« ZurückWeiter »
the most learned men of that age. These then, with several others, having been affected by the discourses of De Labadie, and awakened to seek after a more spiritual fellowship, had separated themselves from the common Calvinistic assemblies, and, having followed him in the way of a refined independency, had established themselves in this place. They formed altogether a serious and plain people, and approached near to the Quakers in many points, such as in silent meetings, women's exhortations there, preaching by the Spirit, and plainness both in their dress and in the furniture of their houses. William Penn, having heard of these singular people, had determined upon visiting them. On being introduced to Anna Maria Schur. mans' apartments, he found almost all the party there. He was particularly anxious to know what it was that had induced them to separate from the common way in which they had formerly lived. Upon this Ivon began by giving the history of J. de Labadie's education and life. Anna Maria Schurmans followed, giving an account of her former life, of her conversion under the ministry of De Labadie, and of her present religious state. One of the Somerdykes re
lated, next, her own spiritual experience. This she did in a reverent frame of mind, going over the same ground and touching upon the same points as the former. After her Du Lignon gave the reasons which had induced him to become a pastor there. A doctor of physic spoke next. Among other things he stated himself to have been bred up at the University for the Church ; that he had studied there with the character of a serious person, but that he had never experienced a living sense of what divine things were till he heard J. de Labadie ; and that in consequence he left the University and became one of the family at the mansion.
William Penn was highly gratified with this narrative, and returned the civility by giving an account of his own life and conversion, labours, sufferings, and travels up to the present time, which he concluded by religious exhortation and advice. Rising up at length to depart, they gave him their hands in a friendly manner, and the two pastors and the doctor accompanied him to the post waggon which was to convey him the next stage.
After this he held two meetings, one at Lippenhausen, and the other at Groningen.
From thence he went to Delfzyl, where he took boat for Embden. While on his passage there he wrote a letter, which is extant, “ To Friends every where concerning the present Separatists and their Spirit of Separation.” This alluded to a schism which had taken place on the subject of discipline among the Quakers in England. Having landed, he visited the mother and sister of the late Dr. Hasbert, who had been the first Quaker in that place. The society having been bitterly persecuted there and the members of it scattered by banishment, he called upon Dr. Andrews, President of the Council of State, who was reported to have been the author of such oppression. He informed him, that he was the Englishman who about two years before had written a Latin letter to the Council of Embden on that subject. He wondered how he, Dr. Andrews, “ being á Commonwealth's man and a Protestant,” could persecute for religion. He then argued the case with him, and this so successfully as to obtain a promise from him that he would use his interest with the Council, if he, William Penn, would address to them another letter.
The next place he went to was Leer, and afterwards Bremen. He visited four persons in this last city, and had a religious opportunity with others who were staying at his own inn.
After hard travelling for two days he arrived again at Herwerden, the residence of the Princess Elizabeth as before mentioned. Among those whom he met at her court was the Graef of Donau. They soon fell into conversation with each other. The points in discussion were the nature and end of Christianity, and the way which led to eternal rest. Both agreed, after a short debate," that self-denial and mortification and victory therein were the duty, and therefore ought to be the endeavour, of every true Christian.” William Penn then gave the Graef some account of his retreat from the world, and explained his inducements to it, and the necessity of an inward work. After this the conversation turned, on the sugges. tion of the Graef, upon the custom of taking off the hat as a matter of respect. William Penn laboured to prove that this custom was a weed of degeneracy and apostasy, a çarnal and earthly honour, and the effect as well as the feeder and pleaser of a vain mind. He showed, next, “ wherein the sincere and serviceable respect consisted, which Truth substituted in the place thereof,” and, finally, exhorted him to simplicity and humility of spirit. I shall only observe, that while he staid at Herwerden he held his religious meetings, and was treated with the same friendship and attention as before. In taking his leave, which was a final one, he was much affected. He bade farewell to the Princess, falling upon his knees, and asking the divine blessing for her preservation. He then tenderly exhorted the Countess, her companion, who implored his prayers in her behalf. He addressed himself next to the French lady of quality before mentioned, whom he desired to be faithful and constant to that which she knew. He then spoke to the rest, giving to each separately such advice as he judged to be suitable to their condition,