Life in the Country - Volume 3 - Early Baptist Religion (Life in the County)
He was successively an anabaptist, a conformist, and a papist; and then again a conformist. He had been chaplain on board the fleet, whence be was dismissed for an unnatural crime. He was a man of some cunning, more effrontery, and the roost consummate falsehood. Soon after the accession of James II. He was sentenced to pay a fine of two thousand marks; to be stripped of his canonical habit to be whipped twice in three days by the common hangman ; and to stand in the pillory at Westminster-hall gate, and at the Royal Exchange. He was, moreover, to be pilloried five times every year, and to be imprisoned during life.
The hangman performed his office with uncommon rigour. The best thing James ever did was punishing Oaf ex for his perjury; and the greatest thing Oates ever did was supporting himself under the most afflictive part of his punishment with the resolution and constancy of a martyr. The a-ra of Oates's plot was the grand sera of Whig and Tory. Crosby, alluding to the above circumstance, observes that, in die year , Mr. Oates took a journey into Essex, preached in several parts of that county, and baptized by immersion great numbers of people, especially about Hocking, Braintree, and Terling.follow
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This made the presbyUrians in those parts very uneasy; especially the ministers, who complained bitterly that such things should be permitted, and would have urged the magistrates to suppress them. If any credit may be given to Mr. Edwards, the conduct of Mr. Oates and some others, in one of their excursions, was highly censurable. He says, " 1 was informed for certain, that, not long ago, Oates, an anabaptist, and some of his fellows, went their progress into Essex to preach and dip, and among other place's they came to Billericay.
On a Tuesday at a lecture kept there, Oates and liis company, with some of the town, when the minister had done preaching, went up in a body, about twenty of them, divers of them having swords, into the upper part of the church, and there quarrelled with the minister that preached, pretending they would be satisfied about some things he had delivered, saying to him, he had not preached free grace. Hut the minister, one Mr. Smith, replied, if they would come to a place where he dined he would satisfy them; but it was not a time now to speak.
Whereupon these anabaptists turned to the people, and said to them, they were under antichrist, and in antichrist's way," and more to the same purpose. After this they committed a riot in the town. Oates, that was attended with more serious consequences. This Oates is a young lusty fellow, and hath traded chiefly with young women and young maids, dipping many of them, though all is fish that comes to his net.
A godly minister of Essex, coming out of those parts, related, that he hath baptized a great number of women, and that they were called out of their beds to go a dipping in rivers, dipping many of them in the night, so that their husbands and masters could not keep them in their houses; and it is commonly reported, that this Oates had for his pains ten shillings a piece for dipping the richer, and two shillings and six-pence for the poorer.
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He came very bare and mean into Essex, but, before he had done his work, was well lined, and grown pursy. In the cold weather in March he dipped a young woman, one Ann Martin, whom he held so long in the water that she fell presently sick, and her belly swelled with the abundance of water she took in; and within a fortnight or three weeks died, and upon her death-bed expressed her dipping to be the cause of her death. Accordingly, for this, " and other misdemeanors, he was committed to Colchester jail, made fast in irons, and bound over to the next sessions at Chelmsford.
The other crimes laid to his charge were these: Many have come down from London in coaches to visit him; and I have a letter by me," says he, "from a minister in Colchester, wherein he writes thus: Oates was brought to trial April 7, , and acquitted of the charge of murder; but the judge bound him to his good behaviour that for the future he should neither preach nor dip. This, however, had very little effect upon him; for, on the following Lord's day, he returned to his work as usual.
Oates escaped with his life, the presbyterians were determined he should not go unpunished.
And Oates coming lately to Dunmow in Essex, some of the town hearing where he was, fetched him out of. Calamy gives an account of a public disputation, iu which Mr. Oates was engaged with Mr. William Sheffield, a minister afterwards ejected. Women do domestic tasks, look after the children and take on light farm work such as feeding chickens and milking cows.
Amish dress is a highly distinctive outward symbol of membership in the group, but through its plainness and simplicity rather than through any eccentricities. The idea is that a person's clothes should reflect humility and avoid individual distinctiveness. Breaches of the Amish dress code may lead to a reproof from a community leader. Old Order Amish women wear modest dresses with long sleeves and a full skirt, a cape and an apron. They usually wear their hair in a bun on the back of the head, often covered with a bonnet or a white organza prayer cap.
Amish women don't use makeup. Men and boys wear dark trousers, braces, straight-cut coats and broad-brimmed straw hats. Their clothes don't have stripes or checks. Amish men grow beards only after they marry and don't grow moustaches because 19th century generals wore beards and moustaches and anything military is shunned. The Amish are very resourceful in tailoring commercially available products to their own needs, buying, for example, black and white jogging shoes at Wal-Mart along with a can of black paint for painting the white running strip black.
Although the dress code is partly intended to prevent visual statements of individuality, there is scope for individual taste, as this anecdote demonstrates:. That the rules for Amish dress apply only to outwardly observable dress was first clarified when one of the authors, while baking pies with an Amish family, was asked to make a run to the basement for additional jars of peaches. There, along with various pieces of underwear drying on the line, were several pair of bright, colourful men's boxer shorts with Disney characters on them, clearly too commodious to fit anyone other than the only adult male living at home at that time.
When asked about them later in private, the wife acknowledged that her husband wore them, that after all, nobody could see them and complain. The Amish are pacifists who refuse military service and who try to live peacefully with each other and with outsiders. They have a policy of 'non-resistance', which means that when governments instruct them to do things that are against their faith, they refuse to do them, but accept the consequences of their refusal without argument.
They don't go to law, regarding this as confrontational, although they have used lawyers to defend themselves if they are involved in a lawsuit started by someone else. In the famous case of Wisconsin v Yoder the Amish got round the issue of not going to law by letting a committee of non-Amish defend the case pro bono. Although the Amish present a unified face to outsiders, communities are sometimes troubled by disputes which may lead a family to join another community or found a new one.
Some have polarized over the shape or colour of a garment; the style of a house, carriage or harness; the use of labour-saving farm machinery or the pace of singing Beneath the surface are extended families, frequently fraught with envy or jealousy, that take opposing sides The Amish tend to suppress their feelings since no one wishes to be the cause of disunity or division. Typically, dissatisfied members migrate to a more compatible Old Order community or start a new settlement.
The Amish have their own private education system of around 1, schools which stresses the 'four Rs' of reading, writing, arithmetic and religion. A typical school has between 25 and 35 pupils, with only one room and one teacher to cover all ages. Teaching is in English. Teachers are usually younger women without specialist training. Children will often do farm work before and after school. Amish children are educated in schools until they're 14 eighth grade. This exemption from US law which generally requires schooling until age 16 is the result of a Supreme Court Case Wisconsin v.
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Yoder , see related links , in which the Amish successfully argued that education beyond aged 14 exposed their children to modern values that clashed with their beliefs and might put their salvation at risk. Formal high school education beyond the 8th grade is contrary to Amish beliefs, not only because it places Amish children in an environment hostile to Amish beliefs with increasing emphasis on competition in class work and sports and with pressure to conform to the styles, manners, and ways of the peer group, but also because it takes them away from their community, physically and emotionally, during the crucial and formative adolescent period of life.
Amish schools exhibit a social continuity rarely found in public education. With many families sending several children to a school, teachers may relate to as few as a dozen parents. Amish schools are unquestionably provincial by modern standards. Yet in a humane fashion they ably prepare Amish youth for meaningful lives in Amish society They reinforce Amish values and shield youth from contaminating ideas afloat in modern culture. After they leave school Amish boys learn work skills such as farming and carpentry on the job, while Amish girls concentrate on practical domestic matters.
The Amish will not accept any form of state benefit because they believe that the community should care for its members. They don't use public or private health insurance, and join together to pay for outside medical treatment. At the age of 16 Amish children are given a great deal of freedom which they can use to experience the outside world. Some may even choose to 'live English', as it's known.
This practice is called rumspringa , which means 'running around'. After this period, most children prefer to return to the full Amish lifestyle with both its restrictions and rewards, and are baptised into full membership. Some Amish decide to move to another Amish community rather than remain in the one where they were brought up.
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The main reasons for doing this are to acquire less expensive farm land or to live in a community that is either more or less strict. Amish only marry other Amish, although not necessarily from their own community. They may not marry a first cousin, and are discouraged from marrying a second cousin. The Amish are closest to the Anabaptists: Protestant Christians who believe in adult baptism, pacifism, the separation of church and state and the importance of the community to faith.
The denomination is closely related to the Mennonites. They base their daily life and religious practice on a literal interpretation of the Biblical instruction "be not conformed to this world" Romans Their separateness may also have been a reaction to the persecution they has suffered in Europe.
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A way of living is more important than communicating it in words. The ultimate message is the life. An Amish person will have no doubt about his basic convictions, his view of the meaning and purpose of life, but he cannot explain it except through his life. Although the Amish are sometimes painted as people who live an old-fashioned life because they are welded to their traditions or because they fear the modern world, those are both misunderstandings.
The Amish way of life grows out of the belief that salvation comes from the redeeming strength of living a loving life in a pure community of believers who live in separation from the world. For Amish and Mennonites the struggle to die to self was life-long. God's power was released only when the individual did not exercise his own will God did not grant salvation because of inner experience. Salvation came only by actual participation in Christ, by suffering, yielding, dying to self as he did.
Amish are less concerned with achieving individual salvation through a personal belief in Jesus Christ. It's said that they regard any claim by an individual to be 'saved' as an expression of pride, and something to be avoided. One important principle is Gelassenheit. This is the idea that a believer should surrender to God by living in a way that pleases God and by obeying legitimate religious authority. Gelassenheit is layered with many meanings--self surrender and self denial, resignation to God's will, yielding to others, gentleness, a calm and contented spirit, and a quiet acceptance of whatever comes.
Although the word rarely is spoken, the meaning of Gelassenheit is woven into the social fabric of Old Order life. It reflects the most fundamental difference between Old Order culture and modern values. Amish believe that they should farm as stewards of God's creation, and that this is a spiritual activity.
Because of the emphasis on community, members are expected to believe the same things and follow the same code of behaviour called the Ordnung. The purpose of the ordnung is to help the community lead a godly life. This unanimity of belief and behaviour is maintained by strong discipline; if a person breaks the rules they may be 'shunned', which means that no-one including their family will eat with them or talk to them.
Shunning meidung is not done to hurt the rule-breaker but to give them an experience that may redeem them and bring them back into the community. If a person persists in rule-breaking they may be excommunicated. If a person repents they are accepted back into the community. However, if someone brought up in the Amish community decides that they do not wish to join the community and obey its rules they are not punished in any way.
They often remain in the area and join similar but less strict denominations, and maintain contact with their former community. Amish do not seek to attract new believers. Although it is possible for an outsider to join an Amish community, it would be difficult. The Amish have a traditional code of ethics that rejects sex outside of marriage, divorce, homosexuality and public nakedness as sins forbidden by the Bible.
Modesty and purity are vital virtues. The Amish are pacifists, basing this on Jesus' instruction that one should love one's enemy. They reject all forms of violence. The Amish admire large families and tend not to use birth control other than to control the spacing of children.
The Amish worship in their houses, which are designed to allow a large group to meet. Different households take it in turns to host worship. A 3-hour preaching service takes place every other Sunday morning and is followed by a shared meal. On Sunday evening there may be a meeting for young people of several communities who gather in a house to sing hymns and talk, sitting on opposite sides of a long table.
Worship, in Amish life, whether for the old or the young, is not confined to a "prayer period" or a weekly hour of church attendance. Worship permeates Amish life, and in a variety of forms. The Amish society is a "ceremonial community", its religious ceremonial life being governed by the days of the week, by seasons, and by the calendar.
At the time of adolescence, the Amish young adult is growing rapidly in the life of worship of the "ceremonial community" in which harvesting, sewing and all daily work, learning and activity are consciously offered in praise and love of God. There are around , Amish, who live in more than 20 US states and Ontario, with the largest communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. They are a growing group -- it's thought that their population doubles every 20 years.
The Amish are divided into dozens of separate fellowships, broken down into districts or congregations. Each district is fully independent and lives by its own set of unwritten rules, or Ordnung. Because Amish transport is limited to horse buggies these districts are geographically small and may include around 30 or 40 households.
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The Amish do not have a professional group of ministers. Instead, lay ministers are chosen by lot from within the community. Ministers are not paid and add their religious duties to their farm or other work. There are three ranks of minister: Amish districts usually have a bishop, a deacon and two preachers. Instead there are ad hoc groups of Amish or people who sympathise with them who can act on behalf of Amish communities when needed. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience.
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