The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1657 - 1661 - Back in England - End of Volume 1 <page 2 >


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

Major Wiggan, a very envious man, was present, yet he restrained himself before the member of parliament, and some others that were there in company. He took upon himself to assert, ‘Christ had taken away the guilt of sin,* but had left the power of sin remaining in us.' I told him that was strange doctrine; for Christ came to destroy the devil and his works, and the power of sin, and so to cleanse men from sin. So major Wiggan's mouth was stopped at that time. But next day he desired to speak with me again, so I took a Friend or two with me and went to him. Then he vented a great deal of passion and rage, beyond the bounds of a christian, or moral man; at which point I was told to reprove him; and having brought the Lord's power over him, and let him see what condition he was in, left him.

* Site Editors Comment: Christendom would have you believe that Christ excuses you from all sin, so you can sin guilt-free. If Christ saves us from guilt, then he makes sin easier. If Christ makes sin easier, then he promotes sin. If he promotes sin, then Christ is evil. If he is evil, he is not Christ; therefore he does not save people from their guilt of sin; only the devil impersonating Christ saves people from the guilt of their sins.

One who thinks Christ's blood allows him to continue in his sins, without the fury of God coming down on him, has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has acted with spite [contempt] to the Spirit of grace? Heb 10:29. The false church makes his blood count as an excuse for evil, making his blood an unholy thing, and so tramples on Jesus and shows contempt for grace.

Christendom's doctrine is the doctrine of the devil who told Adam and Eve: you can be like God, knowing good and evil; and they ate expecting to become wise, to be able to decide what was good and what was bad, to be able to make their own decisions, to be able to live their lives like they chose, including sin. So any doctrine that tells you God will accept you into heaven while you are still a slave to sin, (I tell you truly; anyone who sins is a slave to sin. John 8:34), is the doctrine of the old devil in disguise. To go to heaven, we must be restored to being continually guided and led by the Spirit of God; to walk by your carnal mind, which is enmity with God, and by the imagination of your heart is worse that worshipping stone or wooden idols. Jer 16:11-12. Jesus expelled Satan from heaven because of his sin. Jesus expelled Adam and Eve from paradise because of their sin. Jesus has not changed and does not change; he did not allow sin or sinners in heaven then, and he will not allow sin or sinners in heaven now, or in the future. Sin has to go before you can enter heaven; nothing that is unclean or defiles will enter heaven.

After some time I passed out of London, and had a meeting at sergeant Birkhead's at Twickenham, to which many people came; some of considerable quality in the world. A glorious meeting it was, in which the scriptures were largely and clearly opened, and Christ exalted above all, to the great satisfaction of the attendees.

But there was great persecution in many places, both by imprisoning and breaking up of meetings. At a meeting about seven miles from London, the rude people usually came out of several parishes in the area to abuse Friends and often beat and bruised them exceedingly. One day they abused about eighty Friends, who went to that meeting out of London, tearing their coats and cloaks from off their backs, throwing them into ditches and ponds; and when they had smeared them with dirt, they said they looked like witches. The next First-day I was moved of the Lord to go to that meeting, though I was then very weak. When I came there, I told Friends to bring a table and place it in the meeting room so that I could stand on it. As expected the rude people came; and with the bible in my hand I showed them theirs' and their teachers' fruits; this shamed the people and they were quiet. I opened the scriptures to them and how our principles agreed with the scriptures; and turned them from darkness to the light of Christ and his spirit, by which they might understand the scriptures, see themselves and their sins, and know Christ Jesus to be their savior. So the meeting ended quietly, and the Lord's power came over all, to his glory. But it was a time of great sufferings; for besides imprisonments, (through which many died), our meetings were greatly disturbed. They had thrown rotten eggs and flaming naphtha into our meetings; and beat drums and kettles to make such a noise that the truth might not be heard; and among these, the priests were as rude as any; as may be seen in the book of the fighting priests, which contains a list of some priests that had actually beaten and abused Friends.

Many Friends were taken as prisoners to London to be tried before the committee; where Henry Vane, being chairman, would not allow Friends to come in, unless they took off their hats; but at last the Lord's power came over him, and through the mediation of others, Friends were admitted. Many of us having been imprisoned upon contempts, (as they called them), for not putting off our hats, it was not a likely thing that Friends, who had suffered so long for it from others, should put off their hats to him. But the Lord's power came over them all, and was so effective, that several were set at liberty by them. Inasmuch as sufferings grew very sharp, I was moved of the Lord to write a few lines, and send them  among Friends, to encourage them to go on faithfully and boldly through the exercises of the day; of which a copy here follows:

My dear Friends everywhere, in prison or out of prison;

Fear not, because of the reports of sufferings; let not the evil spies of the good land make you afraid, if they tell you the walls are high, and Anakims are in the land; for at the blowing of the rams' horns did the walls of Jericho fall, and they that brought the evil report perished in the wilderness. Dwell in faith, patience, and hope, having the word of life to keep you, which is beyond the law; and having the oath of God, his covenant, Christ Jesus, which divides the waters asunder, and makes them to run all on heaps; in that stand and you will see all things work together for good to them that love God. In that triumph, when sufferings come, whatever they be. Your faith, your shield, your helmet, your armor you have on. You are ready to skip over a mountain, a wall, or a hill, and to walk through the deep waters, though they are as heaps upon heaps. The evil spies of the good land may preach up hardness; but Caleb, which signifies a heart, and Joshua, a savior, triumph over all.

George Fox

After awhile I went to Reading, where I remained under great sufferings and exercises, and in great travail of spirit for about ten weeks. For I saw there was great confusion and distraction among the people, and that the powers were plucking each other to pieces. And I saw how many were destroying the simplicity, and betraying the truth. A great deal of hypocrisy, deceit, and strife, was uppermost in the people, so that they were ready to sheath their swords in one another's bowels. There had been tenderness in many of them formerly, when they [the Puritans] were low; but when they became puffed up, had killed, and taken possession, and they came to be as bad as others; so that we had much to do with them about our hats, and saying thee and thou to them. They turned their profession of patience and moderation into rage and madness; many of them were like distracted men for this hat-honor. For they had hardened themselves by persecuting the innocent, and were at this time crucifying the seed, Christ, both in themselves and others; until at last they fell a biting and devouring one another, until they were consumed one of another; who had turned against and judged what God had wrought in them, and showed to them. So shortly after God overthrew them, turned them upside down, and brought the king over them, who were often surmising that the Quakers met together to bring in king Charles, whereas Friends did not concern themselves with the outward powers or government. But at last the Lord brought him in, and many of them, when they saw he would be brought in, voted for the bringing him in. So with heart and voice praise the name of the Lord, to whom it does belong; who over all has the supremacy, and who will rock the nations, for he is over them. I had a sight and sense of the king’s returns a good while before, and so had some others. I wrote to Oliver several times, and let him know, that while he was persecuting God's people, they whom he accounted his enemies were preparing to come upon him. When some forward spirits, that came among us, would have bought Somerset-house, that we might have meetings in it, I forbade them to do so; for I then foresaw the king’s coming in again. Besides, there came a woman to me in the Strand, who had a prophecy concerning king Charles's coming in, three years before he came; and she told me, she must go to him to declare it. I advised her to wait upon the Lord, and keep it to herself; for if it should be known that she went on such a message, they would look upon it to be treason; but she said, she must go and tell him, that he should be brought into England again. I saw her prophecy was true, and that a great stroke must come upon those in power for those that had then gotten possession of power were so exceeding high and such great persecutors, who called themselves saints, taking land and property from Friends because they could not swear in their courts. Sometimes, when we laid these sufferings before Oliver Cromwell, he would not believe it. For which reason Thomas Aldam and Anthony Pearson were moved to go through all the jails in England, and to get copies of Friends' commitments under the jailers' hands, that they might lay the weight of their sufferings upon Oliver Cromwell. And when he refused to give order for the releasing of them, Thomas Aldam was moved to take his cap off his head, and rend it in pieces before him, and to say unto him, "So shall  your government be rent from you and  your house.'" Another Friend also, a woman, was moved to go to the parliament, (that was envious against Friends), with a pitcher in her hand, which she broke into pieces before them, and told them, 'So should they be broken to pieces:' which came to pass shortly after. And in my great suffering, and travail of spirit for the nation, being grievously burdened with their hypocrisy, treachery, and falsehood, I saw God would bring that atop of them which they had been atop of; and that all must be brought down to what convinced them, before they could get over that bad spirit within and without; for it is the pure, invisible spirit, that does and only can work down all deceit in people.

While I was under that sore travail at Reading, by reason of grief and sorrow of mind, and the great exercise that was upon my spirit, my countenance being altered, and my body become poor and thin; there came a company of unclean spirits to me, and told me, 'the plagues of God were upon me.' I told them, it was the same spirit spoke in them that said so of Christ, when he was stricken and smitten; they hid their face from him. But when I had travailed with the witness of God, which they had quenched, and had got past the quenching, over all that hypocrisy which the outside professors were run into, and saw how that would be brought down, and turned under, and that life would rise over it; I came to have ease, and the light, power, and spirit, shined over all. And then, having recovered, my body and face swelled, when I came abroad into the air; then the bad spirits said, 'I was grown fat;' and they envied at that also. So I saw that no condition nor state would please that spirit of theirs; but the Lord preserved me by his power and spirit through and over all; and in the Lord's power I came to London again.

Now was there a great bustle about the effigy of Oliver Cromwell lying in state; men standing and sounding with trumpets over his image, after he was dead. At this my spirit was greatly grieved, and the Lord, I found, was highly offended. Then did I write the following lines, and sent among them, to reprove their wickedness, and warn them to repent.

Oh Friends, what are you doing! What do you mean sounding trumpets before an image! Will not all sober people think you are like mad people? "Oh, how I am I grieved with your abominations! Oh, how am I wearied! My soul is wearied with you, said the Lord; do you think I will not be avenged on you, for your abominations?" Oh! How have you plucked down and set up! Oh! How are your hearts made whole, and not rent! How are you turned to fooleries, which in times past you stood over. How have you lost my dread, said the Lord! Oh! Therefore fear and repent, for fear that the snare and the pit take you all! The great day of the Lord is come upon your abominations: the swift hand of the Lord is turned against them all. The sober people in these nations stand amazed at your doings, and are ashamed, as if you would bring in Popery.'

George Fox

About this time great stirs were in the nation, the minds of people being unsettled. Much plotting and contriving there was by the several factions, to carry on their several interests. And a great care being upon me, for fear that any young or inexperienced people, that might sometimes come among us, should be drawn into that snare, I was moved to give forth the following epistle, as a warning to such:

All Friends,

everywhere, keep out of plots and bustling and the arm of flesh; for all these are among Adam's sons in the fall, where they are destroying men's lives like dogs, beasts, and swine; goring, rending, and biting one another, destroying one another, and wrestling with flesh and blood. From where arise wars and killing, but from the lusts? Now all this is in Adam in the fall, out of Adam that never fell, in whom there is peace and life. You are called to peace, therefore follow it. That peace is in Christ, not in Adam in the fall. All that pretend to fight for Christ, are deceived; for his kingdom is not of this world, therefore his servants do not fight. Fighters are not of Christ’s kingdom, but are without Christ's kingdom; for his kingdom stands in peace and righteousness, but fighters are in the lust, and all that would destroy men's lives are not of Christ's mind, who came to save men's lives. Christ's kingdom is not of this world; it is peaceable, and all that are in strife are not of his kingdom. All that pretend to fight for the gospel, are deceived; for the gospel is the power of God, which was before the devil, or fall of man was. And the gospel of peace was before fighting was. Therefore they that pretend to fight for Christ, and talk of fighting so, are ignorant of the gospel. All that talk of fighting for heaven are in darkness, heaven needs no such helpers. All such as profess themselves ministers of Christ, or christians, and go about to beat down the whore with outward, carnal weapons; the flesh and the whore are got up in themselves, and they are in a blind zeal, for the whore got up by the inward ravening from the spirit of God; and the beating down of the whore must be by the inward stroke of the sword of the spirit within. All such as pretend to possess Christ Jesus and confess him, yet run into the use of carnal weapons, wrestling with flesh and blood, throw away the spiritual weapons. They that would be wrestlers with flesh and blood throw away Christ's doctrine; the flesh is got upon them, and they are weary of their sufferings. Such as would revenge themselves, are out of Christ's doctrine. Such who being stricken on one cheek, would not turn the other, are out of Christ's doctrine. Such as do not love one another, nor love enemies, are out of Christ's doctrine. Therefore you that are heirs of the blessings of God, which were before the curse and the fall was, come to inherit your portions. And you that are heirs of the gospel of peace, which was before the devil was, live in the gospel of peace, seeking the peace and good of all men: and live in Christ, who came to save men's lives, out of Adam in the fall, where they destroy men's lives, and live not in Christ. The Jews' sword outwardly, by which they cut down the heathen, was a type of the spirit of God within, which cuts down the heathenish nature within. So live in the peaceable kingdom of Christ Jesus. Live in the peace of God, and not in the lusts, from where wars arise. Live in Christ, the prince of peace, the way of God, the second Adam that never fell. Live not in Adam in the fall, in the destruction, where they destroy one another. Come out of Adam in the fall, into the second Adam that never fell. Live in love and peace with all men; keep out of all the agitations of the world. Meddle not with the powers of the earth; but mind the kingdom, the way of peace; you that are heirs of grace, heirs of the kingdom, heirs of the gospel, heirs of salvation, saints of the Most High, and children of God, whose conversation is in heaven, that is above the disturbances of the earth; let your conversation preach to all men, and your innocent lives, that those who speak evil of you, beholding your godly conversation, may glorify your Father which is in heaven. Friends everywhere, this I charge you, which is the word of the Lord God unto you all, "Live in peace, in Christ the way of peace;" therefore seek the peace of all men and no man's hurt. In Adam in the fall is no peace; but in Adam out of the fall is the peace. So you being in Adam, which never fell, it is love that overcomes, not hatred with hatred, nor strife with strife. Therefore live all in the peaceable life, doing good to all men, and seeking the good and welfare of all men.

George Fox

Not long after this, George Booth rose in arms in Cheshire, and Lambert went against him. At which time some foolish rash spirits that came sometimes among us were ready to have taken up arms; but I was moved of the Lord to warn and forbid them, and they were quiet. In the time of the committee of safety, (so called), we were invited by them to take up arms, and great places and commands were offered to some of us; but we denied them all, and declared against taking up arms both by word and writing; testifying, that our weapons and armor were not carnal, but spiritual. And in case any that came among us, should be drawn into that snare, it came upon me from the Lord to write a few lines on that occasion, and send them forth, as a caution to all among us. Of which this is a copy:

All Friends everywhere,

take heed to keep out of the powers of the earth, that run into wars and fights, which make not for peace, but go from that; such will not have the kingdom. And Friends, take heed of joining with this or the other, or meddling with any, or being busy with other men's matters; but mind the Lord, his power, and his service. Let Friends keep out of other men's matters, and keep in that which answers the witness in them all, out of the man's matters part, where they must expect wars, and the dishonor. Friends everywhere, dwell in your own, in the power of the Lord, to keep your minds up to God, from falling down to the strength of Egypt, or going there for strength, after you are come out of it, like the children of Israel, after they were come out of outward Egypt. But dwell in the power of the Lord God, that you may keep over all the powers of the earth, among whom the just hand of God is come; for they have turned against the just, and disobeyed the just in their own particulars, and gone on in one against the just; therefore the just sets them one against another. Now he that goes to help among them, is away from the just in himself, in the mad and un-stayed state, and does not know by the all-seeing eye, (that beholds him that recompenses and rewards), and lives not in the hand or in the power (that mangles and overturns), which vexes the transgressors,who come to be blind and zealous for they do not know what. Therefore keep in peace, and in the love and power of God, and in unity and love one to another, for fear that any go out, and fall with the uncircumcised; that is, those who are away from the spirit in themselves. And they that go from it, go into the pit together. Therefore stand in that, (it is the word of the Lord God to you all), in the fear and dread of the Lord God, his power, life, light, seed, and wisdom, by which you may take away the occasion of wars, and so know a kingdom which has no end, and fight for that with spiritual weapons, which takes away the occasion of the carnal; and there (in the Kingdom) gather men to war, as many as you can, and set up as many as you can with these (spiritual) weapons.

George Fox

After I had stayed some time in London, and had visited Friends' meetings there and in the area, and the Lord's power was set over all, I traveled into the counties again, passing through Suffolk, Essex, and Norfolk, visiting Friends, until I came to Norwich, where we had a meeting about the time called Christmas. The mayor of Norwich, having gotten notice beforehand of the meeting I intended to have there, granted a warrant to apprehend me. Therefore when I arrived there and heard of the warrant, I sent some Friends to the mayor to reason with him about it. His answer was, since the soldiers should not meet, why would we think to meet? He wanted us to meet outside the city; for he said the townspeople were so rude that he could hardly control them, and he feared that our meeting would make great disturbances in the town. But our Friends told him that we were a peaceable people, and that he ought to keep the peace; for we had to meet to worship God, as our manner was. So he became pretty moderate, and did not send his officers to the meeting. It was a large meeting, and many of rude people came with intent to have done mischief; but the Lord's power came over them, so that they were chained by it, though several priests were there, and professors, and Ranters. Among the priests, one whose name was Townsend stood up and cried, 'Error, blasphemy, and an ungodly meeting!' I told him not to burden himself with that which he could not prove; and I asked him, what was our error and blasphemy? For I told him, he should prove his words, before I had done with him, or be ashamed. As for an ungodly meeting, I said, I believed there were many people there that feared God, and therefore it was both unchristian and uncivil in him, to charge civil, godly people with an ungodly meeting. He said, my error and blasphemy was, in that I said, people must wait on God by his power and spirit, and feel his presence, when they did not speak words. I asked him then, whether the apostles and holy men of God did not hear God speak to them in their silence, before they spoke forth the scripture, and before it was written? He replied, yes; David and the prophets did hear God, before they penned the scriptures, and felt his presence in silence, before they spoke them forth. Then said I, all people take notice, he said this was error and blasphemy in me to say these words; and now he has confessed it is no more than the holy men of God in former times witnessed. So I showed the people, that as the holy men of God, who gave forth the scriptures, were moved by the holy ghost, did hear and learn of God, before they spoke them forth, so must they all hearken and hear what the spirit said, which will lead them into all truth, that they may know God and Christ, and may understand the scriptures. Oh, said the priest, this is not the George Fox I would speak with; this is a subtle man, he said. So the Lord's power came over all, the rude people were moderate, and were reached by it; and some professors called to the priests, saying, 'Prove the blasphemy and errors, which you have charged them with; you have spoken much against them behind their backs, but nothing you can prove now to their faces.' But the priest began to get away: whereupon I told him, we had many things to charge him with, therefore let him set a time and place to answer them; which he did and, went his way. A glorious day this was: for truth came over all, and people were turned to God by his power and spirit, and to the Lord Jesus Christ, their free teacher, who was exalted over all. And as we passed away, generally people's hearts were filled with love towards us; yes, even the ruder sort of them desired another meeting; for the evil intentions they had against us were thrown out of their hearts. At night I passed out of town to a Friend's house, and from there to colonel Dennis's, where we had a great meeting; and afterwards traveled on, visiting Friends up and down in Norfolk, Huntingtonshire, and Cambridgeshire. But George Whitehead, and Richard Hubberthorn stayed about Norwich, to meet the priest who was soon confounded and down, the Lord's power came so over him.

After I had traveled through many counties in the Lord's service, and many were convinced, notwithstanding that in some places the people were very rude, I returned to London again, when general Monk had come there, and the gates and posts of the city were pulled down. 'Long before this I had a vision, wherein I saw the city lie in heaps, and the gates down; and it was then represented to me, just as I saw it several years after, lying in heaps when it was burned.

Several times I had, both by word and writing, forewarned the several powers, both in Oliver's time and after, of the day of recompense that was coming upon them; but they rejecting counsel, and slighting those visitations of love to them, I was, moved now, before they were quite overturned, to lay their backsliding, hypocrisy, and treacherous dealing before them, thus:

Friends,

now are the prophecies fulfilled and fulfilling upon you, which have been spoken to you by the people of God in your courts, in your steeple-houses, in your towns, cities, markets, highways, and at your feasts, when you were in your pleasures, and puffed up, that you would neither hear God nor man; when you were in your highness and height of authority. Though raised up from a mean state, none might come near you without bowing, or by showing respect of persons, for you were in the world's way, compliments, and fashions, which for conscience sake towards God, Friends could not go into, being redeemed from the same. Therefore they were hated by you for that cause, but now are you brought low, who exalted yourselves above your brethren, and threw the just and harmless from among you, until at last God has thrown you out. And when you cast the innocent from among you, then you began fighting with one another, until you were consumed one of another. And so the day is come upon you, of which you were warned before, though you would not believe it. And are not your hearts so hardened that you still hardly believe it, even though you are about to go into captivity? Was it not told you, (when you spilled the blood of the innocent in your steeple-houses, in your markets, in your highways and cities, yes, and even in your courts also, because they said the word ‘thou’ to you, and could not put off their hats to you, "that if something did not rise up among yourselves, to avenge the blood of the innocent, there would something come from beyond the seas, which lay reserved there; which when brought by the arm of God, the arm of flesh and strongest mountain could not withstand?" Yet you would not consider, nor regard, nor hear; but cried, peace, peace, and feasted yourselves, and sat down in the seized property of your enemies, being treacherous both to God and man; and who will trust you now? Have you not taken covenants and oaths? And have you not broken covenants and oaths between God and man, and made the nations breakers of both covenants and oaths; so that nothing was among you but hypocrisy, and rottenness, and falsehood under fair pretence? When you pretended to set up the old cause, it was only for yourselves; for which you were long detestable to sober people, who saw that you would do no good. But it was a joy for any of you to get up into authority, that you might have praise, and honor, and respect; and they that were in the self-denial were a derision to you; from among whom seeking the honor of man was banished. Thus you became the nation's masters, and not servants; whereas the greatest of all should be the servants of all. But there you lost your authority, not considering your estates, from where you were, and to what end God had raised you up; but you forgot the Lord, and quenched what was good in yourselves, and persecuted them that lived in the good: and so have grown so gross and perverse, that at last you are neither fit for God or man. Did you not used to call Quakers the fanatic people, and people with the silly head? But where are you now tottering? Into Cain's city Nod, which signifies fugitive, or wandering? Have not you persecuted and imprisoned to death, such as those whom God had respected, and is now reproving you for their sakes, by them whom you have hated? Were not many among you cut off for your persecution, and yet the rest of you would not take warning? Was not there a book of examples set out unto you, of what sudden and strange deaths happened upon the persecutors of the innocent? And yet you would not take warning, until the overflowing scourge is now coming upon you. Are you not like those that killed like Cain, who have killed about your sacrifice, and mingled the blood of the innocent with it? Has not God now vagabonded you, that you should become a curse upon the earth, who have persecuted Friends to death? Did not the blood of the righteous cry out of the ground for vengeance? And will not the blood of the righteous be required? Could you think that the Lord would let you sit always with bloody hands, and fists of wickedness! Ah! What is become of all your feasts and your fasts, the prayers and blessings of your priests!

George Fox

Being now clear of the city, and finding my spirit drawn to visit Friends in the western parts of England, I went out of town; and passing first into Surry and Sussex, came to a great town, where there was a large meeting, to which several Friends from Reading came; and a blessed meeting it was. The priest of the town was in a great rage, but did not come out of his house. Therefore, hearing him make a great noise in his house, as we were passing from the meeting, we asked him to come out into the street so we could debate with him; but he would not. So the Lord's power was over all and Friends were refreshed within it. From there I went to another market town, where in the evening we had a precious meeting; and the fresh sense of the presence of the Lord God was sweetly felt among us. Then turning into Hampshire and Dorsetshire, I went to Ringwood and Pool, visiting Friends in the Lord's power, and had great meetings among them.

At Dorchester we had a great meeting in the evening at our inn, to which many soldiers came, who were pretty civil. But the constables and officers of the town came, under pretence to look for a Jesuit, whose head (they said), was shaved: and they told us all to take off their hats, or else they would take them off, to look for the Jesuit's shaven head. So they took off my hat, (for I was the man they aimed at), and they looked very closely; but since they could not find any bald or shaven place on my head, they went away with shame; the soldiers and other sober people were greatly offended with them. But it was of good service for the Lord, and all things worked together for good; for it affected the people: and after the officers were gone, we had a fine meeting; and people were turned to the Lord Jesus Christ, their teacher, who had bought them, and would reconcile them to God.

From there we passed into Somersetshire, where the Presbyterians and other professors were very wicked, and often disturbed Friends' meetings. One time especially, (as we were then informed), a very wicked man put a bear's skin on his back, and undertook with that to play pranks in the meeting. Accordingly, he positioned himself opposite to the Friend that was speaking, he lolled his tongue out of his mouth, and made sport to his wicked followers, causing great disturbance in the meeting. But an eminent judgment overtook him, and his punishment slumbered not; for as he went from the meeting, there was a bull baiting in the way, which he stayed to see; and coming within the bull's reach, the bull struck his horn under the man's chin into his throat, and thrust his tongue out of his mouth, so that it hung lolling out, as he had used it before in derision in the meeting. And with the bull's horn running up into the man's head, the bull swung him about upon his horn in a most remarkable and fearful manner. Thus he that came to injure God's people was injured himself; and it would be well if such apparent examples of divine vengeance would teach others to beware of opposing God's truth.

We traveled through Somersetshire and Devonshire, until we came to Plymouth, and so into Cornwall, visiting the meetings of Friends, to the Land's End. Many precious and blessed meetings we had all along as we went, in which the convinced were established, and many others were added to them. At the Land's End an honest fisherman was convinced, who became a faithful minister of Christ. I took notice of him to Friends, telling them, 'he was like Peter.'

While I was in Cornwall, there was a great shipwreck at Land's End. In this country at this time it was customary for both rich and poor to go out to salvage as much of the wreck as they could, not caring to save the people's lives; and in some parts of the country they called shipwrecks 'God's grace'. It grieved my spirit to hear of such unchristian actions, considering how far they were below the heathen at Malta, who received Paul, made him a fire, and were courteous towards him and those that suffered their shipwreck with him. Based on this I was moved to write a paper, and send it to all the parishes, priests, and magistrates, to reprove them for such greedy actions, and to warn and exhort them that, if they could assist to save people's lives and preserve their ships and goods, they should exert their best efforts; and consider, if they were the victims of a shipwreck, they would be very resentful of anyone who came upon a wreck, and the people should strive to get what they could from them, and not regard their lives.

Friends and people,

Take heed of greediness and covetousness, for that is idolatry; and the idolater must not enter into the kingdom of God. Take heed of drunkenness, oaths, and cursing, for such are destroyers of the creation, and make it to groan. Lay aside all fighting, quarrelling, brawling, and evil speaking, which are the works of the flesh and not of the spirit, for who follow such things are not likely to inherit the kingdom of God. Put away all corrupt words, which are unsavory, and calling people names, for you must give an account for every idle word. Lay aside all profession and religion that is vain, and come to the possession, the pure religion, which is to visit the fatherless, the widow, and the stranger, and receive them, for some by this may entertain angels or the servants of the Lord unawares, as Paul was entertained after the shipwreck at Malta. Do not take people's goods from them by force out of their ships, seamen's or others, neither covet after them; but rather endeavor to preserve their lives and goods for them, for that shows a spirit of compassion, and the spirit of a christian. But if you are greedy and covetous after other men's goods, not caring what becomes of the men, would you want others to do that to yourselves? If you should have a ship cast away in other places, and the people should come to tear the goods and ship in pieces, not regarding to save your lives, but be ready to fight one with another for your goods, do not you believe such goods would become a curse to them? May you not as surely believe such kind of actions will become a curse to you? When the spoil of one ship's goods is idly spent and consumed upon the lusts in alehouses, taverns, and otherwise, then you look for another. Is this to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you?" Which is the law and the prophets. Priest Hull, are these your fruits? Why do you take people's labor and goods? Have you taught the people no better manners and conversation, who are so brutish and heathenish? All such things we judge in whoever does them. But if any Friend or others try to preserve men's lives, and try to save their goods and estates; and restore what they can save of a wreck to the owners, if the owners pay them for their labor, doing in that case unto them what they would have done to themselves, that we approve. And if they buy or sell, and do not make a prey that is allowed, in the way of “doing as you would be done by" keeping to the law and to the prophets. If you should be wrecked in another country, you would hope that other people would save your lives and goods, and have your goods restored to you again; and you ought to pay them for doing so. All that do otherwise, who wait for a wreck and take the goods for yourselves, not regarding the lives of the men; and if any escape drowning, causes them to beg up and down the country; and if any escape with a little, rob them of it. All that do so are not for preserving the creation, but destroying it; and those goods which are so obtained will be a curse, a plague, and a judgment to them, and the judgments of God will follow them for acting such things; the witness in your consciences shall answer it. Therefore, all you who have done such things "do so no more," otherwise a worse thing will happen to you. But do what is good: preserve men's lives and estates, and labor to restore the loss and breach; that the Lord requires. Do not be like a company of greedy dogs, and worse than heathens, as if you had never heard of God, nor Christ, nor the scriptures, nor pure religion. And priest Hull, have people spent their money upon you for what is no bread? For a thing worth nothing when you have such fruits? All such teachers, that make a trade of the scriptures, (which are given forth from the spirit of God, to be believed, read, and practiced, and Christ, whom they testify of, enjoyed), we utterly deny; who own Christ, and are come off from your steeple-houses, which were the old mass-houses; for there are these bad fruits harbored, those are the cages of them. But come to the church which is in God, (1 Thess 1:1) and come all to the light which Christ Jesus has enlightened you with, which shows you all your ungodly words, ungodly thoughts, and ungodly actions. This will be your teacher if you love it, your condemner if you hate it. For the mighty day of the Lord is coming upon all wickedness and ungodliness; therefore lay aside your whoredoms and fornications. And you magistrates, who are to do justice, do you not think that the hand of the Lord God is against you, and that his judgments will come upon you who do not look after these things, and stop them with the law, which is, "To do unto all men as they would have done unto them," whereby you might be a good savor in your country? Is not the law to preserve men's lives and estates, "doing unto all men as they would men should do unto them?" For all men would have their lives and estates preserved; therefore, should not you preserve others, and not allow them to be devoured and destroyed? The evil of these things will lie upon you, both priests and magistrates.

George Fox

Postscript- All dear Friends who fear the Lord God, keep out of the ravenous world’s spirit, which leads to devour and destroy, and is out of the wisdom of God. When ships are wrecked, do not run to destroy and make havoc of ship and goods with the world; but run to save the men, and the goods for them; and so deny yourselves, and do unto them as you would they should do unto you.

George Fox

This paper had good service among people, and Friends have endeavored much to save the lives of men in time of wrecks, and to preserve the ships and goods for them. And when some, who suffered shipwreck, have been almost dead, and starved, Friends have taken them to their houses to assist and recover them, which is an act to be practiced by all true Christians.

I had many precious, blessed, living meetings in Cornwall; several eminent people were convinced in that county, whom neither priests nor magistrates, by spoiling goods or imprisonments, could bring to forsake their shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, who bought them; and Friends who were turned to Christ, their teacher and savior, being settled in peace and quietness upon him, their foundation, we left them to the Lord's teaching and ordering, fresh and green. Thomas Lower, who had accompanied me through that county, brought me over Horse-bridge into Devonshire again: and after several meetings in Devonshire we came to Somersetshire, where we had several large and peaceable meetings, and visited Friends until we came to Bristol.

I entered Bristol on a Seventh day. The day before the soldiers came into the meeting, and were exceedingly rude, beating and striking Friends with their muskets, and driving them out of the orchard in a great rage, threatening what they would do if they came there again. For it seems the mayor and the commander of the soldiers had combined together to make a disturbance among us. When Friends told me what a rage there was in the town, how they were threatened by the mayor and soldiers, and how unruly they had been the day before; I sent for George Bishop, Thomas Gouldney, Thomas Speed, and Edward Pyot, and desired them to go to the mayor and aldermen; and seeing they had broken up our meetings, request them to let us have the town-hall to meet in. I proposed that for the use of the town-hall we would give them twenty pounds a year, to be distributed among the poor; and when the mayor and aldermen had business to do in it, Friends would not meet in it, but only on the First days. Those Friends were astonished at this, and said, the mayor and aldermen would think they were mad. I said, no, for they should offer them a considerable benefit to the poor. And it was upon me from the Lord to tell them go. At last they consented, and went, though in the cross to their own wills. When they had laid the thing before the mayor, it came so over him, that he said, 'for his part he could consent to it, but he was but one.' He told them of another great hall they might have, but they did not accept that because it was inconvenient. So they came away, leaving the mayor in a very loving frame towards them; for they felt the Lord's power had come over him. When they came back, I told them to go to the colonel and lay before him the rude carriage of his soldiers, how they came armed among naked innocent people, who were waiting upon and worshipping the Lord; but they were reluctant to go to him. Next morning, being First day, we went to the meeting in the orchard, where the soldiers had so lately been so rude. After I had declared the truth a pretty long time in the meeting, many rude soldiers and people came, some with drawn swords. The innkeepers had made some of them drunk; and one of them had bound himself with an oath, 'to cut down and kill the man that spoke.' He came pressing in through the crowd to within two yards of me, and stopped at those four Friends before mentioned, (who should have gone to the colonel as I would have had them), and started arguing with them. Suddenly I saw his sword was put up and gone; for the Lord's power came over all, and chained him and the rest. We had a blessed meeting, for the Lord's everlasting power and presence was felt among us. The day following, those four Friends went and spoke with the colonel, and he sent for the soldiers; he then proceeded to cut and slash some of them right in front of the Friends' faces. When I heard of this, I blamed them for letting him do it and also for not going on the Seventh day as I told them to do, which might have prevented this cutting of the soldiers, and the trouble they gave at our meeting. Thus the Lord's power came over all those persecuting, bloody minds, and the meeting was held in peace for a good while after.

I also had a general meeting at Edward Pyot's, near Bristol, at which it was estimated were several thousands of people; for besides Friends from many parts in the area, some of the Baptists and Independents with their teachers came to it, along with many of the sober people of Bristol. So many people came to the meeting that the people who stayed behind said, 'the city looked naked.' It was very quiet, many glorious truths were opened to the people, and the Lord Jesus Christ was set up, who is the end of all figures and shadows of the law and the first covenant. It was declared to the people that all figures and shadows were given to man after man fell, and that all the rudiments and inventions of men which have been set up in christendom, many of which were Jewish and heathenish, were not set up by the command of Christ; and all images and likenesses man has made to himself or for himself, whether of things in heaven or things in earth, have been since he lost the image and likeness of God, in which God made him. But now Christ has come to redeem, translate, convert, and regenerate man out of all these things that he has set up in the fall, out of the true types, figures, and shadows; and also, out of death and darkness, up into the light, life, and image of God again, which man and woman were in before they fell. Therefore all now should come, and all may come to receive Christ Jesus, the substance; by his light, spirit, grace and faith; and should live and walk in him, the redeemer and savior.

And as we had a great deal of work with priests and professors, who pleaded for imperfection, I was opened to declare and manifest to them that Adam and Eve were perfect before they fell; and all that God had made, he saw was good, and he blessed it; but the imperfection came in by the fall, through man's and woman's hearkening to the devil who was out of truth. And though the law made nothing perfect, yet it made way for the bringing in of the better hope, which hope is Christ, who destroys the devil and his works, which made man and woman imperfect. Christ said to his disciples, ‘Be you perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect;' and he, who himself was perfect, comes to make man and woman perfect again, and brings them again to the state which God made them in. So he is the maker up of the breach, and the peace between God and man. That this might the better be understood by the simple people, I used a comparison of two old people who had their house broken down by an enemy, so that they, with all their children, were liable to all storms and tempests. And some came to them who pretended to be workmen, and offered to build up the old people's house again, if they would give them so much a year; but when they had gotten their money, they left their house as they found it. After this manner came a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, each with his several pretence to build up the old house, and each got the people's money, and then cried, 'They could not tear up the house, the breach could not be made up; for there is no perfection here.' They tell them, the house can never be perfectly built up again in this life, though they have taken the people's money for doing it. For all the sect masters in christendom (so called) have pretended to build up Adam and Eve's fallen house, and when they have got people's money, they tell them the work cannot be done perfectly here; so their house lies as it did. But I told the people, Christ had come to do it freely, who by one offering has perfected forever all those who are sanctified; and he renews them up into the image of God, which man and woman were in before they fell, and makes man's and woman's house as perfect again as God made them at the first; and this Christ, the heavenly man, does all of this without charge, freely. 'Therefore all are to look to him, and all that have received him are to walk in him, the life, the substance, the first and the last, ‘The rock of ages, the foundation of many generations.' Largely were these and many other things opened to people, the word of life was preached, which lives and abides, and all were exhorted to hear and obey it, that by it all might be born again of the immortal seed, and feed of the milk of the word. A glorious meeting there was, wherein the Lord's everlasting seed, Christ Jesus, was set over all, and Friends parted in the power and spirit of the Lord, in peace, and in his truth, that is over all.

About this time the soldiers under general Monk's command were rude and troublesome at Friends' meetings in many places; for which reason a complaint was made to him, and he gave forth the following order, which somewhat restrained them:

St. James's, the 9th of March, 1659.

‘I do require all officers and soldiers to forbear to disturb the peaceable meetings of the Quakers; because they do nothing prejudicial to the parliament or commonwealth of England.'

George Monk

After this meeting, I passed to Oldeston, to Nailsworth, and to Nathaniel Crips's; where there was a large meeting and several soldiers were there, but it was quiet. From there we passed to Gloucester, visiting meetings. In Gloucester we had one meeting that was peaceable, though the town was very rude and divided; for one part of the soldiers were for the king, and another for the parliament. As I passed out of the town over the bridge, Edward Pyot being with me, the soldiers there said, ‘they were for the king.' After we were past them, and they understood it was I, they were in a great rage that I had escaped them, and said, 'Had they known it was me, they would have shot me with hail shot rather than let me escape.' But the Lord prevented their devilish design and brought me safe to colonel Grimes's, where we had a large general meeting, and the Lord's truth and power were set over all; Friends were established upon the rock and settled under the Lord Jesus Christ's teaching.

We passed from there to Tewksbury, and so to Worcester, visiting meetings as we went. And in all my time in these towns, I had never seen such drunkenness; for they had been electing members of parliament. At Worcester the Lord's truth was set over all, people were finely settled there, and Friends praised the Lord; no, I saw the 'Very earth rejoiced.’ Yet many had great fears and were very troubled, looking for the king's coming in, and expecting everything to be changed. They would ask me what I thought of times and things? I told them the Lord's power was over all, his light shined over all, and that fear would take hold only on the hypocrites, such as had not been faithful to God, and on our persecutors. For in my travail and sufferings at Reading, when people were at a stand, and could not tell who might rule, I told them the Lord's power was over all, (for I had traveled through in it), and his day shined on whomever should come in; and whether the king came in or not, all would be well to those that loved the Lord and were faithful to him. Therefore I told all Friends to fear none but the Lord, and keep in his power that was over all.

[From Valiant for the Truth: The contending factions in England were now in a state of great tumult, and the loyalists were eager to embrace the opportunity to restore Charles Stuart to his father's throne. General Monk, a man whose principles were of that convenient kind which could be easily changed, had command of the army in Scotland, and was feared and courted by all parties. He had been a Royalist before he was a Parliamentarian, and found no difficulty now in using his power in effecting the restoration of the King.

He sent letters to Charles, who was at Cologne, watching for an opportunity to assert his claim to the throne, and the result of their correspondence was the famous declaration of Breda, which Charles sent to the House of Lords, with a duplicate to the House of Commons. This document, dated April 14th, 1660, was full of fair promises, and one paragraph particularly interested Friends, of whom one hundred and forty-four were now lying in prison for conscience' sake:

"And because the passion and lack of charity of the times has produced different opinions in religion, by which men are engaged in parties and animosities against each other, which when they shall hereafter unite in freedom of conversation will be better understood, we do declare a liberty to tender consciences and that no man shall be disquieted or called in question for difference of opinion in matters of religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom, and that we shall be ready to consent to such an act of Parliament as upon mature deliberation shall be offered to us for the full granting of that indulgence." ]

The Royalist party predominating in the House of Lords, it was soon decided to invite Charles to ascend the throne of his father. The young man accordingly sailed from the Hague, and landed at Dover, Fifth Month, 25th, 1660, with his two brothers, James, Duke of York, and Henry, Duke of Gloucester. From there he went to London, greeted on every side by the joyous acclamations of his subjects. Sober men and women knelt down and asked for blessings upon him, holding up their little ones to look at him, that they might tell their children and grandchildren of that glorious day. The city of London was stirred to its very depths at his coming. The bells poured out their joyous greeting, bonfires were lighted, and crowds of people clad in holiday garb thronged the streets. The old Puritan plainness was studiously avoided, the Cavalier wardrobes were brought out, the French gentlemen and ladies of the court appeared in bright colors, and all seemed like a gala day when "the king came to his gain again."

In the midst of all this excitement, Friends pursued the even tenor of their way, though they rejoiced that the restoration had been peaceably accomplished, and felt a hope of some respite from persecution.

Richard Hubberthorn, writing to his friends at Swarthmore, Fifth Month, 29th, 16130, says: "This day King Charles and his two brothers, James and Henry, came into the city. Charles is of a pretty sober countenance, but the great pride and vanity of those who brought him in is inexpressible. He is in danger to be led into those things to which he himself is not inclined."]

From Worcester I visited Friends' meetings until I came to Badgely; from there I went to Drayton, in Leicestershire, to visit my relatives. While I was there, a justice named Burton, hearing I had a good horse, sent a warrant to search for me and my horse; but I was gone before they came, so he missed of his wicked end. I passed to Twycross, Swanington, and Derby, where I visited Friends, and found my old jailer among them, who had formerly kept me in the house of correction there, and who was now convinced of the truth for which I suffered under him then. Passing into Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, I came to Synderhill green, visiting Friends' meetings; and so to Balby in Yorkshire, where our Yearly Meeting at that time was held in a large orchard of John Killam's, where it was estimated that thousands of people and Friends were gathered together. In the morning I heard a troop of horse had been sent from York, about thirty miles away, to break up our meeting; and that the newly raised militia were to join them. I went into the meeting, and stood up on a great stool; and after I had spoken some time, two trumpeters came, sounding their trumpets pretty near me, and the captain of the troop cried, 'Divide to the right and left, and make way.' Then they rode up to me. I was declaring the everlasting truth and word of Life, in the mighty power of the Lord. The captain told me to 'Come down, for he was come to disperse our meeting.' After some time I told him, they all knew we were a peaceable people, and that we used to have such great meetings; but if he thought we met in a hostile way, I asked him to make a search among us, and if he found either sword or pistol about any there, let such suffer. He told me, 'He must see us dispersed, for he came all night on purpose to disperse us.' I asked him what honor it would be to him to ride with swords and pistols among so many unarmed men and women as they were? But if he would be still and quiet, our meeting probably might not continue above two or three hours, and when it was done, as we came peaceably together, so we should part; for he might perceive the meeting was so large all the country thereabouts could not entertain them, but that they intended to depart towards their homes at night. He said, 'He could not stay to see the meeting ended, but must disperse them before he went.' I desired him then, if he himself could not stay, that he would let a dozen of his soldiers stay, and see the order and peace of our meeting. He said, ‘He would permit us an hour's time,' and left half a dozen soldiers with us. Then he went away with his troop, and Friends of the house gave the soldiers that stayed some food for them and their horses. When the captain was gone, the soldiers that were left told us, 'We could stay until night if we wanted.' But we only stayed about three more hours, and we had a glorious, powerful meeting; for the presence of the living God was manifest among us, and the seed, Christ, was over all. Friends were built upon him the foundation, and settled under his glorious, heavenly teaching. After the meeting Friends passed away in peace, greatly refreshed with the presence of the Lord, and filled with joy and gladness that the Lord's power had given them such dominion. Many of the militia soldiers stayed also, much vexed that the captain and troopers had not broken up our meeting; and they cursed the captain and his troopers. It was reported they intended evil against us that day; but the troopers, instead of assisting them, were rather assistant to us, in not joining them as they expected, but preventing them from doing the mischief they designed. Yet this captain was a desperate man; for this was the same captain that had said to me in Scotland, 'He would obey his superior's commands; if it was to crucify Christ he would do it, or execute the great Turk's command against the christians if he was under him.' So that it was an eminent power of the Lord, which chained down both him and his troopers, and those envious militia soldiers also, who went away, not having power to hurt any of us, nor to break up our meeting. {And one of the troopers said here that more people flocked after George Fox than are around my Lord Protector's court.}

Next day we had a heavenly meeting at Warmsworth, of Friends in the ministry and with several others, and then Friends parted. As they passed through the country several were arrested; for the day that our first meeting was held, Lambert was routed, and it created great confusion in the country; but Friends were not kept long in prison at that time. As I went to this meeting, several came to to me at Skegby in Nottinghamshire; they were going to be soldiers under Lambert, and would have bought my horse from me; and because I would not sell him, they were in a great rage against me, using many threatening words; but I told them, 'God would confound and scatter them;' and within two or three days after that, they were indeed scattered.

From Warmsworth I passed in the Lord's power to Barton-abbey, where I had a large meeting; from there I went to Thomas Taylor's, and on to Skipton, where was a general meeting of men Friends out of many counties concerning the affairs of the church. A Friend went naked through the town declaring truth, and he was very beaten. Some other Friends also came to me all bloody. As I walked in the street, a desperate fellow had an intent to have done me mischief; but he was prevented, and our meeting was quiet. To this meeting came many Friends out of most parts of the nation; for it was about business relating to the church, both in this nation, and beyond the seas. Several years before when I was in the north, I was moved to recommend to Friends the setting up of this meeting for that service; for many Friends suffered in various parts of the nation, their goods were taken from them contrary to law, and they didn’t understand how to help themselves, or where to seek redress. But after this meeting was set up, several Friends who had been magistrates and others who understood something of the law, came there, and were able to inform Friends, and to assist them in gathering up the sufferings, that they might be laid before the justices, judges, or parliament. This meeting had stood several years, and many justices and captains had come to break it up; but when they understood the business Friends met about, and saw Friends' books and accounts of collections for relief of the poor, how we took care one county to help another, and to help our Friends beyond sea, and provide for our poor that none of them should be chargeable to their parishes, etc; the justices and officers confessed that we did their work, and would pass away peaceably and lovingly, commending Friends' practice. Sometimes there would be two hundred of the poor of other people to come and wait until the meeting was done, (for all the country knew we met about the poor); and after the meeting, Friends would send to the bakers for bread, and give everyone of those poor people a loaf, however many there were of them; for we were taught 'to do good to all, though especially to the household of faith.'

<back> <next>