THE DESIGN OF CHRISTIANITY, TESTIFIED, IN THE BOOKS, EPISTLES AND MANUSCRIPTS, OF THAT FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS, JOHN CROOK.

(London: Printed and Sold by T. Sowle, 1701). 197 x 121 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 3/4"). [26], 412 pp., [2] pp. (ads). FIRST EDITION.

Once quite pleasing 19th century half calf, marbled boards and endpapers, raised bands, spine elaborately tooled with gilt in a dense floral pattern, red morocco label. Front flyleaf with ink presentation inscription from Edward Backhouse (see below) to Alfred Backhouse dated 1851. Joints rather worn, spine rubbed and missing much of its gilt, other shelfwear, but the binding still perfectly sound and not without some appeal. First few gatherings a little soiled and faintly dampstained, occasional mild foxing, other minor imperfections, but the text mainly quite fresh and clean.

This is a compilation, issued two years after the author died, of 31 essays on several 17th century moral and theological questions, treated mostly from the Quaker perspective. Most of the essays seek to explain the Quaker faith and the Friends' reasons for not conforming to the worship of the official Church of England, and include appeals to bishops and to the restored monarch Charles II for understanding and tolerance. Most influential among these pieces is "Truth's Principles" (1662), which could easily have been entitled "Quaker principles," a treatise that was often reprinted. The son of wealthy parents, John Crook (1616/17-99) was an officer in the parliamentary army during the English Civil War, an early convert to Quakerism, and an important apologist for the faith. He travelled with Fox to Cambridge and Warwick, led a petition to Richard Cromwell for the release of incarcerated Friends, and suffered imprisonment on more than one occasion for his refusal to swear oaths. The DNB informs us that in addition to being a prolific writer, Crook was also a long-winded speaker; because he once talked "three hours beyond his 'leading,' the Hertford meeting reprimanded him, prompting his silence in meetings for several years." Our copy has an interesting provenance: it was a gift from Edward Backhouse (1808-79), a noted Quaker minister and historical writer, someone who, in the words of DNB, "devoted himself chiefly to the promotion of philanthropic and religious causes. He was a generous supporter of various institutions in Sunderland, including a mission hall which he founded in one of the poorer districts, and is said to have spent over £10,000 a year on charities." Our first edition of the present item is uncommon in the marketplace.
(ST11462a-345)

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PJP Catalog: Cat 69.131

THE DESIGN OF CHRISTIANITY, TESTIFIED, IN THE BOOKS, EPISTLES AND MANUSCRIPTS, OF THAT FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS, JOHN CROOK. JOHN CROOK.
THE DESIGN OF CHRISTIANITY, TESTIFIED, IN THE BOOKS, EPISTLES AND MANUSCRIPTS, OF THAT FAITHFUL SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS, JOHN CROOK.

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