Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):
- AN EPISTLE TO Such of the Friends of Christ, as have lately been convinced of the Truth as it is in Jesus.
- Bear with me, my Friends, to whom I dedicate this little Tract; for though I rank’d this Point amongst the Scruples of the Moderate, having heard some, whom I esteem such, lay this Principle to the Quakers Charge: But now being better acquainted with them, I find they have wrongfully charged it upon them, and therefore I can do no less but use some Sharpness of Speech to refute the Falseness of this Opinion, that through a mistaken Zeal (I am apt to think) some have taken up against them: Well may I say mistaken, for were the Quakers rightly understood, People would find that they have as low Thoughts of any humane Righteousness, as those that daily confess all their Righteousness to be but filthy Rags.
- And now, my former Acquaintance to whom I present this small Treatise, will you not yield yourselves mistaken in the Reports you have received? I freely acknowledge to you, for my Part, I am willing so to do, and that with Shame taken to myself herein, my Lot having been cast so near this Land of Goshen, that it may well be wondred at, why I did not discern my Mistakes long e’er this Time: Now though it cannot be so said of you, that the Light has shone so clear about you, yet know this every one of you, The Light hath shined in you, and that, I am sure, as it is heeded, will make manifest to you, how falsly the People called Quakers have been accused: They have been looked upon, like the Apostles in Days past, as Setters forth of strange Gods, they have been counted as unknown, and yet well known; they have been reckoned as Deceivers, and yet true: For Truth don’t use to suffer under its own Name; but when Men can fasten the Name of Heresy upon its Principle, then they think they have Pretence enough to punish its Proselytes.
- Thus I have again touch’d upon the former Particulars, wherein I undertook to vindicate Truth and its Followers; in all which Christ, the Light and Life of Man, is all in all unto his People.
- Given forth by one of the least of the Flock of Christ, whose outward Name is Elizabeth Bathurst.