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There must have been a large quantity of sterling coin, when there was such a circulation of counterfeit. In the best of the men of that period, there was, doubtless, a tincture of unscriptural enthusiasm, and the use of a phraseology revolting to the taste of modern time; in many, perhaps, there was nothing more; but, to infer, that therefore all was base, unnatural deceit, would be unjust and unwise. • A reformation,' says Jortin, [in his Remarks on Ecclesiastical History,] is seldom carried on, without heat and vehemence, which borders upon enthusiasm. As Cicero has observed, that there never was great man, sine afflatu divino; so, in times of religious contests, there seldom was a man very zealous for liberty, civil and ecclesiastical, and a declared active enemy to insolent tyranny, blind superstition, political godliness, bigotry, and pious frauds, who had not a fervency of zeal, which led him on some occasions beyond the bounds of sober, temperate reason.'”-Orme's Memoirs of the Life of Owen.
But it will be needful to pursue the subject of enthusiasm somewhat further ; inasmuch as it may have, in the minds of some, a particular reference not only to Jaffray as he is in the Diary, leaning to the Independents, but to Jaffray, as he is among his colleagues in the Memoirs, a zealous “ Quaker.”. “ It is most unreasonable,” observes a descendant of the family of Cromwell, in rebutting the animadversions of Hume against the Independents of that day, “ to deny to religious characters, their fervours in the pursuit of their great object, and to indulge the worldly in all their ardours and extravagances, in the comparatively trifling objects of their pursuits. By the men of the world, the arduous, persevering Christian of the Parliament party, was, in those times, deemed an enthusiast and an hypocrite, and his best actions represented as influenced by the most sinister and mischievous motives : all was resolved into hypocrisy or enthusiasm.” " Lord Clarendon speaks contemptuously of the expression seeking God,' which, he says, was a new phrase brought from Scotland with their Covenant. It might have been a new phrase in England; but it is per
fectly expressive of the thing meant, namely, a devout and humble application by prayer to the Almighty, by a nation or individuals, to avert impending public or private calamities ; or to remove them if incurred; or for direction and assistance in concerns of importance, too great for human accomplishment. In religious language, perhaps it may be generally best to avoid what may be called technical phraseology : particular words frequently used, expressive (for brevity sake) of any particular religious act or observance, are liable to be catched at by the world, and used for the purposes of turning into ridicule every thing serious. In the succeeding licentious reign of King Charles the 2nd, all semblance of religion was studiously put out of sight; it was become quite unfashionable ; and the ridicule of its professors, and of all the religious language and acts of the preceding times, was considered a kind of test of loyalty to the then sovereign and government. This phrase of seeking God,' then used as expressive of the act of prayer, public or private, became, after the Restoration, with other religious phrases or expressions, subjects of ridicule.Lightly or contemptuously, however, as the men of the world, when in health and prosperity, may treat this application to and reliance upon Divine Providence, the religious part of the Christian world are in the constant and habitual practice of it, and thence, there can be no doubt, derive the greatest comfort and assurance. Independently of prayer being a commanded duty, it is surely a reasonable service, inasmuch as it is an acknowledgment of our dependence upon the Supreme Being, to whom, feeble and insufficient as we are, we must be constantly looking for the support of our existence, and for the continuance of all our comforts and enjoyments.” After some other remarks, delivered in a strain very becoming this subject; but not so directly bearing upon our purpose, this author proceeds. —“Our holy religion teaches us to expect this assistance through and by the means of the Holy Spirit; for which assistance, and for whose influence, we all ask in the most expressive terms, in our attendance upon the public worship of
our Established Church, and in the prayers of our Liturgy. Strange, then, to tell how all these acts of devotion, and all the religious professors of the above times, were afterwards, in the succeeding reign of King Charles the 2nd, held up to ridicule and contempt, as the vilest of canting, enthusiastical hypocrites and knaves, and as masking their political, ambitious designs, under the show and pretence of religion. And in this light, it is to be lamented, that the more than common strict religious professor in succeeding times, hath been too often viewed by the less religious part of the community; nothing appearing to afford them more pleasure, than the real or imagined detection of any of those professors in any sin or folly. - In this unfavourable light do Lord Clarendon, and all other the writers for the royal cause represent the Parliament and its adherents ; allowing them no good motive for any of their proceedings, but attributing them wholly to concealed ambition, and sinister views ; and thus stigmatized, they have been handed down to the present day.”-Memoirs of Oliver Cromwell, by Oliver Cromwell; vol. ii. p. 400–405.
On the subject of the religious qualities of this fragment of auto-biography, it will be readily perceived there prevails throughout the Diary, every symptom of a salutary and genuine exercise of mind, uniformly directed, in the first place, for the well-being of the Writer's own soul, next for that of his family, then on account of “the godly,” but in its full scope reaching towards all of every class. Those great duties and attainments so mainly pressed upon us by our Divine Saviour while personally on earth, and which it was one main end of His appearing to enforce, are here every where upheld and sought after; such as self-denial, humility, charity, and watchfulness unto prayer. One feature, not common in productions of this kind, but which forms in the present instance a chief attraction, is the gradual and continued enlargement in spiritual growth. We here trace, in the unaffected outline of Jaffray's views and feelings, the intimate workings and movements of a mind, superior to those temporizing compliances with systems and parties, which
has ever proved a vast impediment to the pious and the dedicated, in their heavenly race. We see, in his narrative, to what conclusions the pure dictates of the Holy Spirit brought him, to what they tended, and how they operated on an honest, and humbled soul,-even to break down the strongest bias; as it were, to remould the man, reducing all things “ to the obedience of Christ.” I earnestly desire for my readers, whatever be their standing in the universal church, that they may be enabled profitably to reflect upon this feature of his case, that thus they may be favoured to arrive at just conclusions with regard to it. This individual was truly led, as “ the blind by a way” that he had not hitherto “ known,” into paths—the good old paths, indeed,—but which were then newly “cast up,” and “ every where spoken against.”
While dwelling upon the important changes, which the mind of Jaffray successively underwent, until, from the Presbyterian and Independent persuasions, he became at length wholly assimilated with the Society of Friends; I cannot but introduce the valuable and very apposite remarks of the biographer of Owen. “ Every change of religious sentiment is important to the person who makes it, and ought to be gone into with caution and deliberation. To be given to change is a great evil, and indicates a weak and unsettled mind. On the other hand, to be afraid of change is frequently the result of indifference or sinful apprehension of consequences. It is the duty of every Christian, to follow the teaching of the Spirit in the word of revelation, and to recollect, that for his convictions he must be accountable at last. The attempt to smother them is always improper; and when successful, must injure the religious feelings of their subject. To allow hopes or fears of a worldly nature to conquer our persuasion of what the [Scripture] requires, is to forget the important intimation of our Lord,—that, if any thing is loved more than Him, it is impossible to be his disciple. By such conduct, the tribulations of the kingdom may often be avoided, but the consolations and rewards of it will also be lost. “If any man serve me, let
him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if, any man serve me, him will my Father honour.' John xii. 26."-Orme's Memoirs of the Life of Owen, p. 60. .
Some slight observations are yet to be subjoined, before we pass on to the subject of the second division of this volume. It cannot be said, that the whole of what came to my hands, of the Diary of Alexander Jaffray, is now presented to the public. Some passages are omitted, as being almost repetitions of what elsewhere is better expressed; others did not seem of sufficient moment to be retained. Very small and unimportant transpositions or substitutions of words, are likewise here and there made use of, merely so far as to render the sense more plain and intelligible; it is possible, however, from the state of the MS., that I myself may have failed, though but rarely, in rendering his actual meaning. The Scripture texts are quoted as they were found; they are, I believe, strictly correct in substance, though not always after the words of our present version. Proper names of persons and places in Scotland are so variously spelt, even in some modern publications, that it was sometimes difficult to decide upon the most correct mode ; the ancient spelling is, however, preserved in the Diary, and explained where needful in brackets; and, in the Appendix, the quotations from Scottish authorities are given with a close adherence even to the spelling of the dialect.
My design of a second part to the present publication, had its origin in the following circumstances. The Diary breaks off abruptly, and only a short time before Alexander Jaffray, together with a number of his intimate associates settled in the profession of the Friends. It was to be regretted, that the narrator had not carried forward his account as far as this interesting period in his experience, or rather perhaps that such account had not been spared to us. On examining, however, more closely into the MS. Chronicle, which has been before mentioned as being discovered at Ury, and which treats of the Rise and Progress of the people called Quakers in the north of