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Change and Continuity in Quaker Rhetoric after 1660

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Change and Continuity in Quaker Rhetoric after 1660

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This study explores what happens to the radical aspects of the Quaker movement from the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 to 1700. How much of a change or indeed continuity was there in Quaker practices and missionary activity? Using several machine-readable corpora, eschatological prophecy material is interrogated to uncover potential changes of focus and rhetoric. Findings from exhortatory discursive discourses in the 1650s and 1660s are compared to a range of Quaker texts published in the later years of the century, specifically through the lens of “repent” language and other speech acts of warning and persuading. Diachronic comparisons of key lexis are analysed to uncover elements of change and continuity. The article concludes that after the 1660s, far from withering away, Quaker writing continued to include eschatological tracts and pamphlets, but these genre types sit alongside both the burgeoning collection of fierce doctrinal dispute material and more restrained treatises defending important principles and practices of Quaker faith.
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religions
Article
Change and Continuity in Quaker Rhetoric after 1660
Judith Roads


Citation: Roads, Judith. 2021.
Change and Continuity in Quaker
Rhetoric after 1660 . Religions 12: 168.
https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030168
Academic Editor: Jaime
Vázquez Allegue
Received: 16 February 2021
Accepted: 3 March 2021
Published: 5 March 2021
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4.0/).
Formerly Department of English, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; jroads64@gmail.com
Spellings of original extracts are preserved. Key language items in the original extracts are highlighted in bold,
and phrases or “clusters“ of linguistic interest are shown underlined.
Abstract:
This study explores what happens to the radical aspects of the Quaker movement from the
restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 to 1700. How much of a change or indeed continuity was there
in Quaker practices and missionary activity? Using several machine-readable corpora, eschatological
prophecy material is interrogated to uncover potential changes of focus and rhetoric. Findings from
exhortatory discursive discourses in the 1650s and 1660s are compared to a range of Quaker texts
published in the later years of the century, specifically through the lens of “repent” language and
other speech acts of warning and persuading. Diachronic comparisons of key lexis are analysed
to uncover elements of change and continuity. The article concludes that after the 1660s, far from
withering away, Quaker writing continued to include eschatological tracts and pamphlets, but these
genre types sit alongside both the burgeoning collection of fierce doctrinal dispute material and more
restrained treatises defending important principles and practices of Quaker faith.
Keywords:
Quakerism; principles and practice; post-restoration changes; corpora; speech acts;
distinctive language; eschatology
1. Introduction
“It is fact”, writes Moore (2018, p. 169), “that [seventeenth-century] Quakerism
changed over the years”. Quakerism in the British Isles as a developing dissenting move-
ment in the mid-century has been extensively studied; however, less scholarly attention
has been paid until recently to what happened when the early fervour began to wane.
Gill (2017, p. 448)
recent study maps important changes in emphasis of Quaker thought in
her literary approach of evaluating key material. My own starting point for this corpus-
based article is to explore what did change, based on the written evidence of a wide range
of published material, comprising both key texts and little-read pamphlets. I narrow that
down further to focus on just two aspects of Quakerism from the post-restoration period
up to the end of the century: namely, the quantity and variety of eschatological prophecy
discourse, and distinctive Quaker lexical terminology employed by second generation
authors compared to that of the initial years in the 1650s. The analytical approach used
for the empirical investigation is corpus-based but also includes qualitative findings. I
explore a wide range of texts to bring to light relevant internal evidence. My findings show
that contrary to over-simplified assertions or implications by some earlier historians that
controversial Quaker activity withdraws from public life, the findings presented in this
paper are that the prophetic, the polemical and the inward-looking strands continue vigor-
ously, at least to the end of the seventeenth century. (See Ingle 1987 for a historiographical
account of previous scholarship into early Quakerism, and how little the later decades of
the century are considered.)
Quakerism sits alongside a variety of conventional and radical dissenting Protes-
tantism in England and in mainland Europe. (Smith 1989, p. 345) draws clear comparisons
with early Quaker and other contemporary groups during that heady twenty years leading
up to the Restoration. He agrees that this moment was not the watershed it is often taken
to be, and certainly not in the history of Quakerism. He notes that “forms of expression
Religions 2021,12, 168. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030168 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions
Religions 2021,12, 168 2 of 15
develop and change” and goes to on to explain that this sense of growth in Quakerism
owed its strength to new organizational structures established in the 1670s and 1680s.
Smith also discusses the dissenters’ (including Quakers) profound threat to social and
political authority in the interregnum years. This too remains the case for Quakers after
1660, in spite of the so-called Peace Testimony (1660)—a declaration to the new monarch
Charles II. There is a wealth of literature on the Quakers’ enduring witness to demands
for liberty of conscience, objections to tithing, to swearing allegiance on the Bible, and to
church sacraments, (see also Allen 2018, pp. 82–83).
Quaker language, a central issue in the present study, was studied from the very start
by seventeenth-century Quakers themselves. For example, here is James Parnell writing
in 1655:
First, concerning the word thou or thee, which all those which are their Priests
and Teachers knows, that thouis the proper word to one particular person, and is
so all along the Scriptures throughout to any one, without respect of persons; yea
to God himselfe; and the word you is the proper word to more then one, but not
to one; and so it is all along the Scriptures throughout. (Parnell 1655)
The twentieth century saw a revived interest in usage beginning with Harvey (1928).
A Quaker amateur historian, he was possibly the first in modern times to set out the
peculiarities of Quaker speech (or “plain language”). For instance, like Parnell above, he
examines their usage concerning “respecter of persons” (thou to one person and you/ye
to many regardless of relative social status), rejection of titles or honorifics, and plain
names for days of the week and months. Braithwaite summarises the topic in his major
work on early Quakerism (Braithwaite 1955, pp. 139–40) and Jones reviews the custom
as it continued into the eighteenth century (Jones 1921, pp. 171–75). Cope (1956) detailed
stylistic study goes deeper into typical aspects of Quaker prose style. He investigates the
metaphorical richness of Fox’s language for instance, and demonstrates how the literal and
the figurative blend and meld with each other, knitted together with a ragged syntax that
is unique and recognisably early Quaker in its style. The interest for Keeble (1995) is in
the writings of William Penn later in the century, and how he adapted his personal style
to accommodate the peculiarities of Quaker language. Bauman (1998, pp. 43–62) devotes
a complete chapter on Quaker plain speech; as a linguist he proved to be more specific
and scholarly than Harvey. These preoccupations remained with Quakers throughout
the century.
More recent times have seen many useful studies. I myself gratefully acknowledge
the carefully compiled glossary by Ambler (2007, pp. 150–71), based on Fox’s highly
original vocabulary set. For explorations into Quaker metaphor usage there is
Graves (2009)
important study on figurative language in Quaker sermons, and Kirkwood (2019) corpus-
based study on early Quaker theology and conceptual metaphor. For a fuller account of
seventeenth-century Quaker prose style, on which the present study is partly based, see
(Roads 2015).
Valuable work has been done on the theological aspects of Quaker principles and why
their practices were so different from other dissenting groups. This paper is not the place
to weigh up matters of doctrine as such although the basic tenets of the movement clearly
inform what follows and how that changes over the course of the half-century. Key works
in the field of Quaker apocalyptic theology are Gwyn (1986), and
Dandelion et al. (1998)
.
This latter volume looks at the letters of Paul, the experience of early Friends, and the
history of Quakerism through the lens of the Second Coming. All these writers offer key
insights on the fundamental Quaker position of “heaven on earth”, that is to say, that
there was no need to await Christ’s second coming, as Quakers proclaimed that Christ had
always existed and available to all humanity. In Fox’s words: “Christ is come to teach his
people himself”. Barbour and Roberts (2004) provide a rich source of lengthy extracts from
early Quaker writings, accompanied by many original insights.
An important date for the present study is 1673, the year when the revision committee
for vetting proposed publications by Quakers, known as the Second Day Morning Meeting,
Religions 2021,12, 168 3 of 15
was established. Hall (1992) provides a very readable account for the historical description
of this committee. I explain below why in my view the group probably had an effect
on the style and content of writing, although this cannot be verified. The minutes of the
committee do record some submissions that were rejected but that is not the whole story.
Moore concludes that “a slow shift was going on.” (Moore 2018, p. 167). Looking wider
than specifically Quaker writings, Aune’s 1991 study of prophetic discourse enables readers
to understand where the Quaker forms of prophetic rhetoric originated, including “woe”
prophecy found originally in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The present study has an interdisciplinary framework and necessarily draws on
studies from different academic fields. The corpus-assisted linguistic approach for analysis
will need a word of explanation. That comes in the next section, in which the collected texts
used as datasets and the rationale for the notion of “representativeness” are introduced.
The article is organized as follows: Comparisons of early and second period prophetic
discourse are made, namely pre- and post-1673 for present purposes. These are inspected
for the occurrence and distribution of “repent” rhetoric and analysed through the speech
acts of warning and exhorting. The analysis is completed with an inspection of which
audiences were being addressed at different periods in the timeframe. The second part
of the study inspects certain key Quaker words and phrases in context and frequency
to see which ones increase or decrease over time, and to try to interpret the reasons for
change or continuity. A central finding based on the corpus evidence is that this later
period of Quakerism produces three discursive strands of text type: (i) the continuation
of eschatological prophetic writing even after the filter of the Morning Meeting’s work,
(ii) doctrinal dispute texts—often focused on local squabbles and public controversy (see
Barbour and Roberts 2004, pp. 243–350); and (iii) high-profile treatises by, for instance
Barclay or Penn, defending Quaker theological principles against, for instance, swearing of
oaths, and refuting fierce accusations of blasphemy. The disputes material and the treatises
are indeed well-documented, but the present study shows that the prophecy writing does
not disappear in the last thirty years of the century, as is sometimes suggested, it has merely
disappeared off the radar.
2. Materials and Methods
The data used for the present study come from a digital collection of Quaker-authored
texts which, viewed as an entity, comprise a representative corpus of early Quaker pub-
lished material, the Quaker Historical Corpus (2015). The principle of representative corpus
design holds that there needs to be a sufficient reach of the data (text types, author spread,
date range) as a basis for confidence in any findings. The theory is that these can be scaled
up to posit broad generalizations. This approach can supplement close reading of a few
important texts, and either confirms, disproves or extends understanding of the material. I
have drawn on several theoretical studies on corpus design, including (Sinclair 1991, p. 19;
Biber 1993, p. 252; Meyer 2002, p. 44; McEnery et al. 2006). All the texts in my study are
held at Friends House Library (RSoF) in London. From the 1670s onwards Quakers made
the decision to hold two copies of every item written by Friends, and one copy of every
item written against Friends (catalogued as “adverse”) Although some items are known
to be missing, nevertheless the Library can be said to contain substantially representative
holdings of early Quaker material (see also Littleboy 1921).
My confidence in claiming broad representativeness in this case comes from a compar-
ison across the date range with all the holdings in the Library, as Figure 1shows. There is
as wide a range of writers as possible—these include examples from the leading Quakers
of the time, but for the main part the material comes from many sources that are little read
today. More detail on my own corpus design is found in (Roads 2015).
For the present study I have subdivided the collection (total 645,550 words) into three
sub-corpora, named here as Q50s,Q60s and Q-post1673, the metrics are presented in
Table 1
below.
Religions 2021,12, 168 4 of 15
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 4 of 16
Quakers of the time, but for the main part the material comes from many sources that are
little read today. More detail on my own corpus design is found in (Roads 2015).
Figure 1. Holdings by date (year) of publication of all printed items in the catalogue of the Library
of the Religious Society of Friends, London compared with all items by date (year) of publication of
texts in the Quaker corpus.
For the present study I have subdivided the collection (total 645,550 words) into
three sub-corpora, named here as Q50s, Q60s and Q-post1673, the metrics are presented in
Table 1 below.
Table 1. Detailed metrics for the Quaker datasets used in the study.
Number of Texts Approx. Number of
Different Authors Total Word Size
Q50s
(1650–1659) 49 45 197,260
Q60s
(1660–1672) 57 52 221,660
Q-post1673
(1673–1699) 75 73 226,630
The rationale behind this array is to allow for comparative interrogations of the full
corpus. As the aim of the study is to compare what comes after 1660 with what had come
before, a cut-off point at the end of the unsettled period of the English Civil War and the
interregnum seemed prudent. The 1650s was a time when there was no government
censorship; however, texts published between 1660–1672 saw stringent government
censorship aimed at suppressing Quaker and other dissenting publication.
A word or two now about the simple corpus-based techniques referred to earlier.
The software package used for my own analysis, WordSmith Tools (Scott 2008), when
loaded with the texts can generate word lists sorted either alphabetically or in descend-
ing frequencies. Variant spellings can be accounted for. Concordance lines are generated
from a selected search word or phrase, showing immediate context to the left and to the
right, as illustrated in Figure 2. These too can be sorted in a variety of ways and are very
useful for showing up patterns of usage or collocations1 that might otherwise not be
apparent across large amounts of disparate material.
1
Definition of collocation: the habitual juxtaposition of a particular word or phrase with another word or words with a frequency
greater than chance. (OED).
Figure 1.
Holdings by date (year) of publication of all printed items in the catalogue of the Library of
the Religious Society of Friends, London compared with all items by date (year) of publication of
texts in the Quaker corpus.
Table 1. Detailed metrics for the Quaker datasets used in the study.
Number of Texts Approx. Number of
Different Authors Total Word Size
Q50s
(1650–1659) 49 45 197,260
Q60s
(1660–1672) 57 52 221,660
Q-post1673
(1673–1699) 75 73 226,630
The rationale behind this array is to allow for comparative interrogations of the full
corpus. As the aim of the study is to compare what comes after 1660 with what had come
before, a cut-off point at the end of the unsettled period of the English Civil War and the
interregnum seemed prudent. The 1650s was a time when there was no government censor-
ship; however, texts published between 1660–1672 saw stringent government censorship
aimed at suppressing Quaker and other dissenting publication.
A word or two now about the simple corpus-based techniques referred to earlier. The
software package used for my own analysis, WordSmith Tools (Scott 2008), when loaded with
the texts can generate word lists sorted either alphabetically or in descending frequencies.
Variant spellings can be accounted for. Concordance lines are generated from a selected
search word or phrase, showing immediate context to the left and to the right, as illustrated
in Figure 2. These too can be sorted in a variety of ways and are very useful for showing
up patterns of usage or collocations
1
that might otherwise not be apparent across large
amounts of disparate material.
1
Definition of collocation: the habitual juxtaposition of a particular word or phrase with another word or words with a frequency greater than
chance. (OED).
Religions 2021,12, 168 5 of 15
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 5 of 16
Figure 2. Illustrative concordance lines for the node word false, sorted alphabetically by the first word to the right.
3. Results and Discussion
This section falls into two main parts: Quaker prophetic discourse and how changes
and continuity can be tracked over the later decades of the century, and then an exami-
nation by corpus methods of some distinctive Quaker words and phrases to measure
usage changes and continuity.
3.1. Prophetic Discourse
Before presenting the findings, some brief background notes on prophecy as a
text-type, and some relevant explanation of speech act theory are necessary. Much has
been written concerning Christian prophecy writing, starting with the Old Testament
books and on into the later prophetic writings found in the New Testament. Sweeney
(1996, pp. 18–30) for example, finds at least seventeen forms of prophecy, including
prophetic judgement, announcements of a sign or event, “woe” oracle, vision report and
proclamationof Christ’s coming. Smith (1989, pp. 29–103) is interested in the seven-
teenth-century revival of post-biblical variety of writings. All of the discourse forms:
narrative, predictive, procedural, exhortatory and expository (Clenenden 2003, p. 386)
are found in the Quaker writings. The present study is initially concerned with identify-
ing changes of lexical occurrence and style in the corpus; I return to the discourse rhetoric
later. Analysis was carried out through the lens of directive (that is, instruction-giving)
speech acts of warning and exhortation that underpin the this variety of prophetic dis-
course. Persuasive rhetoric, typical of Quaker eschatological expression, makes extensive
use of these speech acts (see Searle 1976, pp. 1–23; or Kohnen 2008 for more detail). Searle
and Vanderveken (2009) have made a study of this and similar discourse features. They
explain the theoretical principle of the prediction/prophecy rhetoric thus:
[Prophesy] has the illocutionary2 force of a prediction with an additional, par-
ticularly authoritative model of achievement. The latter has to do with the au-
thority of an oracle … of God or of divine revelation. The speaker presupposes
that he has good reasons for the belief to the point of certitude. (Searle and
Vanderveken 2009, p. 173)
Therefore, now to the corpus findings. I wanted to see how frequencies for three
characteristically eschatological lexical markers: day of the Lord, repent and woe found in
2 Illocutionary: an intended underlying sense.
NConcordance
1fals e Accusation; and demand of t hee to prove and the Gos pel; which we turn back upon thee, as a
2fals e Charge ; cons idering how they Dared us to , than Appear and Defend Our Selves, against their
3fals e Church, challenging a power to thems elves over Bag and Bottle ; and then thou tells a story of the
4fals e Doctrine, and that Women may Teach. In his the ordinary Preac hers are ignorant, and P reach
5fals e Doctrine, and that Women may Teach. In his the ordinary Preac hers are ignorant, and P reach
6fals e doctrines and principles, which prevailed in the as he has delivered our understandings from these
7fals e Prophets gone into the World; and if it were speaks of. And thou tells the Reader, there be many
8fals e Prophets and Deceivers had good words; for the hearts of the simple. So that it is evident thes e
9fals e Prophets , we grant it, and that they are to be . Answer. Th at Christs words here have a relation to
10 fals e Prophets , and withal wouldst insinuate as if the , he does so; but tellest us, it hath relat ion to
11 fals e tongue? And doth not this manifest more a puft once said, What shall be done unto thee, thou
12 fals e, towards the beginning of this Book; it mostly I have dis owned before, with a Certificate to prove it
13 fals e: whereas he only saith Minis ters in the plural he had said, All laboured, and then affirme st it's ver y
14 fals e witnesses agains t their Lord did not agree, disadvantage. From whenc e (as the testimony of the
15 fals e worships and foolish fashions of this world? But thus reasoning to keep us in the form s , fellowships ,
Figure 2. Illustrative concordance lines for the node word false, sorted alphabetically by the first word to the right.
3. Results and Discussion
This section falls into two main parts: Quaker prophetic discourse and how changes
and continuity can be tracked over the later decades of the century, and then an examination
by corpus methods of some distinctive Quaker words and phrases to measure usage
changes and continuity.
3.1. Prophetic Discourse
Before presenting the findings, some brief background notes on prophecy as a text-
type, and some relevant explanation of speech act theory are necessary. Much has been
written concerning Christian prophecy writing, starting with the Old Testament books and
on into the later prophetic writings found in the New Testament. Sweeney (1996, pp. 18–30)
for example, finds at least seventeen forms of prophecy, including prophetic judgement,
announcements of a sign or event, “woe” oracle, vision report and proclamationof Christ’s
coming. Smith (1989, pp. 29–103) is interested in the seventeenth-century revival of post-
biblical variety of writings. All of the discourse forms: narrative, predictive, procedural,
exhortatory and expository (Clenenden 2003, p. 386) are found in the Quaker writings.
The present study is initially concerned with identifying changes of lexical occurrence
and style in the corpus; I return to the discourse rhetoric later. Analysis was carried
out through the lens of directive (that is, instruction-giving) speech acts of warning and
exhortation that underpin the this variety of prophetic discourse. Persuasive rhetoric,
typical of Quaker eschatological expression, makes extensive use of these speech acts (see
Searle 1976, pp. 1–23; or Kohnen 2008 for more detail). Searle and Vanderveken (2009) have
made a study of this and similar discourse features. They explain the theoretical principle
of the prediction/prophecy rhetoric thus:
[Prophesy] has the illocutionary
2
force of a prediction with an additional, particu-
larly authoritative model of achievement. The latter has to do with the authority
of an oracle . . . of God or of divine revelation. The speaker presupposes that he
has good reasons for the belief to the point of certitude. (Searle and Vanderveken
2009, p. 173)
Therefore, now to the corpus findings. I wanted to see how frequencies for three
characteristically eschatological lexical markers: day of the Lord,repent and woe found in
2Illocutionary: an intended underlying sense.
Religions 2021,12, 168 6 of 15
the early sub-corpus (Q50s) might compare with any retrieved from later texts. Here are
context examples (1) to (3) from the early period up to 1660 (key phrases highlighted
in bold):
(1)
God will smite you with shame and contempt so that you shall become a reproach to
all that fears him.
The day of the Lord
shall come upon you as pain upon a woman
in travel; and that light within, which you have a much derided and cried against,
shall be kindled as a fire in your bowels. (Ambrose Rigge 1659).
(2)
God the righteous judge will render unto the wicked according to his works, then
shall the goods which ye heaped together by violence and oppression, torment you
. . .
who now do spend your time in ungodliness, and do make your hearts as adamant,
and harden your fore-heads as brass against the Lord, who hath given you a day to
repent in. (John Rouse 1656).
(3)
What do you [conventional Christians] profess? Do you profess the life of Christ and
cannot cease from sin, but plead for it term of life, as some of you do, and positively
maintain. Is this your profession? Then
wo
is your portion ye hypocrites, professing
one life, and living another. (Richard Bradly 1660).
I ran a comparison enquiry to ascertain relative distributions of the word repent
observed in the three Quaker sub-corpora listed in Table 1, plus two more sets: a collection
of texts by George Fox (covering the decades from 1655 to his death in 1691)—Fox was an
influential figure linguistically; and a small corpus comprising texts from six other leading
writers of the post-1673 era. Figure 3presents the results.
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 6 of 16
the early sub-corpus (Q50s) might compare with any retrieved from later texts. Here are
context examples (1) to (3) from the early period up to 1660 (key phrases highlighted in
bold):
(1) God will smite you with shame and contempt so that you shall become a reproach to
all that fears him. The day of the Lord shall come upon you as pain upon a woman
in travel; and that light within, which you have a much derided and cried against,
shall be kindled as a fire in your bowels. (Ambrose Rigge 1659).
(2) God the righteous judge will render unto the wicked according to his works, then
shall the goods which ye heaped together by violence and oppression, torment you
… who now do spend your time in ungodliness, and do make your hearts as ada-
mant, and harden your fore-heads as brass against the Lord, who hath given you a
day to repent in. (John Rouse 1656).
(3) What do you [conventional Christians] profess? Do you profess the life of Christ and
cannot cease from sin, but plead for it term of life, as some of you do, and positively
maintain. Is this your profession? Then wois your portion ye hypocrites, professing
one life, and living another. (Richard Bradly 1660).
I ran a comparison enquiry to ascertain relative distributions of the word repent ob-
served in the three Quaker sub-corpora listed in Table 1, plus two more sets: a collection
of texts by George Fox (covering the decades from 1655 to his death in 1691)—Fox was an
influential figure linguistically; and a small corpus comprising texts from six other lead-
ing writers of the post-1673 era. Figure 3 presents the results.
Figure 3. Frequencies for instances of repent across five corpora (per 100,000 words).
These results from the corpora indicate that the apocalyptic fervour of the 1650s
actually increased to some extent after the Restoration and, perhaps unexpectedly, ap-
pears to be maintained by many writers into the latter years of the century judging by the
figures from the first three sub-corpora. However, this seems not to be the case with Fox
and other major figures. Of the Six Leading Authors corpus sample: texts by Robert Bar-
clay, George Fox (specifically from the 1680s), Thomas Ellwood, William Penn and
George Whitehead, only two (Barclay and Ellwood) use the term, and both of them use it
only when quoting text from anti-Quaker writers or from biblical sources. None is in the
imperative form as is typically found in the main three sub-corpora. We are therefore
seeing two strands of discourse genre existing side by side at this time, and I suggest the
conventional view of a broad reduction in apocalyptic writing needs to be revisited. A
third strand, doctrinal disputes text-types, is not considered in the present study for
reasons of space. A picture of at least three types of discursive Quaker writing is therefore
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
50s 60s Q-post73 Fox
corpus
Six leading
authors
Figure 3. Frequencies for instances of repent across five corpora (per 100,000 words).
These results from the corpora indicate that the apocalyptic fervour of the 1650s
actually increased to some extent after the Restoration and, perhaps unexpectedly, appears
to be maintained by many writers into the latter years of the century judging by the figures
from the first three sub-corpora. However, this seems not to be the case with Fox and other
major figures. Of the Six Leading Authors corpus sample: texts by Robert Barclay, George
Fox (specifically from the 1680s), Thomas Ellwood, William Penn and George Whitehead,
only two (Barclay and Ellwood) use the term, and both of them use it only when quoting
text from anti-Quaker writers or from biblical sources. None is in the imperative form as
is typically found in the main three sub-corpora. We are therefore seeing two strands of
discourse genre existing side by side at this time, and I suggest the conventional view of
a broad reduction in apocalyptic writing needs to be revisited. A third strand, doctrinal
disputes text-types, is not considered in the present study for reasons of space. A picture
of at least three types of discursive Quaker writing is therefore emerging. The analysis
Religions 2021,12, 168 7 of 15
presented in the second part of the present study provides more detail to help understand
the nature of the changing trends.
The findings for the term repent are matched by a diachronic reduction in warn-
ing declaratives found after the conditional subordinators: lest,
except thou/you/ye + verb
,
if +thou/you/ye + verb + not
, or
unless thou/you/ye + verb
clauses. In summary 100 instances
are observed in the pre-1673 sub-corpus compared with 64 in the post-1673 dataset. Yes, a
reduction is seen over the full half-century but the exhortatory discourse has by no means
disappeared. These quantitative results from the corpora are a good indication of the
continued existence of such exhortatory published discourse. Warnings typically express
the hope that addressees will change their behaviour to avoid the wrath of God. Parke
writes this as late as 1692:
(4) O! that you would once come to hear & obey the Voice of the Lord, and his threatning
more Judgment and greater Calamity yet to come upon this City and Nation,
if
speedily
you do not Repent
, and turn to God, from all your Transgressions and
horrible Abominations
. . .
Be ye all assured, that the Judgments come and threatned
are not intended or sent where they come, that any should sleight or disregard them
but seriously to consider them as so many Warnings from God, to the Wicked, for
them to beware and take heed how they continue any longer in Sin, Rebellion and
hard Heartedness against the Lord,
lest
sudden Destruction come upon you, that you
will not be able to escape or flee from. (James Parke 1692)
Observed occurrences of the phrase redolent of apocalypticfervour
the day of the Lord
show similar values across the three sub-corpora. We can see therefore that there is evidence
for the continuation of “warning” focus used by many Quaker writers, even after 1673, the
watershed year in respect of the present study. We move therefore now to a consideration
of some possible effects of the Morning Meeting’s work.
It is thought by many scholars that fewer exhortatory texts and more experiential
proclamation, declaration and testimony ones were published in the last twenty-five years
or so of the century. Moore estimates a steady stream of twenty or so publications a year
vetted by the Morning Meeting (Moore 2018, p. 167). There is certainly an increase in works
of spiritual counsel or personal narrative. Hall (1992) reports on changes wrought, some
contemporaries regarding it as censoring: “filtering out the irrational, fanatical, repetitive,
illiterate or untruthful from the varied manuscripts submitted” (Hall 1992, pp. 62, 82).
Indeed, not all who wanted to publish were accepted, as the minutes show. Even George
Fox was surprised to have an article rejected, and the moreoutlandish texts no longer
carried the movement’s approval. Moore (2000) categorised the fundamental nature of the
revision committee’s work as:
A reduction in the stridency of tone
. . .
the Quaker movement changed from
being one of the most radical of the sects
. . .
and became an introverted body,
primarily concerned with its own internal life. (Moore 2000, p. 214).
O’Malley (1982, p. 84) is convinced of the Meeting’s effectiveness in effecting change,
noting that many reasons for rejection of manuscripts displayed “an overwhelming concern
with uniformity and caution”. The corpus evidence shows nevertheless that the Meeting’s
effective suppression should not be taken for granted. My study on the development of
Quaker style from “incantational to catechetical” adds to the evidence of a move to a new
prophetic style in the final years of the century (Roads 2014).
The final piece of evidence for change in prophetic writing is derived from an analysis
of the groups or individuals for which the Quaker publications were intended.
Table 2
shows the change of expected readership over the half-century. There is a clear drop
in addresses to the government or judicial authorities in later years (from almost half
to a mere 12%), and an increase in printed material—often in the form of open letters
(Green 2000, p. 411)
—to over 50% destined for fellow Quakers, and possibly dissident
Quakers. Even taking into account the inevitably incomplete set of items that have come
down to us today, this is good evidence of a shift of rhetorical purpose.
Religions 2021,12, 168 8 of 15
Table 2. Changes in potential addressees desired by Quaker authors.
Q50s & Q60s: Addressees Q-Post1673: Addressees
Government (Parliament or
Monarch) 45% 12%
General public 32% 27%
Quakers (internal publication) 10% 54%
Government & Quakers
(“all inhabitants”) 13% 7%
I suggest therefore that prophetic discourse material was still being produced and
passed by the Morning Meeting in the second period, but the serious books by Barclay,
Penn, Whitehead and others were conceived in a different genre altogether, and this
increase in treatises and dispute texts does alter the balance of what is being published.
This analysis is merely a snapshot of what was being written in the later decades of the
century and the simple searches on a few lexical items possibly over-simplify the matter.
Nevertheless, we are starting to have a clearer understanding of the variation in rhetorical
purpose and expression, as well as a broadening of intended readership, during this time
of unstoppable Quaker publishing.
3.2. Distinctive Quaker Lexical Terms
This section offers a new approach to detecting change over the decades we are
focusing on of both frequency and usage of certain terms, along with their underlying
discourse purposes. Candidate examples are: conscience(s), convincement,
day of the Lord
,
inward, leadings, light,
of God in
,spirit(s), testimony, truth, wait/-ing, within, witness. I set out
as a table figures showing normed figures for each item in the Q50s&Q60s sub-corpus in
comparison to those for the later Q-post1673 corpus. The findings are offered in two ways:
as a table (Table 3) and in graphic form (Figure 4) so as to make clearer the basic frequency
comparisons.
Table 3.
Diachronic frequencies of key Quaker language items between 1650–1699, normed per
100,000 words.
Lexical Item Q50s & Q60s Q-Post73
light 356 186
spirit(s) 287 301
truth 179 195
witness 163 74
conscience(s) 118 63
within 68 36
testimony 51 89
wait/waiting 46 60
of God in 22 13
inward 20 28
convince/-ment 18 21
day of the Lord 12 10
leading(s) 6 7
The headline points to notice from these findings: a reduction over time in the occur-
rence of light; a slight increase in the that of both spirit(s) and truth, and a more interesting
increase in occurrences of testimony. What more can the figures tell us? In the next part
of the enquiry I drill down into the contexts to discover. The items are sub-divided into
four groups:
Words for divinity;
Belief in “that of God”;
Worship concepts;
Religions 2021,12, 168 9 of 15
Action and exhortation.
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 9 of 16
Figure 4. The findings from Table 3 presented as a histogram.
The headline points to notice from these findings: a reduction over time in the oc-
currence of light; a slight increase in the that of both spirit(s) and truth, and a more inter-
esting increase in occurrences of testimony. What more can the figures tell us? In the next
part of the enquiry I drill down into the contexts to discover. The items are sub-divided
into four groups:
Words for divinity;
Belief in “that of God”;
Worship concepts;
Action and exhortation.
Words for divinity: light, spirit, truth.
Light. This item shows little diachronic change of use from the earlier Quaker period. The
reduced frequencies may indicate a slight readiness to prefer other near-synonyms for
God/Christ at this time, as the figures for spirit and truth show. The contexts for light in
Q-post73 set tend to be works of spiritual counsel, often contrasting light with darkness
and frequently quoting from the Bible (especially John 1.5). There is an increase in the
first person pronoun use (I, my) indicating personal experience narratives. These start to
replace the former more strident apocalyptic discourse. Example (5) illustrates the word
in a published epistle, incorporated into a call to the Quaker community, addressed di-
rectly.
(5) Praises to the Lord our God over all, who is adding to his Church daily, such as shall
be saved; therefore ye Children of the Light and of the Day of God's Love, keep
your Lamps trimmed, and furnished with the heavenly Oil, that you may enter in
with the Bridegroom into the marriage Chamber, when the foolish are shut out.
(Theophila Townsend 1690)
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
Q50s &
60s
Q-post73
Figure 4. The findings from Table 3presented as a histogram.
Words for divinity: light, spirit, truth.
Light. This item shows little diachronic change of use from the earlier Quaker period. The
reduced frequencies may indicate a slight readiness to prefer other near-synonyms for
God/Christ at this time, as the figures for spirit and truth show. The contexts for light in
Q-post73 set tend to be works of spiritual counsel, often contrasting light with darkness
and frequently quoting from the Bible (especially John 1.5). There is an increase in the
first person pronoun use (I, my) indicating personal experience narratives. These start to
replace the former more strident apocalyptic discourse. Example (5) illustrates the word in
a published epistle, incorporated into a call to the Quaker community, addressed directly.
(5)
Praises to the Lord our God over all, who is adding to his Church daily, such as shall
be saved; therefore ye
Children of the Light
and of the Day of God’s Love, keep your
Lamps trimmed, and furnished with the heavenly Oil, that you may enter in with the
Bridegroom into the marriage Chamber, when the foolish are shut out. (Theophila
Townsend 1690)
Spirit(s). Most instances are in the singular, although approximately 8% are plural in form:
spirits. The wide range of negatively loaded adjectives show the reproving flavour of
many of the texts. The increasing prevalence of polemic publications is responsible for
some of the negativity. Common adjectives collocating with spirit are: adulterated, deceitful,
lying, obstinate, peevish, persecuting, prejudicial, viperous, wicked and unruly. To restore the
balance, here is a selection of the positively loaded collocations: blessed, chaste, Christian,
contrite, cordial, eternal, excellent, good, holy, infallible. Example (6) is addressed to Friends in
New-England that Browne is admonishing. The concept of being “led by the spirit” is a
Quakerly one but in his view their behaviour is guided by a bad spirit, not the true spirit
of God.
Religions 2021,12, 168 10 of 15
(6)
This
. . .
have I written unto you in true Love to your Souls, not knowing at present
whether ever I may see your Faces, yea or nay; so bidding you farewel, I rest, who
am a true Lover of your Souls, but do hate that
persecuting spirit
by which you have
been led. (John Browne 1678)
Truth. This item seems to be on the increase in the later period, often found in phrases such
as
the spirit of truth
or
the way of truth
. There appears to be no functional distinction between
truth and the truth at this time. Bauman states that for seventeenth-century Quakers: Truth
tended to be the term of choice in referring to the true, valid (Quaker) religious way in its
outward, communicable aspect.” (Bauman 1998, p.26) Certainly there is a sense in which
truth is expressed as a tangible entity that Friends carried about with them and consulted.
Figure 5below shows a few selected instances which give a flavour of this idea. The
appellation Friends of Truth (line 4) by which Quakers referred to themselves was becoming
more frequent during the post-1673 period.
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 10 of 16
Spirit(s). Most instances are in the singular, although approximately 8% are plural in
form: spirits. The wide range of negatively loaded adjectives show the reproving flavour
of many of the texts. The increasing prevalence of polemic publications is responsible for
some of the negativity. Common adjectives collocating with spirit are: adulterated, deceit-
ful, lying, obstinate, peevish, persecuting, prejudicial, viperous, wicked and unruly. To restore
the balance, here is a selection of the positively loaded collocations: blessed, chaste, Chris-
tian, contrite, cordial, eternal, excellent, good, holy, infallible. Example (6) is addressed to
Friends in New-England that Browne is admonishing. The concept of being “led by the
spirit” is a Quakerly one but in his view their behaviour is guided by a bad spirit, not the
true spirit of God.
(6) This … have I written unto you in true Love to your Souls, not knowing at present
whether ever I may see your Faces, yea or nay; so bidding you farewel, I rest, who
am a true Lover of your Souls, but do hate that persecuting spirit by which you
have been led. (John Browne 1678)
Truth. This item seems to be on the increase in the later period, often found in phrases
such as the spirit of truthor the way of truth. There appears to be no functional distinction
between truth and the truth at this time. Bauman states that for seventeenth-century
Quakers: “Truth tended to be the term of choice in referring to the true, valid (Quaker)
religious way in its outward, communicable aspect.” (Bauman 1998, p.26) Certainly there
is a sense in which truth is expressed as a tangible entity that Friends carried about with
them and consulted. Figure 5 below shows a few selected instances which give a flavour
of this idea. The appellation Friends of Truth (line 4) by which Quakers referred to them-
selves was becoming more frequent during the post-1673 period.
Figure 5. Selected concordance lines sorted by 1st and 2nd words to the left of (the) truth.
Belief in: “that of God”: conscience, convince, of God in, witness.
Conscience and of God in (+conscience). These items have been grouped together as a ref-
erence to the inwardness and accessibility of God/Christ, as experienced by Quakers. By
the last thirty years of the century authors were increasingly focusing on other ways of
describing their sense of the divine. There is no obvious reason why the term conscience
decreases in frequency in the later corpus. Two phrases remain particularly frequent: for
conscience sake and liberty of conscience; these indicate that the campaigning element in the
texts is still ongoing (and we know this continues into later centuries specifically with
NConcordance
1of the Truth amongst the Heritage of the Almighty. Before abide among many Brethren, becaus e of her great Care
2of the Trut h, and Faithful Followers of Chris t Jes us: Wo, the Upright and the Just, who have been and are Doers
3of Tru t h, when some Friends rode through the County and to befrind them ; and in the beginning of breaking forth
4of Tru t h and People of the Lord in this our Age, to whom I .16.13.) to belye, slander, and mis-represent the Friends
5of the Trut h, by unequally yoaking themselves, and going marriage, wherein many have gone from the pure leadings
6of Tru t h, by the Ins pirat ion of the same Holy Spirit that of those Blessed Sayings Recorded in the Scriptures
7of Tru t h, for which it is given forth, By your Friends in the in the Wisdom of God, where occasion is, for the Service
8of Tru t h , which is the Light within, with which he hath in Spirit & in Trut h; and until People turn to the Spirit
9of Tru t h, and kept about eight years in Prison, at which know, if I had not been taken a Prisoner for the Testimony
10 truth which we profess and defend seeks no favour at your , or will not understand it by word of mouth. Thi s
11 of Tru t h, and have all a-long come to Friends Meetings ; or of the Trut h, and have been Educated in the way
12 of Tru t h in her own heart: And with this Testimony she faithful to the Power of the Lord, nor witnes sed the Work
Figure 5. Selected concordance lines sorted by 1st and 2nd words to the left of (the) truth.
Belief in: “that of God”: conscience, convince, of God in, witness.
Conscience and
of God in
(+conscience). These items have been grouped together as a refer-
ence to the inwardness and accessibility of God/Christ, as experienced by Quakers. By
the last thirty years of the century authors were increasingly focusing on other ways of
describing their sense of the divine. There is no obvious reason why the term conscience
decreases in frequency in the later corpus. Two phrases remain particularly frequent:
for conscience sake
and
liberty of conscience
; these indicate that the campaigning element in
the texts is still ongoing (and we know this continues into later centuries specifically with
regard to tithing). Perhaps the release from prison after the 1689 Toleration Act reduced the
intensity of Friends’ zeal. Commonly collocating with conscience are the personal pronouns
my, thy, our, their. The inference here is that spiritual matters are becoming more individual
and personal. The phrase
light in +x + conscience(s)
(something of a Quaker slogan during
the earliest period) only occurs eight times in my post-1673 texts. Open letters were still
tending to be concluded with the dismissive phrase I have
cleared my conscience
by way of
absolving responsibility for the perceived spiritual darkness in the addressee(s).
Convince(-ment) andwitness. The headword convince occurs frequently throughout early
Quaker writings. This term should not be confused with conversion—the stage that Quakers
expected after initial convincement. However, conversion is very infrequent in the corpus,
Religions 2021,12, 168 11 of 15
only found 7 times compared to nearly 150 for convince, and only used by four of the
corpus writers. Isaac Penington (1661) refers to conversion in his Catechism: ‘What is most
necessary for a man to be vigilant in, that desires to have the work of conversion go on in
his heart?’. The decrease in occurrences for both convince(-ment) and witness at this time
may reflect a reduction in the zeal for repentance and change that so epitomized the early
years. The term witness (noun and verb forms) seems to be being replaced by testimony. In
example (7), John Danks’sTestimony is perhaps a sign of the times to come; he is calling on
those who were convinced in the past but have now moved away from that conviction and
“have erred”.
(7)
And now in the sence of the springings up of the love of God in my soule, do I call
unto all you males and females, who
have been convinced,
and have believed the
truth as it is in Jesus and have been put to flight, either in the winter season or on
the sabbath day, and have erred and gone astray from the way of the Lord. (John
Danks 1680)
Worship concepts: inward, wait, within.
Of these, the only diachronic change is an increase in the occurrence of wait (all word
forms), although inward (as opposed to outward) and within are folded into the sense of
waiting. Figure 6shows a few selected instances; meanings are revealed through inspection
of the particles (for, in, to, [up]on) that follow the central lexeme wait:
wait for answers the question “who?” or “what?” (line 2)
wait in answers the question “how?” or “where?” (lines 3–5)
wait to + infinitive verb answers the question “why?” (line 7)
wait [up]on seems to indicate the sense of giving service (lines 8–9)
(such as in the semantic area of waiting at table).
Religions 2021, 12, x FOR PEER REVIEW 11 of 16
regard to tithing). Perhaps the release from prison after the 1689 Toleration Act reduced
the intensity of Friends’ zeal. Commonly collocating with conscience are the personal
pronouns my, thy, our, their. The inference here is that spiritual matters are becoming
more individual and personal. The phrase light in +x + conscience(s) (something of a
Quaker slogan during the earliest period) only occurs eight times in my post-1673 texts.
Open letters were still tending to be concluded with the dismissive phrase I have cleared
my conscience by way of absolving responsibility for the perceived spiritual darkness in
the addressee(s).
Convince(-ment) andwitness. The headword convince occurs frequently throughout early
Quaker writings. This term should not be confused with conversion—the stage that
Quakers expected after initial convincement. However, conversion is very infrequent in
the corpus, only found 7 times compared to nearly 150 for convince, and only used by four
of the corpus writers. Isaac Penington (1661) refers to conversion in his Catechism: ‘What is
most necessary for a man to be vigilant in, that desires to have the work of conversion go
on in his heart?’. The decrease in occurrences for both convince(-ment) and witness at this
time may reflect a reduction in the zeal for repentance and change that so epitomized the
early years. The term witness (noun and verb forms) seems to be being replaced by testi-
mony. In example (7), John Danks’sTestimony is perhaps a sign of the times to come; he is
calling on those who were convinced in the past but have now moved away from that
conviction and “have erred”.
(7) And now in the sence of the springings up of the love of God in my soule, do I call
unto all you males and females, who have been convinced, and have believed the
truth as it is in Jesus and have been put to flight, either in the winter season or on the
sabbath day, and have erred and gone astray from the way of the Lord. (John Danks
1680)
Worship concepts: inward, wait, within.
Of these, the only diachronic change is an increase in the occurrence of wait (all word
forms), although inward (as opposed to outward) and within are folded into the sense of
waiting. Figure 6 shows a few selected instances; meanings are revealed through inspec-
tion of the particles (for, in, to, [up]on) that follow the central lexeme wait:
wait for answers the question “who?” or “what?” (line 2)
wait in answers the question “how?” or “where?” (lines 3–5)
wait to + infinitive verb answers the question “why?” (line 7)
wait [up]on seems to indicate the sense of giving service (lines 8–9)
(such as in the semantic area of waiting at table).
Figure 6. Selected concordance lines for wait, sorted by 1st word to the right.
NConcordance
1Wait and Obey. Oh! Glorious are the Beams revealed in you is the Way in which you must
2wait for the Lord's Teaching, who Teacheth . And Friends, we have all good cause to
3waiting in the Light I received; through which God and his blessed Power, which in my
4wait in the coolness and stilness of y our Followers : So if you want Counsel, you may
5wait in true s ilence, ceasing from our own the Remedy where the Dis ease is; and as we
6Waiters in true Silence for their Lord's Comingover you, but like Good Servants and Diligent
7wait to feel him lead you by the Rivers of him, keep your Habitations wit h him, and all
8Wait upon t he Lord in your Spirits ; for the . That you Be all Diligent to Meet Together to
9wait upon God, to Wors hip him in the Prison, them t hat fear him. And when sat together to
10 Wait wit h Retired Minds on the Lord, that y ou All Watch; So Friends, be ye Watchful; and
Figure 6. Selected concordance lines for wait, sorted by 1st word to the right.
I interpret this increased interest in the practice of silent waiting as indicative of the
new development that was emerging in the Quaker movement, namely to adopt a more
mystical and inward-turning practice. The act of extended “waiting” as Quakers did in
worship, was to become aware of the inward presence of Christ, always available. The
“waiting” led faithful Quakers to “finding” God in the silence.
Action and exhortation: day of the Lord, leadings, testimony.
Day of the Lord
. This appears on the surface to be part of the apocalyptic rhetoric, but on
inspection the contexts show that the items are often framed in the past tense. Four texts
are “Testimonies” (a type of obituary) and refer in the past tense to the lives of specific
Friends (Mace 2020); see also the commentary on testimony below. The eschatological
instances also often refer in the texts to younger years in an individual’s life and thus
Religions 2021,12, 168 12 of 15
located during a period of greater fervour. These
day of the Lord
cases turn out not to be
“action” language, and therefore after analysis should be re-assigned to another category.
Surface-level frequency findings are not always trustworthy in themselves.
Leadings. There is no increase in the usage of this word compared to earlier years. It is a
key Quaker term and indicates the link between learning through the inward spirit and
then taking action following the guidance. Phrases include
leadings of the spirit
(of truth)/of
inward guidings and leadings
. The concept is closely linked to testimony: the Quaker faith
in action.
Testimony. A much larger group than the other items in this category (over 200 examples
in the sub-corpus). The lexical item can be grouped under three categories: a) in the
sense of “witnessing by action”: testimony against—priests, oppression, the spirit of division,
sin, false reports, tale-bearers, gaming, popish observances, superstition, going to Militia. This
finding offers a snapshot of the political and social disruption that continued and grew
later in the century. b) The second category is the living or public testimony–declarations or
statements “for the Lord”. This text type refers either to spiritual prophesying in public
or socio-religious campaigning. The final sense, c), is a reference to spoken ministry in an
otherwise silent meeting for worship. This becomes more prevalent as local and regional
meetings become settled into worshipping communities. Many of the corpus texts have the
titles Testimony, Declaration, Proclamation as clear indication of their contents, see Figure 7.
Figure 7.
Lexical frequencies compared from three Quaker corpora: Q50s & Q60s, Q-post73 and
treatises (1673–1699).
The analytical approach adopted in the present study, through careful inspection
of key terminology and usage, has been able to track how Quaker thought and practice
evolved and continued across half a century based on the work of many different writers.
4. A View Froma Quaker Adversary
It is interesting to step outside the community of Quaker writers themselves and take
note of how some of their protestant adversaries saw their distinctive ways. Although this
is not corpus-based evidence as such, the glossary of Quaker language as understood by
the non-conformist minister John Faldo, writing in 1673 on the cusp of my two historical
periods, provides some insights into Quaker discursive material from the relatively conven-
tional wing of restoration Christianity. The text is included in the Q-post73 sub-corpus. See
also Manning (2009, p.35) for more background discussion on Faldo and the anti-Quaker
polemic of the period. By the time of the second period many of those expressed their
objections to, as they saw it, Quaker misuse of conventional religious language. Let us
compare the terms and phrases analysed above with how Faldo understands them.He
Religions 2021,12, 168 13 of 15
introduces his admittedly painstaking descriptions of “A key for the understanding their
sense of their [Quakers’] many usurped and unintelligible words and phrases, to most
readers” with a disclaimer:
There is not any thing in the Quakers Method of deluding which doth more tend
to the insnaring of unwary Souls than their asserting their false, Antichristian,
and Anti-Scriptural Tenets, under Scripture-Words and Phrases, and in those
very Terms wherein are expressed the Truths of God; while in the mean time
they mean nothing less than their true import, and what People (who are not
well acquainted with their Tenets) suppose them to mean. By this Artifice they
beget a good Opinion of themselves and Errours with too many, and by degrees
so vitiate their Principles that in a short time they are prepared to embrace the
grossest errors bare-faced. (Faldo 1673)
Below is a selection of his glossary, Table 4most items relating well to the Quaker
terms just reviewed above. The only words or phrases specifically not included are: wait,
inward, within,
that of God
. From someone who vehemently objected to the Quakers it is a
very fair list, although larded with many pejorative comments.
Table 4. Extract from Faldo (1673, pp. 184–200).
Day of the Lord Sin being judged in the conscience by the light within in this life. The inward judgings and
terrours by the light Christ within, and that in this world.
Leadings in Spirit The motions of the light within, immediate inspirations and teachings
Testifie to the light in the
Conscience Appealing or speaking to Christ the light within.
Bearing Testimony to the light Declaring for, and from the light within.
Witnessing to the Truth Declaring, or suffering for the light within, and its dictates.
We Witness We experience, we speak it from the testimony and feeling of the light and motions within.
Spirit of God
The light within every man, God the Father, Son, Holy Ghost, without distinction. (=that of God)
Conversion A full obedience to the light in the Conscience: a total freedom from the prevailing of any sin.
(Quakers themselves preferred the term convincement to conversion, in a rather different sense.)
Wait on the light Desisting from a search after Truth by any external means, and passively attending to the
motions and teachings within.
5. Polemic Texts and Treatises
Before drawing the threads together in some concluding remarks, I return to my
central claim. I suggest the representative corpora provide evidence for the continuity
of exhortatory prophetic writing but that there are two other discursive strands existing
alongside that: polemical dispute texts in the tradition of historical religious controversy,
and treatises, often in book-length form. This last rhetorical genre is more expository. A
simple corpus-based comparison between the lexis findings and a sample of the treatises
reveals more clearly the differences between the exhortatory and the expository texts.
Figure 7shows lexical findings in the later treatises compared to the earlier corpus datasets.
These are framed as expository text types, with different rhetorical aims than the
polemic or apocalyptic warning publications. The treatises are much less concerned with
the semantic material found in the exhortatory texts; the main item showing increased
frequency is truth. Overall, the differences in frequency are between the pre- and post-1673
periods; differences within the two later corpora are accounted for more by genre than
diachronicity. Clearly this points to the need for further research in uncovering more detail
about these two Quaker text types of the later period.
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6. Concluding Remarks
This article set itself the task of finding out what happened to discursive Quaker
writings after 1660. What changed, what continued and where was the radical fighting talk
of the earliest times of the Quaker movement? 1660 was chosen as a dividing point because
of the new political situation as things started to settle down socially, although not at all for
Friends. 1673 was a key date in the development of Quaker publications simply because
the Morning Meeting did its job of filtering the more extreme elements of the previous
outpouring of pamphlets, broadsides and books. There is nothing remarkable about the
year 1700 but an end point needs to be drawn somewhere.
The study has looked in new ways at the breadth of Quaker published writing, new
angles for material that has previously been well researched. The investigation described
here has led to evidence-based claims that the radical ideas and practices that were just
one part of the dissenting religious upheavals in the 1650s did not wither away during the
years of intense persecution. The zeal and the exhorting rhetoric changed somewhat in
style in the succeeding years, but the radical message remained and endured. It survived
alongside the intense and bitter doctrinal disputes between Quakers and their adversaries,
and these two exhortatory types of discourse were joined by treatise material that was
perhaps calmer and more measured as Friends sought to find their particular niche in the
social fabric. The treatises are still read and valued, and to some extent prove that they
alone have stood the test of time, whereas the more distinctively colourful and exhortatory
styles of writing have become rather neglected. However, they have not disappeared. The
missionary zeal of the end-of-century Friends still has its place in Quaker history.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board Statement: Not applicable.
Informed Consent Statement: Not applicable.
Data Availability Statement:
Quaker Historical corpus. Roads, Judith. 2015. Woodbrooke Quaker
Study Centre, Birmingham, UK. http://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/pages/quaker-historical-corpus.
html (accessed on 2 March 2021).
Conflicts of Interest: The author declares no conflict of interest.
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The purpose of this study is to explore how an interdisciplinary approach can benefit Quaker Studies. The paper applies conceptual Metaphor Theory to help explicate aspects of theology in 17th century Quaker writings. It uses a combination of close reading supported by a corpus of related texts to analyse the writing of 4 key figures from the first decade of the movement. Metaphor analysis finds that orientational schemas of UP-DOWN and IN-OUT are essential structural elements in the theological thought of all 4 writers, along with more complex metaphors of BUILDINGS. Quaker writers make novel extensions to and recombinations of Biblical metaphors around Light and Stones, as well as using aspects of the theory of Elements. Such analysis can help explicate nuances of theological meaning-making. The evaluation of DOWN IS GOOD and UP IS BAD-except in specific circumstances-is distinctively Quaker, and embodied metaphors of divine immanence in humans indicate a 'flipped' soteriology which is distanced from the Christ event.
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The Early Quakers, who liked to call themselves the First Publishers of Truth, swept from the north of England across the nations roughly between 1650 and 1675. And during this same quarter century what we have dubiously labelled “plain” style manifestly supplanted the highly-ornate, rhetorical tradition of English prose which had burgeoned in extravagances of Arcadian rhetoric and Euphuism to flower in the earlier seventeenth century's “Senecan amble.” Clearly, rhetorical analysis can tell us much about the skeletal structure of prose style even in the later years of the century, but it can no longer lay open the center of energy-informing expression, as it can in much earlier prose. The aim of this essay will be to discover those bedrock aspects of expression which are demonstrably homologous with the profoundest conception of life shared by the first Quakers, the most feared and fastest-growing sect of the later seventeenth century, as well as the religious body most neglected by modern students of prose form. The rise of the new “plain” prose has been attributed to the heightened philosophic interest in scepticism, with its pragmatic theories of action; to the intensified interest in empirical science which centered in the Royal Society; and to the rise of a semi-t educated bourgeoisie. But these decades in England's story were characterized most widely by continuous theological debate and exhortations So it would seem probable, granting the convergence of several streams of cause, that the peak swell on which the new prose tradition rode to dominance can most intelligibly be traced to an ultimately theological tide. The literature of early Quakerism is of unparalleled value in testing and illustrating this hypothesis because—with the incalculable human distance between George Fox and William Penn—this evangelistic group cut across all social and educational distinctions, even dimmed the dualism in the rôles of the sexes. Yet when the Quakers pour forth their heart's belief and hope, they do so again and again in the same modes of expression, modes only approximately and infrequently appearing in the sermons and tracts of non-Quaker contemporaries like Everard and Saltmarsh. These characteristics, explained by and explaining the earliest Quaker faith, I should like to call seventeenth-century Quaker style.
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H. Larry Ingle is professor of history, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 1. The debate is expertly reviewed in Melvin B. Endy, Jr., "The Interpretation of Quakerism: Rufus Jones and his Critics," Quaker History, 70(1981),3-21. See also Donald F. Durnbaugh, "Baptists and Quakers—Left Wing Puritans?", ibid., 62 (1973),67-82. 2. See Rufus M. Jones's "Introduction" in William C. Braithwaite, The Beginnings of Quakerism (London: Macmillan & Co., 1912), and Hugh Barbour, The Quakers in Puritan England (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964). 3. One historian counted 95 of the first Friends who served in the parliamentary armies, nearly half of them officers. Richard T. Vann, The Social Development of English Quakerism, 1655-1755 (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1969), 14. 4. Endy, 21. 5. Elizabth G. Vining, Friend of Life: The Biography of Rufus M. Jones (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1981), 72. An earlier Jones biographer says that Jones had already dreamed of relating Quakerism to mystical movements "before the birth of George Fox." See David Hinshaw, Rufus Jones: Master Quaker (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1951), 123-124 6. Rufus M. Jones, Studies in Mystical Religion(London: Macmillan & Co., 1923). 7. There is a bibliography of Jones's books in Harry E. Fosdick, ed., Rufus Jones Speaks to Our Time: An Anthology (New York: Macmillan Co., 1958), 287-289. As examples see Spiritual Reformers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London: Macmillan and Co., 1914), Mysticism and Democracy in the English Commonwealth (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1932), and The Flowering of Mysticism: the Friends of God in the Fourteenth Century (New York: Macmillan Co, 1939). 8. Geoffrey F. Nuttall, The Holy Spirit in Puritan Faith and Experience (Oxford: Blackwell, 1946), 13-14. 9. William C. Braithwaite, The Beginnings of Quakerism (York: William Sessions, Ltd., 1981; 2nd ed.), vii. 10. ibid., 544. A recent work, clearly meriting the high praise it has won, also places Quakerism squarely in the context of English religious thought. See Michael Watts, The Dissenters: From the Reformation to the French Revolution (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1985), 186-208. 11. William C. Braithwaite, The Second Period of Quakerism (York: William Sessions, Ltd., 1981; 2nd ed.), xxvii. In the same essay Tolles also attempted to convert Jones posthumously to the now-accepted wisdom by pointing out that in a speech prepared before his death he indicated that George Fox probably viewed the Inward Light as "a superadded bestowal of the Divine Spirit" rather than an inherent part of human nature. ibid., xxxiii-n. 12. Lewis Benson, Catholic Quakerism: A Vision for All Men (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1968), 8-9. It is ironic, to say the least, that this diligent Friend, who stressed the exclusiveness of the truth of Quakerism, refers to his position as "Catholic." 13. Such attacks, unleashed by the famous and infamous alike, beginning with John Bunyan, the Baptist author of Pilgrim's Progress, are relatively well known for the early periods of Quakerism, but not so widely known later on. For only one nineteenth century example, see the tome by Presbyterian (and former Quaker) Samuel H. Cox, Quakerism not Christianity; or, Reasons for Renouncing the Doctrine of Friends (New York: D. Fanshaw, 1833). On Cox and his anti-Quaker position see H. Larry Ingle, "Samuel Hanson Cox, Quakers and the Hicksite Separation", American Presbyterians: Journal of Presbyterian History, 64 (1986), 259-263. 14. I am indebted for these terms to William M. Lamont, Richard Baxter and the Millennium: Protestant Imperialism and the English Revolution (Totowa, N.J: Rowman and Littlefield, 1979),20-22. 15. Barbour, x. 16. ibid., 1-32. 17. ibid., 24-25 18. ibid., 25. 19. ibid., xi. In their introduction to an edition of early Quaker writings, Barbour and his co-editor made their sectarian intentions even more explicit: "to see early Quakerism in terms of personal and Christian experience and hence to tie it up on the one hand with traditional biblical doctrines, and on the other with insights from psychology and the descriptive sciences." Hugh Barbour and Arthur Roberts, eds., Early Quaker Writings, 1650-1700 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1973), 16n. 20. For...
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There are at least a dozen linguistically significant dimensions of differences between illocutionary acts. Of these, the most important are illocutionary point, direction of fit, and expressed psychological state. These three form the basis of a taxonomy of the fundamental classes of illocutionary acts. The five basic kinds of illocutionary acts are: representatives (or assertives), directives, commissives, expressives, and declarations. Each of these notions is defined. An earlier attempt at constructing a taxonomy by Austin is defective for several reasons, especially in its lack of clear criteria for distinguishing one kind of illocutionary force from another. Paradigm performative verbs in each of the five categories exhibit different syntactical properties. These are explained. (Speech acts, Austin's taxonomy, functions of speech, implications for ethnography and ethnology; English.)