The Missing Cross to Purity


Ambrose Rigge's Writings to the World

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To all rulers, magistrates, priests and people, who profess the scriptures to be their rule, throughout the nation of England; but more particularly to the magistrates, priests, and people of this county of Sussex, who have had any hand in oppressing and persecuting of them whom God has sent as strangers among them, in tender love and pity to their souls, to turn them to righteousness, through which they may see how far they are from the practice and command of the true Christians, mentioned in the scriptures of Truth.

THROUGHOUT all ages and generations, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit; even so it is now, as this last age of ours has fully manifested, which has brought forth much cruelty and persecution, that has been inflicted upon many for the answer of a good conscience; but more especially upon them whom the Lord has called from their own country to bear witness unto his Truth and righteousness in the earth; for which testimony alone they have undergone a great fight of affliction from the chief priests and rulers, throughout most counties of this nation, as hundreds can witness.

But now I shall unfold the proceedings and dealings of the priests and rulers, of this county of Sussex, towards me, who came as a stranger among them, not wronging any man of anything, nor eating any man's bread for nothing, but freely declaring the message of the everlasting gospel among them, according to the word and command of God unto me, when he led me from my own country and father's house above seven years ago, much contrary to my own will. In this testimony the Lord promised to be with me in all my trials and sufferings, though ever so many and great, charging me to take no thought beforehand what I should say, when I was brought before rulers and governors for his name and gospel, for he would direct me in that hour, and give me a mouth and wisdom to answer all my adversaries; which promise and word, I set to my seal, he has fully performed and confirmed to this very hour. For he never yet allowed the devil to draw me before any rulers, or to cast me into prison, but his presence has been with me, and his right hand has upheld me, to the confusion of all my adversaries; glory, honor, and living praises and thanksgiving, be unto him forevermore; in whose name I perfectly trust, and I hope shall unto the end, by which I have been, and am kept safe from the fear of evil.

I shall fully demonstrate to all sober people, who have but the least measure of Christianity left in them, how far contrary to the scriptures of Truth, the rulers and priests of this county have dealt with me for obedience to the word and command of God. In obedience to this, I came among them as a stranger, according to the practice of the true ministers of Christ throughout the scripture, who vexed and oppressed me contrary to the word and command of God, Exod 22:21, who said to Israel, You shall neither vex a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. For their disobedience to which, the wrath of God arose against his people, until there was no remedy, even because they mocked his messengers, and despised his words, and misused his prophets whom he sent unto them in compassion, as he has done at this day, 2 Chron 36:15-16. And again, the Lord warned them not to vex a stranger, saying: If a stranger sojourns in your land, you shall not vex him, but the stranger that dwells with you, shall be as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself, Lev 19:34. And Moses said, The Lord does execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loves the stranger, in giving him food and raiment; and said, Love you therefore the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt, Deut 10:18-19. And, the Lord preserves the strangers, and relieves the fatherless and widow, but the way of the wicked he turns upside down, Psa 146:9. And Christ said to them on his right hand: Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and you gave me meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; who answered, When saw we you an hungered, and fed you? or naked, and clothed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?  or a stranger, and took you in?  Who said: Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me, Mat 25:34-40. But to the wicked he said: Depart from me you cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was an hungered, and you gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and you took me not in; verse Mat 25:41- 43, who answered, when saw we you hungry, or thirsty, or sick, or naked, or a stranger, or in prison, and did not minister unto you? But Christ said, inasmuch as you have not done it to the least of these, you did it not to me; and these shall go into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal, Mat 25:44, 45. Now if they were to go into everlasting fire, who had not clothed, or fed, or visited in prison, the least of the brethren of Christ, what shall become of such as Leonard Letchford of Hurst, and George Vinters of Covcold, ministers in Sussex, who instead of taking in their brethren when they were strangers, and feeding and clothing of them, have stirred up the rulers and magistrates, through their false reports, to send such to prison, as they have done against me. For the before said George Vinters did raise a report, that Ambrose Rigge did run away from his wife and children out of Lincolnshire, and left them to the parish, which was false, as was afterwards proved by many witnesses. Yet by that lie he incensed the rulers against me, me being here a stranger. In this false aspersion Leonard Letchford of Hurst Pierpoint joined with him and stirred up Nisei Rivers, Walter Burrell, and Richard Bridges, to send for me by warrant, the 28th of the third month, called May, in the year 1662. They arrested me out of my peaceable habitation at Hurst and subsequently committed me to prison, with more of my friends, for the exercise of our consciences towards God, where they kept us prisoners until the assizes.

And then Leonard Letchford appeared against us, and incensed the judge so much that he fined all my friends for meting together in the worship of God; and then said to the judge one more word to aggravate the matter against Ambrose Rigge, for which the judge reproved him. Yet he knowing that I could not swear at all, and being incensed against me, caused the oath of allegiance to be tendered me in the court; and because I could not swear at all, in obedience to Christ and the apostles' words and commands, Mat 5:33-37, James 5:12, Judge Brown quickly sentneced me to lose all my lands and tenements, during my life, and all my goods and chattels forever, and to be out of the king's protection, and to be imprisoned during the king's pleasure. Afterwards he sent for the jailer and gave him a strict charge to keep me close, in which condition I have continued for the most part this seventeen months, and my friends who were fined as above, some of whom have continued prisoners to this day with me, in much patience, and in many hardships, which have added affliction to our bonds; but in all, the secret hand of God has upheld us to this day; glory, honor and praises be unto him forevermore, whose hand is not shortened to them who trust in his name, but makes them as Mount Zion that cannot be moved.

In this long imprisonment, Leonard Letchford has often threatened me with the gallows in word and writing; and one time some of my friends coming to visit me, asked Leonard Letchford if he would come to visit me? to which he answered, if I were to be hung, he would come to see it done. Now of late he has said, if it comes to cutting of throats, he would cut Thomas Luxford's throat and mine. By which, all people fearing God, may judge whether this man is not a murderer, who would perform it himself, when he cannot get others to do it for him. This is the entertainment that Leonard Letchford gives to strangers, and the love that he has to his neighbors. But Paul, who was a minister of Christ, said, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares," Heb 13:2. But instead of entertaining of strangers, Leonard Letchford and George Vinters persecute them as vagrants; by which the impartial reader will clearly see how far they act contrary to the scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament; and they may judge whether they are ministers of Christ, or antichrist.

From us who are present sufferers under the cruelty of men in the county jail in Horsham, whose names are

AMBROSE RIGGE,
AMBROSE GALLOWAY,
RICHARD WEBB,
JAMES MATTHEW

Dated about the Eighth month, 1663.

A brief and serious warning to such as are concerned in commerce and trading, who go under the profession of truth, to keep within the bounds thereof, in righteousness, justice and honesty towards all men.

MANY days and months, yes, some years has my life been oppressed, and my spirit grieved, to see and hear of the uneven walking of many, who have a name that you are alive, and profess the knowledge of God in words; and also of some who have tasted of the good word of God, and have been made partakers of the power of the world to come, and have received the heavenly gift and grace of God, which teaches all, who walk in it, to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts; and to live soberly, honestly and righteously in this present world. The faithfulness of these, with great reason, has been expected to God in things of the highest concern, and to have walked as lights in the world, and in all faithfulness both to God and man, to have stood as living monuments of the mercies of the Lord, letting their light so shine before men, that they might see their good works, both in spiritual and temporal concerns. So might they have honored and glorified God in their generation, and have convinced or confounded opposers, putting to silence the ignorance of foolish men, by which the worthy name of the Lord, by which they have been called, might have been renowned through the earth, and his precious Truth and glory spread to the ends of it, that many through beholding their good and exemplary conduct in Christ, coupled with the holy fear of God, might have desired to lay hold of the skirt of a Christian indeed, whose praise is not of men, but of God.

These are the fruits which we have labored and travailed for, through many and great tribulations, that many might be turned to righteousness, and that the knowledge of the power and glory of the Lord might cover the earth, even as the waters do the sea. God Almighty bears us record, this was and is our only end and design, which, blessed be the Lord, many are witnesses of, and established in, to our abundant joy and comfort. But there are some among us who have not walked humbly with the Lord, as he has required, nor kept in that low estate, either inwardly or outwardly, which becomes those who are traveling up to Zion, with their faces in that direction. These have moved from the rock which is firm and sure, into the great sea of troubles and uncertainty, where some have been drowned, others hardly escaping, and many yet laboring for the shore, with little hopes of coming at it; who have not only brought themselves in danger of suffering shipwreck, but have drawn in others, and have endangered them also, which has opened the mouths of the enemies of Zion's welfare, to blaspheme his great and glorious name, and has eclipsed the luster of the glorious Sun of Righteousness, both in city and in country. This is a crying evil, and ought to be reproved, and that with a severe countenance; for God is angry with it, and will assuredly punish it.

Many have got credit upon the account of Truth, because at the beginning it did, and does still, lead all who were and are faithful to it, to faithfulness and truth, even in the unrighteous mammon, and to let their yes be yes, and their no be no, even between man and man in outward things. So that many would have trusted someone that was called a Quaker with much, and many I believe did, merely upon that account; some of whom I do not doubt, have just cause to change their minds of it already. But if truth and righteousness had been lived in by all who profess it, there would have been no such occasion given. For they who still retain their integrity to the truth and life of righteousness manifested, can live with a cup of water, and a morsel of bread in a cottage, before they can risk other men's estates to advance their own. Such are not eager to borrow, or to complain for lack, for their eye and trust is to the Lord their preserver and upholder; and he has continued the little meal in the barrel, and the oil in the cruse has not failed to such, until God has sent further help. This is certainly known to a remnant at this day, who have coveted no man's silver, gold or apparel, as God knows, but have and do labor with their hands night and day, that the gospel may be without charge.

It is so far below the nobility of Christianity, that it is short of common civility and honest society among men, to insinuate into men's estates, and borrow upon the Truth's credit, gained by the just and upright dealing of the faithful, more than they certainly know their own estates are likely to answer; and with what they borrow reach after great things in the world, appearing to men to be what in the sight of God and truth they are not, seeking to compass great gain to themselves, by which to make of themselves children rich or great in the world. This I testify for the Lord God is deceit and hypocrisy, and will be blasted with the breath of his mouth, and we have seen it blasted already.

And that estate that is gotten either with the rending or with the chance of rending, another man's, is neither honestly gotten, nor can be blessed in the possession. For he who borrows money from another, if the money that is lent is either the lender's proper estate, or part of it, or orphan's money that he is entrusted with, or widow's, or some such, who would not let it go but upon certain good security, and to have the valuable consideration of its improvement; and the borrower, though he has little or no real or no personal estate of his own, but has gotten some credit, either since he is a professor of the Truth or otherwise, and has, it may be, a little house, and a small trade, it may be enough to a low and contented mind. But then the enemy gets in, and works in his mind, and he begins to think of a higher trade, and a finer house, and to live more at ease and pleasure in the world, and then contrives how he may borrow of this and the other, and when accomplished according to his desire, then he begins to undertake great things, and get into a fine house, and gather rich furniture and goods together, launching presently into the strong torrent of a great trade, and then make a great show beyond what he really is, which is dishonesty. If he accomplish his intended purpose, to raise himself in the world, it is with the risk, at least, of other men's ruin, which is unjust; but if he falls short of his expectation, as commonly such do, then he does not only ruin others, but himself also, and brings a great reproach upon the blessed Truth he professes, which is worse than all; and this has already been manifested in a great measure, and by sad experience witnessed. But the honest upright heart and mind knows how to need, as well as how to abound, having learned content in all states and conditions. A small cottage and a little trade is sufficient to that mind, and it never needs what is sufficient. For he that clothes the lilies and feeds the ravens, cares for all who trust in him, as is at this day witnessed—praises to God on high; and that man has no glory in, nor mind out after, superfluous or needless rich hangings, costly furniture, fine tables, great treats, curious beds, vessels of silver or vessels of gold, the very possession of which, as said the ancient Christian Clemens Alexandrinus, creates envy. Padag, lib. 2. cap. 3., pages 160 161.

The way to be rich and happy in this world, is first to learn righteousness; for such a one was never forsaken in any age, nor his descendants begging bread. And charge all parents that they keep their children low and plain in meat, drink, apparel, and everything else, and in due subjection to all just and reasonable commands, and let them not appear above the true estates of their parents, nor get up in pride and high things, though their parents have plentiful estates; for that is of dangerous consequence to their future happiness. Let all who profess the Truth, both young and old, rich and poor, see that they walk according to the rule and discipline of the gospel, in all godly conduct and honesty, that none may suffer wrong by them in any matter or thing whatever; that as the apostle exhorted, they may owe nothing to any man, but to love one another; for love out of a pure heart is the fulfilling of the law; which law commands to do justly to all men. He that has but little, let him live according to that little, and appear to be what in truth he is; for above all God abhors the hypocrite; and he that makes haste to be rich falls into snares, temptations, and many noisome and hurtful lusts, which drown many in perdition, 1 Tim 6:9. "And the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some have lusted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows;" 1 Tim 10.

For preventing this growing evil for the time to come, let faithful Friends exhort those who either live without due care, spending above what they are able to pay for, or run into great trades, beyond what they can in honesty and truth manage; and let them be tenderly admonished of such undertakings. This will not offend the lowly upright mind; neither will the honest minded, who through a temptation may be drawn into such a snare and danger, take any occasion to stumble, because his deeds are brought to light. If, after mature deliberation, any are manifested to be run into any danger of falling, or pulling others down with them, let them be faithfully dealt with in time, before hope of recovery is lost, by honest faithful Friends, who are clear of such things themselves. Let them be admonished to pay what they have borrowed faithfully, and in due time, and be content with their own, and to labor with their own hands in the thing that is honest, that they may have by this to give to him that needs, knowing that it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20:35. If they hear, and are recovered by this, you will not count your labor lost; but if they are high, and refuse admonition, it is a manifest sign all is not well. Let such be admonished again by more Friends, and warned of the danger before them; and if they still refuse and reject counsel and admonition, then lay it before the meeting concerned about Truth's affairs, to which they do belong; and if they refuse to hear them, then let a testimony go forth against such their proceedings and undertakings, as not being agreeable to the Truth, nor the testimony of a good conscience, neither in the sight of God nor man. This will be a terror to evil-doers of this kind, and a praise, encouragement, and refreshment to them that do well, and nothing will be lost that is worth saving by this care: for he that does truth, whether in spiritual or temporal matters, will willingly bring his deeds to the light, that it may be manifest to all that they are wrought in God.

These things lay weightily upon me, and I may truly say in the sight of God, I wrote it in a great cross to my own will, for I delight not, no, my soul is bowed down at the occasion of writing such things; but there is no remedy; the name of the Lord has been, and is likely to be, greatly dishonored, if things of this nature are not stopped, or prevented for time to come. Therefore I beseech you all, who have the weight and sense of these things upon you, let some speedy and effectual course be taken to prevent what possibly we may, both in this and all other things, that may any way cloud the glory of that Sun which is risen among us. Make this public, and send it abroad to be read in true fear and reverence in all meetings; and let all concerned be faithfully and plainly warned, without respect of persons, by faithful Friends, who have the care of God's glory, and his churches peace and prosperity upon them. So will the majesty and glory of God shine upon your heads, and you shall be a good savor of life, both in them that are saved, and in them that are lost.

Written by one who longs to see righteousness exalted, and all deceit confounded.

Ambrose Rigge

Gatlon-place, in Surrey, the 16th of the Eleventh month, 1678. 28

A visitation of lender love from the Lord unto Charles II,  King of England, Scotland and Ireland.

LET the consideration of these following lines deeply sink into your heart, for they are things of great moment to you at this day. There is a people within your dominions, called Quakers, whom the God of heaven highly esteemed, in whose hearts he has placed his holy law, according to his promise by the mouth of his prophets, which is, and has been, their school master and leader unto Christ, according to the testimony of Paul, his servant. For their obedience to which law, this people has undergone many great trials and tribulations, both before and since your coming into this nation to rule as king, which they have patiently borne, without avenging their own cause, till the Lord did arise and plead with their enemies, which he has done to their confusion and overthrow, even without remedy. And this poor people were never known to provoke the worst of their enemies to wrath against them, unless by their honest conduct before them, coupled with God's fear and reverence, which is of great price in his sight, though not valued in the sight of men; for which they have suffered deaths often, long and sore imprisonments, and great spoil of their goods, stoning, stocking, whipping and cruel mockings, and much more, which is too tedious to mention, for their due obedience to the royal law of God, and the weighty commands of Christ. They have been denied the liberty of thieves and murderers, for their loyalty thereunto, by them who were in authority before your coming in; which God took occasion to destroy with remediless misery, as a just reward of their ungodly deeds. Then he remembered you, whom he had allowed to be oppressed by the before named taskmasters, and did raise you from a low estate, in which estate when you were low, and in the sense thereof, you promised much liberty to these harmless lambs of God's fold, saying, they should not suffer for their religion, so long as they did live peaceably; and much more, which may be seen abroad in public view. Yet notwithstanding, their sufferings are much more increased under you, than before, and you have broken your word and promises to them, though they have kept faithful and true unto you, and have not broken the peace of the kingdoms under you, nor any of your just laws, but have labored by all lawful means to live a peaceable and quiet life under you, in all godliness and honesty. Yet how great is the cry of their oppression in this nation at this day, from the one end thereof to the other? They are appointed as sheep for the slaughter, even while they who work wickedness are set up in high estimation. All which the righteous God has regarded, and his soul is greatly grieved every day; and if these things be not speedily amended, he will visit you and the whole nation in his hot displeasure; these, and such like evils, were the overthrow of many great kings in the days of old, whom when they forgot God and his cause, and oppressed and persecuted his people, he did blast in their greatest glory, and laid their honor in the dust.

So in all love and tenderness of heart consider what you have done, and are doing, and remember your covenants with God and man in your low estate, and let it be in no man's power further to charge you with the breach of your word and promise. Allow none to be oppressed for conscience sake in your dominions, that do not disturb the peace of the kingdom, as you will answer the contrary before the righteous God. This can never be a good ingredient to your future security with God or man, neither will God ever bless you, or prosper your way in any thing of this nature; for his people is his portion which he has called and chosen, and woe to all their enemies. He that offends one of them, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the midst of the sea. And if any counsel you to vex and scourge the before named lambs, such are your mortal enemies; and if you do listen to and obey them, it will bring shame, reproach, confusion and desolation unto your crown and dignity.

Therefore be wise, О king, and recollect your memory while you have a day and time, and consider your former engagements, and also your father's and grandfather's charges laid upon you concerning these things, and let love and mercy establish your throne, that your days may be prolonged. Be not so high-minded or stouthearted against any; that will never draw the hearts of your subjects to love you; and as long as you allow the wicked to tread down the heritage of God, you shall never have his countenance upon you, but his displeasure shall attend you in your most secret chamber, and at last he will give you up to be a prey to your enemies, even as he has done many before, who rejected his counsel, till his wrath sealed the truth of it in their bosoms. Oh the cry of cruelty and oppression that is everywhere! What will be the end thereof? None is now esteemed, but such as can run greedily into iniquity, and drink it up as the ox drinks water. The nations are in a flame, the fire of God's jealousy is kindled in every city and town, even prepared to burn up all his enemies; and the iniquity of rulers, priests and people, does blow it up day and night, that it cannot long be stayed, unless it is speedily quenched by tears of unfeigned repentance; for the hour of God's judgment approaches, and the execution will speedily follow if not prevented.

This in short, I was moved to write unto you in true love, who am and have been a sufferer under you for the testimony of Jesus; being no enemy, nor never was to you, that you may not run upon that which will be your final destruction; but if you do reject the day of God's visitation in mercy to you, he will take you off in his hot displeasure. So the Lord open your eyes to see the things that belong to your peace, before they be hid from you. This was laid upon me once more to lay before you without flattering titles, who am one of your suffering subjects, known by the name of

Ambrose Rigge

This was written the 2nd of the Seventh month, 1662

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