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In a Short but Sure Testimony against all those Religions, Faiths, and Worships, that have been formed and followed in the Darkness of Apostacy: and for that GLORIOUS LIGHT which is now risen, and shines forth, in the Life and Doctrine of the despised QUAKERS, as the alone good old way of Life and Salvation,
Presented to Princes, Priests, and People, that they may repent, believe and obey.
By WILLIAM PENN,
Whom Divine Love constrains in an holy contempt, to trample on Ægypt's glory, not fearing the King's wrath, having beheld the Majesty of Him who is invisible.
Published in the Year 1668.
To Princes, Priests, and People.
JEHOVAH, the everlasting Power, that spans out the heavens with his span, and measures the waters in the hollow of his hand, before whom all nations, tongues and people are less than the drop to the ocean, or the sand to the sea-shore; who said, "Let all things be," and they were, and by the same word of his might, preserves them to this very day, is holy, merciful, and just; and, as the most excellent part of the whole creation, made he man, "the image of himself," by investing him with that righteous principle, and innocent life, which gave him dominion and authority over all his works, allowing him to eat of every tree, saving that of the knowledge of good and evil, of which if he did eat, he should certainly die.
Happy had it been for Adam and his posterity, had he obeyed God's commands; but transgression by disobedience
getting entrance, he soon died to his innocent state, in which God created him, and became alive in the dominion sin had over him, being now as one without law: in whose fallen state all nations have been, and are, (let their professions seem never so great, and their sacrifices never so many) that live in the disobedient nature, and so strangers to that immortality and life eternal, the first Adam became dead and darkened to by his transgression, and which the second Adam raises to the knowledge and possession of, by the power of his quickening spirit; yet where the devil (that subtil serpent) hath not totally extinguished the notion of a God, and the necessity of his being worshipped, it has been rather his interest than disservice, to put the selfish part of the creature upon sacrificing, wickedly insinuating that none can be freed from sin, and that the performing of rites, duties, and ceremonies, is all God requires, and what is necessary to procure acceptance with him. Thus it was that murdering Cain became a sacrificer, whose sacrifice God rejected, because offered in the fallen, unrighteous, and accursed nature.
Such also were those generations who drew near to God with their lips, and to whom he said of old, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me; I am full of burnt offerings, bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths; the calling of the assemblies I cannot away with, it is iniquity; even the solemn meeting: I am weary to bear them; and when you spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes; yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear, your hands are full of blood: wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings," &c. lsa. i. Ïl, 13, 14, 15, 16.
Therefore, O ye princes, priests, and people, the solid, necessary, and weighty question I have to ask you all, in the dread and fear of the everlasting, holy, Lord God Almighty, (by whose eternal Spirit the sense of your present state and condition I perfectly have received) is this: what nature, what heart, what spirit, and what ground is it in which your religions, faiths, works, words and worships stand and grow? is it the divine, not the fallen nature? is it the broken, not the stony heart? is it the contrite, not the formal spirit? is it the gospel increasing, good, not old Adam's corrupt, thorny ground? for this know, that no performances but by clean hands, and a pure heart, from whence evil doings are put away, can give acceptance with the pure God.,
Come, answer me first, you Papists, whose popes for
many hundred years have sat exalted in the hearts of nations, (God's temple) above all that is called God: what scripture ever made a pope, or gave authority to any one to lord it over the consciences of others, since Christ enjoins that Christians should be brethren? and by what warrantable tradition can he make, dispose, and depose civil empires? whence came your creeds, but from factious and corrupted councils, dyed in the blood of those who refused conformity? what scriptures of the holy prophets, and apostles, or any tradition for the first three hundred years, mention a massbook, speak of Peter's chair, and a successive infallibility, or say a wafer is corporally the flesh, blood and bones, which suffered without Jerusalem? And where did they teach to adore images, consume many thousands and millions in building, carving, and painting outward temples, after Jerusalem (the type) was destroyed, whilst thousands of poor families languished through extreme poverty? when did they enjoin baby-baptism, churching of women, marrying by priests, holy water to frighten the devil, hallowing of bells to scare evil spirits, making and worshipping of crosses, erecting of altars? and where did they command bowings, institute musics, appoint holy days, canonize saints, chaffer and merchandize about indulgences, pray for the dead, preach, or write for a purgatory? and what book, or chapter, in the old or new testament, mentions the degrees of popes, cardinals, archbishops, deans, prebends, Jesuits, Franciscans, Dominicans, Ursulines, Capuchines, Benedictines, with other such like lazy nuns and friars, for the edification of Christ's church? but above all, when and where did they authorize, or indulge your cruel, persecuting, whipping, racking, inquisition, murdering spirit? whose popes, faith, churchgovernment, and whole religion, were founded, and are maintained by inhuman bloodshed, as your own histories plainly manifest. Who gave life to these things but the devil, "who was a murderer from the beginning?"
Thus have you Papists, through many generations, "received for doctrine the precepts of men," who for much speaking, and sacrificing of your own inventions, expect to be heard, whilst in the lustful, wanton, ignorant, and killing nature, which has been always shedding the precious blood of those whom God in every age raised to testify against your superstitions and will-worships: therefore woes from God Almighty to that Romish whore, who has corrupted the nations, "and sits upon a scarlet-coloured beast full of names of blasphemy, drunk with the blood of saints, and martyrs of Jesus; the hour of her desolation is nigh, Rev. xvii. 3, 4, 6. Chap. xviii, 6, 8.
a Mat. xv. 9.
and in the cup which she hath filled, shall it be filled unto her double; for strong is the Lord God of hosts who judge th her."
Come now, you that are called Protestants, however denominated or distinguished, who profess the scriptures for the rule of life and doctrine, stand your trial by them: and first those who are called Episcopalians, who date your religion from the martyrs: that those who first protested against the darkness and gross idolatry of the popish antichrist, were directed thereto, and supported therein, by the mighty power of God, is not denied; and that the seals of blood they set to recommend their testimonies to posterity, are with us in high esteem, I openly affirm and declare: but that you of the church of England (who now persecute us) have any more to do with them than had the Jews and Pharisees, who crucified the Lord of life, with Abraham, Moses, and the prophets, is as positively disowned: for as they were out of the life and spirit of those holy men, (though building and garnishing their sepulchres, and making great profession with their words) insomuch as that they slew those whom God sent in the same spirit, to preach a farther glory, and to discover a more excellent way; so are you out of the power and spirit your forefathers lived and died in, professing their words, but persecuting the same spirit in others, and crucifying it in yourselves: no wonder therefore you have made so little progress since the first dawning of reformation, being not yet got out of the borders of Babylon's form, and altogether in her lustful, proud, persecuting, and wicked nature: for have not you, protes tant princes, condemned that in others, which you have and do allow in yourselves, contrary to your forefathers protestations? Did you not return severe persecutions, not only upon the heads of the Roman Catholics in Queen Elizabeth's time, who esteemed it antichristian in them, but even your fellow-protestants, who through zeal for God, declared against your backslidings? Witness her severity, and what followed in the reigns of James, and the deceased Charles, but more particularly the many thousands now of late that have been clubbed, bruised, imprisoned, exiled, poisoned to death by stinking dungeons, and ruined in their outward estates, contrary to law, christian or human: therefore well may I take up the lamentation and reproof that was of old, "Ye make offenders for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate: ye turn aside the just for a thing of nought, and lay burdens upon the Acts vii 52. d Isa. xxix. 21. Amos iii. 10. Jer. xxiii, 17. Ezek. xiii. 19, 20, Isa. Ivi. 10, 11. Mic. iii, 5, 6, 11.
backs of the righteous, whilst evil doers pass unpunished; you store up violence in your palaces, and many are the oppressed that are amongst you: yet do not your priests prophesy smooth things, that sew pillows under your arms, and cry, Peace? who provoke you to slay those, by executing cruel acts, that should not die, and preach safety to them that should not live, like greedy dogs, shepherds that cannot understand, they all look for gain from their quarters; they teach for hire; they divine for money, and you all judge for rewards;" for all which abominations God is departed, vision is ceased, the sun is gone down over you, and your day is turned into thick darkness:" therefore it is you deny the necessity as well as the present enjoyment of revelation to any, though without it, as Christ saith, "no man can know God, whom to know is life eternal";" and place the ground of divine knowledge in human arts and sciences, that thereby you may ingross a function to yourselves, and keep up your trade of yearly gain upon the poor people; preaching sin for term of life, thereby rendering invalid the glorious power of the second Adam, and indulging people in transgression; though "he that committeth sin is of the devil, and without holiness none shall see God;" ministers he never sent, but were commissionated by men, void of the Holy Ghost, and therefore ye profit not the people; a badge inseparable to lying prophets, who run in their own name.
Come and tell me now, ye of the church of England, that say the scriptures are your rule, where do they own such persecutors, false prophets, tithe-mongers, deniers of revelations, opposers of perfection, men-pleasers, timeservers, unprofitable teachers, (witness the abominations of the land) extollers of human learning, as the only way to know God; admirers of universities, (signal places for idleness, looseness, profaneness, prodigality, and gross ignorance;) and where do we find the prophets, apostles, and servants of the Lord, to live in worldly pomp, possess hundreds and thousands a year, be called lords of their brethren, and exercise civil and spiritual jurisdiction over the bodies and souls of Christians in their days? Whence came your forms of prayers, and church-government; from the scriptures of truth, and the practice of the primitive Christians, or the mass-book, and popish canons? Where is it that masshouses are called churches? and what precedent do you find for litanies, responses, singing, choristers, organs, altars, bowing, surplices, square caps, hoods, rochets, fonts, babybaptism, holy days, (as you call them) with much more such like dirty trash, and foul superstition? Are these your
* John xvii. 3.
John iii. 8. Heb. xii. 14. Jer. xxiii. 32.