The Missing Cross to Purity


WRITINGS OF EARLY QUAKERS

ILLUSTRATING THE HISTORY OF THE EARLY QUAKERS

Site Editors Preface

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This is a series of letters from early Quakers, writing to each other. They are provided for two purposes: 1) to how the Society was received by thousands in London between 1654 and 1700, 2) to show the unequaled love the early Quakers had for each other; while sharing their triumphs, sympathizing with their sufferings, and admiring their great, unwavering faith.

Just as I have loved you,
so you too should love one another.
By this shall all know that you are My disciples,

if
you love one another. John 13:34-35

George Fox's 410 Letters on this site, are considerably more spiritual than the letters below, more inspiring, and more instructive; while the below, has more historical detail. No history of the Quakers would be complete without several of George Fox's letters included; so I have inserted a very few in chronological sequence, giving you the opportunity to judge for yourself his measure of Christ.

The text is taken from The Friends' Library, Vol. XI, 1847, pages 323-449. Most of these letters are taken from original manuscripts, which had never been published before. The editor, A. R. Barclay, has done an outstanding job, locating these obscure manuscripts, transferring the handwritten manuscripts to printed media, and then complementing them with other published accounts of the same time and events; accounts from other Quaker writings previously published, as well as independent sources, including books, logs of Parliament, and news accounts found in places such as the British Museum.

As with all the other early Quaker writings on this site, I have updated the language and punctuation to modern conventions. Occasionally I will rewrite sentences to make them more easily read. But I have not altered the historical accuracy in any way. Where I have added text to the original, it will be surrounded by braces{ }.

A word of caution. At the time (1840) of this publication, the British Quaker Society had been long apostatized by Joseph Gurney and his followers, (See the Quaker Departure from the Truth for details of the Gurney Apostasy). The Editors of the Friend's Library, from which this section was taken, include biographies of individuals on the basis of their pious lives, instead of evidence that they were a new creation, -- having been translated into the paradise of God's Kingdom, dwelling in the presence of God. A pious life is too close to the criteria of the Roman Catholic saint? designation. It is clear, when reading the testimonies of some of these pious individuals, they were still struggling with their flesh, their doubts, and their fears. Fortunately, none of the individuals in the following letters appear to be without true regeneration to a new creature. But, the Editor's comments and historical references in this section, while not blatant errors, reflect his preoccupation with historical details, instead of the love, faith, forgiveness, and incredible power of God in the early Quakers' preaching.

By this time, the Society was also minimizing the contribution of George Fox, rather emphasizing the contributions of the Valiant Sixty, despite almost every one of the sixty having been convinced* by Fox. But if you will notice throughout these writings, Fox was particularly held with unparalleled love and endearment by every Quaker writer. Other writings on this site echo this high esteem the early Quakers had for Fox. Additionally, I would submit that though Edward Burrough was a giant among Quakers, on his death-bed, he said: "if George Fox had been with me but one hour, I would be well." And Francis Howgill, another giant among Quakers, in a letter to Margaret Fell, said this: "Salute us dearly to George Fox; one hour with him would be great joy to us." This furthers the evidence that Fox's measure of Christ was beyond any of the other Quakers. There is ample evidence that Fox had a measure of Christ that we cannot even imagine without being able to see him and hear him, thus to hear the Holy Spirit speaking through him. Reading is good, but not nearly the same as hearing the Word of God spoken with the Spirit of God. Once the modern Quakers began to discount Fox, they followed by ignoring all the early Quaker giants' advice and counsel of the way to salvation, by repentance to purity, on the inward cross of self-denial.

*convinced meant to have become certain of the way of the cross required for salvation, but not to have received salvation itself. All of these newly convinced early Quakers had previously been devout readers of the Bible, professed that Jesus was the Son of God, had been baptized, attended sect services, etc.; but they were all still captive to sin, and they knew there had to be a way to become free of even the desire to sin. When they heard the way proclaimed to become pure, to become free of sin, their hearts bore witness to that truth; so they joined with others seeking to become free of sin, by waiting in humble silence to hear from the Teacher within, to obey Him, and to receive his changing grace that taught them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and how to live soberly, righteously, godly life in their world then; to be redeemed from all iniquity, and purified — and to then have a zeal for good works that are energized and prompted by God. This process, from convincement to purity, required them to continue working out their salvation over time with fear and trembling. Because they trembled in the presence of God's Spirit working on their hearts, showing them their sins, convicting them of the secrets in their hearts, they trembled — or quaked — thus they became known as Quakers.

While Fox did not push his authority, he had a measure of Christ that no other early Quakers had; his life is a tremendous demonstration of faith and power. God's church is not a democracy. This is hard for some to accept; but God is a God of order, and order requires a head on the earth. As Fox exhibited, he did not give orders to others, but rather was the source for the Lord to guide in the establishing of a governmental structure in the church, with accompanying procedures and policies; Fox then revealed the guidance, which mature others would immediately acknowledge as wise and worthy policy. There is only one King, and that is Christ for all; but among his subjects, not all have the same authority and responsibility. Isaac Penington, another early Quaker and great worthy of the Lord, said:

You that are weak, bless God for the strong; you who have need of a pillar to lean upon, bless God, that has provided pillars in his house; and, in fear and the guidance of his Spirit, make use of these pillars; who are faithful, and have ability from God, in his power and glorious presence with them, to help to sustain his building, even as they had ability from the Lord to gather unto him. He that despises him that is sent, despises Him that sent him; and he that undervalues any gift, office, or work, that God has bestowed upon any person, despises the wisdom and disposal of the Giver. Are all fathers? Have all overcome the enemy? Are all grown up in the life? Are all stars in the firmament of God's power? Has God made all equal? Are there not different states, different degrees, different growths, different places, etc.?

Then, if God has made a difference, and given degrees of life, and gifts different, according to his pleasure; what wisdom and spirit is that, which does not acknowledge this, but would make all equal? Oh my Friends! Fear before the Lord; honor the Lord in his appearances, and in the differences which he has made among the children of men, and among his people. He gave prophets of old, and the rest of the people were not equal with them. He gave evangelists, apostles, pastors, teachers, etc., and the other members of the churches were not equal with them. He has given fathers and elders now, and the babes and young men are not equal with them. Thus it is, in truth, from the Lord; and what is of God in you, will so acknowledge it.

Therefore watch, everyone, to feel and know his own place and service in the body, and to be sensible of the gifts, places, and services of others; that the Lord may be honored in all, and everyone owned and honored in the Lord, and not otherwise.

William Caton, a young Quaker minister, was lamenting over his small stature in Christ, compared to some senior Quaker worthies he had observed, when the Lord gave him this classic understanding:

The Lord showed me how those who had much, had nothing left over; and those who had little, had no lack - just like it was with the Israelites of old. For the brethren who were wise and eminent, who had received much from the Lord, notice there was that much more required of them; so that of all they had, they had nothing over, but what they were to employ in the work and service of God.

Fox was clearly his foremost instrument for the foundation and structure of the Quaker society. His last few years were spent holding the society together, healing splits that the ambitious, spiritually immature members created. After his death and other early Quakers' deaths, the Society quickly deteriorated in Spirit and direction.

Many of the Editor's comments and secular additions have been removed, because of the slant of the secular comments, which denigrates the early Quakers, however so subtly. Occasionally I will leave in one of the Editor's unregenerated comments, with a strike through of text, calling attention to his lack of belief that the Spirit of God was with the early Quakers, the same as the Apostles. Since the Quakers in 1800 were not in the Kingdom of God, it is not surprising that some would doubt the possibility - for after all, how could someone else obtain what they had not experienced; other than to admit to a shortcoming, and then be pressured by conscience to remedy it?

I freely admit: I do not have the same measure of Christ as did Fox and many of the early Quakers. My purpose in life is to remedy my deficiency, so that one day I will hear the Master speak to me: Well done, good and faithful servant. I will add, that my faith is certain for what I hope, as evidenced by the changes Christ is making in me on the journey. The below testimonies of the early Quakers' love for each other, is a source of hope and motivation to my efforts; may you be similarly encouraged and inspired.

INTRODUCTION

by A. R. Barclay
1840

IN presenting to the reader this volume of Letters and other Documents of the Early Quakers, the greater part of which, it is believed, have never been in print, it may be proper for the Editor to state, that they are mostly taken from originals or ancient copies, contained in various collections, as well private, as those in the possession of the Society in London and in the country. The principal collection of manuscripts from which they have been selected, is what is denominated by the Editor, the Swarthmore Collection; it formerly contained a very large number of original letters of the Early Friends, mostly addressed to Margaret Fell, before her marriage to George Fox in 1669, but very few afterwards, and others to George Fox himself. These manuscripts were probably kept together at Swarthmore Hall in Lancashire for many years, or at least until the decease of Margaret Fox in 1702; but in the course of the last century, the collection became divided, and eventually a large portion of the collection was presented to the Society in London. The letters of this collection are mostly endorsed by George Fox,—as any other mass of papers might be for convenience of reference,—with the name of the writer and the date; and occasionally a brief memorandum has been added by him, respecting the writer or the chief subject of the letter. They record the earliest Gospel services of Friends in various parts of this country and in foreign lands; and it is probable that they were referred to by George Fox, in the following passage of his will :—

"All the passages, and travels, and sufferings of Friends, in the beginning of the spreading of the Truth, which I have kept together, will make a fine history; and they may be had at Swarthmore, with my other books; for it is a fine thing to know the beginning of the spreading of the Gospel, after so long a night of apostasy since the Apostles' days ;—that now Christ reigns, as he did, in the hearts of his people; glory to the Lord forever! Amen."—( George Fox Will, dated eighth month, 1688.)

In the arrangement of this volume, the Editor has adopted the following divisions, under which it was found that the Letters and Documents might be suitably classed :

Part I.—HISTORICAL,—or LETTERS which illustrate the History , as regards events, services, or sufferings, in London, and in the country,—with some few relating to Ireland.

Part II. — DOCUMENTS illustrative of the EARLY DISCIPLINE and Testimonies of the Society.

Part III.—EPISTLES OF COUNSEL and Exhortation to the Churches.

The letters under the first division of the work, and more especially those relating to London, the seat of government, will be often found to possess much interest. As these letters are of the character of private or intimate correspondence, due allowance should be made for the introduction of other matters, which may be deemed of trivial importance; yet with some readers, this description of familiar correspondence possesses attraction, from the vivid glimpses sometimes presented by a writer the spot or at the time, of circumstances, and of character, not always noticed by the general historian. At the same time the remarks and peculiarities of style of writers in a distant period, will sometimes call for careful attention fully to appreciate them; as they may refer events or circumstances deemed to be well known in their day, though at the first not obvious to us; also, expressions may be met with, peculiar to the times, which may seem somewhat strange to our modern (1840) ear.

The Editor has endeavored to elucidate these Historical Letters by notes from other public sources; also by occasional quotations from other Quaker authors.

These sources of information, namely the public Histories, Memoirs, or Chronicles of that day, prove very scanty in notices regarding Early Quakers. As a body they generally seem to have been little understood or even regarded by the writers of those works; who, more frequently than otherwise perhaps, introduce erroneous statements, or remarks founded on prejudice or lack or knowledge.

The Documents introduced under the SECOND division of the volume, in regard to the EARLY DISCIPLINE of the Society, are both curious and valuable;-curious,* as being nearly all of them of dates prior to the existing records of the established meetings of the Society in London;and valuable, as setting forth the care and concern of the Early Friends, correspondence, under the direction and help of the great Head of the church, in the first institution of our discipline; the principles and objects of which, continue to a great degree ** remarkably preserved to this day, [1840] for our edification and the Christian welfare of the body.

*{Christ's church is not a democracy. It is obvious, not curious, that the principal guidelines of Christ's church were set down by the early elders, with oversight by Fox; just as the Apostle's Council, headed by Peter, issued guidelines to the early Church in Jerusalem. And the Holy Spirit directed both Peter and Fox. The Quakers quickly degenerated into a democracy, with the immature, often the most vocal, participating in key decisions.

**A fundamental change in the Discipline Meeting had occurred by this time; to allow spiritually immature, but dedicated,members to sit in. The early Quakers only allowed those who had spiritually progressed to be guided by the Light to make decisions of discipline; any person speaking in the Discipline Meetings had to be approved by the senior membership of their meeting. By this time, (1840), the Discipline Meetings had also abandoned the practice of first silently waiting on the Lord, to allow the Holy Spirit to lead the proceedings. This was a result of their abandoning the principles of the early Quakers faith, substituting Gurneys' doctrines that were identical to the Church of England. They had abandoned the necessities of: the baptism of death, crucifixion of the selfish spirit on the inward cross of self-denial, obtaining the same Spirit that guided the Apostles, regeneration, sanctification, union with Christ and God, and entering the Kingdom. Their definition of the cross was to wear 17th Century clothing, while saying their thees and thous, and silently waiting in meetings once a week. This made them appear to be the same, but they didn't seek with their whole heart, or even know what to seek; they didn't have the Spirit guiding them, as the early Quakers did. So the Quakers of 1800 had the same form as the early Quakers. A form is a shell; the inside was hollow - a form of godliness without the power - from such withdraw.}

From the great rarity of our London records previous to the year 1666, there is little doubt but that they were all destroyed by the great fire of London; - for the great meeting-house at the Bull and Mouth was burnt down at that time. Alexander Parker, in a letter to George Fox; dated London, 27th of ninth month, 1676-inserted in this volume states: “At Robert Dring's, I inquired for Friends' letters and papers, which were written in the beginning of the spreading of Truth; but I could find none, for they were burnt in the great fire of London, as Dorothy said."

THE EPISTLES OF COUNSEL in Part III are not so numerous, perhaps, as might be desired; for such was the diligence and the zeal of our forefathers, that they were not disposed to allow what appeared to them to have service in it for the cause of Truth, to lie dormant; thus a very large portion of writings of this description were in that day published abroad, for the encouragement and consolation of the churches and of individuals. Here, therefore, the limits of search were rather restricted; yet it is hoped, that some of these selected epistles are believed to be printed for the first time, and will be truly acceptable to many readers in this day. The letters and epistles of Alexander Parker, have been more largely published, because few of the writings of that eminent Friend have come down to us in print.

The extraordinary patience of these our Early Friends was shown under the cruel sufferings to which they were subjected,—their exemplary faithfulness to the cause of Truth and righteousness,—and the earnestness they showed by their repeated warnings to the rulers of this country, that the wrath of heaven might be averted from the nation, by their ceasing from such wicked acts of persecution and cruelty. "All the powers of the nation seemed banded together" to crush this people ;—the government itself dedicated to that end; but they were not permitted to prevail over them. How truly then might they reverently and gratefully adopt the language of Israel formerly: "If it had not been the Lord, who was on our side, when men rose up against us; then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us; then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."

May it be the earnest concern of us, the too much degenerated successors—must it not be said—of these sons of the morning—these patient sufferers for the cause of Christ,—to walk also as good soldiers and faithful followers of the Captain of our salvation. Then may we not humbly trust, that the Lord, in his abundant mercy, would show himself to be on our side also ;—would be our strength, help, refuge and glory, as He was theirs ;—and there would be no lack to us of any good thing; neither would anything be able to pluck us out of His preserving hand of power, or to separate us from His love in Christ Jesus our Lord.

{Here the editor admits the Quakers of his time were too much degenerated, wishing to also be able to also walk as good soldiers, while ignoring the formula, (the inward cross of self-denial, to death of the sinful nature, resulting in purity), for becoming a soldier. All evangelical disputes, circulation of critical papers, and confrontations with other sects had been abandoned by the Quakers by 1750; had they been led by the Holy Spirit, evangelism would not have died. So there was no reason for any other sect to persecute them. The other sects were happy until someone seriously diminished their revenues; then they were ready to fine, imprison, banish, and kill those responsible.}

A. R. BARCLAY

Leytonetone, near London,

Eleventh month, 1840

EXPLANATION OF THE TEXT: Words in the text, printed in Italics,—excepting in the case of titles of works, and of remarkable expressions, denote, that they are taken to be phrases, probably, then in common use, or peculiar to the times. Large brackets, thus [ ], are used to denote introductory remarks or quotations by the Editor. Brackets, [ ], also occur in a letter or document, showing the addition by of words, in explanation of the text. A long dash, implies an omission; a short one,— as now used,—a rest in punctuation, or to connect parts of long sentences, etc. In using the phrase at the end of a letter: [From the original,] it is to designate that the manuscript letter was such, on the usual presumptive evidence of comparison, or repeated view, of other letters of the same writer, also from other obvious marks of originality, as post marks, seals, etc. {Text in braces{} has been added by the Site Editor.}

LETTERS AND WRITINGS OF EARLY QUAKERS

PART I

Historical, concerning Events, Services, in London.

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{The below two letters predate the letters in this collection, having been taken from George Fox's 410 Letters on this site, and are inserted as a preface by Site Editor.

GEORGE FOX TO ALL

Upon the Fourth-day of the First month, 1650,
I felt the power of the word spread over all the world in praise.

Praise, honor, and glory be to the Lord of heaven and earth!
Lord of peace, Lord of joy!
Your countenance makes my heart glad.
Lord of glory, Lord of mercy, Lord of strength,
Lord of life, and of power over death,
and Lord of lords, and King of kings!
In the world there are lords many,
but to us there is but one God the Father, of whom are all things;
and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things:

to whom be all glory, who is worthy!
In the world are many lords, and many gods,
and the earth makes lords, coveting after riches,
and oppressing the creatures;
and so, the covetous mind getting to itself, lords it above others.
This nature of lordly pride is head, until subdued by the power of God:
for everyone, in that state, strives to be above another;
few will strive to be the lowest.
Oh, that everyone would strive to put down, in themselves, mastery and honor,
so that the Lord of heaven and earth might be exalted!

George Fox

FROM GEORGE FOX TO ALL THE BRETHREN (Letter Number 20)

From Judge Fell's, (Swarthmore) in Lancashire, the 3rd of the 11th month, 1652

To all my dear brethren, whom the God of power has enlightened with his eternal light, and discovered unto you his way of truth, and brought you out of the dark ways, wherein you have walked; which dark ways all the world walk in. But where the pure light of God is witnessed, it guides to himself. The light is but one, which leads out of darkness and the dark world, into the world which is without end. Therefore all Friends and brethren in the eternal truth of God, walk in it up to God, and be not sayers only, nor backsliders; for the backslider is a sayer, and not a doer, and there arises ambition, pride and presumption out of that nature. But dwell in the pure light, which God has made manifest to you in your understanding; and turn your minds to him, and walk as children of the light, and of the day, and be not drunken in anything, nor run to extremes in anything; but be moderate and patient. Wait for the presence of the great God, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and be not so childish as to be tossed with men's words without life.

And run not out after others' liberties, which they have taken in their false notions [presumptions of being saved, free to sin by the license of grace]; for you who do so, will not abide in the truth; and so you may come to be shaken, and shake others, who look at words. But wait everyone in particular, (in the measure that God has given you), upon God, in the fear of God, then your hearts will be kept clean; and this is the sure way. And wait all to have the son made manifest [seen] in you, and the son alone to set you free in yourselves in particular; and all that are made free by the son, are one. But the first nature, that would have liberty, must go into captivity; which those who live in their carnal reasoning, seek freedom for. But here is man deceived in his first birth.

But you all, in whom the immortal seed is brought to light, who are raised up to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, and have become children of the day, walk as children of the day, and as children of the light, and 'let your light so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father, which is in heaven.' All loving the light, you love the one thing, which gathers your hearts together to the fountain of light and life; and walking in it, you have unity one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin.

The knowledge of the letter, [the Bible] which you formerly got into your notions and comprehensions, the dark mind gave dark meanings to it, and so kept you in the broad way; but now wait all to have the same spirit manifested in your understandings, which was in them who gave forth the scriptures, who had come out of the broad way, holy men of God, who had escaped the pollutions of the world. And if with every particular of yours, you do not know a principle within, which is of God, to guide you to wait upon God, you are still in your own knowledge, which is brutish and sensual. But waiting all upon God in that which is of God, you are kept open to receive the teachings of God. And the pure wisdom and knowledge comes from above, which is to know God, and Jesus Christ, the way, which is hidden from the world; and to walk out of your own ways, and out of your own thoughts. And dwelling in that which is pure, up to God, it commands your own reason to keep silent, and to cast your own thoughts out; and dwelling in that which is pure, it discovers all this. So dwelling in the spirit, it keeps all your hearts to God. To whom be all praise, honor, and glory forever!

George Fox

From Judge Fell's, in Lancashire, the 3rd of the 11th month, 1652

To read of anyone referencing the Light in all of Christianity, is a rarity; yet Christ, who is the Light that enlightens all men who come into the world, told us to "believe in the light so you can become children of the Light." For a complete discussion of the Light, and its evidence of salvation, see Fox's detailed paper, available on this site for your reading and understanding.

As the Lord said to Paul: I am sending you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me. Acts 26:17-19.}

No. I

[Friends had sprung up, beginning with George Fox's ministry in 1646. Although Friends were known as a distinct religious profession in some parts of the North of England, previous to the year 1654, it appears from our historians, that they were a minor appearance in the metropolis, prior to that year. William Crouch, who resided in London at this period, informs us in his memoirs, that "about the beginning of the year 1654, some workings of the power of Truth came to be felt among some tender people in and about the city of London; and some few were convinced, and turned to the Lord."

The following letter, dated the 29th of eleventh month, 1653, is the earliest which the Editor has met with, dated from London. The writer, Gervase Benson, as appears from George Fox's Journal, was once a colonel in the army, he was also a justice of the peace; but in 1652, he was convinced at Lancaster, on the occasion of George Fox's attending the sessions there, and clearing himself of the false accusations laid to his charge. Gervase Benson, with Anthony Pearson (who also was a justice), interested themselves on behalf of George Fox, when suffering imprisonment in the filthy jail of Carlisle, in 1653. Gervase Benson is also mentioned in George Fox's Journal, as a visitor at Judge Fell's at Swarthmore. He died in 1679, as appears by the Westmoreland burial register of Friends, in which he is described to be of Kendal.

Gervase Benson and Anthony Pearson were justices, who sat as magistrates at the Sessions at Appleby, January 1652, when James Nayler, George Fox, and Francis Howgill were examined on their indictment, upon a charge of blasphemy. On which occasion Justice Pearson ordered their hats to be put off, and then proceeded to question James Nayler; it is stated "that Justice Pearson was convinced at this Sessions by James Nayler, as he sat on the bench, as one of his judges." It is well known Anthony Pearson became the author of that approved work, " The Great Case of Tithes."—James Nayler's Works, p. 11—16.]

GERVASE BENSON TO GEORGE FOX AND JAMES NAYLER

London, 29th of 9th [11th] month, 1653

To my dearly beloved in the Lord.—My love in the Lord salutes you, and all Friends with you. I am by the love of God brought to this great city; and by his power am kept here to wait upon him, and to do whatever he shall call me forth unto; that he alone may be glorified in me and by me. Pray to the Lord for me, that I may be kept in all faithfulness; with boldness to bear witness to the Truth, against all deceits as they are made manifest in me, to the praise of his free grace and love to me, which I find daily flowing into my soul, to the refreshing thereof.

Dear Friends, I find nothing here that I can have any fellowship with. Only the Lord is raising up a light in many,—both priests and people,—that discovers the carnal actions of both magistrates and so-called ministers; and they are carried forth publicly to declare against them. I was lately at a meeting with some of them, at which were some Parliament men, ministers, and others; but I was made to declare against their practices at such meetings, and to show them their meetings were not for the better, but for the worse. They spending their time in putting questions one to another, and doctrinal arguing about things they could not witness. After we parted, I had no freedom to go to any such meetings; but was made to write a few proposals to some members of Parliament, which by the goodness of the Lord were finished this morning. A copy of the headings of them I have enclosed, not having time to write over the whole at present.

As for the Friend's enlargement at Kendal, George Taylor, (I hope), has or will give you an account. Seeing nothing at present to the contrary, but that I shall shortly see you in the country, I conclude,

Gervase Benson

P. S. There are many here inquiring after Friends in the North and the Truth made manifest in you, and there is much writing for and against the priests.

Written from London, 29th of 9th month 1653

[The Julian calendar was in use at this time; the year started in March and concluded in February. So the ninth month of the Julian calendar (Nov.) is the equivalent to our currently used Georgian calendar's 11th month. The Julian calendar dates are typically printed throughout all the early Quaker writings.]

TO MY DEAR FRIEND THOMAS WILLAN, OF KENDAL, WESTMORELAND

London, 27th of Fourth month [sixth mo ] 1654

DEAR FRIEND,—I received your letter. The expectations of our Friends here—who are faithful,—have been and are very great, to have seen some Friends out of the North to come to live here. They are daily looking for someone or other, though we bless the Lord we do not so much look upon any creature; but where there is but childishness, there can be nothing but stammering. The Lord still continues two of his handmaids with us, who are moved to speak sometimes; who, aiming at their souls' good, are often evilly entreated by them the people; but they are supported by the Lord, which makes them courageous among ravenous wolves. Others, whose hearts are not so flinty, do embrace the Truth in the love of it; so that our number increases. The harvest is great, the laborers few. If it is the Lord's will to send laborers, we know they must come, and none can hinder.

Our present condition and temptations are exceeding strange and great, which require the more strict watching, and your continually praying to the Lord for us. Sometimes the Lord moves us to speak to those who are over us in the flesh; and though we have been as the aspen leaves, trembling at the wind before them, yet praises be to the Lord, he gives us hearts as bold as a lion. As it has pleased the Lord to draw us from the wicked delusions of the priests, so likewise from those heathenish forms, which were and are still used in the families where we live. And though to the grief of our souls, we cannot as yet live up in such a way as the Lord requires, yet we are endeavoring and struggling to get mastery over the deceit that has so long reigned in us.

The 17th day of this month, my master in the flesh would know of me the reason why I did not attend his holy duties, as he calls them. I told him, that I had heard him in his prayers bless the Lord for his vocation, election, redemption, and sanctification; but that he did not live up to such a life, as those whom Christ has redeemed; neither was the Truth, as it is in Jesus, in him; and that the prayers of the wicked are an abomination before the Lord; and he that regards iniquity in his heart, the Lord will not hear his prayers.

When I had spoken these words to him, his face waxed pale, and he immediately burst forth in a passion, uttering these words to me : ' You wretch, you make me tremble—you wicked wretch—you rogue;' and so flying at me with his clenched fists, he smote me on the face and eyes, very often as hard as he could strike. I did not move hand or foot, immediately remembering the command, "If you are smitten on the one cheek, turn the other,"—so I was made to do. When he was finished, I asked him whether what he had done, was of God; his answer was, No.

Soon after he commanded me to write down under my hand what I had spoken, which I did, being scarcely able to see what I wrote for the blows he had given me. But I was made to write what to him seemed an aggravation to what I had spoken. As soon as I had so done, in comes a priest, whom my master took presently to hear this business, and to read my writing. As soon as he had read it, he said, 'This assertion is very dubious, and I might draw from it several questions'; and thus he began, ' Do you hold perfection ?' 'Yes ;—do you deny it?’ Priest, ' Yes.' ' Then,' said I, ' you are no minister of God.' It would be too tedious and too large to declare to you the whole discourse between him and me; for the promise of the Lord was made good to me at that very instant of time; it was not I that spoke, but the Spirit of God, who was my teacher and my memory And I declared many things to his face, how that he was no minister of God, one who was conforming to the world in his fashions and customs; another was, that he was a hireling, and much more which I have not time to declare now.

On the 19th day, my master came alluring me, and crying with tears as running from a broken cistern. On the 23rd day, he sent me to one, to whom he had asked to confer with me. I spent the most part of that day with him, and my master told him that if he could not turn me from my delusions and errors, he would have me before the Chamberlain of London. There my indentures should be burnt or torn; and I, for the scandal cast upon him under my hand, would be sent to the House of Correction, and to lost the freedom of the city of London.—Lose my name and credit!—poor, empty, base, beggarly things, which are not worth my thought. If I were to lose ten thousand freedoms, I would lose them willingly upon this account; and for witnessing the Truth—welcome House of Correction, or any other punishment!—and for Christ—farewell name, credit and reputation ! My fleshly master has drawn up a charge of five particulars against me :—

1st.—That I had slanderously accused him by word of mouth, [as stated above.]

2nd.—That I frequented a meeting in Moorfields, where there is none but two women that are preachers.

3rd.—That I will not join with him in family duties, namely: sometimes twice a-day prayer; and every Lord's day two prayers, a chapter or a Psalm, and commonly one sung; and the like singing and prayer at night.

4th.—That when customers come for goods, my not speaking to them, as to tell them of what they ask me, or making them welcome, etc., I have driven away his customers.

5th.—Being asked by him whether I would refer the controversy to be ended by the ministers of God, I told him that I would; but I thought I could not find any of them in.

These are the five things, which he, poor soul, thinks to frighten me with.

The last first-day Isabel Buttery, who has been a long season with us, (I know not whether she is known to you, but she is well known to James Nayler and Gervase Benson and other Friends who were lately in London),—was moved to go to Westminster, to some to whom her heart was drawn forth; intending to make no stay, if the Lord would, but to come to our meeting at Simon Dring's house in Watling street. (In the beginning, Simon Dring had meetings in his home.) But as she came back by Paul's, the mayor caused the so called marshal, to bring her before him; and her spirit was carried out valiantly. They went together into the vestry. There she—as we were informed—held a discussion with him, the aldermen, and recorder, so called. So they sent her to the House of Correction called Bridewell, and another maid that went with her, which was Robert Dring's maid of Moorfields.

I went to see them with more of our Friends last night; but there was no admittance, their jailers' Pharisaical spirit would not allow visits on their Sabbath day. They were committed for letting people have their books, which our Friends have been moved to publish. Isabel told me to inform our Friends, that there are some books to be sent down: 'The way to the Kingdom,' with an addition to it, is come forth. Send by the next post where they shall be sent to, and by whom and to whom.

Now, dear friend, I have in as brief a way as I could, [informed] you and the rest of my friends, as well our dear friends Francis Howgill and John Camm; desiring that your petitions may be spread before the Lord, that we might be kept faithful to the end; for the laid up a crown of life. Salute us to all our dear brethren: farewell, the eternal God of power

Alexander Delamain

John Bridges

27th of the fourth month, as the world counts, 1654

[William Crouch states that in the beginning of 1654, a few tender people in the London area had been convinced. Among them were Isabel Buttery with another woman companion, who became acquainted with Amos Stoddard, and Simon Dring of Moorfields. Stoddard was a captain in the army, became convinced and left his command. These women handed out prints of Fox's paper on The Way to the Kingdom. That letter alone was sufficient to convince several early followers. They had private silent meetings waiting on the Lord at Robert Dring's house in Moorfields; where "now and then, a few words were spoken."] {But there was no one yet, called or equipped by the Lord to preach to anyone in London.}

No. III

[THE writer of this next letter is thus spoken of by George Fox in his Journal :—early in 1653, — "About this time, Anthony Pearson was convinced, who had been an opposer of Friends. He came over to Swarthmore; I was then at colonel West's, so they sent for me. Colonel West said, 'Go George, for it may be of great service to the man.' So I went, and the Lord's power reached him. He was a justice of the peace in three counties."]

The following highly interesting letter from Anthony Pearson was found in the Swarthmore collection; it is headed ' A paper of Anthony Pearson,' and it is dated from Rampshaw, near West Auckland, May 9th, 1653. It does not appear to whom it was addressed.

DEAR FRIEND. — I have long professed to serve and worship the true God, and as I thought—above many sects—attained to a high pitch in religion; but now, alas ! I find my work will not abide the fire. My notions were swelling vanities without power or life. What it was to love enemies, to bless those who curse, to render good for evil, to use the world as using it not, to lay down life for the brethren, I never understood; what purity and perfection meant, I never tasted : all my religion was but the hearing of the ear, the believing and talking of a God and Christ in heaven or a place at a distance, I knew not where.

Oh ! how gracious was the Lord to me in carrying me to judge Fell's, to see the wonders of His power and wisdom,—a family walking in the fear of the Lord, conversing daily with Him, crucified to the world, and living only to God. I was so confounded, all my knowledge and wisdom became folly; my mouth was stopped, my conscience convinced, and the secrets of my heart were made manifest, and that Lord was discovered to be near, whom I ignorantly worshipped. I could have talked of Christ in the saints the hope of glory, but it was a riddle to me. And truly, dear friend, I must tell you I have now lost all my religion, and am in such distress I have no hope nor foundation left. My justification and assurance have forsaken me, and I am even like a poor shattered vessel, tossed to and fro, without a pilot or rudder; as blind, dead, and helpless, as you can imagine. I never felt corruption so strong, and temptation so prevailing, as now; I have a proud, hard, flinty heart, that cannot be sensible of my misery.

When I deeply consider how much precious time I have wasted, and how unprofitably I have lived, my spirit feels a sudden fear; but then I am still flying to my old refuge, and there my thoughts are diverted. What it means to wait upon God, I cannot apprehend; and the confusions in my own spirit, together with the continual temptations from without, are so great, I cannot understand or perceive the small still voice of the Lord.

What you told me of George Fox, I found true. When you see him or James Nayler,— they both know my condition better than myself,—move them—if neither of them are drawn this way,—to help me with their counsel by letter; they are full of pity and compassion; and though I was their enemy, they are my friends : and so is Francis Howgill, from whom I received a letter full of tenderness and wholesome advice. Oh ! How welcome would the faces of any of them be to me; truly I think I could scorn the world, to have fellowship with them. But I find my heart is full of deceit, and I exceedingly fear to be beguiled,—as I have been,—and to be seduced into a form without power, into a profession before I possess the Truth; which will multiply my misery, and deprive me both of God and the world.

Dear friend, there is a carrier comes from Kendal within a mile of my house every fortnight, and he shall call at Peter Huggins' to bring any letter that shall be there left for me; it will much refresh me to receive any lines from you ;—but be you faithful. You may perceive, by my Ashdod language, what a countryman I am—even of the low world that lives in darkness. I am afraid for fear that the orders* we made at Appleby, will cause some to suffer, who speak from the mouth of the Lord;** I heartily wish they were suppressed or recalled. I have been at judge Fell's, and have been informed from that precious soul’s wife {Margaret Fell} in some measure what those things mean, which before I counted as overflows of giddy brains.—

*Orders as magistrates regarding prison sentences of Quakers to Appleby prison.

**{So here is a former justice, previously sentencing Quakers to prison, stating that the early Quakers, not just Fox alone, spoke by the mouth of the Lord. }

Dear heart, pity and pray for me; and let all obligations of former friendship be discharged in well wishes to the soul of the old family friend, that he may partake with them of your heavenly possessions.

{Notice: he speaks of partaking with this Quaker of his heavenly possessions. This is evidence that the Quaker's measure of Christ was apparent to anyone with an open mind, and Pearson wished to partake with him in this divine nature that the Quaker exhibited to him. Remember, Pearson what a highly conservative, respected Sessions Justice that had sent Quakers to prison, and was convinced while trying Quaker ministers: James Nayler, George Fox, and Francis Howgill for blasphemy, as previously noted above.}

Anthony Pearson

Ramshaw, near West Auckland, 5 (May) 9th, 1653

{Quakers ministers were arrested on a variety of charges: traveling in the Lord's day, failure to attend the Church of England's services, creating a disturbance, being a vagrant, or often without a charge. They were then taken before a magistrate, where they were required to take an oath on the Bible swearing to tell the truth, which Jesus and James strongly commanded to not do; so their failure to take the oath automatically resulted in their imprisonment and/or fines, which they usually refused to pay on principle. The courts knew the Quakers could not swear, so they arrested them on some trumped up charge, and brought them to court, with an automatic jail sentence resulting. Thus the Quaker ministers spent much time in jail. Fox was arrested over 60 times and spent 6 1/2 years in prison. William Dewsbury, another early Quaker minister, spent 20 years in prison. This massive persecution was because the Quaker message was so successful, that hundreds of churches throughout the land were emptied of members; or hearers, as the Quakers called them, for they only sat and listened to the preacher. (Follow the money.) }

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ANTHONY PEARSON TO GEORGE FOX

30th of Fifth month, [seventh mo.] 1654

MOST DEARLY BELOVED. The last night but one, I came to my dwelling. I left Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough, John Camm and Richard Hubberthorne in London, the second-day of last week. At London we found very many who have a true principle of honesty in them; but they are for the most part so high flown in wisdom and notions, that it is hard to reach them. Nothing can enter until their wisdom is confounded; and if they are judged, then presently they rage, and their wrath is stirred up, and so the simplicity is trampled upon. Much wisdom is to be used among them, until the truth is clearly understood; and then to speak to that in their consciences, to the raising up of the witness, to let them see themselves; and then to pass judgment upon them, and so to keep them under from disputing and questioning. This we found the most profitable ministry; and few words must be used; for they have [held] the Truth in notions, [presumptions, without experience]; and all cry out, ' What do these men say, more than others have said:' but to bring them to silence confounds their wisdom. Oh ! that none might come to London, but those who are raised up into the life of Truth, who dwell in the living power of God, whose words may have authority; for there are so many mighty in wisdom to oppose and contradict, that weak ones will allow the Truth to be trampled on; and there are so many rude savage apprentices and young people and Ranters, that nothing but the power of the Lord can chain them. Dear heart, let none go to London, but in the clear and pure movings of the Spirit of Life; that the blessing may rest upon them. And great is the harvest like to be in that city; hundreds are convinced, and thousands wait to see the issue, who have persuasions that it is the Truth. We have visited a large number of societies , and are now able to stand. Many honest hearts are among the Waiters, and some that are joined to the Ranters* are tender hearted people. The living power of God was made manifest to the confounding of all, and we were carried above ourselves, to the astonishment both of ourselves and others; we were made to speak tremblingly among them in dread and much fear.

*{The Ranters were very numerous and popular in England at the beginning of the Quaker movement. They believed that Christ had destroyed the Law, and therefore there was nothing sinful, unless you thought it was a sin; including adultery, fornication, drunkenness, etc. By 1700 most of them had become Quakers.}

When I can hear where you are, I must come to you. Dear heart, pray for me and all with me, that we may be kept in the fear of the Lord, to the praise of his great name.

The carrier of this letter to you hastens me, and I can now write no more, only my wife's and family's love to all Friends.

Anthony Pearson

From a copy

{Here is another of George Fox's letters from the same time period, Letter Number 25.

GEORGE FOX TO TO FRIENDS IN THE TRUTH

1653

Friends, the love of God is to you, the springs are opening, and the plants are refreshing with the living waters. Now friends, walk in the truth, as you have received it; and wait in that which keeps you in the yes and no, in the pure communication, in the good manners. In the pure conversation over all the world you will reign, whose conversation is in heaven; and here the world you will judge, walking in the life. And you which turn from the light, which Jesus Christ has enlightened you with, here are the corrupt manners, the evil communication, the filthy conversation, which with the light are all to be condemned; you which turn from the light, are in Esau's nature, and choosing the earth, there is profaneness; therefore take heed to the light, and wait to receive power from God, to stand against that which the light discovers to be evil. And you who are turned from the light, with which Jesus Christ has enlightened you, and do turn to the hireling priests who are changeable, from the priest who never changes, you walk in Judas' steps, and woe will be your end; you had better never have been born, you are betrayers of the just; you who turn from the light, you turn from Christ, as Judas did; and you who walk in the light, you walk after Christ, and he is your way; but you who turn from it to the hireling priests, Judas is your way, which is destruction. And you who turn from the light, turn from the command of God; Cain is your way. And you who turn from the spirit, Balaam is your way. And you who get up into presumption, Cora is your way, which leads into self-separation. And this fruit will wither, which is natural knowledge, which is seen with the light, and is to be condemned with the light, which never withers, which is the condemnation of the world; which all the children of the light walk in. Walking in which light, it will bring you to receive Christ, from whom it comes. Here is the way to salvation; and as many as receive him, to them he gives power to become the sons of God. And the son of God is but one in all, male and female; and the light of God is but one. So all walk in it, to receive the son; in which light is the unity, which brings to fellowship with the Father and the son. And the oneness is in the light, as the Father and the son are one, and brings you to where he is, out of the world, from the world, and not to be of the world. Therefore walk in the light, which is all the world's condemnation, even them of the highest religion, who act contrary to the light. And to you this is given forth from the word of the living God.

And you who love your soul, love the light, to wait for Christ, the Savior of your soul; and you who hear the word, wait in the light, which comes from the word, which leads up to the word which was in the beginning, which breaks the world to pieces that lies in wickedness, and burns it as with a fire; and divides asunder the precious from the vile. This is the word, which makes all clean, which is received into the heart; and this is the word of faith which we preach; and the world preaches the words without, being out of the life, and in the brutish knowledge, which is condemned of God, and by all who are of God, that have (and are in) the life of the holy scriptures. Therefore I charge you all in the presence of the living God, to wait in the light which comes from Christ, that with it you may receive the life; that with the light and life, which are one, you may come to have the scriptures opened to you, which were given from the light. And so all the world, who do not have the life or the light guiding their understandings, but are strangers to it; there are the sects, there are the many opinions, there is the heresy. Such without the light make a profession of the letter [the Bible] declared from the light, but are out of the life. With the light all this is condemned; and the children of light are in unity, in that which gave forth the holy scriptures. So to you all this testimony is from the word of God.

This is to be read among all Friends everywhere; for this was I moved [by God] to send among you.

George Fox

Notice Fox says: I charge you in the presence of the living God - and this testimony is from the word of God. Who else but the Apostles has ever made such statements? These statements highlight the difference between someone who has been truly "filled with and controlled in word and deed by" the Holy Spirit, and someone who thinks they have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This is also one of the many symptoms supporting the early Quaker's claims to be in the same spirit as the Apostles.}

In a letter from Edward Burrough to Margaret Fell,—date of 1654—he thus writes:— '

We were at a meeting of the people called Waiters [in London,] where Richard Hubberthorne spoke about half an hour in much power and wisdom. Francis Howgill was moved to go to an assembly of people called Seekers; and they were, as all this generation practices, arguing and contending about the meaning of the scriptures; and he stood silent among them a little, and then spoke the word of the Lord in power with boldness, an hour or more, and confounded their wisdom, and crushed their meaning of the scripture. He said, there were some civil people among them.'

William Caton's Manuscript Collection

No. IV

[The next letter to be laid before the reader is from Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill; respecting whom William Crouch writes: 'In the fifth month of this year 1654—‘ it pleased God to send two of his faithful messengers and able ministers to the city of London: Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough, who were the first that declared Truth publicly there. The Lord made them instruments in his hands for the gathering of many, who, like good old Simeon, were waiting for the consolation of Israel.' The letter is very descriptive of the state of things among believers at this period; and the account it gives of the services of those valiant laborers in the gospel of Christ in this great city, is very interesting.]

{Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill were giants within the movement, true worthies of the Lord. In London alone, their preaching was a major contributor to Quakers reaching a population of 10,000 in 1674; even with the deaths of the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666. Francis Howgill had been educated as an Episcopalian minister, to leave becoming a Puritan minister, to leave to become a Baptist minister - all the while seeking to be free from sin. He heard George Fox, and was finally convinced of the way to freed from sin, salvation. Howgill's doctrinal letters are among the best on this site. There is a memoir to Edward Burrough, as well as a memoir to Francis Howgill on this site.}

EDWARD BURROUGH AND FRANCIS HOWGILL TO MARGARET FELL

London, 29th of Sixth month [eighth mo.] 1654

DEAR SISTER, Great is our care and charge which is committed unto us; pray that we may be kept in faithfulness and boldness in the work of the Lord committed to us, and that wisdom may guide us to handle the sword; that we may clearly discern what to spare and what to destroy. Great is our travail, until Christ is brought forth in this people; and our suffering is even with and for the pure seed, which lies in bondage in this city. We two are constrained to stay in this city; but we are not alone, for the power of our Father is with us, and it is daily made manifest through weakness, even to the stopping of the mouths of lions, and to the confounding of the serpent's wisdom ;—eternal praises to Him forevermore!

In this city iniquity is grown to the height,— the serpent's wisdom is grown fully ripe ;—here are the subtlest serpents to grapple and war with; but in the eternal light—which is our shield and buckler, they are they comprehended, and their deceits are revealed to us, and by the light are they judged and condemned.

We have three meetings or more every week, which are very large, requiring more than any place will contain, or in which we can conveniently meet. Many of all sorts come to us, and many of all sects are convinced,—yes, hundreds now believe; and by the power of the gospel declared among those is the witness of God raised, which shall never die. There are some exceedingly brought under the power, which strikes terror into the hearts of many. Many lie under true judgment, a true love is raised up in many, and the time of redemption to many is drawing near. As yet we know little of our departing from here. We now do and will continue to clear our we clear our consciences to all, and be free from the blood of all men, and finish our testimony. Many are beginning to consider of us, and think there is something more in it than a bare notion, who at the first looked upon it to be no more than that: but it sinks deeply inward in many; for to that we speak, which brings us in remembrance when they are away.

The first-day before the last, I was at a steeple-house in the morning, where I was allowed to freely speak . I then proceeded to the meeting in the afternoon. On the last first-day Richard Hubberthorne and I went twelve miles out of the city to a great meeting of Separatists, to a place called Theobald's,* where many great men were, and officers in the army, and such like; and we had pretty much freedom to speak without restraint; but when we were finished speaking, their leaders violently expelled us, with which many simple minds disagreed. The fourth-day of last week, we had a meeting at Southwark in a large room, where some Anabaptists meet on the first-days; several of them were there along with many hundreds more.

*George Fox’s Journal speaks of this place not far from Waltham Abbey, 'near which colonel Packer lived. He set up a great meeting of the Baptists at Theobald's Park; for he and some other officers had purchased it. They were exceedingly high, [in their notions and presumptions, imagining their high stature with God] and railed against Friends and Truth,'

Our dear brethren, John Audland and John Camm, went from us the last sixth-day out of this city towards Oxford, to be there the last first-day. Our hearts were broken in separating with them, for our lives are bound up in one; we partake of one another's sufferings and of one another's joy. We receive letters every week from the prisoners at Chester; the work of the Lord goes on gloriously in that county, where is precious seed. Anthony Pearson writes to us of the precious seed in the county of Bishoprick, [Durham], and it is even our reward to hear that the Lord is raising that up in power, which was sown in weakness; to the Lord of glory, be glory forevermore !

Remember us dearly to all Friends, for we are refreshed in your consideration of us. Our greatest care is, that we may be preserved in obedience, in power, and in wisdom; that the Lord may be glorified by us. We rest writing, but continue to be your dearly beloved; from brethren in the Lord.

Edward Burrough

Francis Howgill

From William Caton's Manuscript Collection

*William Caton's Manuscript Collection is a valuable collection of early Letters, written nearly throughout by William Caton himself, appears to have intended by him for publication; it has a title page, dated Swarthmore, 23rd of sixth month, 1659; and a preface signed by himself, dated 7th of second month, 1660; Gough, in his History, after alluding to the visit of Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill to London at this time, remarks :—' Their ministerial labors were blessed with signal success; being attended with a convincing power, impressing awful considerations, and awakening the consciences of the audience to a sense of their conditions and earnest desires after salvation.' It should be kept in mind at the same time, that this was a period remarkable for the zealous maintenance of religious profession in the community generally; and probably the language of scripture was pretty familiar to professors [those claiming to believe] at large. Gough continues,—after stating that Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill proceeded to Bristol,—'Their preaching was like that of the apostles, in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power; multitudes flocked to hear them, and many embraced their doctrines.' — Gough's History, vol. i. p. 143.

{In the struck-through text above, the editor betrays his disbelief that the early founders of the Quakers could have had anything more than the preachers of others sects, which was limited to Bible language and knowledge. Yet, the above secular account of Howgill's and Burrough's preaching gives them credit for preaching like the apostles, in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power; multitudes flock to hear them, and many embraced their doctrines. This was not an unusual occurrence; thousands came to hear Fox wherever he went. When Howgill and Burrough went to Bristol, thousands followed them after hearing their preaching, so much so they had to seek shelter from their attention. These men spoke from the Spirit of God, with words provided by God; they spoke with an authority that far exceeded anyone's abilities based on knowledge of the Bible. What a shame that the leading so-called Quakers in the 1800's could not accept the necessity of spiritual death on the cross, nor believe the testimony of the early Quakers, who claimed and demonstrated to be in the same spirit as the Apostles.}

No. V

FRANCIS HOWGILL TO ROBERT WIDDERS

London, 23rd of Seventh month, [ninth mo.] 1654

DEAR BROTHER,— Edward Burrough and I still remain in this city.—Great is the love of God to us, and the work of the Lord prospers in our hands;—eternal living praises to Him forevermore. We are here among this large number of people in much weakness; and when we see such multitudes, we are often concerned how we will obtain enough [spiritual] bread to satisfy so many.

But the wisdom and power of God has been with us, and there are hundreds convinced; but not many great or noble do receive our testimony; yet there are many put to a stand and brought into silence, and many are under deep judgment and a true power. We have had many great giants to encounter with; but by the power of the Lord the mouths of lions have been stopped, and our adversaries have been put to flight. We have been in great service continually, since we came into this filthy place; here is the trimmed harlot, the mystery of witchcraft; and the devil rules, and is head in all sorts.

We have been at the most eminent societies in the city, and we have had strong disputes with them over and over, sometimes at steeple-houses;* and even though they have contempt for us personally, they say none speak like us: — but the devil cannot stoop so low. We have two or three meetings in the week, but no place is large enough; making our work more difficult. We have been guided in much wisdom, so that all, who that hate us, have nothing to accuse us of, as of tumults or disorder in the least. Some wait to entrap us, but we are guided in wisdom; praised be the Lord!

{*Since the Church is the Body of Christ, to call a building a church, diminishes the true Church. So, the Quakers referred to buildings of the sects as steeple-houses, because they invariably had a steeple with as bell atop them.}

Miles Halhead and James Lancaster were here, and came to visit us; they stayed one first-day, and then were moved to proceed towards Cambridge. We are much refreshed; we have receive letters from all quarters; — the work goes on fast everywhere; — eternal living praises to Him forever! — Richard Hubberthorne is still in prison —and James Parnell is at Cambridge.* We hear from our dear brethren, John Audland and John Camm, and we write to one another twice a week; — they are near us, — they are precious; and the work of the Lord is great around Bristol. I have enclosed a letter, that you may know of their gospel successes, and rejoice with us. Truly our horn is exalted, and our weapons are mighty, to the bringing down of strongholds, — praises forevermore!

*In a letter from Richard Hubberthorne to Francis Howgill, dated from Cambridge, 4th of seventh month, 1654, he writes, 'James Parnell and I are in the dungeon as yet, where we were put the 28th of this last month; but we [feel] the mighty power of God, and are in joy and peace in the Lord; to Him be praise eternal forevermore.'

Pray for us, dear brother, that we may be kept in wisdom and power; that the living God may be exalted forevermore. My dear yokefellow salutes you; salute us to all Friends, to your dear wife, and all who way who inquire of us. Your dear friend in the work of the Lord,

Francis Howgill

From the original: the year is endorsed by Fox— 1654

No. VI

[RESPECTING the writer of this next letter, John Whiting in his Memoirs, informs us: 'Alexander Parker was an ancient and eminent servant of God, and minister of Jesus Christ; he was born in Yorkshire, near Bolton in Lancashire, and was well educated, and had a gentleman-like carriage and deportment as well as person, for I knew him well. He came up to London with George Fox, when he was brought up out of Leicestershire by colonel Hacker to Oliver Cromwell, in 1654. He stayed with him in London and that area for some time; and afterwards went with him to a general meeting at John Crook's at Bedfordshire in 1655. He wrote many serviceable books and epistles to Friends, which are worthy of perusing; in which, though being dead, he still speaks.'— John Whiting’s Memoirs, p. 390—393.]

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 22nd of Twelfth mo. 1654. [second mo.] 1655

DEAR SISTER,—Upon the 4th day of the twelfth month, George Fox was at a meeting at Swannington; and several soldiers came there from Leicester; but they were very civil and moderate, and heard with patience the word of the Lord,* departing peaceably. The same day Thomas Taylor and I were at Litchfield, and had a meeting there, when many sorts of people attending.

*{heard with patience the word of the Lord - means they listened to George Fox speak from the Spirit of God the words that he was given in the presence of God. This is not reading or quoting the Bible. George Fox made a huge distinction between the quoting the Bible and speaking the word of the Lord, which he did. The early Quakers referred to those, who simply read or quoted the Bible, to be ministers of the letter, rather than ministers of the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:6.To make it perfectly clear, George Fox said the ministers of his era, (as those of today), were not as spiritually advanced as was Balaam's ass, for the ministers could not even hear the word of the Lord, when Balaam's ass could not only hear the word of the Lord, but also speak it. Num 22:28-30.

You may notice in many of Fox's letters, he writes: this is the word of the Lord to you, or I charge you all in the presence of the living God. There is also a summary of these statements available for your review.}

On the fourth-day of the week we joined George Fox at Swannington; and he was moved to appoint a meeting at Whetstone, and none being there to pass along with him, I went with him.

On the first-day, many Friends had come together from several parts, and were waiting upon the Lord. The marshal and about eight soldiers came into the meeting; many of them sat down, and were very civil. And after a certain while, the marshal spoke, and showed an order from colonel Hacker, that every one should go to their outward homes, otherwise they were to accompany him to the colonel. And so he began and examined Friends where their outward home was; and he asked when they would return back. As for George his countryman,—let any two go along with him, and satisfy the colonel for the rest. Then the marshal requested George to take his horse and go along with them.- George then replied, 'if you command me to go, I shall not resist. Since I did not have freedom to leave George, I went with him. After we arrived at colonel Hacker’s, the colonel spoke to George of many things. They then searched him for weapons or incriminating writings, and informed him that he must go to London to meet with Oliver Cromwell.* Captain Drury, one of the Protector’s body guards escorted us to London.

{Oliver Cromwell was the Puritan general who led the revolution of Parliament against King Charles I, defeating him and beheading him. Cromwell then replaced the king, but with the title of Protector, instead of King. He was then called Oliver Protector, or O. P., or the Protector.}

[After stating that they lodged at the Mermaid inn, Charing Cross, the letter proceeds:]

Then the captain went to the Protector, and acquainted him of their arrival. The Protector said, he would see him and would speak with George; but when, he could not say. The captain was very loving, and would not hinder George of any freedom; only desired, that one of us would stay at the inn. On the fourth-day, George went up into the city with some of our Friends. On first-day afternoon, William Caton and I were at a meeting in Moorfields, where many Friends were; a mighty power was there among them, and there are many tender hearts among them. On the fourth-day in the evening, there was a meeting appointed at Gerard Roberts' where there was a very large meeting of Friends; George was present among them. The powerful presence of the Lord was with us, and the tender plants were refreshed, and some were made to witness to the Truth.

Your dear brother,

Alexander Parker

From William Caton's Manuscript Collection

No. VII

[THE next letter follows up the narrative of George Fox's being taken before the Protector. In his Journal, George Fox gives a full and very interesting account of this interview with Oliver Cromwell at Whitehall. It was on this occasion that a paper was addressed by George Fox to the Protector, in which he denied 'the taking up a carnal weapon against him or any man.' After this interview the Protector declared 'he was at liberty, and might go where he would.'

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 10th of First month [third mo.] 1655

MOST DEARLY BELOVED,

Our dearly beloved one, George Fox, has been set free by Oliver Cromwell to go where he pleases. He was never under any restraint, but had liberty to pass among Friends. On the 6th day of this arrest, he was brought before the Protector, and was with him a fair amount of time in his chamber at Westminster. Cromwell was very loving to George, and wished George to come again to him; and afterwards set him free to go where he pleased.

So we are still in this city, and for a while continue in it. There are many Friends who have joined here; as Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough, Thomas Salthouse, Miles Halhead, William Caton, John Stubbs, and several others; but I believe we shall disperse abroad after tomorrow. We do not lack anything. There are many precious Friends in the city, who would do anything for us, or let us have anything; but George is not very free, but rather keeps clear. Our horses are at the inn where we stay at night; but so many are coming to see George, they [the people of the inn] grow weary and wish us to find another place; only the horses might be left.]

So at present I cease; with my tender love unto you and your family. I am yours,.

Alexander Parker

From W. Caton's Manuscript Collection

No. VIII

It is remarkable with what high esteem and Christian love, Margaret Fell appears to have been regarded by the early and most eminent Quakers; she seems to have been generally acknowledged as the faithful nursing-mother and she often addressed them when in bonds or otherwise, with letters of consolation and encouragement.

{In her and her husband's home at Swarthmore, Margaret Fell served as the de facto headquarters of the early Quaker movement; she was a minister herself, one of the Valiant Sixty, but her Swarthmore home was the cradle of the Quaker movement. Most of the early Quakers had spent time there before reaching maturity in the Lord, waiting on the Lord together with her along with other guests of the manor. For many of the early years, she was the single point of contact for the other Quaker ministers who were on the move throughout the nation and world; she passed on information from other early Quakers in a prodigious outpouring of letters to Quakers throughout British Empire. As a minister, she was quite active in visiting the meetings of the surrounding countryside of the North. She spent a total of ten years in prisons, the most of any female Quaker, for holding meetings in her home and refusal to swear in court.}

EDWARD BURROUGH AND FRANCIS HOWGILL TO MARGARET FELL

London, 27th of First month [third mo.] 1655

DEAR SISTER, you, who are a fruitful branch in the living vine, and a pleasant plant in the garden of God. We have been in this city near three weeks in great labor and service. George Fox, with many more of our brethren, was here when we came. We all stayed over one first-day, after we two came into the city. George Fox was that day in private with Friends; and we two were in the general meeting place among the rude world, threshing and ploughing:—and the rest of our brethren were that day at several meetings, some at one and some at another, and some among the Baptists and gathered people; and great service there was that day. Then shortly after that first-day, the brethren separated into the fields [the country,] to reap and to gather in. Richard Cleaton and Thomas Bond went towards Norwich and into Suffolk and that way, and are in great service there. John Stubbs and William Caton went towards Dover. We have received one letter from them since they went into Dover. The mayor and the officers strictly examined and charged them to keep the peace. They were with some gathered people, and at some steeple-houses, and had little persecution. Miles Halhead and Thomas Salthouse went towards Plymouth. They had a great meeting one first-day in Reading; and many, they wrote, were convinced. George Fox is at present in Bedfordshire; Alexander Parker is with him; there is a people [destined to come the Lord] that way. John Audland was here with us, but goes towards Bristol shortly, for all we know. James Lancaster was with us in this city, but has gone to join George Fox. Richard Hubberthorne is still in prison. John Camm is at or near Bristol.

We believe that George will return to this city again,—we two are too few in this city for this service, for truly it is very great; at present many come in daily to the acknowledgment of the Truth. Friends are so many, that not one place can hold them on the first- days, where we can peaceably meet for the rude people; for since we came, they have been very rude,—very often to pull us down when we have been speaking. George was at the great meeting place two first-days before we came; and his voice and outward man was almost spent among them.

We have thus ordered it since we came,— we get Friends on the first-days to meet together in several places out of the rude multitude, and we two go to the great meeting place which we have, which will hold a thousand people, which is always nearly filled; we go [there] to thresh among the world; and we stay until twelve or one o'clock. We then depart, the one to one place and the other to another place, where Friends are met in private; and stay until four or five o'clock.

Truly, dear heart, our care is for the whole body, that all things may be ordered in the wisdom of God, to the confounding of all our adversaries, who seek to stop us.

We rest in the bosom of love with you, and are your dear brothers,

Edward Burrough

Francis Howgill

P. S. Thomas Aldam has been with Oliver Cromwell, and cleared his conscience to him. He was made as a sign to him in tearing a linen cap, with which he went to him, on his head, and told him all his covering and counsels should be torn in pieces; but his [Cromwell’s] heart is hardened, and he cannot believe.

[It seems they had so much work with the inquiring multitude, that they could with difficulty get together with their own body for worship. One letter from F. Howgill, dated London, 2nd of eighth month, 1654, states, 'our burden is great, we cannot get any separation for the multitude, and so Friends do not much know one another; and we cannot conveniently get any place to meet so that Friends may sit down.']

{The inquiring multitude was the result of the early Quakers preaching in word and power from the Holy Spirit; from ministers of the Spirit, not ministers who quoted from their brutish knowledge of the Bible from their carnal minds, speaking a divination of their own brains, and stealing the words of the saints with no understanding of what they meant. The multitudes could hear the difference, and that is why they flocked by the thousands into the meetings to hear the Quakers preach the living word of God from the lips of the kingdom-translated early Quakers.}

From William Caton’s Manuscript Collection

No. IX

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 3rd of Second month [fourth mo.] 1655

DEAR SISTER,—My tender and dear love in the Lord Jesus Christ, salutes you and other my dear and precious friends in your family. Grace, mercy, and peace, be multiplied among you, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon the 16th day of the first month, George and I, and some other city Friends, passed out of this city to Justice Crook's house in Bedfordshire. He is a good man, and there will be a precious family; his wife is brought very low, and is of a very tender heart,—and others in his family. Upon the 18th day, being first-day, there was a meeting at the justice's house, where there were many people, and all sober and quiet. George stayed at Justice Crook's house, and we were there about fifteen days; I and others had many meetings in the country thereabouts. John Audland was there, and James Lancaster, and Gervase Benson, Thomas Story, Thomas Stubbs, and some others; we were in great service while we stayed there. A great ferment is in that country and other places in that area.

Upon the last day of the first month, George Fox, Gervase Benson, and I came to this city, where we had five meetings; three of the meetings were of Friends that met in silence, and George was at one of them, where many of the world came in, but were sober. Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough were at the great meeting place, where many came to hear. Gervase Benson and I were at a meeting beyond Westminster, where there are many convinced. In the morning, having such short notice, there were not many; but in the afternoon there came very many, and they were sober quiet people. George Whitehead is again imprisoned for coming to the window of the prison to speak to Friends. John Stubbs and William Caton, have been three times carried before the mayor at Dover, but are yet at liberty as far as I know. Your dear brother,

Alexander Parker

From the original

George Fox, speaking of this meeting at John Crook's, says—' It was a great meeting, and people were generally convinced of the Lord's truth. When I had come there, John Crook told me, that the next day several of those who were called gentlemen of the county, would come to dine with him, and to discourse with me. They came, and I declared to them God's eternal truth. John Crook was kept by the power of the Lord; yet he was expelled from the office of justice.'—Journal, 1654-5.

John Crook lived to an advanced age; our Hertfordshire Register records his decease as follows :— "John Crook, an ancient and honorable Friend and elder, a minister of the gospel about forty-four years, died at Hertford the 26th of the second month, 1699, and was buried at Sewell the 30th of the same month, aged near 82 years."

{Since John Crook had been a justice of the peace, before being stripped of his office as a result of becoming a Quaker, he had great legal knowledge. When he was brought before the courts for attending a Quaker meeting, he gave the judges fits with his citing of law that violated his rights as an Englishman to be so tried. For a record of one of his trials, see Record of Persecutions - II. }

No. X

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 10th of Third month, [fifth mo.] 1655

DEAR SISTER, — Our dearly beloved George Fox is yet in this city, and I know little at present of his removing. The work is great, and many are daily convinced. We have seven or eight meetings every first-day, and all are pretty quiet. Francis and Edward had a great dispute with the chief of the Baptists on the third-day of this week; and on fourth-day another with two of the chief of the Water Baptists; many of their hearers—who are not satisfied—came, and some of our Friends; and the power of the Lord was over them; though they are a very wise and subtle generation, yet the Lord by his wisdom in weak ones confounds and overturns them. A great shatter is among all the forms and gathered churches—as they are called ;—and many are inquiring after the Truth.*

*George Fox's Journal, 1654—" The Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists were greatly disturbed; for many of their people turned to the [true] Lord Jesus Christ, and sat down under his teachings; they received his power, and felt it in their hearts; and then they were moved of the Lord lo declare against the rest of them."

Concerning our Friends in Northampton, (including William Dewsbury and John Whitehead), they all continue in prison; as far as I know, Yorkshire Friends have been lately with them, and have supplied their necessities; those in Bedford likewise continue in prison. And for Friends at Norwich they are all released but Christopher Atkinson. John Stubbs and William Caton were with us the last week; they are sweetly carried on in the work of the Lord, and are much strengthened; they went back again towards Dover. John Slee and Thomas Lawson went into Sussex. John Wilkinson and John Story are going westward. Thomas Salthouse and Miles Halhead are about Bristol, and lack nothing; nor any Friends,—for as they come up here, if they lack anything, our friends Francis and Edward supply them. The task is truly great, but our desire is to make it as easy as possibly we can.

In this city are many precious Friends, and they begin to know George Fox though at the first he was strange to them; and one thing they all take notice of, that if George is in the company, all the rest are for the most part silent, which they did much wonder at.*

*{They kept quiet so they could listen and learn. They recognized a higher measure of Christ in Fox, for he spoke with clear authority, unlike the ministers of the letter. He spoke from the presence of God with words from God.}

Our brethren Thomas Aldam and Anthony Pearson came into the city last night, and they are now with George. Francis and Edward and Gervase Benson are all here; who have their dear love remembered to you and all our Friends in your family. Dearly salute me to my dear sisters your children, and to the rest of the precious Friends who are faithful to the Lord with you.

The eternal God of peace and love keep you all, and establish you in his love. Let your prayers be for me, that I may go on in the power of our God, and be preserved above all temptation, to his glory !

Your dear and loving brother in the fellowship of the Gospel of Christ,

Alexander Parker

From William Caton's Manuscript Collection

No. XI

FRANCIS HOWGILL TO MARGARET FELL

London, 21st of Third month, [1655.]

MY DEARLY BELOVED SISTER, I know that it is your joy to learn the prosperity of the work of the Lord, that he may be exalted, who has covered us, and has chosen us to bear witness unto his glorious name, and to publish his everlasting love abroad; that all may come to know the way to eternal life.— Truly the arm of the Lord is with us in wisdom, in strength, in power, in utterance, in boldness; so that I cannot but say, О ! the infinite riches of his love and mercy, which are inexpressible. Dear heart, praise the Lord on our behalf; and let all that know him rejoice with us. In his love and power I will glory; but of myself I will not.

Pray for us, for our work is doubled,—our care is doubled; but our strength is also renewed. The work is great in this city, but even few are fitted for it. The last first-day there were ten meetings in the city, and the work lies upon George Fox and us two, [Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough ;] a precious people are here, they grow up in wisdom and life, and many are added. All the priests and all the gathered congregations in the city preach against us, and are bent in great rage, and print lies, and incense people much. Edward Burrough and I ordinarily have two public disputes with the heads of them; and they lose their members so fast, they don’t know what to do. Yet the city is pretty calm and quiet; and wisdom begins to grow among Friends, and several are moved to go forth in the ministry. Two young men and two young women are moved to go to Barbados, out of the city; and another young man, a Scotchman, is moved to go to Scotland. Two other women have gone to Wales, and two others to Oxford,—all these are citizens. And many are moved to go to their churches, of which they were previously members, and declare against them. Some are moved to go the steeple-houses, and yet are preserved at liberty. There are many Friends here who have been imprisoned about tithes; there are nearly thirty in the city, and much care lies upon us to order them, as well as for the brethren abroad that are in the work of the Lord, or in bonds.

Anthony Pearson, Gervase Benson, and Thomas Aldam are here; their service is now much about Friends appearing at courts this term about tithes. Alexander Parker is gone into Bedfordshire. John Stubbs has some movings for Holland with William Caton, and he is in Kent with Thomas Robertson and Ambrose Rigge. John Slee and Thomas Lawson are gone into Sussex; Miles Halhead and Thomas Salthouse are gone towards Plymouth. Our liberty here is of much advantage to all the churches of Christ everywhere,—glory be to Him that preserves us in his bosom, and under the shadow of his wing! All are at liberty at Norwich. Edward Burrough salutes you; and salute us to all your family and all Friends. Your brother,

Francis Howgill

From William Caton’s Manuscript Collection

No. XII

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 29th of Third month, [fifth mo.] 1655

MY DEAR SISTER, Yesterday I came from Justice Crook's to this city. Friends are well here, and the Truth flourishes,—glory to our God forever! Our dear brethren Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough, went this day out of the city towards Norwich, Norfolk and Suffolk. Their love is dearly remembered to you and your family. Gervase Benson and Anthony Pearson and Thomas Aldam are still in town, but intend shortly to return towards the north. Yesterday they were with the Protector, and delivered some papers to him concerning our Friends' imprisonment; and they spoke to him of many things; he was very moderate and promised to read the papers.

Miles Halhead and Thomas Salthouse are in prison at Plymouth upon the oath of abjuration, denying to swear. Jane Waugh is set free at Banbury; Elizabeth Fletcher and Elizabeth Holmes are set free at Dublin, and are in great service there. George Fox is yet in this city, but has thoughts of passing forth this week into Kent—as far as I know;—if the Lord will, I purpose to travel with him.

Your dear brother in the love that changes not,

Alexander Parker

From William Caton's Manuscript Collection

No. XIII

FRANCIS HOWGILL TO MARGARET FELL

London, [date not given, probably about the fourth or fifth month, 1655.]

YOUR letters I have received ;—those to Oliver Cromwell are both delivered into his hand; but he is full of subtlety and deceit, will speak fairly, but he hardens his heart, and acts secretly underneath. Our army [of ministers] is mostly scattered and broken, and cast into prison; I know none almost at liberty but George and Alexander Parker, Edward Burrough, myself, Gervase Benson, John Stubbs, William Caton, John Wilkinson, and John Story, and it is like they will not remain out of prison for long; yet truly the power of the Lord is over all. The work of the Lord is great, and goes on fast, despite all the rage of the heathen.

George Fox is here. We have five or six meetings every first-day of Friends besides the two great places for a threshing floor, [the meetings of the curious, but not convinced that must be threshed by the power of the Lord to become convinced] ; and we have set up a meeting a little beyond Whitehall near Westminster. Many are coming in, and many inquiring, and many are convinced daily :—glory and honor forever to the Lord !—Richard Cleaton and Richard Hubberthorne remain in bonds; but George Whitehead and Dorothy Waugh are at liberty from Norwich jail. Miles Halhead and Thomas Salthouse are in prison at Exeter. James Lancaster and Thomas Stubbs, and another Friend are imprisoned at Bedford. Edward Burrough has gone to Edmondsbury.

I shall take care for the supply of Friends needs in these parts, while I am here; and truly I worry for fear that the burden* will be heavy upon the North, for the charge is great, and our camp great.

*{Evidently, the many Quakers in the North of England, were financially supporting the evangelist efforts of those ministers sent South and West by the Lord. In several writings, it was said that those in London, who had needs, were directed to Edward Burrough or Francis Howgill. }

Your brother in the fellowship of the Gospel of Christ,

Francis Howgill

From William Caton's Manuscript Collection

{Below is another of George Fox's Letters, No. 99, inserted in chronological sequence.

GEORGE FOX TO ALL
that make mention of the name of the Lord, and that profess his living truth.

1655

Friends,

A warning and charge to you all from the presence of the living God, to let all lightness and airiness, foolishness, willfulness, and frothiness be judged in patience; let it come to the fire and be burned, and hay, wood, and stubble, and all that which is above the seed; he that builds there, is above the foundation, his works are to be burned, he will suffer loss. Therefore all keep down to the seed of God, and feel that atop of all, which seed inherits the promise of God; that nothing may reign but the seed itself, which inherits from God. So all come into the authority of God, which is not usurped, which gives the dominion over all the usurped authority that you may live all in the one power of the son of God, which brings all into the unity and subdues all things that cause the enmity. So, the one power, the one soul, the one heart, the one mind is witnessed; here the glory is revealed among you, and the one head, (Christ), the seed, and you are all of one family. Here is the power of the son of God known, all power being given to him; which power and seed bruises the serpent's head, and breaks it, in which stands the enmity. So all power is given to the son to rule, to subdue, and to judge. So, live in the power, and you live in the unity, you live in the peace, you live all in the subjection one to another in the fear of the Lord; you live all in the seed, which is one, which keeps atop of the head of the serpent, and keeps his head down, and brings it under. So, feel the seed of God in every particular to be the head in the male and in the female, and then you come to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, and to inherit every one the promise of God in the particular; whereby you may come to be inheritors in the Lord's strength, feeling it and professing it in your own particulars. So the seed of the serpent being kept down with the seed, which is Christ in the particular, he brings to see over all that is contrary.

George Fox

}

No. XIV

ALEXANDER PARKER TO MARGARET FELL

London, 3rd of Seventh month, [ninth mo.] 1655

DEARLY BELOVED SISTER, dearly do I salute you.

Our life is one, our joy one, our suffering one, our food and raiment one,—eating both of one bread, and drinking both of one cup in the Father's house; where there is bread enough, and wells of living water to refresh the tender plants; where the babes are nourished and fed with the milk, and receive their meat in due season; where there is joy and rejoicing in the presence of the Lord, and pleasures forevermore; which only those do enjoy who have followed the Lamb through many tribulations and fiery trials and temptations, and have overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and their garments washed white and clean. Hallelujah! Praises to His glorious name forever, who has called and chosen us, and made us partakers of the divine nature; and has redeemed us from the world and the pollutions of it, to be witnesses of His powerful name. In his power and free love has He sent us abroad into the world, to turn others from darkness and their vain conversation; that they may have union with us in the light of his Son, and praise and glorify his eternal majesty forever and forevermore !

The Truth in this city spreads and flourishes; we have many large meetings, and great ones of the world come to them, and are much tendered. James [Nayler] is fitted for this great place, and a great love is begotten in many towards him. Our dear one, George Fox, does purpose this week to pass into the country northward, but how far north I cannot yet tell. On next fifth-day but one, a meeting is appointed in Lincolnshire, where George does purpose to be; at present I know nothing but that I shall pass with him; if otherwise it be ordered, I stand single in the will of the Lord.

We received a letter from Francis and Edward out of Ireland; they have had many meetings, and many hearers that confess the Truth in words;—time will further show.— Miles Halhead and Thomas Salthouse remain prisoners in Exeter with some others. John Camm and John Audland are at liberty in the work of the Lord, in and about Bristol. William Dewsbury and the rest continue in prison at Northampton, and three in this city are in Bridewell for speaking to the priests.

Alexander Parker

William Caton's Manuscript Collection

In a letter dated 28th of fifth month [seventh mo.] of this year, Alexander Parker writes thus respecting James Nayler : " James Nayler on fourth-day had a great dispute with some of the chief of the separated congregations; and it being public, a great meeting there was;—it was in one of their own meeting-houses ;—and truly it was 'much for the advancement of the Truth; for though they were [word not intelligible] yet they were much confounded. James is very serviceable here, and his fame begins to spread in the city, seeing that he has had public disputes with many."

This was rather more than a year before James Nayler's fall; and it appears from George Fox's Journal, that it was towards the close of this year that George Fox had a fear respecting him. The reader will probably observe, in the above extract, matter for reflection in regard to James Nayler's subsequent career.

<Historical Letters Continued>>>>>>>