The Missing Cross to Purity


The Journal of George Fox - 1666 - 1673 - To America and Back <page 2 >


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After some other discourse, I went aside with justice Marsh into another room, to speak with him concerning Friends; for he was a justice of peace for Middlesex, and being a courtier, the other justices relied on him for the management of affairs. He told me, 'He was perplexed how to act between us and some other Dissenters. For, (he said), you cannot swear, and the Independents, Baptists, and Fifth Monarchy-people also say that they cannot swear; therefore, (he said), how shall I know how to distinguish between you and them, seeing they and you all say, it is for conscience sake that you cannot swear?' I answered, ‘I will show you how to distinguish. At least most of them you speak of can and do swear in some cases, but we cannot swear in any case. If a man should steal their cows and horses, and you should ask them whether they would swear they were theirs, many of them would readily do it; but if you try our Friends, they cannot swear for their own goods. Therefore, when you put the oath of allegiance to any of them, ask them, "Whether they can swear in any other case, as for their cow or horse?" Which, if they are really one of us, they cannot do, though they can bear witness to the truth.' I gave him a relation of a trial in Berkshire, which was as follows: 'A thief stole two beasts from a Friend of ours. The thief was taken and cast into prison, and the Friend appeared against him at the courts. Before he heard the Friend, somebody having informed the judge that the prosecutor was a Quaker and could not swear, the judge asked, "Is he a Quaker, and will he not swear? Then tender him the oaths of allegiance and supremacy." So he cast the Friend into prison, indicted him, and let the thief go at liberty.' Justice Marsh said, 'That judge was a wicked man.' 'But (I said), if we could swear in any case, we would take the oath of allegiance to the king, who is to preserve the laws that are to support every man in his estate. On the other hand, those that can swear in cases to preserve a part of their estates if they are robbed will not take the oath to the king, who is to preserve them in their whole estates and bodies also. So that you may easily distinguish and put a difference between us and those people.' Justice Marsh was afterwards very serviceable to Friends in this and other cases; for he kept several, both Friends and others, from being indicted; and when Friends were brought before him, in time of persecution, he set many of them at liberty. When he could not avoid sending them to prison, he sent some for a few hours, or a night. At length he went to the king and told him, 'He had sent some of us to prison contrary to his conscience, and he could not do it any more.' Therefore, he removed his family from Limehouse, where he lived, and took lodgings near James' Park. He told the king, 'If he would be pleased to give liberty of conscience that would quiet and settle all; for then none could have any pretence to be uneasy.' And indeed he was a very serviceable man to truth and Friends in his day.
 
We had great service at London this year; the Lord's truth came over all. Many who had revolted from truth came in again this year, confessing and condemning their outgoings.

After I had stayed some time in London, I visited Friends in Surry, Sussex, and other places that way, and then traveled northward, having Leonard Fell with me. We visited Friends until we came to Warwich, where many were in prison. We had a meeting in the town. I passed from there to Birmingham and Badgely. At Badgely I had a large meeting. After which I passed through the country visiting Friends, until I came to Nottingham, where on the first day we had a precious meeting, but not without danger of being apprehended because the constables had threatened Friends.

I passed from there, visiting Friends until I came to Balby, and so to the York Quarterly Meeting. A blessed meeting we had. Friends in Yorkshire had met in seven Monthly Meetings before, and they were so sensible of the service of them, that they desired to have seven more added to them; for truth was very widespread in that county. Accordingly in that Quarterly Meeting they were settled and established; so now they have fourteen Monthly Meetings in that county.

It being the assize-time at York, I met with justice Hotham, a well wisher to Friends, who had been tender and very kind to me in the beginning of the spread to truth.

After I had finished my service for the Lord in York, I passed into the country. As I went, a great burden fell upon me; but I did not immediately know the reason of it. I came to a meeting on first-day at Richard Shipton's which was very large. There was a meeting the same day at another place, and the priest of that place, being misinformed that I would be there, got a warrant and made great disturbance at that meeting; of which Isaac Lindley gave me an account by the following letter:

To: George Fox

When you went from York, the first-day after you were at Richard Shipton's, I had appointed a meeting that day ten miles from York, where there had not been a meeting before. But the priest and the constable got a warrant on the seventh-day, and put your name only in the warrant; for they had heard you were to be there. They came with weapons and staves, and cried, "Where is Mr. Fox?" over and over. Since many Friends were there, they concluded you were among them. But those raveners, being disappointed, pulled me down, abused me, beat some Friends, and then took me before a magistrate; but he set me at liberty.  

Isaac Lindley

I then visited Friends at Whitby and Scarborough. When I was at Scarborough, the governor, hearing I had come, invited me to his, house, saying, 'Surely, I would not be so unkind, as not to come and see him and his wife.' After the meeting I went to visit him, and he received me very courteously and lovingly.

Having visited most of the meetings in Yorkshire, the Woulds, and Holderness, I came to Henry Jackson's, where I had a great meeting. From there to Thomas Taylor's, and to John Moore's at Eldreth, {where Sarah Fell and Susannah Fell met me} and where we had a very large meeting; the Lord's power and presence was eminently among us.

{After this we came to Staffordshire and Cheshire. There lived Sir Jeffrey Shaker, who has been a cruel persecutor of Friends. He had a scene with a young 18-19 year old man who had been at the mill with two loaded horses. The young man could not get his horses out of his way, and Shakerly began to beat him with his cane. The young man took it out of his hand and laid it down beside him. The Shakerly took out his pistols, and the young man took it out of his hands and laid them down, (beside him because the way was narrow).  And then Shakerly drew his sword, and the young man also took it out of his hand  and laid it down.

His servant was behind him. They were both drunk. Shakerly called to his servant, said that this Quaker had disarmed him. The servant told the Friend to give him back his weapons, which he didn't want to do, for fear he would try to harm him again. So the servant asked the Friend to give the arms to him, which he said he would, if he promised to keep them away from his master so he could not do him harm.

So Shakerly sent his servant away to get a constable, and to bring a bible to tender the oath of Allegiance  and Supremacy to him. Shakerly sat on his horse while he kept the younger man's horses all loaded up until the servant returned.

When the servant came back, he said he could not find a constable, and since the people around were poor, he could not get a bible either. The friend gave the servant his master's weapons, and they both went away to look for a constable. The servant was more civil than his master. He told the Friend to stay at the blacksmith's shop until they were gone and out of sight. So the Friend stayed there awhile, and when they didn't return, he left to go over the common with his loaded horses. After Shakerly had been riding around looking for a constable, he saw him and followed him to the town. A priest and constable came to him and Shakerly wanted to make a mittimus and send him to jail for disarming him. But the constable and the priest persuaded him not to do it because the Friend was in his old clothes. The priest said his father [Shakerly] was a very honest man, though his father was one of the biggest drunks in the town and he used to beat his son. In his drunkenness, his son had been used to disarming his father of his weapon in his drunkenness, which made the son and expert at his work.

After this Shakerly rode away without giving a mittimus to the constable. But it created such a noise in the country, that Friends persuaded the young man to go to London to live, staying out of Shakerly's way. I got this story straight from Will Gandy's mouth.}

In Staffordshire and Cheshire, we had many large and precious meetings. I had a very large one at William Barns', about two miles from Warrington; and though suffering with gout, colonel Kirby was now traveling again, being as violent as before in breaking up meetings, and was then at Warrington, the Lord did not allow him to come to this meeting; so we were preserved out of his hands.

Now was I moved of the Lord to go over into Ireland to visit the seed of God in that nation. Robert Lodge, James Lancaster, Thomas Briggs, and John Stubbs went with me. We waited near Liverpool for an available ship and the proper wind. After we had waited some days, we sent James Lancaster to purchase passage for four or five men, {without naming the men, for this was Colonel Kirby's home county and he had said he would pay forty pounds and ride forty miles to take him [Fox], and that he had an order from king, which several told him showed his enmity the truth.} When James brought word that the ship was ready and was destined to the port at Blackrock in Ireland, we went there on foot. I was exhausted with the walk because it was quite a distance, and it was very hot that day. When we arrived the ship was not there, so we were obliged to go to the town and take shipping there. When we were got on board, I said to the rest of the company, 'Come, you will triumph in the Lord, for we shall have fair wind and weather.' Many passengers in the ship were sick, but not one of our company was sick. The master and many of the passengers were very loving; and being at sea on a first-day, I was moved to declare truth among them; at which point the master said to the passengers, 'Come, here are things that you never heard in your lives.' When we came into Dublin, we took boat and went ashore. I thought that the earth and air smelled with the corruption of the nation; a different smell to me than England did, which I attributed to the corruption and popish massacres that had been committed, and the blood that had been spilt in it, from which a foulness arose. We passed through and among the customs officers four times, yet they did not search us; for they perceived what we were. Some of them were so envious that they would not look at us. We did not immediately find Friends; but went to an inn and sent to inquire for some, who were exceeding glad of our coming and received us with great joy. We stayed there for the Weekly Meeting, which was a large one, and the power and life of God appeared greatly in it. Afterwards we passed to a province meeting, which lasted two days, there being both a men's meeting about the poor, and another more general, in which a mighty power of the Lord appeared. Truth was lovingly declared, and Friends were much refreshed in the meeting.

Passing from there about twenty-four miles, we came to another place, where we had a very good refreshing meeting; after which some Papists were angry, and raged very much. When I heard of it, I sent for one of them, a schoolmaster; but he would not come. "Upon which I sent a challenge to him, with all the friars, monks, priests, and Jesuits, to come forth, and try their God and their Christ, which they made of bread and wine.'

We went on to New-garden, where was a great meeting. From there we traveled on among Friends until we came to Bandon bridge and the Land's-end, having many meetings as we went; in which the mighty power of the Lord was manifested, Friends were well refreshed, and many people were affected with the truth.

{Coming to a town on the time they call Whitsunday holy days, the streets were full of the Irish people who had been at mass. I called for their Jesuits and priests, and the people asked for what purpose. I replied, 'I would give them two pence for their labors in saying a two penny's worth mass for my horse, which was not unreasonable since they had a mass for candles and a mass for lambs. Why might not my horse have a mass as well as the candles and lambs, for he was a good creature.' In many towns and cities I called for the same mass; and the Papists asked why did I meddle with their religion, but I could get no answer from them. Therefore I told them, 'They were worse than the priests of Baal; for Baal's priests tried their wooden god, but these dared not try their god of bread and wine; and Baal's priests and people did not eat their god,* as these did, and then make another.'}

*Fox is referring to the Roman Catholic belief that if a priest says a prayer over bread and wine, they are miraculously transformed into Christ's body and blood. The trial he proposed is to take bread and wine, divide each in half, perform their magic on one half and see if it lasts any longer than the bread without sorcery performed on it.

At Bandon, the mayor's wife, being convinced, desired her husband to come to the meeting; but he told her for her life’s sake that she should not disclose that I was at a meeting there.

The then mayor of Cork, being very envious against truth and Friends, had many Friends in prison; and knowing I was in the country, he sent four warrants to take me; therefore Friends desired that I not ride through Cork. But being at Bandon, there appeared to me in a vision of ‘a very ugly countenanced man with a black and dark look. My spirit struck at him in the power of God, and it seemed to me that I rode over him with my horse, and my horse set his foot on the side of his face.' When I came down in the morning, I told a Friend, the command of the Lord was to me to ride through Cork; but told him to tell no one. So we took horse, many Friends being with me. When we came near the town, {Friends would have me to go into their houses. I new this would sink me into the fire, so I stayed on my horse, which was the command of God; and I rode pure and clear over, for the word was to me that my horse was the best way to overcome them and would pass him close by them.} Other Friends would have shown me a way on the backside of it; but I told them, my way was through the streets. {They told me that way was very slippery, the time being the height of the market, that I should not go, and my horse would not be able to stand. I told them that made little difference and asked which of them would ride through town with me. All the rest stayed behind while} I took Paul Morrice to guide me through the town, I rode on; and as we rode through the market place, and by the mayor's door, he, seeing me, said, ‘there goes George Fox;' but he had no power to stop me.

{Since I was generally recognized, there was a great fire in the hearts and spirits of the people as I rode through the town, as they looked and peeped. When I came near the prison, the prisoners [Friends] saw me and knew me and trembled with fear, lest I be arrested.} When we had passed through the sentinels, and had come over the bridge, we went to a Friend's house, and dismounted. There the Friends told me, what a rage the town was in, and how many warrants were granted to take me. While I was sitting there with Friends, I felt the evil spirit at work in the town, stirring up mischief against me; and I felt the power of the Lord strike at that evil spirit. By and by some other Friends coming in, told me, 'It was over the town, and among the magistrates, that I was in the town.' I said, 'Let the devil do his worst.' After awhile Friends were refreshed by one another’s company, and we who were travelers were also refreshed; I called for my horse, and having a Friend to guide me, we went on our way. I understood that the Mayor and others of Cork were enraged that they had missed me, and afterwards made great efforts to arrest me by putting scouts out on the roads to discover which way I had gone. After this almost all public meetings that I attended had spies to watch for me. And the envious magistrates and priests exchanged intelligence concerning me, describing me by my hair, hat, clothes, and horse; so that when I was near a hundred miles from Cork, they had an account concerning me, and description of me, before I arrived among them. One very envious magistrate, who was both a priest and a justice, got a warrant from the judge of assize to apprehend me; the warrant was to go over all his circuit, which reached near a hundred miles. Yet the Lord disappointed all their counsels, defeated all their designs against me, and by his good hand of providence preserved me out of all their snares, and gave us many sweet and blessed opportunities to visit Friends and spread truth through that nation. For meetings were very large, Friends coming to them from far and near; and other people flocking in. The powerful presence of the Lord was preciously felt with and among us; by which many of the world were reached, convinced, gathered to the truth, and the Lord's flock was increased, and Friends were greatly refreshed and comforted in feeling the love of God. Oh! the brokenness that was among them in the flowings of life! So that, in the power and spirit of the Lord, many together have broken out into singing, even with audible voices, making melody in their hearts.

At which time I was moved to declare to Friends there in the ministry, as follows:
 
Sound, sound abroad,
you faithful servants of the Lord,
witnesses in his name,
faithful servants, prophets of the Highest, and angels of the Lord!
Sound you all abroad in the world,
to the awakening and raising of the dead,
that they may be awakened and raised up out of the grave
to hear the voice that is living.
For the dead have long heard the dead,
and the blind have long wandered among the blind,
and the deaf among the deaf.
Therefore sound, sound, you servants, prophets, and angels of the Lord,
you trumpets of the Lord,
that you may awaken the dead,
awaken them that are asleep in their graves of sin, death and hell, sea and earth,
and who lie in the tombs.
Sound, sound abroad, you trumpets
and raise up the dead, that the dead may hear the voice of the Son of God,
the voice of the second Adam that never fell,
the voice of the light, the voice of the life, the voice of the power, the voice of the truth,
the voice of the righteous, and the voice of the just.
Sound, sound the pleasant and melodious sound.
Sound, sound you the trumpets, the melodious sound abroad,
that all the deaf ears may be opened to hear the pleasant sound of the trumpet
to judgment and life,
to condemnation and light.
Sound, sound your trumpets all abroad,
you angels of the Lord, sons and daughters, prophets of the Highest,
that all that are dead and asleep in the graves,
who have been long dreaming and slumbering,
may be awakened and hear the voice of the Lamb,
who have long heard the voice of the beast,
that now they may hear the voice of the bridegroom,
the voice of the bride,
the voice of the great prophet,
the voice of the great King,
the voice of the great shepherd and bishop of their souls.
Sound, sound it all abroad, you trumpets,
among the dead in Adam;
for Christ is come, the second Adam,
that they might have life,
yes have it abundantly.
Awaken the dead,
awaken the slumberers,
awaken the dreamers,
awaken them that are asleep,
awaken them out of their graves,
out of their tombs,
out of their sepulchers,
out of the seas!
Sound, sound abroad, you trumpets!
You trumpets that awaken the dead,
that they may all hear the sound of it in the graves,
and they that hear may live and come to the life, that is, the Son of God.
He is risen from the dead,
the grave could not hold nor contain him,
neither could all the watchers of the earth,
with all their guards, keep him there.
Sound, sound, you trumpets of the Lord,
to all the seekers of the living among the dead,
that he is risen from the dead;
to all the seekers of the living among the dead,
and in the graves that the watchers keep;
he is not in the grave,
he is risen;
and there is that under the grave of the watchers of the outward grave,
which must be awakened and come to hear his voice,
who is risen from the dead,
that they might come to live.
Therefore sound abroad, you trumpets on the Lord,
that the grave might give up her dead,
and hell and the sea might give up their dead;
and all might come forth to judgment,
to the judgment of the Lord before his throne and have their sentence and reward according to their works.
Away with all the chaff and the husks,
and contentions and strife,
that the swine feed upon in the mire,
and in the fall;
and the keepers of them of Adam and Eve's house in the fall;
that lies in the mire, out of light and life.

George Fox

To James Hutchinson's in Ireland came many great persons, desiring to discourse with me about Election and Reprobation. I told them, ‘Though they judged our principle foolish, it was too high for them, they could not with their wisdom comprehend it; therefore I would discourse with them according to their capacities.' You say,' I said, 'that God has ordained the greatest part of men for hell, and that they were ordained so before the world began; for which your proof is in Jude. You say, Esau was reprobated and the Egyptians, and the stock of Ham. But Christ said to his disciples, "Go, teach all nations;" and, "Go into all nations, and preach the gospel of life and salvation." If they were to go to all nations, were they not to go to Ham's stock, and Esau's stock? Did not Christ die for all? Then for the stock of Ham, of Esau, and the Egyptians. Does not the scripture say, "God would have all men to be saved?" Mark, "All men;" then the stock of Esau, and of Ham also. Does not God say, "Egypt my people?" and that he would have an altar in Egypt? Isa 19:25. Were there not many Christians formerly in Egypt? And does not history say, that the bishop of Alexandria would formerly have been pope? And had not God a church in Babylon? I confess, "The word came to Jacob, and the statutes to Israel;" the like was not to other nations. For the law of God was given to Israel. But the gospel was to be preached to all nations, and is to be preached. The gospel of peace and glad tidings to all nations. "He that believes is saved, but he that does not believe is condemned already;" so the condemnation was through unbelief. And whereas Jude speaks of some that were of old ordained (or written of before), to condemnation, he does not say, before the world began; but "written of old;" which may be referred to Moses’s writings, who wrote of those whom Jude mentions, namely Cain, Korah, Balaam, and the angels that did not keep their first estate; and such Christians as followed them in their way, and apostatized from the first state of Christianity, were and are ordained for condemnation by the light and truth, from which they are gone. And though the apostle speaks of God's loving Jacob and hating Esau, yet he tells the believers, "We all were by nature children of wrath, even as others." This includes the stock of Jacob, of which the apostle himself and all believing Jews were. Thus both Jews and Gentiles were all included under sin, and so under condemnation, that God might have mercy upon all through Jesus Christ. So the election and choice stands in Christ: "and he that believes is saved, and he that believes not is condemned already." Jacob typifies the second birth, which God loved; and, both Jews and Gentiles must be born again, before they can enter the kingdom of God. When you are born again, you will know election and reprobation; for the election stands in Christ, the seed, before the world began; but the reprobation lies in the evil seed since the world began.' After this manner, but somewhat more largely, I discoursed with those great persons about this matter, and they confessed they had never heard so much before.

After I had traveled over Ireland, and visited Friends in their meetings, as well for business as worship, and answered several papers and writings from monks, friars, and Protestant priests, (for they all were in a rage against us, and endeavored to stop the work of the Lord, and some Jesuits swore in range of our hearing, that we came to spread our principles in that nation, but we should not do it), I returned to Dublin in order to take passage for England. When I had stayed the first-day's meeting there, which was very large and precious, there being a ship ready, and the wind serving, we took our leave of Friends; parting in much tenderness and brokenness, in the sense of the heavenly life and power, that was manifested among us. Having put our horses and necessities on board in the morning, we went ourselves in the afternoon, many Friends accompanying us to the ship; and despite the danger, many friendly people followed us in boats about three miles, their love drawing them. {But I felt the power of darkness up to twenty miles from Ireland at sea}. A good, weighty, and true people there is in that nation, sensible of the power of the Lord God, and tender of his truth, and very good order they have in their meetings; for they stand up for righteousness and holiness, which dams up the way of wickedness. A precious visitation they had, and there is an excellent spirit in them, worthy to be visited. I could write many more things about Ireland and of my travels in it, which if detailed would be large; but I thought it good to state the importance of this much at least so that the righteous may rejoice in the prosperity of truth there.

James Lancaster, Robert Lodge, and Thomas Briggs came back with me; John Stubbs, having further service there, stayed behind. We were two nights at sea, in one of which a mighty storm arose that put the vessel in great danger; but I saw the power of God went over the winds and storms, and he had them in his hand, and his power bound them. And the same power of the Lord God, which carried us over, brought us back again; and in his life gave us dominion over all the evil spirits that opposed us there.

We landed at Liverpool, and went to Richard Johnson's, William Barnes', and to William Gandy's, visiting Friends, and having many precious meetings in Lancashire and Cheshire. We pushed on towards Bristol, and when we came into Gloucestershire, we heard a report at Nailsworth that had spread in that country, 'That George Fox had turned Presbyterian, that a pulpit was prepared for him and set in a yard, and that there would be a thousand people there the next day to hear him.' I thought it strange that such a report should be raised of me; yet as we went further on from one Friend's house to another, we kept hearing it over and over. We passed by the yard where the pulpit was, and saw it, and went to the place where Friends' meeting was to be next day, where we stayed that night. Next day, being the first-day, we had a very large meeting, and the Lord's power and presence was among us.
 
The occasion of this strange report (as I was informed), was this. There was one John Fox, a Presbyterian priest, who used to go about preaching; and some, changing his name from John to George, gave out that George Fox was turned from a Quaker to be a Presbyterian, and would preach at such a place such a day. This created such curiosity in the people, that many went there to hear this Quaker turned Presbyterian, who would not have gone to have heard John Fox himself. By this means it was reported they had attracted above a thousand people. But when they came there, and perceived they had a trick put upon them, that he was but a counterfeit George Fox, and understood that the real George Fox was nearby, several hundred came to our meeting, and were sober and attentive. 'I directed them to the grace of God in themselves, which would teach them, and bring them salvation.' So people generally saw and were ashamed of the forgery of the Presbyterians, and the Lord's power and truth came over all. When the meeting was over, some of the people said, 'they liked George Fox the Quaker's preaching better than George Fox the Presbyterian's.'

{After I had cleared myself ot the Lord's service there, I passed on; and there was a a shopkeepe , Thomas Atkins and his wife, who lived not far away in Naylesworth. They tole me there was a separate meeting of the Presbyterians and they took an oath from their people that they would neither buy or sell, eat or drink, with Friends. The foremost among the women fell sick with a numbing condition so that she could neither move hand or foot, and all the Doctors could do nothing to help her. Two or three of their women came to the shop and pretended to buy something from Thomas Atkins' wife, and she showed them the things they requested. In their discourse they confessed they had taken the before said oath, but the reason they came was because of the woman who lay in the numbing misery, and to ask her help and advice as to her recovery. Atkins' wife asked them how they could dispense with thier oath, and they said they were forced to break it. So Thomas Atkins' wife took the woman in hand and cured her. And so the Lord broke the wicked bonds of the Presbyterians asunder with which they had ensnared their people. Much more might be written about these things.}

Not long after this John Fox was complained of in the house of Commons, 'for having a tumultuous meeting, in which treasonable words were spoken:' which (according to the best in information I could get), was thus: John Fox had formerly been priest of Mansfield, in Wiltshire; and being put out of that place, was afterwards permitted by a common-prayer priest to preach sometimes in his steeple-house. At length this Presbyterian priest, presuming too far upon the parish priest's former grant, began to be more bold than welcome, and attempted to preach there whether the parish priest would or not. This caused a great conflict and contest in the steeple-house between the two priests, and their hearers on either side; in which contest the common prayer book was cut to pieces, and, as it was said, some treasonable words spoken by some of the followers of John Fox. This was quickly put in the news, and some malicious Presbyterians caused it to be so worded as if it had proceeded from George Fox the Quaker, though I was above two hundred miles from the place when this conflict happened. When I heard of it, I soon procured certificates from some of the members of the house of commons, who knew this man, and gave it under their hands that it was John Fox, who had formerly been parson of Mansfield, in Wiltshire, that was complained of to the house of commons, to be the chief ringleader in that unlawful assembly.

And indeed this John Fox discovered himself to be an ill man; for some who had been his followers came to be convinced of truth, and thereupon left him; upon which he came to some of their houses to talk with them; and they telling him, 'he was in the steps of the false prophets, preaching for hire and filthy lucre, like those whom Christ cried woe against, and the apostles declared against, such as served not the Lord Jesus Christ but their own bellies, and telling him, Christ said, freely you have received, freely give, and therefore he should not take money of people for preaching, especially now times were so hard;' he replied, 'God bless preaching; for that brings in money, let times go how they will. Fill my belly with good victuals; then call me false prophet, or what you will, and kick me about the house when you have done, if you will.' This relation I had from a man and his wife, who had been formerly his hearers, and whom John Fox (with others), caused deeply to suffer. For he, and some other Presbyterian priests, proceeding to a widow woman's home, who had the right to her dead husband’s tithing income, and took the tithes of the parish; she told them, 'there was a Quaker in that parish that would not pay her tithes;' and asked, what she should do with him. They advised her, ‘to send workmen to cut down and carry away his corn:' which she did, and thereby impoverished the man. But to proceed.

After this meeting in Gloucestershire, we traveled until we came to Bristol; where I met with Margaret Fell, who was come to visit her daughter Isabel Yeomens. I had seen from the Lord, a considerable time before, that I should take Margaret Fell to be my wife; and when I first mentioned it to her, she felt the answer of life from God thereunto. But though the Lord had opened this thing to me, yet I had not received a command from him for the accomplishing of it then. Therefore I let the thing rest, and went on in the work and service of the Lord, according as he led me; traveling up and down in this nation and through Ireland. But now being at Bristol, and finding Margaret Fell there, it opened in me from the Lord that the thing should be accomplished. After we had discussed the matter together, I told her, 'if she also was satisfied with the accomplishing of it now, she should first send for her children:' which she did. When the rest of her daughters arrived, I asked both them and her sons-in-law, 'if they had anything against it, or for it?' desiring them to speak; and they all severally expressed their satisfaction with the proposal. Then I asked Margaret, 'if she had fulfilled her husband's will to her children?' she replied, ‘the children knew she had.' At this point I asked them, 'whether, if their mother married, they should not lose by it?' and I asked Margaret, ‘whether she had done anything in difference to it, which if so she might speak about it to the children?' the children said, 'she had answered it to them, and desired me to speak no more of that. I told them, 'I was plain, and would have all things done plainly; for I did not seek any outward advantage to myself.' So our intention of marriage was laid before Friends both privately and publicly, to their full satisfaction, many of whom gave testimony to it, for it was of God. Afterwards, a meeting being appointed for the marriage in the public meeting-house at Broad Mead, in Bristol, we took each other in marriage; the Lord joining us together in the honorable marriage, in the everlasting covenant and immortal seed of life. During the joining, living and weighty testimonies were stated there by Friends, as they were moved of the heavenly power which united us together. Then was a certificate, relating both the proceedings and the marriage, openly read, and signed by the relations, and by most of the ancient Friends of that city; besides many others from several parts of the nation.
 
After we were married we stayed about a week in Bristol, and then went together to Oldstone; where, taking leave of each other in the Lord, we parted, resorting ourselves each to our separate service; Margaret returning homewards to the north, and I passing on in the work of the Lord as before. I traveled through Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and so to London, visiting Friends: in all which counties I had many large and precious meetings.

Being in London, it came upon me to write to Friends throughout the nation, about 'putting out poor children to trades.' Therefore I sent the following epistle to the Quarterly Meetings of Friends in all the counties.

My Dear Friends,

Let every Quarterly Meeting make inquiry through all the Monthly and other meetings, to know all Friends that are poor, widows or others, that have children fit to put out to apprenticeships; so that once a quarter you may set forth an apprentice from your Quarterly Meeting; so you may set forth four in a year, in each county, or more, if there be occasion. This apprentice, when out of his time, may help his father or mother, and support the family that is decayed; and, in so doing, all may come to live comfortably. This being done in your Quarterly Meetings, you will have knowledge through the county, in the Monthly and particular meetings, of masters fit for them; and of such trades as their parents or you desire, or the children are most inclinable to. Thus being placed out to Friends, they may be trained up in truth; and by this means in the wisdom of God, you may preserve Friends' children in the truth, and enable them to be a strength and help to their families, and nurturers and preservers of their relatives in their old age. Thus also, things being ordered in the wisdom of God, you will take off a continual maintenance, and free yourselves from much burden. For in the country, you know, you may place an apprentice for a little to several trades, as bricklayers, masons, carpenters, wheelwrights, plough wrights, tailors, tanners, leather-dyer, blacksmiths, shoemakers, nail-maker, butchers, weavers of linen and woolen stuffs and other woolen trades, etc. And you may do well to have funds reserved in your Quarterly Meetings for that purpose. All that is given by any Friends at their decease (except it be given to some particular use, person, or meeting) may be brought to the public fund for that purpose. This will be a way for the preserving of many that are poor among you; and it will be a way of financially helping poor families. In several counties it is practiced already. Some Quarterly Meetings sponsor two apprentices; and sometimes the children of others that are placed on the parish. You may bind them for fewer or more years, according to their capacities. In all which things the wisdom of God will teach you; by which you may help the children of poor Friends, that they may come to rear up their families, and preserve them in the fear of God. So no more, but my love in the everlasting seed, by which you will have wisdom to order all things to the glory of God.

George Fox
 
4 London, the first of the 11th month, 1669.

I did not stay long in London; but having visited Friends, and finding things there quiet and well, the Lord's power being over all, I passed into Essex and Hertfordshire, where I had many precious meetings. But before I went out of London, intending to go as far as Leicestershire, I wrote a letter to my wife, to let her know that "if she found it convenient, she might meet me there." From Hertfordshire I turned into Cambridgeshire; then into Huntingdonshire, and so into Leicestershire; where, instead of meeting my wife, I heard she had been arrested and taken out of her house to Lancaster prison by an order obtained from the king and council to bring her back to prison upon the old indictment; though she had been discharged from that imprisonment by an order from the king and council the year before. Therefore, having visited Friends as far as Leicestershire, I returned by Derbyshire and Warwickshire to London; having had many large and blessed meetings in the several counties I passed through, and been sweetly refreshed among Friends in my travels.

{Walter Newton, a neighbor of my relatives, who had been an ancient Puritan, said he had heard I was married,; and he asked me why I had gotten married? I told him, it was a testimony that all might come up into the marriage, as it was in the beginning, and as a testimony that all might come up out of the wilderness to the marriage of the lamb. He said, he thought marriage was only for the procreation of children. I told him: I never thought of any such thing, but married only in obedience to the power of the Lord; I judged such things to be below me. I had foreseen this marriage in the seed, yet I had no command to marry until six months ago, though people had long talked about my possible marriage. Some peoples' minds were jumbled (mixed up, confused) about the marriage, but the Lord's power came over all and laid all their spirits to rest, which some after confessed.}

Note: When Fox first visited Swarthmore, convincing Margaret Fell, he also convinced the entire household, including servants. All of her daughters felt great affection for George Fox from that time forward, with several becoming ministers themselves.

As soon as I was got to London, I hastened Mary Lower and Sarah Fell (two of my wife's daughters), to the king, to acquaint him how their mother was dealt with, and see if they could get a full discharge for her, that she might enjoy her estate and liberty without molestation. This was somewhat difficult, but by diligent attendance they at length obtained it; the king giving command to Sir John Otway to signify his pleasure therein by letter to the sheriff, and others concerned in the country. Which letter Sarah Fell, going down with her brother and sister Rouse, carried with her to Lancaster; and by them I wrote to my wife, as follows:

My dear heart in the truth and life, that changes not:

It was upon me that Mary Lower and Sarah should go to the king concerning your imprisonment; and to Kirby, that the power of the Lord might appear over them all in your deliverance. They went; and then thought to have come down; but it was upon me to stay them a little longer, that they might follow the business until it was effected: which it now is, and is here sent. The late declaration of mine has been very serviceable, people being generally satisfied with it. So no more but my love in the holy seed.   

George Fox

The declaration here mentioned was a printed sheet, written upon occasion of a new persecution stirred up. For by that time I got to London, a fresh storm was risen, occasioned, it was thought, by that tumultuous meeting a steeple-house in Wiltshire or Gloucestershire, mentioned a little before, from which, as it was said, some members of parliament took advantage to get an act passed against seditious meetings; which soon after came forth, and was turned against us, who of all people were free from sedition and tumult.

WHILE George Fox was shut up in prison the sufferings of Friends were greatly increased by the passage of the Act, justly called the" Infamous Conventicle Act." This declared that" any person of the age of sixteen and upwards, who should be found at any meeting or conventicle, under color or pretense of any exercise of religion, in any other manner than is allowed by the liturgy of the Church of England; at which meetings should be five persons or more assembled over and above those of the same household, should be fined £5 on the first offense, or be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three months; " for a second offense £10 and an imprisonment of not more than six months, while the punishment of the third was to be transportation for seven years. This law went into effect on the 1st of Seventh Month, 1664, and excited the just harsh criticism of the more thoughtful people of England. Its interference with the privacy of domestic life; its encouragement of eaves-droppers and informers; and the probable result of sending out of the country citizens of good moral repute, industrious, and contributing to the public wealth, were set forth, and those in power warned that such wickedness would sooner or later bring the judgments of God upon the people. It was intended, apparently, for all non-conformists, but was rarely enforced against any but Friends, who were soon crowded into the prisons because they would not relinquish their liberty of conscience.

One of their number, George Whitehead, proclaimed in a pamphlet issued at this time: "Since then our meetings are kept in obedience to the Lord God, and according to the freedom He hath given us, we may not leave off our testimony for God in that case, but we must be faithful to Him, whatsoever we suffer on that account." Taking advantage of their faithfulness in the performance of this duty, the magistrates hastened their proceedings in order that the nation might be delivered from the supposed dangerous people, whose presence was so obnoxious. After breaking up a meeting, those in attendance would be sent to prison for a few days, and when set at liberty, being found at their meetings again, the same course was pursued, and before the 12th of Eighth Month, only six weeks after the passage of the Act, eight persons were arraigned for the third offense. Their indictment was brought before the grand jury, who could not agree on a verdict and ignored the bill. The judge, however, insisting on a reconsideration of their opinion, they brought in a verdict against the prisoners. The judge then told the Friends that if they would promise to go to no more meetings they might be released. This, of course, they could not do, and were accordingly sentenced as slaves to be transported beyond the seas, - some to the island of Barbados, and others to Jamaica.

A fresh difficulty now arose, for the captains of vessels sailing to these ports were unwilling to take any such passengers. One was at last compelled to take them on board his ship, which was tossed about by contrary winds, and could make no progress. After cruising about for two months, the captain and the sailors became so uneasy that they landed the unoffending Quakers at Deal, giving them a certificate declaring that they had not run away, but were freely set on shore by the captain, who added, " I dared not go off with these prisoners, because I found them to be honest men, who did not deserve banishment."

The Friends returned to their homes, and by letter acquainted the King and Council with the whole proceeding. This letter was read at the council board, and they were remanded to prison till some one could be found to take them away. After an imprisonment of seven years the King ordered their release.

Two hundred were sentenced to banishment in this and the succeeding year, but the same difficulty continued, and only seventeen were really sent away. The remainder were kept in the already crowded prisons, where many laid down their lives for the sake of their religion. Yet the supporting power of their God was with them, as will be seen by an extract of a letter from one who was sentenced to Jamaica. "There is no God like unto our God, who is come near unto us in a needful time, and is present with us, to refresh and warm our hearts." Their constancy is shown in the answer of a woman, when asked what she had to say to the evidence given against her. "If I had as many bodies as hairs on my head, I could lay them all down for the living eternal truth of the living God."

Upon which I wrote a declaration, showing from the preamble and terms of the act that we were not such a people, nor our meetings such as were described in that act. Besides that declaration, I also wrote also another short paper, on the occasion of that act against meetings; opening our case to the magistrates, as follows:

O Friends, consider this act, which limits our meetings to five. Is this, "to do as you would be done by?" Would you be so served yourselves? We own Christ Jesus as well as you, his coming, death, and resurrection; and if we be contrary minded to you in some things, is not this the apostle's exhortation, to "wait until God has revealed it?" Does not he say, "What is not of faith, is sin?" Seeing we have not faith in things which you would have us to do, would it not be sin in us if we should act contrary to our faith? Why should any man have power over any other man's faith, seeing Christ is the author of it? When the apostles preached in the name of Jesus, and great multitudes heard them, and the rulers forbade them to speak any more in that name, did not they bid them judge whether it were better to obey God or man? Would not this act have taken hold of the twelve apostles and seventy disciples; for they met often together? If there had been a law made then, that not above five should have met with Christ, would not that have been a hindering him from meeting with his disciples? Do you think that he, who is the wisdom of God, or his disciples, would have obeyed it? If such a law had been made in the apostles' days, that not above five might have met together, who had been different minded from either the Jews or the Gentiles, do you think the churches of Christ at Corinth, Philippi, Ephesus, Thessalonia, or the rest of the gathered churches, would have obeyed it? Oh, therefore consider! For we are christians, and partake of the nature and life of Christ. Strive not to limit the Holy One; for God's power cannot be limited, and is not to be quenched. "Do unto all men as you would have them do unto you; for that is the law and the prophets."

This is from those who wish you all well, and desire your everlasting good and prosperity, who are called Quakers; who seek the peace and good of all people, though they afflict us, and cause us to suffer.

George Fox

As I had endeavored to soften the magistrates, and to take off the sharpness of their edge in the execution of the act, so it was upon me to write a few lines to Friends, to strengthen and encourage them to stand fast in their testimony, and bear with Christian patience and content, the suffering that was coming upon them. This I did in the following epistle:

All my dear friends,

keep in the faith of God above all outward things and in his power, that has given you dominion over all. The same power of God is still with you to deliver you as formerly; for God and his power is the same; his seed is over all, and before all; and will be, when that which makes to suffer is gone. Be of good faith in what changes not; for whatever anyone does against the truth it will come upon themselves and fall as a millstone on their heads. If the Lord suffer you to be tried, let all be given up; look at the Lord and his power, which is over the whole world and will remain when the world is gone. In the Lord's power and truth rejoice, Friends, over what makes to suffer, in the seed, which was before it was; for the life, truth, and power of God is over all. All keep in that; and if you suffer in that, it is to the Lord.

Friends, the Lord has blessed you in outward things; and now he may try you, whether your minds be in outward things, or with the Lord that gave you them? Therefore, keep in the seed, by which all outward things were made, and which is over them all. What! Shall not I pray, and speak to God, with my face towards heavenly Jerusalem, according to my accustomed time? Let not anyone's Delilah shave his head, to avoid such losing their strength; neither rest in her lap, for fear that the Philistines be upon you. For your rest is in Christ Jesus, therefore, rest not in anything else.

George Fox

London, the 12th of the 2d month, 1670

On the next first-day after the act came in force, I went to the meeting house at Gracechurch-street, where I expected the storm was most likely to begin. When I came there, I found the street full of people, and a guard set to keep Friends out of their meeting-house. I went to the other passage, out of Lombard-street, where also I found a guard; but the court was full of people, and a Friend was speaking among them; but he did not speak long. When he had done, I stood up and was moved to say, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Why are you offering vain and perilous resistance (kicking) to your conscience (to what pricks you)? Then I showed, it is Saul's nature that persecutes still; and that they who persecute Christ in his members now, where he is made manifest, kick against what pricks them. That it was the birth of the flesh that persecuted the birth born of the spirit; and that it was the nature of dogs to tear and devour the sheep; but that we suffered as sheep that bite not in return; for we were a peaceable people, and loved them that persecuted us.' After I had spoken awhile to this effect, the constable came with an informer and soldiers; and as they plucked me down, I said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers.' The commander of the soldiers put me among the soldiers and told them to bind me, saying to me, 'You are the man I have been looking for.' {When he had me in the streets, Thomas Lower and Gerald Roberts followed me; and the people cried to them, 'have a care of him, he is a princely man.'} They took also John Burnyeat with another Friend, and took us away first to the exchange, and afterwards towards Moorfields. As we went along the streets, the people were very moderate. Some of them laughed at the constable, and told him 'we would not run away.' The informer went with us unknown; until he fell into discussion with one of the company and said, ‘It would never be a good world until all people came to the good old religion that was two hundred years ago.' Upon which I asked him, ‘Are you a Papist? What! A Papist informer? For two hundred years ago there was no other religion but that of the Papists.' He saw he had trapped himself, and was upset at it; for as he went along the streets, I spoke often to him and manifested what he was. When we arrived at the mayor's house and were in the courtyard, several asked me, 'How and for what I was arrested?' I desired them to ask the informer why, and also to ask what his name was; but he refused to tell his name, {but began to gnaw his finger ends}. At which point one of the mayor's officers was looking out at a window told him, 'He should tell his name before he went away; for the lord mayor would know by what authority he intruded himself with soldiers into the execution of those laws which belonged to the civil magistrate to execute, and not to the military.' After this, he was eager to be gone; and went to the porter to be let out. One of the officers called to him saying, ‘have you brought people here to inform against them, and now will you go away before my lord mayor comes?' Some called to the porter not to let him out; at which point he forcibly pulled open the door and slipped out. No sooner had he come into the street but the people gave a shout that made the street ring again, crying out: ‘A Papist informer! A Papist informer!' We asked the constable and soldiers to go and rescue him out of the people's hands, so that they would not injure him. They went and brought him into the mayor's entry, where we stayed awhile; but when he went out again, the people greeted him with such another shout. So the soldiers were obliged to rescue him once more; and then they brought him into a house in an alley, where they persuaded him to change his wig, so he could get away unknown.

When the mayor came, we were brought into the room where he was, and some of his officers would have taken off our hats; which he perceiving, told them to let us alone and not meddle with our hats; 'for,' he said, ‘they are not yet brought before me in judicature.' So we stood by, while he examined some Presbyterians and Baptist teachers with whom he was somewhat sharp, and he convicted them. After he had done with them, I was brought up to the table where he sat, and then the officers took off my hat. The mayor said mildly to me, 'Mr. Fox, you are an eminent man among those of your profession; pray, will you be instrumental to dissuade them from meeting in such great numbers? For seeing Christ has promised that where two or three are met in his name, he will be in the midst of them; and the king and parliament are graciously pleased to allow up to four to meet together to worship God; why will not you be content to partake both of Christ's promise to two or three, and the king's indulgence to four?' I answered to this purpose: 'Christ's promise was not to discourage many from meeting together in his name; but to encourage the few, that the fewest might not be reluctant to meet because of their fewness. But if Christ has promised to manifest his presence in the midst of so small an assembly, where but two or three were gathered in his name, how much more would his presence abound, where two or three hundred are gathered in his name? I wished him to consider whether this act would not have taken hold of Christ, with his twelve apostles and seventy disciples (if it had been in their time) who used to meet often together, and that with great numbers? However, I told him this act did not concern us; for it was made against seditious meetings, of such as met under color and pretence of religion, to contrive insurrections, as (the act says) late experience had shown; but we had been sufficiently tried and proved and always found peaceable; therefore he should do well to put a difference between the innocent and the guilty.' He said: ‘The act was made against meetings, and a worship not according to the liturgy.' I told him, “According to” was not the very same thing; and asked him, whether the liturgy was according to the scriptures? And whether we might not read the scriptures, and speak scriptures?' He said: ‘Yes.’ I told him, ‘This act took hold only of such as met to plot and contrive insurrections, as late experience had shown; but they had never experienced that by us. Because thieves are sometimes on the road, must not honest men travel? And because plotters and contrivers have met to do mischief, does that prevent an honest, peaceable people to meet for good? If we had been a people that met to plot and contrive insurrections, etc., we might have drawn ourselves into fours: for four might do more mischief in plotting than if there were four hundred, because four might speak out their minds more freely to one another than four hundred could. Therefore we being innocent, and not the people this act concerns, we keep our meetings as we used to do; and I said that I believed that he knew in his conscience we were innocent.' After some more discussion he took our names, and the places where we lodged, and at length, as the informer was gone, he set us at liberty.
 
Being at liberty, the Friends with me asked, 'Where would I go?' I told them, ‘To Gracechurch-street meeting again, if it was not over.' When we came there, the people were generally gone; only some few stood at the gate. We went into Gerard Roberts'. From there I sent to know how the other meetings in the city went. I understood that at some of the meeting-places Friends were kept out; at others they were taken, but set at liberty again a few days later. A glorious time it was; for the Lord's power came over all, and his everlasting truth grew in reputation. For as fast as some whom were speaking were arrested, others were moved by the Lord to stand up and speak; this was admired by  the public; and it was viewed even more favorably  because many Baptists and other sects left their public meetings and came to see the bravery of the Quakers. As for the informer previously mentioned, he was so frightened that it inhibited any other informer from publicly appearing again in London for some time after. But the mayor, whose name was Samuel Starling, though he carried himself smoothly towards us, proved afterwards to be a very great persecutor of our Friends, many of whom he cast into prison, as may be seen in the trials of William Penn, William Mead, and others at the Old Bailey, (a court in London), this year. {The mayor and his name became a stink (repulsive) and the Lord cut him off}.

After some time the degree of persecution in the city began to decrease, and our meetings were quieter there. Feeling nothing further from the Lord to do in London, I went to visit Friends in the country; and attended several meetings in Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, which were quiet, though in some places there were many threats. At Reading most of the Friends were in prison, and I went to visit them. When I had been there with them for awhile, the Friends who were prisoners gathered together, and several other persons joined with us; so I had a fine opportunity among them, and 'declared the word of life, encouraging them in the truth; and they were refreshed in feeling the presence and power of the Lord among them.' Since the jailer knew I was there at the jail and the meeting had ended, Friends were concerned how to get me safely out again, for they feared he should stop me. After I had stayed awhile and eaten with them, I went down stairs; the jailer was at the door. I put my hand in my pocket, which he was watching; since he was evidently hoping to get something from me, he asked me no question. So I gave him something, and asked him 'be kind and civil to my friends in prison whom I came to visit;' and he let me pass out without interruption. But soon after when Isaac Penington came to visit them, he stopped him and caused him to be made a prisoner.

Next morning I rode to a meeting at Baghurst in Hampshire, Thomas Briggs being with me. When we came into the parish, some sober people told us, 'the priest of the town was an envious man, and threatened us.' We went to the meeting, which was large, and after some time Thomas Briggs stood up and spoke. It seems the priest had obtained a warrant and sent the constables and other officers to the meeting. They came into the house, stayed awhile, and then went away; but did not come into the meeting. Those of us in the meeting did not know of their presence. After Thomas Briggs had done speaking, I was moved of the Lord to stand up and declare the word of life to the people; and a precious meeting we had. When the meeting was ended and risen, I heard a great clutter in the yard; and when we came out, the man of the house told us, 'The officers had been in the house before, and did not come into the meeting, but went away without doing anything. The priest had become enraged and had sent them back again with his own servant.' Since the meeting had ended before they arrived, they were powerless to arrest anyone. Thus the good providence of the Lord preserved us from the wicked design of the envious priest.

From there we went to a Friend’ home at the edge of Berkshire, where several Friends came to visit us. Afterwards we passed into Surry, and had many precious meetings, until we came to Stephen Smith's near Guildford, where great persecutions had occurred; and much personal property had been taken away from Friends in that area because they continued to hold their meetings; and they were still subject to great threats. Yet we had several blessed meetings in the area, and the Lord's power was over all, in and by which we were preserved.

We went into Sussex, by Richards Baxe's home where we had a large, precious, quiet meeting, though the constables had previously issued threats. I had many more meetings in that county; and though there were some threats, meetings were peaceable; and Friends were refreshed, and established upon the foundation of God that stands sure. When I had thoroughly visited Sussex, I went into Kent, and had many glorious and precious meetings in several parts of that county. I went to a meeting near Deal, which was very large; and returning from there to Canterbury, visited Friends there; then passed into the Isle of Sheppy, where I stayed two or three days: Alexander Parker, George Whitehead, and John Rouse* came to see me there.

*John Rouse married Margaret Fell's daughter, also named Margaret. George Fox later refers to John Rouse as his son, after marying Margaret Fell, a widow of eleven years. Before marrying Margaret Fell's daughter, John Rouse had suffered his ear being cut off in Boston by the Boston Puritans; click to read the account of his suffering.

Finding my service for the Lord finished there, the next day we left and traveled towards Rochester. And on the way, as I was walking down a hill, a great weight and oppression fell upon my spirit. I got my horse again; but the weight remained so heavy on me, that I was hardly able to ride. At length we came to Rochester, but I was much spent, being so extremely loaded and burdened with the world's spirits, that my life was oppressed under them. With difficulty I got to Gravesend, and rested at an inn there; but I could barely either eat or sleep. The next day John Rouse and Alexander Parker went to London, and John Stubbs came to me. He and I went over the ferry into Essex. We came to Horn Church, where was a meeting on the first-day. After the meeting I rode with great uneasiness to Stratford and to a Friend's whose name was Williams, formerly a captain. I was so weak that I went to bed there, and at last lost both my hearing and my sight. Several Friends came to me from London. I told them, ‘I was as a sign to such as would not see, and such as would not hear the truth.' In this condition I continued for quite some time. Several people gathered around me; and though I could not see them, I felt and discerned their spirits, who of them was honest hearted, and who was not. Several Friends, who were medical doctors, would have given me medicines, but I was against taking any; for I was sensible that I had a great suffering to go through; and therefore spoke to Friends to let none but solid, weighty Friends be around me. Under great sufferings, groanings, travails, sorrows, and oppressions, I lay for several weeks; whereby I was brought so low and weak in the body, that few thought I could live. Some of those with me went away, saying, ‘they did not want to see me die;' and it was reported both in London and in the country that I was deceased, but I felt the Lord's power inwardly supporting me. When those about me had given me up to die, I spoke to them to get a coach to carry me to Gerard Roberts', about twelve miles off; for I knew that I was supposed to go there. I had now recovered a little glimmering of sight, so that I could discern the people and fields as I went; but that was all. When I came to Gerard's, he was very weak. I was moved to speak to him and encourage him. After I had stayed about three weeks there, I felt required to go to Enfield. Friends were afraid of me moving again; but I told them it was safe for me to go. When I had left Gerard’s and arrived at Enfield, I went first to visit Amor Stoddart, who lay very weak and almost speechless. I was moved to tell him: ‘He had been faithful as a man and faithful to God; and that the immortal seed of life was his crown.' Many more words I was moved to speak to him; though I was then so weak, I was hardly able to stand; and within a few days Amor died. I went to the widow Dry's at Enlield, where I stayed all that winter; warring in spirit with the evil spirits of the world, that warred against truth and Friends.

For there were great persecutions at this time. Some meeting houses were pulled down, and many were ransacked up by soldiers. Sometimes a troop of horse or a company of foot came; and some broke their swords, carbines, muskets, and pikes with beating Friends. They wounded so many that their blood ran in the streets. Among others that were active in this cruel persecution at London, was my old adversary colonel Kirby, who, with a company of foot soldiers, broke up several meetings; often while inquiring if I was at the meetings he broke up. One time, as he crossed over the water to Horslydown, a scuffle between some of his soldiers and some of the boat men occurred, and he told his men 'fire at them;' which they did, and killed some.
 
I was under great sufferings at this time, beyond what I have words to declare. For I was brought into the deep, and saw all the religions of the world, and people that lived in them, and the priests that held them up; who were as a company of man eaters, eating up the people like bread, and gnawing the flesh from off their bones. But as for true religion and worship, and ministers of God, alas! I saw there was none among those of the world that pretended to it. For they that pretended to be the church, were but a company of man eaters, men of cruel appearance, and of long teeth; who, though they had cried against the man eaters (Indians) in America, I saw they were in the same nature. And as the great professing Jews did 'eat up God's people like bread,' and the false prophets and priests who then preached peace to people, so long as they 'put into their mouths and fed them;' but if they did not feed them, they prepared war against them; 'they ate their flesh off their bones, and chopped them up for the cooking pot;' so these that profess themselves christians now (both priests and professors), are not in the same power and spirit that Christ and the holy prophets and apostles were in. Instead they are in the same nature that the old professing Jews were in, and are man eaters like them too. {So in my deep misery I saw things beyond words to utter, and I saw a black coffin, but I passed over it.}

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