The Missing Cross to Purity


Testimonies for George Fox by His Wife, Other Relations, Other Friends, and Thomas Ellwood
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The Testimony of Margaret Fox,


concerning her late husband, George Fox:
together with a brief account of some of his travels,
sufferings, and hardships endured for the truth's sake
.

It has pleased Almighty God to take away my dear husband out of this evil troublesome world, who was not a man of it, being chosen out of it. He had his life and being in another region, [George Fox said he lived in paradise; today he would describe paradise as another dimension] and his testimony was against the world, that the deeds of it were evil, and therefore the world hated him. I am now to give in my account and testimony for my dear husband, whom the Lord has taken unto his blessed kingdom and glory; and it is before me from the Lord, and in my view, to give a relation and leave upon record the dealings of the Lord with us from the beginning.

He was the instrument in the hand of the Lord in this present age, which he made use of to send forth into the world to preach the everlasting gospel, which had been hid from many ages and generations; the Lord revealed it to him, and made him open that new and living way that leads to life eternal, when he was only a youth and just past adolescence. And when he declared it in his own country of Leicestershire, and in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Warwickshire, it raised a great fury and opposition among the priests and people against him; because his declaration was against the hireling priests and their practices. Yet there were always some that acknowledged him in several places, but very few that stood firm with him when persecution came. He and one other were put in prison at Derby, but the other man renounced his faith and left George alone in prison there; where he continued almost a whole year. He was released out of prison, and went on with his testimony abroad, but was put in prison again at Nottingham; and there he continued awhile, and after was released again.

And then he traveled on into Yorkshire, and passed up and down that great county, and several received him; as William Dewsbury, Richard Farnsworth, Thomas Aldam, and others, who all came to be faithful ministers of the spirit for the Lord. And he continued in that country, and traveled through Holderness and the Woulds, and many people were convinced; and several were brought to prison at York for their testimony to the truth, both men and women. We had heard that such a group of people had risen, and we had made serious inquiries about them. After awhile he traveled up farther towards the dales in Yorkshire, as Wensdale and Sedbur; and among the hills, dales, and mountains he came on, and convinced many of the eternal truth.

In the year 1652 it pleased the Lord to draw him towards us; so he came from Sedbur into Westmoreland, to Firbank Chapel, where John Blaykling came with him; and on to Preston, Grarig, Kendal, Under-barrow, Poobank, Cartmel, and Staveley, and on to Swarthmore, my house, where he brought the blessed tidings of the everlasting gospel, for which I and many hundreds in these parts have cause to praise the Lord. My then husband, Thomas Fell, was not at home at that time, but had gone the Welsh circuit, being one of the judges of the assize; and because our house was a place open to entertain ministers and religious people, one of George Fox's friends brought him there, where he stayed all night. And the next day, being a lecture or a fast day, he went to the Ulverston steeple house, [a Calvinist Independent Puritan sect; Independents chose their own pastor], but he did not enter until people were settled inside. My children and I had been there a long time before he arrived. And when they were singing, before the sermon, he came in. When they had finished singing, he stood up upon a seat and asked ‘that he might have liberty to speak;' and he who was in the pulpit said he might. And the first words that he spoke were as follows: 'He is not a Jew that is one outward, neither is that circumcision which is outward; but he is a Jew that is one inward, and that is circumcision which is of the heart’ And so he went on and said ‘that Christ was the light of the world, and enlightened every man that comes into the world, and that by this light they might he gathered to God,'  I stood up in my pew, and wondered at his doctrine; for I had never heard such before. And then he went on, and opened the scriptures, and said, ‘The scriptures were the prophets' words, and Christ's and the apostles' words, and what they spoke they enjoyed and possessed them, and had received the words from the Lord.' He further said, ‘Then what had any to do with the scriptures, unless they had come to possess the spirit that gave them the words. You will say, Christ said this, and the apostles say this; 'but what can you say? Are you a child of light, and have you walked in the light? And what you speak, is it inwardly from God?' This opened me so much, that it cut me to the heart; and then I clearly saw that we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly; and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, 'We are all thieves, we are all thieves, we have taken the scriptures in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves.' So that satisfied me, that I cannot recall what he spoke afterwards; but he continued in declaring against the false prophets, and priests, and deceivers of the people. John Sawrey, a justice of the peace and professor, told the churchwarden to take him away. The churchwarden laid his hands on him several times, and then took them off again to leave him alone.

After awhile he finished and came again to our house that night. He spoke to the family among the servants, and they were all generally convinced: specifically William Caton, Thomas Salthouse, Mary Askew, Anne Clayton, and several other servants. I was struck into a great sadness; and because my husband was away from home, I did not know what to do. I saw that what George said was the truth, and I could not deny it. For me, it was like the apostle said, ‘I received the truth in the love of it,’ and it was revealed to me so clearly that I never had the slightest reservation in my heart against it. Instead, I desired the Lord would preserve me in my understandings, and I desired no greater portion.

He went on to Dalton, Aldingham, Dendrum, and Ramsyde chapels and steeple-houses, and several places up and down, and the people followed him mightily. Large numbers of people were convinced and saw that what he spoke was the truth, but the priests were all in a rage. And about two weeks after that, James Naylor and Richard Farnsworth also left, and sought his location, until they all came back Swarthmore. They stayed awhile with me at our house, and did me much good; for I was under great heaviness and judgment. But the power of the Lord entered upon me within about two weeks after George had arrived. About three weeks after that, my husband came home. Many in the region were in a great rage, and many of the captains and gentry of the region went to meet my then husband as he was coming home. They informed him, ‘that a great disaster had occurred in his family, and that the men involved were witches, who had taken us out of our religion; and that unless he sent them away, the whole region would be ruined.’ But no weapons formed against the Lord shall prosper, as you may see from what followed.

So my husband came home greatly offended; and anyone would think that based on the condition I was in, that I would either displease my husband or offend God. They had so prejudiced him against us that he was very much troubled with all of us in the house and family. Both James Naylor and Richard Farnsworth were then in our home, and I desired them to come and speak to him. And so they did speak to him very moderately and wisely. At first he was displeased with them, until they told him ‘they came in love and good will to his house.’ After he had listened for awhile, he was more satisfied. They offered and prepared to leave; but I asked them to stay, and not to go away yet, 'for George Fox will come this evening.' And I wanted my husband to hear from them all, and satisfy himself further regarding them, because when he first returned, the people of the region had so prejudiced him against them to be dangerous and other fearful things. He was relatively moderate and quiet. When dinner was ready, he went to it; and I went in and sat down by him. While I was sitting with him, the power of the Lord seized upon me, and he was struck with amazement. My husband did not know what to think, but he remained quiet and still. The children were all quiet and still, and had become very serious; so much so that they were unable to play their music, which they had been learning. All these things made my husband very quiet and still.

That night George Fox returned. After supper my husband was sitting in the parlor, and I asked him if George Fox might come in? And he said, yes. So George came in without any compliment, walked into the room, and began to speak presently; and the family, and James Naylor, and Richard Farnsworth all came in. He spoke as excellently as ever I heard him, and opened Christ's and the apostles' practices that they had been in, during their time. And he opened the night of apostasy that had occurred since the apostles' days, and he exposed the priests and their practices in the apostasy. So well did he speak, that I thought if all in England had been there, they could not have denied the truth of those things. And so my husband came to see clearly the truth of what he spoke, and he was very quiet that night, said no more, but went to bed. The next morning Lampit, the priest of Ulverston, came and took my husband into the garden, speaking much to him there; but my husband had seen so much the night before, that the priest made little impression upon him. When Lampit, the priest, came into the house, George spoke sharply to him, and asked him, 'When God had spoken to him, and called him to go and preach to the people?' After awhile the priest went away. This was on the sixth day of the week, about the fifth month, 1652.

In our home several Friends were discussing how there were several people convinced of the truth in the area, and we could not decide where to have a meeting of everyone. My husband was also present, and he overheard our discussion and said of his own accord, 'You may meet here if you wish.' That was the first meeting we had, which he offered of his own accord. Notice of the meeting to be held was given that day and day following to Friends; and a good large meeting was held the First day, which was the first meeting to occur at Swarthmore. Meetings continued there from 1652 to 1690. That day my husband went to the steeple house, but nobody went with him except his clerk and his groom. The priest and the people were all troubled and fearful; but praised be the Lord, they never accomplished their desires against us to this day.

After a few weeks, George went to the Ulverston steeple house again, and justice Sawrey, with others, set the rude rabble upon him; and they beat him so that he fell down passing out; and he was sorely bruised and blackened in his body, head, and arms. My husband was not at home at the time; but when he came home, he was displeased for what they had done to George, and he spoke to justice Sawrey saying, ‘it was against law to make riots.' After that George was sorely beaten and stoned at Walney until he fell down, and also at Dalton he was beaten and abused; so that he had very harsh treatment in various places in these areas. When a meeting had been settled here, he went again into Westmoreland and settled meetings there. There were many convinced of the truth of his testimonies, and an abundance of brave ministers emerged there: as John Camm, John Audland, Francis Howgil, Edward Burrough, Miles Halhead, and John Blaykling, and various others. He also went over the sands to Lancaster, and Yelland, and Kellet, where Robert Widders, Richard Hubberthorn, and John Lawson were convinced with many others also. About the time he was in those parts, many priests and professors rose up, falsely accused him of blasphemy, and tried to kill him, getting people to swear in court at Lancaster that he had spoken blasphemy. But my then husband and colonel West, having had some sight and knowledge of the truth, withstood the two persecuting justices, John Sawrey and Thompson, and rescued him, and cleared him; for indeed he was innocent. After the court sessions, there was a great meeting in the town of Lancaster. Many of the town's people attended, and many were convinced of the truth in George's message. And thus George traveled around Lancaster, Yelland, West Moreland, and some parts of Yorkshire, and our parts, for over a year. During this time, more than twenty-four ministers emerged, who were ready to go out with their testimony of the eternal truth unto the world. And soon after, Francis Howgil and John Camm went to speak to Oliver Cromwell.

And in the year 1653 George’s drawings were into Cumberland by Milholm, Lampley, Embleton, and Brigham, Pardsey, and Cockerrnouth; where, at or near Embleton, he had a dispute with some priests, named Larkham and Benson. But he chiefly disputed with John Wilkinson, a preacher at Embleton and Brigham, who was afterwards convinced, and owned the truth, and was a serviceable minister both in England, Ireland, and Scotland. And then he went to Coldbeck and several places, until he came to Carlisle, and went to their steeple-house. Here they beat and abused him and took him before the magistrates, who examined him, and put him in prison there in the common jail among the thieves. At the assizes was Anthony Pearson, who had been a justice of peace, and had been convinced at Appleby, when he was upon the bench, by James Naylor and Francis Howgil, who were then prisoners there, and had been brought before him. So Anthony Pearson spoke to the justices at Carlisle, being acquainted with them and having married his wife out of Cumberland; and after awhile they released him. Afterwards George went into several other parts of Cumberland, and many were convinced, and owned the truth. He gathered and settled meetings there among them, and up and down in several parts there in the north.

In the year 1654 he went southward to his own country of Leicestershire visiting Friends. And then colonel Hacker sent him to Oliver Cromwell; and after he had been kept prisoner awhile, he was brought before Oliver and was released. He stayed in London to visit Friends and meetings there. He then traveled westward to Bristol, and visited Friends there. When he went into Cornwall, they put he and Edward Pyot in prison at Launceston. Here he had a harsh, long imprisonment. Upon being released, he passed into many parts in the county of Cornwall, settling meetings there. He then traveled through many counties, visiting Friends and settling meetings all along; next going north to Swarthmore and to Cumberland.

George, Robert Widders, James Lancaster, John Grave, and others journeyed to Scotland in the year 1657. He traveled through many places in that nation, including Douglas, Heads, Hamilton, and Glasgow. In Edinburgh they arrested him haled him before general Monk and the council, where they examined him and asked what his business was in Scotland. George answered that he had come to visit the seed of God. After they had threatened and ordered him to depart Scotland, they let him go. From there he went to Linlithgow, Stirling, Johnstons, and many other places, visiting the people with several being convinced. After he had stayed a short time and had settled some meetings, he returned into Northumberland into the bishopric of Durham, visiting Friends and settling meetings as he went. He then returned back again to Swarthmore, and stayed among Friends for a time before returning south again. In 1658, my husband, Judge Fell, died.

In 1660 he came out of the south into the north, and had a great general meeting around Balby in Yorkshire; and so he traveled on, visiting Friends in many places, until he again came to Swarthmore. Since King Charles had been restored, the justices sent out warrants and arrested him at Swarthmore. Their warrants charged him with drawing away the king's liege people, which threatened to soak the nation in blood; and they sent him as a prisoner to Lancaster castle. Since Judge Fell had been an influential country squire, and since George had been arrested in my house, I was moved by the Lord to go to the king at Whitehall. I took with me a declaration and information of Friends' principles. After great delay and great difficulty, I met with the king. When at last I got to him, I told him that if George were guilty of those things charged, I too was guilty, for he was taken in my house. And I gave him the paper of our principles and requested him to set George at liberty, for the king had previously promised that nobody would suffer for tender consciences in his reign. I told him that we were of tender consciences and desired nothing but the liberty of our consciences. With a great deal of difficulty, after he had been kept prisoner near half a year at Lancaster, we got a habeas corpus, and removed him to the king's bench, where he was released. I would gladly have come home to my great family; but was I bound in my spirit, and did not have the freedom to return for a whole year. The king had promised me several times that Friends would have their liberty, but then the monarchy-men rose, which resulted in a great and general imprisonment of Friends throughout the nation. Until we had gotten a general proclamation for all our Friends' liberty, I did not have the freedom or liberty to come home, which at last occurred.

In 1663 he came north again, and to Swarthmore. Here they sent out warrants, arrested him again, took him Holcrof before the justices; they tendered him the oath of allegiance, which he could not swear to, and sent him prisoner to Lancaster castle. About a month after this, the justices also ordered me out of my house to appear before them, where they tendered me the oath; and then sentenced me to be a prisoner in Lancaster. And the next assizes they tendered the oath of allegiance and supremacy again to us both, and premunired me; but they had missed the date and made other mistakes in his indictment, and so it was quashed; but they tendered him the oath again, and kept him prisoner a year and a half at Lancaster castle. And then they sent him to Scarborough castle in Yorkshire, where they kept him prisoner, under close watch of the soldiers for almost a year and a half. They guarded him so closely that a Friend could scarcely speak to him; yet, after that, it pleased the Lord that he was released. But I continued in prison and was a prisoner four years at that time. An order was procured from the king's council, by which I was finally set at liberty. At which time I went down into Cornwall with my daughter and son Lower, and came back by London to the Yearly Meeting; and there I met with George again. He told me, the time was drawing towards our marriage, but he might first go into Ireland. And a little before this time was he had been a prisoner in his own country at Leicester for awhile; and then released. And so into Ireland he went; and I went into Kent and Sussex; and came back to London again. Afterwards I went to the west, towards Bristol, in 1669, and there I remained until he came back from Ireland, which was eleven years after my former husband's decease. In Ireland he had a great service for the Lord and his eternal truth among Friends and many people, escaping many dangers and times of being taken prisoner, having laid in wait beforehand for him in many places. And being returned, at Bristol he declared his intentions of marriage; and there accordingly our marriage was solemnized. Within ten days after our marriage, I came homewards; and my husband stayed up and down in the countries among Friends, visiting them.

(Note: to be premunired was to be convicted of supporting an authority other than the king, such as a foreign authority. The Quaker's refusal to take the loyalty oath was considered evidence of their support of a foreign authority to the king, and allowed the court to seize all of their property: real estate, crops, livestock, bank accounts,  etc. The merciful King Charles II gave the seized Swarthmore estate to Margaret's children, assuring her to be able to live out her life in her home; he also pardoned her after she had spent over ten years in harsh imprisonments.)

Soon after I arrived home, another order came from the counsel to cast me into prison again; and the sheriff of Lancashire sent his bailiff and pulled me out of my own house, taking me as prisoner to Lancaster castle, using the old premunire. I was imprisoned for a whole year, and most of that time I was sick and weakly. My husband was also weak and sickly at that time. After awhile he recovered, and sought to have me released from prison. A discharge was finally obtained under the great seal of the king, and so I was set at liberty. I set out to travel to London again because my husband was preparing to travel to America. He was gone to America a full two years before he came back again to England. Arriving at Bristol, he went to London, and intended to travel to the middle of the nation with me. But when we had come into some parts of Worcestershire, the authorities were notified; and by his warrant, justice Parker sent George and my son Lower to Worcester jail. There the justices there tendered him the oath, and premunired him, but released my son Lower; but he stayed with George most of the time he was prisoner there.

And after some time he fell sick in a long lingering sickness, and many times he was very ill. So they wrote to me from London, that if I wished to see him alive, I needed to go to him, which accordingly I did. And after I had stayed seventeen weeks with him at Worcester, with no discharge likely to be obtained for him, I went up to London, and wrote to the king an account of his long imprisonment, that he had been taken while traveling with his family on the way; and that he was sick and weak, and that if they kept him long there, he was not likely to live. I went with it to Whitehall myself and met with the king to give him the paper. The king said I must go to the chancellor; he could do nothing in it. So I also wrote to the lord chancellor and went to his house to give him my paper tell him that the king had left the matter wholly to him. I told him that if he did not take pity and release him out of that prison, I feared he would end his days there. And the lord chancellor Finch was a very tender man, and spoke to the judge, who gave out a habeas corpus presently. And when we got it, we sent it down to Worcester. At first they would not release him, saying he had been premunired and was not allowed be released on the basis or a habeas corpus. So we were forced to go to judge North and to the attorney general, where we got another order sent down from them; and with much difficulty and the great labor and industry of William Mead and other Friends, we got him released to London, where he appeared at Westminster Hall at the King's Bench before judge Hales, who was a very honest, tender man. He knew they had imprisoned George based on nothing but envy. So their charges against him were read, and our counsel pleaded that he had been arrested while traveling on his journey home with his family; little else was said, and he was acquitted. This was the last prison that he was in, being freed by the court of king's bench.

When he was at liberty, he recovered again; and then I wanted us to go home together, which we did. This was the first time that he been to Swarthmore since we were married, and he stayed with us about two years, leaving to got to London again for the Yearly Meeting. After some time in London, he went into Holland and some parts of Germany, where he stayed a long while, returning again to London for the next Yearly Meeting. After he had stayed in and around London, he came into the north to Swarthmore again, this time staying for nearly two years. He grew weak, being troubled with pains and aches, having had many sore and long travels, beatings, and hard imprisonments. But after some time he rode to York, and so passed on through Nottinghamshire and several counties, visiting Friends until he came to London for the Yearly Meeting. He stayed in London and thereabouts until he had finished his course and laid down his head in peace.

And though the Lord had provided an outward habitation for him, yet he was not willing to stay at it, because it was so remote and far from London, where his service mostly lay. And my concern for God and his holy eternal truth was then in the north, where God had placed and set me; and likewise for the ordering and governing of my children and family; so that we were both willing to live apart some years upon God's account and his truth's service, and to deny ourselves the comfort which we might have had in being together, for the sake and service of the Lord and his truth. And if any took occasion, or judged us harshly for that separation, the Lord will judge them, for we were innocent. And for my own part, I was willing to make many long journeys to be with him, stilling all occasion of evil thoughts regarding our separation. Though I lived two hundred miles from London, yet have I been there nine times, upon the Lord's and his truth's account. Of all the times that I was at London, this last time was most comfortable, for the Lord was pleased to give me strength and ability to travel that great journey, being seventy-six years of age, to see my dear husband, who was in better health and strength than the many times I had seen him before. I look upon it that the Lord's special hand was in it that I should go then, for he only lived but about half a year after I left him, which makes me admire the wisdom and goodness of God in ordering my journey at that time.

And now he has finished his course and his testimony, and is entered into his eternal rest and felicity. I trust in the same powerful God, that his holy arm and power will carry me through, whatever he yet has for me to do; and that he will be my strength and support, and the bearer up of my head unto the end and in the end. For I know his faithfulness and goodness, and I have experience of his love; to whom be glory and powerful dominion for ever. Amen.

Margaret Fox


The testimony of some of the Author's Relations

Neither days nor length of time with us can wear out the memory of our dear and honored father George Fox, whom the Lord hath taken to himself: and though his earthly house of this tabernacle be dissolved, and mortality put off, yet we believe he has a 'building with God eternally in the heavens, and is entered into rest,' as a reward to those great labors, hard sufferings, and sore trials, he patiently endured for God and his truth. Of which truth he was made an able minister, and one, if not the first to proclaim it in our age; who, though of no great literature, nor seeming much learned as to the outward, being hid from the wisdom of this world, yet he had the tongue of the learned, and could speak a word in due season to the conditions and capacities of most, especially to them that were weary and wanted soul's rest, being deep in the divine mysteries of the kingdom of God. And the word of life and salvation through him reached into many souls, whereby many were convinced of their great duty of inward retiring to wait upon God; and as they became diligent in the performance of that service, were also raised up to be preachers of the same everlasting gospel of peace and glad tidings to others; who are as seals to his ministry both in this and other nations, and may possibly give a more full account of it. However, we knowing his unwearied diligence, not sparing but spending himself in the work and service where he was chosen and called of God, could not but give this short testimony of his faithfulness to it, and likewise of his tender love and care towards us; who as a tender father to children, in which capacity we stood, being so related to him, he never failed to give us his wholesome counsel and advice. And not only so, but as a father in Christ, he took care of the whole family and household of faith, which the Lord had made him an eminent overseer of, and endued him with such an excellent spirit of wisdom and understanding, to propose and direct helps and advantages to the well ordering and establishing of affairs and government in the church, as now are found very serviceable,  and have greatly disappointed and prevented the false loose, and libertine spirit in some, who to their confusion have endeavored, by separation and division, to disturb the church's peace. And although many of that sort have at sundry times shot their poisonous darts at him, publicly in print, and privately other ways, yet he has always been preserved by the heavenly power of God out of the reach of their envy, and all perils and difficulties that attended on their account; who, as a fixed star in the firmament of God's power, did constantly abide, and held his integrity to the last, being of a sweet savory life, and as to conversation kept his garments clean: and though outwardly dead yet lived, and his memory is right precious unto us; and it is and will be to all that abide in the love of truth, and have not declined the way of it. For he was one of the Lord's worthies, valiant for the truth upon earth, not turning his back in the day of battle; but his bow still abiding in its strength, he, through many hardships, brought gladness and refreshment to Israel's camp, being assisted by the might of that power that always put the armies of aliens and enemies to flight. And now, having finished his course, is removed from us into a glorious state of immortality and bliss, and is gathered to the Lord as a shock of corn in its full season, and to that habitation of safety where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary be at rest.
           
            JOHN RODS,                          MARGARET RODS,
            WILLIAM MEADE,               SARAH MEADE,
            THOMAS LOWER,                MARY LOWER,
            WILLIAM INGRAM,            SUSANNA INGRAM,
            DANIEL ABRAHAM,            RACHEL ABRAHAM,
            ABRAHAM MORRICE,         ISABEL MORRICE,

An Epistle by way of testimony to Friends and brethren
of the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings in England, Wales, and elsewhere,
concerning the decease of our faithful brother, George Fox.

From our Second day's Morning Meeting in London,
the 26th of the Eleventh month, 1690,

Dear and truly beloved friends, brethren, and sisters in Christ Jesus, our blessed Lord and savior, we sincerely and tenderly salute you all in his free and tender love, with which he has graciously visited us, and largely shed it abroad in our souls, to our own unspeakable comfort and consolation, and towards his whole heritage and royal offspring. Blessed be his pure and powerful name for evermore. And our souls do truly and fervently desire, and breathe unto the God of all our mercies, that you all may be preserved and kept truly faithful and diligent in his work and service, according to your heavenly calling and endowments, with his light, grace, and truth to the end of your days; as being lovingly engaged in all your appointed time to serve him, and to wait until your change comes; that none may neglect that true improvement of your times and talents that God has afforded you here, for your eternal advantage hereafter in that inheritance and life immortal that never fades away. And that the whole flock and heritage of Christ Jesus, which he has purchased and bought for himself with a price incorruptible, may always be preserved in his own pure love and life, so as to grow, increase, and prosper in the same. Thereby to be kept in love, unity, and peace with one another, as becomes his true and faithful followers. This is what our very hearts and souls desire, being often truly comforted and enlarged in the living sense and feeling of the increase and abounding there among faithful friends and brethren.

And dear brethren and sisters, to this our tender salutation we are concerned, in brotherly love and true tender heartedness, to add and impart unto you some account of the decease of our dear and elder brother in Christ, namely, his and his church's true and faithful servant and minister, George Fox, whom it has pleased the Lord to take unto himself, as he has various others of his faithful servants and ministers of late time. Those who have faithfully served out their generation, and finished their testimony and course with joy and peace. However, oh dear brethren and friends, that so many worthies in Israel, and serviceable instruments in the Lord's hand, are of late taken away and removed from us, so soon one after another, appears a dispensation that deeply and sorrowfully affects us and many more, whose hearts are upright and tender towards God and one to another in the truth. The consideration of the depth, weight, and meaning of it is very weighty upon our spirits, though their precious life and testimony lives with us, as being of that same body, united to one head, even Christ Jesus. In Christ we still hope that we shall ever have secret comfort and union with them, whom the Lord has removed and taken to himself, out of their earthly tabernacles and houses, into their heavenly and everlasting mansions.

This our dear brother, George Fox, was enabled by the Lord's power to preach the truth fully and effectually in our public meeting in WhiteHartCourt, by Gracechurch-street, London, on the 11th day of this instant Eleventh month, 1690: after which he said, 'I am glad I was here; now I am clear, I am fully clear.' He was the same day taken with some illness or indisposition of body more than usual, and continued weak in body for two days after at our friend Henry Goldney's house in the same court, close by the meeting house, in much contentment and peace, and very sensible to the last. In which time he mentioned various Friends, and sent for some in particular; to whom he expressed his mind for the spreading of Friends' books and truth in the world and through the nations of it, as his spirit in the Lord's love and power was universally set for truth and righteousness, and making known the way to the nations and people afar off; signifying also to some Friends that all is well, and the seed of God reigns over all, and over death itself; that though he was weak in body, that the power of God is over all, and the seed reigns over all disorderly spirits:' which were his sensible expressions, being in the living faith and sense of it, which he kept to the end. And on the thirteenth instant, between the ninth and tenth hour of the night, he quietly departed this life in peace, being two days after the Lord enabled him to publish and preach the blessed truth in the meeting as before said. So that he clearly and evidently ended his days in his faithful testimony, in perfect love and unity with his brethren, and peace and good will to all men, being about sixty and six years of age, as we understand, when he departed this life.

(Note: the Julian calendar's date of Eleventh Month, 1690, translates to the currently used Georgian calendar's date of First Month, 1691. Fox was 66 years of age when he died. H.W.)

And on the sixteenth of this instant, being the day appointed for his funeral, a very great concourse of Friends and other people assembled at our meeting house in WhiteHartCourt as previously said, about the mid-day, in order to attend his body to our burying place near Bunhillfields, to be interred, as Friends' last office of love and respect due on that account. The meeting was held about two hours, with great and heavenly solemnity, manifestly attended with the Lord's blessed power and presence; and several living testimonies were given from a lively remembrance and sense of this his dear ancient servant, his blessed ministry and testimony of the breaking forth of this gospel-day; his innocent life; long and great travels, and labors of love in the everlasting gospel, for the turning and gathering many thousands from darkness to the light of Christ Jesus, the foundation of true faith; also of his manifold sufferings, afflictions, and oppositions which he met with; because of his faithful testimony, both from his open adversaries and false brethren; and his preservations, dominion, and deliverances out of them all by the power of God; to whom the glory and honor was and is ascribed, in raising up and preserving this his faithful witness and minister to the end of his days, whose blessed memorial will everlastingly remain.

He loved truth and righteousness, and bore faithful testimony against deceit and falsehood, and the mystery of iniquity; and often, of late especially, warned Friends against covetousness, earthly mindedness, against getting into the earth, and into a brittle spirit; and the younger sort, against looseness and pride of life.

A few days before he died he had a great concern upon his mind concerning some in whom the Lord's power was working, to lead them into a ministry and testimony to his truth; who, through their too much entangling themselves in the things of this world, did make themselves unready to answer the call and leadings of the power of God, and hurt the gift that was bestowed upon them, and did not take that regard to their service and ministry as they ought. He mentioned the apostle's exhortation to Timothy, to 'take heed to his ministry, and to show himself approved.' He expressed his grief concerning such as preferred their own business before the Lord's business, and sought the advancing worldly concerns before the concerns of truth. He concluded with a tender and fatherly exhortation to all to whom God had imparted of his heavenly treasure, that they would improve it faithfully; and be diligent in the Lord's work, that the earth might be sown with the seed of the kingdom, and God's harvest might be minded by those whom he had called and enabled to labor therein; and that such would commit the care of their outward concerns to the Lord, who would care for them, and give a blessing to them. However, this is not mentioned to encourage any to run unsent, or without being called of God.

Many are living witnesses that the Lord raised him up by his power to proclaim his mighty day to the nations, and made him an effectual instrument in our day to turn many from darkness to light, and from satan's power to God; and freely to suffer and bear all reproaches, manifold persecutions, buffetings, halings, stonings, imprisonments, and cruelties, that were in the beginning, and for some time inflicted on him and others, for the name of Christ Jesus.

He was in his testimony as a fixed star in the firmament of God's power, where all that be truly wise, and that turn many to righteousness, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever. He knew and preached the mystery of Christ revealed, the life and substance, and the power of godliness, above all shadows and forms. The Lord endued him with a hidden wisdom and life. He loved peace, and earnestly labored for universal love, unity, peace, and good order in the churches of Christ. Wherever he met with the contrary, it was his great grief and burden. He was greatly for the encouragement of faithful laborers in the Lord's work. It was a great offence and grief to him to have their testimony weakened, or labors slighted, through prejudice in any professing truth.

And as the Lord allowed him to not be delivered up to the will of his enemies and persecutors, who often before breathed out cruelty against him, and designed his destruction. In his good pleasure so fairly and quietly, the Lord took him away in his own time, when his testimony was so blessedly finished, and his work accomplished. This is all remarkable, and worthy of serious and due observation, as being by a special and divine providence and wisdom of God; to whom we ascribe the glory of all, and not to man or creatures. Though we must allow and own that good report and due esteem which faithful elders, ministers, and servants of God and Christ have by faith obtained, to the praise of that blessed power that upheld them, in every age, in their day; many  are even of late taken away from the evil to come, and are at rest in the Lord, out of the reach of all envy and persecution, where the wicked cannot trouble them any more.

And we must patiently bear our parting with them, and our loss and sorrow on that account, with respect to their unspeakable gain. Yet how can we avoid being deeply affected with sadness of spirit and brokenness of heart, under the sense and consideration of such loss and revolutions, which we have cause to believe are ominous of calamities to the wicked world, though of good to the righteous? Did the death of plain upright Jacob, namely Israel, who was as a prince of God, so deeply affect both his own children and kindred, as that they made a great and sore lamentation for him; and even the Egyptians also, that they bewailed him seventy days? And the death of Moses so deeply affect the children of Israel, as that they ‘did weep and mourn for him in the plain of Moab thirty days?' And the death of Stephen, that faithful martyr of Jesus, so deeply affect certain men fearing God, as 'that they made great lamentation for him?' And the apostle Paul, when taking his leave of the elders of the church at Ephesus, and telling them,' they should see his face no more?' If this did so deeply affect them, that they wept all abundantly, sorrowing most of all for these words, that they should see his face no more;' with many more of this kind, how then can we otherwise choose but be deeply affected with sorrow and sadness of heart, though not as those which have no hope, when so many of our ancient, dear, and faithful brethren, with whom we have had much sweet society, are removed from us one after another? (We pray God raise up and increase more such !) Yet must we all contentedly submit to the good pleasure and wisdom of the Lord our God in all these things; who takes away, and none can hinder him, nor may any say unto him, ‘what are you doing?' Yet we have cause to bless the Lord that he has of late raised, and is raising up more to publish his name in the earth. And we that yet remain have but a short time to stay after them who are gone, but we shall be gone to them also. The Lord God of life keep us all faithful in his holy truth, love, unity, and life to the end. He has a great work still to bring forth in the earth, and great things to bring to pass, in order to make way for truth and righteousness to take place therein; and that his seed may come forth and be gathered, and the power and kingdom of our God and of his Christ made known and exalted in the earth, unto the ends of it.

Dear friends and brethren, be faithful until death, that a crown of life you may obtain. All dwell in the love of God in Christ Jesus, in union and peace in him; to whom we tenderly commit you to keep and strengthen you, bless and preserve you to the end of your days. In whose dear and tender love we remain your dear friends and brethren,
           
            STEPHEN CRISP,         GILBERT LATEY,
            GEO. WHITEHEAD,     CHARLES MARSHAL,
            FRA. CAMFIELD,         RICH. NEEDHAM,
            JAMES PARK,               JAMES MARTIN,
            JOHN ELSON,               DANIEL MONRO,
            PETER PRICE,              JOHN HEYWOOD,
            JOHN FIELD,                GEORGE BOWLES,
            JOHN EDRIDGE,          WILLIAM ROBINSON,
            NICHOLAS GATES,     WILLIAM BINGLEY,
            FRANCIS STAMPER,  JOHN BUTCHER,
            JOHN VAUGHTON,    BENJAMIN ANTROBUS.

These names are since added, at the desire of the persons following:

SAM. GOODAKER,
AMB. RIGG,
WILLIAM. FALLOWFIELD.

 

POSTSCRIPT

BEFORE his death he wrote a little paper, desiring all Friends everywhere, that used to write to him about the sufferings and affairs of Friends in their several countries, should henceforth write to their several correspondents in London, to be communicated to the Second-day's Meeting, to take care that they be answered.

Thomas Ellwood's account of that eminent and honorable
servant of the Lord, George Fox.

Site Editor's Commentary: Thomas Ellwood was George Fox's official biographer; he had been mentored by John Milton, (the famous, blind English writer of the twelve-book, epic poem, Paradise Lost), later to become a well-known writer by his own right. For several years, Ellwood lived at Swarthmore, (the home of George Fox), coordinating the collection of Fox's writings and interviewing Fox for his recollection of many letters and events that had not been copied or previously recorded. After completing the Journal of George Fox, Ellwood tirelessly wrote many books and papers in answer the endless flow of books that were critical of the Quakers' beliefs. Ellwood's autobiography and extensive poetry are also on this site, available for reading. In his autobiography, his first-hand account of the then English prisons' terrible conditions is considered the best available.

THIS holy man was raised up by God in an extraordinary manner, for an extraordinary work, even to awaken the sleeping world, by proclaiming the mighty day of the Lord to the nations, and publishing again the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, after the long and dismal night of apostasy and darkness. For this work the Lord began to prepare him by many and various trials and exercises from his very childhood; and having fitted and furnished him for it, he called him into it very young; and made him instrumental, by the effectual working of the holy ghost, through his ministry, to call many others into the same work, and to turn many thousands from darkness to the light of Christ, and from the power of satan unto God. I knew him not until the year 1660. From that time until the time of his death, I knew him well, conversed with him often, observed him much, loved him dearly, and honored him truly; and upon good experience can say, he was indeed an heavenly-minded man, zealous for the name of the Lord, and preferred the honor of God before all things.

He was valiant for the truth, bold in asserting it, patient in suffering for it, unwearied in laboring in it, steady in his testimony to it; immovable as a rock. Deep he was in divine knowledge, clear in opening heavenly mysteries, plain and powerful in preaching, fervent in prayer. He was richly endued with heavenly wisdom, quick in discerning, sound in judgment, able and ready in giving, discreet in keeping counsel; a lover of righteousness, an encourager of virtue, justice, temperance, meekness, purity, chastity, modesty, humility, charity, and self-denial in all, both by word and example. Graceful he was in countenance, manly in personage, grave in gesture, courteous in conversation, weighty in communication, instructive in discourse; free from affectation in speech or carriage. A severe reprover of hard and obstinate sinners; a mild and gentle admonisher of such as were tender, and sensible of their failings; not apt to resent personal wrongs; easy to forgive injuries; but zealously earnest where the honor of God, the prosperity of truth, the peace of the church were concerned. Very tender, compassionate, and pitiful he was to all that were under any sort of affliction; full of brotherly love, full of fatherly care. For indeed the care of the churches of Christ was daily upon him, the prosperity and peace of which he studiously sought. Beloved he was of God, beloved of God's people; and, (which was not the least part of his honor), the common butt of all apostates' envy, whose good notwithstanding he earnestly sought.

He lived to see the desire of his soul, the spreading of that blessed principle of divine light through many of the European nations, and not a few of the American islands and provinces, and the gathering of many thousands to an establishment therein; which the Lord gave him the honor to be the first effectual publisher in this latter day world. And having a good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith, his righteous soul, freed from the earthly tabernacle, in which he had led an exemplary life of holiness, was translated into those heavenly mansions, where Christ our Lord went prepare a place for his; there to posses that glorious crown of righteousness which is laid up for, and shall be given by the Lord the righteous judge, to all them that love his appearance. Ages to come in people left unborn shall call him blessed, and bless the Lord for raising him up, and blessed shall we also be, if we so walk as we had him for an example: for whom this testimony lives in my heart, He lived and died the SERVANT of the LORD.

Thomas Ellwood

The End of Everything in the Journal

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