28 Life and Letters of Francis Gait on
"This forcing of men's consciences is contrary, to sound Reason, and the very Law of Nature. For Man's Understanding cannot be forced, by all the Bodily Sufferings another man can inflict upon him, especially in matters spiritual and supernatural : 'Tis argument and evident Demonstration of Reason, together with the Power of God reaching the Heart, that can change a Man's Mind from one Opinion to another, and not Knocks and Blows, and such like things; which may well destroy the Body, but can never inform the Soul, which is a free Agent, and must either accept or reject matters of Opinion, as they are born in upon it by something proportional to its own nature. To seek to force minds in any other manner, is to deal with men, as if they were Brutes, void of understanding; and at last is but to lose one's labour, and as the Proverb is: To seek to wash the Black-moor white. By that, course indeed, men may be made Hypocrites, but can never be made Christians." (Apology, 4th Edn., p. 497.)
This may serve as a sample of Barclay's opinions, and of his command of our tongue. With his father, Colonel David Barclay, Robert had to suffer much for his faith. Colonel David Barclay had been a soldier of fortune, serving under Gustavus Adolphus through many fierce campaigns, and again in our own civil wars. Then between 50 and 60 he tells us that having served many others he made up his mind to enter the service .of God, and looked around him with the greatest anxiety and earnestness, to know, in the' midst of so many pretenders, what society of Christians to join with. Ultimately in his perplexity he found refuge in the Society of Friends. He resolved- in the year 1666 to suffer indignities and injuries for conscience' sake and to exhibit his bravery in a new field. He established the Quakers' meeting at Ury and henceforth prison, public mockery, fine and distraint were his lot. He has met his reward in the noble ballad of Whittier'
1. "Up the streets of Aberdeen,
By the Kirk and College Green, Rode the Laird of Ury ; Close behind him, close beside, Foul of mouth and evil eyed Pressed the mob in fury.
2. Flouted him the drunken churl, Jeered at him the serving girl, Prompt to please her master ; And the begging carlin, late Fed and clothed at Ury's gate, Cursed him as he passed her.
' John Greenleaf Whittier, Poetical Works, London, 1904, p. 35.