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An Examination of a Book Entitled

Barclay's Apology in Modern English

Edited by Dean Freiday

by Larry Kuenning

Plan of the Study

When work on this edition of Barclay's Apology began, those involved in the project knew that for decades the only edition in print had been Barclay's Apology in Modern English, edited by Dean Freiday.1 We considered this text inadequate but did not realize how varied and extensive were its problems until research for this appendix was begun.

The original plan for this appendix was chiefly to illustrate the distortions of meaning caused by Freiday's stated policy of replacing Barclay's Bible quotations with modern translations of the same passages. However, a sentence-by-sentence comparison of Freiday's text with Barclay's, beginning with the epistle to the reader (Freiday omits that to King Charles II) and continuing through the exposition of Proposition 1, showed that other types of distortion were present.

Since it was not feasible to compare the entire texts, it was decided to focus on Barclay's exposition of Propositions 5 and 6, which forms the theological core of the Apology. When most of these data had been collected, Peter Sippel offered to perform a similar task for Proposition 3. Time did not permit as meticulous an examination of this material, but his work here confirmed all the main error types found elsewhere. In what follows, therefore, his data will be used as illustrative examples, but statistical observations about the frequency of error types will be based on Propositions 5 and 6, either alone or in combination with the front matter and Proposition 1.

Within these sections (QHP 7-21, 96-167, DF 1-15, 72-124), differences of meaning were noted at an average of nearly 4 per page of Freiday's text (2 per page in the first sections, 4 1/2 per page in Propositions 5-6). They range from fairly trivial changes (such as reducing "could not understand, neither believe" to "could not understand," QHP 163, DF 117) to unacknowledged omissions of over a page. On a very few pages of Freiday's book there were no differences noted (DF 11, 119, 121, 123).

Discrepancies between Freiday and Barclay may be classified in two ways: by their cause (not discoverable in all cases) and by their effect on Barclay's meaning.

Causes of Change

Many changes have readily discernible causes, either accidental or deliberate. These will be discussed first. Following a discussion of the effects of Freiday's changes, a few additional causes of change will be suggested based on overall patterns.

Deliberate Editorial Changes

Although a few changes are clearly accidental, far more common are changes due to deliberate editorial decisions. This is not to imply that Freiday in each case consciously chose wording which he knew would alter Barclay's meaning. Nevertheless changes in meaning occur which cannot be explained as accidents. In many cases the changes can be traced to policies stated in Freiday's introduction and notes.


One very large class of editorial changes consists of omissions. In his introduction Freiday writes, "It was decided to treat the original as if it were a manuscript submitted to an editor today. Where the pace needed acceleration, abridgement would be used" (DF xl). Within the body of his edition Freiday sometimes puts bracketed comments, either in the text or in a footnote, briefly describing what he has left out. On rare occasions he indicates omissions with ellipsis dots (...). A reader, seeing these comments, might suppose that all Freiday's omissions had been so noted. Unfortunately this is far from true.

A careful examination of Propositions 5-6 shows that fully 35% of Barclay's material has been left out. This does not mean that Freiday's text has 35% fewer words than Barclay's, but that 35% of Barclay's material has no equivalent in Freiday. Since very short omissions might be identified differently by different readers, all deletions consisting of two lines or less of the original text have been left out of the above figure to eliminate any possible subjectivity. (Including them might raise the omission rate to 37%.) Further, less than half of the deleted material (only 41%) has been indicated by ellipsis dots or any other editorial notation. Thus a reader who uses only Freiday's edition gets less than two-thirds of Barclay's material, and can never be sure that any particular passage is complete.

To be fair to Freiday it must be added that the omission rate in Propositions 5-6 is probably higher than in the rest of the Apology. Propositions 5-6 occupy 15% of Barclay's text, but only 12% of Freiday's, showing that more reduction has occurred here than elsewhere. (These figures were calculated by page count - a very rough measure. It can be affected by factors other than omission, such as variations in the wordiness of Freiday's paraphrase, or his habit of extending biblical passages beyond what Barclay quotes.) Unacknowledged omissions do occur elsewhere, however. Peter Sippel found a number of these in Proposition 3, some running for several paragraphs (e.g. QHP 66-67, DF 50; QHP 71, DF 54; QHP 78-79, DF 61).

It might be wondered why Freiday would single out Propositions 5-6, which are clearly the heart of the Apology, for such drastic cutting. Proposition 5 states the Quaker doctrine of the Light, which was the most distinctive feature of Quakerism among the varieties of Christianity in 17th-century England. In Proposition 6, Barclay claims that this doctrine solves one of the great theological problems of the day: that of formulating a fully adequate answer to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. By treating these two propositions in a single chapter, Barclay presents his anti-Calvinist arguments as the main reason why the doctrine of the Light should be accepted.

In fact it is the anti-Calvinist material that has been most severely cut from Propositions 5-6. Freiday's introduction states, "Where a theological doctrine was of greater interest in Barclay's day, or the argument seemed dated - the latter was surprisingly rare - it seemed advisable to abridge or eliminate" (DF xl-xli). Probably Freiday felt that much of the anti-Calvinist material was of little interest in 1967. The effects of this decision will be discussed further below.

Substitution of Quotations

Another cause of editorial changes is Freiday's policy of substituting modern translations of the Bible for the version that Barclay quoted. Freiday writes, "The biblical quotations in the English edition of the Apology were originally from the Authorized, or King James, Version of the Bible. In the present edition (with some rare exceptions) one of three recent widely accepted English versions have been selected" (DF viii). Some readers will see instantly why this can be expected to alter Barclay's meaning; for others it needs to be explained.

Modern Bible translations are not made by turning the King James Version of 1611 into contemporary English. They are fresh translations from the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the biblical texts. In many passages they reflect changes (normally improvements) in scholars' understanding of those ancient languages, as well as great advances in the study of ancient manuscripts and the discovery of copyists' errors. Thus the modern translator starts with a different Greek or Hebrew text from that used in 1611, and even where the text is the same the grammar and vocabulary may be understood differently. To put it plainly, to most modern translators, the KJV is not only old-fashioned in its wording; at many points it is inaccurate in its meaning.

Barclay's biblical quotations usually agree with the KJV. Occasionally he thinks a passage should be translated differently, and states his reasons in terms of the grammar of the original text. Examples are his treatment of John 1:7 (QHP 139), John 5:39 (QHP 79), Rom. 5:12 (QHP 94), and 1 Cor. 2:2 (QHP 125) - all of which passages Freiday cuts (DF 100, 62, 71, and 90). Barclay's disagreements with the KJV do not always match those of recent translators; of those just listed, only his reading of John 5:39 would be likely to obtain much current support.

When Barclay quotes the Bible, as he does frequently throughout the Apology, he does so because he believes the particular passage as it was known to him seems relevant to his point. The same passage as it appears in a modern translation might have little or nothing to do with Barclay's point, or it might support it in a different way that would have required different reasoning on Barclay's part.

Because of these differences in meaning between a passage as Barclay quotes it and the same passage as Freiday quotes it, Barclay's reasoning based on the passage is often rendered less coherent. In some cases Freiday apparently seeks to remedy this by modifying Barclay's reasoning itself to agree with the passage.

One especially revealing example will be examined here in detail: Barclay's comment on Gen. 6:3. Freiday's treatment of this passage is unusual only in that it combines several features that more often occur separately in other parts of his work. Barclay begins:

This the Lord himself also shows, even that he gave a day of visitation to the old world (Gen. 6:3), "And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive in man"; for so it ought to be translated. (QHP 133)

The KJV here has "strive with man." Barclay, accepting that the Hebrew verb yadon means "strive," follows the early Quaker proclivity to insist on literal translation of the Hebrew and Greek words for "in." Freiday, however, gives a completely different meaning to Barclay's explanatory "so it ought to be translated":

God offered this day of visitation even to the ancient world, and this is the interpretation that should be given to Gen 6:3 Cath-CCD: "My spirit shall not remain in man forever." (DF 96)

With Freiday's word order, the natural reading of "this is the interpretation that should be given" is that the passage should be understood as referring to the day of visitation, not that Barclay is giving an opinion about the proper translation of the Hebrew preposition b.

Having disguised Barclay's opinion about translation, and made him quote a version which says "remain" instead of "strive," Freiday proceeds to add this footnote:

Barclay's point is weakened by the newer translations, for this passage continues (RSV) "... for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years."

The note is confusingly stated. One would think the words "for this passage continues" would explain how newer translations fail to support Barclay's point. Yet the continuation which Freiday quotes from the Revised Standard Version is nearly the same as in the KJV, so this is not a way in which the newer translations have changed. What this continuation actually provides is one of the reasons why newer translators judge that "remain" fits the context better than "strive."

Barclay's use of the passage in fact depends on the word "strive," which occurs four times in his next sentence:

This manifestly implies, that his Spirit did strive with man, and doth strive with him for a season; which season expiring, God ceaseth to strive with them, in order to save them; for the Spirit of God cannot be said to strive with man after the day of his visitation is expired, seeing it naturally, and without any resistance, works its effect then, to wit, continually to judge and condemn them. (QHP 133)

Barclay's phrase "cannot be said to strive" shows that he is drawing consequences from use of this word in Gen. 6:3. This is needed for the result he aims at. The RSV's word "remain" would not serve the purpose, for Barclay holds that the Spirit does remain in one whose day of visitation has expired. The reason it "cannot be said to strive" after that point is that its role has changed (from salvation to judgment) such that the person can no longer offer it any effective opposition.

Freiday does not allow Barclay to make this subtle point of interpretation. Having removed the textual basis for Barclay's argument, and having informed the reader that newer translations weaken Barclay's point, he reduces the above passage to: "This clearly implies that the season in which God strives to save a man is limited" (DF 96). A page later three more of Barclay's sentences that relate this material to other passages are also cut (QHP 134, DF 97). The reader thus loses both the opportunity to see what Barclay's point is, and the evidence of how closely that point depends on the wording of the KJV.

In this short passage Freiday does four things. First, he forces Barclay to quote a biblical passage from a translation whose wording does not support his point. Second, he removes Barclay's expressed opinion about how the passage should be translated. Third, he alters and abridges Barclay's comments on the passage, removing much that depends on the wording Barclay actually quotes. Fourth, he inserts a note suggesting that Barclay is mistaken here, but provides only an incoherent explanation that does not help the reader to judge the issues involved.

All four of these phenomena reappear elsewhere in Freiday's work in various combinations, some more frequently than others. Most common is the change of translation, which inevitably produces many wordings that do not support Barclay's inferences; 19 instances of significantly changed translations were counted in Propositions 5-6. About half the time (9 instances in the same material) this leads to changes in Freiday's version of Barclay's comments. Omission of comments on translation or of Greek words (5 instances) and addition of notes rejecting Barclay's reasoning (4, three containing inaccuracies) are less common but nevertheless recurring patterns. All of the resulting changes in meaning could have been avoided if Freiday had simply paraphrased Barclay's quotes as he found them instead of substituting modern translations.

Besides substituting translations, Freiday sometimes quotes either more or less of a passage than Barclay does (three times as much in the Matt. 11 quotation at QHP 105, DF 79; about five times as much in the Amos 5 quotation at QHP 141, DF 101; only half as much in the Rom. 2 quotation at QHP 134, DF 97; more and less at once, quoting Eph. 2:3-5 in place of alluding to Eph. 2:2-3 at QHP 12, DF 6).

Some of Barclay's quotations from non-biblical authors (especially Calvin, Augustine, and assorted early Christians) receive the same treatment of substituting translations or varying the material quoted.

Miscellaneous Editorial Changes

Besides the omissions and the substituted quotations, Freiday often changes Barclay's meaning for reasons that are hard to discern.

Where Barclay says that theological education "taketh up almost a man's whole life-time to learn," Freiday says it "requires half a lifetime of study," a noticeable reduction of the time involved (QHP 8, DF 3).

Where Barclay says, "we can confidently affirm, and clearly evince" (prove) certain Quaker beliefs, Freiday has "we can clearly and confidently affirm" them (QHP 115, DF 82). Barclay's claim is more extensive: to be able to prove (to others) that something is true is more than simply knowing (in one's own mind) that it is true. In a similar change Barclay's "we are able to make it appear to be true" becomes "we know that it is true" (QHP 121, DF 87).

In summarizing Jesus' parable of the tenants in the vineyard, Barclay writes of the landlord "passing by many offenses, before he determined to destroy and cast them out." Freiday expands the "many offenses" by adding "and the mistreatment of his servants and the murder of his son" (QHP 135, DF 98). This renders the summary inaccurate, since in the parable the landlord did not pass by "the murder of his son" but at that point retaliated against the tenants. The inaccuracy is not Barclay's but Freiday's, needlessly introduced.

A final example involves Barclay's interpretation of John 12:35-36, where Jesus exhorts his hearers to believe in the light and walk in the light while they still have the light, before darkness comes upon them. Wishing to prove that the light referred to must be the inward manifestation of Christ, not the outward, Barclay writes:

Which words import that when that Light, in which they were to believe, was removed, then they should lose the capacity or season of believing. Now this could not be understood of Christ's person; the Jews might have believed in him, and many did savingly believe in him, as all Christians do, at this day, when the person, to wit, his bodily presence or outward man is far removed from them. (QHP 141)

Barclay's logic is that the light referred to must be something that can be "believed in" only when it is present. As the immediately following context shows, he is here relying on his doctrine of the limited day of visitation, which says that the Light may be withdrawn from a disobedient individual, leaving him spiritually unable to believe in it. By contrast, he says, Christ's "outward man" can be believed in even when it is absent. Freiday, however, substitutes an entirely different argument:

The reference to "while you have the light" cannot be understood as referring to his person, or else there would have been no reason for the Jews to believe in him, since the Messiah was supposed to remain with them forever. How could anyone believe in him today when the outward man, or his bodily presence, is far removed from them? (DF 101)

Freiday changes the subject from loss of the "capacity or season of believing" to a supposed lack of a "reason" to believe. He supports this with the concept that "the Messiah was supposed to remain with them forever," which Barclay does not mention, and suggests a difficulty about believing in Christ's "outward man" in his absence, which Barclay assumes is not difficult. This is not a restatement of Barclay's argument in more modern words; it is an unrelated argument, which does not support the overall line of Barclay's reasoning in this section. It is hard to see what could have motivated this change.

Additional editorial changes will be mentioned below when discussing the effects of Freiday's editing. But far more were discovered in the sections examined than can be reported in this appendix.

Accidental Changes

A small number of changes appear to have accidental causes. These include errors inherited from previous editions, copying errors, and errors caused by mistaking the meaning of a word or phrase, usually due to changes in the meaning of words since Barclay's time.

Changes Made in Earlier Editions

Of this type of mistakes, the least frequent are those inherited from earlier editions. Only one or two clear instances were found in Propositions 5-6. Where Barclay writes, "this we call vehiculum dei, or the spiritual body of Christ," many later editors change "we" to "some," perhaps to avoid implying that all Quakers used the term vehiculum dei. Freiday follows the later editions (QHP 120, DF 85). Again, Barclay picturesquely describes a Calvinist-style conversion experience as "that irresistible snatch," conveying a sense of something sudden, unpredictable, and overpowering. Later editions change "snatch" to "juncture," and Freiday may be following this weakened text when he further reduces the phrase to "the inevitable" (QHP 102, DF 77). In another chapter, an example was found in a quotation from the Calvinist David Pareus, where some later editors wrongly insert a "not," which Freiday retains (QHP 185, DF 142).2

Freiday's text does not reproduce all the changes found in traditional reprints. Barclay's paragraph about Hai Eben Yokdan, omitted by some later editions, is included by Freiday (QHP 165, DF 121) with an extensive footnote on the sources of this fictitious story. But because the note fails to mention that some editions lacked this paragraph, it is unclear whether Freiday's inclusion of it reflects his editorial judgment or the mere happenstance of which edition he used.

Errors of Copying

More frequent than the reproduction of traditional errors, but still not very common, is the category of copying errors. Three miscopied words were found in Propositions 5 and 6: "blossoms" for "blows" in "it moves, blows, and strives with man, as the Lord seeth meet" (QHP 128, DF 93); "wants to be gracious" for "wait to be gracious" (QHP 134, DF 97); and "dross and a drug" for "dross and dung" (QHP 154, DF 110). A different type of copying error occurs in the omission of everything between two occurrences of the phrase "from faith to faith" in Barclay's exposition of Rom. 1:16 (QHP 145, DF 103).

Misunderstanding of Words

Most frequent among the accidental errors, and also the most disturbing, are changes caused by misunderstanding a word or phrase, usually due to changes in the English language. At least 9 of these were found in Propositions 5-6. Some examples follow:

The phrase "in vain," though perhaps slightly old-fashioned, is still current English meaning "useless, to no effect." Barclay writes "that the offer of salvation made unto them was not in vain, on his part"; Freiday makes this "the offer of salvation was not made for the sake of his vanity" (QHP 136, DF 98). Barclay is not speaking of whether Christ's motives are egotistical but of whether he will make good on an offer if people accept it.

Barclay frequently uses the word "want" in the archaic but still well-known sense of "lack." For instance he writes, "In so far, nevertheless, as none wanted such a measure of grace by which they might have been saved, all are justly inexcusable." Freiday, taking "wanted" here in the modern meaning of "desired," recasts the entire sentence to try to make sense of the resulting confusion: "Yet it would be inexcusable if they had not desired a measure of grace by which they could be saved" (QHP 131, DF 94). This completely changes the meaning. Barclay says all have received grace and so have no excuse for sinning; Freiday says failing to desire grace is an inexcusable sin.

Nearly anyone who has read much early Quaker writing knows that "professor" was used to mean one who "professes" or claims to follow Christianity or some specific variety of it. It did not mean a college-level instructor. When Barclay speaks of "the high professors, who boast of the law, and the Scriptures, and the outward Knowledge of Christ," he means those who claim a superior type of religion. Nevertheless Freiday turns this into "learned divines who know the law and the scriptures" (QHP 167, DF 124). Not only is it surprising that Freiday would think Barclay was speaking of learned theologians, it is also strange that, if he thought so, he would introduce the old-fashioned term "divines" in what is supposed to be a modernization.

The word "answer" in Barclay's time often meant "agree" or "correspond." Barclay, having just expounded Jesus' parable of the sower, continues, "And to this answereth the parable of the talents," meaning that the two parables make similar points. Unfortunately, the preceding passage, part of a quotation from Victor of Antioch, had ended by putting in Christ's mouth the rhetorical question, "What should I have done that I have not done?" Freiday takes Barclay's "answereth" in the current sense of answering a question, and writes, "The answer, given in the parable of the talents, Mat 24:14ff, is..." (QHP 144, DF 102). This produces the nonsensical meaning that the parable of the talents will tell us what Christ should have done but did not; in fact the implied answer to the rhetorical question is "nothing."

Barclay, speaking of the punishment of devils (which he contrasts to Calvinist teaching about the punishment of human sinners), writes, "For these were sometimes in a capacity to have stood, and do suffer only for their own guilt." "Sometimes" is here an archaic term for "at one time in the past"; Barclay is emphasizing that the fallen angels had a choice between remaining good and becoming evil, and are therefore punished only for their own fault. In place of this Freiday writes, "For these suffer only for their own guilt, and a measured time" (QHP 103, DF 77). The idea that the devils are punished only for "a measured time" (and not forever) is not in Barclay, and is hard to explain except by supposing that Freiday misunderstood the word "sometimes."

Barclay carefully explains the word "conscience" as derived from Latin conscire (to know something together with someone, to share a secret), and then illustrates it with the archaic expression "conscious to oneself": conscience is that "whereby he becomes conscious to himself that he transgresseth." As C. S. Lewis explains in Studies in Words,3 "conscious to oneself" described the experience of being privy to one's own guilty secrets and therefore fearing that a part of one's own mind is a potential betrayer or blackmailer. This nuance of meaning, which is well chosen to describe the early Quaker experience of conscience, is lost on most modern readers, including Freiday, who omits both the Latin etymology and the key words "to himself": "It is the faculty by which he becomes conscious of having trespassed" (QHP 126, DF 92).

Similar problems were also occasionally found outside the carefully studied Propositions 5-6.

The fact that some English words have changed their meaning since the 17th century provides the strongest argument in favor of modernized editions of older texts. But it favors such a project only if the modernizer actually understands the changes in the language. The first requirement for a translator is to understand the language to be translated. The fact that Freiday stumbles not only over obscure expressions such as "conscious to himself," but also over better-known archaisms such as "want," archaisms common in early Quaker writings such as "professor," and terms such as "in vain" that even today are not obsolete, bodes ill for the quality of his edition.

Effects of Changes

Although some of Freiday's changes affect randomly scattered topics, many of them tend to cluster in specific subject areas, affecting what the reader can learn about Barclay's use of the Bible, his use of logic, his interaction with other theologies, and assorted other matters.

Barclay's Use of the Bible

Barclay's competence in using the Bible is made to appear less than it is, not only in the broad area of interpreting a text according to its actual words but in specialized academic areas such as Greek and Hebrew translation and textual criticism.

Barclay as Interpreter

As noted above, Freiday's use of modern translations sometimes removes the basis for Barclay's comments on a text. Often Freiday then modifies Barclay's comments to reduce the discrepancy. But even where attempted, this adjustment is often unsuccessful, and Barclay is left looking as if he could not draw valid inferences from the quoted text.

An important example of this concerns Barclay's handling of John 1:9. Barclay says that this verse "doth so clearly favour us, that, by some, it is called 'the Quakers' text'" (QHP 138, DF 100). As quoted by Barclay from the KJV, this verse reads, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"; as quoted by Freiday from the RSV, it says, "The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world." Both are grammatically possible interpretations of the Greek text, and both state that the true Light enlightens every person. But Barclay's version emphasizes the universality of the Light by adding that it is given to everyone at birth, while Freiday's version instead emphasizes that the Light entered history at a particular time as the man Jesus (a doctrine which Barclay accepted, but did not find in this particular verse).

As part of the ensuing discussion, Barclay repeatedly insists on the wording which is not present in Freiday's version:

Thirdly, that this "true Light enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world." Where the apostle, being directed by God's Spirit, hath carefully avoided their captiousness, that would have restricted this to any certain number. Where every one is, there is none excluded. Next, should they be so obstinate, as sometimes they are, as to say that this "every man" is only every one of the elect: these words following, "every man that cometh into the world," would obviate that objection. So that, it is plain, there comes no man into the world, whom Christ hath not enlightened in some measure.... (QHP 139)

Freiday eliminates most of this material (thereby losing an example of Barclay's need to argue technical points of interpretation with his Calvinist opponents). Yet at the end he cannot avoid letting Barclay say, "the apostle states that this true light enlightens everyone who comes into the world" (DF 100). Unfortunately this comes out as if Barclay were now paraphrasing erroneously a verse which Freiday had earlier made him quote in an incompatible form. Thus Freiday makes it appear that Barclay cannot accurately read the verse he has just quoted.

Similar distortions occur repeatedly. Sometimes the substituted translation and the incompatible commentary are widely separated: at one point in Propositions 5-6 Freiday forces on Barclay the RSV of Rom. 5:18 that uses "acquittal" for the KJV "justification" (QHP 157, DF 113), thereby undercutting Barclay's argument in Proposition 7 that this is not what the word properly means (QHP 183-90, DF 141-44).

Occasionally Freiday's choice of translation forces him to include his own interpretive material, not corresponding to anything in Barclay. When Barclay quotes Jeremiah's complaint to God (Jer. 15:18), it appears as a rhetorical question: "wilt thou altogether be unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?" Barclay is able to take for granted that God will not do so. But Freiday uses a translation in which the prophet declares positively, "You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook, whose waters do not abide!" (QHP 133, DF 96). He therefore has to insert his own explanation that in the following verse God contradicts the complaining prophet, and although he quotes two translations for the purpose, the point is not made very effectively. Barclay's argument is weakened and sidetracked by this extraneous material.

Greek and Hebrew Translation

Barclay quotes Greek words and phrases more often than a reader of Freiday's text would guess. In Propositions 5-6 there are 9 such instances, 4 from the Bible and 5 from other ancient authors. They are evidently intended either to discuss controverted issues of Bible translation or to allow educated readers to observe nuances of an original text. Freiday allows the actual Greek to appear in only one of these cases, a quotation from a pre-Christian writer (QHP 164, DF 119). In only one other case is there even an editorial note that Barclay refers to the Greek text, and this note is somewhat misleading:

[Barclay then refers to the original Greek to make it clear that the "him" refers to the nearest antecedent, the light, rather than to John. The latter would make it appear that all were supposed to believe through John. Although there is nothing to contradict this in so many words, this puts a ridiculous strain on the context.] (DF 100)

In fact the only point here that Barclay bases on the Greek is that the word "him" is grammatically capable of referring to the Light, a point which Freiday's note concedes. Barclay's argument that "him" does refer to the Light is, like Freiday's counter-argument, based on the context, and could be evaluated by readers who know no Greek; but Freiday omits this material without acknowledgment (QHP 139-140).

In another passage Freiday says in a footnote, "This reference is based on the KJ version," when in fact it is based on Greek that Freiday has omitted (QHP 125, DF 90).

Similar examples were noted elsewhere in the Apology. In one case Barclay not only comments on the grammar of a Greek verb but cites one ancient and one contemporary authority to support his position (QHP 79-80, omitted DF 62). Freiday omits this use of Greek despite saying in a footnote that modern translations support Barclay here (DF 61 n. 19).

Barclay quotes Hebrew words only once in the Apology (QHP 219), again in order to discuss the grammar and translation of a biblical verse; Freiday omits the entire passage (QHP 217-223) as "rather tedious" (DF 165).

Readers who know Greek and/or Hebrew are thus deprived of the chance to judge Barclay's scholarship for themselves. All readers are misled as to the extent to which Barclay uses these languages, and from Freiday's bracketed note quoted above (DF 100) may also draw a mistaken impression of Barclay's linguistic competence.

Textual Criticism

Freiday's editing obliterates the evidence of Barclay's awareness of an important matter of biblical scholarship: the problem of the Hebrew vowels. Barclay, in a list of problems which make it uncertain exactly what the Bible says in various passages, mentions

the various lections of the Hebrew character by reason of the points, which some plead for as coevous with the first writings, which others, with no less probability, allege to be a later invention.... (QHP 73-74)

This refers to the fact that the Hebrew alphabet ("character") originally had no vowels. Eventually, long after the Old Testament books had been written, vowel signs called "points" were invented and inserted into subsequent copies of these books. In Barclay's time, however, some scholars believed the vowel points an original part of the biblical text;4 others, whose view has since prevailed among scholars, disagreed. The fact that in some passages it is not obvious what vowels should be used, and that there are therefore "various lections" (alternative ways of reading the same Hebrew letters), supports Barclay's point that the meaning of the biblical text cannot always be discovered with certainty. Freiday's version misses the point, and says instead, "There is also the uncertainty about the date of some of the Hebrew manuscripts" (DF 56). This is not what Barclay wrote, and it is far less relevant. Uncertainty about the date of a few manuscripts is not comparable to the uncertainty introduced into all manuscripts by the fact that their originals lacked vowels.

Freiday also omits Barclay's awareness of variation among the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament (QHP 74, omitted DF 56).

Opinions on Authorship

Occasionally Freiday alters what Barclay says about who wrote a passage. This occurs in cases where modern scholars question or reject the tradition on the authorship of a book. Barclay writes, "The apostle Peter says expressly"; Freiday, perhaps unwilling to let Barclay say that the apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter, says instead that the idea "is also referred to in the New Testament" (QHP 133, DF 96). The principle is not carried through consistently, for in this passage two subsequent references to 2 Peter are attributed to "the same apostle" (QHP 133, DF 97) and then to "Peter" (QHP 134, DF 97) in both Barclay's text and Freiday's. Similarly, Freiday makes Barclay hedge on Paul's authorship of Titus (QHP 156, DF 112), yet abandons this caution shortly afterward by retaining a reference to "the same apostle" as the author of Romans, which no scholar disputes is Paul's work (QHP 157, DF 113).

Something similar happens in reverse with a nonbiblical source when Barclay cites the 5th-century treatise Call of All Nations. Barclay, uncertain who wrote it, refers to "The author de vocat. gentium"; Freiday, not certain but with an idea who the author was, makes this "Prosper (or whoever was the author of), de vocat. gentium" (QHP 111, DF 81).

A more theologically interesting case occurs when Barclay puts words from Isaiah 5:4 in Jesus' mouth, on the premise that Christ inspired the prophet. Barclay's "Christ saith in the prophet" becomes, in Freiday's version, "He might have added, as the prophet did" (QHP 135, DF 98), thus turning a statement about inspiration into a mere guess about what Jesus could have said but did not.

Barclay's Use of Logic

Barclay's arrangement of his subject matter is eminently logical and is filled with attempts to demonstrate his points by clear reasoning. Often he uses the formal structures of academic logic common in his day. These include arguments in the form of syllogisms, academic technicalities such as Latin formulas for the rules of logic, and explicit outlining of his material with frequent references to the logical relations among its parts. Some readers find these features helpful; others may not; but they are in any case instructive about the mental atmosphere in which Barclay wrote and the kind of readership he aimed at. All of them tend to disappear or suffer damage in Freiday's version.


Barclay frequently emphasizes the logical structure of his arguments by putting them in the form of syllogisms. For example:

From whence I thus argue:
Arg. In every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh righteousness, is accepted:
But many of the heathen feared God, and wrought righteousness:
Therefore they were accepted.
The minor is proved from the example of Cornelius.... (QHP 161)

Readers unfamiliar with this format may need to have it explained that the three successive statements in a syllogism are called the "major premise" (or "the major"), the "minor premise" (or "the minor"), and the "conclusion"; and if the syllogism is properly formed, anyone who believes the two premises are true must logically accept the conclusion as well. The rules for constructing a valid syllogism were well known to academics, and Barclay sometimes shows that he expects his readers to be able to supply the conclusion from the premises, as when he writes, "All that know but a conclusion do easily see what follows" (QHP 161), or simply, "Therefore, &c." (QHP 107, 118, 140).

There are 17 syllogisms in Propositions 5-6. Of these, Freiday includes the full content (without the syllogistic structure) of only one, and that one is not Barclay's own argument but his reproduction of an objection by opponents (QHP 157-58, DF 113). The other 16 syllogisms in this chapter (of which Barclay presents 15 as his own, attributing one to "the Arminians") are entirely omitted.5 Elsewhere, Freiday deletes a syllogism but retains in paraphrase the previous sentence in which Barclay promises "an unanswerable argument" (QHP 83-84, DF 65).

Freiday thus denies readers the opportunity to see Barclay contending with academic theologians on their own terms. He also obscures a difference between Barclay's thinking and that of George Fox.

Unlike Barclay, Fox did not trust syllogisms. He writes of a meeting in Edinburgh in 1657:

and a-many rude people and Baptists came in and there the Baptists began with their logic and syllogisms. But I was moved in the Lord's power to thresh their chaffy, light minds, and showed the people that after that manner of light discoursing they might make white black and black white, and because a cock had two legs and they had two legs therefore they were cocks, and so turn any thing into lightness.6

It is up to the reader to ponder whether this means that Barclay departed from Fox's thinking (and if so, whether for the better or the worse), or whether it means the difference was so unimportant that the two men ignored it or perhaps did not even notice it. But the reader who relies on Freiday's text cannot even notice that there is a question to be pondered.

In particular cases the omission of a syllogism may also make Barclay's meaning less clear. For example, when Barclay is arguing that the Bible cannot give assurance of salvation as Protestants would like it to, Freiday gives us this:

The scripture says that those who believe shall be saved (1 Pet 1:8-9). We conclude from what it says that we will be saved, but the scriptures merely declare these things, they make no application of them or give us any assurance that they apply to us. (DF 54)

This represents the following in Barclay:

The Scripture gives me a mere declaration of these things, but makes no application; so that the assumption must be of my own making, thus; as for example: I find this proposition in the Scripture:
"He that believes, shall be saved": thence I draw this assumption:
But I, Robert, believe;
Therefore, I shall be saved.
The minor is of my own making, not expressed in the Scripture; and so a human conclusion, not a divine position.... (QHP 71)

By using a syllogism Barclay makes crystal clear how his contemporaries are reasoning and what they are assuming. He accurately reproduces a recurring theme of the Protestant devotional literature of the period, as he does also in the immediately following syllogism which attempts to shore up the uncertain premise "I believe" in the former:

He that hath the true and certain marks of true faith, hath true faith:
But I have those marks:
Therefore I have true faith.
For the assumption is still here of my own making, and is not found in the Scriptures.... (QHP 71, omitted DF 54)

Barclay's analysis of these two syllogisms lays bare the unavoidable reliance on subjective guesswork in logic that was advertised as based entirely on Scripture. Freiday's much weaker "We conclude from what it says that we will be saved" fails to make the point with any clarity.

Academic Technicalities

Also omitted are Barclay's occasional Latin quotations of the formal rules of logic, such as "For, A non esse ad non posse non datur sequela, i.e., That consequence is false that concludes a thing cannot be because it is not," for which Freiday does not even give the English (QHP 157, DF 113; for a similar example, QHP 63, omitted DF 46). Barclay occasionally resorts to Aristotelian metaphysical terms that were still used in theological schools. At one point he offers to prove that the Light is a "substance" by showing that it is not an "accident" (QHP 121-22). For readers who know no scholastic metaphysics, these terms may be very roughly clarified by saying that a "substance" is a thing while an "accident" is a trait or quality of a thing. To Freiday's credit he includes a footnote briefly explaining this concept (DF 87 n. 19). It might have been more helpful, however, if he had also let stand the sentence (which he silently deletes) in which Barclay himself clarifies the "substance"/"accident" distinction by an example:

So also as we may distinguish betwixt health and medicine: health cannot be in a body, without the body be called healthful, because health is an accident; but medicine may be in a body that is most unhealthful for that it is a substance. (QHP 122, omitted DF 87)

Another of Barclay's academic expressions seems to elude Freiday's understanding. When Barclay writes that "revelations of God... were of old the formal object of their faith," the term "formal object" is a technical term which was traditionally paired with "material object." The "material object" of faith was the actual subject matter believed in, while the "formal object" was the means by which this subject matter was communicated to the believer. Where a Protestant would have said the formal object of faith was the Bible, and a Catholic would have said it was the Church, Barclay says it is direct revelations from God; in each case the meaning is that this is the source from which people should learn what to believe. But despite footnoting the varied meanings of this word, Freiday here misunderstands "formal object" as "purpose" and thus writes, "revelations of God... were formerly the main purpose of faith" (QHP 21, DF 16). This reverses the meaning: where Barclay says revelations were given in order to produce faith and give it content, Freiday's text says people had faith in order to obtain revelations.

Barclay's Outlining of his Material

At times Barclay outlines his presentation, or explains the logical relations among the different parts of his subject. Often Freiday omits this material, thereby removing a resource that might help readers find their way through Barclay's reasoning.

For instance, immediately after setting forth his doctrine of the Light, Barclay gives a numbered list of 12 consequences of the doctrine (QHP 116-18). These are intended to recommend the doctrine, to clarify it, and to display its relationship and contrast to the standard types of Protestant theology that Barclay has discussed just before this. The corresponding passage in Freiday begins, "Among other consequences of this doctrine" (DF 83) to which this footnote is attached:

Barclay numbers them from 1 to 12, but the numbering has been omitted, there has been some rearrangement, and those which repeat material just covered have been omitted. - ED. (DF 83 n. 16)

In fact 5 of the 12 items are entirely omitted and 2 more are partly omitted. The first item is a fair example of those which Freiday omits because they "repeat material just covered":

First, then, according to this doctrine the mercy of God is excellently well exhibited, in that none are necessarily shut out from salvation: and his justice is demonstrated, in that he condemns none, but such, to whom he really made offer of salvation, affording them the means sufficient thereunto. (QHP 116, omitted DF 83)

But this is not mere repetition. The operative words are "according to this doctrine," i.e. the doctrine of the Light. It is true that in preceding sections Barclay has opposed Calvinist doctrines which make God appear unjust by saying that many people are given no opportunity to be saved. But Barclay is not merely repeating that point here. He is saying that the doctrine of the Light explains why the Calvinist doctrine is wrong and how God's dealings can be seen to be just. His claim that the doctrine of the Light solves these theological problems corresponds to his earlier criticism of other non-Calvinist theologies for failing to solve the same problems (QHP 112-14, omitted DF 81). It would not be an exaggeration to say that this sentence is an important key to the logical organization of the entire chapter on Propositions 5-6.

Besides the omission of about half of this 12-point outline, 11 other passages were counted in Propositions 5-6 where Freiday omits wording in which Barclay outlines his material or shows the logical relations among his statements, such as the following transition from stating and clarifying his position to proving it:

Having thus clearly and evidently stated the question, and opened our mind and judgment in this matter, as divers objections are hereby prevented, so it will make our proof both the easier and the shorter. (QHP 132, omitted DF 95)

Omitting this sentence leaves it unclear why the next paragraph should begin, "The first thing to prove is...."

Even within a sentence Freiday sometimes loses the logical relations among Barclay's thoughts: an "if...then" structure, for instance, can become a "both...and," as in this sentence from Proposition 6:

This certain doctrine then being received (to wit) that there is an evangelical and saving Light and Grace in all, the universality of the love and mercy of God towards mankind...is established and confirmed against all the objections of such as deny it. (QHP 97)

The opening words here mean "If this doctrine is received." Barclay is saying that if one accepts the doctrine of the Light, then one will have a more adequate answer to Calvinist objections than any other non-Calvinist theology can offer. This is a way of urging those dissatisfied with Calvinism to adopt Quakerism as the answer to it. But in Freiday's text there is no "if...then" structure: Barclay seems merely to assert two points side by side:

This doctrine is established and confirmed against the objections of all who deny it. There is an evangelical and saving light and grace in everyone, and the love and mercy of God toward mankind were universal.... (DF 72)

A similar loss of logical structure occurs in the change of "as we are sanctified, so we are justified" to "we are sanctified and we are justified" (QHP 14, DF 8). Barclay intends sanctification to be the cause, or at least the measure, of justification; Freiday's wording merely says both things happen.

Freiday introduces a logical contradiction not present in Barclay. In the statement of Proposition 8, Freiday says that a person who has reached perfection "is no longer able to obey any suggestions or temptations toward evil," yet adds in the next sentence, "yet some possibility of sinning remains" (DF 8). In Barclay's own wording the first sentence can be understood to mean that the perfect do not sin, rather than that they cannot; the second sentence is then a careful warning that it is still possible to slip out of a state of perfection (QHP 14).

Barclay's Response to Contemporary Theologies


Probably the one subject that suffers the most from Freiday's handling is Barclay's interaction with Calvinist theology. This is particularly unfortunate because the Apology critiques Calvinism more thoroughly than any other theology of its time; and it detracts from Freiday's stated intention to provide "scholarship sufficient for the ecumenist" (DF xxxviii-xxxix). (An ecumenist ought to be interested in the types of Christianity that exist; and Calvinism is by no means an extinct species. There are more traditional Calvinists today, who believe nearly the same things as their 17th-century forebears, than there are Quakers of all types put together.)

Calvinism in Barclay's time had long been the dominant or state-sponsored religion in various parts of Europe. Many universities had Calvinist theological faculties, and Calvinist scholars had elaborated their faith in detail in response to controversies both within the Reformed churches and between them and Catholics, Lutherans, and others. The official Church of Scotland, Barclay's native country, was Calvinist, and that of England was still theologically more Calvinist than anything else, though the failure of the Puritan revolution had led to reactions against the Calvinist styles of ritual and discipline.

Calvinism was thus a formidable opponent, and Barclay recognized this. He knew that all the simple and obvious objections to Calvinism had been tried, and had already been answered in excruciating detail by Calvinist academic theologians. He knew that any oversimplification of Calvinism on his part would defeat his purpose in addressing his work to the educated clergy, who would be enabled to dismiss him as ignorant of the system he took it upon himself to criticize.

Barclay's Apology is remarkably successful in addressing the intricate details of Calvinist theology. To anyone who has studied Calvinism it will be clear from Barclay's original text that he knew the subject well. His abhorrence for it is clear (his outbursts include calling it "this horrible and blasphemous doctrine," QHP 98), but so is his technical grasp of its details. Unfortunately, from Freiday's text a well-informed Calvinist would have to reach the opposite conclusion: that Barclay knew little of Calvinism and addressed it only superficially. This results not only from Freiday's omission of much of Barclay's anti-Calvinist material, but also from his mishandling of what he does include.

The omissions are quite extensive. Merely to read through the anti-Calvinist passages that Freiday omits would provide many readers with an eye-opening education in the religious climate of Barclay's time, and therefore in Barclay's reasons for writing as he does. The following paragraph, in which Barclay tries to pin down several Calvinist authors to what he considers the implication of their own words, provides a good introduction to the atmosphere:

If these sayings do not plainly and evidently import that God is the author of sin, we must not then seek these men's opinions from their words, but some way else. It seems as if they had assumed to themselves that monstrous and twofold will they feign of God; one by which they declare their minds openly, and another more secret and hidden, which is quite contrary to the other. Nor doth it at all help them, to say that man sins willingly, since that willingness, proclivity, and propensity to evil is, according to their judgment, so necessarily imposed upon him, that he cannot but be willing, because God hath willed and decreed him to be so. Which shift is just as if I should take a child incapable to resist me, and throw it down from a great precipice; the weight of the child's body indeed makes it go readily down, and the violence of the fall upon some rock or stone beats out its brains and kills it. Now then I pray, though the body of the child goes willingly down (for I suppose it, as to its mind, incapable of any will), and the weight of its body, and not any immediate stroke of my hand, who am perhaps at a great distance, makes it die, whether is the child or I the proper cause of its death? Let any man of reason judge, if God's part be (with them) as great, yea, more immediate, in the sins of men, as by the testimonies above brought doth appear; whether doth not this make him not only the author of sin, but more unjust than the unjustest of men? (QHP 101, almost entirely omitted DF 76)

Barclay's frustration and resulting sarcasm are evident here. So is the cause of that frustration, in the attempt by Calvinists to make extremely fine distinctions to avoid unacceptable but seemingly obvious consequences of their own ideas. In this case the problem lies in the Calvinist assertions that God predestines people to sin, but that this does not amount to forcing them to sin because they sin willingly (their willingness being part of what God predestines), and that it is therefore the sinners themselves and not God who must be blamed for their evil-doing. The fact that these ideas were widely accepted forces Barclay to go into excruciating detail in reply, perhaps even overstating his case with the line "the body of the child goes willingly down." In other omitted anti-Calvinist passages Barclay is usually less sarcastic but no less detailed in replying to real technicalities of Calvinist thought.

Besides his extensive omissions, Freiday also damages Barclay's anti-Calvinist material by a number of mistaken rewordings. Perhaps the most startling of these occurs in the text of Proposition 6 itself, both as it is printed in the "Theses Theologicae" at the beginning of the Apology and as it is reprinted at the head of the exposition of Propositions 5-6. At the end of this rather long proposition, Barclay criticizes both Calvinism and its chief Protestant theological rival, Arminianism. Freiday conflates these two criticisms into one, making Barclay seem to oppose a nonexistent and self-contradictory theology.

Barclay writes:

As they then have falsely and erroneously taught, who have denied Christ to have died for all men; so neither have they sufficiently taught the Truth, who, affirming him to have died for all, have added the absolute necessity of the outward knowledge thereof, in order to obtain its saving effect.... (QHP 97, cf. 13)

In this sentence Barclay distinguishes two sets of opponents, each identified with the pronouns "they...who": one group, Calvinists, who say that Christ did not die for all (but only for the predestined elect), and another group, Arminians (or "the Remonstrants of Holland"), who say that he did die for all, but then add that his death does no good except to those who have heard of it. In place of this sentence Freiday writes:

It is false and erroneous to teach denial of the fact that Christ died for all men, and yet require outward knowledge of this fact as a prerequisite to salvation. (DF 73, cf. 7)

Freiday thereby creates a single imaginary group of opponents, who teach that the only way to be saved is to believe that Christ died for all people, but that no one should believe this because it is not true. No one, of course, ever held this impossible combination of beliefs. By making Barclay seem to think that such people existed, Freiday inadvertently makes him appear very badly informed about the beliefs of his contemporaries. And to readers who are not themselves well enough informed to perceive the error, Freiday's text may easily convey the misinformation that this was what Calvinists taught.

Some of Freiday's rewordings result in further misstatements of Calvinist doctrine. These often concern points which might seem arcane technicalities to a non-Calvinist, but to a Calvinist would be essential. It is therefore significant that Barclay gets them right, and that Freiday's rewording gets them wrong.

For instance, in Freiday's version, when speaking of the Calvinist explanation of many people's lack of faith, Barclay seems to say:

This unbelief, again, would be attributed to the hidden counsel of God by some of the proponents of the doctrine. Certainly, the coming of Christ was never a testimony of God's love in their eyes.... (DF 77).

As these sentences stand, the words "in their eyes" can only refer to "some of the proponents of the doctrine," with the result that some Calvinists are said never to have believed Christ's coming was a testimony of God's love. But this does not reflect Calvinist belief, and is not what Barclay says. Barclay's actual words are that, to Calvinists, Christ's coming serves

for the hardening, obduring and augmenting the condemnation of the far greater number of men, because they believe not truly in it; the cause of which unbelief again (as the divines [so called] above assert) is the hidden counsel of God: certainly the coming of Christ was never to them a testimony of God's love.... (QHP 102).

Here the words "to them" (corresponding to Freiday's "in their eyes") refer, not to proponents of the doctrine, but to "the far greater number of men," who (Calvinists believe) are predestined to hell. Barclay, drawing his own conclusion from Calvinist doctrine, says that on their theory Christ's coming cannot serve as a testimony of God's love to those predestined to disbelieve in it. But he does not say that the Calvinists draw this conclusion, much less that they don't find Christ's coming a testimony of God's love to themselves; for no doubt they are in their own view true believers whom God loves and for whom Christ died.

Again, on Freiday's account, Calvinism "declares that all of the gospel promises and threats are irrelevant" (DF 77). But Calvinism does not say this, and Barclay does not say that it does. As Barclay puts it, "it wholly makes useless ... the whole tenor of the Gospel promises and threatenings, as being all relative to a former decree and means before appointed to such" (QHP 102). That is, Calvinism says that these promises and threats are subordinate means for reaching a foregone conclusion, and Barclay himself (not the Calvinists) infers from his own point of view that this makes them useless.

Sometimes Freiday reduces the starkness of Calvinist doctrine. In his text, reprobates who are members of a Christian church

are denied the efficacy of the gospel, the sacraments, prayer, and good works even if these engender the hope that they will be effective and they accept the faith. (DF 78)

The words "even if" make it sound accidental that these people, by being exposed to a Christianity they will never really believe, may get a self-delusive pseudo-faith that gives them false hopes. As Barclay correctly explains it, the Calvinist doctrine is actually more fearsome than this:

They make the preaching of the Gospel, the offer of salvation by Christ, the use of the sacraments, of prayer, and good works, sufficient to condemn those they account reprobates within the church, serving only to inform them to beget a seeming faith and vain hope.... (QHP 103)

Barclay's words "serving only to" carry a different meaning from Freiday's "even if": they imply that, according to Calvinism, God intends these reprobates to fall into a delusive "seeming faith and vain hope," and that he arranges their exposure to Christianity to lead to this end.

Other Theologies

Sometimes Freiday distorts Barclay's description of the theologies of non-Quakers in general. This occurs in a passage where Barclay says that even though non-Quakers admit to experiencing what Quakers call the Light, they reject the Quaker belief that the Light is saving, and have various explanations of why it is not:

All confess they feel this; but they will not have it to be of that virtue. Some will have it to be reason; some a natural conscience; some, certain relics of God's image that remained in Adam. (QHP 152)

Freiday produces the following inverted version:

All confess this, but they will not attribute saving power to the seed within. Some want the cause of salvation to be reason, others a natural conscience, and some attribute it to a residual part of God's image that remained in Adam. (DF 109)

Despite Freiday, the opponents of Quakerism did not "want the cause of salvation to be" any of the alternatives listed. Their argument was the reverse: they held that the Light, which Quakers believed was the cause of salvation, was in fact only reason, or a natural conscience, or remnants of God's image in Adam, and because it was one or other of these things it was not saving. Barclay understood this, and his text reproduces their ideas correctly.

Miscellaneous Changes

Quaker Spiritual Experience

Some of Freiday's changes distort the portrayal of early Quaker spiritual experience. For instance, when Barclay says that the Light "works powerfully upon the soul, mightily tenders it, and breaks it," Freiday writes that "it exerts a powerful influence and makes the soul tender and breaks its bonds" (QHP 128, DF 93). The exact meaning of Barclay's startling "breaks it" may be open to question: it may mean "tames it," as one speaks of "breaking" a wild horse, or it may refer to breaking the heart or the will or exhausting the soul's resistance. But it certainly does not mean breaking the soul's bonds (setting it free of restraint). Freiday's expression suggests an entirely different sort of experience, one which may be more pleasant to contemplate but is not what Barclay wrote about.

Similarly, when Barclay writes that Quakers urge people "to be silent and sit down as in the dust," Freiday makes this "to be silent and quiet, like one who is waiting for the dust to settle" (QHP 155, DF 112). To "sit in the dust" is an Old Testament metaphor for self-abasement or humiliation (Isa. 47:1; Lam. 3:28-29):its emotional force derives from the fact that one who sits in the dust gets dusty. To "wait for the dust to settle," on the other hand, is a metaphor for caution; it implies that one tries to avoid getting dusty. Again a less disturbing experience has been substituted for the one of which Barclay wrote.

Freiday writes that "there is no way in which a man can stir up that light and grace at his pleasure or even when he needs it," but fails to give Barclay's details about the specific type of need that was felt by early Quakers. Barclay says that a man cannot "at any time when he pleaseth or hath some sense of his misery, stir up that Light and Grace, so as to procure to himself tenderness of heart" (QHP 128, DF 93). Barclay's "misery" consists of a lack of "tenderness of heart," or openness to God's commands and reproofs.

Where Barclay says "the will and strength of man are brought down, and rejected," Freiday merely says "the will and strength of man are minimized" (QHP 132, DF 95).

Barclay says of the founders of Quakerism that God "hath raised up a few despicable and illiterate men, and for the most part mechanics, to be the dispensers of it," i.e. of "the more full discovery of this glorious and evangelical dispensation." Freiday makes this "A new interpretation of the gospel has been developed" (QHP 115, DF 82), which sounds as if someone had rearranged a set of ideas by human ingenuity. But Barclay speaks of the experience of people who believed their religious insights were beyond their own capacity to invent, and who were therefore emboldened to put forth their message as a divine revelation.

Quaker Attitude to Other Faiths

Freiday often tones down references to other faiths that might seem insulting. "The divines, so called, at Westminster" becomes "the theologians who were assembled at Westminster" (QHP 64, DF 48; cf. QHP 102, DF 77). A "so called" applied to the early "fathers" of the church likewise disappears (QHP 110, DF 81), though Barclay intends no insult to this group; he merely declines to call them "fathers" because of Jesus' command in Matt. 23:9. "Papist" becomes "Catholic" (QHP 127, DF 92), though in the same context "Turk," properly an ethnic term but used as a religious designation in 17th-century England, fails to be corrected to "Muslim." A statement that the Pharisees "were justly accounted as serpents, and a generation of vipers" is deleted (QHP 151, DF 108), though Barclay's logic in this passage works only on the traditional Christian assumption that these were particularly bad people. "The crafty Jesuits" becomes "the wise Jesuits," and "the pretended rational Socinians" becomes "the rational Socinians" (QHP 153, DF 109), though "pretended" was not an insult in 17th-century English and Barclay refers here not to the Socinians' rationality but to their claims for the rationality of their theology (a better paraphrase would have been "rationalistic").

In a passage that contrasts Quakers with their contemporaries of other religions, Barclay indulges in what some might consider boasting:

And we rejoice that we have been made to lay down our wisdom and learning (such of us as have had some of it) and our carnal reasoning, to learn of Jesus, and sit down at the feet of Jesus in our hearts, and hear him, who there makes all things manifest, and reproves all things by his Light (Eph. 5:13).

Freiday gets halfway through this sentence preserving Barclay's meaning, but then suddenly changes the construction to "Let us sit down...." (QHP 153-54, DF 110). This has the effect of making Barclay group himself with all his readers, Quaker and non-Quaker alike, as all in need of the same exhortation. But it is quite clear from the context that Barclay sharply separates himself and his fellow Quakers, who already sit at the feet of Jesus, from the adherents of all other religions, whom the Quakers are divinely called to convert.

In a passage explaining that while the Light is infallible the conscience can err, Barclay cites Catholicism and Islam as religions with erroneous principles. Although Freiday does not delete the passage, he greatly reduces the number of examples and the severity with which they are criticized (QHP 127, DF 92). Thus he retains Barclay's mention of Islam's tolerance of polygamy and its rejection of alcohol but deletes Barclay's criticism of the latter (possibly with an eye to Christian teetotalers as well as Muslims), along with the claim that "Muhammad is an impostor." Barclay's denunciation of three Catholic ritual requirements ("the Light of Christ never consented to any of those abominations") becomes the bland statement that "If a Catholic should eat meat during Lent, this would cause his conscience to smite him, even though a Protestant might not be bothered by the same act."

This tendency is probably deliberate, for Freiday's introduction mentions "the few remarks about Catholicism which Barclay made which have not lost their sting in three centuries" as a defect for which he wishes to "compensate" (DF xli). On the other hand it is probably unintentional that Freiday at one point causes Barclay to show less respect for both Calvinist and anti-Calvinist theologians than he actually does.

At the end of five sections devoted to a preliminary statement and refutation of Calvinism, Barclay summarizes what he has done so far:

Having thus briefly removed this false doctrine which stood in my way, because they that are desirous may see it both learnedly and piously refuted by many others....

Barclay here acknowledges that this part of his treatment has been briefer than could be desired, and refers the reader to many others who have written against Calvinism "both learnedly and piously." Freiday reduces this to the assertion, "This ought to dispose of this false doctrine" (QHP 103, DF 78), failing to credit others with having written anything to the purpose. The "this" which in Freiday's version "ought to dispose of" Calvinism is less than what Barclay presents, for Freiday has cut out at least 23% of the material referred to. Freiday thus inadvertently gives the impression that Barclay had little respect for either the intellectual rigor and complexity of Calvinism or the scholarship and religious faith of others who had criticized it in more detail.

Barclay on History

Several of Freiday's omissions deal with historical material which he sketches very briefly (DF 81-82, omitting QHP 111-15) or dismisses as "primarily of historical interest" (DF vii, omitting QHP 1-7) or "difficult to follow for anyone who is not well versed in the era" (DF 42, omitting QHP 54-58). Such notes, where given, do inform the reader that Barclay deals with history. But the historically educated reader is denied the opportunity to judge the validity of Barclay's historical arguments for himself. The less informed reader is deprived of clues to topics which he might look up in hopes of better understanding Barclay in his historical context.

Barclay on Mythology

Barclay refers to the classical myth of Tantalus in order to make an analogy. Freiday condenses the account of the myth; but what is more interesting, he leaves out Barclay's expression, "that condition which the poets feign of Tantalus" (QHP 103, DF 78). Barclay wants to be sure the reader knows that he considers this story fictional. Probably no present-day reader would imagine that Barclay thought it a true history, but Barclay's caution illustrates the early Quaker atmosphere in which it was also thought necessary to avoid calling the months and days by names derived from pagan gods.

Barclay's Errors

In at least one case Freiday omits a passage in which Barclay is mistaken about a matter of fact. In his discussion of whether the outward knowledge of the history of Jesus is necessary for salvation, Barclay claims that it is impossible to communicate these facts to deaf people:

Obj. If they say, deaf people may be made sensible of the Gospel by signs:
Answ. All the signs cannot give them any explicit knowledge of the history of the death, sufferings, and resurrection of Christ. For what signs can inform a deaf man, that the son of God took on him man's nature, was born of a virgin, and suffered under Pontius Pilate? (QHP 159, omitted DF 114)

Barclay may have been unaware of the efforts being made in his own time to promote communication between deaf and hearing persons,7 or he may have believed they could not be effective. By omitting these sentences, Freiday's text obscures the fact that Barclay was mistaken here - a fact which may be of interest to some readers.

Though it cannot be proved, it seems possible that some of Freiday's other changes to Barclay's meaning are similarly designed to correct passages which Freiday considered erroneous or defective.

Freiday's Footnotes

The most valuable part of Freiday's edition is his footnotes. Barclay's own citations are in a cryptic Latin shorthand, understood by academic theologians of his own day but obscure to modern readers. Even the English Puritan William Ames is cited as G. (for Gulielmus) Amesius. Freiday's notes, mined from such standard scholarly resources as the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, can provide helpful clues for finding sources or identifying their historical context. Thumbnail biographies are provided for many of the authors cited.

These notes must be treated not as authoritative sources but as research tools which may or may not turn out to be accurate in any given case. Sometimes Freiday fails to find Barclay's source due to misunderstanding Barclay's reference. For instance, Barclay quotes in succession 5 extreme statements on predestination, citing 5 distinct sources and ending with the comment, "These are Calvin's expressions." Unfortunately the 5 quotations can appear typographically to be one because 17th-century printers used italics where we now use quotation marks. Freiday, taking them for a single quotation, writes in his footnote:

Although there seems to be little doubt that Calvin made such a statement, since the gist of it can be found in the Inst., l 3, c 23, s 7, 8 and elsewhere, I have been unable to locate the precise statement quoted here. Unfortunately these citations from the Inst. are incomplete, omitting the book, and giving only chapter and section. (DF 75 n. 3)

In fact only one of Barclay's citations here lacks the book number, and even this is easily findable (and corrected in the present edition, QHP 100 n. h [e in the printed edition]) since only book 3 of Calvin's Institutes contains a chapter number high enough to match.

Another mistaken footnote is occasioned by Freiday's omissions. In a sequence of quotations from Clement of Alexandria (QHP 148, DF 105), Barclay says that the first is from book 2 of Clement's Stromateis and the second from "the selfsame, in his warning to the Gentiles." Freiday omits the first quote, applies its citation to the second, and remarks, "In spite of some search these particular quotations were not specifically located, although book 2 is included in the Ante-Nicene Fathers." He fails to notice that The Ante-Nicene Fathers also contains Clement's Warning to the Gentiles, though under the title Exhortation to the Heathen, and that the quotation can be found there (vol. 2, p. 173).

Freiday at least once substitutes an entirely different reference for Barclay's citation. Where Barclay says he is quoting Augustine's Confessions, book 7, chapter 9 (QHP 165, DF 120), Freiday retains the quotation but omits the source and instead provides in a footnote another quotation which he cites as from The City of God.

A note supposedly corrected in the third printing, formerly containing "a garbled citation" from Aquinas (DF xli), contains new errors in citations of both Aquinas and Augustine; fortunately its reference to a Library of Christian Classics volume, Freiday's immediate source, is still correct (DF 38 n. 25).


Additional Causes of Errors

The above review of the effects of Freiday's editing, though far from complete, suggests additional causes of errors.

The clearest such cause is insufficient knowledge of various theological topics, especially the content of 17th-century Calvinism and its polemical interactions with other theologies. Although lack of interest might account for some of Freiday's deletion of Barclay's anti-Calvinist material, it cannot explain certain passages, the most notable of which is the mistaken conflation in Proposition 6 which confuses Calvinism with Arminianism (QHP 97-98, DF 73). It is difficult to believe that anyone at all familiar with Calvinism could have created this nonexistent compound theology for Barclay to oppose, in place of the accurate description Barclay gives of two theologies that he opposes for different reasons. Once Freiday's low awareness of Calvinism is recognized, his other distortions of the same subject become more understandable.

A similar unfamiliarity with Old Testament text criticism and the role of Hebrew vowels in it seems required to explain Freiday's misunderstanding of Barclay's comment on this subject (QHP 73-74, DF 56).

These gaps in theological knowledge might have had far fewer detrimental effects on Freiday's text if he had stayed closer to Barclay's wording and made only those changes needed to update English usage. Reviewing some of the effects of Freiday's rewriting has revealed how extensive are his policies of condensation and paraphrase, and how little these sometimes have to do with conveying Barclay's meaning. The more thoroughly one rewrites a document, the more thoroughly one needs to understand its subject matter.

Only after reviewing the effects of Freiday's changes can we appreciate what he writes in his introduction: "It was decided to treat the original as if it were a manuscript submitted to an editor today" (DF xl). The original, it now seems, has been treated as if it were the work of an amateurish writer who not only cannot write clear English but whose presentation of his subject matter is often faulty. But even an editor dealing with such a writer must normally negotiate the writer's agreement to the final product. Such negotiation is obviously out of the question for an editor in 1967 and an author who died in 1690.

Yet not even the combination of an editor's free hand with an inadequate knowledge of some of the subject matter can explain all of the changes found in Freiday's text. Many alterations are difficult or impossible to explain as results of any natural misunderstanding of Barclay's words. This is most obvious when Freiday tries to correct Barclay's errors (real or imagined), as when he suppresses part of Barclay's biblical interpretation and substitutes his own objections to it, or, probably, when he deletes Barclay's mistake about sign language. The entire ill-advised policy of substituting modern Bible translations (despite their frequent difference in meaning from what Barclay quotes) provides another large category of cases in which Freiday's text does not result simply from his perception (even if mistaken) of Barclay's meaning.

One expects a translator to try to represent the original author's meaning, as nearly as it can be discovered, in the language of translation. Some errors of translation are inevitable; but one does not expect a translator to decide that the author ought to have written something else, and to translate that instead. When Freiday presents material that cannot be explained as even a peculiar misreading of Barclay's meaning, it appears that some criterion other than what Barclay meant has determined Freiday's text in these cases.

It is natural to wonder what that additional criterion may have been. But this does not mean that it can be reliably discovered. A critic may be competent to detect errors in presenting an author's meaning, to discover their causes in misunderstandings of language or subject matter, and to criticize the observed results of an editor's stated policies. To identify an unstated policy correctly is a task much less likely to succeed. It will not be attempted here.


For any reader who wants a text that conveys Barclay's meaning, Freiday's version of the Apology is unreliable. All the types of errors discussed above can be expected to recur throughout the text, though some variations in frequency may occur. In particular, errors caused by misunderstanding of words or subject matter, along with errors caused by substituting quotations, can reasonably be assumed to pervade the entire work. There is therefore no adequate substitute for reading the Apology in Barclay's own words.

Many of Freiday's footnotes remain a useful guide for readers wishing to pursue the numerous sources that Barclay quotes. Even when reading the original text of the Apology, one can usually find a corresponding passage in Freiday's edition by proposition and section number in order to check for the presence of a helpful note.

Note on a Parallel Project

The same policy of substituting Bible quotations has recently been used in a "modern English" version of Barclay's Catechism and Confession of Faith by Dean Freiday and Arthur Roberts.8 The same criticisms of that policy as used in the Apology also apply to its use in the Catechism. Barclay's own text of this document is not currently in print, but it can be found on the Internet at the Quaker Heritage Press website:



1. First printed in 1967 by Hemlock Press, Alburtis, PA. This appendix uses the third printing, 1980, from Friends Book Store, Philadelphia. Page references will be marked "QHP" for this volume and "DF" for Freiday's.

2. This passage, which concerns technical details of Calvinist dogma and scholastic metaphysics, was easily misunderstood because of its unusual use of "formally" to mean "really." Some editor seems to have misidentified the technicality referred to, and inserted the "not" in order to complete the sense.

3. C. S. Lewis, Studies in Words (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), chapter 8, "Conscience and Conscious."

4. For example, John Owen, Of the Integrity and Purity of the Hebrew and Greek Text of the Scripture (Oxford, 1659), rpt. The Works of John Owen, vol. 16 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1968), pp. 345-421, esp. 370-401.

5. QHP 106-07 (five), DF 80; QHP 113 (Arminian), DF 81; QHP 118, DF 84; QHP 134-35, DF 97; QHP 138, DF 99; QHP 140 (two), DF 101; QHP 155, DF 112; QHP 157, DF 113; QHP 161 (three), DF 115.

6. George Fox, Journal, ed. John L. Nickalls ([1952] London: Society of Friends, 1975), p. 321. Fox's derisive example of a syllogism does not in fact follow the accepted rules: in technical terms it has an "undistributed middle."

7. For instance in two books by John Bulwer: Chirologia, or, The naturall language of the hand (London: Tho. Harper, 1644), promoting fingerspelling, and Philocophus, or the Deaf and Dumbe Mans Friend (London: Humphrey Moseley, 1648), on lipreading. Fingerspelling is an example of the thing Barclay says is impossible, since anything that can be written can be fingerspelled.

8. A Catechism and Confession of Faith by Robert Barclay: A new edition edited in modern English, by Dean Freiday and Arthur O. Roberts (Newberg, OR: Barclay Press, 2001).

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