The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1648 - 1652 - Early Ministry <page 2 >



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After this, the justices gave leave that I should have permission to walk a mile. I perceived their objective and told the jailer if they should mark for me how far a mile was, I might take the liberty of walking it sometimes. For I sensed that they hoped I would go away. And the jailer confessed afterwards they did it with that intent to have me go away to ease them of their plague; but I told him I was not of that spirit. This jailer had a sister, a sickly young woman. She came up into my chamber to visit me; and after she had stayed some time, and I had spoken the words of truth to her, she went down and told them, ‘we were an innocent people, and did harm to no one, but did good to all, even to them that hated us;’ and she desired them to be tender toward me.

As by reason of my restraint that I did not have the opportunity of traveling about to declare and spread truth through the countries, it came upon me to write a paper and send it forth to be spread among Friends and other tender people for the opening of their understandings in the way of truth and directing them to the true teacher in themselves.

It was after this manner:

THE Lord shows a man his thoughts, and discovers all the secret things in man. And man may be brought to see his evil thoughts, running mind, and vain imaginations, and may strive to keep them down, and to keep his mind in; but cannot overcome them, nor keep his mind within to the Lord. In this state and condition submit to the spirit of the Lord that shows them, and that will bring to wait upon the Lord; and He that has discovered them will destroy them. Therefore stand in the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, (who is the author of the true faith), and mind him; for he will discover the root of lusts, evil thoughts, and vain imaginations; and how they are begotten, conceived, and bred; and then how they are brought forth, and how every evil member works. He will discover every principle from its own nature and root.

So mind the faith of Christ, and the anointing which is in you, to be taught by it, which will discover all workings in you. As he teaches you, so obey and repent; else you will not grow in the faith, or in the life of Christ, where the love of God is received. Now love creates love, its own nature and image: and when mercy and truth meet, what joy there is! Mercy triumphs over judgment; and love and mercy bear the judgment of the world in patience. That which cannot bear the world's judgment is not the love of God; for love bears all things, and is above the world's judgment; for the world's judgment is but foolishness. Though it be the world's judgment and practice to cast all the filthiness that is among themselves upon the saints, yet their judgment is false. The chaste virgins follow Christ the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world; but they that are of that spirit which is not chaste, will not follow Christ the Lamb in his steps, but are disobedient to him in his commands. The fleshly mind does mind the flesh, talks fleshly, and its knowledge is fleshly, and not spiritual; but savors of death, not of the spirit of life. Some men have the nature of swine wallowing in the mire. Some have the nature of dogs, to bite both the sheep and one another. Some have the nature of lions, to tear, devour, and destroy. Some the nature of wolves, to tear and devour the lambs and sheep of Christ: and some the nature of the serpent, (that old adversary), to sting, envenom, and poison. "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear," and learn these things within himself. Some men have the natures of other beasts and creatures, minding nothing but earthly and visible things, and feeding without the fear of God. Some have the nature of a horse, to prance and vapor in their strength, and to be swift in doing evil. Some have the nature of tall sturdy oaks, to flourish and spread in wisdom and strength, who are strong in evil, which must perish and come to the fire.

Thus the evil is but one in all, but works many ways; and whatsoever a man or woman's nature is addicted to that is outward, the evil one will suit him, and please his nature and appetite, to keep his mind in his inventions and in the creatures, from the creator. Oh! Therefore do not let the mind go from God; for if it does, it will be stained, venomed, and corrupted. If the mind goes forth from the Lord, it is hard to bring it in again: therefore take heed of the enemy, and keep in the faith of Christ. Oh! Therefore mind what is eternal and invisible, and him who is the creator and mover of all things; for the things that are made, are not made of things that appear; for the visible covers the invisible sight in you. But as the Lord, who is invisible, does open you by his invisible power and spirit, and brings down the carnal mind in you; so the invisible and immortal things are brought to light in you. Oh! Therefore you that know the light, walk in the light! For there are children of darkness that will talk of the light, and of the truth, yet not walk in it; but the children of light love the light, and walk in the light. But the children of darkness walk in darkness, and hate the light. In them the earthly lusts and carnal mind choke the seed of faith, which brings oppression on the seed and death over themselves. Oh! Therefore mind the pure spirit of the everlasting God, which will teach you to use the creatures in their right place, and which judges the evil. To you, Oh God, be all glory and honor, who are Lord of all visibles and invisibles! To you be all praise, who brings out of the deep to yourself, Oh powerful God! Who is worthy of all glory! For the Lord who created all, and gives life and strength to all, is over all and merciful to all. So you, who have made all, and over all, to you be all glory! In you is my strength, refreshment, and life, my joy and my gladness, my rejoicing and glorying for evermore! To live and walk in the spirit of God is joy, peace, and life; but the mind going forth into the creatures, or into any visible things from the Lord, this brings death. When the mind goes into the flesh, and into death, the accuser gets within, and the law of sin and death gets into the flesh. Then the life suffers under the law of sin and death, and then there is straightness and failings. For then the good is shut up, and the self-righteousness is set atop. Then man works in the outward law; and he cannot justify himself by the law, but is condemned by the light; for he cannot get out of that state, except by abiding in the light, resting in the mercy of God, and believing in him from whom all mercy flows. For there is peace in resting in the Lord Jesus. This is the narrow way that leads to him, the life; but few will abide in it. Therefore keep in the innocence, and be obedient to the faith in him. Take heed of conforming to the world, and of reasoning with flesh and blood, for that brings disobedience; and then imaginations and questionings arise, to draw from obedience to the truth of Christ. But the obedience of faith destroys imaginations, questionings, and reasonings, with all the temptations in the flesh, buffetings, looking forth, and fetching up things that are past. But, not keeping in the life and light, not crossing the corrupt will by the power of God, the evil nature grows up in man; then burdens will come, and man will be stained with that nature. But Esau's mountain shall be laid waste, and become a wilderness, where the dragons lie; but Jacob, the second birth, shall be fruitful and shall arise. For Esau is hated, and must not be lord; but Jacob, the second birth, which is perfect and plain, shall be lord; for he is beloved of God.

George Fox

I wrote another paper also, much about the same time, and sent it forth among the convinced people as follows:

The Lord is king over all the earth! Therefore, all people praise and glorify your king in true obedience, in uprightness, and in the beauty of holiness. Oh! Consider, in true obedience the Lord is known, and an understanding from him is received. Mark and consider in silence, in lowliness of mind, and you will hear the Lord speak to you in your mind. His voice is sweet and pleasant: his sheep hear his voice, and will not hearken to another. When they hear his voice, they rejoice and are obedient; they also sing for joy. Oh! Their hearts are filled with everlasting triumph! They sing and praise the eternal God in Zion. Their joy man shall never take from them. Glory to the Lord God for evermore!

But many, who had been convinced of the truth, turned aside, because of the persecution that arose: whereupon I wrote a few lines for the comfort and encouragement of the faithful thus:

Come, you blessed of the Lord, and rejoice together; keep in unity and oneness of spirit. Triumph above the world! Be joyful in the Lord; reigning above the world, and above all things that draw from the Lord; that in clearness, righteousness, pureness, and joy, you may be preserved to the Lord. Oh hear! Oh hearken to the call of the Lord! Come out of the world, and keep out of it for evermore! Come, sing together, you righteous ones, the song of the Lord, the song of the Lamb; which none can learn, but they who are redeemed from the earth, and from the world.

While I was in the house of correction, my relations came to see me; and being troubled for my imprisonment, they went to the justices that cast me into prison, and desired to have me come home with them; offering to be bound for the forfeiture of one hundred pounds, and others of Derby in fifty pounds each, guaranteeing that I would not come back there to declare against the priests. So I was brought up before the justices; but because I would not consent that they or any should be bound for me, (for I was innocent of any ill behavior, and had spoken the word of life and truth unto them), justice Bennet rose up in a rage; and as I was kneeling down to pray to the Lord to forgive him, he ran upon me, and struck me with both his bands, crying, 'Away with him, jailer; take him away, jailer.'

Therefore I was sent again to prison, and there kept, until the time of my six month commitment expired. But I had now the liberty of walking a mile by myself; which I made use of as I felt the freedom of the Lord to do so. Sometimes I went into the market and streets and warned the people to repent of their wickedness; and then I returned to prison again. And since there were persons of several sorts of religion in the prison, I sometimes visited them in their meetings on First-days.

After I had been brought before the justices, and they had required sureties for my good behavior, (which I could not consent should be given, to blemish my innocence), it came upon me to write to the justices again, which I did in the following manner:

Friends

See what it is in you that does imprison. See, who is your head. See, if something does not accuse you. Consider, you must be brought to judgment. Think upon Lazarus and the rich man; the one dined sumptuously every day, the other a beggar. Now you have time; prize it while you have it. Would you have me bound to my good behavior? I am bound to my good behavior, and cry for good behavior of all people, to turn from the vanities, pleasures, oppression, and deceits of this world. And there will come a time that you shall know it. Therefore take heed of pleasures, deceits, and pride; and look not at man, but at the Lord: for, "Look unto me, all you ends of the earth, and be you saved, said the Lord."

Some little time after, I wrote to them again:
 
Friends,

Would you have me bound to my good behavior from drunkenness, or swearing, or fighting, or adultery, and the like. The Lord has redeemed me from all these things; and the love of God has brought me to loathe all evil; blessed be his name. Drunkards, fighters, and swearers, have their liberty without bonds; and you lay your law upon me, whom neither you nor any other can justly accuse of these things; praised be the Lord! I can look at no man for my liberty, but at the Lord alone, who has all men's hearts in his hand.

After some time, not finding my spirit clear of them, I wrote to them again:

Friends,

Had you known who sent me to you, you would have received me; for the Lord sent me to you, to warn you of the woes that are coming upon you; and to tell you look at the Lord, and not at man. But when I had told you my experience, what the Lord had done for me, then your hearts were hardened, and you sent me to prison, where you have kept me many weeks. If the love of God had broken your hearts, then would you see what you have done; you would not have imprisoned me, had not my Father suffered you; and by his power I shall be loosed, for he opens and shuts; to him be all glory! In what have I misbehaved myself, that any should be bound for me? All men's words will do me no good, nor their bonds either, to keep my heart, if I have not a guide within to keep me in the upright life to God. But I believe in the Lord, that through his strength and power I shall be preserved from ungodliness and worldly lusts. The scripture said, "Receive strangers;" but you imprison such. As you are in authority, take heed of oppression, oaths, injustice, and gifts or rewards, for God loathes all such. But love mercy and true judgment and justice, for that the Lord delights in. I do not write with hatred to you, but to keep my conscience clear; take heed how you spend your time.

I was moved also to write again to the priests of Derby; which I did after this manner:

Friends,

You profess to be the ministers of Jesus Christ in words, but you show by your fruits what your ministry is. Every tree shows forth its fruit: the ministry of Jesus Christ is in mercy and love, to loose them that are bound, to bring out of bondage, and let them that are captivated go free. Now, friends, where is your example, if the scriptures be your rule, to imprison for religion? Have you any command for it from Christ? If that were in you, which you profess, you would walk in their steps who spoke the scriptures. But he is not a Jew who is one outward, whose praise is of men; but he is a Jew who is one inward, whose praise is of God. But if you build upon the prophets and apostles in words, and pervert their life, remember the woes, which Jesus Christ spoke against such. They that spoke the prophets' words, but denied Christ, they professed a Christ to come; but had they known him, they would not have crucified him. The saints, whom the love of God did change, were 'brought thereby to walk in love and mercy; for he that dwells in love, dwells in God'. But where envy, pride, and hatred rule, the nature of the world rules, not the nature of Jesus Christ. I write with no hatred to you; but so that you may weigh yourselves, and see how you pass your time.

Thus having cleared my conscience to the priests, it was not long before a concern came upon me to write again to the justices, which I did as follows:

I am moved to warn you to take heed of giving way to your own wills. Love the cross; satisfy not your own minds in the flesh; but prize your time while you have it, and conduct your life in obedience to what you already know, in obedience to God; you will not be condemned for what you don't know, but only condemned for that you know and choose not to obey. Consider before it is too late, evaluate yourselves, see where you are, and whom you serve. For if you blaspheme God, and take his name in vain, if you swear and lie, if you give way to envy, hatred, covetousness, and greediness, pleasures and indulgence , or any other vices, be assured that you serve the devil; but if you fear the Lord and serve him, you will loathe all these things. He that loves God, will not blaspheme his name: but where there is opposing of God, and serving the devil, that profession is sad and miserable. Oh! Prize your time, and do not love what God forbids; lying, wrath, malice, envy, hatred, greediness, covetousness, oppression, gluttony, drunkenness, whoredom, and all unrighteousness, God does forbid. So consider, evil communication corrupts good manners. Be not deceived, God will not be mocked with vain words; the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness. Therefore obey what convinces you of all evil, and tells you that you should do no evil; it will lead to repentance, and keep you in the fear of the Lord. Oh! Look at the mercies of God, prize them, and do not turn them into unrestrained behaviors. Oh! Eye the Lord and not earthly things!

Besides this, I wrote the following to Colonel Barton, who was both a justice and a preacher, as was limited before:

Friend,

Do not cloak and cover yourself; there is a God who knows your heart, and will uncover you. He sees your way. "Woe be to him that covers, and not with my spirit, said the Lord." Do you act contrary to the law, and then forget about it? Mercy and true judgment you neglect; look what was spoken against such. My Savior said to such, "I was sick and in prison, and you visited me not; I was hungry, and you fed me not; I was a stranger, and you did not take me in." And when they said, " When did we see you in prison, and did not come to you," etc. He replied, “Inasmuch as you failed to visit one of these little ones, you failed to visit me." Friend, you have imprisoned me for bearing witness to the life and power of truth, and yet profess to be a minister of Christ; but if Christ had sent you, you would be freeing people from prison, out of bondage, and would receive strangers. You have been luxuriant upon the earth; you have lived plenteously, and nourished your heart as in a day of slaughter. You have killed the just. Oh! Look where you are, and how you have spent your time! Oh! Remember yourself, and now while you have time, prize it. Do not slight the free mercy of God, and despise his long suffering, which is great salvation; but mind that in you which does convince you, and would not let you swear, nor lie, nor take God's name in vain. You know you should do none of these things; you have learned what will condemn you; therefore obey the light which does convince you, forsake your sins, look at the mercies of God, and prize his love in sparing you until now. The Lord said, "Look unto me all you ends of the earth, and be you saved;" and "Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils." Friend, prize your time, and see whom you serve; for whoever's servant you are, is whom you obey; whether of sin leading to death, or obedience leading to righteousness. If you serve God and fear him, you will not blaspheme his name, nor curse, nor swear, nor take his name in vain, nor follow pleasures and wantonness, whoredom and drunkenness, nor wrath, or malice, or revenge, or rashness, or headiness, pride or gluttony, greediness, oppression or covetousness, or foolish jesting, or vain songs; God does forbid these things, and all unrighteousness. If you  profess God, and act any of these things, you take him for a cloak, and serve the devil. Consider with yourself, and do not love what God hates. He that loves God keeps his commandments. The devil will tell you, it is a hard thing to keep God's commandments; but it is an easy thing to keep the devil's commandments, and to live in all unrighteousness and ungodliness, turning the grace of God into wantonness. But let the unrighteous man forsake his ways, and turn unto me, said the Lord, and I will have mercy; "Turn you, why will you die? said the Lord."

Howl, you great ones, for the plagues are pouring out upon you! Howl, you oppressors, for recompense and vengeance is coming upon you! Woe unto them that covetously join one house to another, and bring one field so near unto another that the poor can get no more ground; that you may dwell upon the earth alone. These things are in the ears of the Lord of hosts. Woe unto him that covetously obtains goods by evil means into his house, that he may set his nest on high, to escape from the power of evil.

George Fox

While I was yet in the house of correction, a trooper came to me there and said that as he was sitting in the steeple-house listening to the priest, and exceedingly great trouble fell on him; and the voice of the Lord came to him, saying,  'do you not know that my servant is in prison? Go to him for direction.' So I spoke to his condition, and his understanding was opened. I told him what showed him his sins, and troubled him for them, would show him his salvation; for he who shows a man his sin, is the same who takes it away. While I was speaking to him, the Lord's power opened him so that he began to have a good understanding in the Lord's truth, and to be sensible of God's mercies. He spoke boldly in his quarters among the soldiers, and to others, concerning truth, (for the scriptures were very much opened to him), insomuch that he said; 'his colonel was as blind as Nebuchadnezzar, to cast the servant of the Lord into prison.' Upon this, his colonel conceived a spite against him; and at Worcester fight, the year after, when the two armies lay near to one another, two came out from the king's army, and challenged any two of the parliament army to fight with them; his colonel chose him and another to answer the challenge. And when in the encounter his companion was slain, he drove both his enemies within musket shot of the town, without firing a pistol at them. This, when he returned, he told me personally. But when the fight was over, he saw the deceit and hypocrisy of the officers; and being sensible to how wonderfully the Lord had preserved him, and seeing also to the end of fighting, he laid down his arms.

The time of my commitment to the house of correction being very near completed, and there being many new soldiers raised, the commissioners would have made me captain over them; and the soldiers cried, they would have none but me. So the keeper of the house of correction was commanded to bring me before the commissioners and soldiers in the market place; where they offered me that preferment, as they called it, asking me, if I would not take up arms for the commonwealth against Charles Stuart? I told them I knew where all wars originated, even from the lusts, according to James's doctrine; and that I lived in the virtue of that life and power that took away the occasion of all wars. Yet they courted me to accept of their offer, and thought I was complimenting them. But I told them I had come into the covenant of peace, which was before wars and strifes existed.

They said, they offered it in love and kindness to me, because of my virtue; and they said other such like flattering words. But I told them, if that was their love and kindness, I trampled it under my feet. Then their rage got up, and they said, 'Take him away, jailer, and put him into the dungeon among the rogues and felons.' So I was put into a lousy stinking place, without any bed, among thirty felons, where I was kept almost half a year; yet at times they would let me walk in the garden, believing I would not go away.

When they put me into Derby prison, the people said that I would never come out; but I had faith in God that I would be released in his time for the Lord had said to me before that I was not to be removed from that place yet, being set there for a service which he had for me to do.

After it was reported abroad that I was in Derby prison, my relatives came to see me again; and were very troubled that I was in prison; for they thought it was a great shame to them for me to be in jail. It was a strange thing then to be imprisoned for religion; and some thought I was mad, because I stood for purity, righteousness, and perfection.

Among others that came to see and discourse with me, there was a certain person from Nottingham, a soldier, who had been a Baptist, as I understood, and with him came several others. In discourse, this person said to me, 'Your faith stands in a man that died at Jerusalem, and there never was any such thing.' Being exceedingly grieved to hear him, I said, 'How! Did not Christ suffer outside the gates of Jerusalem, through the professing Jews, chief priests, and Pilate?' He denied that ever Christ suffered there outwardly. Then I asked him whether there were not chief priests, and Jews, and Pilate there outwardly? When he could not deny that, I told him, as certainly as there was a chief priest, and Jews, and Pilate there outwardly, so certainly was Christ persecuted by them, and did suffer there outwardly under them. Yet from this man's words was a false report raised upon us that the Quakers denied Christ who suffered and died at Jerusalem. This was all utterly false, and the least thought of it never entered our hearts. The same person also said, that never any of the prophets, nor apostles, nor holy men of God, suffered anything outwardly, but all their sufferings were inward. I instanced to him many of the prophets and apostles, how and by whom they suffered. So the power of the Lord was brought over his wicked imaginations and whimsies.

Another company also came to me that pretended they were triers of spirits. I asked them, what was the first step to peace? And by what means a man might see his salvation? They were presently up in the airy mind, and said I was mad. Thus they came to try spirits, who did not know themselves or their own spirits.

In this time of my imprisonment I was exceedingly exercised about the proceedings of the judges and magistrates in their courts of judicature, and was moved to write to the judges concerning their putting men to death for theft of cattle, and money, and small matters; and to show them how contrary it was to the law of God in the past: for I was under great suffering in my spirit because of it, and under the very sense of death; but standing in the will of God, a heavenly breathing arose in my soul to the Lord. Then did I see the heaven opened, and I rejoiced, and gave glory to God. {Two men were executed for small things and I was moved to encourage them that their sufferings were contrary to the Law of God. A little while after the two men's death, I had a vision of their spirits as I was walking, and I saw that they were well}. So I wrote to the judges in manner following:

I am moved to write unto you, to take heed of putting men to death for stealing cattle, or money, etc., for thieves in Biblical times were to make restitution; and if they could not make restitution, they were to be sold for their theft. Mind the laws of God in the scriptures, and the spirit that gave them forth; let them be your rule in executing judgment; and show mercy, that you may receive mercy from God, the judge of all. Take heed of gifts and rewards, and of pride; for God forbids them, and they blind the eyes of the wise. I do not write to give liberty to sin, God has forbidden it; but that you should judge according to his laws, and show mercy; for he delights in true judgment, and in mercy. I implore you, mind these things, and prize your time, now you have it; fear God, and serve him, for he is a consuming fire.

Besides this, I wrote another letter to the judges, to this effect:

I am moved to write unto you, that you do true justice to every man: see that none be oppressed or wronged, nor any oaths imposed; for the land mourns because of oaths, adulteries, sorceries, drunkenness, and profaneness. Oh consider, you that are in authority; be moderate, and in lowliness consider these things. Show mercy to the fatherless, to the widows, and to the poor. Take heed of rewards or gifts, for they blind the eyes of the wise; the Lord does loathe all such. Love mercy and true judgment, justice and righteousness; for the Lord delights in such. Consider these things in time, and take heed how you spend your time. Now you have time, prize it; and show mercy, that you may receive mercy from the Lord: for he is coming to try all things, and will plead with all flesh as by fire.

Moreover, I laid before the judges what a hurtful thing it was that prisoners should stay so long in jail; showing how they learned wickedness one of another, in talking of their bad deeds; therefore speedy justice should be done. For I was a tender youth, and dwelt in the fear of God; and being grieved to hear their bad language, I was often made to reprove them for their wicked words, and evil carriage towards each other. People admired that I was so preserved and kept for they never could catch a word or action from me, to make any thing of against me, all the time I was there; for the Lord's infinite power upheld and preserved me all that time; to him be praises and glory for ever!

While I was here, there was a young woman in the jail for robbing her master. When she was to be tried for her life, I wrote to the judge and jury, showing them how contrary it was to the law of God in old time to put people to death for stealing; and moving them to show mercy. Yet she was condemned to die, and a grave was made for her; and at the time appointed she was carried forth to execution. Then I wrote a few words, warning all to beware of greediness or covetousness, for it leads from God; and that all should fear the Lord, avoid earthly lusts, and prize their time while they have it; this I gave to be read at the gallows. And though they had her upon the ladder, with a cloth bound over her face, ready to be turned off, yet they did not put her to death, but brought her back to prison, where she afterwards came to be convinced of God's everlasting truth.

There was also in the jail, while I was there, a wicked ungodly man who was reputed a conjurer. He threatened how he would talk with me, and what he would do; but he never had power to open his mouth to me. And the jailer and he falling out, he threatened to raise the devil, and break his house down; so that he made the jailer afraid. I was moved of the Lord to go in his power and rebuke him, and to say to him, 'Come, let us see what you  can do; do your worst.' I told him, 'the devil was raised high enough in him already; but the power of God chained him down;' so he slunk away from me.

The time of Worcester fight coming on, justice Bennet sent constables to press me to become a soldier, since I would not voluntarily accept of a command. I told them, that I was brought off from outward wars. They came again to give me press-money; but I would take none. Then I was brought up to sergeant Holes, kept there awhile, and taken down again. Afterwards the constables brought me up a second time, and then I was brought before the commissioners, who said I should go to be a soldier; but I told them I was dead to it. They said I was alive. I told them where envy and hatred is, there is confusion. They offered me money twice, but I refused it. Being disappointed, they were angry, and committed me close prisoner, without bail or mainprise. Upon which I wrote to them again, directing my letter to colonel Barton, a preacher, and the rest that were concerned in my commitment. I wrote thus:

You who are without Christ and yet use the words that he and his saints have spoken, consider neither he nor his apostles did ever imprison any; but my savior is merciful even to the unmerciful and rebellious. He brings out of prison and bondage; but men, while the carnal mind rules, oppress, and imprison. My savior said, "Love your enemies, and do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use and persecute you." For the love of God does not persecute any, but loves all where it dwells. "He that hates his brother is a murderer." You profess to be Christians, and one of you a minister of Jesus Christ; yet you have imprisoned me, who is servant of Jesus Christ. The apostles never imprisoned any, but were imprisoned themselves. Take heed of speaking of Christ in words, and denying him in life and power. Oh friends, the imprisoning of my body is to satisfy your wills; but take heed of giving way to your wills, for that will hurt you. If the love of God had broken your hearts, you would not have imprisoned me; but my love is to you, as to all my fellow creatures. This is written that you may weigh yourselves, and see how you stand.

About this time I was moved to give forth the following lines, to go among the convinced and tender people, to manifest the deceits of the world, and how the priests have deceived the people.

To all you that love the Lord Jesus Christ with a pure and naked heart,
and the generation of the righteous.

Christ was always hated; and so the righteous are hated for his sake. Mind who they were that did always hate them. He that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit; so it is now. Mind who were the principal opposers of Christ, even the great learned men, the heads of the people, rulers, and teachers, that professed the law and the prophets, and looked for Christ. They looked for an outwardly glorious Christ, to hold up their outward glory; but Christ spoke against the works of the world, and against the priests, scribes, and Pharisees, and their hypocritical profession. He that is a stranger to Christ is a hireling; but the servants of Jesus Christ are free men. The false teachers always laid burdens upon the people; and the true servant of the Lord declared against them. Jeremiah spoke against hirelings, and said, it was a horrible thing; and said, "What will you do in the end?" For the people and priests were given to covetousness. Paul spoke against such as made gain from the people, and exhorted the saints to turn away from such as were covetous and proud, such as loved pleasures more than God, such as had a form of godliness, but denied the power of that. "For of this sort," said he, "are they, that creep into houses, and lead captive silly women, who are ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth; men of corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith, and as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these resist the truth; but they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be made manifest unto all men." Moses rejected honors and pleasures, which he might have enjoyed. The apostle in his time saw this corruption entering, which now is spread over the world, of having a form of godliness but denying the power. Ask any of your teachers, whether you may ever overcome your corruptions or sins? None of them believe that; but "as long as man is here, he must (they say), carry about with him the body of sin." Thus pride is kept up, and that honor and mastership which Christ denied, and all unrighteousness. Yet multitudes of teachers! Heaps of teachers! The golden cup full of abominations! Paul did not preach for wages, but labored with his hands, that he might be an example to all that follow him. 0h people, see who follow Paul! The prophet Jeremiah said, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means;" but now the priests bear rule by the means (salaries) they get from the people; take away their means, and they will bear rule over you no longer. They are such as the apostle said, "intruded into those things which they never saw, being vainly puffed up with a fleshly mind;" and as the scriptures declare of some of old, "they go in the way of Cain," who was a murderer, "and in the way of Balaam," who coveted the wages of unrighteousness. The prophet Micah also cried against the judges that judged for reward, and the priests that taught for hire, and the prophets that prophesied for money; yet leaned on the Lord, saying, “is  not the Lord among us?" Gifts blind the eyes of the wise. The gift of God was never purchased with money. All the holy servants of God cried against deceit; and where the Lord has manifested his love, they loathe it, and that nature which holds it up.

Again a concern came upon me to write to the magistrates of Derby. 

Friends,

I desire you to consider in time whom you imprison; for the magistrate is placed in authority for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of those who do well. But when the Lord sends his messengers to warn you of the woes that will come upon you unless you repent, you persecute them, put them in prison, and say, “We have a law, and by our law we may do it." For you indeed justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. He will not be worshipped with your forms, professions, and shows of religion. Therefore consider, you that talk of God, how you are subject to him; for they are his children that do his will. What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love and show mercy, to walk humbly with him, and to help the widows and fatherless to their right! But instead of that, you oppress the poor. Do not your judges judge for rewards, and your priests teach for hire? The time is coming, that he who sees all things will discover all your secrets. Know this assuredly: the Lord will deliver his servants out of your hands, and he will recompense all your unjust dealings towards his people. I desire you to consider these things; search the scriptures, and see, whether any of the people of God ever imprisoned anyone for religion. They were themselves imprisoned. I desire you to consider, that it is written, "When the church meets together you may all prophesy one by one, that all may hear, learn, and be comforted;" and then, "if anything be revealed to him that sits by, let the first hold his peace." Thus it was in the true church, and thus it ought now to be; but it is not so in your assemblies: but he that teaches for hire may speak, and none may contradict him. Again, consider the liberty that was given to the apostles, even among the unbelieving Jews, when after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue said unto them, "You men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say so." I desire you to consider in stillness, and strive not against the Lord; for he is stronger than you. Though you hold his people immobile for a time, yet when he comes, he will acknowledge those who are his; for his coming is like the refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap. Then the stone that is rejected by you builders shall be the head stone of the corner. Oh friends, lay these things to heart. Let them not seem light things to you. I wrote to you in love, to mind the laws of God, and your own souls, and to do as the holy men of God did.

Great was the exercise and travail in spirit that I underwent during my imprisonment here, because of the wickedness that was in this town; for though some were convinced there, yet the generality were a hardened people. I saw the visitation of God's love pass away from them. I mourned over them; and it came upon me to give forth the following lines, as a lamentation for them:

As the waters run away when the flood-gates are up, so does the visitation of God's love pass away from you, Oh Derby! Therefore look where you are, and how you are grounded; and consider, before you are utterly forsaken. The Lord moved me twice before I came to cry against the deceits and vanities that are in you, and to warn all to look at the Lord, and not at man. The woe is against the crown of pride, against drunkenness and vain pleasures, and against those who make a profession of religion in words, yet are high and lofty in mind, and live in oppression and envy. Oh Derby! Your profession and preaching stink before the Lord. You profess a Sabbath in words, and meet together, dressing yourselves in fine apparel, and you uphold pride. Your women go with stretched forth necks and flirtatious eyes, etc. which the true prophet of old cried against. Your assemblies are detestable, and an abomination to the Lord; pride is set up and bowed down to, covetousness abounds, and he that does wickedly is honored. So deceit bears with deceit, yet they profess Christ in words. Oh! The deceit that is within you! It even breaks my heart to see how God is dishonored in you, Oh Derby!

After I had seen the visitation of God's love pass away from this place, I knew that my imprisonment here would not continue long; but I saw that when the Lord should bring me forth, it would be as the letting of a lion out of a den among the wild beasts of the forest. For all professions stood in a beastly spirit and nature, pleading for sin, and for the body of sin and imperfection, as long as they lived. They all kicked, and yelled, and roared, and raged, and ran against the life and spirit which gave forth the scriptures, yet professed them in words, as will appear hereafter.

There was a great judgment upon the town, and the magistrates were uneasy about me, and could not agree what to do with me. One group wanted to send me up to the parliament; another group would have me banished to Ireland. At first they called me a deceiver, a seducer, and a blasphemer. Afterwards, when God had brought his plagues upon them, they styled me an honest, virtuous man. But their good report and bad report were nothing to me; for the one did not lift me up, nor the other cast me down; praised be the Lord! At length they were made to turn me out of jail, about the beginning of winter in the year 1651, after I had been prisoner in Derby almost a year; six months in the house of correction, and the rest of the time in the common jail.

Being at liberty I went on, as before, in the work of the Lord, passing through the country into Leicestershire, having meetings as I went; and the Lord's spirit and power accompanied me. Afterwards I went near Burton upon Trent, where some were convinced; and to Bushel house, where I had a meeting. I went into the country, where there were friendly people; but there was an outrageous wicked professor who had intent to have done me a mischief, but the Lord prevented him: blessed be the Lord!

As I was walking with several Friends, I lifted up my head, and saw three steeple-house spires, and they struck at my life. I asked them what place that was? They said, Lichfield. Immediately the word of the Lord came to me that I must go there. Being come to the house we were going to, I wished Friends to walk into the house, saying nothing to them about where I was to go. As soon as they were gone I stepped away, and went by my eye over hedge and ditch until I came within a mile of Lichfield; where, in a great field, shepherds were keeping their sheep. Then I was commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes. I stood still for it was winter; and the word of the Lord was like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes, and left them with the shepherds; and the poor shepherds trembled, and were astonished. Then I walked on about a mile, and as soon as I was within the city, the word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 'Cry, woe to the bloody city of Lichfield!' So I went up and down the streets, crying with a loud voice, 'WOE TO THE BLOODY CITY OF LICHFIELD!' It being market day, I went into the market place, and around in the several parts of it, and made stands, crying as before, 'WOE TO THE BLOODY CITY OF LICHFIELD!' And no one laid hands on me. As I went thus crying through the streets, there seemed to me to be a channel of blood running down the streets, and the market place appeared like a pool of blood. When I had declared what was upon me, and felt myself clear, I went out of the town in peace; and returning to the shepherds gave them some money, and took my shoes of them again. But the fire of the Lord was so in my feet, and all over me, that I did not matter to put on my shoes again, and was at a stand whether I should or not, until I felt freedom from the Lord so to do; then, after I had washed my feet, I put on my shoes again. After this a deep consideration came upon me, for what reason I should be sent to cry against that city, and call it THE BLOODY CITY! For though the parliament had the government at one period, and the king at another period, and much blood had been shed in the town during the wars between them, yet that was no more blood that had been shed in many other places. But afterwards I came to understand, that in the emperor Diocletian's time, a thousand Christians were martyred in Lichfield. So I was to go, without my shoes, through the channel of their blood, and into the pool of their blood in the market place, that I might raise up the memorial of the blood of those martyrs, which had been shed above a thousand years before, and lay cold in their streets. So the sense of this blood was upon me, and I obeyed the word of the Lord. Ancient records testify how many of the Christian Britons suffered there. Much I could write of the sense I had of the blood of the martyrs, that has been shed in this nation for the name of Christ, both under the ten persecutions and since: but I leave it to the Lord, and to his book, out of which all shall be judged; for his book is a most certain record, and his spirit a true recorder.

Then I passed up and down through the countries, having meetings among friendly people in many places; but my relatives were offended by me. After some time, I returned into Nottinghamshire, to Mansfield, and into Derbyshire, visiting Friends. Then passing into Yorkshire, I preached repentance through Doncaster, and several other places; and came to Balby, where Richard Farnsworth and several others were convinced. So traveling through several places, preaching repentance, and the word of life to the people, I came into the parts about Wakefield, where James Naylor lived; who, with Thomas Goodyear, came to me, and were both convinced, and received the truth. William Dewsbury also and his wife, with many more came to me, who were convinced, and received the truth. From there I passed towards captain Pursloe's, by Selby, and visited John Leek, who had been to see me in Derby prison, and was convinced. I had a horse, but was glad to leave him, not knowing what to do with him; for I was moved to go to many great houses, to admonish and exhort the people to turn to the Lord. I was moved of the Lord to go to Beverly steeple-house, which was a place of high profession. Being very wet with rain, I went first to an inn. As soon as I came to the door, a young woman of the house said, 'What! Is it you? Come in,' as if she had known me before; for the Lord's power had bowed their hearts. So I refreshed myself, and went to bed. In the morning, my clothes being still wet, I got ready, and having paid for what I had, went up to the steeple-house, where was a man preaching.

When he had done, I was moved to speak to him and to the people in the mighty power of God, and turned them to their teacher, Christ Jesus. The power of the Lord was so strong, that it struck a mighty dread among the people. The mayor came and spoke a few words to me; but none had power to meddle with me. So I passed out of the town, and in the afternoon went to another steeple house about two miles off. When the priest had done, I was moved to speak to him and to the people very largely, showing them the way of life and truth, and the ground of election and reprobation. The priest said, he was but a child, and could not dispute with me. I told him I did not come to dispute, but to hold forth the word of life and truth to them so that they might all know the one seed which the promise of God was to, both in the male and in the female. Here the people were very loving, and would have had me come again on a week day, and preach among them: but I directed them to their teacher, Christ Jesus; and the next day went to Cransick, to captain Pursloe's, who accompanied me to justice Hotham's. Justice Hotham was a pretty tender man, and had some experience of God's workings in his heart. After some discourse with him of the things of God, he took me into his closet; where sitting together, he told me he had known that principle these ten years, and was glad that the Lord did now send his servants to publish it abroad to the people. After awhile a priest came to visit him, with whom I had some discourse concerning truth. His mouth was quickly stopped; for he was nothing but a presuming talker, and not in possession of what he talked of.

While I was there, a great woman of Beverly came to justice Hotham about some business. In discourse she told him, 'The last Sabbath day, as she called it, there was an angel or spirit who came into the church at Beverly, and spoke the wonderful things of God, to the astonishment of all who were there; and when it had done, it passed away, and they did not know where it came from nor where it went; but it astonished all, priest, professors, and magistrates.' Justice Hotham related this to me afterwards; and then I gave him an account that I had been that day at Beverly steeple-house, and had declared truth to the priest and people there.

In the country near there were some noted priests and doctors that justice Hotham had acquaintance with. He would gladly have them speak with me, and offered to send for them, under pretence of some business he had with them; but I wished him not to do so.

When the First-day of the week was come, justice Hotham walked out with me into the fields; and captain Pursloe coming after us, justice Hotham left us, and returned home; but captain Pursloe went with me into the steeple-house. When the priest had done, I spoke to both priest and people; declared to them the word of life and truth, and directed them where they might find their teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some were convinced, received the truth, and stand fast in it, and have a fine meeting to this day.

In the afternoon I went to another steeple-house, about three miles off, where a great high priest, called a doctor, was preaching; one of them whom justice Hotham wanted me to go and speak to. I went into the steeple-house, and stayed until the priest was finished. The words which he took for his text were these: 'Lo, everyone that thirsts, come you to the waters; and he that has no money, come you, buy and eat, yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.' Then was I moved of the Lord God to say to him, 'Come down, you deceiver; do you bid people come freely, and take of the water of life freely, and yet you take three hundred pounds a year from them for preaching the scriptures to them? You should blush with shame? Did the prophet Isaiah and Christ do so, who spoke the words, and gave them forth freely?' Did not Christ say to his ministers, whom he sent to preach, 'Freely you have received, freely give?' The priest, like a man confused, hastened away. After he had left his flock, I had as much time as I wanted to speak to the people. I directed them from darkness to the light, and to the grace of God that would teach them, and bring them salvation; to the spirit of God in their inward parts, which would be a free teacher to them.

Having cleared myself among that people, I returned to justice Hotham's that night; who, when I came in, took me in his arms, and said, his house was my house, for he was exceeding glad at the work of the Lord, and that his power was being revealed. Then he told me why he didn't go with me to the steeple-house in the morning, and what reasonings he had in himself about it; for he thought that if he had gone with me to the steeple-house, the officers would have taken me to him; and then he would not have known what to do. He said he was glad that captain Pursloe had gone with me; yet neither of them was dressed, nor had their bands about their necks. It was a strange thing then to see a man come into a steeple-house without a band; still captain Pursloe went in with me without his band, the Lord's power and truth had so affected him that he did not mind it.

From here I passed on, and came at night to an inn where there was a company of rude people. I asked the woman of the house to bring me some meat if she had any; but because I said thee and thou to her, she looked strangely on me. I asked her if she had any milk? She said, no. I sensed she was lying; and, being willing to try her further, I asked her, if she had any cream? She denied that she had any. A churn stood in the room, and a little boy, playing about, put his hands into it, and pulled it down, and threw all the cream on the floor before my eyes. Thus was the woman shown to be a liar. She was amazed, blessed herself, took up the child, and whipped it sorely; but I censured her for her lying and deceit. After the Lord had thus discovered her deceit and perverseness, I walked out of the house, and went away until I came to a stack of hay, and lay in the haystack that night, in rain and snow; it being but three days before the time called Christmas.

The next day I came into York, where there were several very tender people. Upon the First-day following, I was commanded of the Lord to go and speak to priest Bowles and his hearers in their great cathedral. Accordingly I went. When the priest had done, I told them I had something from the Lord God to speak to the priest and people. 'Then say it quickly,' said a professor, for it was frost and snow, and very cold weather. Then I told them, this was the word of the Lord God to them: that they lived in words, but God Almighty looked for fruits among them. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, they hurried me out, and threw me down the steps. But I got up again without hurt, and went to my lodging, and several were convinced there. For the very groans that arose from the weight and oppression that was upon the spirit of God in me, would open people, strike them, and make them confess that the groans which broke forth through me did reach them for my life was burdened with their profession without possession, and words without fruit.

After I had done my present service in York, and several were convinced there, received the truth of God, and were turned to his teaching, I passed out of York, and looked towards Cleaveland, and I saw there was a people that had tasted of the power of God. I saw there was a seed in that country, and that God had a humble people there. Passing onwards that night, a Papist overtook me, and talked to me of his religion, and of their meetings; and I let him speak all that was in his mind. That night I stayed at an alehouse. Next morning I was moved to speak the word of the Lord to this Papist. So I went to his house, and declared against all their superstitious ways; and told him, that God was come to teach his people himself. This put him into such a rage, that he could not endure to stay in his own house.

Next day I came to Burraby, where a priest and several friendly people were met together. Many of the people were convinced, and have continued faithful ever since. There is a great meeting of Friends in that town. The priest also was forced to confess to truth, though he came not into it.

The day following I went to Cleaveland, among those people that had tasted of the power of God. They had formerly had great meetings, but were then shattered to pieces, and their leaders had turned Ranters. I told them, that after they had such meetings, they did not wait upon God to feel his power to gather their minds inward, that they might feel his presence and power among them in their meetings, to sit down in that and wait upon him for they had spoken themselves dry; they had spent their portions, and not living in what they spoke of, they had now become dry. They had some kind of meetings still; but they took tobacco, and drank ale in their meetings, and were grown light and loose. But my message unto them from the Lord was, that they should all come together again, and wait to feel the Lord's power and spirit in themselves, to gather them to Christ, that they might be taught of him, who says, ‘Learn of me.' For when they had declared what the Lord had opened to them, then the people were to receive it; and both the speakers and the hearers were to live in that themselves. But when these had no more to declare, but went to seek forms without life, that made themselves dry and barren, and the people also; and from there came all their loss; for the Lord renews his mercies and his strength to them that wait upon him. The leaders came to nothing; but most of the people were convinced, and received God's everlasting truth, and continue a meeting to this day, sitting under the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ their savior.

Upon the First-day of the next week, the word of the Lord came to me to go to the steeple-house there; which I did. When the priest had done, I spoke the truth to him and the people, and directed them to their teacher within, Christ Jesus, their free teacher who had bought them. The priest came to me, and I had a little discourse with him; but he was soon stopped and silent. Then, being clear of the place, I passed away, having had several meetings among those people.

Though the snow was very deep, I kept traveling, and came to a market town, where I met with many professors, with whom I had much reasoning. I asked them many questions, which they were not able to answer; saying, they had never had such deep questions put to them in all their lives.

From them I went to Stath, where I met with many professors, and some Ranters. I had large meetings among them, and a great convincement there was. Many received the truth; among whom, one was a man who was a hundred years old; another was a chief constable; a third was a priest, whose name was Philip Scafe. The Lord, by his free spirit, did afterwards make him a free minister of his free gospel.
 
The priest of this town was a lofty one, who significantly oppressed the people for his tithe payments. If they went  fishing many leagues off, he would exact the tithe-money of what they made on their fish, though they caught them at a great distance, and carried them as far as Yarmouth to sell. I was moved to go to the steeple-house there, to declare the truth, and lay open the priest. When I spoke to him, and accused him of oppressing the people, he fled away. The chief of the parish were very light and vain. After I had spoken the word of life to them, I turned away from them because they did not receive it; and I left them. But the word of the Lord, which I had declared among them, stuck with some, so that at night some of the heads of the parish came to me. Most of them were convinced and satisfied, and confessed to the truth. Thus the truth began to spread in that country, and great meetings we had; at which the priest began to rage, and the Ranters to be stirred; who sent me word they would have a dispute with me; both the oppressing priest and the leader of the Ranters. A day was fixed, and the Ranter came with his company. Another priest, a Scotchman, came; but not the oppressing priest of Stath. Philip Scafe was with me; and a great number of people met. When we were settled, T. Bushel, the Ranter, told me, he had had a vision of me, that I was sitting in a great chair, and that he had come and put off his hat, and bow down to the ground before me; which he did. And many other flattering words he spoke. I told him, it was his own figure, and said, 'Repent, You beast.' He said it was jealousy in me to say so. I asked him the ground of jealousy, and how it came to be bred in man? And the nature of a beast, what made it, and how it was bred in man? For I saw him directly in that nature of the beast; and therefore I queried how that nature came to be bred in him? I told him, he should give me an account of things done in the body, before we came to discourse of things done out of the body. So I stopped his mouth, and all his fellow Ranters were silenced; for he was the head of them. Then I called for the oppressing priest, but only the Scotch priest came, whose mouth was soon stopped, with a very few words, he being out of the life of what he professed. Then I had a good opportunity with the people. I laid open the Ranters, ranking them with the old Ranters in Sodom. The priests I manifested to be of the same stamp with their fellow hirelings, the false prophets of old, and the priests that then bore rule over the people by their means, seeking their gain from their quarter, divining for money, and teaching for filthy lucre. I brought all the prophets, Christ and the apostles, over the heads of the priests, showing how the prophets, Christ, and the apostles, had long since discovered them by their marks and fruits. Then I directed the people to the inward teacher, Christ Jesus, their savior; and preached up Christ in the hearts of his people, when all these mountains were laid low. The people were all quiet, and the opposers' mouths were stopped; for though they broiled inwardly, the divine power so bound them down, that they could not break out.

After the meeting, this Scottish priest desired me to walk with him atop of the cliffs. Upon which I called a brother-in-law of his, who was in some measure convinced, and desired him to go with me, telling him, I desired to have somebody nearby to overhear what we said; for fear the priest, when I was gone, should report something I supposedly said but which I did not say. We went together, the priest asking me many things concerning the light, and concerning the soul; all which I answered him fully. When he had done questioning, we parted; and he went his way; and meeting with Philip Scafe, he broke his cane against the ground in madness, and said, if ever he met with me again, he would have my life, or I should have his; adding, that he would have his head chopped off, if I was not destroyed within a month. By this, Friends suspected his intent was, in desiring me to walk with him alone, either to have thrust me down from the cliff, or to have stabbed me; and that being frustrated in that, it made him rage. {For before, when I had been at his house, I had seen a dog-like nature in him; and I was moved to tell him he was a dog, as his actions confirmed.} But I neither regarded his prophecies, nor his threats; for I feared God Almighty. After some years, this very Scotch priest and his wife came to be convinced of the truth; and about twelve years after I was at their house.

Another priest came to a meeting where I was; one in repute above all the priests in the country. As I was declaring, that the gospel was the power of God, and how it brought life and immortality to light in men, and was turning people from darkness to light; this high flown priest said, the gospel was mortal. I told him, the true minister said, the gospel was the power of God; and would he make the power of God mortal? Upon that, the other priest, Philip Scafe, who was convinced, and had felt the immortal power of God in himself, took him up and reproved him; so a great dispute arose between them: the convinced priest holding that the gospel was immortal, and the other holding it was mortal. But the Lord's power was too hard for this opposer, and stopped his mouth; and many were convinced, seeing the darkness of the opposing priest, and the light that was in the convinced priest.

Another priest sent to have a dispute with me, and Friends went with me to the house where he was; but when he understood we came, he slipped out of the house, and hid under a hedge. The people went and found him, but could not get him to come to us. Then I went to a steeple-house nearby, where the priest and people were in a great rage; this priest had threatened Friends with what he would do, but when I came, he fled. For the Lord's power came over him and them. Yes, the Lord's everlasting power was over the world, and reached to the hearts of people, and made both priests and professors tremble. It shook the earthly and airy spirit, in which they held their profession of religion and worship; so that it was a dreadful thing to them, when it was told them, ‘The man in leathern breeches is come.' At the hearing of that the priests in many places would get out of the way; they were so struck with the dread of the eternal power of God; and fear surprised the hypocrites.

We passed to Whitby and Scarborough, where we had some service for the Lord; large meetings are settled there since. From there I passed over the Woulds to Malton, where we had great meetings, as we had also at the towns thereabouts. At one town a priest sent me a challenge to dispute with me; but when I came he did not show up. I had a good opportunity with the people, and the Lord's power seized upon them. One, who had been a wild drunken man, was so reached by the power, that he came to me as lowly as a lamb; though he and his companions had before sent for drink to make the rude people drunk, on purpose that they might abuse us. When I found the priest would not come out to meet with me, I was moved to go to the steeple-house, and he was confounded; the Lord's power coming over all.

On First-day following, came one of the highest independent professors, a woman, who had let in such a prejudice against me, that she said, before she came, she could willingly have gone to see me hanged. But coming, she was convinced and remains a Friend.

I turned to Malton again, and very great meetings there were; to which several more would have come, but dared not for fear of their relatives; for then it was thought a strange thing to preach in houses, and not go to the "church", as they called the steeple-house; I was therefore much desired to go and speak in the steeple-houses. One of the priests wrote to me, and invited me to preach in his steeple-house, calling me his brother; another priest, a noted man, kept a lecture there. The Lord had showed me, while I was in Derby prison, that I should speak in steeple-houses, to gather people from them; and a concern sometimes came upon my mind about the pulpits that the priests lounged in. For the steeple-houses and pulpits were offensive to my mind, because both priests and people called them the house of God, and idolized them; thinking that God dwelled in the outward house. Instead, they should have looked for God and Christ to dwell in their hearts, and their bodies to be made the temples of God; for the apostle said, 'God dwells not in temples made with hands:'  but by reason of the people's idolizing those places, it was counted a heinous thing to declare against them. When I came into the steeple-house, there were not above eleven people attending, and the priest was preaching to them. But after it was known in the town that I was there, it was soon filled with people. When the priest had done, he sent the other priest who had invited me there, to bring me into the pulpit; but I sent him word, that I needed not to go into the pulpit. He sent to me again, desiring me to go up into it; for, he said, it was a better place, and there I might be seen of the people. I sent him word again, I could be seen and heard well enough where I was; and that I came not there to hold up such places, nor their maintenance and trade. Upon this they began to be angry, and said, 'These false prophets were to come in the last times.' Their saying so grieved many of the people, and some began to murmur at it. Upon which I stood up, and desired all to be quiet; and, stepping upon a high seat, declared to them the marks of the false prophets, showing that they were already come; and set the true prophets, Christ, and his apostles over them; and manifested these to be out of the steps of the true prophets, of Christ, and of his apostles. I directed the people to their inward teacher, Christ Jesus, who would turn them from darkness to the light. And having opened several scriptures to them, I directed them to the spirit of God in themselves, by which they might come to him, and by which they might also come to know who the false prophets were. So having had a large opportunity among them, I departed in peace.

After some time, I came to Pickering, where the justices held their sessions in the steeple-house, Justice Robinson being chairman. I had a meeting in the schoolhouse at the same time; and abundance of priests and professors came to it, asking questions, which were answered to their satisfaction. It being sessions-time, four chief constables and many other people were convinced that day; and word was carried to Justice Robinson that his priest was overthrown and convinced; whom he had a love to, more than to all the other priests. After the meeting, we went to an inn, and Justice Robinson's priest was very lowly and loving, and would have paid for my dinner; but I would by no means allow it. Then he offered me his steeple-house to preach in; but I refused it, and told him and the people, that I came to bring them off from such things to Christ.

The next morning I went with the four chief constables and some others, to visit Justice Robinson, who met me at his chamber door. I told him, I could not honor him with man's honor. He said he did not look for it. So I went into his chamber, and opened to him the state of the false prophets and of the true prophets; and set the true prophets, Christ, and the apostles, over the other; and directed his mind to Christ his teacher. I opened to him the parables, and how election and reprobation (rejection) stood; as that reprobation stood in the first birth, and election in the second birth. I showed also what the promise of God was to, and what the judgment of God was against. He confessed to it all, and was so opened with the truth, that when another justice made some little opposition, he informed him. At our parting, he said, it was very well that I exercised that gift which God had given me. He took the chief constables aside, and would have given them some money for me, saying, he would not have me be at any charge in their country; but they told him, they themselves could not get me to take any money; and so accepting his kindness, refused his money.

From there I passed into the country, and the priest that called me brother, (in whose schoolhouse I had the meeting at Pickering), went along with me. When we came into a town to eat, the bells rang. I asked what they rang for? They said, for me to preach in the steeple-house. After some time I felt drawings that way; and as I walked to the steeple-house, I saw the people gathered together in the yard. The old priest would have had me go into the steeple-house. I said, ‘no, it was no matter.’ But it was strange to the people that I would not go into what they called the house of God. I stood up in the steeple-house yard, and declared to the people that I came not to hold up their idol temples, nor their priests, nor their tithes, nor their augmentations, nor their priests' wages, nor their Jewish and heathenish ceremonies and traditions, (for I denied all these); and I told them, that piece of ground was no more holy than another piece of ground. I showed them; that the apostles going into the Jews' synagogues and temples, which God had commanded, was to bring people away from that temple, and those synagogues, and from the offerings, tithes, and covetous priests of that time. That those who came to be convinced of the truth, converted to it, and believed in Jesus Christ, whom the apostles preached, met together in dwelling houses; and that all who preach Christ, the word of life, ought to preach freely, as the apostles did, and as he commanded. So I was sent of the Lord God of heaven and earth to preach freely, and to bring people off from these outward temples made with hands, which God dwells not in; that they might know their bodies to become the temples of God and of Christ; and to draw people off from all their superstitious ceremonies, Jewish and heathenish customs, traditions, and doctrines of men; and from all the world's hired teachers, that take tithes, and great wages, preaching for hire, and divining for money; whom God and Christ never sent, as themselves confess, when they say, they never heard God's nor Christ's voice. I exhorted the people to come off from all these things, directing them to the spirit and grace of God in themselves, and to the light of Jesus in their own hearts; that they might come to know Christ, their free teacher, to bring them salvation, and to open the scriptures to them. Thus the Lord gave me a good opportunity to open things largely to them. All was quiet, and many were convinced; blessed be the Lord.

I passed to another town, where was another great meeting, the old priest being with me; and there came professors of several sorts to it. I sat on a haystack, and spoke nothing for some hours; for I was to famish them from words. The professors would ever and on be speaking to the old priest, and asking him when I would begin, and when I would speak? He bade them wait; and told them, that the people waited upon Christ a long while before he spoke. At last I was moved of the Lord to speak; and they were struck by the Lord's power. The word of life reached to them, and there was a general convincement among them.

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