The Missing Cross to Purity

The Journal of George Fox - 1648 - 1652 - Early Ministry <page 4>

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The next day I came to James Taylor's of Newton at Cartmel, in Lancashire. On the First-day I went to the chapel where a priest named Camelford used to preach; and after he was finished, I began to speak the word of life to the people. But he was in a rage, and so fretful and annoyed that he had no patience to hear; but stirred up the rude multitude, who forced me out, hit me, and threw me headlong over a stone wall. Yet blessed be the Lord, his power preserved me. He who struck me was John Knipe, a wicked man, whom afterwards the Lord cut off. There was a youth in the chapel serving as a writer for the priest. I was moved to speak to him, and he came to be convinced, and received a part of the ministry of the gospel; his name was John Braithwait.

Then I went to an alehouse, a place which many patronized between the time of their morning and afternoon preaching; and had a great deal of reasoning with the people, declaring to them, that God had come to teach his people himself, and to bring them off from all false teachers, such as the prophets, Christ, and the apostles cried against. Many received the word of life at that time, and lived in it.

In the afternoon I went about two or three miles to a steeple-house or chapel called Lyndal. When the priest had done, I spoke to him and the people what the Lord commanded me, and there were great opposers; but afterwards they came to be convinced. After this I went to one captain Sands', who with his wife seemed somewhat affected with truth; and if they could have held the world and truth together, they would have received it; but they were hypocrites, and he a very chaffy light man. For which reason I reproved him for his lightness and jesting; telling him, it was not seemly in a great professor as he was. Upon that he told me, he had a son, who upon his death-bed had also reproved him for it, and warned him of it. But he neither regarded the admonition of his dying son, nor the reproofs of God's spirit in himself.

From here I went to Ulverstone and then to Swarthmore to judge Fell's. Lampitt, a priest who was a high spiritual talker, arrived. I had a great deal of reasoning with him; for he would talk of high ideals and perfections, which deceived the people. He would have claimed me to be his brethren, but I could not own nor join with him, he was so full of filth. He said he was above John; and pretended he knew all things. But I told him, 'Death reigned from Adam to Moses; and that he was under death, and did not know Moses: for Moses saw the paradise of God; but he knew neither Moses, nor the prophets, nor John.' For that crooked and rough nature stood in him, and the mountain of sin and corruptions; and the way was not prepared in him for the Lord. He confessed he had been under a cross in things; but now he could sing psalms, and do anything. I told him, ‘Now he could see a thief, and join hand in hand with him; but he could not preach Moses, nor the prophets, nor John, nor Christ, except he was in the same spirit that they were in.' Margaret Fell had been away during the day; and at night her children told her that priest Lampitt and I had disagreed; which somewhat troubled her, because she shared the same professed beliefs as he did; but he hid his dirty actions away from them. At night we had a long discussion, and I declared the truth to her and her family. Next day Lampitt came again, and I had a great deal of discourse with him in the presence of Margaret Fell, who then clearly discerned the priest; and a convincement of the Lord's truth came upon her and her family. Soon after her convincement, a day which observed humiliation occurred; and Margaret Fell asked me to go with her to the steeple-house at Ulverstone, for she had not completely rejected that worship group. [This was a Calvinist Puritan sect, which the Fells attended]. I replied, ‘I must do as I am ordered by the Lord.' So I left her and walked into the fields; and the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'Go to the steeple-house after them.' When I came, Lampitt was singing with his people; but his spirit was so foul, and the message of the song was so unsuitable to their spiritual states, that after they had done singing, I was moved of the Lord to speak to him and the people. The word of the Lord to them was, 'He is not a Jew that is one outward; but he is a Jew that is one inward, whose praise is not of man, but of God.' Then, as the Lord opened further, I showed them, ‘That he had come to teach his people by his spirit, and to bring them off from all their old ways, religions, churches, and worships; for all their religions, worships, and ways were but talking of other men's words; but they were out of the life and spirit which those were in who gave them forth.' a justice name Sawrey cried out, 'Take him away;' but judge Fell's wife said to the officers, 'Let him alone; why may he not speak, as well as any other?' In deceit the priest Lampitt also said, 'Let him speak.' So I was able to declare the truth a fair amount of time until justice Sawrey ordered the constable to put me out; and then I spoke to the people in the graveyard, later returning to Swarthmore Hall.

Swarthmore Hall

Note: From Valiant for the Truth: Swarthmore Hall was a stately hall in Lancashire, the ancestral home of Thomas Fell, a noted barrister of Cromwell's court. Having risen rapidly to place and power, Judge Fell at last became dissatisfied with the administration of government, and returned to the practice of his profession and to his home at Swarthmore Hall. This commodious house was built in the Elizabethan style, with a spacious hall, rich oak panelings, aud oriel windows. Possessing ample means, both Thomas Fell and his wife loved hospitality, and the doors of their home were open to all, especially to the ministers of the gospel. She says of herself, "I was seeking and inquiring about twenty years."

The First-day after that, I was moved to go to Aldenham steeple-house, and when the priest had finished, I spoke to him; but he got away. Then I declared the word of life to the people, and warned them to turn to the Lord.

From there I passed to Ramside where there was a chapel in which Thomas Lawson used to preach, who was an eminent priest. He very lovingly announced to his people in the morning of my coming in the afternoon; which resulted in many being gathered together waiting for me. When I came, I saw there was no place as convenient to meet as the chapel: so I went into the chapel, and all was quiet. Thomas Lawson did not go up into his pulpit, but left all the time to me. The everlasting day of the eternal God was proclaimed that day, and the everlasting truth was greatly declared, which reached and entered into the hearts of the people, and many received the truth in the love of it. This priest came to be convinced, left his chapel, threw off his preaching for hire, and came to preach the Lord Jesus and his kingdom freely. After that some rude people reported scandals about him, and thought to have damaged him; but he was carried over all, grew in the wisdom of God mightily, and proved very serviceable in his place.

I returned to Swarthmore again, and the next First-day went to Dalton steeple-house; where, after the priest had finished, I declared the word of life to the people; that they might be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God; and might come off from their superstitious ways, and from their teachers made by man, to Christ the true and living way, to be taught of him.

From there I went into the island of Walnah; and after the priest had finished, I spoke to him, but he got away. Then I declared the truth to the people, but they were rather rude. I went to speak to the priest at his house, but he could not be found. The people said, he went to hide himself in the hay-mow, and they looked for him there but could not find him. Then they said, he had gone to hide himself in the standing corn, but they could not find him there either. I went to James Lancaster's, who was convinced in the island, and from there returned to Swarthmore, where the Lord's power seized upon Margaret Fell, her daughter Sarah, and several others.

Then I went to Beacliff, where Leonard Fell was convinced, and became a minister of the everlasting gospel. Several others were convinced there, and came into obedience to the truth. Here the people said, they could not dispute; and would gladly have someone else to talk with me; but I bid them 'Fear the Lord; and not to hold talk of the Lord's words in a light way, but put the things in practice.' {As I was walking, I heard old people and workmen say: "there has never been such a man as George Fox, he knows peoples thoughts."}, for I turned them to the divine light of Christ and his spirit in their hearts, which would let them see all the evil thoughts, words, and actions, that they had thought, spoken, and acted; by which light they might see their sin, and also see their savior Christ Jesus to save them from their sins. This I told them was their first step to peace: to stand still in the light that showed them their sins and transgressions; by which they might come to see they were in the fall of old Adam, in darkness and death, strangers to the covenant of promise of God in the world and fall of old Adam. And by the same light they might see Christ that died for them, to be their redeemer and savior, and their way to God.

After this I went to a chapel beyond Gleaston: which was built, but a priest had never preached in it. People from all the surrounding area came; and a quiet, peaceable meeting it was, in which the word of life was declared among the people, and many were convinced of the truth around the Gleaston area.

From there I returned to Swarthmore again. After I had stayed a few days, and most of the family were convinced, I went back into Westmoreland, where priest Lampitt had been among the professors on Kendal side, and had greatly incensed them against me; telling them I held many strange ideas. I met with those that he had so incensed, sat up all night with them at James Dickinson's, and answered all their objections. They were both thoroughly satisfied with the truth I had declared, and dissatisfied with him and his lies; so that he clearly lost the best of his congregation and followers, who by this meeting came to see his deceit, and left him.

I passed on to John Audland's and Gervase Benson's, and had great meetings among those that had been convinced before. I passed to John Blakelin's and Richard Robinson's, where I had great and powerful meetings, and then towards Grisedale.

Soon after, judge Fell came home, his wife Margaret sent to me, desiring me to return there; and I, feeling freedom from the Lord so to do, went back to Swarthmore. When I came I found the priests and professors, and justice Sawrey had much incensed judge Fell and captain Sands against the truth by their lies; but when I came to speak with him, I answered all his objections, and so thoroughly satisfied him by the scriptures, that he was convinced in his judgment. Then he asked me, ‘if I was that George Fox whom Justice Robinson spoke so highly of among many of the parliament men?' I told him, I had been with Justice Robinson, and Justice Hotham, in Yorkshire, who were very civil and loving to me; and that they were convinced in their judgments by the spirit of God, that the principle which I bore testimony to was the truth, and they saw beyond the priests of the nation; so that they and many others were now come to be wiser than their teachers. After we had discoursed a pretty while together, judge Fell himself was satisfied also, and came to see, by the openings of the spirit of God in his heart, over all the priests and teachers of the world; and did not go to hear them for some years before he died; for he knew it was the truth that I declared, and that Christ was the teacher of his people, and their savior. He sometimes wished that I was awhile with judge Bradshaw to discourse with him. Captain Sands, before mentioned, came to Judge Fell’s, endeavoring to incense the judge against me; for he was an evil-minded man, and full of envy against me; yet he could speak high things, use the scripture words, and say, 'Behold, I make all things new.' But I told him, then he must have a new God; for his god was his belly. Besides him came also that envious justice, John Sawrey. I told him, 'His heart was rotten, and he was full of hypocrisy to the brim.' Several others also came, whose states the Lord gave me a discerning of; and I spoke to their conditions. While I was in those parts, Richard Farnsworth and James Naylor, {who had been on a fast for 14 days}, came to see me and the family; and despite all their opposition, judge Fell was satisfied that it was the way of truth and he allowed the meeting to be kept at his house; and a great meeting was settled there in the Lord's power, to the tormenting of the priests and professors; which has continued near forty years, until the year 1690, when a new meeting house was erected near it.

After I had stayed awhile, and the meeting there was well settled, I departed to Underbarrow, where I had a great meeting. From there I went to Kellet, and had a great meeting at Robert Withers's, to which several came from Lancaster, and some from York; and many were convinced.

{There was a captain who stood up after the meeting and asked me where were my leather britches? I let him speak for awhile, and at last pulled up my great coat, and said 'here are my leather britches,' which frightens all the priests and professors.

And Margaret Fell had a vision of a man in a white had who was to come and confound the priests before I had arrived; and great dread there was among the priest and professors concerning the man in the leather britches.

Another man had also previously received a vision that a man should come and confound the priests; and this man's own priest was the first to be confounded and convinced.}

On the market-day I went to Lancaster, and spoke through the market in the dreadful power of God; declaring the day of the Lord to the people, and crying out against all their deceitful merchandise. I preached righteousness and truth unto them, which all should follow after, walk, and live in; directing them how and where they might find and receive the spirit of God to guide them there into truth and righteousness. After I had cleared myself in the market, I went to my lodging, where several people came; and many were convinced, who have stood faithful to the truth.

On the First-day following, in the forenoon, I had a great meeting in the street at Lancaster, among the soldiers and people, to whom I declared the word of life, and the everlasting truth. I opened unto them, that all the traditions they had lived in, all their worships and religions, and the profession they made of the scriptures, were good for nothing, while they lived out of the life and power which those were in who gave forth the scriptures. And I directed them to the light of Christ, the heavenly man, and to the spirit of God in their own hearts, that they might come to be acquainted with God and Christ, receive him for their teacher, and know his kingdom to be in them.

In the afternoon I went to the steeple-house at Lancaster, and declared the truth to the priest and people; laying open before them the deceit that they lived in, and directing them to the power and spirit of God which they wanted. But they drug me out, and stoned me along the street until I came to John Lawson's house.

On another First-day I went to a steeple-house by the water side, where one Whitehead was priest; to whom and to the people I declared the truth in the dreadful power of God. There came to me a doctor, so full of envy, that he said, ‘he could find it in his heart to run me through with his rapier, though he was hanged for it the next day;' yet this man came afterwards to be convinced of the truth, so far as to be loving to Friends. Some were convinced in the area, who willingly sat down under the ministry of Christ, their teacher; and a meeting was settled there in the power of God, which has continued to this day.

After this I returned into Westmoreland, and spoke through Kendal on a market-day. And so dreadful was the power of God that was upon me, that people flew like chaff before me into their houses. I warned them of the mighty day of the Lord, and exhorted them to hearken to the voice of God in their own hearts, who had come to teach his people himself. While some opposed me, many others supported me. At last some fell to fighting about me; but I went and spoke to them, and they parted again. Several were convinced.

The next First-day I had a very large meeting in Under-barrow at Miles Bateman's, where I was moved to declare, 'that all people in the fall were gone from the image of God, righteousness, and holiness, and were like wells without the water of life, as clouds without the heavenly rain, as trees without the heavenly fruit; and were degenerated into the nature of beasts, of serpents, of tall cedars, of oaks, of bulls, and of heifers; so that they might read the nature of these creatures within, as the prophets described them to the people of old, that were out of truth. I opened to them, how some were in the nature of dogs and swine, biting and rending; some in the nature of briers, thistles, and thorns; some like the owls and dragons in the night; some like the wild asses and horses, snuffing up the wind; and some like the mountains and rocks, and crooked and rough ways. For which reason I exhorted them to read these things within in their own natures, as well as without; and that, when they read of the wandering stars, they should look within, and see how they have wandered from the bright and morning star. And they should consider, that as the fallow ground in their fields must be ploughed up before it would bear seed to them, so must the fallow ground of their hearts he ploughed up before they could bear seed to God. All these names and things I showed them were spoken of and to man and woman, since they fell from the image of God; but as they come to be renewed again into the image of God, they come out of the natures of these things, and so out of the names of that. Many more such things were declared to them, and they were turned to the light of Christ, by which they might come to know and receive him, and might witness him to be their substance, their way, their salvation, and true teacher. Many were convinced at that time.

After I had traveled up and down in those countries, having great meetings, I came to Swarthmore again; and when I had visited Friends awhile in those parts, I heard of a great meeting the priests were to have at Ulverstone on a lecture day. I went to it, and into the steeple-house in the dread and power of the Lord. When the priest had done, I spoke among them the word of the Lord, which was like a hammer and as a fire among them. And though Lampitt, the priest of the place, had been at variance with most of the priests before, yet against the truth they all joined together. But the mighty power of the Lord was over all; and so wonderful was the appearance of that power, that priest Bennet said, 'The church shook;' so much so that he was afraid and trembled. And after he had spoken a few confused words, he hastened out for fear the steeple-house would fall on his head.

There were many priests assembled together, but as of yet they had no power to persecute.

When I had cleared my conscience among them, I went to Swarthmore again. Four or five of the priests followed me to Swarthmore. In our discussion I asked them, 'Whether anyone of them could say, he ever had the word of the Lord to go and speak to such or such a people?' None of them dared to say he had; but one of them burst into a passion, and said, ‘He could speak his experiences as well as I.' I told him experience was one thing; but to receive and go with a message, and to have a word from the Lord as the prophets and apostles had and did, and as I had to them, was another thing. And therefore I put it to them again; ‘Could anyone of them say, he ever had a command or word from the Lord immediately at anytime?’ But none of them could say so. Then I told them, the false prophets, false apostles, and antichrists, could use the words of the true prophets, true apostles, and of Christ, and would speak of other men's experiences, though themselves never knew nor heard the voice of God and Christ; and such as they might get the good words and experiences of others. This puzzled them much, and laid them open. For at another time, when I was in a discussion with several priests at judge Fell's house, and he was nearby, I asked them the same question, 'Whether any of them ever heard the voice of God or Christ, to tell him to go to such or such a people, to declare his word or message unto them?' For anyone, I told them, that could but read, might declare the experiences of the prophets and apostles, which were recorded in the scriptures. At which point Thomas Taylor an ancient priest, candidly confessed before judge Fell, 'That he had never heard the voice of God, nor of Christ, to send him to any people; but he spoke his experiences, and the experiences of the saints in former ages, and that he preached.' This very much confirmed judge Fell in being persuaded ‘that the priests were wrong;' for he had thought formerly, as the generality of people then did, 'that they were sent from God.'

Thomas Taylor was convinced at this time, and traveled with me into Westmoreland. Coming to Crosland steeple-house, we found the people gathered; and the Lord opened Thomas Taylor's mouth, (though he was convinced but the day before), so that he declared among them, ‘How he had been before he was convinced,' and, like the good scribe converted to the kingdom, he brought forth things new and old to the people, and showed them, 'how the priests were out of the way:' which fretted the priests. I had a good little discussion with them, but they fled away; and a precious meeting occurred, in which the Lord's power was over all. The people were directed to the spirit of God, by which they might come to know God and Christ, and to understand the scriptures aright. After this meeting I passed on, visiting Friends, and had very large meetings in Westmoreland.

Now the priests began to rage more and more, and they stirred up persecution as much as they could. James Naylor and Francis Howgill were cast into prison in Appleby jail, at the instigation of the malicious priests. Some of the priests prophesied, 'that within a month we would be all scattered again, and come to nothing.' But blessed forever is the worthy name of the Lord for his work went on and prospered; and around this time John Audland, Francis Howgill, John Camm, Edward Burrough, Richard Hubberthorn, Miles Hubbersty, and Miles Halhead, with several others, being endued with power from on high, came forth in the work of the ministry and approved themselves faithful laborers for it. They traveled up and down and preached the gospel freely; by means which multitudes were convinced, and many effectually turned to the Lord. Among these turned was Christopher Taylor, brother to Thomas Taylor before mentioned, who had been preacher to a people as well as his brother. Soon after they had received the knowledge of the truth, they came into obedience to it, and left their preaching for hire or rewards; and having received a part of the ministry of the gospel, they preached Christ freely, being often sent by the Lord to declare his word in steeple-houses and markets; and they suffered from persecution greatly.

After I had visited Friends in Westmoreland, I returned into Lancashire, and went to Ulverstone, where Lampitt was the priest. Though he had preached of a people that would own the teachings of God, and had said, 'that men and women would come and declare the gospel;' yet when it came to be fulfilled, he persecuted both it and them. I went to this priest's house, where a large number of priests and professors had gotten together after their lecture. I had great disputes concerning Christ and the scriptures with them; for they were very reluctant to give up their revenue, which they collected by preaching Christ's, the apostles' and prophets' words. But the Lord's power went over the heads of them all, and his word of life was held forth among them; though many of them were exceedingly envious and devilish. Yet after this, many priests and professors came to me from far and near. Those that were innocent and simple-minded were satisfied and went away refreshed; but the fat and full were fed with judgment, and sent away empty; for that was the word of the Lord to be divided to them.

When meetings were set up, and we met in private houses, Lampitt began to rage. He said, 'we deserted the temple, and went to Jeroboam's calves' houses.' So many professors began to see how he had declined from that which he had formerly held and preached. At this time the case of Jeroboam's calves was opened to the professors, priests, and people. It was manifested unto them, that their houses (called churches) were more like Jeroboam's calves' houses, than even the old mass houses, which were set up in the darkness of Popery. Those who called themselves Protestants, and professed to be more enlightened than the Papists, still defended these, although God had never commanded them. In fact that temple, which God had commanded at Jerusalem, Christ came to end the service of; and those that received and believed in him, their bodies came to be the temples of God, of Christ, and of the holy ghost, to dwell in them, and to walk in them. And such were gathered into the name of Jesus whose name is above every name, and there is no salvation by any other name under the whole heaven but by the name of Jesus. And those who were thus gathered met together in several dwelling houses, which were not called the temple or the church; but their bodies were the temples of God, and the believers were the church of which Christ was the head. So that Christ was not called the head of an old house, which was made by men's hands, neither did he come to purchase, sanctify, and redeem with his blood an old house, which they called their church; but the people, of which he is the head. Much work I had in those days with priests and people concerning their old mass-homes called churches; for the priests had persuaded the people, that they were the houses of God ; whereas the apostle' says, 'whose house we are.' Hebr 3:6 The people in whom he dwells are God's house. The apostle said, 'Christ purchased his church with his own blood;' and Christ calls his church his spouse, his bride, the Lamb's wife; so that this title church and spouse, was not given to an old house, but to his people the true believers.

On a lecture day I was moved to go to the steeple-house at Ulverstone, where were abundance of professors, priests and people. I went near to priest Lampitt, who was blustering on in his preaching. After the Lord had opened my mouth to speak, John Sawrey the justice came to me and said, 'if I would speak according to the scriptures, I should speak.' I admired him for speaking so to me, for I did speak according to the scriptures, and told him, 'I would speak according to the scriptures, and bring the scriptures to prove what I had to say; for I had something to speak to Lampitt and to them.' Then he said, I should not speak anything which contradicted himself, when he had said just before, 'I should speak, if I would speak according to the scriptures.' The people were quiet, and heard me gladly, until this justice Sawrey, (who was the first stirrer up of cruel persecution in the north), incensed them against me, and set them on to hale, beat, and bruise me. But now all of a sudden the people were in a rage, and fell upon me in the steeple-house before his face, knocked me down, kicked me, and trampled upon me. So great was the uproar, that some tumbled over their seats for fear. At last he came and took me from the people, led me out of the steeple-house, and put me into the hands of the constables and other officers; bidding them whip me, and put me out of the town. They led me about a quarter of a mile, some taking hold by my collar, some by my arms and shoulders, who shook and dragged me along. Many friendly people being come to the market, and some to the steeple-house to hear me; several of these they knocked down also, and broke their heads, so that the blood ran down from several; and judge Fell's son came running after to see what they would do with me; they threw him into a ditch of water, some of them crying, 'Knock the teeth out of his head.' When they had haled me to the common moss side, a multitude following, the constables, and other officers gave me some blows over my back with their willow rods, and thrust me among the rude multitude; who having furnished themselves with staves, hedge-stakes, and holm or holly bushes, fell upon me, and beat me on my head, arms, and shoulders, until they had deprived me of sense; so that I fell down upon the wet common. When I recovered again, I saw myself lying in a watery common, and the people standing about me, I lay still a little while, and the power of the Lord sprang through me, and the eternal refreshings revived me; so that I stood up again in the strengthening power of the eternal God and stretching out my arms among them, I said, with a loud voice, 'Strike again; here are my arms, my head, and my cheeks.' There was in the company a mason, a professor, but a rude fellow, who with his walking rule-staff gave me a blow with all his might just over the back of my hand, as it was stretched out; with which blow my hand was so bruised, and my arm so benumbed, that I could not draw it to me again; so that some of the people cried, 'He has spoiled his hand for ever having the use of it any more.' But I looked at it in the love of God, (for I was in the love of God to them all that had persecuted me), and after awhile the Lord's power sprang through me again, and through my hand and arm, so that in a moment I recovered strength in my hand and arm in the sight of them all. Then they began to fall out among themselves; some of them came to me, and said, if I would give them money, they would secure me from the rest.

But I was moved of the Lord to declare the word of life, and showed them their false christianity, and the fruits of their priest's ministry; telling them, they were more like heathens and Jews than true christians. Then was I moved of the Lord to come up again through the midst of the people, and go into Ulverstone market. As I went, there met me a soldier, with his sword by his side; ‘Sir,' said he to me, ' I see you are a man, and I am ashamed and grieved that you should be thus abused;' and offered to assist me in what he could. I told him the Lord's power was over all; and I walked through the people in the market, none of whom had power to touch me then. But some of the market people abusing some Friends in the market, I turned about, and saw this soldier among them with his naked rapier; whereupon I ran, and, catching hold of the hand his rapier was in, bid him put up his sword again, if he would go along with me for I was willing to draw him out from the company lest some mischief should be done. A few days after, seven men fell upon this soldier, and beat him cruelly, because he had taken part with Friends and me. For it was the manner of the persecutors of that country, for twenty or forty people to run upon one man. They fell so upon Friends in many places, that they could hardly pass the highways, stoning, beating, and breaking their heads. When I came to Swarthmore, I found the Friends there dressing the heads and hands of Friends and friendly people, which had been broken or hurt that day by the professors and hearers of Lampitt. My body and arms were yellow, black, and blue, with the bruises I received among them that day. Now began the priests to prophesy again, that within half a year we should be all put down and gone.

About two weeks after this, I went into Walney Island, and James Naylor came with me. We stayed one night at a little town on this side, called Cockan, and had a meeting there, where one was convinced. After awhile a man came with a pistol; whereupon the people ran out of doors. He called for me, and when I came to him, he snapped his pistol at me; but it would not go off. This caused the people to make a great bustle about him; and some of them took hold of him, to prevent his doing mischief. But I was moved in the Lord's power to speak to him; and he was so struck by divine power, that he trembled for fear, and went and hid himself. Thus the Lord's power came over them all, though there was a great rage in the country.

Next morning I went over in a boat to James Lancaster's. As soon as I came to land, there rushed out about forty men, with staves, clubs, and fishing-poles; who fell upon me, beating and punching me, and endeavoring to thrust me backward into the sea. When they had almost thrust me into the sea, and I saw they would have knocked me down in it, I went up into the middle of them; but they attacked me again, knocked me down, and stunned me. When I came to myself, I looked up and saw James Lancaster's wife throwing stones at my face, and her husband was lying over me, to keep the blows and stones from me. For the people had persuaded James's wife that I had bewitched her husband; and had promised her, that if she would let them know when I came there, they would be my death; and having gotten knowledge of my coming, many of the town rose up in this manner with clubs and staves to kill me; but the Lord's power preserved me, that they could not take away my life. At length I got upon my feet, but they beat me down again into the boat; which James Lancaster observing, he presently came into the boat to me, and set me over the water from them; but while we were on the water, within their reach, they struck at us with long poles, and threw stones after us. By that time we were come to the other side, we saw them beating James Naylor for while they had been beating me, he walked into a field, and they never minded him until I was gone; then they fell upon him, and all their cry was, ‘Kill him, kill him.'

When I had come over to the town again, on the other side of the water, the townsmen rose up with pitchforks, flails, and staves, to keep me out of the town, crying, 'Kill him, knock him on the head; bring the cart, and carry him away to the church yard.' So after they had abused me, they drove me a quite a way out of the town, and there left me. Then James Lancaster went back again, to look after James Naylor; and I being now left alone, went to a ditch; and having washed myself, walked about three miles to Thomas Hutton's, where lodged Thomas Lawson, the priest that was convinced. When I came in, I was so bruised that I could hardly speak to them; but I told them where I left James Naylor. Upon which they each took a horse, and went and brought him back there that night. The next day Margaret Fell hearing of it, sent a horse for me; but I was so sore with bruises, that I was not able to bear the shaking of the horse without much pain. When I came to Swarthmore, justice Sawrey and one justice Thompson, of Lancaster, granted a warrant against me; but judge Fell coming home, it was not served upon me for he was out of the country all this time that I was thus cruelly abused. When he came home, he sent warrants into the isle of Walney, to apprehend all those riotous persons; whereupon some of them fled the country. James Lancaster's wife was afterwards convinced of the truth, and repented of the evil she had done me; and so did some others of those bitter persecutors also; but the judgments of God fell upon some, and destruction has come upon many of them since. Judge Fell desired me to give him an account of my persecution; but I told him, they could not do otherwise in the spirit which they were in; and that they manifested the fruits of their priest's ministry, and their profession and religion to be wrong. So he told his wife I made nothing of it; and that I spoke of it as a man that had not been concerned; for indeed the Lord's power healed me again.

After I had recovered, I went to Yelland where there was a great meeting. In the evening a priest came to the house with a pistol in his hand under the pretence to light a pipe of tobacco. The maid of the house seeing the pistol, told her master; who, upon hearing that, clasped his hands on both the door posts and told the priest that he could not come into the house. While he stood there, blocking the doorway, he looked up, and noticed over the wall a company of men coming; some were armed with staves, and all of them had a musket. But the Lord prevented their bloody design; because when they saw that they had been discovered, they went their way and did no harm.

The time for the sessions at Lancaster had arrived, and I went there with judge Fell; who on the way told me that he had never had such a matter brought before him, and was not totally clear on what to do in the business. I told him that when Paul was brought before the rulers, and the Jews and priests came down to accuse him, and laid many false things to his charge, Paul stood still all that while. And when they had done, Festus the governor and King Agrippa beckoned to him to speak for himself; which Paul did, and cleared himself of all those accusations; so he might do by me. We arrived at Lancaster and learned that justice Sawrey and Justice Thompson had granted a warrant to apprehend me. Although I had not been apprehended by it, having heard of it, I appeared at the sessions, where about forty priests appeared against me. The priests had chosen a priest of Lancaster named Marshal to be their spokesman; and had provided one young priest and two priests' sons to bear witness against me, who had sworn beforehand that I had spoken blasphemy. When the justices were seated, they heard all that the priests and their witnesses could say and charge against me while their spokesman Marshal sat by and explained their sayings for them; but the witnesses were so confused, that they showed themselves to be false witnesses. For after the court had examined one of witnesses under oath, and then began to examine another of them, the other witness was at such a loss that he could not answer directly, but said the first witness could testify. This made the justices say to him, ‘Have you not already sworn your statements, and given it in already under oath; and now you say that another can testify to it? It seems you did not hear those words spoken yourself, though you have sworn it!'

Several men who had been at that meeting were in the court at that time that the witnesses swore I spoke those blasphemous words which the priests accused me of; and these men of integrity and reputation in the country declared and affirmed in court that the oath, which the witnesses had taken against me, was altogether false; and that no such words as they had sworn against me were spoken by me at that meeting. Indeed, most of the serious men of that side of the country, then at the sessions, had been at that meeting, and had heard me both at that and other meetings also. This was taken notice of by Colonel West, who being a justice of the peace, was then upon the bench; and having long been weak in body, blessed the Lord, and said, the Lord had healed him that day; adding, that he never saw so many sober people and good faces together in all his life. Then turning himself to me, he said in the open sessions, 'George, if you have anything to say to the people, you may freely declare it.' I was moved of the Lord to speak; and as soon as I began to speak, priest Marshal, the spokesman for the rest of the priests, went his way. What I was moved to declare was this: 'That the holy scriptures were given forth by the spirit of God; and all people must first come to the spirit of God in themselves, by which they might know God and Christ, of whom the prophets and apostles learned; and by the same spirit know the holy scriptures. For as the spirit of God was in them that gave forth the scriptures, so the same spirit must be in all them that come to know and understand the scriptures. By which spirit they might have fellowship with the Father, with the son, with the scriptures, and with one another; and without this spirit they can know neither God, Christ, nor the scriptures, nor have a right fellowship one with another.' I had no sooner spoken these words, but about half a dozen priests, that stood behind me, burst into a passion. One of them, whose name was Jackus, among other things that he spoke against the truth, said, that the spirit and the letter were inseparable. I replied, 'Then every one that has the letter, has the spirit; and they might buy the spirit with the letter of the scriptures.' This plain discovery of darkness in the priest moved judge Fell and colonel West to reprove them openly, and tell them, that according to that position, they might carry the spirit in their pockets as they did the scriptures. Upon this, the priests, being confounded and put to silence, rushed out in a rage against the justices, because they could not have their bloody ends upon me. The justices discharged me, seeing the witnesses did not agree, and perceiving they were brought to answer the priests' envy, and finding that all their evidence was not sufficient in law to make good their charge against me. And after judge Fell had spoken to Justice Sawrey and Justice Thompson* concerning the warrant they had issued against me, and showed them the errors of that, he and Colonel West granted a supersedeas to stop the execution of it. Thus I was cleared in open sessions of those lying accusations with which the malicious priests had charged me; and multitudes of people praised God that day because it was a joyful day to many. Justice Benson of Westmoreland was convinced and so was major Ripan, mayor of the town of Lancaster. It was a day of everlasting salvation to hundreds of people; for the Lord Jesus Christ, the way to the Father, the free teacher, was exalted and set up; his everlasting gospel was preached, and the word of eternal life was declared over the heaps of the priests, and all such that preached for money. For the Lord opened many mouths that day to speak his word to the priests, and several friendly people and professors reproved the priests in their inns, and in the streets, so that they fell like an old rotten house; and the cry was among the people, that the Quakers had got the day, and the priests were fallen. Many were convinced that day, among whom was Thomas Briggs. Before he had been so adverse to Friends and truth that when he and John Lawson, a Friend, were discussing perfection, Thomas said to him, 'Do you hold perfection?' And he lifted up his hand as though to have given the Friend a box on the ear. But Thomas, being convinced of the truth that day, declared against his own priest, Jackus; and afterwards became a faithful minister of the gospel, and stood so to the end of his days.

*This justice Sawrey, who was the first persecutor in that country, was afterwards drowned. {The vengeance of God overtook the other justice Thomson; he was struck with the dead palsy while sitting on the bench and was carried away off his seat and died.}

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