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lieved by the greatest part of the nation, and even by many of his own sect. It is a strong proof of the high opinion which Penn entertained of his own powers of persuasion, that, while labouring under such reproaches, and when the minds of men were in the most violent ferment, he published no less than three works in favour of the most ample toleration. It deserves to be mentioned that about this time, being on a religious mission in Holland, he had a dispute with Burnet on the subject of tests, which seems to have been the occasion of the aspersions which that prelate has in the History of his Own Times thrown upon the character of Penn.
He became daily more unpopular, and the accession of the Prince of Orange enabled those who were his enemies, from prejudice or malignity, to execute their purposes. He was tried and acquited no less than three times. After the last acquittal, being on the point of sailing to America, he was accused by a profligate wretch of the name of Fuller, , and an order for bis apprehension obliged him to go into retirement. He was now deprived of his government of Pennysylvania. During his confinement he composed his “ Fruits of Solitude," containing maxims and reflections on a multitude of important subjects. Having been for a considerable time excluded from society, his friends of rank and influence, among whom were the Duke of Buckingham, Lords Somers, Ranelagh, Rochester, and Sidney, convinced of the purity of his principles, represented his case to King William, who told them that William Penn was his old acquaintance as well as theirs, and that he might follow his business ás freely as ever, for he had nothing to say against him.” He was soon after restored to his government, and reconciled with the members of his own religious community. In 1696, he sustained a heavy loss in the death of his eldest son, a youth of amiable manners, of great attainments, and exemplary piety. Notwithstanding the care which he had bestowed on the affairs of Pennsylvania, the alterations in the original constitution and laws, to which he had at different times consented for the purpose of preserving order and union among the colonists, and its prosperity under his regulation and superintendance, dissentions had arisen to such a height as to require his presence. At last, having settled his affairs in Europe he sailed for America 1699. He occupied himself principally in 'cementing the union among the different parts of his possessions, in providing a regular supply for the support of the provincial government, in altering and improving the charter and laws, in regulating the intercourse with the Indians, in preaching the Gospel, and in procuring the good
treatment of the negroes to be made a part of the discipline of his own religious society. On this latter transaction Mr. Olarkson, as was natural, expatiates with much. complacency. But while Penn was just on the threshold of his intended improvements, a bill, which the English government, jealous of the growing power of the proprietary governors, brought into the House of Lords, in order to deprive them of their authority and bring it all into their own hands, oocasioned his return to England. A law-suit in which he was involved (1707) with the executors of his steward, made it expedient for him to live some time within the rules of the Fleet, a circumstance which led Burke in his “ Account of the European Settlements in America," to say that he died in the Fleet-prison. He was so reduced as to be under the necessity of mortgaging his province, and was just on the eve of selling it, when three suceessive apoplectic seizures deprived him of reason and memory, in which state he continued till his death in 1718. William Penn was tall, robust, and in maturer years
rather corpulent, and of fine appearance. In his dress he was neat, though plain, and walked with a cane, which he likewise employed while dictating to an amanuensis, striking it, as he paced the room, against the floor, in order to mark the more emphatical points. His regularity may be collected from a paper called “ Christian Discipline," stuck up in a conspicuous part of his house. • It appears that in that quarter of the year which included part of the winter and part of the spring, the members of the family were to rise at seven in the morning, in the next at six, in the next at five, and in the last at six agáin. Nine o'clock was the hour for breakfast; twelve for dinner, seven for supper, and ten to retire to beds The whole family were to assemble every morning for worship. They were called together at eleven again, that each might read in turn some portion of the holy Scripture, or of Martyrology, or of Friends books; and finally they were to meet again for worship at six in the evening. On the days of public meeting, no one was to be absent except on the plea of health or of unavoidable engagement. Thę servants were to be called up after supper to render to their master and mistress an account of what they had done in the day, and to receive instructions for the next. They were to avoid loud discourse and troublesome noises ; they were not to absent themselves without leave; they were not to go to any public house but upon business ; and they were not to loiter, or enter into unprofitable talk, while on an errand,' pp. 351, 352, vií.
Penn had naturally a good capacity, which was improved by education and intercourse with the most eminent men of his age. It cannot perhaps be denied that he was somewhat tinctured with enthusiasm, and that, from too great confidence in his own opinions, he was apt to persevere in an argument till his opponents became silent. But these trivial blemishes almost vanisli before his great and eminent virtues ; his noble disinterestedness and liberality; his patience and undaunted fortitude under sufferings; his inflexible regard to the will of God in all the transactions of life; and his unwearied diligence and application in promoting the interests of religion, humanity and freedom.
Of Penn as a writer little is to be said. His voluminous works are now almost entirely forgotten, as they have not the merit of elegance or originality. When they were first published, they lessened the prejudices of the public against the Quakers, as well as corrected their irregularities and eccentricities. It is probable they likewise contributed to diffuse those tolerant maxims that now so generally prevail in the nation.
It is to his efforts as a legislator that Penn is indebted for his fame. He is the only man, who, in forming a constitution and laws for an existing state, has made what seemed to him the will of the great law-giver his supreme and constant rule. Nor is he less singular in having had peace as the great object of his institutions. In distributing the degrees of power among the members of his government, it appeared from the event, he retained too little in his own hands. It may indeed be pretended that things had not a fair trial; since the heats and contentions which soon sprung up were occasioned by his absence. But this is to account for the event rather than to solve the objection. It is to acknowledge that without the constant superintendance of its author, the constitution of Pennsylvania was unable to endure the shocks and vicissitudes to which all governments are liable. Thus much there is reason to think Penn himself would have acknowledged. For lie seems to have been of opinion that one form of government was nearly as good as another. In the preface to the constitution of Pennsylvania be says, “there is hardly one frame of government in “ the world so ill designed by its first founders, that in good “ hands would not do well enough. Let men be good, and the
government cannot be bad." As men are not good, the constitution that depends for its influence and perpetuity on their goodness, must necessarily be defective and of short duration, It is the glory of a legislaton to contrive his laws so as to secure their continuance, by a triumph over the vices and corruptions of men. That government is the best, which instead of taking it for granted that men are virtuous, puts the inost effectual checks upon their wickedness, and provides most effectually for the encouragement of virtue. Penn entertained a more fa
vourable opinion of his fellows than history or observation allows. Among the laws of Penn for which too great praise cannot be given him, must be mentioned those relative to universal toleration-the punishunent of death and the treatment of Indians and negroes. In his regulations on these heads, he set not only an example to all other legislators, but anticipated the reasonings of philosophy.
Art. X. Secret Thoughts of a Christian, lately departed. 12mo.
pp. 192. 4.s. 6d. Hatchard, 1813. THE advertisement prefixed to this little volume discloses
its author. The name of Ambrose Serle is well known to the religious public, and they will receive this last effort of his pen, with affectionate respect, as the legacy of a friend, the value of which is not simply to be estimated by the amount of our acquisition. - The papers which compose
the volume (it is stated) were written during the last twelve months of their author's life. They were de signed by him for posthumous publication, and received from his hand the title which they bear. His view in desiring that they should be offered to the world, will be understood from his own expressions in. a memorandum upon the subject: “I pray that some of the thoughts which have occurred to myself, may be made useful to others. I leave them in the hand of him who alone can bless them to this purpose. Happy if my reflections in the last moments of my life, encompassed with manifold infirmities, might be attended by any advantage to 'men, and honour to my Redeemer.'
The secret thoughts of this venerable christian were chiefly employed, as might be expected from his character, in exploring the sacred volume. It is delightful and edifying to observe the diligence with which, by the light of his attainments in the original languages, he continued to search the sacred text, not to establish points of criticisin however important, but as if anxious to imbibe, in the utmost purity, the very spirit and life' of its contents. There is a sort of (shall we say) superstitious, reverence for the original expressions of the great charter of our hopes-it is the superstition of affection not of weaknesswhich leads us to attach to them a deeper meaning, a more emphatic authority, than the most approved translation can convey. Something similar, but relating to an object infinitely disproportionate, is the enthusiasm of the scholar, who refers, with unabated delight, to the classic idols of his youth, as containing in the very forms of expression, an inexhaustible store of beauty. We may venture to assure the less gifted
Christian, that great as are the wonders and the beauties which the unwearied student may discover in the Holy language,' such knowledge is httle necessary, too often little conducive, to that spiritual light and joy which the Bible is adapted to dispense. Every attempt, however, to engage attention to the sacred originals, may be considered as a service not unimportant to the interests of the church. We will now lay before our readers a few specimens of the departed Christian's secret thoughts. The following paper is dated September 10, 1811.
• I am now entering upon the seventieth year of my age; and here I may raise an Eben-ezer of gratitude and praise. Thus hath the Lord sustained me many years more than I once supposed that I could have lived upon earth. How much of mercy and goodness have I enjoyed all my days ! Once I was nothing. Thy favour brought me into being. Yet being born a sinner, thy patience endured for many years, tiil thy Holy Spirit renewed me in the spirit of my mind, and rendered me, o 'Lord, capable of receiving thy truth in its light and love, and of tasting how good and gracious thou art, of which I have had a thousand proofs and pledges. From how many dangers and sins have I been delivered from my youth up until now! How many mercies, spiritual and temporal, have I enjoyed through thy bountiful providence and exuberant grace! When I have been departing from thee, thy goodness has prevented me, and turned my heart and myffeet into the right way. It was thy grace, which bestowed faith upon me, and kept that faith alive from day to day. Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto thee, be all the praise, that I am a sinner redeemed, restored, and made willing to love, to serve, to follow, and to enjoy thy holy truth, and to walk in all thy blessed ways. O! may I still be fighting the good fight of faith to the end, and never draw back, till I receive the crown, which, I trust, thou hast prepared for me, at thine appearing, or when I am called to appear before thee! Supply me with wisdom and strength for this warfare, for I have none of my own; and supply according to my need, and according to thy riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Thou shalt have all the praise for these mercies and benefits during eternity; and I will join in the Song of Moses and the Lamb, proclaiming, that thou only art worthy of all the honour, which angels and saints, and the whole creation, can render to thy ever-glorious name.
• It is a great privilege and power of faith to be truly weaned from this present earthly life, so as to meet sickness and death with resignation and serenity of mind. Some blessed instances have occurred, through an extraordinary measure of divine aid, in which the solemn summons has been received, not only with tranquillity, but with transport. Where the heart has been firmly fixed upon Christ, and has felt the tokens of his everlasting love, winning to himself the soul, which has been well weaned to a just estimate of all worldly things being raised, also to an extensive view of divine truths, planned and