The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1656 - 1657 - On to Scotland <page 3 >


<1> <2> <3> <4>

From this place I traveled in Wales, having several meetings until I came to Tenby; where as I rode up the street, a justice of peace came out of his house, desired me to come down off my horse and stay at his house; which I did. On First-day the mayor with his wife and several others of high office in the town came in about the tenth hour and stayed the whole time of the meeting. It was a glorious meeting. John-ap-John, who was accompanying me, left the meeting and went to the steeple-house; for which the governor cast him into prison. On Second-day morning the governor sent one of his officers to the justice's to arrest me. This grieved the mayor and the justice, both or whom were with me in the justice's house when the officer came. The mayor and the justice went to the governor ahead of me; and awhile later I went with the officer. When I came in I said, ‘Peace be unto this house.' And before the governor could examine me, I asked him, ‘Why he cast my friend into prison?’ He said, 'For standing with his hat on in the church.' I said, ‘Did the priest not have two caps on his head, a black one and a white one? Cut off the brims of my friend's hat, and then my friend would only have one; and the brims of the hat were only to defend him from weather.' 'These are frivolous things,' said the governor. 'Why then,' I said, 'do you cast my friend into prison for such frivolous things?' Then he asked me, ‘Whether I owned election and reprobation?' 'Yes,' I said, 'and you are in the reprobation.' That put him in a rage, and said, ‘He would send me to prison until I proved it.' I told him, 'I would prove that quickly, if he would confess the truth.' I asked him,' Whether wrath, fury, rage, and persecution, were not marks of reprobation? For he that was born of the flesh, persecuted him that was born of the spirit; but Christ and his disciples never persecuted nor imprisoned any.' He fairly confessed that he had too much wrath, haste, and passion in him. I told him, ‘Esau was up in him, the first birth; not Jacob, the second birth.’ The Lord's power so reached the man and came over him that he confessed to truth; and the other justice came to me and shook me kindly by the hand.
 
As I was passing away, I was moved to speak to the governor again; and he invited me to dinner with him; and set my friend at liberty. I went back to the other justice's house; and after some time the mayor and his wife, and the justice and his wife, and several other Friends of the town, accompanied us to about half a mile out of town to the water side, where we left their company; and there, when we parted from them, I was moved of the Lord to 'kneel down with them, and pray to the Lord to preserve them.' So after I had recommended them to the Lord Jesus Christ, their savior and free teacher, we passed away in the Lord's power; and he had the glory. A meeting continues in that town to this day.

We traveled to Pembrokeshire; and in Pembroke town had some service for the Lord. From there we passed to Haverford-west, where we had a great meeting. All was quiet; the Lord's power came over all, many were settled in the new covenant, Christ Jesus, and built upon him, their rock and foundation; and to this day they have precious meetings. The next day, being their fair-day, we passed through the fair, and 'sounded the day of the Lord, and his everlasting truth among them.'

After this we came into another county at noon into a great market-town. We went to several inns before we could get any food for our horses. At last we came to one where we got some. Then John-ap-John, who was with me, went and spoke through the town, declaring the truth to the people; and when he came returned to me, he said he thought all the people in the town were asleep. After awhile he was moved to go and declare truth in the streets again; then the town was all in an uproar, and they cast him into prison. In a little while, several of the principals of the town came with others to the inn where I was and said, ‘we have cast your man into prison.' I asked 'For what?' They said, ‘He preached in our streets.' I asked them, ‘what did he say? Had he reproved some of the drunkards and swearers, and warned them to repent, and leave off their evil doings, and turn to the Lord?' I asked them, ‘who cast him into prison?' They said, ‘the high sheriff, the justices, and the mayor.' I asked their names, 'and whether they understood themselves? And whether that was their manner to travelers who passed through their town. Was that their manner, to strangers that admonished them, and exhorted them to fear the Lord, and reproved sin in their gates?' These people left and told the officers what I said; and after awhile, they brought John-ap-John guarded with weapons, preparing to put him out of the town. I was at the inn door and asked the officers to take their hands off of him. They said, ‘the mayor and justices had commanded them to put him out of town.' I told them, 'I would talk with their mayor and justices at noon, concerning their uncivil and unchristian carriage towards him.' I spoke to John to go look after the horses, and get them ready; and charged the officers not to touch him; and after I had declared the truth to them, and showed the fruits of their priests, and their incivility and unchristian-like carriage, they went away and left us. They were a kind of Independents; a very wicked town, and false. We bid the innkeeper to give our horses a peck of oats; and no sooner had we turned our backs, but the oats had been stolen from our horses. After we had refreshed ourselves a little and were ready, we mounted our horses and rode up to the inn where the mayor, sheriff, and justices were. I called to speak with them and asked them the reason, 'why they had imprisoned John-ap-John and kept him in prison for two to three hours?' But they would not answer me a word; they only looked out of the windows at me. I showed them 'how unchristian their carriage was to strangers and travelers, and manifested the fruits of their teachers; and declared the truth to them, and warned them of the day of the Lord that was coming upon all the evil doers;' and the Lord's power so came over them that they looked ashamed; but I could not get a word from them in answer. So after I had warned them to repent and turn to the Lord, we passed away; and at night we came to a little inn, very poor, but very cheap; for our own provision, and our two horses only cost us eight pence; but the horses would not eat their oats. We declared the truth to the people of the place and sounded the day of the Lord through the countries.

From there we came to a large town and went to an inn. Edward Edwards went into the market and declared the truth among the people; who followed him to the inn, filled the inn yard, and were exceedingly rude. Yet we had a good service for the Lord among them. For the life of christianity and the power of it tormented their chaffy spirits, and so came over them that some were reached and convinced; the Lord's power came over all; and the magistrates were bound. They had no power to interfere with us.

After this we came to another large town on a market-day where John-ap-John declared the everlasting truth through the streets, and proclaimed the day of the Lord. In the evening many gathered around the inn; and some of them, being drunk, would pretend to try to get us into the street again; but seeing their design, I told them, 'If there were any that feared God, and desired to hear truth, they might come into our inn; or else we would have a meeting with them next morning.' We had some service for the Lord among them, both that night and in the morning; and though they were resistant to receive the truth, yet the seed was sown; and in that area the Lord has a people gathered to himself. Also, at that inn, as I had my back to the man who was giving oats to my horse, I looked back, and he was filling his pockets with the oats. What a wicked thievish people these were; to rob the poor dumb creature of his food! I had rather they had robbed me.

Leaving this town, and traveling on, a wealthy man caught up to us by horse on the way. As he told us afterwards, he intended to have arrested us at the next town for being thieves who stole from travelers on the road. But before we came to the town, I was moved of the Lord to speak to him. What I spoke reached to the witness of God in the man; who was so affected by what I said that he invited us to his house and entertained us very civilly. He and his wife asked us to give them some scriptures, both for proof of our principles, and to use against the priests. We were glad to be of service and furnished him with scriptures enough; and he wrote them down, and was convinced of the truth, both by the spirit of God in his own heart, and by the scriptures, which were a confirmation to him.

Afterwards he set us on in our journey; and as we traveled, we came to a hill, which the people of the country say is two or three miles high; from the side of this hill I could see a long distance away. And I was moved to turn my face several ways and to sound the day of the Lord there; and I told John-ap-John, (a faithful Welsh minister), in what places God would raise up a people to Himself, to sit under His own teaching. Those places John took notice of; and since then, there has a large number of people raised in those places. I have been similarly moved to do the same proclamations in many other parts of the country inhabited by rude people. I have been moved to declare that the Lord had a seed in those places; and afterwards there has been a brave people raised up in the covenant of God, and gathered in the name of Jesus, where they have salvation and free teaching.
 
From this hill we came to Dolegelle, and went to an inn. John-ap-John declared through the streets; and the town's people rose and gathered around him. There were two Independent priests in the town; they came out together both of them started speaking to John. I went to them; and finding them speaking in Welsh, I asked them, 'What was the subject they spoke upon, and why they were not more moderate by speaking one by one? For the things of God,' I told them, 'were weighty, and they should speak of them with fear and reverence.' Then I desired them to speak in English so that I might converse with them; and they did so. They affirmed, 'that the light, which John came to bear witness of, was a created, natural, made light.' I took the bible, and showed them, (as I had done to others before), 'That the natural lights, which were made and created, were the sun, moon, and stars; but this light which John bore witness to, and which he called the true light that lights every man that comes into the world, is the life in Christ the word, by which all things were made and created. The same that is called the life in Christ, is called the light in man. This is a heavenly, divine light, which lets men see their evil words and deeds and shows them all their sins; and (if they would attend to it), would bring them to Christ, from whom it comes, that they might know him to save them from their sin, and to blot it out. This light, I told them, shined in the darkness in their hearts, and the darkness in them could not comprehend it: but in those hearts, where God had commanded it to shine out of darkness, it gave unto such the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus their savior. 2 Cor 4:6. I opened the scriptures largely to them, and turned them to the spirit of God in their hearts; which would reveal the mysteries in the scriptures to them, and would lead them into all truth, as they became subject to it. I directed them to what would give everyone of them the knowledge of Christ, who died for them; that he might be their way to God, and might make peace between God and them. The people were attentive, and I asked John-ap-John to stand up and speak it in Welsh to them; which he did; and they generally received it, and with hands lifted up, blessed and praised God. The priests' mouths were stopped, so that they were quiet the entire time; for I had brought them to be sober at the first, by telling them, 'when they spoke of the things of God and of Christ, they should speak with fear and reverence.' Thus the meeting broke up in peace in the street. Many of the people accompanied us to our inn and rejoiced in the truth that had been declared to them, and that they had been turned to the light and spirit in themselves, by which they might see their sin, and know salvation from it. When we went out of the town, the people were so affected, that they lifted up their hands, and blessed the Lord for our coming. A precious seed the Lord has there and in the surrounding ares; and a large number of people in those parts have since gathered to the Lord Jesus Christ, to sit under his free teaching; and they have suffered much for him.

From this place we passed to Caernarvon, a town like a castle. When we had boarded our horses at an inn and refreshed ourselves, John-ap-John went and spoke through the streets; which were so strait and short, that one might stand in the middle of the town, and see both the gates. I followed John-ap-John, and a multitude of people were soon gathered around him; among whom a very dark priest began to babble; but his mouth was soon stopped. When John had cleared himself, I declared the word of life among the people; directing them to the light of Christ in their hearts, that by it they might see all their own ways, religions, and teachers, and might depart from them all to Christ, the true and living way, and the free teacher. Some of the people were rude, but the most of them were civil; and told us, 'they had heard how we had been persecuted and abused in many places, but they would not do that to us there.' I commended their moderation and sobriety and warned them of the day of the Lord that was coming upon all sin and wickedness; testifying to them that Christ had now come to teach his people himself, by his spirit and power.'

From here we went to Beaumaris, a town wherein John-ap-John had formerly been a preacher to a congregation. After we had put up our horses at an inn, John went and spoke through the street; and since there was a garrison of soldiers in the town, they arrested him and put him into prison. The innkeeper's wife came and told me, 'that the governor and magistrates were sending for me, to commit me to prison also.' I told her, 'they had done more than they could answer for already; and had acted contrary to christianity in imprisoning him for reproving sin in their streets and gates and for declaring the truth.' Soon after this, other friendly people came and told me, 'if I went into the street, they would imprison me also; therefore they wanted me to stay inside the inn.' At this point I was moved to go and walk up and down in the street, and I told the people, 'what an uncivil, unchristian thing they had done, in casting my friend into prison.' And they being high professors, I asked them, ‘if this was their way of entertaining strangers? And if they were were willing to be treated like this themselves? And whether they, who looked upon the scriptures to be their rule, had any example in  the scriptures, from Christ or his apostles, for what they had done?' So after awhile they set John-ap-John at liberty.

Next day was market-day, and we were to cross a large river; and not far from the place ferry crossing, many of the market people were drawn to us; among whom we had good service for the Lord, 'declaring the word of life and everlasting truth to them, and proclaiming the day of the Lord among them, which was coming upon all wickedness; and directing them to the light of Christ, with which he, the heavenly man, had enlightened them all; by which they might see all their sins, and all their false ways, religions, worships, and teachers; and by the same light might see Christ Jesus, who had come to save them and lead them to God.' After the truth had been declared to them in the power of God, and Christ the free teacher had been set over all the teachers for pay; I told John-ap-John get his horse into the boat, which was then ready. But there was a company of wild gentlemen, so called, who got into the boat. We found them to be very rude and far from gentle; they and others kept John's horse out of the boat. I rode to the boat's side and spoke to them, showing them, 'what an unmanly and unchristian action it was; and told them that they showed an unworthy spirit, below christianity or humanity.' As I spoke, I guided my horse to jump into the boat among them, thinking John's horse would follow when he saw mine go in before him; but the water was pretty deep, and John could not get his horse into the boat. Because of that, while still on horseback, I directed my horse to jump out of the boat into the water, where I stayed with John on that side of the river until the boat returned. We stayed there from the eleven in the morning until two in the afternoon waiting for the boat to return to pick us up. We still had forty-two miles to ride that evening; and by that time we had paid for our passage, we had only four pence of money left between us. We rode about sixteen miles and then got a little hay for our horses. Setting forward again, in the night we came to a little alehouse, where we hoped to have stayed and waited. But finding we could get neither oats nor hay there, we traveled on all night; and at about five in the morning we arrived at a place within six miles of Wrexham. Here that same day we met with many Friends, and we had a glorious meeting; the Lord's everlasting power and truth was over all; and a meeting is continued there to this day. We were very weary from traveling so hard around Wales; and in many places we had found it difficult to get food either for our horses or ourselves.
 
The next day we passed from there into Flintshire, sounding the day of the Lord through the towns; and we arrived in Wrexham at night. Here many of Floyd's people came to us; but they were very rude, wild, and airy; and they had little sense of truth; yet some were convinced in that town. The next morning a woman called a lady sent for me, who kept a preacher in her house. I went to her house, but found both her and her preacher were very light and trifling; too light to receive the weighty things of God. In her lightness she came and asked me, 'If she could cut my hair?' I was moved to reprove her, and bid her cut down the corruptions in herself with the sword of the spirit of God; so after I had admonished her to be more grave and sober, we passed away. Afterwards in her frivolous mind she boasted that she 'came behind me, and cut off the curls of my hair;' but she spoke falsely.

From Wrexham we came to Westchester; and since it was the fair time, we stayed there awhile and visited Friends. For I had traveled through every county in Wales, preaching the everlasting gospel of Christ; and there is a brave people there now, who have received the gospel and sit under Christ's teaching. But before I left Wales, I wrote to the magistrates of Beaumaris concerning their imprisoning John-ap-John; letting them see their condition, the fruits of their christianity, and of their teachers. Afterwards I met with some of them near London; and Oh, how ashamed they were of their action!

From Westchester we came to Liverpool, where there was a fair going on; and as I rode through the fair, a Friend stood there upon the cross declaring the truth to the people. When he saw me me ride by, knowing that I had appointed a meeting to be the next day upon a hill not far away, he announced to the people, 'that George Fox, the servant of the Lord, would have a meeting the next day upon that hill; and if any feared the Lord, they might come there and hear him declare the word of life to them.' We went that night to Richard Cobban's, who himself was convinced, though not his wife; but on my visit she was convinced also.
 
The next day we went to the meeting on the top of the hill, which was very large. Some rude people with a priest's wife came, and made a noise for awhile; but the Lord's power came over them, the meeting became quiet, and the truth of God was declared among them. That day many were settled upon the rock and foundation Christ Jesus, and under his teaching, who made peace between God and them.

We had a small meeting with a few Friends and people at Malpoth. From there we came to another place, where we had a meeting. A bailiff came there with a sword, and he was rude; but the Lord's power came over him, and Friends were established in the truth.

From there we went to Manchester; and since the sessions were being held there that day, many rude people had come from the surrounding country. In the meeting they threw coals, clods, stones, and water at me; yet the Lord's power held me up over them, so that they could not strike me down. At last, when they saw they could not prevail by throwing water, stones, and dirt at me, they went and informed the justices in the sessions; who then sent officers to bring me before them. The officers came in while I was declaring the word of life to the people, plucked me down, and drug me into their court. When I came in there, the whole court was in a disorder and noisy. At which point I asked, 'where are the magistrates, who have not kept the people civil?' Some of the justices said that they were magistrates. I asked them, 'why then they did not appease the people, and keep them sober?' For one cried, I will swear, and another cried, I will swear. I declared to the justices, 'how we were abused in our meeting by the rude people, who threw stones, clods, dirt, and water; and how I had been drug out of the meeting and brought there, contrary to the instrument of government, which said, 'none should be molested in their meetings that professed God, and owned the Lord Jesus Christ, which I did.' The truth so came over them, that when one of the rude followers cried, 'he would swear,' one of the justices checked him, saying, 'What will you swear, hold your tongue.' At last they ordered the constable, 'take me to my lodging, and there I should be secured until tomorrow morning when they would send for me again.' So the constable took me to my lodging. As we went the people were exceedingly rude; but I let them see the 'fruits of their teachers, how they shamed christianity and dishonored the name of Jesus which they professed.' At night we went to a justice's in the town, who was pretty moderate, and I had a great deal of discourse with him. Next morning we sent to the constable to know if he had anything more to say to us?’ He sent us word, 'he had nothing to say to us, we might go where we would.' The Lord has since raised up a people to stand for his name and truth in that town over those chaffy professors.

We passed from Manchester, having many precious meetings in several places, until we came to Preston; between which and Lancaster I had a general meeting; from which I went to Lancaster. There at our inn I met with colonel West, who was very glad to see me; who when meeting with judge Fell, had told him that 'I was mightily grown in the truth;' when in fact it was he who had come nearer to the truth, and so could better discern it.

We went from Lancaster to Robert Widders's. On the following First-day I had a general meeting near the Sands-side with Friends of Westmoreland and Lancashire. The Lord's everlasting power was over all; in which the word of eternal life was declared, and Friends were settled upon the foundation, Christ Jesus, under his free teaching; and many were convinced, and turned to the Lord.

Next day I came over the Sands to Swarthmore, where Friends were glad to see me. I stayed there two First-days, visiting Friends in their meetings there. They rejoiced with me in the goodness of the Lord, who by his eternal power had carried me through and over many difficulties and dangers in his service; to him be the praise forever!

Having got a little respite from travel, I was moved to write an epistle to Friends, as follows:

ALL Friends of the Lord everywhere, whose minds are turned in towards the Lord, take heed to the light within you, which is the light of Christ; which, as you love it, will call your minds inward, that are abroad in the things of this world; so your minds may be renewed by it, and turned to God in this which is pure, to worship the living God, the Lord of hosts, over all the things in the world. That which calls your minds out of the lusts of the world, will call them out of the affections and desires, and turn you to set your affections on heavenly things instead. The same that calls the mind out of the world, will give judgment upon the world's affections and lusts; the same calls out your minds from the world's teachers and the things, to have your minds renewed. There is your obedience known and found; there the image of God is renewed in you, and you come to grow up in it. That which calls your minds out of the earth, turns them towards God, where the pure babe is born of the virgin; and the babe's food is known, the children's bread, which comes from the living God, and nourishes up to eternal life; which babes and children receive their wisdom from above, from the pure living God, and not from the worldly men; for that heavenly wisdom is trampled under foot by such men. All who hate this light, whose minds are abroad in the things of the world, in the world, and in the image of the devil, get the words of the saints, (that received their wisdom from above), into their old nature and their corrupted minds. Such people are murderers of the just and enemies to the cross of Christ; in these people the prince of the air lodges, sons of perdition, betrayers of the just. Therefore take heed to that light, which is oppressed with the fleshly nature; which light, as it arises, shall condemn all that cursed nature, shall expel it, and shut it out of the house. So you will come to see the candle lit, and the house being swept and swept clean. Then afterward the pure pearl arises, and then the eternal God is exalted. The same light that calls in your minds out of the world, (that are abroad), the same turns them to God the Father of lights. Here in the pure mind is the pure God waited upon for wisdom from above; and the pure God is seen night and day, and the eternal peace, of which there is no end, enjoyed. People may have openings, and yet their minds go into the lusts of the flesh; but there the affections are not mortified. Therefore listen to that, take heed to that, which calls your minds out of the affections and lusts of the world to have them renewed. The same will turn your minds to God; the same light will set your affections above, and bring you to wait for the pure wisdom of God from above, that it may be justified in you. Wait all in that (the Light) which calls your minds inward and turns them to God; here is the true cross. That mind shall feed upon nothing that is of the world, but be kept in the pure light up to God, to feed upon the living food which comes from the living God. The Lord God Almighty be with you all, dear babes, and keep you all in his strength and power to his glory, over all the world, you whose minds are called out of it, and turned to God, to worship the creator and serve him, and not the creature. The light of God which calls the mind out of the creatures, and turns it to himself, brings into a being of endless joy and peace. Here is always a seeing God present, which is not known to the world, whose hearts are in the creatures, whose knowledge is in the flesh, whose minds are not renewed. Therefore all Friends, the seed of God mind and dwell in, to reign over the unjust; and the power of the Lord dwell in, to keep you clear in your understandings, that the seed of God may reign in you all; the seed of God, which is but one in all, is Christ in the male and in the female, which the promise is to. 'Wait upon the Lord for the just to reign over the unjust, for the seed of God to reign over the seed of the serpent, and be the head; and that all that is mortal may die; for out of that will rise presumption. So fare you well, and God Almighty bless, guide, and keep you in his wisdom.'

George Fox

About this time Friends that were moved by the Lord to go to the steeple-houses and markets, to reprove sin, and warn people of the day of the Lord, suffered much hardship from rude people, and also from the magistrates; being commonly pulled down, buffeted, beaten, and frequently sent to prison. For which reason I was moved to give forth the following declaration to be spread among people, to show them how contrary they acted to the apostles' doctrine and practice, and to bring them to more moderation.

Is it not better for you that have cast into prison the servants and children of the Lord God for speaking, as they were moved, in steeple-houses or markets, is it not better, I say, for you to "try all things, and hold fast what is good?" Is it not of more honor and credit, to prove all things, and try all things, than to pluck down in the steeple-houses, pull off the hair of their heads, and cast them into prison?" Is this an honor to your truth and gospel you profess? Does it not show that you are out of the truth, and are not ready to instruct those that deny Christ? Has not the Lord said, "He will pour out of his spirit upon all flesh, and his sons and daughters shall prophesy, and old men shall dream dreams, and young men see visions, and on his handmaids he will pour forth of his spirit?" Was not this prophecy in ages past stood against by the wise, learned men in their own wisdom, and by the synagogue teachers? Were not such haled out of the synagogues and temples, who witnessed the spirit poured forth upon them? Does not this show, that you have not received the outpouring of his spirit upon you, who fill the jails with so many sons and daughters, and hold up such teachers as are bred up in learning at Oxford and Cambridge, and are made by the will of man? Does not this show, that you who are bred up there, who are made teachers by the will of man, and who persecute for prophesying, are strangers to the spirit that is "poured out upon sons and daughters;" by which spirit they come to "minister to the spirits that are in prison?" The Lord has a controversy with you who are found imprisoning and persecuting such as the Lord has poured his spirit upon. Do not your fruits show, in all the nation where you come, in towns, cities, villages, and countries, that you are the seedsmen made by the will of man, who sow to the flesh, of which nothing but corruption is reaped in nations, countries, cities, and villages? You are looked upon and your fruits, and what may be gathered is seen by all that are in the light, as they pass through your countries, towns, cities, and villages, that you are all the seedsmen that have sown to the flesh. Of this take you notice, who are of that birth that is born of the flesh; you sow to your own, persecuting him that is born of the spirit, who sows to the spirit and of the spirit reaps life eternal. You, who sow to the flesh, cast those born of the spirit into prison. Do you not hale out of the synagogues; persecute and beat in the synagogues, and knock down? Are not these the works of the flesh? Have not many been almost murdered and smothered in your synagogues? Have not some been haled out of your synagogues, for only looking at the priest, and after cast into prison? Does not all this make manifest what spirit you are of, and your fruits to be of the flesh? What pleasures and sports in every town are to be seen among your flocks that sow to the flesh and are born of it! Whereas the ministers of the spirit cried against such as "sported in: the day time," such as "ate and drank, and rose up to play," such as "lived wantonly upon earth in pleasures," such as lived in "fullness of bread and idleness," such as defile the flesh;" such did God overthrow, destroy, and set forth as examples to all them that after should live ungodly. But are not the fruits of this reaped in every town? Cannot you from here see, that here is sowing to the flesh? Again, what scorning, scoffing, mocking, derision, and strife; what oaths, drunkenness, uncleanness, and cursed speaking; what lust and pride is seen in the streets! These fruits we see are reaped of the flesh. So here we see seedsman, him that sows to this flesh, of which nothing but corruption is reaped, as the countries, towns, cities, and villages make manifest. But the ministers of the spirit, who sow to the spirit, come to reap life eternal. These discern the other seedsman, who sows to the flesh, and of the flesh reaps corruption. For the day has manifested each seedsman, and what is reaped from each is seen; glory be to the Lord God forever! The ministers of the spirit, born of the spirit, sons and daughters which have the spirit poured upon them, and witness the promise of God fulfilled in them, by the spirit of God preach and minister to that spirit in prison in everyone, in the sight of God, the Father of spirits. God's hand is turned against you all that have destroyed God's creatures upon your lust. God's hand is turned against you that have wronged by unjust dealing, defrauded, and oppressed the poor, and have respected the persons of the proud, and lent not your ear to the cry of the poor. The Lord's hand and arm is turned against you all, and his righteous judgment and justice upon you all will be accomplished and repaid, who shall have a reward, everyone according to his works. Oh! the abomination and hypocritical profession that is upon the earth, where God and Christ, faith, hope, the holy spirit, and truth is professed, but the fear of God, and the faith that purifies and gives victory over the world, is not lived in! Does it not appear that the wisdom which rules in all those, whom the seedsman that sows to the flesh sows for, and who are born of the flesh, is from below; earthly, sensual, and devilish, their understanding brutish, and their knowledge natural as the brute beasts? For if men and women in that state have not patience to speak one to the other of the scriptures, without much corruption and flesh appearing: yet they have a feigned humility, a will-worship, and righteousness of self; but they own not the light, which "lights every man that comes into the world, Christ Jesus, the righteousness of God:" which light being owned, self, and the righteousness of self, come to be denied. Here is the humility that is contrary to the light, and that is below and feigned; here is the wisdom that is from below, earthly, sensual and devilish; for people can scarcely differ from one another without destroying one another, imprisoning and persecuting one another, when they speak of the scriptures. This is the devilish wisdom murdering and destroying. This is not the wisdom that is from above, which is pure and peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. Here all may read each seedsman, each has its own  wisdom. He that sows to the flesh, and is born of that, has the wisdom that is earthly, sensual, and devilish; he that sows to the spirit, a minister of the spirit, has the wisdom from above, which is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated; the wisdom by which all things were made and created. Now is each wisdom discovered, and each seedsman; the day, which is the light, has discovered them.

George Fox

I was moved also to give forth the following epistle to Friends, to stir them up to be bold and valiant for the truth, and to encourage them in their sufferings for it.

All Friends and brethren everywhere, now is the day of your trial, now is the time for you to be valiant, and to see that the testimony of the Lord does not fall. Now is the day for the exercise of your gifts, of your patience, and of your faith. Now is the time to be armed with patience, with the light, with righteousness, and with the helmet of salvation. Now is the trial of the slothful servant, who hides his talent, and will be hard judged by Christ. Now, happy are they that can say, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness of that, and he gives the increase;" therefore who takes it from you? Is it not the Lord still that allows it? For the Lord can try you as he did Job, whom he made rich, whom he made poor, and whom he made rich again; who still kept his integrity in all conditions. Learn Paul's lesson, in all states to be content; and have his faith, "that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God, which we have in Christ Jesus." Therefore be rich in life, and in grace, which will endure, you who are heirs of life, and born of the womb of eternity, that noble birth that cannot stoop to what is born in sin, and conceived in iniquity; who are better bred and born, whose religion is from God, above all the religions that are from below; and who walk by faith, by what God has given you, and not by what men make, who walk by sight, from the mass-book to the directory. Such are subject to stumble and fall, who walk by sight and not by faith. Therefore mind him that destroys the original of sin, the devil and his works, and cuts off the entail of satan, that is sin; who would have by entail an inheritance of sin in men and women from generation to generation, and pleads for it by all his lawyers and counselors. For though the law, which made nothing perfect, did not cut it off; yet Christ being come, destroys the devil and his works, and cuts off the entail of sin. This angers all the devil's lawyers and counselors, that satan shall not hold sin by entail in your garden, in your field, in your temple, your tabernacle. So keep your tabernacles, that there you may see the glory of the Lord appear at the doors of that. Be faithful; for you see what the worthies and valiants of the Lord did attain unto by faith: Enoch by faith was translated. Noah by faith was preserved over the waters in his ark. Abraham by faith forsook his father's house and religion, and all the religions of the world. Isaac and Jacob by faith followed his steps. See how Samuel and other of the Lord's prophets, with David, by faith were presented to God over his enemies. Daniel and the three children by faith escaped the lions and the fire, and preserved their worship clean, and by it were kept over the worships of the world. The apostles by faith traveled up and down the world, were preserved from all the religions of the world, and held forth the pure religion to the dark world, which they had received from God; and likewise their fellowship was received from above, which is in the gospel that is everlasting. In this, neither powers, principalities, nor thrones, dominions nor angels, things present nor things to come, heights nor depths, nor death, mockings, nor spoiling of goods, prisons nor fetters were able to separate them from the love of God, which they had in Christ Jesus. And Friends, "quench not the spirit, nor despise prophesying," where it moves; neither hinder the babes and the sucklings from crying Hosanna; for out of their mouths will God ordain strength. There were some in Christ's day that were against such, whom he reproved; and there were some in Moses's day, who would have stopped the prophets in the camp; whom Moses reproved, and said by way of encouragement to them, "Would God, that all the Lord's people were prophets!" So I say now to you. Therefore you that stop it in yourselves do not quench it in others, neither in babe nor suckling; for the Lord hears the cries of the needy, and the sighs and groans of the poor. Judge not that or the sighs and groans of the spirit, which cannot be uttered, for fear that you judge prayer; for prayer as well lies in sighs and groans to the Lord as otherwise. So let not the sons and daughters, nor the handmaids, be stopped in their prophesyings, nor the young men in their visions, nor the old men in their dreams; but let the Lord be glorified in and through all, who is over all, God blessed for ever! So everyone may improve their talents, everyone exercise their gifts, and everyone speak as the spirit gives them utterance. Thus everyone may minister, as he has received the grace, as a good steward to him that has given it him; so that all plants may bud, and "bring forth fruit" to the glory of God: "for the manifestation of the spirit is given to everyone with which to profit." See that every one has profited in heavenly things; male and female, look into your own vineyards, see what fruit you bear to God; look into your own houses, see how they are decked and trimmed; see what odors, myrrh, and frankincense you have therein, and what a smell and savor you have to ascend to God that he may be glorified. Bring your deeds all to the light, which you are taught to believe in by Christ, your head, the heavenly man: and see how they are wrought in God. Every male and female, let Christ dwell in your hearts by faith, (Christ in the male and in the female); and let your mouths be opened to the glory of God the Father, that he may rule and reign in you. We must not have Christ Jesus, the Lord of life, put any more in a stable among the horses and asses; but he must now have the best chamber, the heart; and the rude, debauched spirit must be turned out. Therefore let him reign whose right it is, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost; by which Holy Ghost you call him Lord, in which Holy Ghost you pray, and have comfort and fellowship with the Father and with the son. Therefore know the triumph in it, and in God and his power, (which the devil is out of), and in the seed which is first and last, the beginning and ending, the top and corner-stone; in which is my love to you, and in which I rest.

Your friend,

George Fox

POSTSCRIPT--  'And Friends, be careful how you set your feet among the tender plants that are springing up out of God's earth, for fear that you tread upon them, hurt them, bruise them, or crush them in God's vineyard.

After I had tarried two First-days at Swarthmore, and visited meetings thereabouts, I passed into Westmoreland in the same work, until I came to John Audland's, where a general meeting existed. The night before I had a vision of a, 'desperate creature that was coming to destroy me, but I got victory over it.' The next day in the meeting time came one Otway, with some rude fellows. He rode round about the meeting with his sword or rapier, and tried to part the Friends to get to me; but the meeting being huge, the Friends stood thick, so that he could not easily get through to me. When he had ridden around several times raging and saw he could not get in, being also limited by the Lord's power, he finally went away. It was a glorious meeting, ended peaceably, and the Lord's everlasting power came over all. But this wild man went home, became distracted, and not long after died. I sent a paper to John Blaykling to read to him while he lay ill, showing him his wickedness; and he did acknowledge something of it.

From here I went through Kendal, where an old warrant had to apprehend me; and the constables seeing me ran to get their warrant as I was riding through the town; but before they could approach with it, I was past and so escaped them. I traveled northwards, visiting meetings, until I came to Stricklandhead, where I had a great meeting. Most of the gentry of that country being gathered to a horse race, not far from the meeting, I was moved to go and declare the truth to them; and a chief constable that was there did also admonish them. Our meeting was quiet, the Lord was with us, and by his word and power Friends were settled in the eternal truth.

From here we passed into Cumberland, where we had many precious, living meetings. After we had traveled to Gilsland, and had a meeting there, we came to Carlisle, where they used to put Friends out of the town; but there came a great flood while we were there, that they could not put us out of the town; so we had a meeting there on the First-day. After which we passed to Abbey-holm, and had a little meeting there. This is a place where I told Friends long before there would a great people come forth to the Lord; which has since come to pass, and a large meeting there is gathered to the Lord in those parts.

I passed from here to a general meeting at Langlands in Cumberland, which was very large; for most of the people had so forsaken the priests, that the steeple-houses in some places stood empty. And John Wilkinson, a preacher, that I have often named before, who had three steeple-houses, had so few hearers left, that, giving over preaching in the steeple-houses, he first set up a meeting in his house, and preached there to them that were left. Afterwards he set up a silent meeting (like Friends) to which a few came, for most of his hearers had become Friends. Thus he held on, until he had only half a dozen left; the rest still forsaking him, and had become Friends, [Quakers]. At last, when he had so very few left, he would come to Pardsey-Crag, (where Friends had a meeting of several hundred people, who all came to sit under the Lord Jesus Christ's teaching), and he would walk about the meeting on the First-days like a man that went about the commons to look for sheep. During this time, I came to this Pardsey-Crag meeting, and he with three or four of his followers that were still with him, came to the meeting that day; and were all thoroughly convinced. After the meeting, Wilkinson asked me two or three questions, which I answered to his satisfaction. At that time he joined the Society of Friends, became an able minister, preached the gospel freely, and turned many to Christ's free teaching. And after he had continued many years in the free ministry of Christ Jesus, he died in the truth in the year 1675.

I had for some time felt drawings on my spirit to go into Scotland; and had sent to colonel William Osborn of Scotland, desiring him to meet me; and he, with some others, were come out of Scotland to this meeting. After it was over, (which, he said, was the most glorious meeting that ever he saw in his life), I passed with him and his company into Scotland; having Rohert Widders with me; a thundering man against hypocrisy, deceit, and the rottenness of the priests.

The first night we came into Scotland, we lodged at an inn. The innkeeper told us, an earl lived about a quarter of a mile off, who had a desire to see me; and had left word at his house, that if ever I came into Scotland, he should send him word. He told us, there were three drawbridges to his house; and that it would be nine o'clock before the third bridge was drawn. Finding we had time in the evening, we walked to his house. He received us very lovingly; and said, he would have gone with us on our journey, but that he was before engaged to go to a funeral. After we had spent some time with him, we parted very friendly, and returned to our inn. Next morning we traveled on and passing through Dumfries, came to Douglas, where we met with some Friends; from there we passed to the Heads, where we had a blessed meeting in the name of Jesus, and felt him in the midst.

Leaving Heads, we went to Badcow and had a meeting there, to which abundance of people came, and many were convinced; among who was one called a lady. From there we passed towards the Highlands to William Osborn's, where we gathered up the sufferings of Friends and the principles of the Scotch priests, which may be seen in a book called. The Scotch Priests' Principles.

<back> <next>