Leade or Leadly, Jane

Leade Or Leadly, Jane, all English mystic, founder of the Philadelphians, was born in the county of Norfolk in 1623. According to her own accounts she was convicted of sin in her sixteenth year by a mysterious voice whispering in her ear, and found peace in the grace of God three years after. Her parents, whose name was Ward, seriously opposed Jane's firm religious stand, and, having decided to withdraw from the parental roof, she removed in 1643 to London to join a brother of hers living there. She had spent a year in the English metropolis, constantly growing in grace and in the knowledge of Christian truths, when a summons came to her from her parents to return home, which request was at once obeyed. Shortly afterwards she was married to William Leade, a pious, noble-hearted man, with whom she lived happily, blessed with a family of four daughters, until 1670, when William was suddenly removed at the age of forty-nine. From the time of her earliest conversion she had shown signs of a mystical tendency; she found the greatest delight in seeking private communion with God; now the loss of her husband drew her still further away from the world, and she became a confirmed mystic. As early as 1652, Dr. Pordage (q.v.) and his wife, together with Dr. Thomas Bromley (q.v.), had succeeded in gathering a congregation of mystics of the Jacob Böhme (q.v.) type, but the pestilence of 1655 had necessitated separation, and they were just gathering anew at London when Jane Leade was deprived of the earthly association of her husband. She joined them readily, and soon became one of the leading spirits of this new mystical movement, and rose until she finally became the founder of a distinct mystical school known as the Philadelphians (q.v.). As her motive for joining Pordage, she assigned certain secret divine revelations and visions which she claimed to have had in the spring of 1670, and shortly after she actually brought before the society a set of laws which she professed to have received of the Lord, in like manner as Moses had been entrusted with the Ten Commandments. (For a complete copy, see Zeitschriftf. hist. Theol. 1865, p. 187 sq.) A still stronger hold she gained upon the society and upon the people at large by the publication of some of her writings in 1683, when she was enabled to send them forth by the pecuniary aid of a pious lady who believed in Jane Leade's divine mission. Her great object in publishing her writings (consisting of eight large octavo volumes very scarce at present — like those of Jacob Bohme though less original, abounding in emblematic and figurative language, and very obscure in style) was evidently to spread her peculiar views, and by these means to form a society of all truly regenerated Christians, from all denominations, which should be the visible Church of Christ upon earth, and be thus awaiting the second coming of the Lord, which she claimed to have been informed by revelation was near at hand (for 1700). She was led to seek the establishment of a distinct organization by the movements of the German Pietists and Chiliasts at this period. In 1690, Kilner, of Moscow, agitated this subject still further by an effort to establish a patriarchal and apostolical society of true and persecuted Christians, and in 1696 Mrs. Petersen, in her Anleitung z. Verständniss d. Offenbarung, and again in 1698 in Der geistliche Kampf (Halle, 8vo), called upon the regenerate Christians to separate from the world and to form a new Jerusalem. In 1695, Jane Leade, together with her friends Bromley and Pordage, removed to carry out these projects in London, and proposed a new society, to consist only of Christians, who, without separating from the different churches to which they belonged, should form a pure and undefiled Church of true Christians, to be governed only by God's will and the Holy Spirit, and who should hasten the second coming of Christ and the beginning of the millennium. So successful was this effort that by 1702 the Philadelphians, as they now called themselves, were able to send missionaries to Germany and Holland with a view to making proselytes; and, although they failed to accomplish their object immediately, the idea which constituted it took ground and spread, especially in Germany. Conrad Brüsske of Offenbach, a disciple of Beverley, Dr. Horch of Marburg, and Dr. Kaiser of Stuttgard, labored to propagate it; the latter wrote a number of works on the subject under the name of Timotheus Philadelphus, and established a Philadelphian community at Stuttgard. An approximate estimate of the extent of Jane Leade's influence on Germany and Holland may be obtained by a reference to the extensive list of her correspondents in those countries (comp. Zeitsch. f. hist. Theol. 1865, p. 222, note 38). Many, without being outwardly members of this and similar societies, were evidently favorable to them. But some enthusiasts, as Gebhard, Wetzel, Eva von Buttlar, etc., caused the movement to fall into discredit. The scattered elements of the divers societies were afterwards reunited by count Zinzendorf, and formed part of the Moravian institution. But to return to Jane Leade herself. In 1702 she felt that her end was near at hand. She wrote out her funeral discourse, to be read at her grave, and made all manner of preparations for departure. One of the strangest features of this period of her life is her study of the writings of cardinal Petrucci and of Richard of Samson. She died Aug. 19,1704. The most noted of her works are, The Wonders of God's Creation manifested in the Variety of eight Worlds, as they were made known experimentally to the Author (Lond. 1695, 24mo): — The Tree of Faith, or the Tree of Life, springing up in the Paradise of God (Lond. 1696, 24mo). See G. Arnold, Kirchenhistorie, vol. 2; Gichtel, Theosophiapractica; Poiret and Arnold, Gesch. d. Mystik; Corrodi, Kritische Gesch. des Chiliasmus, 3:403-421; Gobel, Gesch. d. Christl. Lebens, vols. 2 and 3; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. bk. 4, cent. 17, sec. 2, pt. 2, ch. 7, § 5; Lee, Life of Jane Leade; J. W. Joeger, Dissert. de Vita et Doctrina Jance Leadce; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:251; Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Generale, 30:50; Hochhuth, Gesch. der philadelphischen Gemeinden. Part I, Jane Leade und die Philadelphier in England, in the

Zeitschrift für Hist. Theolog. 1865, p. 172-290. SEE PHILADELPHIANS. (J. H.W.)

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