Chapter II:30: History of Enthusiasm, Part 8

The Quakers, who on account of George Fox, the author of their sect, had begun to be known in Britain from the year 1649, hold:  “The Holy Spirit always has manifested, and still manifests, Himself in divine and immediate revelations, which ought not to be weighed by Scripture and reason.  The Scriptures are not the primary rule of faith and manners, but the internal command of the Spirit:”  LAMPE’S Historia Ecclesiastica, book II, chapter XIV, § 43.  The history of these Quakers, and the grievous vexations, to which they were liable both in Britain, and in Pennsylvania, through so long a space of time, yet clinging pertinaciously to their views, GERARD CROESE’S[1] relates in three books.  In order to understand the history and doctrine of the Quakers, it would not at all be displeasing to add WEISMANN’S Historiam Ecclesiasticam, Century XVII, § XIX, part 2, pages 567-598; likewise BUDDEUS’ Isagogen ad Theologiam universam, book II, chapter VII, § 10, tome 2, pages 1376-1377.  Consult also HARTNACK’S Continuationem Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ Micrælii, part 2, article VII, pages 1498-1561, in which also he relates as the doctrines of the Quakers, and proves out of their own writings:  1.  Not only formerly, but even to the present day are given Revelations of the Holy Spirit, immediate and internal, which not only subjectively illuminate the minds of men, but also objectively set forth Theological truths to the mind.  2.  By benefit of these the Gentile Philosophers also in their own mind not only perceived the weakness of the faculty of cognition; but were also helped by this light of Revelations, so that they might in turn set up their lives according to the dictates of right reason and be saved.  3.  The reading of Sacred Scripture begets faith only as applied to fables or parrots:  the internal Word of the Spirit alone renders that firm.  4.  Therefore, not Sacred Scripture, which requires the testimony of the Holy Spirit to furnish divine faith in it; but that internal Word of the Holy Spirit is the first and primary principium of faith, and so Sacred Scriputre is secondary at least.  5.  Not the Sacred Scripture, which only teaches general things:  but the internal Word of the Spirit is the norm as to what is to be thought concerning this or that question, and is the rule as to what is to be done in this or that case.  6.  The Sacred Scripture does not at all pertain to all the faithful, but it is altogether ambiguous in matters of faith; however, the internal Word of the Holy Spirit is common to all, and it frees us from all difficulties.  7.  Therefore, for the Interpretation of that, neither the inspection of the original text, nor the consideration of the connection of the parts, and hence neither the study of Languages and arts, accomplishes anything; but those things rather obscure its true sense and complicates things evident.  But the safest method of interpretation is the internal light and dictate of the Holy Spirit, who abundantly furnishes all these.  With respect to these more recent Enthusiasts WALCH’S Miscellanea Sacra, book I, Exercitation VI, § 12, pages 157-159 is also able to be considered.  Concerning Enthusiasm and Fanaticism, and the difference between them, read BUDDEUS’ general discussion, Theologiæ Moralis, part I, chapter I, section V, § 17-23, pages 176-186.

[1] Gerard Croese (1642-1710) was a Dutch pastor and theologian.  He wrote Historiam Quakerianam.

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