The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1652 - 1655 - 1st Imprisonment and on to London <page 4 >



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Being set at liberty, I went to the inn where captain Drury had lodged me at first. Although this captain was sometimes fair in his conduct, he was an enemy to me and to the truth, and he opposed it. While I was under his custody and professors came to me, he stood nearby and scoffed at trembling, calling us Quakers as the Independents and Presbyterians had nicknamed us before. But afterwards he came and told me that as he was lying on his bed to rest himself in the day time, a sudden trembling seized on him; that his joints knocked together, and his body shook so much that he could not rise from his bed; he was so shaken that he did not have enough strength left to rise. He said he felt that the power of the Lord was on him; and he tumbled off his bed, and cried to the Lord, and said that he would never speak against the Quakers or those who trembled at the word of God again.

During the time that I was prisoner at Charing-Cross, many sorts of people came to see me:  priests, professors, officers of the army, etc. A company of officers, who were there with me, asked me to pray with them. I sat still, with my mind retired to the Lord. At last I felt the power and spirit of God move in me; and the Lord's power did so shake and shatter them, that they were amazed, even though they did not live in it.
 
Among those that came was Colonel Packer, with several of his officers. While they were with me, a man named Cob came with a great company of Ranters. The Ranters began to call for drink and tobacco, but I did not want them smoking or drinking in my room; I told them, ‘If they wished to do so, would they go into another room.' One of them cried, ‘All is ours:' and another of them said, ‘All is well.' I replied, 'How is all well, while you are so peevish, envious, and crabbed?' for I saw he was of a peevish [cross, annoyed] nature. I told them of their conditions, and they acknowledged my statements, and looked at each other in amazement.

Then colonel Packer began to talk with a light, chaffy mind concerning God, Christ, and the scriptures; it was a great grief to my soul and spirit, when I heard him talk so lightly; so that I told him, ‘He was too light to talk about the things of God for he did not know the hardness of a man.' Then the officers raged that I would say that of their colonel? Packer was a Baptist; he and the Ranters bowed and scraped to one another very much because it was the Ranters' manner to be exceedingly complimentary, so that Packer told them to stop their compliments; but I told them, 'They were appropriate company because they both had the same spirit.'

This colonel lived near Waltham at Theobald's and was made a justice of peace. He set up a great meeting of the Baptists at Theobald's Park because he and some other officers had purchased it. They were exceeding high and railed against Friends and truth; and threatened to apprehend me with their warrants, if ever I came there. Yet after I was set at liberty, I was moved of the Lord to go to Theobald's, and schedule a meeting near them; to which many of his people came, and several of his hearers who were convinced of the way of truth, received Christ the free teacher, and came off from the Baptist; which made the colonel rage the more. But the Lord's power came over him so that he was not able to interfere with me. Then I went to nearby Waltham and had a meeting there. The people were very rude, gathered around the house, and broke the windows. At which point I went out to them with the bible in my hand and asked them to come in, and told them, 'I would show them scripture that applied to their principles and practices.' When I had done so, I showed them also 'that their teachers were in the steps the false prophets that Christ and the apostles cried against.’ Then I directed them to the light of Christ, the spirit of God in their own hearts; that by it they might come to know their free teacher, the Lord Jesus Christ. The meeting ended, and they went away quieted down and satisfied; and a meeting has since been settled in that town. But this was some time after I was set at liberty by Oliver Cromwell.

When I came from Whitehall to the Mermaid at Charing-Cross, (which had been my prison), I did not stay long; but went into the city of London, where we had great and powerful meetings: so great were the crowds of people that I could hardly get to and from the meeting; and the truth was hugely spread. T. Aldam, and R. Craven, who had been sheriff of Lincoln, and several Friends came to London after me; but A. Parker stayed with me.
 
After a while I went to Whitehall again, and was moved to declare the day of the Lord among them; and that the Lord was come to teach his people himself. So I preached the truth both to the officers and to them that were called Oliver's gentlemen, who were of his guard. But a priest objected while I was declaring the word of the Lord among them; for Oliver had several priests around him. This priest was his news recorder, an envious priest, and a light, scornful, chaffy man. I told him to repent; and he recorded what I said in his news book the next week, 'that I had been at Whitehall, and there had told a godly minister to repent.’ When I went there again, I met with him; and many people were gathered around me. Then I showed the priest was a liar in several things that he had affirmed; and he was put to silence. He put in the news book that I wore silver buttons; which was false because they were only pewter. Afterwards he put in the news book that I hung ribbons on people's arms, which made them follow me. This was another of his lies; for I never used or wore ribbons in my life. Three Friends went to examine this priest that had reported this false intelligence; and to ask him where he had obtained the false information? He said it was a woman that told him so; and if they would come again, he would tell them the woman's name. When they came again, he said it was a man, but would not tell them his name then; but if they would come again, he would tell them his name and where he lived. They went the third time; and then he would not say who told him, but offered to place my written denial into the news book. At which point the Friends delivered my written denial; but when they came, he broke his promise and would not put it in; instead he was in a rage and threatened them with the constable. This was the deceitful doing of this forger of lies; and he spread these lies over the nation in the news to make truth repelling and to put evil into people's minds against Friends and truth; the details of which may be seen in a book printed soon after, for the clearing of Friends of truth from the slanders and false reports raised and cast upon them. These priests, the news mongers, were of the Independent sect, like them in Leicester; but the Lord's power came over all their lies, and swept them away; and many came to recognize how wicked these priests were. The God of heaven carried me over all of this in his power, and his blessed power went over the nation; so much so that many Friends about this time were moved to travel sounding the everlasting gospel into most parts of this nation, and also into Scotland; and the glory of the Lord was felt over all to his everlasting praise. A great convincement occurred in London; some in the protector's house and family. I went to have seen him again, but could not get to him because the officers were so rude.

{And sometimes they would turn up my coat to see my leather britches, and they would be in a great rage}.

The Presbyterians, Independents, and Baptists were in a great rage because so many of their people turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, sat down under his teachings, received his power, and felt it in their hearts; and then they were moved of the Lord to declare against the rest of them.

I scheduled a meeting in the fields near Acton in which the word of life and the saving truth were freely declared. The Lord's power was eminently manifested, and his blessed day exalted over all.

About this time I was moved to write a paper, and send it forth among the professors, on this wise:

*To all professors of Christianity.

All they that professed Jesus Christ in words, and yet didn’t recognize him when he came, said he was a deceiver and a devil. The chief priests and the  Jews said, “he has a devil, and is mad; why do you listen to him?" But others said," These are not the words of someone who has a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?" The Jews then doubted whether he was the Christ or not. So like all the Jews who had knowledge of Christ to come, the false christians profess a Christ in heaven only, but where Christ is risen within a man, they cannot accept this and doubt the possibility of it; though Christ is the same now and forever. Jesus Christ said," I and my Father are one; then the Jews took up stones to stone him; and where Jesus Christ is now spiritually come and shown, those christians in outward profession only have the same hard hearts inwardly now as the Jews had then; and they cast stones at those in whom he is risen. Jesus said, "For which of these good works do you stone me?" The Jews answered, "For your good works we stone you not; but for blasphemy, in that you being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them; "Is it not written in your law, I said you are gods? And the scripture cannot be broken. Say you of him, whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, you blaspheme, because I said, I am the son of God?’ The Jews said to him, say we not well, that you have a devil? Jesus answered, I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. And they that were in the synagogue rose up, and thrust him out of the city; and took him up to the edge of the hill whereon their city was built, to cast him down headlong. The Pharisees said, “he casts out devils by the prince of devils." Jesus Christ was called a glutton and a wine-bibber; a friend of publicans and sinners; but wisdom is justified of her children. The officers, when the high-priests and Pharisees asked them, "Why have you not brought him?" said, "Never man spoke like this man." The Pharisees said, Are you also deceived? Do any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believe on him? The only who believe are people who don’t know the law and are accursed. Nicodemus said unto them, (he that visited Jesus at night), “does our law judge any man before it hears him?" When Stephen confessed Jesus, the substance of all figures and types, and was brought before the chief priests to his trial, he told them, "The Most High dwells not in temples made with hands;" and brought the prophet's words to witness, and told them, they were stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears; and always, resisted the holy ghost, as their fathers had done. Stephen was full of the Holy ghost, and said, he saw Jesus; and they ran upon him, and stoned him to death, as he was calling upon the Lord. When Paul confessed Jesus Christ, and his resurrection, Festus said, he was mad. When Paul preached the resurrection, some mocked. The Jews persuaded the people, and they stoned him, and drew him out of the city, thinking he had been dead. The Jews stirred up the Gentiles, to make their minds evil-affected towards the brethren. The Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief of the city: and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts; and there was an assault made both of the Gentiles and of the Jews, with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them. In like manner all in the nature of those Jews now, whose religion stands in notions, stir up the rulers and the ignorant people, and incenses them against Jesus Christ, to stone all those people in whom he is risen with one consent. This is so that the scripture might be fulfilled, and the blindness of the people might be discovered. And the same power now is made revealed, and overturns the world, as it then overturned the world, to the exalting of the Lord and the pulling down of the kingdom of satan and of this world, and setting up Christ’s own kingdom, to his everlasting praise. The Lord is now exalting himself, and throwing down man's self. A proud man’s head is arrogant, and fears the loss of his pride and his crown. The priests incense the ignorant people, for fear that their income will decrease; and professors show themselves full of rage; which shows that Jesus Christ the substance is not there; but a stony heart, to stone the precious followers of Christ, where he is risen in them. The carnal mind feeds upon the outward letter; earth feeds upon earth; and the earth’s vineyard is not dressed, but is full of briers and nettles; and ravenous beasts, swine, dogs, wolves, and lions, and all venomous creatures lodge in that habitation. That house is foul and is not swept. These are the persecutors of the just, enemies of the truth, and of Christ. These are blasphemers of God and his truth. These are they that call upon God with their lips, but their hearts are far from him. These are they that feed on lies; priests and people. These incense the people, and stir up envy; for it begets its own, one like itself. These are as the waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame. These have double eyes; whose bodies are full of darkness. These paint themselves with the prophets', with Christ's, and with the apostles' words to appear holy. You are white washed walls, painted sepulchers, murderers of the just. Your eyes are double, your minds are double, and your hearts are double. You flatterers, repent and turn from your carnal ends; you who are full of mischief, pretending to be of God, pretending godliness, and taking him for your cloak. But God will uncover you, and he has uncovered you to his children. He will make you bare, discover your secrets, take off your crown, take away your mantle and your veil, and strip you of your clothing; that your nakedness may appear, and how you sit deceiving the nations. Your abomination and your falseness is now made manifest to those who are of God; who in his power triumph over you, rejoice over you, the beast, the dragon, the false prophet, the seducer, the hypocrite, the mother of all harlots. Now you must have your cup double. Give it to her double. Sing over her, you righteous ones, sing over them all, you saints; triumph in glory, triumph over the deceit; sing the song of the Lamb; triumph over the world, spread the truth abroad. Come you captives out of prison, and rejoice with one accord, for the joyful days are coming. Let us be glad, and rejoice forever! Singleness of heart is come; pureness of heart is come; joy and gladness are come. The glorious God is exalting himself: truth has been talked of; but now it is possessed. Christ has been talked of; but now he is come and possessed. The glory has been talked of; but now it is possessed, and the glory of man is defaced. The son of God has been talked of; but now he is come, and has given us an understanding. Unity has been talked of; but now it is come. Virgins have been talked of; but now they are come with oil in their lamps. He will be glorified alone. Where pride is thrown down, earth and the fleshly will are thrown down, and the pure is raised up; there alone is the Lord exalted. Let the heavens bow down to him, and the earth reel to and fro, and stagger up and down. The Lord is setting up his throne and his crown, and throwing down the crown of man; and he alone will be glorified: to whom is all honor and glory, all praises, and all thanks! He gives his children wisdom and strength, knowledge and virtue, power and riches, blessings and durable substance; an eye to discern, and an ear to hear things singly; brings down the pride of man's heart, and turns the wicked out of the kingdom. The righteous ones inherit righteousness; the pure, pureness; the holy, holiness. Praises, praises be to the Lord, whose glory now shines, whose day is broken forth; which is hidden from the world, hidden from all worldly wise ones, from all the prudent of this world; from the fowls of the air; from all vultures' eyes, all venomous beasts, all liars, all dogs, and all swine. But to those who fear his name, the secrets of the Lord are made manifest, the treasures of wisdom are opened, and the fullness of knowledge: for you, 0 Lord! make yourself manifest to your children.  

George Fox

My spirit was greatly burdened to see the pride that existed in the nation, even among professors; therefore I was moved to write a paper as directed

*To such as follow the world's fashions.

What a world is this! How the devil garnishes himself! And how people are so obedient to do his will and mind! They are altogether carried away with foolishness and vanities, both men and women. They have lost the hidden man of the heart, and the meek and quiet spirit, which with the Lord is of great price. They have lost the adorning of Sarah; they are putting on gold and celebrant apparel; women plaiting the hair, men and women powdering it; making their backs look like bags of meal. They look so strange that they can scarcely look at one another; they are so lifted up in pride. Pride is flown up into their heads; and has so lifted them up, that they snort like wild asses; and like Ephraim, they feed upon wind. They are like wild cattle, which feed upon the mountains. Pride has puffed up every one of them. They are out of the fear of God; men and women; young and old; one puffs up another. They must be in the fashion of the world, else they are not in esteem; no, they shall not be respected, if they don't have gold or silver upon their backs, or if the hair is not powdered. But if one has a store of ribbons hanging about his waist, at his knees, and in his hat, of different colors, red, white, black, or yellow, and his hair powdered, then he is a brave man; then he is accepted, then he is no Quaker. He has ribbons on his back, belly, and knees, and his hair powdered. This is the array of the world. But is not this from the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life? Likewise the women having their gold, their patches on their faces, noses, cheeks, foreheads; their rings on their fingers, wearing gold, their cuffs double under and above, like a butcher with his white sleeves; their ribbons tied about their hands, and three or four gold laces about their clothes; this is no Quaker, say they. This attire pleases the world; and if they cannot get these things, they are discontented. But this is not the attire of Sarah, whose adorning was in the hidden man of the heart, of a quiet and meek spirit. This is the adorning of the heathen; not of the apostle, nor of the saints, whose adorning was not wearing of gold, nor plaiting of hair, but that of a meek and quiet spirit, which is of great price with the Lord. Here was the sobriety and good ornament which was accepted of the Lord. This was Paul's exhortation and preaching. But we see, the talkers of Paul's words live out of Paul's command, and out of the example of Sarah, and are found in the steps of the great heathen, who in his gorgeous apparel comes to examine the apostles. Are not these that have ribbons hanging about their arms, hands, backs, waists, knees, hats, like fiddlers' boys? This shows that they have gotten into the basest and most contemptible life, who are in the fashion of fiddlers' boys and stage players, quite out of the paths and steps of solid men. They are in the very steps and paths of the rowdy people, who gave themselves up to every invention and vanity of the world that appears, and are inventing how to get it upon their backs, heads, feet, and legs; and say, if it be out of the fashion, it is worth nothing. Are not these destroyers of the creation, who have the fat and the best of it, and waste and destroy it? Do not these cumber God's earth? Let that of God in all consciences answer, and let those who are in the wisdom judge. And further; if one get a pair of pants like a coat, and hang them about with points, and up almost to the middle, a pair of double cuffs upon his hands, and a feather in his cap, he is a gentlemen; bow before him, put off your hats, bow, get a company of fiddlers, a set of music, and women to dance. This is a brave fellow. Up in the chamber; up in the chamber without, and up in the chamber within. Are these your fine christians? Yes, they say, we are christians; but say the serious people, they are out of Christ's life, out of the apostle's command, and out of the saints' ornament. To see such as are in the fashions of the world before mentioned, a company of them playing at bowling, or at tables, or at shuffleboard, or each taking his horse, with bunches of ribbons on his head, as the rider has on his own, perhaps a ring in his ear too, and so go to horse racing to spoil the creatures; Oh! these are gentleman indeed, these are bred up gentlemen, these are brave fellows, they must have their recreations; for all pleasures are lawful. These in their sports scream and shout like wild asses. They are like the cattle or beasts when they are put to grass, lowing when they are full. Here is the glorying of those before mentioned; but it is in the flesh, not in the Lord. These are bad christians and show that they are gluttoned with the creatures, and then the flesh rejoices. Here is bad raising of young men and young women, who are carried away with the vanities of the mind in their own inventions, pride, arrogance, lust, gluttony, uncleanness. They eat and drink, and rise up to play. This is the generation which God is not well pleased with; for their eyes are full of adultery, who cannot cease from evil. These are those who live in pleasures upon earth; these are those who are dead while they live; who glory not in the Lord, but in the flesh: these are those who are out of the life from which the scriptures were given, who live in the fashions and vanities of the world, out of truth's adorning in the devil's adorning, (who is out of the truth), not in the adorning of the Lord, which is a meek and quiet spirit, and is with the Lord of great price. But this ornament and this adorning is not put on by them that adorn themselves, and have the ornament of him that is out of the truth. And that is not accepted with the Lord which is accepted in their eyes.

George Fox

It came upon me about this time from the Lord to write a short paper and send forth, as an exhortation and warning to the pope, and all kings and rulers in Europe.

Friends,

You heads, rulers, kings, and nobles, of all sorts, be not bitter, or hasty in persecuting the lambs of Christ, neither turn yourselves against the visitation of God, and his tender love and mercies from on high, who sent them to visit you; for fear of the Lord's hand, arm, and power taking swift hold upon you; which power is now stretched over the world. It is turned against kings, and shall turn wise men backward, and will bring their crowns to the dust, and lay them low and level with the earth. God and Christ will be king, who gives crowns to whoever obeys his will. This is the age, when the Lord God of heaven and earth is staining the pride of man and defacing his glory. You that profess Christ, and do not love your enemies, but on the contrary shut up and imprison those who are his friends; these are marks that you are out of his life and do not love Christ, you who do not the things he commands. The day of the Lord's wrath is building, his fire is  burning up the wicked, which will leave neither root nor branch. They that have lost their habitation with God are out of his spirit that gave forth the scriptures, and from the light that Jesus Christ has enlightened them with; and so from the true foundation. Therefore be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slower to persecute; for the Lord is bringing his people to himself, from all the world's ways, to Christ the way; from all the world's churches, to the church which is in God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; from all the world's teachers, to teach his people himself by his spirit; from all the world's images, into the image of himself; and from all the world's crosses of stone or wood, into his power which is the cross of Christ. For all these images, crosses, and likenesses are among them that are apostatized from the image of God, the power of God, which is the cross of Christ, which now understands the world, and is throwing down what is contrary to it; which power of God never changes.

Let this go to the kings of France and of Spain, and to the pope, for them to prove all things, and to hold what is good. And first to prove, that they have not quenched the spirit; for the mighty day of the Lord has come, and is coming upon all wickedness, ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who will plead with all flesh by fire and by sword. And the truth, the crown of glory, and the scepter of righteousness over all shall be exalted; which shall answer that of God in everyone upon the earth even though they are a stranger to it. Christ has come as a light into the world, and enlightens everyone that comes into the world, that all through him might believe. He that feels the light that Christ has enlightened him with, he feels Christ in his mind, and the cross of Christ, which is the power of God; he shall have no need of a cross of wood or stone to put him in mind of Christ, or of his cross, which is the power of God shown in the inward parts.

George Fox

Besides this I was moved to write a letter to the protector, (so called), to warn him of the mighty work that the Lord has to do in the nations, including the shaking of them; and to beware of his own wit, craft, subtlety, and policy, or seeking any ends to himself.

There was about this time an order for the trying of ministers, (so called) and for approving, or ejecting them out of their places or benefices; whereupon I wrote a paper to the justices and other commissioners, who were appointed to that work, as follows:

Friends,

You that are justices who have a commission to try ministers, who have so long been in the vineyard of God. See if the ministers are such as those mentioned in the scriptures, whom the prophets, Christ, and the apostles disapproved. And if they are such as Christ  and his disapproved, how you can stand approved of in the sight of God if you send such back into his vineyard and approve them? They are those who will flatter you to seek your favor; and if you do not give them your favor, they will not admire your persons, (such as Jude 1:16 speaks of)? See if they are not those who teach for filthy lucre, for the love of money, and for covetousness; and see if they are not such as love themselves, who have a form of godliness, but deny the power; from such the apostle commands, turn away. The apostles said, their mouths should be stopped, who served not the Lord Jesus, but their own bellies; being evil beasts, slow bellies, who mind earthly things. Paul gave Timothy a description to try ministers by: he said, they must not be covetous, nor given to wine, nor filthy lucre, nor new to the faith; for being new they can be lifted up into pride and fall into the condemnation of the devil. These he was to try and prove without partiality. Take heed of approving such as he disapproved; for since the apostles' days, such as he disapproved have had their liberty; and they have told us, the tongues were their original, that they were orthodox men, and that the steeple house, with a cross on the top of it, was the church, (the Papists' mass-house, you may look on the top of it and see the sign.) But the scriptures tell us, "All the earth was of one language before the building of Babel." And when Pilate crucified Christ, he set the tongues, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin over his head. And John tells us, that the beast had power over the tongues, kindreds, and nations; and that the whore sits upon the tongues, of whose cup all nations have drunk, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. John also said, the tongues are waters. Christ gives marks to his disciples, and to the multitude, how to try such as these that you are to try. They are called of men master, they love the highest seat in the assemblies, they are sayers, but not doers; and, said he, they will put you out of the synagogues. Seven woes he denounced against them, and so disapproved them. Christ said, false prophets should come; and John saw, they were come; for they went forth from them; and the world since has gone after them. But Babylon must be confounded, the mother of harlots; and the devil must be taken, and with him the beast; and the false prophet must be cast into the lake of fire: for the Lamb and his Saints must reign over all and have the victory. The Lord God sent his prophets of old to cry against the shepherds that sought for the fleece, Eze 34 and to cry against such shepherds that seek for their gain from their congregation, and never have enough, Isa 56:11 and to cry against the prophets that prophesied falsely, and the priests that bore rule by their means; which was the filthy and horrible thing. Jer 5:31. And if you refrained from giving them money, you would see how long they would refrain from prosecuting you. There was in the old time a storehouse for the fatherless, strangers, and widows, to come to and be filled; and those who did not prosper then did not bring their tithes to the storehouse. But did not Christ put an end to that priesthood, tithes, temple, and priests? And does not the apostle say, the priesthood is changed, the law is changed, and the commandment disannulled? Might not they have said that the law of God justified them receiving tithes? Have ever any of the priests prospered that take tithes since by the law of man? Was not the first author of them since Christ's time the pope, or some of his church? Did the apostles cast men into prison for tithes, as your ministers do now? As instance: Ralph Hollingworth, priest of Phillingham, for petty tithes, not exceeding six shillings, has cast into Lincoln prison a poor roofer, Thomas Bromby; where he has been about eight and thirty weeks, and still remains prisoner; and the priest petitioned the judge, that the poor man might not labor in the city to get a little money towards his maintenance in prison. Is this a good savor among you that are in commission to choose ministers? Is this glad tidings, to cast into prison a man that is not in his congregation because he would not put money into his mouth? Can such as are in the fear of God and in his wisdom own such things? The ministers of Christ are to plant a vineyard and then eat of the fruit; to plough, sow, and thresh, and get the corn; and then let them reap; but not cast into prison those for whom they do no work. Christ, when he sent forth his ministers, bid them give freely as they had received freely; and into what city or town  they came, inquire who were worthy, and there stay; and what they set before you, said he, eat. And when these came back again to Christ, and he asked them, if they wanted anything? they said, no. Those that are in the apostasy go to a town and call the people together to know how much they might receive for the year; Christ’s Apostles never did such. The apostle said, have I not power (right) to eat and to drink? But he did not say, he would take tithes, easter-reckonings, midsummer-dues, augmentations, and great sums of money; but he did say, have I not power to eat and to drink? Yet he did not use that power among the Corinthians. But they that are apostatized from him will take tithes, great sums of money, easter-reckonings, and midsummer-dues; and cast those into prison that will not give it to them, for whom they do no work. The ox's mouth must not be muzzled that treads out the corn* but see if the corn is trodden out in you, and the wheat is in the garner? This is from a lover of your souls, and one that desires your eternal good.'

*The ox is to be allowed to eat of the corn it treads. But does the minister tread out money, or is he supposed to be developing love? To create money is a business; to create love is religion. So the minister is entitled to share in the love he creates within his congregation, just like the ox shares in the corn he treads out. But to quote this scripture justifying reaping money from the congregation makes religion a means of merchandise, which Jesus opposed in the temple, and which Peter warned us of those who fostered such shameful ideas.

George Fox

After I had stayed awhile in the city of London and had cleared myself of what service lay upon me at that time there, I was moved of the Lord to go into Bedfordshire to John Crook's, where there was a great meeting, and people generally convinced of the Lord's truth. When I arrived there, John Crook told me that the next day several of those called the gentlemen of the country would come to dine with him and to discourse with me. They came, and I declared to them God's eternal truth. Several Friends went to the steeple-houses that day. And there was a meeting in the country, which Alexander Parker went to; and towards the middle of the day it came upon me to go to it, though it was several miles off. John Crook went with me. When we came there, there was one Gritton, who had been a Baptist, but he was got higher than they, and called himself a trier of spirits. He used to tell people their fortunes, and pretended to discover when goods were stolen, or houses broken up, who the persons were that did it, by which he had got into the affections of many thereabouts. When I came in, this man had gotten into the meeting and was speaking, and he was making a hideous noise over the young convinced Friends; and he asked Alexander Parker to give him a reason for his hope. Alexander Parker told him that Christ was his hope; but because he did not answer him as soon as he expected, with boasting he cried, his mouth is stopped. Then Gritton directed his speech to me, for I stood still and heard him, and he spoke many things not agreeable to scripture. I asked him, 'whether he could prove what he had spoken by scripture?' He said, 'Yes, yes.' Then I told the people to take out their bibles and search the places he would quote for proof of his assertions; but he could not make good by scripture what he had said. So he was ashamed, and fled out of the house, and his people were generally convinced; for his spirit was exposed, and he no longer bothered them with his presence. When they were settled in God's truth, they published a book against him, denying his spirit and his false discoveries. Many were turned to Christ that day, and came to sit under his teaching; so many that the judges and many of the magistrates in Bedfordshire were in a great rage because so many people were turned from the hireling priests to the Lord Jesus Christ’s free teaching. John Crook* was kept by the power of the Lord, and yet he was discharged from being a justice.

*John Crook appears many more times in this Journal, aiding George Fox and the Quakers. He also went to trial, and being familiar with the court environment, he kept a record of his trial which illustrates the injustice of the courts and is available in this site.

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