The Missing Cross to Purity


Discernments

From Journal:

(Fox Speaking.) And as I was sitting in a house full of people, declaring the word of life to them, I looked at a woman and discerned an unclean spirit in her. I was moved of the Lord to speak sharply to her; and told her, she was a witch. Upon hearing this, the woman went out of the room. Now since I was a stranger there, and I knew nothing of the woman outwardly, the people were amazed by my calling her a witch and told me afterwards that I had a made a great discovery because all the country believed she was a witch. The Lord had given me a spirit of discerning, by which I many times saw the states and conditions of people, and I could try their spirits. Not long before, as I was going to a meeting, I saw some women in a field, and I discerned them to be witches; and I was moved to go out of my way into the field to them, and declare them their conditions to them, telling them plainly they were in the spirit of witchcraft. Later another witch came into Swarthmore hall in the meeting-time; and I was moved to speak sharply to her, and told her she was a witch; and the people said afterwards, she was generally believed to be a witch. At another time a woman came there and stood at a distance from me. I fixed my eye on her, and said, ‘you have been a harlot;’ for I perfectly saw the condition and life of the woman. She answered, many could tell her of her outward sins, but none could tell her of her inward. Then I told her, her heart was not right before the Lord; and that from the inward condition created the outward. This woman was afterwards convinced of God's truth and became a Friend.

From the Journal:

(Fox Speaking.) One of their deacons who was an envious man; finding the Lord's power was over them, he cried out in extreme anger. Upon which I set my eyes upon him, and spoke sharply to him in the power of the Lord; and he cried, ‘Do not pierce me so with your eyes, keep your eyes of me.'

From His Journal:

(Fox Speaking.) The same day, taking boat, I went to Kingston and from there to Hampton Court, to speak with the protector about the sufferings of Friends. I met him riding into Hampton Court Park; and before I came to him, as he rode at the head of his life guard, I saw and felt a waft (or apparition) of death go forth against him; and when I came to him, he looked like a dead man. After I had laid the sufferings of Friends before him, and had warned him, as I was moved to speak to him, he bid me come to his house. So I returned to Kingston, and the next day went to Hampton Court, to have spoken further with him. But when I came, he was sick, and -- Harvy, who waited on him, told me, the doctors were not willing I should come in to speak with him. So I passed away, and never saw him more.

From Kingston I went to Isaac Penington's, in Buckinghamshire, where I had appointed a meeting; and the Lord's truth and power were preciously manifested among us. After I had visited Friends in those parts, I returned to London; and soon after went into Essex; where I had not been long, before I heard the protector was dead, and his son Richard made protector in his place. Upon which I came to London again.

Reading Their Conditions:

Among those that came was Colonel Packer, with several of his officers. While they were with me, a man named Cob came with a great company of Ranters. The Ranters began to call for drink and tobacco, but I did not want them smoking or drinking in my room; I told them, ‘If they wished to do so, would they go into another room.' One of them cried, ‘All is ours:' and another of them said, ‘All is well.' I replied, 'How is all well, while you are so peevish, envious, and crabbed?' for I saw he was of a peevish nature. I told them of their conditions, and they acknowledged my statements, and looked at each other in amazement. Then colonel Packer began to talk with a light, chaffy mind concerning God, Christ, and the scriptures; it was a great grief to my soul and spirit, when I heard him talk so lightly; so that I told him, ‘He was too light to talk about the things of God for he did not know the hardness of a man.' Then the officers raged that I would say that of their colonel? Packer was a Baptist; he and the Ranters bowed and scraped to one another very much because it was the Ranters' manner to be exceedingly complimentary, so that Packer told them to stop their compliments; but I told them, 'They were appropriate company because they both had the same spirit.'

From William Penn's Introduction to the Journal :

They reached to the inward state and condition of people, which is evidence of the virtue of their principle, and of their ministering from it; and not in their own imaginations, polished words, or comments upon scripture. For nothing reaches the heart but what is from the heart, or pierces the conscience but what comes from a living conscience. It has often happened, that people have under secrecy revealed their state or condition to some close friends for advice or ease; later their states were addressed so specifically by ministers of this people, that they have challenged their friends with discovering their secrets, and disclosing their states to the ministers. The very thoughts and purposes of the hearts of many have been so plainly detected, that they have, like Nathaniel, have cried out of this inward appearance of Christ, 'You are the son of God, you are the king of Israel.'  Scripture validity follows:

But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God,
and report that God is in you of a truth. 1 Cor 14:24-25

 

Debates with Opposers

Every tongue which rises against you in judgment
      you shall refute.
      This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
      and this is their righteousness which is from me,”
      says the LORD.
Isaiah 54:16-17


Debate Over Creation:

One morning, as I was sitting by the fire, a great cloud came over me, and a temptation beset me; and I sat still. And it was said, ‘All things come by nature.’ And the elements and stars came over me, so that I was in a manner quite clouded with it. But as I sat still and said nothing, the people of the house perceived nothing. And as I sat still under it and let it alone, a living hope and a true voice arose in me, which said, 'There is a living God who made all things.' Immediately the cloud and temptation vanished away, and life rose over it all; my heart was glad, and I praised the living God. After some time I met with some people who had such a belief that there was no God, but that all things come by nature. And I had a great dispute with them, and overturned them, and made some of them confess, that there is a living God.
...
Then passing from there, I heard of a people in prison at Coventry for religion. As I walked towards the jail, the word of the Lord came to me saying, ' MY LOVE WAS ALWAYS TO YOU, AND YOU ARE IN MY LOVE.' And I was ravished with the sense of the love of God, and greatly strengthened in my inward man. But when I came into the jail where those prisoners were, a great power of darkness struck at me; and I sat still, having my spirit gathered into the love of God. At last these prisoners began to rant, and brag, and blaspheme; at which my soul was greatly grieved. They said, they were God; but another of them said, we could not bear such things. When they were calm, I stood up and asked them, whether they did such things by motion, or from scripture? They said, from scripture. Then a bible lying by, I asked them for that scripture; and they showed me that place where the sheet was let down to Peter; and it was said to him, what was sanctified he should not call common or unclean. When I had showed them that scripture made nothing for their purpose, they brought another, which spoke of God's reconciling all things to himself, things in heaven and things in earth. I told them I owned that scripture also; but showed them it was nothing to their purpose neither. Then seeing they said they were God, I asked them if they knew whether it would rain tomorrow? They said they could not tell. I told them God could tell. I asked them, if they thought they should be always in that condition, or should change? They answered, they could not tell. Then said I, God can tell, and he does not change. You say you are God; and yet you cannot tell whether you shall change or not. So they were confounded, and quite brought down for the time. After I had reproved them for their blasphemous expressions, I went away; for I perceived they were Ranters.* I had met with none before; and I admired the goodness of the Lord in appearing so unto me, before I went among them. Not long after this, one of these Ranters, whose name was Joseph Salmon, published a recantation; upon which they were set at liberty.

*Ranters were a sect that believed anything done in faith was without sin, including drunkenness, adultery, etc.; they believed anything they did was good. They were very popular in England before the Quakers arrived. By close of the 17th Century, almost all Ranters had been converted to Quakers.

In Scotland, the Presbyterian Seat, Fox Debates Pre-destination* :

On First-day we had a great meeting, and several professors came to it. Now the priests had frightened the people with the doctrine of election and reprobation, telling them, 'that God had ordained the greatest part of men and women for hell. And if they were ordained for hell, whatever prayer, preaching, singing and good works, they had, it was all to no purpose. That God had a certain number, which were elected for heaven; and whatever they did, they were still going to heaven,' i.e. David an adulterer, and Paul a persecutor; yet both were elected for heaven. So the fault was not at all in the person, more or less; but God's who had ordained it so. I was led to open to the people the falseness and folly of their priests' doctrines, and to show them that the priests had abused those scriptures, which they had brought and quoted to them! (As in Jude, and other places) For whereas they said, "there was no fault at all in the person;”  I showed them that the fault was in Cain, Korah, and Balaam whom Jude says were ordained of old to condemnation. For did not God warn Cain and Balaam, and put the question to Cain, "If you do well, shall you not be accepted?" And did not the Lord bring Korah out of Egypt, and his company? Yet did not he disagree with both God and his law, and his prophet Moses? So there was fault in Cain, Korah, and Balaam, as there is fault in all that depart from the way of God and go their own ways. For if they, who are called Christians: resist the gospel as Korah resisted the law, err from the spirit of God as Balaam did, and do evil as Cain did; is there not fault that has occurred? The fault is in themselves, and is the cause of their reprobation, and it is not God’s fault. Does not Christ say, "Go, preach the gospel of salvation to all nations?" He would not have sent them into all nations, to preach the doctrine of salvation, if the greatest part of men had been ordained for hell. Was not Christ a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, for those that became reprobates [sin still lives in them], as well as for the saints? He died for all men, the ungodly as well as the godly, as the apostle states in scripture. 2 Cor 5:15 and Rom 5:6. And "he enlightens every man that comes into the world," that through him they might all believe. And Christ tells them to believe in the light; but all they that hate the light, which Christ tells all believe in, are reprobated. Again, "The manifestation of the spirit of God is given to every man with which to profit;" but they that vex, quench, and grieve the Spirit, are in the reprobation; and the fault is in them, as it is also in them that hate his light. The apostle said, "The grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared unto all men, teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Titus 2:11-12. Now all those that live ungodly, and in the lusts of the world, that turn this grace of God into negligence of restraint, and walk despitefully against it, and so deny God, and the Lord Jesus Christ that bought them, the fault is in all such that turn the grace of God into negligence of restraint, and walk despitefully against that which would bring their salvation, and save them out of the reprobation. But it seems the priests can see no fault in such as deny God and the Lord Jesus Christ that bought them, nor fault in such as deny his light; the light which they should believe in, and his grace, which should teach them to live godly, and which should bring them their salvation. Now all that believe in the light of Christ, as he commands, are in the election; and sit under the teaching of the grace of God, which brings their salvation. But such as turn from this grace in rejection of authority are rejected by God (the reprobation); and such as hate the light are in the condemnation. Therefore I exhorted all to believe in the light, as Christ commands, and own the grace of God their free teacher; and it would assuredly bring them their salvation: for it is sufficient. Many other scriptures were opened concerning reprobation, and the eyes of the people were opened; and a spring of life rose up among them.

*Predestination theories come from the scripture: For those whom He foreknew, He also destined from the beginning to be molded into the image of His Son, that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. Rom 8:29. As further explained in the Quaker writings: God lives outside of time, so he knew at the beginning of creation, who would choose to turn from evil to seek his face. He draws us all to him, (every man has his day of visitation), but few show sincere desire to persistently seek his presence until they see him and have fellowship with Him; few then are chosen to receive his changing, purifying grace. Fox has a very detailed writing on this subject; click here to go to it.

More Ranters:

After the meeting, many Baptists and Ranters privately came to reason and discuss; but the Lord's power came over them. The Ranters pleaded that God had made the devil. [wanting to prove that evil was OK too]. I denied it, and told them, 'I had come into the power of God, the seed Christ, which was before the devil was, and bruises his head; and he became a devil by going out of truth; and so became a murderer and a destroyer. So I showed them, that God did not make him a devil; for God is a God of truth, and made all things good, and blessed them; but God did not bless the devil. And the devil is bad and was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and spoke of himself, and not from God.' So the truth stopped and bound them, and came over all the highest notions in the nation, and confounded them. For by the power of the Lord God I was evident, and sought to be made evident to the spirit of God in all, that by it, which they vexed, and quenched, and grieved, they might be turned to God; as many were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ by the holy spirit, and were come sit under his teaching.

Fox Debates the Jesuits:

I had not been long in London, before I heard that a Jesuit, who came over with an ambassador from Spain, had challenged all the Quakers to dispute with them at the earl of Newport's house; whereupon some Friends let him know some would meet him. Then he sent us word, ‘he would meet with twelve of the wisest, learned men we had.' Awhile after he sent us word, 'he would meet with but six:' after that he sent us word again, ‘he would have but three to come.' We hastened what we could; for fear that, for all his great boast, he should cancel it at last. When we had come to the house, I asked Nicholas Bond and Edward Burrough go up and enter the discussion with him; and I would walk awhile in the yard, and then come up after them. I advised them to state this question to him,'Whether or not the church of Rome, as it now stood, was not degenerated from the true church which was in the primitive times, from the life and doctrine, and from the power and spirit that they were in?' They stated the question accordingly; and the Jesuit affirmed, 'That the church of Rome now was in the virginity and purity of the primitive church.' By this time I had joined them. Then we asked him, ‘Whether they had the holy ghost poured out upon them, as the apostles had?' He said, ‘No.' ‘Then,' I said, ‘if you have not the same holy ghost poured forth upon you, and the same power and spirit that the apostles had, you are degenerated from the power and spirit which the primitive church was in.' There needed little more to be said to that. Then I asked him, ‘What scripture they had for setting up cloisters for nuns, abbeys and monasteries for men; for all their several orders; for their praying by beads and to images; for making crosses; for forbidding of meats and marriages; and for putting people to death for religion? If, (I said), you are in the practice of the primitive church, in its purity and virginity, then let us see by scriptures wherever they practiced any such things?' (For it had been agreed by both parties, that we should make good by scriptures what we said.) Then he told us of a written word, and an unwritten word? I asked him what he called his unwritten word? He said, ‘The written word is the scriptures, and the unwritten word is that which the apostles spoke by word of mouth; which, (he said), are all those traditions that we practice.' I bid him prove that by scripture. Then he brought that scripture where the apostle says, 2 Thes 2:5. 'When I was with you, I told you these things. That is,' said he, 'I told you of nunneries and monasteries, and of putting to death for religion, and of praying by beads, and to images, and all the rest of the practices of the church of Rome; which,' he said, ‘was the unwritten word of the apostles, which they told then, and have since been continued down by tradition until these times.' Then I desired him to read that scripture again, that he might see how he had perverted the apostle's words; ‘for that which the apostle there tells the Thessalonians," he had told them before," is not an unwritten word, but is there written down; namely, that the man of sin, the son of perdition, shall be revealed before the great and terrible day of Christ, which he was writing of, should come: so this was not telling them any of those things that the church of Rome practices. In like manner the apostle, in the third chapter of that epistle, tells the church of some disorderly persons, "he heard were among them; busy-bodies, who did not work at all; concerning whom he had commanded them by his unwritten word, when he was among them, that if any would not work, neither should he eat;" 2 Thes 3:10-11, which now he commands them again in his written word in this epistle. So this scripture afforded no proof for their invented traditions, and he had no other scripture proof to offer. Therefore I told him, ‘This was another degeneration of their church into such inventions and traditions as the apostles and primitive saints never practiced.'

After this he [the Jesuit] came to his sacrament of the altar, beginning at the paschal lamb, and the show bread, and came to the words of Christ, 'This is my body,' and to what the apostle wrote of it to the Corinthians; concluding, 'that after the priest had consecrated the bread and wine, it was immortal and divine, and he that received it, received the whole Christ.' I followed him through the scriptures he brought, until I came to Christ's words and the apostle's. I showed him, 'that the same apostle told the Corinthians, after they had taken bread and wine in remembrance of Christ's death, that they were reprobates, [sin still lives in them] "if Christ was not in them;" but if the bread they ate was Christ, he must of necessity be in them after they had eaten it, [which if reprobates, is impossible: Proof 1]. Besides, if this bread and this wine, which the Corinthians ate and drank, was Christ's body, then how has Christ a body in heaven?' [Proof 2]. I observed to him also, 'that both the disciples at the supper, and the Corinthians afterwards, were to eat the bread and drink the wine in "remembrance of Christ," and to "show forth his death until he comes;" which plainly proves the bread and wine, which they took, was not his body. For if it had been his real body that they ate, then he had already come, and was then there present, and it had been improper to have done such a thing in remembrance of him, if he had been then present with them, as he must have been, if that bread and wine which they ate and drank had been his real body.' [Proof 3]. As to those words of Christ, 'This is my body,' I told him, 'Christ calls himself a vine, and a door, and is called in scripture a rock. Is Christ therefore an outward rock, door, or vine?’  'Oh,' said the Jesuit, 'those words are to be interpreted;' 'So,' I said, 'are those words of Christ, “This is my body."' [Proof 4]. Having stopped his mouth as to argument, I made the Jesuit a proposal thus: 'that seeing he said, "the bread and wine was immortal and divine, and the very Christ; and that whosoever received it, received the whole Christ;" let a meeting be appointed between some whom the pope and his cardinals should appoint, and some of us; let a bottle of wine and loaf of bread be brought, and divided each into two parts, and let them consecrate which of those parts they would. Then set the consecrated and the unconsecrated bread and wine in a safe place, with a sure watch upon it; and let trial be thus made, whether the consecrated bread and wine would not lose its goodness, and the bread grow dry and moldy, and the wine turn dead and sour, as well and as soon as that which was unconsecrated.' By this means,' I said, 'the truth of this matter may be made manifest. And if the consecrated bread and wine does not change, but retain their savor and goodness, this may be a means to draw many to your church; but if they change, decay, and lose their goodness, then you ought to confess and forsake your error, and shed no more blood about it; for much blood has been shed about these things; as in queen Mary's days.' To this the Jesuit made this reply, 'Take a piece of new cloth, and cut it into two pieces, and make two garments of it, and put one of them upon king David's back, and the other upon a beggar's, and the one garment shall wear away as well as the other.' I asked, 'Is this your answer?' 'Yes,' he said. 'Then,' I said, 'by this the company may all be satisfied that your consecrated bread and wine is not Christ. [Proof 5]. Have you told people so long, that the consecrated bread and wine was immortal and divine, and that it was the very and real body and blood of Christ, and do you now say it will wear away or decay as well as the other? I must tell you,"Christ remains the same today as yesterday," and never decays; but is the saints' heavenly food in all generations, through which they have life.' He replied no more to this, being willing to let it fall; for the people that were present saw his error, and that he could not defend it.Then I asked him, ‘why the church did persecute, and put people to death for religion?' He replied, ‘it was not the church that did it, but the magistrates.' I asked him, ‘whether those magistrates were not counted and called believers and christians?' He said, ‘yes;', why, then,' I said, ‘are they not members of your church?' ‘Yes,' he said. Then I left it to the people to judge from his own concessions, whether the church of Rome does not persecute, and put people to death for religion. Thus we parted, and his subtlety was confuted by simplicity.

Debate over Perfection:

In Northumberland many came to dispute. Some pleaded against perfection; to whom I declared, 'that Adam and Eve were perfect before they fell: and all that God made was perfect; and that the imperfection came by the devil and the fall: but Christ, who came to destroy the devil, said, "Be you perfect.' One of the professors alleged that Job said, 'Shall mortal man be more pure than his Maker? The heavens are not clean in his sight. God charged his angels with folly.' I showed him his mistake, and let him see, 'it was not Job that said so, but one of those who contended against him; for Job stood for perfection, and held his integrity; and they were called miserable comforters.' These professors said, the outward body was the body of death and sin. I discovered their mistake in that also, showing them, 'that Adam and Eve had each of them an outward body, before the body of death and sin got into them; and that man and woman will have outward bodies, [here on earth] when the body of sin and death is put off again; when they are renewed up into the image of God again by Christ Jesus, which they were in before they fell.' They ceased at that time from opposing, and glorious meetings we had in the Lord's power.

Perfection Again:

Another time a common prayer priest, and some other people came to discourse with me. He asked me,' if I was grown up to perfection? ' I told him, ‘what I was, I was by the grace of God.' He replied, 'it was a modest and civil answer.' Then he urged the words of John, 'if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.' He asked, ‘what did I say to that' 'I said with the same apostle, "if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us;" who came to destroy sin, and to take away sin. So there is a time for people to see that they have sinned, and there is a time for them to see that they have sin; and there is a time for them to confess their sin, and to forsake it, and to know the blood of Christ to cleanse from all sin,' 1 John 1:7. Then the priest was asked, ‘whether Adam was not perfect before he fell? And whether all God's works were not perfect?’ The priest said, 'there might be perfection as Adam had, and a falling from it.' But I told him, 'there is a perfection in Christ above Adam, and beyond falling; and that it was the work of the ministers of Christ to present every man perfect in Christ; for the perfecting of whom they had their gifts from Christ. Col 1:27. Therefore whoever denied perfection, denied the work of the ministry, and the gifts which Christ gave for the perfecting of the saints. Eph 4:11-13. The priest said, ‘we must always be striving.' I answered, ‘it was a sad and comfortless sort of striving, to strive with a belief that we should never overcome.' I told him also, that ‘Paul, who cried out of the body of death, did also "thank God, who gave him the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor 15:57. So there was a time of crying out for want of victory, and a time of praising God for the victory. And Paul said, “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." The priest said, 'Job was not perfect.' I told him,God said Job was a perfect man, and that he did shun evil; Job 2:3 and the devil was forced to confess, that "God had set a hedge about him;" Job 1:9-10, which was not an outward hedge, but the invisible, heavenly power.’ The priest said, 'Job said, “he charged his angels with folly, and the heavens are not clean in his sight.” I told him, ‘that was his mistake; it was not Job who said that, but Eliphaz, who contended against Job.' ‘Well, but,' said the priest, 'what say you to that scripture,' " the most just man that sins seven times a day?" 'Why truly,' said I, ‘I say there is no such scripture;' and with that the priest's mouth was stopped. Many other services I had with several sorts of people between the assizes and the sessions.

Dispute with the Hireling, Priest Stephens;

Then I went to Drayton, in Leicestershire, to visit my relatives. As soon as I had arrived, the priest Nathaniel Stephens having joined with another priest and given notice to the country, sent to me to come to them; for they could not do anything until I came. Having been three years away from my relatives, I knew nothing of their design. But at last I went into the steeple-house yard, where the two priests were. They had gathered many people. They wanted me to go into the steeple-house. I asked them why I should go in there? They said Mr. Stephens could not bear the cold. I told them that he might bear it as well as I could! Richard Farnsworth was with me, and at last we went into a great hall where we had a great dispute with these priests concerning their practice and how contrary they were to Christ and his apostles. The priests wanted to know where tithes were forbidden or ended. I showed them out of the seventh chapter to the Hebrews, ‘That not only tithes, but the priesthood that took tithes, was ended; and the law was ended and disannulled by which the priesthood was made, and tithes were commanded to be paid.' Then they stirred up the people to some lightness and rudeness. I had known Stephens from childhood; therefore I exposed his condition and the manner of his preaching; and how he, like the rest of the priests, applied the promises to the first birth which must die. But I showed that the promises were to the seed, and not to many seeds, but to the one seed, Christ; who was one in male and female: for all were to be ‘born again, before they could enter into the kingdom of God.' Then he said, I must not judge so. I told him, 'He that was spiritual judged all things.' Then he confessed, that that was a full scripture; ‘but, neighbors,' he said, 'this is the business: George Fox has come to the light of the sun, and now he thinks he can put out my star-light.' I told him, ‘I would not quench the least measure of God in any, much less put out his star-light, if it were true light from the morning-star.’ But I told him, ‘if he had anything from Christ, he ought to speak it freely, and not take tithes from the people for preaching because Christ commanded his ministers to give freely, as they had received freely.' So I charged him to preach no more for tithes or any compensation. But he said he would not yield to that. After awhile the people began to be vain and rude, at which point we stopped our debate. Yet some were made loving to the truth that day. Before we parted, I told them, 'If the Lord allowed, I intended to be at the town again that same day of the week, seven nights from then.' In the interim I went into the country, had meetings, and came again a week later in the evening. During that time this priest had gotten seven priests to help him; for he had given notice at a lecture on a market-day at Adderston, that today there would be a meeting and a dispute with me. I knew nothing of it; but had only said I should be in town that evening at seven nights later. These eight priests had gathered several hundred people which was even of the people from the surrounding country; and they wanted me to go into the steeple-house. I refused to go in, and went to the top of a hill where I spoke to them and the people. Thomas Taylor, James Parnell, and several other Friends were with me. The priests thought they would have trampled down truth that day; but the truth came over them. Then they grew light and the people rude. The priests would not debate with me; but would be contending here and there a little with one Friend or other. At last one of the priests brought his son to dispute with me; but his mouth was soon stopped. When he could not tell how to answer, he would ask his father, and his father was also confounded when he tried to answer for his son. So after they were exhausted from trying, they went in a rage to priest Stephens's house to drink. As they went away I said, 'I had never been in a meeting where so many priests together would not debate with me.' Upon which they and some of their wives surrounded me, grabbed me, and fawningly said, 'What might I have been if it had not been for the Quakers!' Then they started pushing Friends around to separate them from me, and to surround me. After awhile several bulky fellows approached me, picked me up in their arms, and carried me into the steeple-house porch, intending to have carried me into the steeple-house by force; but the door was locked, and they fell down in a heap with me under them. As soon as I could, I escaped to my hill again; and then they took me from that place, carried me to the steeple-house wall, and set me on the bass of it like a stool. All the priests had returned and stood below with the people. And the priests cried, 'Come, to argument, to argument.' I said, ' I denied all their voices, for they were the voices of the hirelings and the strangers.' They cried, 'Prove it, prove it.' I directed them to the tenth of John, where they might see what Christ said of such; he declared, 'He was the true Shepherd that laid down his life for his sheep, and his sheep heard his voice and followed him; but the hireling would fly when the wolf came, because he was a hireling.' I offered to prove that they were such hirelings. Then the priests plucked me off from the bass again, and they all got upon basses under the steeple-house wall. Then I felt the mighty power of God arise over all; and I told them, ‘If they would listen and hear me quietly, I would show them by the scriptures why I denied those eight priests or teachers that stood there before me along with all the paid teachers of the world whatsoever, and I would give them scriptures for what I said.' At which point, both priests and people consented. Then I showed them out of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Malachi, and other prophets, that they were in the steps of such as God sent his true prophets to cry against for I said, ' You are such as the prophet Jeremiah cried against, Chap.5 when he said, "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means;" which he called a horrible filthy thing. You are such as used their tongues, and said, Thus said the Lord, when the Lord never spoke to them. Such as followed their own spirits; and saw nothing; but spoke a divination of their own brain; and by their lies and their lightness caused the people to err. Jer 23:3132. You are such as they were that sought their gain from their quarter; that were as greedy dumb dogs, that could never have enough, whom the Lord sent his prophet Isaiah to cry against: Isa. 56:11. You are such as they were who taught for handfuls of barley and pieces of bread, who sewed pillows under people's arm-holes, that they might lie soft in their sins. Eze 13. You are such as they that taught for the fleece and the wool, and made a prey of the people. Eze 34. But the Lord is gathering his sheep from your mouths, and from your barren mountains; and is bringing them to Christ, the one shepherd, whom he has set over his flocks; as by his prophet Ezekiel he then declared he would do. You are such as those that divined for money, and preached for hire; and if a man did not put into their mouths they prepared war against him, as the prophet Micah complained, Chap.3.' Thus I went through the prophets too largely to be here repeated. Then coming to the New Testament, I showed from there, that they were like the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, whom Christ cried woe against. Mat 23. And that they were such false apostles the true apostles- cried against, such as taught for filthy lucre; such antichrists and deceivers as they cried against, that minded earthly things, and served not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies; for they that served Christ gave freely and preached freely, as he commanded them. But they that will not preach without hire, tithes, or outward means, serve their own bellies, and not Christ; and through the good words of the scriptures, and feigned words of their own, they made merchandise of the people then, as (I said) you do now. When I had largely quoted the scriptures, and showed them how they were like the Pharisees, loving to be called of men masters, to go in long robes, to stand praying in the synagogues, to have the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the like; and when in the sight of the people I had associated them among the false prophets, deceivers, scribes, and Pharisees, and showed without exception how their types were judged and condemned by the true prophets, Christ, and the apostles. I directed them to the light of Jesus, who enlightens every man that comes into the world; that by it they might see whether these things were not true as had been spoken. When I appealed to that of God in their consciences, the light of Christ Jesus in them, they could not abide to hear it.They were all quiet until then; but then a professor said, George, will you never finish talking? I told him, I would be finished shortly. So I went on a little longer, and cleared myself of them in the Lord's power. When I was finished, all the priests and people stood silent for a time; at last one of the priests said that they would like to read the scriptures that I had quoted.' I told them that I welcomed their reading with all my heart. They began to read the twenty-third of Jeremiah, and there they saw the marks of the false prophets that he cried against. When they had read a verse or two, I said, 'Take notice, people;' but the priests said, 'Hold your tongue, George.' I asked them to read the whole chapter throughout, for it was all against them. Then they stopped, and would read no farther; but asked me a question. I told them I would answer their question, the matter being first granted that I had charged them with: that they were false prophets, false teachers, antichrists, and deceivers, such as the true prophets, Christ, and the apostles cried against. A professor said No to that; but I said, 'Yes: for you leaving the matter, and going to another thing, seem to consent to the proof of the former charge.' Then I answered their question, which was this: 'Seeing those false prophets were adulterated, whether I judged priest Stephens to be an adulterer?' To which I answered, 'He was adulterated from God in his practice, like those false prophets and the Jews.' They would not stand to vindicate him but broke up the meeting. Then the priests whispered together, and Stephens came to me and asked that my father, brother, and I might go aside with him so that as he might speak to me in private while the rest of the priests would keep the people away from us. I was very loath to go aside with him; but the people cried, 'Go George, do George, go aside with him.' Being afraid, if I did not go, they would say I was disobedient to my parents, I went while the rest of the priests were to keep the people away; but they could not for the people wanted to hear and drew close to us. I asked the priest what he had to say? He said, 'If he was out of the way I would pray for him, and if I was out of the way, he should pray for me, and he would give me a form of words to pray for him by.' I replied, ‘It seems you don’t  know whether you are in the right way or not; neither do you know whether I am the right way or not; but I know that I am in the everlasting way, Christ Jesus, of which you are out. And you want to give me the form of words to pray by, yet you deny the Common Prayer Book to pray by as well as I, and I deny your form of words as well as it. If you would have me pray for you by a form of words, is not this to deny the apostle's doctrine and practice of praying by the spirit, as it gave words and utterance?' At that point the people started laughing, but I was moved to speak more to Stephens. When I had cleared myself to him and them, we parted; before leaving I had told them that I would, God willing, be in town that evening at seven again. So the priests left, and many people were convinced that day; for the Lord's power came over all. And where they thought to have confounded truth that day, instead many were convinced of it. By that day's work many of those previously convinced were confirmed in the truth, and lived in it; and it was a great loss to the priests. Yes, my father, though a hearer and follower of the priest, was so well satisfied that he struck his cane upon the ground, and said, 'Truly I see, he that stands  for the truth will be vindicated.' I traveled around the country until that evening at seven, and then came back again because we had scheduled a meeting at my relative's house. Priest Stephens had notice of the meeting beforehand and had gotten another priest to join him. They had a company of troopers with them, and sent for me to come to them. But I sent them word that our meeting had already been scheduled and they might come to it if they wished. The priests didn’t come, but the troopers came with many disorderly people. They had planned for the troopers to take every one's name, and then command them to go home; and whoever would not go home would be arrested. Accordingly they began and took several names telling them to go home; but when they came to take my name, my relatives told them I was already at home; so they could not arrest me that time. Nevertheless, they took my name; but the Lord's power was over them, and they went away, both professors and troopers, crossed and vexed because they had not achieved their plans. But several were convinced that day and admired the love and power of God. This was the same priest Stephens, who had once said of me, 'Never was such a plant raised in England;' yet afterwards he reported, 'that I was carried up into the clouds, and found again full of gold and silver;' and he raised many false reports about me, but the Lord swept them all away. The reason why I would not go into their steeple-house was because I was to testify against it, and to bring everyone away from such places to the spirit of God so that they might know their bodies to be the temples of the holy spirit, and to bring them off from all the hireling teachers to Christ, their free teacher, who died for them, and purchased them with his blood.

Second Jesuit Debate:

About this time many Papists and Jesuits began to fawn upon Friends, and talked up and down where they came, that of all the sects the Quakers were the best and most self-denying people; and said, ‘It was a great pity that they did not return to the holy mother church.' Thus they made a buzz among the people, and said, ‘they would willingly discourse with Friends.' But Friends were reluctant to meddle with them, because they were Jesuits, looking upon it to be both dangerous and scandalous. But when I understood it, I said to Friends, ‘Let us discuss with them, however they are.' So a time was appointed at Gerard Roberts's, there came two of them like courtiers. They asked our names, which we told them; but we did not ask their names, for we understood they were called Papists, and they knew we were called Quakers. I asked them the same question that I had formerly asked a Jesuit, namely, 'Whether the church of Rome was not degenerated from the church in the primitive times, from the spirit, power, and practice that the apostles were in?' He to whom I put this question, being subtle, said, ‘He would not answer it.' I asked him, why? But he would show no reason. His companion said, he would answer me; and said, ‘they were not degenerated from the church in the primitive times.' I asked the other, ‘whether he was of the same mind?' He said, ‘yes.' Then I replied, for the better understanding one another, and that there might be no mistake, I would repeat my question over again after this manner: 'Whether the church of Rome now was in the same purity, practice, power, and spirit, that the church in the apostles' time was in?' When they saw we would be exact with them they grew agitated, and denied that, saying, ‘It was presumption in any to say they had the same power and spirit which the apostles had.' I told them, it was presumption in them to meddle with the words of Christ and his apostles, and make people believe they succeeded the apostles, yet be forced to confess, 'they were not in the same power and spirit that the apostles were in; ‘This, said I, is a spirit of presumption, and rebuked by the apostles' spirit. I showed them how different their fruits and practices were from the fruits and practices of the apostles. Then one of them got up, and said, 'You are a company of dreamers.' No, I said, you are the filthy dreamers, who dream you are the apostles' successors, and yet confess, 'you have not the same power and spirit which the apostles were in.' And are not they defilers of the flesh, who say, ‘It is presumption for any to say, they have the same power and spirit which the apostles had!' ‘Now’, I said, 'if you have not the same power and spirit which the apostles had, then it is manifest that you are led by another power and spirit than the apostles and church in the primitive times were led by.' Then I began to tell them how that evil spirit, which they were led by, had led them to pray by beads and by images, and to set up nunneries, friaries, and monasteries, and to put people to death for religion; which practice I showed them was below the law, and far short of the gospel, in which is liberty. They were soon weary of this discourse, and went their way; as we heard, they gave an order to the Papists 'that they should not dispute with us, or read any of our books.' So we were rid of them; but we had reasonings with all the other sects: Presbyterians, Independents, Seekers, Baptists, Episcopal-men, Socinians, Brownists, Lutherans, Calvinists, Arminians, Fifth-monarchy-men, Familists, Muggletonians, and Ranters; none of which would affirm they had the same power and spirit that the apostles had and were in. So in that power and spirit the Lord gave us dominion over them all.

Gospel :

Next morning, some of the chief men of the town desired to speak with me, among who was colonel Rouse. I went, and had a great deal of discourse with them concerning the things of God. In their reasoning they said, 'the gospel was the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke., and John;' and they called it natural. But I told them, the gospel was the power of God, which was preached before Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John were written; and it was preached to every creature, (of which a great part might never see nor hear of those four books), so that every creature was to obey the power of God; for Christ the spiritual man, would judge the world according to the gospel, that is according to his invisible power. When they heard this, they could not dispute; for the truth came over them. So I directed them to their teacher, the grace of God, and showed them the sufficiency of it, which would teach them how to live, and what to deny; and being obeyed would bring them salvation. So to that grace I recommended them, and left them.

Fox Debates a Baptist Preacher:

When I was prisoner at Lancaster, there was a prisoner there also named major Wiggan, a Baptist preacher. He boasted much before hand what he would say at the assize, if the oath should be put to him; and that he would refuse to swear. But when the assize came, and the oath was presented to him, he desired time to consider it; and that being granted him until the next assize, he got leave to go to London before the assize came again, and stayed at London until the plague broke out, and there both he and his wife died. He was a very wicked man, and the judgments of God came upon him; for he had published a very wicked book against Friends, full of lies and blasphemies; the essence of which was this. While he was in Lancaster castle, he challenged Friends to a dispute, at which time I got permission from the jailer to go up to them. Entering into discourse with him, he affirmed, 'That some men never had the spirit of God, and that the true light, which enlightens everyone who comes into the world, is natural.' For proof of his first assertion, he instanced Balaam, affirming, ‘that Balaam had not the spirit of God,' I declared and proved that Balaam had the spirit of God, and that wicked men have the spirit of God, otherwise how could they quench it, vex it, grieve it, and resist the Holy Ghost, like the stiff necked Jews?' To his second assertion, I answered: 'That the “true light”, which enlightens every man who comes into the world, was the “life” in the world, and that was divine and eternal, and not natural. And he might as well say that the word was natural, as to say that the life in the word was natural. Wicked men were enlightened by this light, otherwise how could they hate it? It is expressly said, they did hate it; and the reason given why, was: because their deeds were evil; and they would not come to it, because it reproved them; and it must be in them if it reproved them. Besides, that light could not be the scriptures of the New Testament; for it was testified of before any part of the New Testament was written; so it must be the divine light, which is the light in Christ, the word, before the scriptures were. And the grace of God, which brought salvation, had appeared to all men, and taught the saints; but they that turned from it into wantonness, and walked despitefully against the spirit of grace, were the wicked. Again, the spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, which leads the disciples of Christ into all truth, the same should reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment, and of their unbelief. So the wicked world had it to reprove them. And the true disciples and learners of Christ, that believed in the light as Christ commands had it to lead them. But the world that did not believe in the light, though they were lighted by it, but hated the light which they should have believed in, and loved the darkness rather than it, this world had a righteousness and a judgment, which the Holy Ghost reproved them for, as well as for their unbelief.' Having proved, that the good and the bad were enlightened, that the grace of God had appeared to all, and that all had the spirit of God, else they could not vex and grieve it, I told major Wiggan, the least babe there might perceive him; and presently Richard Cubham stood up and proved him an antichrist and a deceiver by scripture. Then the jailer took me away to my prison again. Afterwards Wiggan wrote a book of this dispute, and put in abundance of abominable lies; but his book was soon answered in print, and he was cut off not long after, as before mentioned.

Confronts Unruly Friends:

Here we met with some bad spirits, who had departed from truth into prejudice, contention, and opposition to the order of truth and Friends who were still in it. These had been very troublesome to Friends in their meetings there and to others in the area, and it is likely they would be troublesome now; but I would not allow the service of our men's and women's meetings to be interrupted and hindered by their frivolous arguments. I let them know, 'if they had anything to object against the order of truth which we were in, we would hold a meeting on another day for the purpose of addressing their objections.' And indeed I labored the more, and traveled the harder to get to this meeting, where it was expected many of these contentious people would be; because I understood they had considerably reflected upon me when I was far from them. The men's and women's meetings being over, on the fourth day we had a meeting with all discontented people who wished to come, and all Friends who had a desire to attend. The Lord's power broke forth gloriously and the disputers were confounded. Then some of the principals in the origination of the dispute began to flatter me in an attempt to shift the blame on others, but the deceitful spirit was judged down and condemned, and the glorious truth of God was exalted and set over all; and they were all brought down and bowed under. This was of great service to truth and great satisfaction and comfort to Friends; glory to the Lord forever! (For more on Fox's statements regarding the necessity of order and government in the true church of Christ, click here).

Fox Proves the Light to be in Unbelieving Indians :

The governor and his wife received us lovingly; but a doctor wanted to dispute with us. Truly his opposing us was of good service because it gave us the opportunity to explain many things to the people concerning the light and spirit of God. The doctor denied the light was in everyone and affirmed it was not in the Indians. Upon which I called an Indian to us, and asked him,' whether or not when he lied or did wrong to anyone, was there not something in him that did reprove him for it?' He said, 'there was such a thing in him, that did reprove him; and 'he was ashamed when he had done wrong or spoken wrong.' So we shamed the doctor before the governor and people; so much so that the poor man stretched his arguments so far that he ended up denying the scriptures.

Fox Debates a Persecutor:

some time after he came to the prison, pretending he had a mind to dispute with me, and to talk with Thomas Lower about that business; and he brought another with him, he himself being a church officer at Worcester.

When he came in, he asked me, 'What I was in prison for? 'Do you not know that?' said I. 'Were you not upon the bench, when justice Simpson and Parker tendered the oath to me? And did you not have a hand in it?' Then he said, ‘It is lawful to swear; and Christ did not forbid swearing before a magistrate; but swearing by the sun and the like.' I told him to prove that by the scriptures, but he could not. Then he brought that saying of Paul's, 'All things are lawful unto me.' 1 Cor 6:12. 'And if,' said he, ‘all things were lawful unto him, then swearing was lawful unto him.’ ‘By this argument,' said I, ‘you may also affirm that drunkenness, adultery, and all manner of sin and wickedness is lawful also, as well as swearing.’ ‘Why,' said Dr. Crowder, ‘do you hold that adultery is unlawful?'  ‘Yes,' said I, ‘that I do.' 'Why then,' he said, 'this contradicts the saying of St. Paul.' At which point I called to the prisoners and the jailer, to hear what doctrine Dr. Crowder had laid down for orthodox, 'that drunkenness, swearing, adultery, and such things were lawful!' Then he said, ‘He would give it under his hand;' and took a pen, but wrote something other than what he had spoken. Then turning to Thomas Lower, he asked him, ‘whether he would answer what he had written there?' Thomas undertook it. At the time when he had threatened Thomas Lower to sue him in the bishop's court for speaking so abusively, (as he called it), of him before the justices, and Thomas had told him to go ahead with it whenever he pleased, for he would answer him and bring his parishioners in evidence against him; Dr. Crowder had gone away in a great fret, grumbling to himself as he went. A few days after Thomas Lower sent him an answer to the paper he had written and left with him; which answer a Friend of Worcester carried to him, and he read it and said, 'He would reply to it;' but he never did, though he often sent him word he would do it.

Water Baptism:

There were some Baptists in that country, whom I desired to see and speak with, because they were separated from the public worship. So Oats, one of their chief teachers, and others of the heads of them, with several of their company, came to meet us at Barrow, where we discoursed with them. One of them said, 'what was not of faith, was sin.' Upon which I asked them, what faith was? And how it was created in man? But they turned off from that, and spoke of their baptism in water. Then I asked them, whether their mountain of sin was brought down, and laid low in them? And their rough and crooked ways made smooth and straight in them? They looked upon the scriptures as meaning outward mountains and ways; but I told them, they must find them in their own hearts; at which they seemed to wonder. We asked them, who baptized John the Baptist? who baptized Peter, John, and the rest of the apostles? And put them to prove by scripture, that these were baptized in water: but they were silent.

Fox Wins in Court Occasionally:

Several men who had been at that meeting were in the court at that time that the witnesses swore I spoke those blasphemous words which the priests accused me of; and these men of integrity and reputation in the country declared and affirmed in court that the oath, which the witnesses had taken against me, was altogether false; and that no such words as they had sworn against me were spoken by me at that meeting. Indeed, most of the serious men of that side of the country, then at the sessions, had been at that meeting, and had heard me both at that and other meetings also. This was taken notice of by Colonel West, who being a justice of the peace, was then upon the bench; and having long been weak in body, blessed the Lord, and said, the Lord had healed him that day; adding, that he never saw so many sober people and good faces together in all his life. Then turning himself to me, he said in the open sessions, 'George, if you have anything to say to the people, you may freely declare it.' I was moved of the Lord to speak; and as soon as I began to speak, priest Marshal, the spokesman for the rest of the priests, went his way. What I was moved to declare was this: 'That the holy scriptures were given forth by the spirit of God; and all people must first come to the spirit of God in themselves, by which they might know God and Christ, of whom the prophets and apostles learned; and by the same spirit know the holy scriptures. For as the spirit of God was in them that gave forth the scriptures, so the same spirit must be in all them that come to know and understand the scriptures. By which spirit they might have fellowship with the Father, with the son, with the scriptures, and with one another; and without this spirit they can know neither God, Christ, nor the scriptures, nor have a right fellowship one with another.' I had no sooner spoken these words, but about half a dozen priests, that stood behind me, burst into a passion. One of them, whose name was Jackus, among other things that he spoke against the truth, said, that the spirit and the letter were inseparable. I replied, 'Then every one that has the letter, has the spirit; and they might buy the spirit with the letter of the scriptures.' This plain discovery of darkness in the priest moved judge Fell and colonel West to reprove them openly, and tell them, that according to that position, they might carry the spirit in their pockets as they did the scriptures. Upon this, the priests, being confounded and put to silence, rushed out in a rage against the justices, because they could not have their bloody ends upon me. The justices discharged me, seeing the witnesses did not agree, and perceiving they were brought to answer the priests' envy, and finding that all their evidence was not sufficient in law to make good their charge against me. And after judge Fell had spoken to Justice Sawrey and Justice Thompson concerning the warrant they had issued against me, and showed them the errors of that, he and Colonel West granted a supersedeas to stop the execution of it. Thus I was cleared in open sessions of those lying accusations with which the malicious priests had charged me; and multitudes of people praised God that day because it was a joyful day to many. Justice Benson of Westmoreland was convinced and so was major Ripan, mayor of the town of Lancaster. It was a day of everlasting salvation to hundreds of people; for the Lord Jesus Christ, the way to the Father, the free teacher, was exalted and set up; his everlasting gospel was preached, and the word of eternal life was declared over the heaps of the priests, and all such that preached for money. For the Lord opened many mouths that day to speak his word to the priests, and several friendly people and professors reproved the priests in their inns, and in the streets, so that they fell like an old rotten house; and the cry was among the people, that the Quakers had got the day, and the priests were fallen. Many were convinced that day, among whom was Thomas Briggs. Before he had been so adverse to Friends and truth that when he and John Lawson, a Friend, were discussing perfection, Thomas said to him, 'Do you hold perfection?' And he lifted up his hand as though to have given the Friend a box on the ear. But Thomas, being convinced of the truth that day, declared against his own priest, Jackus; and afterwards became a faithful minister of the gospel, and stood so to the end of his days.

Early Debate Regarding a Building being a Church :

Then I heard of a great meeting to be at Leicester for a debate, where Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and common prayer men, were said to be all participants. The meeting was in a steeple house; and I was moved by the Lord God to go there, and be among them. I heard their discussion and reasonings, some being in pews, and the priest in the pulpit, many of people being gathered together. At last one woman asked a question out of Peter, what that birth was, namely being ‘born again of incorruptible seed, by the word of God, that lives and abides forever' The priest said to her, ‘I permit not a woman to speak in the church;' though he had before given liberty for any to speak. Then I was swept up as in a rapture, in the Lord's power; and I stepped up, and asked the priest, ‘Do you call this place (the steeple house) a church? or ‘Do you call this mixed multitude a church?’ For the woman asked a question, and he ought to have answered it, having given liberty for any to speak. But instead of answering me, he asked me, what a church was? I told him, the church was the pillar and ground of truth, made up of living stones, living members, a spiritual household, which Christ was the head of; but he was not the head of a mixed multitude, or of an old house made up of lime, stones, and wood. This set them all on fire. The priest came down from his pulpit, and others out of their pews, and the dispute there was cut off. But I went to a great inn and there debated the matter of “church” with the priests and professors of all sorts, and they were all enraged. But I maintained the true church, and the true head of it, over the heads of them all, until they all gave out and fled away. One man seemed loving, and appeared for awhile to join with me; but he soon turned against me, and joined with a priest, in pleading for infant baptism, though he himself had been a Baptist before; so he left me alone. However, there were several convinced that day; and the woman who asked the question was convinced along with her family; and the Lord's power and glory shined over all.

Note: There are many more remarkable incidents showing the Lord's intervening power and hand in the ministry of George Fox, which makes the complete reading of his Journal even more enjoyable and inspiring.

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