The Beginnings of Quakerism

By William C. Braithwaite | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
WORK BEYOND SEAS

You people . . . scattered into Barbados, Virginia, New England and other islands thereaways and countries elsewhere . . . to you the mighty Day of the Lord is coming and in His power is appearing amongst you, in raising desires in some of you towards His name, which desires cannot be satisfied with any outward observations and traditions of your fathers . . . let the time past be sufficient: you have followed men who have deceived you . . . no longer look forth, the glad tidings of the gospel of eternal salvation is heard within, in this day of the Lord's mercy, wherein He is teaching His people Himself . . . turn your minds within and examine your hearts, search and try your ways with the Light Christ Jesus hath enlighted you withal, that shows you in your hearts what is sin--that pride and covetousness is sin, lying, swearing is sin, dissimulation, cheating, cosening is sin, vain idle communications, foolish jesting and unbelief is sin."--WM. DEWS- BURY, Address issued from Northampton Gaol, 7th Jany. 1656 ( Works, pp. 156-165).

THE universal mission of the early Friends receives its most emphatic illustration from the outlay in service and money which was devoted to the work of carrying the message beyond seas to the American Colonies, to the Protestants of Holland and Germany, to the Roman Catholics, and even to Jews and Mohammedans. The result, except in the case of the American Colonies and Holland, was altogether disproportionate to the effort involved, although it will be seen that some of these forlorn hopes have added lustrous pages to the annals of Quakerism.

I shall only sketch in barest outline the work in America, as the rare interest and significance of the story are brought out in detail in the companion volume of the present series, The Quakers in the American Colonies. But the work was at first so essentially the natural out-

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