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Quaker Studies

Abstract

Quakers from the first rejected the idea of the professional minister requiring university education and being paid for his work. This was a principal motif in the Lamb's War they waged in the 1650s; and it naturally aroused the hostility of established ministers, who had good reason to feel insecure. This article examines a brief battle of books which took place in 1656 and 1657: Thomas Speed, a leading Bristol Quaker, fulminated against preaching for hire and three incumbent ministers countered his attacks. It turns out that the participants were known to each other and had personal axes to grind. It also appears that Speed may have been driven into uncharacteristic utterance by concealed conflicts and anxieties in his own mind. The whole episode illustrates the interaction between public issues and private concerns.

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