life are greater than the fears of death. This troubles me that I have offended a gracious God. The thought of that has followed me to this day. Oh! have a care of sin! It is that which is the sting both of life and death. Three things I commend to you:

First - Let nothing in this world tempt you to wrong your conscience; so you will keep peace at home, which will be a feast to you in the day of trouble.

Secondly - Whatever you design to do, lay it justly and time it seasonably, for that gives security and dispatch.

Lastly - Be not troubled at disappointments, for if they may be recovered, do it; if they cannot, trouble is vain. If you could not have helped it, be content; there is often peace and profit in submitting to Providence: for afflictions make wise. If you could have helped it, let not your trouble exceed instruction for another time. These rules will carry you with firmness and comfort through this inconstant world."

At another time Admiral Penn inveighed against the profaneness and impiety of the age; often crying out with an earnestness of spirit:

" Wo to thee, O England ! God will judge thee, O England ! Plagues are at thy door, O England !"

Admiral Penn much bewailed that divers men in power, and many of the nobility and gentry of the kingdom were grown so dissolute and profane, often saying:

"God has forsaken us, we are infatuated, we will shut our eyes, we will not see our true interests and happiness ; we shall be destroyed !"

The admiral died on the 16th of September, 1670, and with almost his last breath said to his son"

"If you and your friends keep to your plain way of preaching and to your plain way of living, you will make an end of the priests to the end of the world. Bury me by my mother. Live in love. Shun all manner of evil, and I pray God to bless you all, and he will bless you."

With this noble advice, surprising for a man of the world, the Admiral died leaving William to look after his mother and his younger brother Richard. His sister Margaret had married Antony Lowther, of Maske, in Yorkshire.



ADMIRAL PENN had managed to accumulate a very considerable fortune, and as a result William, the eldest son, became a rich man. His family was a prominent one, he had many influential friends, and now had plenty of money; so it was thought that he would naturally become a cavalier and gentleman of fashion. He soon made it clear, however, that he meant to retain the simple way of living adopted by the Quakers. Friends of his own age made fun of him, saying it was preposterous that a man of his means and abilities should spend his time with such dull people as those of the new religion. Sir John Robinson, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London, said to him, "I vow, Mr. Penn, I am sorry for you; you are an ingenious gentleman, all the world must allow you and do allow you that, and you have a plentiful estate. Why should you render yourself unhappy by associating with such a simple people?" "I confess," frankly answered Penn, "I have made it my choice to relinquish the company of those who are ingeniously wicked, to converse with those who are more honestly simple."

In those days men challenged each other to arguments over their religions much as they might have challenged each other to a duel. Penn enjoyed defending the Quaker cause in public. A Baptist preacher by the name of Ives denounced Penn and the Quakers in a sermon, and Penn sent him a challenge to argue the question in public.

Ives did not appear at the meeting, but his brother took his place, and, according to the rules of such arguments, had to speak first. When he had finished his argument, he, with some friends, left the hall, hoping to draw so many people away with him that few would be left to listen to his opponent. But the audience stayed to hear Penn, and he spoke so eloquently that he won the house over to his side, and cost Ives the support of many of his followers.

The young Quaker was proving as convincing a speaker as he had already shown himself to be a vigorous writer. He was fast becoming a power in the new sect.

He soon found a bigger man than Ives to argue with, for as he traveled through Oxfordshire preaching the Quaker cause he came to the University of Oxford, where he had been a student, and learned that the young men there who were interested in Quakerism were treated worse than ever. The Vice Chancellor of Oxford thought that the Quakers might become a dangerous political party, and was doing all in his power to abolish the new religion. Penn wrote him a letter in which, with fiery ardor, he denounced the Vice Chancellor for his persecution of Quaker students, and followed it up with other broadsides of attack on all who held similar views. He was a militant character, and when he argued before a public meeting, or wrote a letter that was to be read by his opponents, he never hesitated to express himself as strongly as he knew how. So in his letter to the Vice Chancellor he gave himself free rein. He wrote: "Shall the multiplied oppressions which you continue to heap upon innocent English people for their peaceable religious meetings pass disregarded by the eternal God? Do you think to escape his fierce wrath and dreadful vengeance for your ungodly and illegal persecution of his poor children? I tell you, no. Better if you had never been born. Poor mushroom, will you war against the Lord, and lift up yourself in battle against the Almighty? Can you frustrate his holy purposes, and bring his determination to nothing? He has decreed to exalt himself by us, and to propagate his gospel to the ends of the earth." Fine, spirited words are these, worthy of the valiant courage of young William Penn!

[The author is obviously not acquainted with religion, never considering the words might actually be spoken by the Spirit of God, through Penn.]

Penn returned from Oxfordshire to London, and went one day to a meeting in Wheeler Street. He started to address the meeting, but no sooner had he begun than a sergeant marched in with a file of soldiers, dragged him from the platform, and carried him off to the Tower. That evening an officer and some musketeers marched him from the Tower to Sir John Robinson, the lieutenant, who asked him many questions, trying to make it appear that Penn was a dangerous man, who, unless he were checked, might turn out to be another Cromwell. Sir John, knowing that the Quakers were opposed to all oaths, called on Penn to swear that he would never take up arms against the king, and also to take a solemn oath that he would never try to make any change of government either in church or state. This oath Penn refused to take, saying that the Quakers were opposed to all fighting as well as oath-taking. "If I cannot fight against any man (much less against the king)," said he, "what need I to take an oath not to do it? Should I swear not to do what is already against my conscience to do?"

Sir John and the other judges sneered at him, told him that he was bringing an honorable name to disgrace, and treated his principles with haughty contempt. Finally Sir John said, "But you do nothing but stir up the people to sedition; and one of your friends told me that you preached sedition and meddled with the government."

Penn looked these accusers squarely in the face. "We have the unhappiness to be misrepresented," he answered, "and of which I am not the least concerned. Bring me the man that will dare to justify this accusation to my face, and if I am not able to make it appear that it is both my practice and all my friends' to instill principles of peace and moderation, (and only war against spiritual wickedness, that all men may be brought to fear God and work righteousness), I shall contentedly undergo the severest punishment all your laws can expose me to.

“As for the king, I make this offer, that if any living can make it appear, directly or indirectly, from the time I have been called a Quaker (since from that you call me seditious), I have contrived or acted anything injurious to his person, or the English government, I shall submit my person to your utmost cruelties, and esteem them all but a due recompense. It is hard that I, being in assent, should be reputed guilty; but the will of God be done. I accept of bad reports as well as good." But he could not make Sir John and the other judges believe in his innocence. "You will be the heading of parties and drawing people after you," said Sir John, doggedly, and ordered Penn taken to Newgate, the worst prison in London for the offence of preaching the Gospel to his brethren, and refusing to disobey the commandment of Christ. Penn replied:

Is that all? You know a larger imprisonment has not daunted me. I accept it at the hand of the Lord, and am contented to suffer his will. Alas ! You mistake your interest, you will miss your aim; this is not the way to accomplish your ends. I would have you and all men to know that I scorn the religion which is not worth suffering for, and able to sustain those who are afflicted for it. Mine is worth it and able to sustain me, and whatever may be my lot for my constant profession of it, I am no ways careful, but resigned to answer the will of God by the loss of goods, liberty, and life itself. Your religion persecutes, mine forgives; and I desire my God to forgive you all that are concerned in my commitment, and I leave you all in perfect charity, wishing you eternal salvation.

In Newgate Quakers were herded with criminals of the lowest type. People with money could hire rooms for themselves at Newgate and so avoid some of the discomforts of that vile place, and Penn spoke to his jailers about having a private room, but they answered him so abusively and insultingly and charged him so much for a private room that he said he preferred to share the lot of the poorest criminals in the stinking common room.

And there this man of wealth and education bravely stayed for six months, writing a number of essays and a spirited religious pamphlet.

William Penn did not permit the time of his imprisonment to be lost to himself or the community; but wrote several tracts, chiefly of a religious character, which were soon afterwards given to the world.

The first of these is entitled, The great case of Liberty of Conscience, once more briefly debated, and defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity." In the preface he maintained that the enacting of such laws as restrained persons from the free exercise of their consciences in matters of religion, was but "the knotting of whipcord on the part of the enactors to lash their own posterity, whom they could never promise to be conformed for ages to come to a national religion."

He maintained that those who imposed fetters upon the conscience, and persecuted for conscience' sake, defeated God's work of grace, or the invisible operation of his Holy Spirit, which alone could beget faith; that they claimed infallibility, which all good Protestants rejected; and that they usurped the divine prerogative, assuming the judgment of the great tribunal, and thereby robbing the Almighty of a right which belonged exclusively to himself; that they overthrew the Christian religion in the very nature of it, for it was spiritual, and not of this world; in the very practice of it, for this consisted of meekness; in the promotion of it, for it was clear that they never designed to be better themselves, and they discouraged others in their religious growth; and in the rewards of it, for where men were religious out of fear, and this out of the fear of men, their religion was condemnation and not peace; that they opposed the plainest testimonies of Divine writ, which concurred in condemning all force upon the conscience; that they acted contrary to all true notions of government, first, as to the nature of it, which was justice; secondly, as to the execution of it, which was prudence; and, thirdly, as to the end of it, which was happiness.

The dissertation is closed in these words:

Liberty of conscience, as thus stated and defended, we ask as our undoubted right by the law of God, of nature, and of our own country. It has been often promised. We have long waited for it, we have written much and suffered in its defense, and have made many true complaints, but found little or no redress.

But, if after all we have said, this short discourse should not be credited, nor answered in any of its sober reasons and requests, but sufferings should be the present lot of our inheritance from this generation, be it known to them all, that meet we must, and meet we cannot but encourage all to do, whatsoever hardship we sustain, in God's name and authority who is Lord of hosts and King of kings, at the revelation of whose righteous judgments and glorious tribunal mortal men shall render an account of the deeds done in the body; and whatever the apprehensions of such may be concerning this discourse, it was written in love, and from a true sense of the present state of things, and time and the event will vindicate it from untruth. In the meanwhile, it is matter of great satisfaction to the author, that he has so plainly cleared his conscience in pleading for the liberty of other men's, and publicly borne his honest testimony for God, not out of season to his poor country.

Another tract was, A Serious Apology for the Principles and Practices of the People called Quakers, in reply to the aspersions of Thomas Jenner and Timothy Taylor, in their book called Quakerism Anatomized. In explanation of the doctrine of Friends on the subject of immediate revelation, we take the following from this work :

By revelation, we understand the discovery and illumination of the light and spirit of God relating to those things that properly and immediately concern the daily information and satisfaction of our souls in the way of our duty to Him and to our neighbor.

We renounce all fantastical and whimsical intoxications, or any pretence to the revelation of new matter in opposition to the ancient Gospel declared by Christ Jesus and his apostles; and therefore not the revelation of new things, but the renewed revelation of the eternal way of Truth.

On the subject of the primary rule of life, he says :

I think our demonstration, should satisfy all; when neither man nor Scriptures are near us, yet there continually attends us that Spirit of Truth which immediately informs us of our thoughts, words, and deeds, and gives us true directions what to do and what to leave undone. Is not this the rule of life? If you are led by the spirit of God, then you are sons of God. Let this suffice to vindicate our sense of a true and unerring rule, which we assert not in a way of derogation from those holy writings, which with reverence we read, believe, and desire always to obey the mind and will of God therein contained; and let that doctrine be accursed that would overturn them.

To the charge that Friends were displeased with others for observing times, days, and hours, he says:

As to consecrated days and times, and the superstitious observation of them, as if the holiness of the day called loudly on us for our particular devotion, as being this or the other saints', and not that our devotion rather required a time to be performed in; this we are displeased with, and boldly testify against, as beggarly and Jewish. What did the apostle say, urged by his godly jealousy, to the Galatians? "But now after you have known God, or rather are known of God, how you again turn to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months, and times and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain."

Though we utterly renounce all special and moral holiness in times and days, yet we both believe it requisite that time be set apart for the worship of the Almighty, and are also everywhere found in the diligent practice of the same. And how we cannot own so strict an institution as to make the First day the Sabbath, or that it has any holiness inherent to it; yet, as taking the primitive saints for an example, with godly reverence we constantly assemble upon it.

His charge of our denying family duties is equally false with all the rest; for we know it is our duty, and it is also our practice, to retire from our external affairs and wait upon the Lord every day, that we may receive strength from Him, and feel his heavenly peace and blessing to descend upon us at our rising up and lying down; that so to Him, over and above all visible things, honor and praise may be returned, who is worthy forever."

In the sixth chapter he says :

I am constrained, for the sake of the simple-hearted, to publish to the world, of our faith in God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

We do believe in one only holy God Almighty, who is an eternal Spirit, the Creator of all things.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, his only son, and express image of his substance, who took upon Him flesh and was in the world; and in life, doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, ascension, and mediation, perfectly did, and does continue to do, the will of God; to whose holy life, power, mediation, and blood we only ascribe our sanctification, justification, redemption, and perfect salvation. And we believe in one Holy Spirit that proceeds and breathes from the Father and the Son, a measure of which is given to all to profit with; and he that has one has all; for those Three are One, who is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

In these employments of his pen the time of his confinement passed away, and at the expiration of the six months he was released. He had spent half of the last three years in jails. It appears that soon after, he visited Holland and some parts of Germany, in the capacity of a minister of the Gospel; but of these labors or the fruits of them we have no particular account. For three years he had led a very strenuous life of controversy, preaching and writing, and half of those three years had been passed in loathsome prisons.

He has left us no account of this journey, as he did of a subsequent one to the same countries; but from the few scraps of information we have about it, he seems to have been still following his great mission. There were people in those countries who were in the Seeker state of mind, disgusted with the corruption of religion which they saw around them, and already tinged with the first principles of Quakerism. Possibly, they were not at this time so numerous as they afterwards became, or Penn would have had more to say about them.

At Emden, however, he found a physician named Hasbert in a receptive state of mind, and through him ten other people of the town held a silent meeting in the doctor's house. But this strange worship roused terrible suspicions, and these unfortunate converts were afterwards banished over and over again, and stripped of their property.

On his return to England, in the autumn of 1771, there seems to have been a pause in the aggressive activity which had been his characteristic before his journey to Holland; and from a letter which his most recent biographer, Dr. Stoughton, has unearthed in the Report of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, it is probable that he was looking about for a permanent residence, with a view of marrying Guli Springett, a very pretty Quaker maiden who had captured his fancy. In spite of the ferocious religious controversy, the preaching, the jury trials, and the imprisonments, there had been a romance, a touch of human tenderness amidst the hardness of conflict and the dry spirituality of religion. It was time; for he was twenty-seven years old.

Guli, or Gulielma Maria Springett, as she would perhaps prefer to be called by a writer of the world's people, was the daughter of a very gallant young Puritan officer, who at the age of only twenty-three found himself on his death-bed at the siege of Bamber. His young wife was hastening to him through difficulties and perils; and the story of her devotion and his tender farewell, as described in The Penns and the Peningtons, is doubly beautiful because it is a relief to find that there was at that time anything in England besides hard intolerance, devilish cruelty, and ribald conversation.

Guli was born a few weeks after her father thus died. Her mother soon, like many others, became very unsettled in religion, and could endure neither the formal prayers of the Church of England nor the whining cant of the Puritans. While in this state of mind she met with Isaac Penington, whom she found to be also a Seeker who could find nothing in all the religions of the time but deceit. They were married, and shortly discovered that the Quaker faith was what they sought; and Guli also became a Quaker.

They were people of means. Penington's father had been a Puritan alderman in the civil wars, and one of the court for the trial of Charles I. They lived contentedly at Chalfont in Buckinghamshire until they suddenly became one of those families whose ruin Penn said was impoverishing and depopulating England. Penington was thrown into prison for his opinions, and his wife and Guli had to wander about as best they could until he was released.

It was after their sufferings had begun that Penn first knew them. Thomas Ellwood, Milton's friend, lived with them, and he has left us a quaint and serious description of Guli as “in all respects a very desirable woman, whether regard was had to her outward person, which wanted nothing to render her completely comely, or to the endowments of her mind, which were every way extraordinary." A fair fortune would go with her, an accompaniment which lovers do not usually refuse. She had, indeed, many suitors of all ranks and conditions; but, as the excellent Ellwood tells us, she bore herself "with so much evenness of temper, such courteous freedom, guarded with the strictest modesty, that none were unduly encouraged, nor could any complain of offence." A very tantalizing young woman she certainly was, and it seems that Ellwood himself was a little touched.

Being the child of parents who could love with devotion, Guli herself was no doubt a strenuous heroic little soul. Penn could attract her, for she could see in him a Quaker hero who feared not the face of man.

Unfortunately the children she bore were not what we should expect from either Penn or her. Heredity often plays queer tricks just at the time when you look for a sure result. Penn's heirs who became the owners of the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania were the children of his second wife, a less lovely woman than Guli; and to this day there are Pennsylvanians who regret that they could not be ruled in colonial times by Guli's sons.

But all that came afterwards. Let us be content that now in the spring of 1672 Penn and Guli were married and settled down at Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire, far from the dirt and turmoil of London, with its terrible Tower and foul Newgate. They were rich and could live at ease, and they seem to have been very happy lovers as long as Guli lived. The terrors of persecution had for a time passed away. Charles II had issued a sort of document always detested by the sturdy Anglo-Saxons even when it relieved them from suffering. He called it a Declaration of Indulgence, and in it he arrogantly announced that by virtue of his supreme authority he dispensed with, or, in plain English, abrogated and annulled, for the time being, all the penal laws against Quakers, Presbyterians, Romanists, and other dissenters from the Church of England.

Although he outwardly conformed to the Church of England, Charles was at heart and in secret a Romanist, and his brother, the Duke of York, was now openly one. Charles had, two years before, signed a secret treaty with Louis XIV of France, by which he agreed to make public his profession of the Roman faith, to assist Louis in destroying the power of Holland, and to support the claims of the House of Bourbon to the Spanish throne. In return for this Louis had agreed to supply Charles with money and to help him with an army to suppress any insurrection that might arise among his subjects. In other words, Charles, like his predecessors, wished to make himself independent of Parliament. He wished, if possible, to govern without Parliament, and this base treaty with France was to help him to attain that end.

The Declaration of Indulgence was also calculated for the same end. It, of course, relieved the Roman Catholics as well as the Quakers and Puritans from the penal laws, and thus assisted the king's secret Catholic friends and gratified the Catholic king of France. But it performed also the more important function of creating a precedent for ruling without Parliament. It relieved the people from very oppressive laws; and they could hardly refuse its benefit; and that put them at once in the position of assenting to the king's power to abrogate and annul laws as he pleased. In a few years this became a very momentous question and one with which Penn was closely concerned. But at present, while he was enjoying his first year of married happiness, he had nothing to say about the Declaration of Indulgence. He was probably glad enough to see the hapless Quakers come trooping out of the dismal prisons. Nearly five hundred of them came out into the light of day and were restored to their families. In view of that benefit Penn and others were willing to overlook for the time the king's attempt to rule solely by his own will.

Most of the spring of the year of 1672 Penn seems to have spent in the enjoyment of his honeymoon. In the summer he again resumed his preacher's life - that is, the life of a Quaker preacher, who serves without pay, serves at large among many assemblies, is under no orders or compulsion from men, (only the Lord), and may have some other occupation to support himself. During his preaching of this summer he traveled through the counties of Kent, Sussex, and Surrey, working hard; for within three weeks he and his companion are said to have attended twenty-one meetings, and were much gratified at the increasing numbers and earnestness of their people. He summarizes his efforts in the following manner:

The Lord sealed up our labors and travels according to the desire of my soul and spirit with his heavenly refreshments and sweet living power and word of life, to the reaching of all, and consoling our own hearts abundantly. Thus has the Lord been with us in all our travels for his Truth, and he has rewarded us with his blessings of peace, which is a reward beyond all worldly treasures."

The traditions of Penn which Clarkson collected among the Quakers in England describe him as a very hard-working minister. He worked hard, in fact, at all his undertakings. Though a learned man, he preached, it is said, in very simple language, easy to be understood. He was not eloquent, because under the peculiar restrictions against vanity and excitement which the Quakers place on preaching, as on all their actions, eloquence in the usual meaning of the word is avoided among them.

He was of such humility that he used generally to sit at the lowest end of the space allotted to ministers, always taking care to place above himself poor ministers, and those who appeared to him to be peculiarly gifted. He was also no less remarkable for encouraging those who were young in the ministry. Thomas Story, among many others, witnessed this. 'I had no courage,' says he, 'of my own to appear in public among them (the ministers). I thought, however (on seeing Atkinson's ministry acceptable), that I might also probably go through the meetings without offence, which was the full amount of my expectation or desire there; and that which added much to my encouragement was the fatherly care and behavior of the ministers in general, but especially of that great minister of the Gospel, and faithful servant of Christ, William Penn, who abounded in wisdom, discretion, prudence, love, and tenderness of affection, with all sincerity, above most in this generation; and, indeed, I never knew his equal'" (Clarkson's Penn, vol. H. P·271.)

These same traditions describe him as very neat though plain in his dress. He usually walked with a cane, and in later life, when dictating to an secretary, as was frequently his practice, he would take the cane in his hand, and, walking up and down the room, would mark by striking it against the floor the emphasis on points which he wished particularly to be noticed.

Everything, now that he was happily married, was peaceful. His days of imprisonment seemed to be ended. He had served through them as an apprenticeship to his calling; he had borne himself in them in a way which gave him a standing and influence; and he was now in a position to accomplish some really valuable results. In the following year, 1673, he and his wife traveled in the western part of England, and at Bristol welcomed George Fox on his return from America. It must have been a delightful meeting for the accomplished, learned Penn and his pretty wife. Fox was so unlike them in his education and associations, and yet so full of force, intelligence, and fire, that he must have been perpetually interesting. In his rugged, eloquent way he was full of the enthusiasm of his travels, the adventures and perils of the wilderness, the strange things he had seen, the zeal and steadfastness of the American Quakers, and the great increase and strengthening he now found among those in England. He and the Penns attended the meetings at Bristol and its neighborhood, and Fox describes these meetings as "glorious and powerful."

The Quakers were, indeed, at this time reaping large rewards for their courageous and steady endurance through many years. In our time the religion that draws numbers to itself most effectually is apt to be the one that promises a little social eminence, that seems to be in the line of fashion and good society, but the Quaker faith was becoming popular because it seemed to arm its followers with fortitude. If it could give such contentment and satisfaction in the midst of suffering, it must, men thought be true. So many, we are told, from the Presbyterians and other Puritans began to turn towards the Quaker belief that the ministers of those sects bestirred themselves to call back their wandering sheep and to keep others from straying. They wrote pamphlets; and the cleverest of them was called A Dialogue between a Christian and a Quaker, in which it was assumed that the Quaker was not a Christian at all, and he was made to maintain very ridiculous principles, which were easily refuted.

The life of Penn prefixed to the old edition of his works calls this pamphlet a forgery, because it was put forth as a real discourse which actually happened, and many people believed it to be real. Its author was a Baptist minister, Thomas Hicks, and Penn, to counteract his influence, wrote The Christian Quaker, a very dull performance as it seems now, but possibly of value in its time. At any rate Hicks continued his attacks and brought out a second part of his dialogue, and then a third part. Penn trying to keep pace with him by issuing Reason against Railing and The Counterfeit Christian Detected. The Quakers called on Hicks's congregation for a public debate and a chance to clear themselves. The congregation got the advantage by jockeying, for they forced on the meeting at a time when Penn and Whitehead could not be present, and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of Hicks.

Penn and Whitehead protested and demanded another meeting, which was finally obtained, and is said to have been attended by six thousand people. In the tumultuous state of religious opinion at that time there was an intense desire to hear these scholastic and metaphysical debates. The principal Quaker leaders and the principal Baptist leaders were present, and there was one of those extraordinary religious debates which occurred. The debate lasted the entire day without a decision reached, but they enjoyed the debate; both sides felt better, and had no more to say to one another.

Penn had to answer some author who wrote The Spirit of the Quakers Tried; he had to attend to the case of a pair of pretenders, Reeve and Muggleton, who with their “fond imaginations" drew away much people after them; he had to down John Faldo, who wrote a Curb to W. Penn's Confidence; and Harry Hailywell had to be looked after because he wrote An Account of Familism as it is Revised and Propagated by the Quakers. But Faldo was soon on his feet again, and procured the signatures and approval of “one-and-twenty learned divines"* to his book Quakerism no Christianity, and Samuel Grevil assailed the inward light, and John Perrot, who had attained some distinction among the Quakers, turned renegade and attacked his own people in The Spirit of the Hat and in Tyranny and Hypocrisy Detected. These things and long letters of rebuke to magistrates and of encouragement to the faithful in the Netherlands and in Maryland kept Penn busy enough for two years while he lived in his pleasant country home at Rickmansworth, and learned what a charming woman his young wife was.

*a divine was someone who had studied the Bible in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, thereby becoming an expert in the divine tongues, actually they were called a divine. George Fox frequently ridiculed this distinction and title, saying by this qualification, Pilate, the Roman governor who crucified Christ, was the first divine, for Pilate had written a sign in all three languages saying "Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews," which he had placed at the top of the cross.

By this time the Quakers had gained so many converts that the other sects were beginning to be afraid of them, and continually challenged them to more and more of those strange public debates in which the speakers did not hesitate to call their opponents harsh names.* It was said of Penn that "he never turned his back in the day of battle," and he apparently threw himself into these arguments with the same ardor his ancestors had shown in warfare. Besides taking up the cudgel in defense of the new creed, he wrote many pamphlets and letters to people who disapproved of the Quakers. In this way he kept himself very busy during the two years he lived at his charming country home.

[Quakers spoke to their opponents with names such as false prophet, ministers of Satan, decendants of the Pharisees, blind guides, goat leaders, made by men, etc. - all of which the Protestant ministers were. But to the natural man, with no spiritual discernment, the Quakers appeared to be just another sect of Christendom; when in fact Christendom had become the whore of Babylon, whose followers were drunk from wine of her cup of fornications with the world through their lusts and pride, thinking themselves to be favored by God while immersed in the corruptions of greed, lust, pride, etc. A man of the flesh is without understanding and supremely arrogant to judge a man of the spirit. A man of the flesh cannot comprehend the degree to which false prophets are held in contempt by God, and therefore spared no extent of verbal lashing, especially when in a debate with others listening who might have been misled. Babylon has sinned, all you that bend the bow, shoot at her; spare no arrows, for she has sinned, Jer 50:14.]


The declaration of indulgence to those who dissented from the established church, which was issued by the king in 1671, was not long permitted to pass unopposed. From the character of the reigning monarch, and the measures of the court, it was inferred that this act of indulgence was not designed for the relief of Protestant dissenters, so much as the protection of Roman Catholics; and, at all events, it was obviously an assumption of power under the character of the royal prerogative, which excited the jealousy even of those who would have gladly obtained the same indulgence in a constitutional way. The Parliament which met in 1673 complained of this suspension of the penal laws by the dispensing power of the crown, as one of the grievances to be redressed; and having the power of granting or withholding supplies, they used it in this case, so that their prodigal and needy monarch revoked his proclamation and broke the seals with his own hands.

Though the Parliament was then composed of men rather more favorable to toleration than in the early part of Charles II 's reign, yet, when the declaration of indulgence was revoked, no effectual measures were adopted to secure a legal toleration, and therefore the persecuting bigots of the day availed themselves of that revocation to revive the Conventicle Act, and to renew the oppression of conscientious dissenters. These unrighteous proceedings soon attracted the attention of our author, and furnished employment for his pen through a considerable part of the year 1674.

Some justices of the peace in Middlesex having used an unexpected degree of harshness towards Friends who had assembled at a meeting in their neighborhood, at which, it appears, he was present, he addressed a respectful letter to them, forcibly appealing to their own understandings against the persecuting measures to which they had given countenance.

In that letter he assumed the ground that the king's declaration of indulgence was revoked, not because there was any objection to its principles, but on account of the authority of the grant. He further urged that the kingdom was then undisturbed, that there was consequently no just cause for the execution of such laws, and that when the reason of a law had ceased, the law itself became obsolete without a formal repeal; and that it was very questionable whether the law by which Protestants were burnt for their opposition to the church of Rome had ever been repealed. Laws, he observed, were either fundamental, and therefore permanent, or enacted upon particular emergencies, and to expire of themselves when the cause of their enactment had passed away. Penn wrote:

We came not to our liberties and properties by the Protestant religion; their date rises higher. Why, then, should a non-conformity to it deprive us of them? The nature of body and soul, earth and heaven, this world and that to come, differs. There can be no reason to persecute any man in this world about anything that belongs to the next. Who are you, (says the Holy Scripture), that judges another man's servant? He must stand or fall to his master, the great God. Let tares and wheat grow together till the great harvest.

Be pleased to remember that faith is the gift of God; and what is not of faith is sin. We must either be hypocrites in doing what we believe in our consciences we ought not to do, or performing what we are fully persuaded we ought to do.

Either give us better faith or leave us with such as we have, for it seems unreasonable in you to disturb us for this that we have, and yet be unable to give us any other. I am well assured it shall less repent you upon your dying bed, to have acted moderately than severely. You cannot but know how fallible Protestants acknowledge themselves to be in matters of religion, and, consequently, with what caution they should proceed against any about religion. I love and honor all virtuous persons that differ from me, and hope God will have regard to every such one, according to his sincerity. And, however it shall please you to deal with us at this or any other time, I pray God to forgive you, open your eyes, tender your hearts, and make you sensible how much more moderation and virtue are worth your study and pursuit than the disturbance of religious dissenting assemblies, that, so far as I know of them, desire to honor the king, love their neighbors as themselves, and do unto all men as they would have all men do unto them.

George Fox had been one of the first to suffer almost immediately after his return from America. They had caught him in the trap in which they caught so many. They required him the oath of allegiance, and when he refused it because he could take no oaths of any kind, they imprisoned him without trial as a seditious and dangerous person, an enemy to the government. He was in jail for over a year on this occasion, suffering severely at times from illness, with his wife rushing about the country to procure influence for his release and returning to the prison to nurse him. The king offered him a pardon; but the Quakers were always obliged to refuse pardons, because their acceptance would imply that they admitted that they had done wrong; and, indeed, the pardons were usually intended to force such an admission.

Penn and the leading Quakers exerted themselves to obtain Fox's release, and Penn went to court, where he had not been for five years. He appealed to his old friend and his father's friend, the Duke of York, and the interview is significant because of the duke's rather fulsome language in favor of liberty of conscience and Penn's relations with him on this subject in after years.

The time being fist, we found that gentleman as was agreed, and went with him to the Duke's palace, where he endeavored our admission by the means of the Duchess' Secretary; but the house being very full of people and the Duke of business, the said Secretary could neither procure our nor his own admission; but Colonel Aston, of the bed-chamber, then in waiting, and my old acquaintance and friend, (yet I had not seen him in some years before), looking hard at me, thinking he should know me, asked me in the drawing-room, first my name and then my business, and upon understanding both, he presently gave us the favor we waited for, of speaking with the Duke, who came immediately out of his closet to us. After something I said as an introduction to the business, I delivered him our request.

He perused it, and then told us that he was against all persecution for the sake of religion. That it was true he had, in his younger time, been warm, especially when he thought people made it a pretence to disturb government, but that he had seen and considered things better, and he was for doing to others as he would have others do unto him; and he thought it would be happy for the world if all were of that mind; for he was sure,' he said, 'that no man was willing to be persecuted himself for his own conscience.' He added that ' he looked upon us as a quiet, industrious people, and though he was not of our judgment, yet he liked our good lives,' with much more to the same purpose, promising he would speak to his brother, and doubted not but that the king's counsel would have orders in our friend's favor.

I and my companion spoke, as occasion offered, to recommend both our business and our character, but the less because he prevented us in the manner I have expressed.

When he had done upon this affair, he was pleased to take a very particular notice of me, both for the relation my father had had to his service in the navy, and the care he had promised him to show in my regard upon all occasions.

That he wondered I had not visited with him, and that whenever I had any business there he would order that I should have access; after which he withdrew, and we returned.

This was my first visit to the court after five years' retirement, and this the success, of it, and the first time I had spoken with him since 1765. That it should be grateful to me was no wonder; and, perhaps, that with some was the beginning of my faults at court.

The following letter to George Fox was written soon after the interview above related :


Your dear and tender love in your last letter I received, and for your business thus : a great lord, a man of noble mind, did as good as put himself in a loving way to get your liberty. He prevailed with the king for a pardon, but that we rejected. Then he pressed for a more noble release, that better answered truth. He prevailed, and got the king's hand to a release. It is in the hands with the Lord Keeper, and we have used, and do use, what interest we can. The king is angry with him, (the Lord Keeper), and promises very largely and lovingly; so that, if we have been deceived, you see the grounds of it. But we have sought after a writ of error these ten days past, and we are very close to resolution as sure as we can be; and a habeas corpus has either been issued or will be issued tomorrow night.

My dear love salutes you and your dear wife. Things are brave as to Truth in these parts; great conviction upon the people. My wife's dear love is to you all. I long and hope before long to see you.

So, dear George Fox, I am,

William Penn

George Fox having been brought by a writ of habeas corpus before the Court of the King's Bench, Sir Matthew Hale discharged him by proclamation.

Penn believed that this Roman Catholic duke was entirely sincere in his professions about liberty. Afterwards, when the duke became king, as James II, Penn retained the same confidence. He could never forget the many kindnesses the duke had shown him, and gratitude it instilled a deep loyalty in Penn. In continuing his account of the interview, he says, "That it should be grateful to me was no wonder; and perhaps, that with some was the beginning of my faults at court."

It was about this time that Penn wrote his Treatise of Oaths. It was an important little book for his sect, because their objection to oaths was causing them much difficulty and countless imprisonments. The book was carefully prepared in Penn's most learned manner, and was in effect issued by the Quakers as a body; for twelve of their principal men signed the preface, which was addressed "To the King and Great Council of England assembled in Parliament."

The argument would not now carry much weight; but as minds were then constituted it was not without influence. His strongest points were the passages in the New Testament in which Jesus says, "But I say unto you, swear not at all," and James says, Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned. He goes on to argue that it is presumptuous and irreverent to summon God as a witness on every occasion; that it is inconsistent with Christianity, which removes in man the treacherous lying which first led to oaths; that it is no safeguard against perjury, since oaths have become so common that they have lost any awe-inspiring influence they may have had; that the form of oath is a superstitious ceremony of kissing a book.

"The use of So help me God, we find from the law of the Almains, of King Clotharius; the laying on of the three fingers above the Book is to signify the Trinity; the thumb and the little finger under the Book are to signify the damnation of body and soul, if they violate their oath."

The most interesting part of the treatise is the learning it displays. Beginning with the Persians and Scythians, he goes on quoting scores of writers, Greek and Roman, fathers of the church, in every age of history, and succeeds most effectually in showing that a large number of the great and good men of the past, especially among the early Christians, had the same objections to oath-taking as the Quakers. A few quotations taken at random will show his method.

" Xenocrates was so renowned at Athens for his virtuous life and great integrity that, being called to give his evidence by oath, all the judges stood up and forbade the tender, because they would not have it thought that truth depended more upon an oath than the word of an honest man." "Menander, the Greek poet, saith, 'Flee an oath though thou should swear justly.' " "Cherillus saith, oaths bring not credit to the man, but the man must bring credit to the oaths. What serve they for them? To deceive? It seems by this that credit is better than an oath; for it is credit that is security, not the oath." " Epictetus, a famous and grave Stoic, counseled to refuse an oath altogether." "Quintilian saith that in time past it was a kind of infamy for great and approved men to swear."

Ponderous oaths, these ancient sages reasoned, were unnecessary, because in the end you judged of the truth by comparison of circumstances and likelihood. The Quakers were unable to abolish oaths; but they succeeded in greatly modifying their usage. As time went on statutes were passed allowing Quakers,* or anyone who wished it, to give his simple affirmation instead of an oath. These statutes prevail now in most English-speaking countries, and thousands who are not Quakers avail themselves of the privilege either because, like the ancient sages and fathers, they think an oath absurd, or because they wish to avoid disobeying the specific commands of Jesus and the Apostle James.

*An affirmation as a substitute for an oath was finally approved by Parliament in 1696, largely through the efforts and leadership of George Whitehead, as documented in The Christian Progress of George Whitehead, available on this site. In 1721, the Quakers petitioned Parliament for a simplification of the previously passed affirmation language. This was granted, and the new, simpler wording permitted was: "I [named person] do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare, and affirm."

As a collection of all the ancient wisdom on this question, and as contributing, no doubt, in shaping human conduct, this treatise by Penn is one of the most interesting of his writings. But this work, however it might have softened some, had not the least influence, (such was the religious fury of the times), where it was most to be desired. Bigots who had power, still continued to abuse it. Persons were thrown into jail, so that parents and their children were separated. Cattle were driven away. The widow's cow was not even spared. Barns full of corn were seized which was threshed out and sold. Household goods were seized for court security, so that even a stool was not left in some cases to sit on. These enormities sometimes took place on suspicion only that persons had preached to or attended an illegal meeting; and to such length were they carried, that even some of those who went only to visit and sit by their sick relations, were adjudged to be a company met to pray in defiance of the law. William Penn attempted again to stem the torrent by a work of another kind. He published a treatise under the following title : England's present interest considered with honor to the Prince and safety to the people, in answer to this question: What is most fit, easy, and safe at this juncture of affairs to be done for quieting differences, allaying the heat of contrary interests, and making them subservient to the interest of the government, and consistent with the prosperity of the kingdom? Submitted to the consideration of our superiors."

He answers his question by asserting that the thing most fit, safe, and easy to be done, would be a determination by the Government, first, upon an inviolable and impartial maintenance of English rights; secondly, upon conducting itself so as to act upon a balance, as nearly as it could, towards the several religious interests; and, thirdly, upon a sincere promotion of general and practical religion. "Englishmen," he said, "had birthrights. The first of these consisted of an ownership and undisturbed possession, so that what they had was rightly their own and nobody's else, and such possession and ownership related both to title and security of estate, and liberty of person from the violence of arbitrary power. This was the situation of our ancestors in ancient British times. Those who governed afterwards, the Saxons, made no alteration in this law, but confirmed it. The Normans who came next did the same. William, at his coronation, made a solemn covenant to maintain the good, approved, and ancient laws of the kingdom, and to inhibit all spoil and unjust judgment. The same covenant was adopted by his successors, and confirmed by Magna Carta.

The second birthright of Englishmen consisted in the voting of every law that was made, whereby that ownership in liberty and property might be maintained." This also was the case, as he proved by quotations from laws and an appeal to history, in British, Saxon, and Norman times. " The third birthright of Englishmen consisted in having an influence upon, and a great share in, the judicatory power, so that they were not to be condemned but by the votes of freemen. This practice, though not perhaps British, obtained very early in Saxon times. It was among the laws of Ethelred that in every hundred there should be a court where twelve ancient freemen, together with the lord of the hundred, should be sworn that they would not condemn the innocent or acquit the guilty. The same law continued to be the law of the land under different kings till it was violated by John; when Magna Carta restored it." Magna Carta, however, he maintained, " was not the nativity, but the restorer of ancient English privileges. It was no grant of new rights, but only a restorer of the old."

He then explained the great Charter of England, and endeavored to show by an appeal to reason, law, lawyers, and facts themselves, that the people of England could not be justly deprived of any of these fundamentals. " Nothing could be more unjust than to sacrifice the liberty and property of any man for religion, where he was not found breaking any law which related to natural or civil things. Religion under any modification or church government was no part of the old English constitution. ' Honeste vivcre, alterum non laedere, jus suum cuique tribuere,' that is, to live honestly, to do no injury to another, and to give every man his due, was enough to entitle every native to English privileges. It was this, and not his religion which gave him the great claim to the protection of the government under which he lived. Near three hundred years before Austin set his foot on English ground the inhabitants had a good constitution. This came not in with him. Neither did it come in with Luther; nor was it to go out with Calvin. We were a free people by the creation of God, by the redemption of Christ, and by the careful provision of our never to be forgotten, honorable ancestors; so that our claim to these English privileges, rising higher than Protestantism, could never justly be invalidated on account of non-conformity to any tenet or fashion it might prescribe. This would be to lose by the Reformation, which was effected only that we might enjoy property with conscience."

With respect to the second part of the answer, that is, a determination by the Government of conducting itself so as to act upon a balance as nearly as it could towards the several religious interests, he proved that our Saviour prohibited all force in producing an uniformity of religious opinion. He says, "many inquisitive men into human affairs have thought that the concord of discords has not been the most infirm basis government can stand upon. Less sedition and disturbance attended Hannibal's army that consisted of many nations, than the Roman legions that were of one people." "It is not probable that a master in a family should have his work so well done, who smiles upon one servant and frowns upon the rest." "It is not the interest of governors to blow coals in their own country, especially when it is to consume their own people, and it may be themselves, too." Again: "Such conduct not only makes them enemies, but there is no such excitement to revenge as a raped conscience. Whether the ground of a man's religious dissent be rational or not, severity is unjustifiable with him; for it is a maxim with sufferers, that, whoever is in the wrong, the persecutor cannot be in the right. Men not conscious to themselves of evil, and hardly treated, not only resent it unkindly, but are bold to show it." The last chapter is on the sincere promotion of general and practical religion. He says: "General, true, and requisite religion is to visit the widow and fatherless, and to keep ourselves, through the universal grace, unspotted of the world. This is the most easy and probable way to fetch in all men professing God and religion, since every persuasion acknowledges this in words." " All pretend to make this their corner-stone; let them be equally encouraged to square their building by it."

"No one thing is more unaccountable and condemnable among men than their uncharitable contests about religion, indeed, about words and phrases, while they all verbally meet in the most, if not only, necessary part of the Christian religion; for nothing is more certain than that if men would but live up to one-half of what they know in their consciences they ought to practice, their edge would be taken off, their blood would be sweetened by mercy end truth, and this unnatural sharpness qualified. They would quickly find work enough at home; each man's hands would be full by the unruliness of his own passions and in subjecting his own will, instead of devouring one another's good name, liberty, or estate. Compassion would rise, and mutual desires to be assistant to each other in a better sort of living. Oh, how delightful it would be to see mankind, the creation of one God, that has upheld them to this day, of one accord, at least in the weighty things of God's holy law." "A promotion of general religion, which being in itself practical, brings back ancient virtue. Good living will thrive in this soil; men will grow honest, trusty, and temperate. We may expect good neighborhood and cordial friendship. Men will be more industrious, which will increase our manufactures; set the idle and poor to work for their livelihood, and enable the several countries with more ease and decency to maintain the aged and impotent. "It is out of this nursery of virtue men should be drawn to be planted in the government; not what is their opinion, but what is their manners and capacity. Here the field is large, and the magistrate has room to choose good officers for the public good. Heaven will prosper so natural, so noble, and so Christian an essay."

That he might be still more busy, Richard Baxter challenged him to a controversy. Baxter had been in the country round Rickmansworth and found it “abounding with Quakers because Mr. W Penn, their captain, dwells there." He was anxious, he said, to save these poor people from their delusion; so in knight-errant fashion he called on their captain, Penn, to draw and defend. From ten in the morning till five in the afternoon they fought it out before a great crowd of hearers, who went without their dinners, so intent were they to hear the hair-splitting that would now be scarcely understood, and the rough retorts which would not please a modern religious audience. Nothing was settled; each one claimed the victory, and Penn and Baxter continued the controversy by correspondence, and it was still unsettled.

Penn's patience with Christian kindness and love was evident, for after telling Baxter "the scurvy of the mind is your disease, and I fear it is incurable," he says he has great kindness for him, and would like to give him a room in his house, "that I could visit and get discourse with you in much tender love." Penn was very active at this time, and seems to have written many pamphlets, some of which do not appear in his works. Several of them had the queer titles of the time, such as Naked Truth Needs no Shift, which was an answer to The Quaker's Last Shift Found Out.


Travels to Holland and Germany and Political Troubles at Home

HIS wife having inherited a house and lands at Worminghurst, in Sussex, Penn left his home at Rickmansworth, and moved to this new estate. Soon afterwards, in company with George Fox, Robert Barclay, and some other leading Quakers, he started on a missionary journey to Holland and Germany.

This was in the summer of the year 1677, and since his previous journey, six years before, the Quaker feeling in those countries had been increasing. The Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Frederick V, prince Palatine of the Rhine and king of Bohemia, and grand-daughter of James I of England. The other was Anna Maria, countess of Homes, the friend and companion of Elizabeth. They were both religious women, and the princess had manifested her liberality by affording an asylum in her dominions, to persons who were persecuted for religion. Robert Barclay and Benjamin Furly when traveling in Germany in the service of the Gospel, had paid them a visit and were favorably received. This visit gave the princess such a knowledge of the principles of Friends, and so favorable an opinion of them, that hearing about this time, of the imprisonment of Robert Barclay, she wrote to her brother, prince Rupert, soliciting him to use his influence with the king, to prevent or mitigate the severity with which he was threatened. Princess Elizabeth and the Countess of Hornes had become conspicuously inclined towards the faith of the inward light, and many people were in that seeking state of mind, disgusted with all forms of religion, which had been so fruitful of Quakers in England.

So Penn and his companions set out well supplied with Quaker books in the Dutch and German languages, and Penn kept a journal of their travels and success. They traveled often on foot, even sleeping in fields at night. Their meetings seemed concentrated on the nobility of these countries, perhaps because of they were educated in English.

They went from town to town encouraging the congenial souls they found, helping them to organize meetings like those in England, corresponding with and visiting countesses, princesses, and governors of provinces, and Penn had not forgotten his old habit of writing a letter of rebuke to any ruler who had not treated the Quakers well.

In a letter to the King of Poland he pleads for religious liberty and reminds him of a saying of one of his ancestors, Stephen, King of Poland, who had said, "I am king of men, not of consciences; a commander of bodies, not of souls." This striking sentence had long been a favorite quotation with those who sought liberty, and Roger Williams, of Rhode Island, was fond of using it in his controversies with the rulers of Massachusetts.

In Holland Penn had many meetings with Friends as well as those of other sects who were interested. The highlight of all his Holland meetings was at the city and home of Princess Elizabeth and her companion, the Countess of Homes. Below are extracts from Penn's Journal describing a few of those meetings:

Being arrived at that city, part of which is under her [the Princess's government], we gave her to understand it; desiring to know what lime next day would be most proper for us to visit her. She sent us word, she was glad that we had come; and should be ready to receive us next morning about the seventh hour.

The next morning being come, which was the sixth-day of the week, we went, about the time she had appointed us, and found both her and the Countess ready to receive us; which they did with a more than ordinary expression of kindness. I can truly say it, and that in God's fear, I was very deeply and reverently affected with the sense that was upon my spirit, of the great and notable day of the Lord, and the breakings of his eternal power upon all nations; and of the raising of the slain Witness to judge the world; who is the treasury of life and peace, of wisdom and glory, to all that receive him in the hour of his judgments, and abide with him. The sense of this deep and sure foundation, which God is laying, as the hope of eternal life and glory for all to build upon, filled my soul with an holy testimony to them; which in a living sense was followed by my brethren; and so the meeting ended about the eleventh hour.

The Princess entreated us to stay and dine with her; but, with due regard both to our testimony and to her at that time, we refused it; desiring, if she pleased, another opportunity that day. To which she with all cheerfulness yielded; she herself appointing the second hour.

So we went to our quarters; and some time after we had dined, we returned. The meeting soon began; there were several present besides the Princess and Countess. It was at this meeting, that the Lord in a more eminent manner began to appear. The eternal Word showed itself a hammer at this day, yes, sharper than a two-edged sword, dividing asunder between the soul and the spirit, the joints and the marrow. Yes, this day was all flesh humbled before the Lord! It amazed one, shook another, broke another; the noble arm of the Lord was truly awakened, and the weight and work thereof bowed and tendered us also, after an unusual and extraordinary manner; that the Lord might work an heavenly sign before them, and among them; that the majesty of Him that is risen among the poor Quakers, might in some measure be known unto them, what God it is we serve, and what power it is we wait for and bow before. They had a sense and a discovery that day, what would become of the glory of all flesh, when God shall enter into judgment. Well, let my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, when I shall forget the loving-kindness of the Lord, and the sure mercies of our God to us his travailing servants that day. O Lord, send forth your light and your truth, that all nations may behold your glory!

Thus continued the meeting till about the seventh hour; which done, with hearts and souls filled with holy thanksgivings to the Lord for his abundant mercy and goodness to us, we departed to our lodging; desiring to know whether our coming the next day might not be uneasy or unseasonable to her with respect to the affairs of her government; it being the last day of the week, when we were informed she was most frequently attended with addresses from her people. But with a loving and ready mind she replied, that she should be glad to see us the next morning, and at any time when we would.

The next morning, being the 11th of the sixth month, we were there between eight and nine; where, Robert Barclay falling into some discourse with the Princess, the Countess took hold of the opportunity, and whispered me to withdraw, to get a meeting for the more inferior servants of the house; who would have been bashful to present themselves before the Princess. And, blessed be the Lord! he was not wanting to us; the same blessed power that had appeared to visit them of high, appeared also to visit them of low degree; and we were all sweetly tendered and broken together; for virtue went forth of Jesus that day, and the life of our God was shed abroad amongst us as a sweet savor; for which their souls bowed before the Lord, and confessed to our testimony.

It did not a little please that noble young woman, to find her own report of us and her great care of them so effectually answered. Oh! what shall we say? Is there any God like unto our God? who is glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, working wonders! To his eternal name, power and arm, be the glory forever!
.......................... (The next day)
The second hour being at hand, we went to the meeting; where were several, as well of the town as of the family. The meeting began with a weighty exercise and travail in prayer, that the Lord would glorify his own name that day. And by his own power he made way to their consciences, and sounded his awakening trumpet in their ears, that they might know that he was God, and that there is none like unto him. Oh! the day of the Lord livingly dawned upon us, and the searching life of Jesus was in the midst of us! The Word that never fails them that wait for it, and abide in it, opened the way and unsealed the book of life; yes the quickening power and life of Jesus wrought and reached to them; and virtue from him in whom dwells the Godhead bodily, went forth, and blessedly distilled upon us his own heavenly life, sweeter than the spices with pure frankincense, yes, than the sweet smelling myrrh that comes from a far country. And as it began, so it was carried on, and so it ended; blessed be the name of the Lord, and confided in be our God forever!

As soon as the meeting was done, the Princess came to me, and took me by the hand, (which she usually did to us all, coming and going,) and went to speak to me of the sense she had of that power and presence of God, which was among us; but was stopped. And turning herself to the window, she broke forth in an extraordinary passion, crying out, "I cannot speak to you—my heart is full"— clapping her hands upon her breast. It melted me into a deep and calm tenderness; in which I was moved to minister a few words softly to her, and after some lime of silence, she recovered herself; and as I was taking my leave of her, she interrupted me thus; "Will you not come here again? Pray call here as you return out of Germany." I told her, we were in the hand of the Lord; and being his could not dispose of ourselves; but the Lord had taken care, that we should not forget her and those with her; for he had raised and begotten an heavenly concern in our souls for her and them, and we loved them all with that love with which God had loved us; with much more to that purpose.

They passed out of Holland and, entering Germany, traveled through many of the places where afterwards so many German Mennonites and similar sects allied to the Quakers migrated to Pennsylvania, forming that large body of people still known in our State as the "Pennsylvania Dutch." Evidently a great change had taken place in the religious condition of the country since Penn's visit of six years before. The Germanic mind was growing more and more into a state of religious ferment, and was breaking away from the old forms, and breaking up into the innumerable sects whose history in Pennsylvania was so curious. The people were becoming Seekers, like the English, and Penn and his companions were eager to find those who were in this state of mind. The Quaker group split up and covered most of Holland, Friesland, and parts of Germany. Penn covered Germany.

Here is an excerpt from his well-kept Journal, describing one day of their travels:

The next morning we had a meeting among ourselves in our chamber, wherein the Lord refreshed us, and there was a great travail upon our spirits, that the Lord would stand by us that day and magnify the testimony of his own truth by us; that He might have a seed and people in that place to lift up a standard for his name.

The second hour being at hand, we went to the meeting, where were several, as well of the town as of the family. Oh, the day of the Lord with life dawned upon us, and the searching life of Jesus was in the midst of us! The Word that never fails them that wait for it, and abide in it, opened the way and unsealed the book of life; yes, the quickening power and life of Jesus wrought and reached to them, and virtue from him in whom dwells the Godhead bodily, went forth, and blessedly distilled upon us his own heavenly life, sweeter than the spices with pure frankincense, yes, than the sweet-smelling myrrh that comes from a far country. And as it began, so it was carried on, and so it ended; blessed be the name of the Lord, and confided in be our God forever! We took our solemn leave of them, recommending to them holy silence from all will-worship, and the workings, strivings, and images of their own mind and spirit; that Jesus might be felt by them in their hearts, his holy teachings witnessed and followed in the way of his blessed cross, which would crucify them unto the world, and the world unto them; that their faith, hope, and joy might stand in Christ in them, the heavenly Prophet, Shepherd and Bishop; whose voice all that are truly sheep will hear and follow, and not the voice of any stranger whatever. So we left them in the love and peace of God, praying that they might be kept from the evil of this world.

At Frankfort we arrived on the 20th, and having made known our intentions of coming, two considerable persons came and met us about half a German mile from the city, informing us of several who were well affected in that town. Upon which we told them the end of our coming, and desired to have a meeting with them in the afternoon, which we easily obtained at the house of a merchant, one of the two that met us. The persons who resorted there were generally people of considerable note, both of Calvinists and Lutherans, and we can say they received us with gladness of heart, and embraced our testimony with a broken and reverent spirit, thanking God for our coming among them, and praying that He would prosper his work in our hands. This engaged our hearts to make some longer stay in this city. We, therefore, desired another meeting the next day, which they cheerfully assented to; where several came who were not with us the day before, and the Lord who sent us into the land was with us, and by his power reached to them, insomuch that they confessed to the truth of our testimony. Of these persons there were two women, one unmarried, (Joanna Eleonora de Malane), the other a widow, both noble of birth, who had a deep sense of the power and presence of God that accompanied our testimony. Among some of those who have inclinations after God, a fearful spirit together with the shame of the cross has entered, against which our testimony in part striking, we took notice it was as life to these noble women, for that was it, as they told us, which had long oppressed them, and obstructed the work of the Lord among them. Therefore, said the young woman, "Our quarters are free for you; let all come that will come, and lift up your voices without fear, for," continued she," it will never be well with us until persecution come, and some of us be lodged in the stadthouse," which is the prison.

We left the peace of Jesus with them, and the same afternoon we departed out of that city, being the Fourth day of the week.

Penn wrote prodigiously on this journey, with many letters to those with whom they met. Below is an example of the letters written, selected for inclusion because it is a testimony to Penn's own spiritual experiences. The Countess was a seeker and her father was very opposed to her quest, expelling Penn and his friends from his dominion. So Penn, wrote to her his excellent instruction in the inward way:

To the Countess of Falkenstein and Bruck, at Mulheim.


Jesus, the immaculate Lamb of God, grieved and crucified by all the workers of iniquity, illuminate your understanding, bless and be with your spirit forever!

Though unknown, yet your are much beloved, for the sake of your desires and breathings of soul after the living God; and because of that suffering and tribulation you have begun to endure for the sake of your zeal towards God; myself having from my childhood been both a seeker after the Lord, and a great sufferer for that cause, from parents, relations, companions, and the magistrates of this world. The remembrance whereof has so much the more endeared your condition unto me; and my soul has often, in the sweet sense and feeling of the holy presence of God, and the precious life of his clear Son in my heart, with great tenderness implored his Divine assistance unto you, that you may both be illuminated to do, and made willing to suffer for his name's sake; that the Spirit of God and of glory may rest upon your soul.

Know certainly that which has discovered unto you the vanities of this world, the emptiness and the fading of all earthly glory, the blessedness of the righteous, and the joy of the world that is to come, is the light of Christ Jesus, where He has enlightened your soul; for, 'in Him was life, and that life is the light of mankind.' Thus God promised by the prophet Isaiah, to give Him 'for a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and for his salvation to the ends of the earth.' So that Christ the Light is God's gift, and eternal life is hidden in Him, yes, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; who is the light of the Gospel temple, even true believers. And all who receive this light into their hearts, and bring their deeds to it, to see in what ground they are wrought, whether in God or in the evil one, and make this blessed light the guide of their life; fearing, with a holy fear, to do anything that this light manifests to be evil; waiting and watching with a godly care, to be preserved blameless before the Lord. I say, all such become children of light, and witnesses of the life of Jesus, blessed will you be forever, if in the way of this holy light your mind walks to the end!

Let what has visited you lead you; this seed of light and life, which is the seed of the kingdom. Yes, it is CHRIST, the true and only seed of God, that visited my soul, even in my young years; that spread my sins in order before me, reproved me, and brought godly sorrow upon me, making me often to weep in solitary places, and say within my soul, O that I knew the Lord as I ought to know Him. O that I served Him as I ought to serve Him. Yes, often was there a great concern upon my spirit about my eternal state, mournfully desiring that the Lord would give my soul rest in the great day of trouble. Now was all the glory of the world as a bubble; yes, nothing was dear to me that I might win Christ, for the love, friendship, and pleasure of this world were a burden unto my soul. And in this seeking state I was directed to the testimony of Jesus in my own conscience, as the true shining light, giving me to discern the thoughts and intents of my own heart. And no sooner was I turned unto it, but I found it to be that which from my childhood had visited me, though I distinctly knew it not. And when I received it in the love of it, it showed me all that ever I had done, and reproved all the unfruitful works of darkness, judging me as a man in the flesh, and laying judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet in me. And as by the brightness of his coming into my soul, He discovered the man of sin there upon his throne; so by the breath of his mouth, which is the two-edged sword of his Spirit, he destroys his power and kingdom. And having made me a witness of the death of the cross, He has also made me a witness of his resurrection. So that in good measure my soul can now say I am justified in the spirit, and though the state of condemnation unto death was glorious, yet justification unto life was and is more glorious.

In this state of the new man all is new. Behold, new heavens and a new earth! Old things come to be done away; the old man with his deeds put off. Now, new thoughts, new desires, new affections, new love, new friendship, new society, new kindred, new faith, even that which overcomes this world through many tribulations; and new hope, even that living hope that is founded upon true experience, which holds out all storms, and can see to the glory that is invisible to carnal eyes, in the midst of the greatest tempest.

It is the same blessed seed of light, life, and grace which from God the Father is sown in your heart, and which has moved and wrought there the change which you have witnessed from the spirit of this world. Turn to it, watch in it, that by it you may be kept from all that it discovers to be contrary to God; especially from yourself, from your own runnings, willings, and strivings. For whatever is not born of the Spirit is flesh, and that inherits not the kingdom of God; but all that sow to it shall inherit corruption By this you will come to feel, not only all sin to be a burden, but all your own righteousness; yes, all man's righteousness to be a burden. You will see the difference between the duties and prayers which you make and the duties and prayers which, in your true silence from all self-activity of mind, the Lord produces in you. That you might know the mystery of the new birth, and what that is that can truly call God - Father; even that which is begotten of Him, which lives, and breathes, and has its beginning and being in that life which is hidden with Christ in God, and by which it has been quickened to the knowledge and worship of Christ and God. And this you shall not fail to know and enjoy, as you patiently allow the Lord to work his own work in you by his own blessed Spirit. And that which will give you to savor and discern the right motions and conceptions, duties and performances in yourself from the false, will give you to savor and discern that which is right from that which is false in others; that which is of God from that which is of man.

Have a care of gathering sticks and kindling a fire of your own, and then compassing yourself about with the sparks of the fire which you have kindled, for the end of this state is to lie down in sorrow, because the heavenly fire is absent which makes the sacrifice acceptable. Without Christ we can do nothing, and blessed are they that stir not before the angel moves the waters, and go not before Christ, but are led by Him, and that awaken not their Beloved until He pleases; in whose hands the times and the seasons are blessed are those whose eyes are opened to see Him always present, a God always near at hand, whose hearts are stayed upon his holy appearance in them, and are thereby translated into his likeness; whose faith and hope are in Christ in them, the hope of glory.

My dear friend, weigh these things with a serious, retired, sweet, and tender frame of spirit, and God, who has called me and you by the light of his dear Son, open your understanding to perceive the Truth as it is in Jesus, and what is the mystery of the fellowship of the saints in light. So to the Lord I recommend you, the watchman and keeper of Israel. The Lord be your strength and holy comfort, and speak peace to you, and never leave you nor forsake you until He has conducted you, through all tribulations, to his everlasting kingdom of rest and glory. O dear heart! Be valiant, and stay yourself upon Christ Jesus, the everlasting rock, and feel Him a fountain in your soul; feel his blood to cleanse, and his blood to drink, and his flesh to eat; feed upon Him, for God has given Him for the life of the world.

I had seen you, had not your father's strange sort of severity hindered. And this let me add for your particular comfort, that though I have been a man of great anguish and sorrow because of the scorn and reproach that has attended my separation from the world, (having been taught of Jesus to turn my back upon all for the sake of that glory that shall be revealed), yet to God's honor I can say it, I have a hundred friends for one. Yes, God has turned the hearts of my enemies towards me; He has fulfilled his promise to turn the hearts of the parents unto the children. For my parents, that once disowned me for this blessed testimony's sake, have come to love me above all, and have left me all, thinking they could never do and leave enough for me. How good is the Lord! Yes, the ways of his mercy are even past finding out. Therefore, my dear friend, trust in the Lord forever; and the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of the prophets and of the apostles, the God of all the holy martyrs of Jesus, illuminate, fortify, and preserve you steadfast, that in the end you may receive the reward of life and eternal salvation, to whom be glory, and to the Lamb that sits upon the throne, one God and one Lord, blessed and magnified forever and ever. Amen.

Your great and faithful lover for the blessed and holy Truth's sake,

William Penn

DUYSBURG, the 13th of the Seventh month, 1677

People in Holland and Germany, as well as in England, had now felt the new spirit of religious liberty, so that William Penn and George Fox found more men and women in those countries eager to listen to their teachings than they had found elsewhere. The Quaker leaders traveled from one town to another, meeting many people, giving them copies of the pamphlets that Penn and others had written, and urging them to turn to the Light of Christ within, to take up the cross of Christ, to eventually obtain everlasting peace and joy. The Quaker missionaries met with considerable success.

Penn had assumed a great leadership, writing again with great encouragement and deep spiritual understanding to the assemblies in the world:

To the churches of Jesus throughout the world, gathered and settled in his eternal light, power, and spirit, to be one holy flock, family, and household to the Lord.


The Lord of heaven and earth has heard our cries, and the full time has come, yes, the appointed time has come, and the voice of the eternal Spirit in our hearts has been heard on this wise many a time; awaken you that sleep, and I will give you life; arise out of the dust and shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you! And the Lord God has given us that light by which we have comprehended the darkness in ourselves and in the world; and as we have believed in it, dwelled in it, and walked in it, we have received power to overcome the evil one in all his appearances in ourselves, and faithfully and boldly to testify against him in the world. And the blood of Jesus, in this holy way of the light, we have felt in our souls, to cleanse us from unrighteousness, and give us knowledge of the mystery of the fellowship of the Gospel one with another, which stands in life and immortality. And here we become an holy household and family unto God, that live in his presence day and night, to do his will, as becomes his children, redeemed and ransomed by the most precious blood of his Son, and no more to return to folly.

And, Friends, let it never pass out of our remembrance, what our God has done for us, since He has made us a people. Has He called us, and not protected us? Has He not sheltered us in many a storm? Did He ever leave us under the reproaches and contradictions of men? No, has He not spoken peace to us? Were we ever cast out by men, and did He ever forsake us? No; the Lord has taken us up. When were the jails so closed that He could not come in? And the dungeons so dark that He caused not his light to shine upon us? He has brought us into the wilderness not to starve us, but to try us; yet not above our measure; for He fed us with manna from on high, with pure honey and water out of the rock, and gives his good Spirit to sustain us.

Now, Friends, as I have been traveling in this dark and solitary land, the great work of the Lord in the earth has been often presented to my view, and the day of the Lord has been deeply upon me, and my soul has frequently been possessed with a holy and weighty concern for the glory of the name of the Lord, and the spreading of his everlasting Truth, and the prosperity of it through all nations; that the very ends of the earth may look to Him, and may know Christ, the light, to be given to them for their salvation.

In the earnest and fervent motion of the power and Spirit of Jesus, I beseech you all, who are turned to the light of Christ which shines in your hearts, and believe in it, that you carefully and faithfully walk in it in the same dread, awe, and fear in which you began; that that holy poverty of spirit which is precious in the eyes of the Lord, and was in the days of your first love, may dwell and rest with you; that you may daily feel the same heavenly hunger and thirst, the same lowliness and humility of mind, the same zeal and tenderness, and the same sincerity and love unfeigned; that God may fill you out of his heavenly treasure with the riches of life, and crown you with holy victory and dominion over the god and spirit of this world; that your alpha may be your omega, and your author your finisher, and your first love your last love; that so none may make shipwreck of faith and of a good conscience, nor faint by the way. As in this state we are kept in holy watchfulness to God as in the beginning, the table which our Heavenly Father spreads, and the blessings with which He compasses us about, shall not become a snare unto us, nor shall we turn the grace and mercies of the Lord into a license for unrestraint; but we shall eat and drink in a holy fear, clothe ourselves in fear, buy and sell in fear, visit one another in fear, keep meetings, and there wait upon the Lord in fear; yes, whatever we take in hand to do, it shall be in the holy fear of God, and with a holy tenderness of his glory, and regard to the prosperity of his Truth; yes, we shall deny ourselves, not only in the unlawful things, but in the things that are even lawful to us, for the sake of the many millions that are unconverted to God.

For, my Friends and brethren, God has laid upon us whom He has honored with the beginning of his great work in the world, the care both of this age and of the ages to come. Therefore, let none be treacherous to the Lord, nor reward Him evil for good; nor betray his cause directly by wilful wickedness, nor indirectly by negligence and unfaithfulness, but be zealous and valiant for Truth on earth! Let none lose their testimony, but hold it up for God; let your gift be ever so small, your testimony ever so little. Through your whole conversation bears it for God; and be true to what you are convinced of. And wait all upon the Lord that you may grow in your heavenly testimony, that life may fill your hearts, your houses, and your meetings; that you may daily wait to know, and to receive power to do the will of God on earth as it is heaven.

I must tell you that there is a breathing, hungering, seeking people, solitarily scattered up and down this great land of Germany, where the Lord has sent me; and I believe it is the same in other nations. And our desire is that God would put it into the hearts of many of his faithful witnesses to visit the inhabitants of this country, where God has a great seed of people to be gathered; that his work may go on in the earth until the whole earth is filled with his glory.

It is under the deep and weighty sense of this approaching work, that the Lord God has laid it upon me to write to you to wait for the further pourings out of the power and Spirit of the Lord; that nothing which is careless, sleepy, earthly, or exalted may get up, in which to displease the Lord and cause Him to withdraw his sweet and preserving presence from any that know Him.

And all you, my dear Friends and brethren, who are in sufferings for the testimony of Jesus and a good conscience, look up to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Father in the heavenly place; into which, if you faint not, you shall all be received after the days of your pilgrimage shall be at an end with a ' Well done, good and faithful servant.' Therefore, let it not seem as if some strange thing had happened to you. It is the old quarreling children of this world against the children of the Lord; those who are born after the flesh, warring against those who are born after the Spirit. So, your conflict is for the spiritual appearance of Christ Jesus against those who profess Him in words, but in works and conversation every day deny Him; doing spite to the spirit of grace in themselves, and those who are led by it.

And to you all, who are the followers of the Lamb of God, who was dead, but is alive, and lives for evermore, who is risen in your hearts as a bright shining light, and is leading you out of the nature and spirit of this world, in the path of regeneration, I have this to say by way of holy encouragement unto you all; the Lord God that was, and is, and is to come, has reserved for you the glories of the last days. And if the followers and martyrs of Jesus in ages past when the church was going into the wilderness and his witnesses into sackcloth, were, despite, so noble and valiant for the Truth on earth, that they did not love their lives even to the death, and suffered joyfully the spoiling of their goods for the testimony of Jesus; how much more ought you all to be encouraged unto faithfulness, who are come to the resurrection of the day which shall never more be eclipsed; in which the Bridegroom is to come, to gather you his spouse out of the wilderness, to give you beauty for ashes, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; who will cover you with his Spirit, and adorn you with his fine linen, the righteousness of the saints.

I am, in the faith, patience, tribulation, and hope of the kingdom of Jesus, your friend and brother,

William Penn

Penn had visited a young woman in Frankfort, where he had met with her friends. He says, "It came upon me to write a letter to the noble young woman at Frankfort, as follows:


My dear and tender love, which God has raised in my heart by his living word to all mankind, (but more especially unto those in whom He has begotten a holy hunger and thirst after Him), salutes you. Among those of that place where you live the remembrance of you, with your companions, is most particularly and eminently at this time brought before me. The sense of your open-heartedness, simplicity, and sincere love to the testimony of Jesus delivered by us to you has deeply engaged my heart towards you, and often raised in my soul heavenly breathings to the God of my life that He would keep you in the daily sense of that divine life which then affected you. For this know, it was the life in yourselves that so sweetly visited you, by the ministry of life through us.

Therefore, love the divine life and light in yourselves. Be retired and still. Let that holy seed move in all heavenly things before you move; for no one receives anything that truly profits but what he receives from above. Thus said John to his disciples. Now what stirs in your hearts draws you out of the world, slays you to all the vain glory, and pleasure, and empty worships that are in it; this is from above, the heavenly seed of God, pure and incorruptible, which has come down from heaven to make you heavenly, that in heavenly places you may dwell, and witness with the saints of old this heavenly treasure in earthen vessels.

O stay your minds upon the appearance of Jesus in you, in whose light you shall see light. It will make you of a weighty, considering spirit more and more, that you may see how the mystery of iniquity has wrought, and how mankind is corrupted in all things, and what part you yet have which belongs not to the paradise of God, that you may lay it all down at the feet of Jesus, and follow Him, who is going up and down doing good to all who believe in his name. So possess your souls in the sensible feeling of his daily divine visits, shinings, and breathings upon your spirits, and wait diligently and watch circumspectly, for fear that the enemy surprises you, or your Lord comes at an unaware time upon you, and you are unprepared to receive his sweet and precious visitations.

Your faithful friend and the Lord's day-laborer,

William Penn

Penn had previously become aware of a separate seeking people, following the teachings of a J. de Labadie, who had refused to allow Penn to address his congregation on his first visit to Europe. Now he heard there was a group of these people, living nearby their travels. He relates the story of their meeting:

We took wagon for Wiewart, the mansion-house of the family of the Somerdykes, where J. de Labadie's company reside, it being strong upon my spirit to give them a visit. We got there about five o'clock; and as we were walking over a field to the house we met a young man of that company who conducted us in. I asked for Ivon, the pastor, and Anna Maria Schurmans. Ivon presently came with his co-pastor. They received us very civilly, however. They seemed shy of letting me speak with Anna Maria Schurmans, objecting her weakness, age, taking physic, etc; but, putting them in mind how unhandsomely I was used at Herwerden six years ago by J. de Labadie, their spiritual father, who, though I came a great journey to visit him and his people, did not allow me not to speak with them, they presently complied, and went in to let her know that such a person desired to speak with her, and quickly returned, desiring me to come in; but, foreseeing my time would be too short for my message, the sun being near setting and having to go on foot two English miles of unknown way to our lodging, I desired that they would give me an opportunity the next morning, which they readily complied with. So I took my leave of them, who in a friendly manner brought us a little on our way. That night a great weight was upon my spirit, and especially the next morning; yet my faith was in the power of God, and I had a plain sight that I should have a good service among them; however, I should clear my conscience, and my peace should rest with me.

The next morning I returned to them, and John Glaus along with me. So soon as we came we were brought into Anna Maria Schurmans' chamber, where also was with her one of the three Soinerdykes.

This Anna Maria Schurmans previously mentioned is an ancient maiden above sixty years of age, of great note and fame for learning in languages and philosophy, and had obtained a considerable place among the most learned men of this age. The Somerdykes are daughters to a nobleman of the Hague, people of great breeding and inheritances. These, with several other persons, being affected with the zealous declamation of J. de Labadie against the dead and formal churches of the world, and awakened to seek after a more spiritual fellowship and society, separated themselves from the common Calvinistic churches, and followed him in the way of a refined independence. They are a serious, plain people, and are come nearer to Friends as to silence in meetings, women speaking, preaching by the Spirit, plainness in garb and furniture in their houses. With these two we had the company of the two pastors and a doctor of physic. After some silence, I proposed this question to them : What was it that induced them to separate from the common way they formerly lived in? I desired them that they would be pleased to be plain and open with me as to the ground of their separation; for I came not to argue, but in a Christian spirit to be informed.

Upon this, Ivon, the chief pastor, gave us the history of J. de Labadie's education; how he was bred among the Jesuits, and deserted them and embraced the Protestant religion; and finally, of his great dissatisfaction with the Protestant churches of France; and that if God would not give them a purer church, they three would sit down by themselves, resolving never more to mix themselves among the Babylonish assemblies of the world, adding several solemn appeals concerning the simplicity and integrity of their hearts in these things.

Ivon having done, Anna Maria Schurmans began in this manner: "I find myself constrained to add a short testimony." She told us her former life, of her pleasure in learning, and her love to the religion she was brought up in; but confessed she knew not God or Christ truly all that while. And though from a child God had visited her at times, yet she never felt such a powerful stroke as by the ministry of J. de Labadie. She saw her learning to be vanity and her religion like a body of death; she resolved to despise the shame, desert her former way of living and acquaintance, and to join herself with this little family that was retired out of the world; among whom she desired to be found a living sacrifice, offered up entirely to the Lord. She spoke in a very serious and broken sense, not without some trembling. These are but short hints of what she said.

After she had done, one of the Somerdykes began in a very reverent and weighty frame of mind, and in a sense that very well suited her contempt of the world. She told us how often she had mourned from her young years because she did not know the Lord as she desired, often saying within herself, "If God would make known to me his ways, I would trample upon all the pride and glory of the world." She earnestly expressed the frequent anguish of spirit she had because of the deadness and formality of the Christians she was bred among, saying to herself, Oh, the pride, the lusts, the vain pleasures in which Christians live! Can this be the way to heaven? Is this the way to glory ? Are these followers of Christ ? Oh, no ! Oh, God ! where is thy little flock ? Where is thy little family that will live entirely to thee that will follow thee ? Make me one of that number." "And," continued she, "when the servant of the Lord, J. de Labadie, came into Holland, I, among others, had a curiosity to hear him, and with several was deeply affected by him. He spoke the very thoughts of iny heart; I hought my heart was pricked when I heard him; and I resolved by the grace of God to abandon all the glory and pride of this world, to be one of those who should sit down with him in a separation from the vain and dead worships of this world. I count myself happy that I ever met with him and these pastors, who seek not themselves but the Lord. And we are a family that live together in love, of one soul and one spirit, entirely given up to serve the Lord; and this is the greatest joy in the world."

After her, du Lignon, the other pastor, gave us also an account of his inducement to embrace J. de Labadie, but not so lively.

After him, the doctor of physic, who had been bred for a priest, but voluntarily refused that calling, expressed himself after this manner: " I can also bear my testimony in the presence of God that though I lived in as much reputation at the university as any of my colleagues or companions, and was well reputed for sobriety and honesty, yet I never felt such a living sense of God as when I heard the servant of the Lord, J. de Labadie," adding, "The first day I heard him, I was so struck and affected that I can truly say, through the good grace of God, and the conduct of the Holy Spirit, it was to me as the day of my salvation, he did so livingly touch my heart with a sense of the trim Christian worship; upon which I forsook the university and resolved to be one of this family; and this I can say in the fear of the Lord."

P. Ivon concluded : "This is what we have to say concerning the work of God among us."

All this while I did not mind so much their words because I felt and had unity with a measure of divine sense that was upon them. Certainly the Lord has been among them; yes, I had a living sense in my heart that somewhat of the breath of life had breathed upon them; and though they were in great mixtures, yet God's love was towards them.

After some silence I began on this wise :

I came not to judge you, but to visit you; not to quarrel or dispute, but to speak of the things of God's kingdom; and I have no prejudice, but great love and regard in my heart towards you; therefore, hear me with Christian patience and tenderness.

I do confess and believe that God has touched your hearts with his divine finger, and that his work is amongst you; that it was his Spirit that gave you a sight of the vanity and folly of this world, and that has made you sensible of the dead religions that are in it. It is this sense I love and honor; and I am so far from undervaluing or opposing this tender sense I feel upon you, that this it is I am come to visit, and you for the love of it. And as for the reproaches that may attend you on the score of your separation, with all the reports that therefore go concerning you, they are what I respect you for, being well acquainted with, the nature and practice of this world towards those who retire out of it.

Now since I have with patience, and I can truly say with great satisfaction, heard your account of your experiences, give me the like Christian freedom to tell you mine, to the end you may have some sense of the work of God in me; for those who are come to any measure of a Divine sense they are as looking-glasses to each other, seeing themselves in each other, as face ans wereth face in a glass." Here I began to let them know how and when the Lord first appeared unto me, which was about the twelfth year of my age, anno 1656. How at times, between that and the fifteenth, the Lord visited me, and the divine impressions He gave me of himself; of my persecution at Oxford, and how the Lord sustained me in the midst of that hellish darkness and debauchery; of my being banished the college; the bitter usage I underwent when I returned to my father whipping, beating, and turning out of doors in 1662; of the Lord's dealings with me in France, and in the time of the great plague in London. In fine, the deep sense He gave me of the vanity of this world of the irreligiousness of the religions of it. Then of my mournful and bitter cries to Him that He would show me his own way of life and salvation, and my resolutions to follow Him, whatever reproaches or sufferings should attend me; and that with great reverence and brokenness of spirit. How, after all this, the glory of the world overtook me, and I was even ready to give up myself unto it, seeing as yet no such thing as the primitive spirit and church on the earth, and being ready to faint concerning my hope of the restitution of all things. It was at this time that the Lord visited me with a certain sound and testimony of his eternal word, through one of those the world calls a Quaker, namely, Thomas Loe. I related to them the bitter mockings and scornings that fell upon me, the displeasure of my parents, the invectiveness and cruelty of the priests, the strangeness of all my companions; what a sign and wonder they made of me; but, above all, that great cross of resisting and watching against my own inward vain affections and thoughts.

Here I had a fine opportunity to speak of the mystery of iniquity and ungodliness in the root and ground, and to give them an account of the power and presence of God which attended us in our public testimonies and sufferings; after an indirect manner censuring their weaknesses by declaring and commending the contrary practices among Friends, too large to be here related. And notwithstanding all my sufferings and trials by magistrates, parents, companions, and, above all, from the priests of the false religions in the world, the Lord has preserved me to this day, and has given me an hundred-fold in this world as well as the assurance of life everlasting; informing them of the tenderness of my father to me before and at his death; and how through patience and long-suffering all opposition was conquered. Then I began my exhortation unto them, which was on this wise : That since God had given me and them a Divine sense of Him, our eye should be to Him and not to man; that we might come more into a silence of ourselves, and a growth into that heavenly sense. That this was the work of the true ministry, not to keep people to themselves, ever teaching them, but to turn them to God, the new covenant teacher, and to Christ, the great Gospel minister. Thus John did, and thought it no dishonor that they left him to go to Christ. "Behold the Lamb of God," said he, " that takes away the sins of the world!"

And even John's disciples left him to follow Christ. No, John testifies of himself that he was to decrease and Christ was to increase. Therefore I pressed them to have their eye to Christ, who takes away the sin; who is from heaven heavenly; to see that He increase in them. Yes, that from time on they should know no man after the flesh. That their knowledge of, and regard for and fellowship, one with another should stand in the revelation of the Son of God in them, who is God's great prophet, by whom God speaks in these latter days. And if their ministers be true ministers they will count it their glory to give way to Christ, and that they decrease and Christ increase; that the instrument gives way to him that uses it, the servant to the Lord. Which, though it seems to detract from the ministers, yet it was, and is, the glory of a true minister that God and Christ should be all in all, and that his will should be fulfilled. I told them the day of the Lord God was come, and all people must look to Him for salvation; that all people must now come to keep God's great sabbath, to rest from mere man and the spirit of man, and all men's thoughts, words, and works; and that if they were true believers they were at least entering into their rest.

I left the blessing and peace of Jesus among them, departing in the love and peace of God; and I must needs say they were, beyond expectation, tender and respectful to us. The Lord comforted my soul in this service; yea, all that is within me magnified his holy name, because of his blessed presence that was with us. The two pastors and the doctor came with us a field's length, where we took wagon, and the chiefest of them took occasion to ask me if the Truth rose not first among a poor, illiterate, and simple sort of people? I told him yes, that was our comfort, and that we owed it not to the learning of this world. "Then," said he, "let not the learning of this world be used to defend that which the spirit of God has brought forth, for scholars now coming among you will be apt to mix school learning among your simpler and purer language, and thereby obscure the brightness of the testimony." I told him it was good for us all to have a care of our own spirits, words, and works, confessing what he said had weight in it; telling him it was our care to write and speak according to the Divine sense, and not human invention. So in a very sober and serious manner we parted, being about the twelfth hour at noon.

While Penn was in Europe, a schism in the Society occurred led by Wilkinson, who wanted to forbid singing from the Spirit in the meetings, and who opposed women's meetings and church discipline in general. Penn, insisted on the Quakers' firm repudiation of these people without negotiation, in writing a letter to the Assemblies as follows: (which show his strength in the Society),

To Friends everywhere, concerning the present Separatists, and their spirit of separation.


By a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm, has the Lord God everlasting gathered in to be a people, and in his own power and life has He preserved us a people to this day; and praises be to his eternal name! No weapon that has yet been formed against us, either from without or from within, has prospered.

Now, this I say to you, and that in his counsel who has visited us; whoever goes out of the unity with their brethren, are first gone out of unity with the power and life of God in themselves, in which the unity of the brethren stands; and the least member of the body in the unity stands on the top of them, and has a judgment against them. To which judgment, of both great and small among the living family that in unity are preserved, they must bow before they can come into the unity again. Yes, this they will readily do, if they have come into unity with the life and power of God in themselves, which is the holy root that bears the tree, the fruit, and the leaves, all receiving life and virtue from it, and thereby are nourished to God's praise.

I feel this unruly spirit is tormented under the stroke and judgment of the power, and in its subtlety is seeking occasion against the instruments, by whom the power gave it forth. Let all have a care how they touch with this spirit in those workings, for by being one with this spirit in judging those who have been faithful, according to the gift of wisdom they have received from God, they will feed it and fortify it, and in the end come to be one with it against the power itself, and at last run out and become open enemies and despisers, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever unless they repent. Therefore, all that labor for the restoration of those who are out of unity with the brethren, let them be such as are of a sound mind themselves, else what will they gather to? Or what will they gather from? And let them labor in the simplicity, integrity, love, and zeal of the power that first gathered us to God. For that which is rightly gotten will endure, but that which is obtained by the contrivance, interest, and persuasions of men gets no further than man.

Therefore, let none look out of the Seed for help, for all power is in it, and there the true light and judgment stand forever, and that Seed only has God ordained to bruise the serpent's head. Therefore, let us be still, and trust and confide in it forever. Let none look back, faint, or consult, for if they do, they will darken their pure eye and lose their way.

As all would stand before the Lord and his people, let not this spirit be reasoned with at all; do not enter into proposals and articles with it, but feed it with judgment; that is God's decree. So may the souls that are deceived, come by the right door into the heavenly unity.

My brethren, look forwards, and lift up your eyes, for the fields are even white to harvest, up and down the nations. Let us all who have received the gift from God, wait in deep humility to be raised up and empowered by Him more and more, to eye and prosecute his universal service in the world; to whose appearance the kings and kingdoms of the Gentiles shall bring their glory. Which noble work, had those who are gone into the separation but laid deeply to heart, they would never have sat at home murmuring, fretting, and quarrelling against the comely and godly order and practice of their brethren; but love, peace, and joy had filled their hearts, and not the troubler and accuser of the brethren, who hath opened an evil eye in them, and begotten them into a discontented, self-separating mind, and this image they bear, and the pure eye sees it.

O let none tempt the Lord ! Let us all dwell in that divine sense that He has begotten in us, where our love, as a fresh and pure stream, will always flow to God and to one another. Here all his ways are pleasantness and all his paths are peace; for where He keeps the house, who is Prince of peace. He will keep all in his heavenly peace. We are but as one family, and therefore we have but one Lord and Master. We are but as one flock, and we have but one heavenly Shepherd to hear, who goes before us, and gives us eternal life to follow Him. If any are offended in Him or in his, it is their own fault; if they faint and grow weary, we are truly sorry; if through the lack of watchfulness the enemy has entered, begotten coldness to the brethren, and carelessness of embracing the opportunities by which the unity is renewed and increased, so that what is done by the brethren without them is looked upon, first with a slight eye and then with an evil eye, which begets distance, and this distance in time a separation, and separation continued brings forth enmity, and this enmity death itself, we are in our spirits truly grieved for them. However, the judgment of God must stand against them, and that spirit that leads them, in which they gather not to God but to themselves.

Enter not into disputes and contests with it; it is that it seeks and loves; but go on in your testimony and business for the Lord, in the Lord's peaceable power and spirit, and his blessings and presence of life shall be with you. We can say it of a truth, 'God is good to Israel and to all that are of an upright heart.'

Your faithful friend and brother in the service of our dear Lord,

William Penn

Penn concluded his visit to Germany, returning to Holland and joining those who had been ministering in Holland and Friesland, they all took a boat back to England, having concluded a very successful mission.

When he returned to England, Penn found the condition of the Quakers there as unsatisfactory as ever. The majority of the English people were so afraid that King Charles II wanted to turn the country over to the Catholics that they were making the laws more and more strict against all who were not members of the Church of England, and this, of course, included the Quakers. They were being fined and imprisoned right and left, and treated worse than if they had no religion at all. As it was against the Quaker rule to take an oath of any kind, members of the new sect were at a great disadvantage in courts of law and in all places where an oath of allegiance to the government was required.

<Part III of PENN>>>>

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