The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1666 - 1673 - To America and Back <page 1 >


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After I was released, I would have given the governor something for the civility and kindness he had lately shown me; but he would not receive anything; saying 'whatever good he could do for me and my friends, he would do it, and never do them any hurt.' And afterwards, if at anytime the mayor of the town sent to him for soldiers to break up Friends' meetings, if he sent any down, he would privately give them a charge 'not to interfere.' And so he continued loving to his dying day. The officers also and the soldiers were mightily changed and became very respectful to me. When they had occasion to speak of me, they would say 'he is as stiff as a tree and as pure as a bell; for we could never bow him.'

The very next day after my release, the fire broke out in London; and the report of it came quickly down into the country. Then I saw the Lord God was true and just in his word, which he had shown me before in Lancaster jail; when I saw the angel of the Lord with a glittering drawn sword southward, as before expressed. And the people of London were forewarned of this fire; yet few took it to heart, or believed it; but rather grew more wicked and higher in pride. For a little before the fire a Friend was moved to come out of Huntingdonshire, and to scatter his money up and down the streets, and to turn his horse loose in the streets, and to untie the knees of his breeches, and let his stockings fall down, and to unbutton his doublet, and tell the people, 'so should they run up and down, scattering their money and goods, half undressed, like mad people, as he was a sign to them;' and so they did when the fire broke out, and the city was burning. Thus has the Lord exercised his prophets and servants by his power, showed them signs of his judgments, and then sent them to forewarn the people; but instead of repenting, they have beaten and cruelly treated some; and some they had imprisoned, both in the former power's days, and since. But the Lord is just; and happy are they that obey his word. Some have been moved to go naked in their streets, in the other power's days and since, as signs of their nakedness; and have declared among them ‘that God would strip them of their hypocritical professions and make them as bare and naked as they were.' But, instead of considering it, they have frequently whipped or otherwise abused them and sometimes imprisoned them. Others have been moved to go in sack cloth and to denounce the woes and vengeance of God against the pride and haughtiness of the people; but few regarded it. And in the other power's days, the wicked, envious, professing priests put up several petitions both to Oliver Cromwell and his successor Richard, called the protectors, and to the parliaments, judges, and justices against us, stuffed full of lies, and vilifying words and slanders; but we got copies of them, and through the Lord's assistance answered them all, and cleared the Lord's truth and ourselves of them. But oh! The body of darkness that rose against the truth in them that made lies their refuge! But the Lord swept them away; in and with his power, truth, light, and life he fenced his lambs around and preserved them as on eagles' wings. Therefore we all have had and have great encouragement to trust the Lord, who we saw by his power and spirit overturn and bring to nothing all the confederacies and counsels that were hatched in darkness against his truth and people; and by the same, truth gave his people dominion, that in it they might serve him.

From Valiant for the Truth: The very day after George Fox left his prison house the city of London was visited by another calamity, scarcely less terrible than the dreaded plague. It had been a very hot summer, and the houses in London, being mostly built of timber filled in with plaster, were dry and combustible as firewood. In the middle of the night a fire broke out near London Bridge in a baker's shop, where a quantity of firewood was stored, and in a few moments the flames spread from house to house, baffling all attempts to check their progress. For three days the fire fiend sped on his way, devouring the richest warehouses, the finest churches, and the abodes of the nobility, as well as the humble dwellings of the poor. When at last he ceased his mad course, two thirds of that populous city lay a sightless mass of cinders and ashes. The scene is thus described by Evelyn in his "Diary:" "The sky was of a fiery aspect, like the top of a burning oven, the light being seen above forty miles around for many nights. The conflagration was so universal, and the people so astonished, that from the beginning they hardly stirred to quench it; so that there was nothing heard or seen but crying out and lamentation, and running about like distracted creatures."

Only the day but one before the fire broke out, there had been a strange sight in the crowded, busy streets of the city. A Friend from Huntingdonshire passed through them, with his doublet unbuttoned, rushing about frantically, scattering his money, and crying out that the people of that city should do so in a few days. No one believed his prediction, but it was fully verified at the time of the fire.

And indeed, I could not but take notice how the hand of the Lord turned against those of my persecutors who had been the cause of my imprisonment, or had been abusive or cruel to me under it. For the officer that took me to Houlkerhall lost his estate and soon fled into Ireland. And most of the justices that were upon the bench at the sessions when I was sent to prison died a short time later; as old Thomas Preston, Rawlinson, Porter, Col West and Matthew West, of Borwick. {Preston's wife, son, and daughter were dead.} And justice Fleming's wife died, and left him thirteen or fourteen motherless children; who had imprisoned two Friends to death, and thereby made several children fatherless. Colonel Kirby never prospered after {and buried three wives.} The chief constable, Richard Dodgson, died soon after; and Mount, the petty constable, and the wife of John Ashburnham, the other petty constable, who railed at me in her house, died soon after. William Knipe, the witness they brought against me, died soon after. Hunter, the jailer of Lancaster, who was very wicked to me while I was his prisoner, was cut off in his young days. The under-sheriff, that carried me from Lancaster prison towards Scarborough, lived not long after. And one Joblin, the jailer of Durham, who was prisoner with me in Scarborough castle, and had often incensed the governor and soldiers against me, though he got out of prison, the Lord cut him off in his wickedness soon after. When I came into that country again, most of those that dwelt in Lancashire were dead, and others ruined in their estates; so that, though I did not seek revenge upon them, for their actions against me contrary to the law, yet the Lord had executed his judgments upon many of them.

Being now at liberty, I went about three miles to a large general meeting at a Friend's house, who had been a chief constable; and all was quiet and well. On fourth-day after, I returned to Scarborough, and had a meeting in the town at Peter Hodgson's. To this meeting came one called a lady, and several other great persons; also a young man, son to the bailiff of the town, who had been convinced while I was there in prison. That lady (so called), came to me, and said, 'I spoke against the ministers.' I told her, ‘Such as the prophets and Christ declared against formerly, I declared against now.'

From here I went to Whitby; and having visited Friends there, I passed to Burlington, where I had another meeting. From there I went to Oram, where I had another meeting; and there to Marmaduke Storr's, where we had a large meeting at a constable's house, on whom the Lord had done a great miracle.

Since the next day two Friends were to take each other in marriage, there was a very great meeting that I attended. I was moved to open the state of our marriages, declaring 'how the people of God took one another in the assemblies of the elders; and that it was God who joined man and woman together before the fall. And though men had taken it upon themselves to join in the fall, yet in the restoration, it is God's joining that is the right and honorable marriage; but never did a priest marry any that we read of in the scriptures, from Genesis to the Revelation.' Then I showed them the duty of man and wife, how they should serve God, being heirs of life and grace together.

After the meeting I passed from there to Grace Barwick's where I had a general meeting, which was very large. I came next to Richard Shipton's, where I had another meeting; and so to a priest's house, whose wife was convinced; and the priest had grown very loving, and was glad to see me. This was that priest, who, in the year 1651, threatened, ‘if ever he met with me again, he would kill me or else I would have to kill him;' and he had said that 'he would go mad if I were not brought to nothing in a month;' but now he was partly convinced, and had become very kind. I went from his house towards the sea, where several Friends came to visit me: among others, Philip Scarff, who had formerly been a priest, but having received the truth, had now become a preacher of Christ freely, and continued so. Passing on, I stopped to call on an ancient man, who was convinced of truth and was over one hundred years old. Then I went to a Friend's house, where I had a great, quiet meeting. I also had a great meeting near Malton; and another large one near Hull; from where I went to Holdendike. As we went into the town, the watchmen questioned me and those that were with me; but since they didn’t have any warrants to detain us, we passed by them, and in a rage they threatened they would search us out. I went to the house of one called the lady Montague, where I lodged that night; and several Friends came to visit me. Next morning, being up in good time, I walked into the orchard and saw a man about sunrise go into the house in a great cloak. He did not stay long; but soon came out again, and went away, not seeing me. I felt something strike at my life; and went into the house, where I found the maid servant frightened and trembling. She told me, 'That man had a naked rapier under his cloak.' By which I perceived he came with the intent to have injured me; but the Lord prevented him.

I then visited Friends until I came to York, where we had a large meeting. After that I went to visit Justice Robinson, an ancient justice of peace; who had been very loving to me and Friends from the beginning. There was a priest with him; who told me, ‘It was said of us, that we loved none but ourselves.' I told him, 'We loved all mankind as they were God's creation, and as they were children of Adam and Eve by generation; and we loved the brotherhood in the Holy Ghost.'

This stopped him. After some other discussion, we parted friendly and passed away.

About this time I wrote a book entitled Fear God, and honor the king; in which I showed 'that none could rightly fear God, and honor" our the king, but those who departed from sin and evil;' this book impressed the soldiers and most people. Having visited Friends at York, we passed to a market-town, where we had a meeting at George Watkinson's, who formerly had been a justice. A glorious, blessed meeting it was; and it was very large with the seed of life being set over all. We would have not been able to enter this town, had not providence made way for us; for the watchmen stood ready to stop us, but there was a man riding just before us, and the watchmen questioned him first. Perceiving he was a justice, he let him pass; and we escaped being stopped by riding close to him, passing through with him.

From this place we passed to Thomas Taylor's, who had formerly been a captain, where we had a precious meeting. Nearby Thomas Taylor's lived one called a knight, who had been very displeased when he heard I was about to be released from prison; and had threatened, 'if the king set me at liberty, he would send me to prison again the next day.' But though I had this meeting so near him, the Lord's power stopped him from interfering, and our meeting was quiet. Colonel Kirby also, who had been the chief means of my imprisonment at Lancaster and Scarborough castles, when he heard I was set at liberty, got another order for the arresting me; and said, 'He would ride his horse forty miles to take me, and would give forty pounds to have me arrested.' Yet soon after I came so near him and had a meeting within two miles of him; and then he was struck with the gout, and was bedridden, so that it was thought he was about to die.

From Thomas Taylor's I visited Friends until I came to Synderhillgreen, where I had a large and general meeting. When the priest of the place heard of it, he sent the constable to the justices for a warrant; and they rode their horses so hard that they almost ruined them; but since they had short notice and a long way to travel, the meeting was ended before they arrived. I did not hear of them until I was leaving the house, after meeting was over; and then a Friend came and told me, 'They were searching another house for me, which was the house to which I was then going.' As I went along the alleys towards it, I met the constables, wardens, and the justice's clerk. I passed through them with them looking at me and went to the house that they had been searching. Thus they lost their design; for the Lord's power bound them, and preserved me over them; and Friends parted, and all escaped them. The officers went away as they came; for the Lord God had frustrated their design, praised be his name forever!

After this I went into Derbyshire, where I had a large meeting. Some Friends were apprehensive of the constable's coming for they had had great persecution in those parts; but our meeting was quiet. A justice of peace in that county had taken away much of Friends' property; at which point Ellen Fretwell had made her appeal to the sessions, and the rest of the justices granted her the return of her property; and she spoke to the persecuting justice, telling him that he should not do such a thing again. As she was moved to speak to that justice and warn him, he said to her, 'Come and sit down on the bench. 'OK, (said she), if I may persuade you to do justice to the country, I will sit down with you.'  He said 'No, then you shall not leave the court.' As she was going, she was moved of the Lord to turn again, and say, ‘she should be sitting as justice and he should not.' After the sessions were ended, he got among some of his persecuting companions, and said, 'they would get some more of the Quakers' property, if the devil did not raise up that woman to hinder them.' So he went home and drove away the woman’s brother's oxen as a penalty for going to meetings. Then Susan Frith, a Friend of Chesterfield, was moved of the Lord to tell him, 'if he continued his persecuting the innocent, the Lord would execute his plagues upon him.' Soon after which this justice, whose name was Clark, fell insane and was bound with ropes; but he gnawed the ropes in pieces, and had almost ruined his maid; for he fell upon her and bit her, so that they were forced to put an iron instrument into his mouth to pry his teeth out of her flesh; and afterwards he died insane. These events were told to me by Ellen Fretwell herself.
 
I traveled out of Derbyshire into Nottinghamshire, and had a large meeting at Skegby; from there went to Mansfield, where also I had a meeting; and there to another town, where I met with many Friends at a fair. Then passing through the forest in a mighty thundering and rainy day, I came to Nottingham. So great was the storm, that many trees were torn up by the roots, and some people killed; but the Lord preserved us. On first-day following, I had a large meeting in Nottingham that was very quiet. Friends came to sit under their teacher, the grace of God, which brought them salvation, and were established upon the rock and foundation Christ Jesus. After the meeting I went to visit the Friend who had been sheriff and had me as his prisoner around 1649.

From Nottingham I passed into Leicestershire, and came to Syleby, where we had a large blessed meeting. After which I went to Leicester to visit the prisoners there, and then to John Penford's, where we had a large and precious general meeting. From there I passed through the country visiting Friends and my relatives, until I came to Warwick; where having visited the prisoners, I passed to Badgley, and there had a precious meeting. I traveled through Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, visiting Friends in each county. In Oxfordshire the devil had laid a snare for me, but the Lord broke it; his power came over all, his blessed truth spread, and Friends were increased there. Thus after I had passed through many counties, visiting Friends, and had many large and precious meetings among them, I came to London. But I was so weak with lying almost three years in cruel and hard imprisonments, my joints and my body were so stiff and benumbed, that I could hardly get upon my horse, or bend my joints, or tolerate being near a fire, or to eat warm food, I had been kept so long from it. Arriving in London, I walked a little among the ruins from the Great Fire, and took good notice of them. I saw the city had been reduced to the same state that the word of the Lord had shown me when it came to me to prophesy several years before.

From Valiant for the Truth: When George Fox was released from his rigorous imprisonment in Scarborough Castle, he found signs of trouble in the church he loved so well. After attending a few meetings, which he records as " blessed seasons," he turned his steps towards London, arriving there to find the crowded city a ruin, and two thirds of its inhabitants homeless, their dwellings having been burned to ashes. He himself was weak in body, his limbs swollen with cruel hardships. His early companions, the valiant sixty who had gone out two by two to preach the gospel, were either dead or in prison, and the congregations, which they had been the means of gathering, had been sifted by persecution or were suffering from internal dissensions. It was evident to this wise, clear-headed man, that some course must be taken by which the different gatherings of the Friends might be united in one harmonious whole.

After I had been a time in London and visited meetings through the city, I went into the country again, and had large meetings as I went at Kingston, Reading, and in Wiltshire, until I came to Bristol; where I also had many large meetings. Thomas Lower came out of Cornwall to meet with me and Friends from several parts of the nation because it was then the fair-time. After I was clear of Bristol, I went to Nathan Crips' and through the country to London again, having large meetings along the way; and they were all quiet, thanks be the Lord. Thus, although I was very weak, I traveled around in the service of the Lord, who enabled me to go through in my weakness.
 
About this time, some who had deviated from truth and clashed against Friends, were reached by the power of the Lord, which came wonderfully over them, and made them 'condemn and tear their papers of controversy to pieces.' We had several meetings with them, and the Lord's everlasting power was over all, and set judgment on the head of those who had deviated. In these meetings, which lasted whole days, several who had run out with John Perrot and others came in again, and condemned that spirit which led them to 'keep on their hats when Friends prayed, and when themselves prayed.' Some of them said, ‘Friends were more righteous than they; and that, if Friends had not stood firm, they would have been gone and fallen into perdition.' Thus the Lord's power was wonderfully manifested and came over all.

Then I was moved of the Lord to recommend the setting up of five Monthly Meetings of men and women in the city of London, besides the women's meetings and the Quarterly Meetings, to take care of God's glory and to admonish and exhort such as walked disorderly or carelessly and not according to truth. Up to this time Friends only had Quarterly Meetings; now truth was spread and Friends had grown more numerous. I was moved to recommend the setting up of Monthly Meetings throughout the nation. And the Lord opened to me what I must do, and how the men's and women's Monthly and Quarterly meetings should be ordered and established in this and other nations; and that I should write to those that I did not visit to do the same. So after things were well settled at London, and the Lord's truth, power, seed, and life reigned and shined over all in the city, I went into Essex. After the monthly meetings were settled in that county, I went into Suffolk and Norfolk, Thomas Dry being with me. When we had visited Friends in those parts, and the Monthly Meetings were settled there, we went into Huntingdonshire, where we had very large and blessed meetings; and though we met with some opposition there, the Lord's power came over all, and the Monthly Meetings were established there too. When we came into Bedfordshire, we had great opposition; but the Lord's power came over all of it. Afterwards we went into Nottinghamshire, where we had many precious meetings, and the Monthly Meetings were settled there. Then passing into Lincolnshire, we had a meeting of some men Friends of all the meetings in the county, at the house of the former sheriff of Lincoln; and all was quiet. After this meeting we passed over Trent into Nottinghamshire again, the former sheriff of Lincoln being with me, where we shared some of the meetings in that county together. Our meetings were glorious and peaceable, and we had many precious meetings in that county.

At that time William Smith was very weak and sick, and the constables and others had seized all his property, including his bed he lay upon, for truth's sake. These officers threatened to come and break up our meeting; but the Lord's power chained them, so that they had not power to interfere with us, blessed be his name. After the meeting I went to visit William Smith, and the constables and others were there watching his corn and his beasts to prevent any of them from being removed.

From there we passed into Leicestershire and Warwickshire, where we had many blessed meetings. The order of the gospel was set up, and the men's Monthly Meetings established in all those counties. Then we went into Derbyshire, where we had several large and blessed meetings. In many places we were threatened by the officers, but through the power of the Lord, we escaped their hands. Leaving things well settled in Derbyshire, we traveled over the Peak-hills, (which were very cold, for it was then frost and snow), and came into Staffordshire. At Thomas Hammersley's we had a general men's meeting; where things were well settled in the gospel order, and the Monthly Meetings were established. But I was so exceedingly weak that I was hardly able to get on or off my horse's back; but since my spirit was earnestly engaged in the work for which the Lord placed a concern in me and sent me out, I traveled on, despite the weaknesses of my body. I had confidence that the Lord would carry me through, as he did with his power. We came into Cheshire, where we had several blessed meetings and a general men's meeting; here all the Monthly Meetings for that county were settled, according to the gospel order, in and by the power of God. After the meeting I left the area. But when the justices heard of the meeting, they were very much troubled that they had not broken it up and arrested me; it was the Lord who had prevented them. After I had cleared myself there in the Lord's service, I passed into Lancashire, to William Barnes', near Warrington, where met representatives of most of the meetings in that county; and there all the Monthly Meetings were established in the gospel order also. From there I sent papers into Westmoreland by Leonard Fell and Robert Widders, and also into Bishoprick, Cleveland, Northumberland, Cumberland, and Scotland, to exhort Friends to settle the Monthly Meetings in the Lord's power in those places; which they did. So the Lord's power came over all, and the heirs of it came to inherit it. For the authority of our meetings is the power of God, the gospel, which brings life and immortality to light; that all might see over the devil that darkened them, that all the heirs of the gospel might walk according to the gospel, and glorify God with their bodies, souls, and spirits, which are the Lord's; for the order of the glorious gospel is not of man or by man. To this meeting in Lancashire, Margaret Fell, being a prisoner, got liberty to come, and went with me from there to Jane Milner's in Cheshire, where we parted. I passed into Shropshire, and from there into Wales, and had a large general men's meeting at Charles Lloyd's, where some who were opposed entered; but the Lord's power brought them down.

From Valiant for the Truth: Margaret Fell, the honored mistress of Swarthmore Hall was all these long years shut up within the walls of Lancaster Castle, In a place which she thus describes: "The storm and wind and rain find easy access, and which sometimes is filled with smoke." [She was confined in the Quaker Room, where many Quakers were imprisoned; George Fox was in a small room of the dungeon, more exposed to the harsh weather and smoke ]. Deprived of active cooperation with her friends, she found solace in the use of her pen. By her position in society and her strong, vigorous mind she had always exercised a commanding influence in the little body among whom she had cast her lot, by whom she was regarded as a mother in Israel; and now in her captivity she continued a loving oversight over the infant church, and epistles of advice and counsel found their way to the different meetings of Friends. She also wrote several tracts, and an earnest and forcible letter to the king, expostulating with him for his violation of the Declaration of Breda, and his promise to her that Friends should not be molested if they lived peaceably. Charles II, however, took no notice of this appeal, and she remained in prison nearly two years longer, when the persevering efforts of her friends obtained her release in 1668, after an imprisonment of four years and a half.

She did not long remain in her comfortable home, for very soon we find her engaged in visiting all the prisons in England where any Friends were confined.

She had learned by sad experience the trials and privations experienced by those who were incarcerated in the dismal jails of that day, and longed to comfort the prisoners. And having also proved the supporting power of the Lord, she was well fitted to be a minister of consolation, and brought a ray of brightness to many a lonely, sorrowing one.

Having gone through Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire, we passed into Merionethshire, where we had several blessed meetings; and then to the seaside, where we had a precious meeting. We left Wales, the Monthly Meetings being settled there in the power of God, and returned into Shropshire, where the Friends of the country gathering together, the Monthly Meetings were established there also. Coming into Worcestershire, after many meetings among Friends in that county, we had a general men's meeting at Henry Gib's at Pashur; where the Monthly Meetings were also settled in the gospel order.

The sessions were being held that day in the town, and some Friends were concerned that the justices would send officers to break up our meeting; but the power of the Lord restrained them so that it was quiet; through which power we had dominion. I had several meetings among Friends in that county, until I came to Worcester; and since it was the fair-time, we had a precious meeting. Major Wild was in Worcester then, who was a persecutor of Friends. After I had left the city,  some of the Major’s soldiers were asking questions about me; but having left the Friends there settled in good order, we passed to Droitwich, and from there to Shrewsbury, where also we had a very precious meeting. The mayor, hearing I was in town, got the rest of the officers together to consult what to do against me; for they said, 'The great Quaker of England is come to town.' But when they met, the Lord confounded their counsels, so that some were for imprisoning me, but others of them opposed it; and so being divided among themselves, I escaped their hands.
 
We went into Radnorshire, where we had many precious meetings, and the Monthly Meetings were settled in the Lord's power. As we came out of that county, staying a little at a market-town, a justice's clerk and some other rude fellows combined together to attack us on the road. Accordingly they followed us out of town, and soon overtook us; but there were so many market people on the road that they were somewhat hindered from doing what they intended. Yet observing two of our company ride at some distance behind, they set upon them, and one attacked one Friend whose name was Richard Moor, the surgeon of Shrewsbury. Meanwhile another of these rude fellows came galloping after me and the other Friend with me. We were crossing over a bridge that was somewhat too narrow for him to pass by us. So in his eagerness to get in front of us, he rode into the brook and plunged into a deep hole in the water. I saw his intent, stopped, and advised Friends to be patient, and give them no excuse. At which time Richard Moor and the other Friend caught up with us; they knew the attackers and their names. Then we rode on, and a little further met another man on foot drunk with liquor with a naked sword in his hand; and not far beyond him were two women and two men, one of whom had his thumb cut off by this drunken man. The drunken man had attempted rudeness to one of the women, and this man opposed the drunk and rescued the woman, but had his thumb cut off. This evil man’ horse was loose and following him quite a distance behind. I rode after the horse, caught him, and brought him to the man who had his thumb cut off. I told him to take the horse to the next justice of peace, by which means they might be informed about the incident and pursue the man that had wounded him.
 
Upon this occasion I wrote a letter to the justices, and the judge of assize which was then at hand. I employed some Friends to carry it to the justices first. The justice, to whom the clerk belonged, rebuked him and the others also, for abusing us upon the highway; so that they were glad to come and beg Friends not to appear against them at the assize; which, upon their submission to us and their acknowledgement of their errors, was agreed not to prosecute. This forgiveness served the cause of Friends in the country well; for it stopped many rude people, who had been inclined to abuse Friends.

We passed into Herefordshire, where we had several blessed meetings. We had a general men's meeting also, where all the Monthly Meetings were settled. About this time, there was a proclamation against meetings; and as we came through Herefordshire, we were told of a great meeting there of the Presbyterians, who had committed themselves to keep meeting, and lose everything, rather than cease their meetings. When they heard of this proclamation, the people came, but the priest was gone, and left them at a loss. Then they met in Leominster privately, and provided bread, cheese, and drink, in readiness, that if the officers should come, they might put up their bibles and look busy eating instead. The bailiff found them out, came in among them, and said, 'Their bread and cheese should not cover them, he would have their speakers.' They cried, 'what then would become of their wives and children?' But he took their speakers and kept them awhile. The bailiff told Peter Young this and said, 'They were the in truth the worst hypocrites that ever made a profession of religion.'

They had the same deceptive plan in other places. For there was one Pocock at London, that married Abigail Darcy, who was called a lady; and she being convinced of truth, I went to his house to see her. This Pocock had been one of the judges of the priests; and, being a high Presbyterian, and envious against us, he used to call our Friends house creepers. He being present, she said to me, 'I have something to speak to you against my husband.' 'No, (I said), you must not speak against your husband.' 'Yes, (she said), but I must in this case. The last first-day; (she said), he, his priests and people, the Presbyterians, met; they had candles, tobacco-pipes, bread, cheese, and cold meat on the table; and they agreed beforehand, if the officers should come in upon them, they would leave their preaching and praying, and fall to their cold meat.' 'Oh,' I said to him, 'is not this a shame to you who imprisoned us and seized our goods, because we would not join you in your religion; and called us house-creepers, and now you do not stand to your own religion yourselves? Did you ever find our meetings stuffed with bread and cheese, and tobacco pipes? Or did you ever read in the scriptures of any such practice among the saints?' ‘Why,’ the old man said ‘we must be as wise as serpents.' I answered, 'This is the serpents wisdom indeed. But who would have thought that you Presbyterians and Independents, who persecuted, imprisoned others, seized their goods, and whipped such as would not follow your religion, should now flinch yourselves, and not dare to stand to your own religion, but cover it with tobacco pipes, flagons of drink, cold meat, and bread and cheese?' I understood afterwards that this and other such deceitful practices were too common among them in times of persecution.

After we had traveled through Herefordshire, and meetings were well settled there, we passed into Monmouthshire, where I had several blessed meetings; and at Walter Jenkins', who had been a justice of peace, we had a large meeting, where some were convinced; this meeting was quiet. But to a meeting before this the bailiff of the hundred had come, almost drunk, pretending he was to arrest the speakers. There was a mighty power of God in the meeting; so that, although he raged, it limited him so that he could not break up the meeting. When it was over I stayed awhile, and he also stayed. After some time I spoke to him, and so passed quietly away. At night some rude people came, and shot off a musket against the house, but did not hurt anybody. Thus the Lord's power came over all, and chained down the unruly spirits, so that we escaped them. We came to Ross that night, and had a meeting at James Merrick's.
 
After this we came into Gloucestershire, and had a general men's meeting at Nathaniel Crip's, where all the Monthly Meetings were settled in the Lord's everlasting power; and the heirs of salvation were exhorted to take their possessions in the gospel, the power of God, which was and is the authority of their meetings. Many blessed meetings we had in that county, before we came to Bristol. And after several powerful times together, the men's and women's meetings were also settled there.

As I was lying in bed at Bristol, the word of the Lord came to me; that I must go back to London. Next morning Alexander Parker and several others came to me. I asked them, what they felt? They asked me, what was upon me? I told them, I felt I must return to London. They said the same was upon them. So we gave up to return to London; for whichever way the Lord moved and led us, there we went in his power. Leaving Bristol, we passed into Wiltshire, and established the men's Monthly Meetings in the Lord's power there; and visited Friends until we came to London.
 
After we had visited Friends in the city, I was moved to exhort them to bring all their marriages to the men's and women's meetings, that they might lay them before the faithful; that care might be taken to prevent such disorders as had been committed by some. For many had gone together in marriage contrary to their relatives' minds; and some young, raw people, that came among us, had mixed with the world. Widows had also married, without making provision for their children by their former husbands, before they married again. Yet I had given forth a paper concerning marriages about the year 1653, when truth was still little spread, advising Friends, who might be concerned in that case, 'that they might lay it before the faithful in time, before anything was concluded; and afterwards publish it in the end of a meeting, or in a market, as they were moved to do. And when all things were found clear, being free from all others, and their relatives satisfied, they might appoint a meeting for the purpose of taking of each other in the presence of at least twelve faithful witnesses.' Yet these directions were not being observed, and since truth was now more spread over the nation, it was ordered by the same power and spirit of God, 'that marriages should be laid before the men's Monthly and Quarterly Meetings, or as the meetings were then established; that Friends might see that the relatives of those who proceeded to marriage were satisfied; that the parties were clear from all others; and that widows had made provision for their first husband's children before they married again; and what else was needful to be inquired into; that all things might be kept clean and pure, and be done in righteousness to the glory of God.' Afterwards it was ordered in the wisdom of God, ‘that if either of the parties intending to marry came out of another nation, county, or Monthly Meeting, they should bring a certificate from the Monthly Meeting to which they belonged; for the satisfaction of the Monthly Meeting before which they came to lay their intentions of marriage.'

After these things, with many other services for God, were set in order, and settled in the churches in the city, I passed out of London, in the leadings of the Lord's power, into Hertfordshire. After I had visited Friends there, and the men's Monthly Meetings were settled, I had a great meeting at Baldock with many sorts of people. Then returning towards London by Waltham, I advised the setting up of a school there for teaching boys; and also a women's school to be opened at Shacklewell for instructing girls and young maidens, in whatsoever things were civil and useful in the creation.

Thus, after several precious meetings in the country, I came to London again, where I stayed awhile in the work and service of the Lord; and then went into Buckinghamshire, where I had many precious meetings. At John Brown's, of Weston, near Aylesbury, some of the men Friends of each meeting being gathered together, the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were established, in the order of the gospel, the power of God; which confirmed it in all that felt it, who came thereby to see and feel that the power of God was the authority of their meetings. I then went to Nathaniel Ball's, at North Newton, near Banbury, Oxfordshire, who was a friend in the ministry. And since this was a general meeting, where some of all the meetings were present, the Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the power of God; and Friends were very glad of them; for they came into their services in the church to take care for God's glory. After this meeting we passed through the county visiting Friends, until we came into Gloucestershire, and visiting Friends through that county also, we came into Monmouthshire, to Richard Hambery's; where meeting with representatives of all the meetings of that country, the Monthly Meetings were settled there in the Lord's power, that all in it might take care of God's glory, and admonish and exhort such as did not walk as became the gospel, {that it made a great impression of the surrounding area; so much so that the justices said that never had such a man come into their country that had reconciled neighbor to neighbor, and husband to wife, and turned many people there from their loose lives}. And indeed, these meetings made a great reformation among people, so that the justices took notice of the usefulness and service of them.

Richard Hambery and his wife accompanied us a day's journey, visiting Friends, until we came to a widow's, where we stayed that night. On the next day we left and passed over the hills visiting Friends and declaring the truth to people until we came to another widow's where we had a meeting. The woman could not speak English; yet she praised the Lord for sending us to visit them.

We traveled until we came to Swansey, where on the first-day we had a large and precious meeting, the Lord's presence being eminently among us. The next day we had a general meeting beyond Swansey, of men Friends from Swansey, Tenby, Haverford west, and other places; and the Monthly Meetings were settled in the gospel order, and received by Friends in the power of the Lord; whose truth was over all.

In order to cross the water into Cornwall we went back through Swansey to Mumbles, thinking to cross in a boat there. The master of the boat there had promised to carry us over, but he had deceived us for when we arrived he refused. We went to another place, where there was a ferry, and we had our horses on the boat when some rude men, called gentlemen, in the boat threatened to shoot the master if he took us in. The master, being afraid of them, turned our horses out again; which destroyed our hopes of getting over that way. Therefore, turning back into the country, we stayed up all night; and about the second hour in the morning took horse, and traveled until we came near Cardiff, where we stayed one night. The next day we came to Newport, and it being market-day there, several Friends came to us, with whom we met; and after a fine refreshing time together, we parted from them and went forward.

Beyond this market-town we overtook a man who lingered on the way, as if he was waiting for somebody; but when we came up to him, he rode along with us and asked us many questions. At length meeting with two, who seemed to be pages to some great persons, he took acquaintance with them; and I heard him tell them he would stop us, and arrest us. We rode on; and when he came to us, and would have stopped us, I told him,'none ought to stop us on the king's highway, for it was as free for us as for them;' and I was moved to exhort him to fear the Lord. Then he galloped away ahead of us, and I saw his intent was to stop us at Shipton, in Wales, a garrison town through which we were to pass. John-ap-John was with me. When we arrived at Shipton, we walked down the hill into the town, leading our horses. It being market-day there, several Friends met us, and wanted us to stay at an inn. But we were not to go into any inn, so we walked directly through the town over the bridge, and then were out of the limits of that town. Thus the Lord's everlasting arm and power preserved us, and carried us over in his work and service.

The next first-day we had a large meeting in the forest of Dean; and all was quiet. Next day we passed over the water to Oldstone. After we had visited Friends there, we came again to William Yeoman's at Jubb's Court in Somersetshire. From there we went to a meeting at Posset, where several Friends of Bristol came to us. After that we went further into the country, and had several large meetings. The Lord's living presence was with us, supporting and refreshing us in our labor and travel in his service.

We came to a place near Minehead where we had a general meeting of the men Friends in Somersetshire. There came also a thief, whom some friendly people wanted me to let him travel with me. I saw he was a thief and told them bring him to me so I could see if he could look me in the face. Some were ready to think I was too hard on him, because I would not let him travel with me; but when they brought him to me, he was not able to look me in the face, but looked here and there. For he was indeed a thief; who by pretending to be a minister, had stolen a priest’s suit from a priest and left with it.
 
After the meeting we passed to Minehead, where we spent that night. In the night I had an exercise upon me, from a sense I had of a dark spirit that was working and striving to get up to disturb the church of Christ. Next morning I was moved to write a few lines to Friends, as a warning of that, as follows:

Dear Friends,

Live in the power of the Lord God, in his seed that is set over all, and is over all trials that you may have from the dark spirit, which seeks to use you for its purposes, and forces itself among you; which has not yet come. In the power of the Lord God, and his seed, keep over it, and bring it to condemnation. For I felt a kind of dark spirit thrusting itself up towards you, and heaving up last night; but you may keep it down with the power of God; that the witness may arise to condemn its actings, so far as it has spread its dark works before it has any admittance. So no more, but my love in the seed of God, which changes not.

George Fox

 Minehead in Somersetshire, the 22d of the 4th month, 1668.

The next day several Friends of Minehead accompanied us as far as Barnstable and Appledon in Devonshire, where we had a meeting.

Barnstable had been a bloody persecuting town. There were two men Friends of that town, who had been a great while at sea; and coming home to visit their relatives (one of them having a wife and children), the mayor of the town sent for them, under pretence of wanting to have a discussion with them. He then put the oaths of allegiance and supremacy to them. Because they could not swear, he sent them to Exeter jail, where judge Archer indicted them, and kept them until one of them died in prison. When I heard of this, I was moved to write a letter to judge Archer, and another to that mayor of Barnstable, laying their wicked and unchristian actions upon their heads; and letting them know, that the blood of that man would be required at their hands.

After a precious meeting at Appledon among some faithful Friends there, we passed to Stratton, and stayed at an inn all night. Next day we rode to Humphrey Lower's, where we had a very precious meeting; the next day to Truro, so visiting Friends until we came to the Land's End. Then coming by the south part of that county, we visited Friends until we came to Tregangeeves, where at Loveday Hambley's we had a general meeting for all the county; in which the Monthly Meetings were settled in the Lord's power, and in the blessed order of the gospel. So that all who were faithful might admonish and exhort such as walked not according to the gospel; that the house of God might be kept clean, righteousness might run down, and all unrighteousness be swept away. Several, who had departed from our gospel order, were brought to condemn what they had done as wrong; and through repentance joined our fellowship again.

Being clear of that county, we came into Devonshire, and had a meeting among Friends at Plymouth. Passing to Richard Brown's, we came to the widow Philips', where we had some men Friends from all the meetings together; and there the men's Monthly Meetings were settled in the heavenly order of the gospel, the power of God; which answered the witness of God in all. There was a great rumor of a troop of horse coming to disturb our meeting; but the Lord's power prevented it, and preserved us in peace and safety.

After things were well settled, and the meeting done, we came to King's bridge and visited Friends in the area. Leaving Friends in those parts well settled in the power of God, we passed to Topsham and Membury, visiting Friends and having many meetings on the way until we came to Ilchester in Somersetshire. Here we had a general men’s meeting, and in the meeting settled the men's Monthly Meetings for that county in the Lord's everlasting power, the order of the gospel. After the meetings were settled, and Friends refreshed, comforted in the Lord's power, and established upon Christ, their rock and foundation, we passed to Puddimore; where, at William Beatons', we had a blessed meeting and all was quiet; though the constables had threatened before the meeting.

When we had visited most of the meetings in Somersetshire, we passed into Dorsetshire to George Harris' where we had a large men's meeting. There all the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the glorious order of the gospel; that all in the power of God might 'seek that which was lost, bring again what was driven away; cherish the good, and reprove the evil'

Then having visited the meetings of Friends through the country we came to Southampton, where we had a large meeting on the first day. From there we went to Captain Reaves', where the general men's meeting for Hampshire was appointed; to which some from all parts of the county came, and a blessed meeting we had. The men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the order of the gospel, which had brought life and immortality to light in them.

A rude company of Ranters came; they had opposed and disturbed our meetings many times. One of the women had laid with a man who had declared it at the Market-cross, thus glorying in his wickedness. A company of these lewd people lived together at a house near the place of our meeting. I went to the house and told them of their wickedness. The man of the house asked, ‘Why did I make it such an issue?' Another of them said, ‘It was to make me stumble.' I told them, ‘their wickedness would not make me stumble; for I was above it.' And I was moved of the Lord to tell them, 'the plagues and judgments of God would overtake them, and come upon them.' Afterwards they went up and down the country, until at last they were cast into Winchester jail; where the man who had laid with the woman stabbed the jailer, but not mortally. After they were let out of jail, this fellow who stabbed the jailer hung himself. The woman also reportedly had cut a child's throat. These people had formerly lived about London; and, when the city was burned, they prophesied, 'that all the rest of London should be burnt within fourteen days,' and quickly left town. Though they were Ranters, great opposers of Friends, and disturbers of our meetings, yet some would be likely to say that they were Quakers in the country where lived. For that reason I was moved of the Lord to write a paper to be dispersed among the magistrates and people of Hampshire, to clear Friends and truth of them and their wicked actions.

After the men's Monthly Meetings in those parts were settled, and the Lord's blessed power was over all, we went to a town where we had a meeting with Friends. From there we came to Farnham, where we met many Friends, it being a market-day. We had many precious meetings in that country. Friends in those parts had formerly been plundered by the magistrates, and much of their property had been seized on account of tithes and for going to meetings; but the Lord's power at this time preserved both them and us from falling into the persecutors' hands.

We had a general men's meeting at a Friend's house in Surry; who had been so extremely plundered that he scarcely had a cow, horse, or pig left. The constables threatened to come and break up our meeting; but the Lord restrained them. At this meeting the men's Monthly Meetings were settled in the authority of the heavenly power. After we had visited Friends in that county, and had many large and precious meetings, we passed to a Friend's house in Sussex, where the general meeting for the men Friends of that county was appointed to be held; and several from London came there to visit us. We had a blessed meeting; and the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were then settled in the Lord's eternal power, the gospel of salvation; that all in it might keep to the order of the gospel. There were at that time many threats of disturbance; but the meeting was quiet. We had several large meetings in that county; though Friends were in great sufferings there, and many were in prison. I was requested to visit a Friend who was sick, and went to see Friends that were prisoners. There was danger of my being apprehended; but I went in the faith of God's power, and thereby the Lord preserved me in safety.

We passed into Kent; where, after we had been at several meetings, we had a general one for the men Friends of that county. There also the men's Monthly Meetings for that county were settled in the power of God, and established in the order of the gospel, for all the heirs of it to enter into their services and care in the church for the glory of God. Friends rejoiced in the order of the gospel, and were glad of the settlement of order which is not of man, nor by man.

After this I visited the meetings in Kent; and when I had cleared myself of the Lord's service in that county, I came to London. Thus were the men's Monthly Meetings settled through the nation; for I had been in Berkshire before, where most of the ancient Friends of that county were in prison; and when I had informed them of the service of the Monthly Meetings, they were settled among them also. The Quarterly Meetings were generally settled before. I wrote also into Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Barbados, and several parts of America, advising Friends to settle their men's Monthly Meetings in those countries. For they had their general Quarterly Meetings before; but now that truth was increased among them, they should settle those men's Monthly Meetings in the power and spirit of God which first convinced them. And since these meetings have been settled, all the faithful who are heirs of the gospel, have met together in the power of God. Which power is the authority of them to perform service to the Lord within it. Many mouths have been opened in thanksgivings and praise, and many have blessed the Lord God, that he ever sent me forth in this service; yes, with tears have many praised him. For all have come to have a concern and care for God's honor and glory, that his name be not blasphemed, which they profess; and to see that all who profess the truth, walk in the truth, in righteousness and holiness, which becomes the house of God, and that all order their conversation aright, that they may see the salvation of God; all having this care upon them for God's glory, and being exercised in his holy power and spirit, in the order of the heavenly life and gospel of Jesus, they may all see and know, possess and partake of the government of Christ, of the increase of which there is to be no end. Thus the Lord's everlasting renown and praise is set up in everyone's heart that is faithful; so that we can say the gospel order established among us is not of man, nor by man, but of and by Jesus Christ, in and through the Holy Ghost. This order of the gospel, which is from Christ the heavenly man, is above all the orders of men in the fall, whether Jews, Gentiles, or apostatized christians, and will remain when they are gone. For the power of God, which is the everlasting gospel, was before the devil was, and will be and remain forever. And as the everlasting gospel was preached in the apostles' days to all nations, that all might come into the order of it, through the divine power, which brings life and immortality to light, that they who are heirs of it, might inherit the power and authority of it; so now, since all nations have drunk the whore's cup, and all the world has worshipped the beast, (except they, whose names are written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, who have worshipped God in spirit and truth, as Christ commanded), the everlasting gospel is to be, and is, preached again, as John the divine foresaw it should, to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. This everlasting gospel torments the whore, and makes her and the beast to rage, even the beast that has power over the tongues which are called the original, to order them, by which they make divines, as they call them. But all that receive the gospel, the power of God, which brings life and immortality to light, come to see over the beast, devil, whore, and false prophet, that darkened them and all their worships and orders, and come to be heirs of the gospel, the power of God, which was before the beast, whore, false prophet, and devil were, and will be when they are all gone and cast into the lake of fire. And they that are heirs of this power and of this gospel inherit the power which is the authority of this order and of our meetings. These come to possess the joyful order of the joyful gospel, the comfortable order of the comfortable gospel, the glorious order of the glorious gospel, and the everlasting order of the everlasting gospel, the power of God which will last forever, and will outlast all the orders of the devil, and what is of men or by men. These shall see the government of Christ, who has all power in heaven and earth given to him; and of the increase of his glorious, righteous, holy, just government there is no end; but his government and his order will remain; for he who is the author of it is the first and the last, the beginning and ending, the foundation of God, which over all stands sure, Christ Jesus, the Amen.

Being returned to London, I stayed some time, visiting Friends' meetings in and about the city. While I was in London, I went one day to visit him that was called squire Marsh, who had showed much kindness both to me and Friends. I happened to go when he was at dinner. He no sooner heard of my name, but he sent for me to come up, and would have had me sit down with him to dinner; but I had not freedom to do so. Several great persons were at dinner with him; and he said to one of them who was a great Papist, 'here is a Quaker, which you have not seen before.’ The Papist asked me, 'whether I did own the christening of children?' I told him,' there was no scripture for any such practice.' 'What!' he said, 'not for christening children!' I said, 'no' I told him, 'the one baptism by the one spirit into one body we owned; but to throw a little water on a child's face, and say, that was baptizing and christening it, there was no scripture for that.' Then he asked me, ‘whether I did own the Catholic faith?' I said, 'yes;' but added, 'that neither the pope nor the Papists were in the Catholic faith; for the true faith works by love, and purifies the heart and if they were in that faith that gives victory, by which they might have access to God, they would not tell the people of a purgatory after they were dead. So I undertook to prove, "that neither pope nor Papists, that held a purgatory hereafter, were in the true faith." For the true, precious, divine faith, which Christ is the author of, gives victory over the devil and sin that had separated man and woman from God. And if they (the Papists) were in the true faith, they would never use racks, prisons, and fines to persecute and force others to their religion, that were not of their faith. This was not the practice of the apostles and primitive Christians, who witnessed and enjoyed the true faith of Christ; but it was the practice of the faithless Jews and Heathens to do so. But,' I said, 'seeing you are a great and leading man among the Papists, and have been taught and bred up under the pope, and seeing you say, "there is no salvation but in your church;" I desire to know of you, what it is that does bring salvation in your church?' He answered, 'a good life.' 'And nothing else?' I said. 'Yes,' he said, ‘good works!' 'And is this that brings salvation in your church, a good life and good works? Is this your doctrine and principle?' I said. 'Yes,' he said. 'Then,' I said, ‘neither you, nor the pope, nor any of the Papists know what it is that brings salvation.' He asked me, 'what brought salvation in our church?' I told him, 'what brought salvation to the church in the apostles' days, the same brought salvation to us, and not another; namely, “the grace of God, which" the scripture says, "brings salvation, and has appeared to all men," which taught the saints then, and teaches us now. And this grace, which brings salvation, teaches, "to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live godly, righteously, and soberly." So it is not the good works, nor the good life that brings the salvation, but the grace.’ What!' said the Papist, 'does this grace, that brings salvation, appear unto all men?' ‘Yes,'I said. 'Then,' he said, 'I deny that.' I replied, 'all that deny that are sect makers, and are not in the universal Catholic, grace, and truth, which the apostles were in.' Then he spoke to me about the mother church. I told him, the several sects in Christendom had accused us, and said, "we departed from our mother church." The Papists charged us with abandoning their church, saying, "Rome was the only mother church." The Episcopalians taxed us with quitting the old Protestant religion, alleging, "theirs was the reformed mother church." The Presbyterians and Independents blamed us for leaving them, each of them pretending "theirs was the right reformed church." But I said, if we could own any outward place to be the mother church, we should own Jerusalem, where the gospel was first preached by Christ himself and the apostles, where Christ suffered, where the great conversion to christianity by Peter was, where were the types, figures, and shadows, which Christ ended, and where Christ commanded his "disciples to wait until they were endued with power from on high.” So if any outward place deserved to be called the mother that was the place where the first great conversion to Christianity was. But the apostle said, Gal 4:25-26. "Jerusalem, which now is in bondage with her children; but Jerusalem, which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, rejoice, you barren, that bear not; break forth and cry, you that travail not; for the desolate has many more children than she that has a husband."verse 27. Now this we see, that Jerusalem below, (which was the highest place of worship), and all that be like her, in profession without possession, have more children than the free woman, that has an husband, which is Jerusalem that is above, the mother of us all, that are true christians. So the apostle does not say that outward Jerusalem was the mother, though the first and great conversion to Christianity was there; and there is less reason for the title “mother” to be given to Rome, or to any other outward place or city by the children of Jerusalem that is above and free; neither are they Jerusalem's children, (from the City that is above and free), who give the title of mother either to outward Jerusalem, to Rome, or to any other place or sect of people. And though this title [mother] has been given to places and sects by the degenerate Christians, yet we say still, as the apostle said of old, "Jerusalem that is above, is the mother of us all;" and we can own no other, neither outward Jerusalem, nor Rome, nor any sect of people for our mother, but Jerusalem which is above, which is free, the mother of all that are born again, become true believers in the light, and are grafted into Christ, the heavenly vine. For all who are born again of the immortal seed, by the word of God which lives and abides for ever, feed upon the milk of the word, the breast of life, grow by it in life; and cannot acknowledge any other to be their mother, but Jerusalem which is above.' 'Oh!' said squire Marsh to the Papist, 'you do not know this man. If only he would come to church now and then, he would be a brave man.'

 

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