The Missing Cross to Purity

The Fate of the Persecutors

Behold, I have created the blacksmith
who blows the coals in the fire
and brings forth an instrument for his work;
and I have created the destroyer to destroy.
No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper,
Isaiah 54:16-17

Vengeance is mine as well as recompense;
their foot shall slip in
due time;
for the day of their calamity
is at hand,
and the things that shall come upon them, may come quickly

Deu 32:35

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity;
Rom 1:29

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The Lord's Vengeance

The last act of governor Endicott’s bloody part that occurs, was the cruel whipping of Edward Wharton at Boston, related before; for the time was now come that he must go off the stage, to give an account of his extravagant severity before another tribunal than that of his bloody, barbarous court. The measure of his iniquity was now filled up, and he was visited with a loathsome disease, insomuch that he stunk alive, and so died with rottenness, his name being like to give a bad savor through ages to come. As so many of his victims took terrible lashing on their backs, ripping and tearing away their skin and muscle; in a strange disease, Endicott's back slowly rotted away, stinking so much that no one was able to come near to assist or comfort him.

Yet more remarkable was the death of major-general Adderton, who when Mary Dyer was hung, said with scoffing, and in an insulting way, that she hung as a flag, for others to take example by; and who also, when Wenlock Christison being condemned to death, warned the persecutors because of the righteous judgments of God, presumptuously said: You pronounce woes and judgments, and those that are gone before you pronounced woes and judgments; but the judgments of the Lord God are not come upon us as yet. But how he himself was struck by these judgments, and served for an example to others, we are to see now. One day he had just finished exercising his soldiers under his command, and was riding proudly on his horse towards his house. As he came to the place where the Quakers were untied, after whipping the Quakers while they were drug behind a cart. A cow came and crossed in front of him; his horse became frightend and threw him down so violently, that he died: his eyes protruding out of his head, his brains out of his nose, his tongue out of his mouth, and his blood out of his ears. He being taken up and brought into the courthouse, the place where he had been active in sentencing the innocent to death, his blood ran through the floor, exhibiting to the spectators a shocking instance of the Divine vengeance against a daring and hardened persecutor, thus made a fearful example of that Divine judgment which, when forewarned of, he had openly despised and treated with disdain. As prophesied, God's judgments were about to be poured on his head; which came upon his head suddenly and unexpectedly.

And John Norton, the chief priest of Boston died in a similar sudden manne. John Winthrop, governor of Connecticut, had earnestly pleaded against the shedding of innocent blood. When Norton saw the magistrates pause in the execution of William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, to which he had incensed them, he further urged and promoted their murder. It also was he, who when William Brend was beaten so barbarously with a rope, said that since William Brend endeavored to beat their gospel ordinances black and blue, it was but just upon him if he were beaten black and blue also. But priest Norton was now struck with a blow that made him sink. Having been at his worship-house in the morning, and intending to go back in the afternoon, as he was walking in his house he issued a great groan, and leaning his head against the mantle tree of the chimney, he was heard to say, 'The hand, or the judgments of the Lord are upon me.' These were his last words, and he sunk down, and would had fallen into the fire, if he had not been caught by an old man that was present.

(From Narrative of the Martyrdom at Boston, by John Richardson, 1831 )

John Danfort, a member of their church, and captain of their castle at Boston, as he lay in the heat of the day upon his bed, was struck dead in a strange manner, by thunder and lightning.

John Webb, with other armed men, led Mary Dyer to her execution. As he and others were busy killing a whale, or great fish, he was suddenly carried into the sea and drowned, which was a very strange occurrence.

Timothy Dalton, a persecuting priest at Hampton, and his brother Philemon, were both inveterate opposers of the people called Quakers. They both were soon taken away {from the earth, to their next destiny.} His brother, Philemon, was killed by a tree falling on on his leg; and his brother by another visitation. Dalton was the priest, who had called it blasphemy to say that the Light within was the Light of Christ.

Captain Johnson, who led forth William Leddra to be put to death, was afterwards taken with a sickness, which deprived him of his reason and understanding as a man.

Marshal Broum, of Ipswich, a rapacious plunderer of the Quakers' goods, was soon after cast upon a bed of languish, where he lay in great affliction of body and horror of conscience, and so departed this life.

Edward Norris, a priest at Salem, who excited the rulers and people there against the innocent, saying, "What they did to the Quakers was not persecution, but prosecution." When he was later defending the executions of the Quakers, preaching sermon to the people, he was suddenly struck dumb in his pulpit;* and after a short time died.

*{This is not the first example of a preacher being struck dumb in pulpit as he was preaching against Quakers. From George Fox's Journal, there is a relation of a priest in Scotland who "continued preaching against Friends, and against the light of Christ Jesus, calling it natural; at last one day in his preaching he cursed the light, and fell down as dead in his pulpit. The people carried him out, laid him upon a grave stone, and poured strong waters into him, which fetched him to life again; and they carried him home, but he was, spiritless. After awhile he stripped off his clothes, put on a Scotch plaid, and went into the country among the dairy-women. When he had stayed there about two weeks he came home, and went into the pulpit again. Upon which the people expected some great manifestation or revelation from him; but, instead of that, he began to tell them what entertainment he had met with; how one woman gave him skimmed milk, another buttermilk, and another good milk. So the people were obliged to take him out of the pulpit again, and carry him home. He that gave me this report, was Andrew Robinson, one of his chief hearers, who came afterwards to be convinced, and received the truth. He said he never heard that he recovered his senses again. By this people may see what came upon him that cursed the light, which light is the life in Christ, the word; and it may be a warning to all others that speak evil against the light of Christ."}

Priest Mitchell, of Cambridge, soon after he had endeavored to stir up the rulers there to persecution, was smitten by the hand of the Lord; and it was related of him, that his tongue, while he was yet alive, was turned exceeding black in his mouth; and in that condition he died.

Old Priest Wilson, who reviled the servants of the Lord as they were led forth to be put to death, was also, by the hand of the Lord, swept away, as is believed, in a remarkable manner. Many others, not here mentioned, has the hand of the Lord visited with judgments upon themselves and upon the fruit of their bodies, taking away the lives of several of their first-born by unusual deaths; and from year to year, to this day, [1702] since they murdered the servants of the Lord, has the hand of justice blasted their corn in the fields; their wheat when in the ear near to blossom, being in a strange manner smitten with death at the root, and so wither away; and become so loathsome, (being cut down) that the beasts of the field care not to eat it."—New England Judged, page 485. Hear a description of the terrible calamities and distresses which, for a long series of years, continued upon this Province, as transcribed from Cotton Mather's History of New England, (printed in 1702):—

For now more than twenty years, the blasting strokes of heaven upon the secular affairs of this country, have been such as rather to abate than enlarge the growth of it. That this blasting of the principal grain to continue to this day, as a just judgment, is no doubt for their wickedness and cruelty, in persecuting and putting to death the servants of the Lord.

The many calamities which have ever since been wasting of the country, have so nipped the growth of it, that its latter progress hath held no proportion with what was from the beginning.—The calamities that have carried off the inhabitants of our several towns, have not been all of one sort, nor have all our towns had an equal share in any sort: pestilential sicknesses have made fearful havoc in many places, where the sound have not perhaps been enough to tend the sick, while others have not had one touch from the angel of death; and the sword has cut off scores in many places, when others it may be have not lost a man by that avenger.

There have been several years wherein the terrible famine has terribly struck the town in the face. The angel of death has often shot the arrow of death into the midst of the town. The small-pox has especially four times been a great plague upon us.—Never was any town under the copes of heaven more liable to be laid in ashes, either through the carelessness or wickedness of them that sleep in it.

Ten times has the fire made notable ruins among us, and our good servant been almost our master.

Ah Boston! you have seen the vanity of all worldly possessions; one fatal morning which laid fourscore of your houses, and seventy of your warehouses in a ruinous heap, not nineteen years ago, gave you to read it in fiery characters; and a huge fleet of your vessels, if they were altogether, that have miscarried in the late war, has given you to read more of it."

He tells how the consuming wrath of God is every day on the young men, saying, "New England has been like a tottering house, the very foundations of it have been shaking, but the house thus over-setting by the wrath of God, has been like Job's house. It falls upon the young men, and they are dead. The disasters on our young folks have been so multiplied, that there are few parents among us, but what will go with wounded hearts down unto their graves; their daily moans are, Ah! my son, cut off in his youth! my son! my son!

By land, some of the principal grains, especially our wheat and peas, fell under an accountable blast (drought), from which we are not yet even unto this day delivered; and besides that constant frown of heaven upon our husbandry recurring every year, few years have passed in which either worms, or droughts, or some consuming disaster, have not befallen the labour of the husbandman. By sea we were visited with multiple shipwrecks; enemies preyed upon our vessels and our sailors; and the affairs of the merchant were clogged with losses abroad, or fires breaking forth in the principal seats of trades at home, wasted their substance with yet more costly desolations. Nor did the land and sea more proclaim the controversy of our God against us, than that other element of the air, by the contagious vapours whereof several pestilential sicknesses did sometimes become epidemic among us; yes, the judgments of God having done the first part of the moth upon us, proceeded to do the part of a lion in lamentable wars, wherein the barbarous Indians cruelly butchered many hundreds of our inhabitants, and scattered whole towns with miserable ruins."


J. O. says, at Boston, "they seem to be stained as with the blood of the martyrs. An ancient Friend at Casko, James Wilmslow, told me his father would often be telling him of the execution and sufferings of our dear friends at Boston; that his father was at that time apprenticed in that town, and saw them all hanged. I saw the place near to where they suffered, which is now pretty much laid by buildings. I have also to remark, what before I have read and also been informed, that whereas before our Friends were put to death in this place, the ground used to produce very good crops of wheat, even near to the town; but ever since that time, there has not been any of account. Benjamin Bagnall, an ancient and honorable Friend at Boston, at whose house I lodged, told me that one of his neighbors related to him, that he himself, but three years ago, had a very pleasing prospect of a very good crop of wheat, but when it came into the ear it mildewed, and came to little or nothing. I also made my observation, as being on my religious travel in those parts, in the seventh month, 1771, and that there was no wheat growing within twenty miles of the town of Boston."—(Pike and Oxley, J. Barclay's Series, pages 365, 366.)

JOHN CHURCHMAN, who paid a religious visit to New England, in 1742, says, he saw wheat in that country which looked to be well grown, but in the ear, instead of grain, there was little else than a small black smut in the form of a grain; and he further relates, that, two persons being in Boston, had a curiosity to see the old prison, from which the Friends were led to he hanged, for their religious testimony and principles. An inhabitant of Boston going with them, on their arrival, one of the party happening to say, "Is this the jail where the Friends lay who were hanged" was unexpectedly answered by an aged female, who sat at the door, knitting. Her reply was, — "Yes it is ! and we feelingly know it; for a curse has been on the land ever since; so that it will not bear wheat without a blasting from the sun; and we are beholden to other colonies for bread."

It is believed that the effect of this remarkable judgment is continued to the present day, (written in 1831).

Thus were the inhabitants of New England in an extraordinary manner afflicted and punished. Why such a series of direful calamities, as famine, pestilence, fire, and the sword, should, in so distinguished and exemplary a manner, concur to the destruction of that people above all others, is an enquiry naturally arising from the premises. Those who are disposed to make the enquiry, may be assisted therein by perusing the accounts given in Besse's Collection of the Sufferings of the people called Quakers, of the grievous persecution the Friends had to endure for the sake of their conscience and religion. If, upon a mature consideration of the nature of their sufferings, and the causes and circumstances attending the same, it shall appear that they were persecuted and put to death, being innocent and righteous; that they laid down their lives in opposition to unjust and wicked laws, formed against them by the rulers, priests, and people of New England, with a malicious design of rooting out, and totally extirpating those who openly testified against them and their corruptions; that they were supported through all their afflictions by a Divine power; that they overcame death itself through faith and patience, and finished their course as saints and martyrs of Christ;—it may also seem not altogether improbable, that the judgments and calamities which followed, were manifestations of the Divine displeasure for a national guilt, incurred through the wickedness of their laws and law-makers, who had deliberately destroyed the righteous, and shed their innocent blood. A crying sin, for which the Divine vengeance has visited nations, as is evident by the testimony of Holy Scripture, (Joel 3:19) "Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the vengeance against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land." So also the destruction of Jerusalem is ascribed (Lam 4:13) to the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her. But we presume not in this case to make any positive determination, but rather in lowliness and humility of mind, to acknowledge, with the Psalmist, that the judgments of the Lord are a great deep, (Psalm 36:6); and with the apostle Paul in an holy admiration to say, (Rom 11:33-36), "O! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things to whom be glory forever. Amen."

(Sewel confirms the judgments on Boston:)

But the entire Boston area suffered an even stranger judgment.

Yet one thing remarkable I may mention here, which when I first heard, could not fully give credit to: but thinking it worth the while to make a narrow inquiry into it, I did so, not only by writing, but also from the mouths of persons that had been eye-witnesses, or had been informed by such; and from these I got this concurring observation, namely, that the country about Boston was formerly a very fruitful soil that produced excellent wheat; but that since the time this town had been stained with the blood of the Quakers, no wheat, or similar crops, would grow to perfection within twenty miles, though the ground had been ploughed and sown several times; for sometimes what was sown was spoiled by vermin or insects; at other times it grew up, but scarcely yielded more than was sown, and so could not support the cost of planting; and in another year the expected harvest was quashed by another accident; and these disappointments continuing many years, the people at length grew weary of making further trial, and so left the ground untilled; notwithstanding that twenty miles off from Boston the soil is fruitful, and yields very good corn. But there having been so many reiterated instances of unfruitfulness nearer the town, ancient people that are alive still, and remember the first times, generally agree in their opinion that this was a judgment from heaven, and a curse on the land, because of the shedding of innocent blood at Boston. This relation I had from so many credible persons, (though the one knew nothing of the other, as differing much in time), yet what they told me did so well agree in the main, that I could not but believe it, though I did not initially believe it to be credulous; and therefore I have been the more exact in my inquiry, so that I can no longer question the case; but it seems to me as a punishment on that blood-thirstiness which now has ceased long ago."

{Gentle reader, this ends the vicious persecutions of the Quakers in America. If you would like to continue reading Bowden's History, it is available by clicking here, and proceeding to page 278. But more importantly, I urge you to heed Christ's Words: Come to Me. Learn of Me. Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face, to be in His presence continually! }

The End

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