CLIO FINAL - page 27

year 1666 the Messiah would come down to earth
for the Fifth Monarchy, the other four having been:
Babylonian, Persian, Grecian and Roman. The Fifth
Monarchists believed 1666, (around the time of
the interregnum), to be the date of the second
coming. This was solely because of the inclusion of
the number 666 within the date, which had been
related to the ultimate human despot being re-
placed with Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation.
Unlike some of the other religious sects that were
created during the commonwealth, the Fifth Mon-
archists took leading roles in some of the major
events such as the trial of Charles I and signing his
death warrant. They also had direct influence over
Oliver Cromwell in decisions on what to do next
after diffusing the Rump Parliament (a major op-
ponent to the Fifth Monarchists). One significant
figure within Cromwell’s ranks who also happened
to be a Fifth Monarchist, Major-General Thomas
Harrison, believed that the system set up after the
forcible dissolution of the Rump Parliament should
be based upon the OldTestament and include 70
saints. Harrison’s idea behind this was that the
rule of England under Saints would help to usher
in the supposedly inevitable reign of Christ as King
of Kings in the near future. However, due to the
widespread view being not in favour of such be-
liefs, Cromwell decided to use only a few elements
of the suggested organisation in his final Common-
The final and probably the most well-
known religious sect that emerged through the
interregnum was the Quakers who are still around
today with large populations both in the UK and
England. The Quakers were one of the most intol-
erant sects of hypocrisy and deference and they
did not care for politeness. The idea of Quakerism
was founded by George Fox with the belief that
‘Christ had come to teach his people himself’ and
not through the church or individual priests oppos-
ing the popular Christian belief. They believed in
universal priesthood of all believers and focused
on a personal relationship with God through Jesus.
Also in their own time, Quakers felt that it was
best to invest themselves in developing behaviour
and practicing emotional purity which whilst being
good in practice, led to some very controversial
things being said without regret. One example of
this is a confrontation that was between the Quak-
er John Luffe and Pope Alexander VII in which John
Luffe said “Thou pretendest to sit in Peter’s chair,
now know that Peter had no chair but a boat: Peter
was a fisher, thou art a Prince: Peter fasted and
prayed, thou farest deliciously and sleepest softly:
he was mean in attire, thou art beset with orna-
ments and gay attire: he fished for men to convert
them, thou hookest souls to confound them: he
was a friend and disciple to Christ, thou art indeed
Antichrist”. Luffe was unsurprisingly hanged the
next morning. Quakers at the time were known for
not being particularly respectful and for speaking
their minds- whether there were consequences
or not. Some very prominent ‘violations’ of social
expectations was the refusal to remove their hats
to anyone other than God and also insisting on
always using the word ‘thee’ (the informal form of
the word ‘you’ at the time).
These somewhat stubborn beliefs are what
helped to greatly separate the Quakers from every
other dissenting Christian group during the time
of the English Commonwealth and each had their
own take on what it meant to worship God. With-
out the relative religious and political tolerance of
the English Commonwealth, none of the groups
and sects, that some of which still have influence
or descendants today, would have been able to
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