« ElőzőTovább »
and widely spread; the Brethren of the regard to the great popular uprisings in Free Spirit and the Brothers and Sisters of those countries. Voluntary Poverty.
Defeated, according to the Christian Similar societies maintained the general law which gives victory only through suftradition of mystical theology in the four-fering and death, these glorious efforts teenth century, such as the “ Friends of were followed by attempts to carry on the God," of which there were two sections: work within strictly spiritual lines which Roman Catbolic and Vaudois, and be met with a certain success as long as tween the members of each there were they were continued under the old confriendly relations. The Brethren of the ditions, the prison and the gallows, and Common Life were again the offspring of with the same essential aim — the esthe powerful stock of German mystical tablishment on earth of the Kingdom of theology. Gerard Groot got his idea at Heaven. Groendal, where Ruysbroek was the prior, In opening this paper I spoke of tracand Gerson declared that Ruysbroek's ing the connection of Anabaptism with mystical doctrine of immediate intuition two existing religious societies. But so was that of the Beghards,* as it certainly far I have only shown it with one. The was of the Anabaptists. The most widely Baptist denomination springs from the spread work resulting from the mystical first stage of Anabaptism, the Society of tendencies in the Netherlands, during the Friends from its last. In its early days thirteenth and fourteenth centuries was one Anabaptism was hopeful, aggressive, conlong claimed as the work of Gerson bim- fident that in due time the Kingdom of self; the Imitation of Jesus Christ, the Heaven, the Kingdom of Justice and whole thought of which is deeply inter- Truth, would be established here on earth. woven with Anabaptist teaching.
But half a century of terrible experiences, A profound sympathy for all the sor- the most disheartening it was possible rows and griefs of men, separated from to conceive, ended in the greater num. God and tyrannized over by rulers equally ber relinquishing their earthly hopes and separated from God, and each seeking his fixing their thoughts supremely on spirown interest and pleasure, was instinct in a itual things. It is from Anabaptism re. faith which recognized God to be the only nouncing the sword and all hope of being, and that each individual man was establishing an earthly kingdom of Christ his temple. When the Anabaptists looked that the Society of Friends proceeds,* around them, and saw the mass of men so whereas the English Baptists originated weighted that they could give no thought in the earlier form, and seem to have to anything but how to preserve them- been especially influenced by Melchior selves in existence, while the few, living Hoffmann. This is a consideration which on the labor of the working class, were throws much light on the different charequally lost in trying to get rid of their acteristics of the two societies, and exsuperfluous wealth ; when they saw God plains why, in the seventeenth century, in man thus pressed down as a cart under the Baptists threw themselves with such a heavy load of sheaves,t their hearts ardor, not only into the religious but also were inflamed with pity and indignation, into the political struggles † of the time, and at the sight of this God, awakening whereas the Quakers confined themselves in the hearts of the masses, and, accord- entirely to the former. ing to the glorious vision of the prophet This premised, the common parentage Habakkuk, going forth for the salvation of the Baptists and the Quakers is evident of bis people, and the destruction of those in the many resemblances which existed whose rejoicing it was to devour the poor between them when the latter first made secretly, they heard in their hearts the their appearance. In the religious meet. cry, “Who will go to the help of the Lord ings of both, free utterance was permitted against the mighty?" and the time ap- to all who felt themselves moved to speak, peared to have come when the word was: women being allowed to prophesy equally “ Let him that hath no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” It was some such flow of * We are compelled to view George Fox as the unfeeling that led Munzer and other Ana conscious exponent of the doctrine, practice, and disci
pline of the ancient and stricter party of the Dutch baptists to take up the cause of the Ger- Mennonites, at a period when, under the pressure of man peasantry in 1525, and inspired the the times, some deviation took place among the Genfollowers of "Hus in Bohemia and the Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Common:
eral Baptists from their original principles. (Barclay's Lollards in England to do the same with wealth, P: 77:)
† Leveller's design discovered, or the Anatomie of • Schmidt.
the late Unhappy Mutiny, by Henry Denne, London, † Amos xi. 13 (a favorite quotation).
1649, affords an illustration.
The Bible was not read as works there is nothing he dwells upon part of an order of service, * nor was there more frequently than the Inner Word, any congregational singing. At the same which speaks in every man's heart. He time, if any brother or sister wished to ex- asserts that “there is an instinct prespress themselves in this way, it was per- ent in every man urging him to do mitted. $ There was also a close likeness good ;” and again, that “this desire to do in their organization and discipline. Both good is that spark of the Divine Spirit communities had very complete arrange- which God has given us.”* On such ments for itinerating the country by means questions as the place of Scripture, Free of a travelling ministry. There can be Will, Predestination, Justification, the little doubt that the first societies founded communion and worship, the views of by Fox and the early Friends were either Denck, † and therefore of the early Acaconstituted on the principles of the early baptists, would, I believe, be considered, English General Baptist Churches, or by those best acquainted with the subject, that all three had a common Anabaptist to be in striking harmony with those of origin. Neither Baptists nor Quakers the early Friends. had the least idea of a birthright member- The more, indeed, the subject is stud. ship, no one being admitted to membership ied, the more it will be found that everywhose faith and conduct did not harmonize thing peculiar to the Quakers was taught with the standard each set up. Here, of or practised at least by some section course, they differed, but not so greatly as or other of the Anabaptists, even such in subsequent times. | Mr. Barclay re-matters as sitting in silence, remaining marks the striking coincidence between covered before kings and magistrates, and the teaching of the early Friends and the calling themselves a “Society of Friends' confession of John Smyth of Amsterdam, rather than a “Church.” It may be that after he had joined the Mennonites. the use of thee and thou is another mark Thus, by their doctrine, “the Children of of their Anabaptist origin. Light,” as these first Quakers called them- No one can thoroughly examine the selves, were directly allied with the Am- matter and avoid the conclusion that the sterdam Waterlander Mennonites; and Baptists and the Quakers are to the Anawhat renders it probable that the latter baptists of the sixteenth century what the were the channel of their junction with Howards and the Stanleys are to the old the Anabaptists is, that this particular historic families whose names they bear. Mennonite Church was imbued with the At the same time, to judge of Anabaptism principles of Caspar Schwenkfeld, ** a Sile- by what Baptists and Quakers are to-day, sian teacher of the period of the Reforma- would be misleading. In losing the great tion, who taught in a way cognate to that ideas of immediate inspiration, of the of the Anabaptists, but on such points as inner light, and of the struggle for social the observance of the rites of baptism and justice in the establishment- now and in the Lord's Supper tended to views such this present world — of the Kingdom of as those afterwards held by the early Heaven, the Baptists have become almost Friends.tt
innocuous in the eyes of the rulers of this However, on the most important points world. While in some degree treading of Quaker doctrine, the early Friends the same path, the same may be said of were anticipated by the Anabaptists quite the Quakers; their holding to the truths as much as by Schwenkfeld. In Denck's just named has resulted in their Society
taking a prominent part in some of the * Barclay, pp. 106, 107, 402, 541:
great modern efforts in favor of human + Ibid., pp. 108, 452, 453. In this they did not re- dignity and the rights of man. Failing, semble the Continental Anabaptists, who sang byens however, to continue the old Anabaptist
who gives a touching account of a little worn-out Anabaptist hymn- witness against Christians living to make Barclay, p. 352.
wealth, and in favor of every man and § lbid., pp. 352-358.
woman personally laboring for their own j Ibid., pp. 359, 360, etc. T Ibid., p. 322.
support, they have long lost their influence ** Ibid., pp. 223-248.
with the people, and have been gradually tt Ibid., pp. 235-237. It is certainly clear that the dwindling away for nearly two centuries, General Baptists maintained more ritual than the Quakers. They practised not only baptism and the and are more and more outwardly assimi. Lord's Supper, but had love-feasts and washed one lating to a world with which they have so another's feet. In this they maintained the Anabaptist many links through the medium of their tradition, as may be seen in the frontispiece to Mr. Barclay's book, which represents the Flemish Mennonites at Zaandam practising the rite, and which looks • Ein Apostel der Wiedertäuser, pp. 79, 81, 136, like a Quaker meeting of to-day as regards the style of the rooms and general arrangements.
ť Ibid., throughout.
book he possesses.
commercial and financial operations. The | and a step aside either way is enough to Anabaptists existed to witness for a king: alter the aspect, perhaps to bring about dom which covered the whole of life, all the catastrophe, of a life. Only a little other kingdoms being tyrannies, to which patience is needed in most cases to dis. they submitted under protest. They were cover dramatic point, frequently strange crushed, and their successors confined and thrilling enough, in the life history of themselves to witnessing for a purely spir. each individual. In such a spot every itual idea of the Kingdom of Heaven. gable-end, hedge-nook, and turn of a wall And the fate of these successors has been has its story, one presently begins to find that of all who hold half or emasculated out. To the grey-beards of the village, it truths. Being men, and not disembodied appears, hardly a dyke-corner or a coppice. spirits, they soon came to live in two end is without its pregnant memory, so worlds — to live, in fact, a double life, many are the tellable events which accuand so to be open to the suspicion of mulate in a quiet backwater of life even hypocrisy. That this charge is not lev- within the recollection of a single genera. elled to-day is owing to the fact that the tion. An illustration of this fact is seen confusion between the two kingdoms is so in the passage in “Tam o' Shanter”in complete that every religious sect, and which every bush-clump, ford, and heap almost every religious person, is open to of stones passed by the homeward-gallopit. A tacit understanding exists, but the ing roysterer is made to bring to mind a universal conscience admits the fact, de. weird story. Frequently all that remains plores it, and sees no way of escape. to chronicle the long tragedy of a life-time However, Wiclif, in the fourteenth cen is some such mute monument; and a tury, explained the true constitution of curious and true light upon the virtues Christian society. Lollards, Hussites, An. and vices of humble life is thrown someabaptists, preached his doctrine, and for times by its deciphering. doing so were slaughtered in thousands. A memorial of this sort, overlooking A great idea is not driven out of the world the lochside strath which once belonged like that. Anabaptism will rise again. to his race, is all that is left now of old RICHARD HEATH. John C- His cottage stood too near
to a pheasant covert to be trusted to unknown tenants; hardly therefore had the old man been laid to rest in the quiet
kirkyard of the parish when the laird of From The Gentleman's Magazine.
the surrounding estates got the small freeA VILLAGE OBITUARY.
hold into his own hands, and now all that WHEN a man of wealth or the holder of remains of the little thatched dwelling is a distinguished name shuffles off this mor- a scattered heap of stones. A humble tal coil obituary paragraphs regarding him enough little dwelling it was; no more are inserted in the newspapers, and the than a “but and ben," with a diminutive public is supposed to take an interest in bedroom which had once been a milk. the facts of his life. Yet most frequently house, and a narrow byre for the keeping it happens that these recorded facts, dis- of a cow. But there was a pathetic interplayed to their utmost advantage, appear est about it, memories of quiet love and no more than the tritest array of common sorrow, the associations of patient years ; places, the truth being that the wealth and it is difficult to look now upon the itself and the social position which gave desolate spot without a vague feeling of the dead man a claim to regard have regret. The scattered stones themselves raised him above exactly those troubles are eloquent with memories. Was not and vicissitudes which make a life inter- every one of them carried up from the esting. The history of the family in the bed of the burn below by John himself, castle, it is true, probably contains interest sixty odd years ago, when he was building enough if one goes sufficiently far back the cottage for his home? A labor of defor it, back to the days of its carly risks light it was, with a tender thought in every and struggles and first emergence from list; for, when the cosy nest should be obscurity. But under every second thatch. finished, was he not to bring hither a cer. roof of the village in the glen below, the tain gentle sweetheart, a maid at mention elements of romance lie closer to hand. of whom the old men of the village shake There the real tragedy and comedy of life their heads thoughtfully yet? Often, they are being acted at the present hour. The say, she came here shyly and watched folk live closer to hope and fear; their bim at his work. The spot is secluded paths are less safe-guarded and secure ; and hidden from prying eyes. Long, quiet
talks, like the happy twitterings of the betrothed, when a tragic circumstance ocnesting blackbirds in the coppice near, curred. It was a quiet Saturday night. there must have been between the two John and his future bride bad wandered over the house-building. What were the in the still of the evening for an hour towords of their talk? As well ask what gether among the fields, and as the dusk the blackbirds' happy twitterings are about fell and the stars were coming out he had as the nest-making goes forward so busily seen” her home. He was lingering in under the spruce-branches. Day after his mother's doorway, loth to enter while day the work grew, and day after day she the spell of the night was still upon him, caine and watched its progress, till the when suddenly, turning into the cottage nook already, that pleasant May-time sixty garden from the road below, appeared his years ago, must have grown full of mem- brother Robert. ories for thein. In the evening, it is still The two brothers had always presented remembered, they used to go away to a contrast. Much slighter in build, in gether down the field-path, under the high place of the blue eyes and warın, brown beech hedges and through the yellow- skin of his elder brother, Robert was pale flowering whin, to the village, where her of complexion and had eyes of jet black. people lived; and lover-like enough they Taking by inclination to the smartness seemed, and loth to part, as the gloaming and diplomacy of city life, he had within deepened and their steps grew slower the last few months, by his brother's newly together at the foot of the hill. Yet she acquired influence, become accountant of did not marry him after all.
a bank in town. Since then his graphic The story is unforgotten yet in the vil. accounts of the reliance placed upon him lage, and the other day when the old man by bis superiors had impressed the village was buried, among the little knots of peo- with a general idea that he was on the ple coming home from the kirkyard it was highroad to success. This, with the genspoken about once more.
eral air of man of the world which he The cottage had just been finished; the affected, and a reputation (which he did last sheaf of thatch had been laid on and not discourage) for being looked on with trimmed, and John was seeing after the favor by the other sex, had got him among necessary furniture to put inside, and dig. the folk of the countryside the name of ging the well, when an eastern epidemic," the king – “King C-." But this like a destroying angel, passed over the night, as he came up the garden walk his face of the country. The cities, with their accustomed air of sprightliness was gone. evil atmosphere and jaded population, He was like a fine bird with draggled naturally suffered most, but the rural dis- feathers; his shoulders were bent like tricts were not exempt, and of those who those of an old man, and it was apparent succumbed in the neighborhood here were that something was wrong. Some of the John's grandfather and his two uncles. villagers had met him on the road, and The grandfather had been something of a had noticed thus much; but this was all miser and curmudgeon, living like the that they knew. meanest hind, and grudging every farthing Nothing was ever told of the scene by he was forced to spend; but he was come the fireside in the little wayside cottage of ancient yeoman
ck, who had held that night of the miserable confession property in the place for centuries, and by which there must have been, the horror his death and that of his two eldest sons and fear as the full extent and consequence John suddenly found himself the repre. of the inisdeed became known. Never a sentative of his family and master of some word was spoken on the subject by one two thousand acres of the best land in the of the family, and the matter was too parish. A strange turn of fortune for the painful to be made the topic of curious humble cottage-builder, and one to make inquiry. It leaked out only long after. searching proof of his qualities. Alas! of wards from other sources, as these things the demands of his new position only one are apt to do, that the young man had was made, and that was at once crucial committed a crime which placed him in and fatal.
danger of his life.
It was a startling story A decent interval for mourning had which must have been revealed to the been allowed to elapse, and the new heir, little family circle of simple folk. A conmaking suitable provision for the rest of siderable speculation in which “the his family, was about to enter on posses- king's ” confident savoir faire had in. sion of the roomy farmhouse, which had volved him had turned out disastrous. To been the residence of the old laird, and give himself time to recover the losses to install there as mistress his gentle | made, to "turn round," as he himself put
it, he had signed bills for a large amount. grew among the neighbors that, in some The later ventures into which he had unknown manner, “the king” bad ged. plunged had proved equally disastrous; erously immolated himself for the sake of the money was, every penny, irretrievably his family. lost, and now the bills were coming due, Amongst those who became vaguely and the names upon them — the miser- impressed with this idea was, unfortuable secret had to come out the names nately, John's sweetheart herself. In his upon the bills were forged.
desire to save “ the king's ” good name, Here was one of tbe cases in which the elder brother had made the fatal mis. tragedy, like some evil monster, may sud- take of withholding from his betrothed the denly rise on the shining surface of life; cause of his parting with his inheritance. may come so near as to make the flesh This withholding of confidence, though creep and the heart stop, and yet pass unconsciously perhaps on both their parts, away without the world hearing a sound doubtless formed the first film of estrangeor seeing a twitch of the nerves of the ment between them. Then another thing threatened victim. No word, as has been was noticed by the villagers, and duly said, of the scene round the cottage commented on, though, gossip-like, pothbearth that night was ever spoken outing was said to the man most closely conside; but as one after another, in crushing cerned. During the day his work as a succession, the fatal bills came due they dyke-builder frequently took John Cwere punctually met and paid, till the to distant parts of the parish, and, eager last weight was cleared off, the last bit of now to make up to some extent to his incriminating paper destroyed, and the promised wife the loss he had been comguilty one breathed free. The incident pelled to inflict on her, he wrought vigormade little difference after all to him, ously early and late, not sparing himself though naturally he did not return to his time even to return for the midday meal. situation at the bank. But John never During these long summer hours, howentered upon the occupation of his broad ever, “the king” had nothing to occupy inheritance. The cottage he had built, he his time. He might have turned his hand said, would be enough for him after all. to some work, it is true; many things It had been sufficient for the ambition of might have been done in the garden, and his betrothed and himself before greater even dyke-building itself is not an art fortune came to them, and they would be that needs a long apprenticeship. But no less happy there together now. for occupation of such sort he had a strong
But even this dream of modest happi- distaste and something of contempt, which ness was not destined to come true. he hardly took pains to conceal. He
After the release from his terrible pre- loitered about the village instead, and dicament “the king." did not at once go presently, it began to be noticed, took to away. He remained about the village ap- supplying his brother's absence at the parently without either plans or spirit; cottage of his betrothed. First he took and it was noticed at first that he wore to loitering about the garden there with something of a furtive and dejected air. the girl's father, then the loitering was Very soon, however, as he found that the done with the girl herself, his position as village folk knew nothing definite regard. her future brother-in-law helping greatly, ing bis escapade, and as the thought of it, no doubt, the familiarity of their interwhich had never oppressed him greatly course. He was likely to be an interesting apart from the bodily risk involved, bé- companion for a country girl; he knew came easier to get rid of, he began to all about the theatres and the artists' hold up his head again, and to resume the studios in town, and could describe very old lordly airs which had got him his so-cleverly how fortunes were to be made on briquet. In his brother's presence only the Stock Exchange. did he remain silent and humble. At all And thus time ran on, and “the king other times, to judge from his air and had been at home idle for some four talk, it might have been supposed that he months. was the one who had conferred a favor. At last, one night he informed bis
“ A good enough fellow, my brother brother that he had made up his mind to John,” he would say indulgently, à propos go to America, and begin afresh there. of some reference in the inn parlor, as he could John lend him enough to pay his treated his friends liberally upon his passage across, and give him a fair start brother's money, “but, you see, he knows on the other side ? pothing about the world and the methods It was a severe tax to propose on the of managing affairs.” And thus the idea eve of a brother's marriage, especially as