PDF Some Fruits of Solitude in Reflections and Maxims

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These Reflections and Maxims were written in a strange time for William Penn. He was virtually confined to his home because he had been accused of plotting against William and Mary, when they had succeeded his friend, King James II, to the throne of England. Penn had been a courtier in James' court, performing as the sole lobbyist of influence for the Quakers, including securing the freedom of 1300 Quakers from prison, some of whom had been in prison for 12-15 years. He stressed with the King freedom of religion, and could not in good conscience, suggest such freedoms be denied to those of the Roman Catholic faith; so he supported freedom for Catholics too - leading to widespread opinions that he was a Jesuit in disguise. When the King went too far in promoting the influence of Catholics, the whole country revolted, replaced him, and condemned Penn to be his accomplice. Penn went promptly to King William and plainly explained he was personally fond of King James, but in no way supported any plots or plans for his return. William was convinced of Penn's innocence, but his angry council resisted letting Penn completely off the hook, so they sent him to the solitude of his home.

As with Paul in prison, and Fox in prison, Penn's gentle confinement gave him three years of peace and quiet - which he had never experienced the privilege of before, and as the Lord's servant and friend, he wrote prodigiously; including the following, which has been updated to current language and clarified, where needed to easily understand his excellent observations.

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