The Missing Cross to Purity


Memoir to Edward Burrough
(Continued)

CHAPTER V

ON the 10th of the Fourth Month 1655, Edward Burrough felt an impression on his mind, that it would be right for him to pay a religious visit to the inhabitants of Ireland. By a memorandum he made on the occasion, it appears he received a promise that his life should be preserved, although he was required to give up that and all things else, to the keeping of Him who was calling him to this field of labor.

On the 30th day of the month, he submitted himself to the will of his Divine Master in this matter, and at that time he knew not that his friend Francis Howgill was under a like concern. It was, however, in the ordering of the Lord, that these two Friends should perform at least part of this service together. He had caused a similar concern to take hold of the mind of Francis Howgill, to whom He gave an inward assurance that Edward Burrough should accompany him. The prospect thus clearly opened to both was soon afterwards entered on. Francis Howgill came to London in the Fourth Month, where he probably found Edward Burrough. A great change had taken place in the condition of Friends throughout England. Persecution had arisen almost everywhere, and most of the active ministers were now in bonds. To use the language of F. Howgill:

"Our army is most scattered and broken, and cast into prison. I know none almost at liberty but George [Fox] and Alexander [Parker], Edward, I and Gervase; except John Stubbs and William Caton, John Wilkinson and John Story, and it is likely they will not be long spared; yet truly the power of the Lord is over all. The work of the Lord is great, and goes on fast, despite all the rage of the heathen. Edward Burrough has gone to Edmondsbury. I shall take care for the supply of Friends in these parts, while I am here; and truly I fear the burden shall be heavy on the north, for the charge is great, and our camp great."

Having received a packet of letters to deliver, from Margaret Fell, he writes to her, "those to Oliver Cromwell are both delivered into his hand, but he is full of subtlety and deceit; will speak fair, but he hardens his heart, and acts secretly underneath."

The two travelers intending for Ireland, stopped at Swarthmore on their way, that they might be refreshed with Margaret Fell's company. From there they went to Warrington, where on the 8th of Fifth Month, they had "an exceedingly great meeting." Going to Chester they visited the prisons and stayed one night in the town. They sailed the next day, but had a tedious passage of two days; the wind was at first contrary, and afterwards but light. On Fifth-day the 12th, they had a meeting at Dublin, in the house of a Captain Rich, and on the following First-day, at the residence of a Captain Alan. Many persons attended and were quiet listeners. F. Howgill says of the captains, "they are loving, but there is not much in them." Edward Burrough went several times to the house of Deputies and spoke to Fleetwood, who was moderate with him. They had pretty full meetings on First-days, but said of the inhabitants of Dublin, "they are a careless, dissolute, proud people." Beneficial effects, however, appear to have attended their labors in that place, some of their hearers being convinced of the truth. Soon after arriving in Dublin, Edward addressed the following epistle to Friends in London:

A GENERAL EPISTLE TO FRIENDS IN LONDON

My dear beloved friends and brethren, in the everlasting unerring Truth, of which you are made partakers, who are called of God to be witnesses of his name, and of his Truth; with my dear love I do salute you, dearly and tenderly, and all the rest of the begotten of God, in that city, whom my soul longs after, [even for] your growth in the inward man. The everlasting Father strengthen you, and refresh you with the living streams from his presence; and his love and power and grace be multiplied among you, to whom He has opened a door, and made an entrance into the true rest, which remains for you, to which the Lord of glory is gathering you, and leading you, and carrying you as lambs in his arms, into the fold of everlasting refreshing.

My dear hearts, walk worthy of the Love of God, with which He has loved you, and let your lights show forth into the world, that your good works they may see, who watch over you with an evil eye. Dear Friends, to you who believe, He who is the light of the world, is precious. Therefore in the light wait, that your understandings may be opened and your feet prepared to walk in the ways of the Lord, which to all the children of light are pleasant ways. Do not become entangled with any yoke of bondage, which may burden you from running the race that is set before you; but in the death of all [that is] mortal stand. There the life of immortality you will see and witness, and the daily food you will receive; that life which the love of the world crucifies.

Do you not know that the friendship of this world is at enmity against God; but you are called not to serve the world, but God, who is the light, and the world must serve you. So take heed for fear that your affections, and desires, and hearts are drawn aside from the pure way of life into what is visible, which will not endure forever; for that life is death, and that glory is shame. In the light I read you, and do behold many pleasant plants springing up in the garden of God; and I bear you record, some of you have laid your crowns down at the lamb's feet, and have scorned the glory of Babylon and Egypt. Surely your reward will be everlasting, and your cups will the Lord fill in the sight of your enemies, and your glory shall be above the glory of the earth, and your crowns shall never wither.

Therefore press on, and look not back, spare not the fat, nor the best from slaughter, but to the sword bring all your enemies, which have been those of your own house [inside yourself], which have prevailed over you. But now the Lord is arising among you, and you have seen the shaking of the earth, and the heavens, and of the darkness of the sun, and of the falling of the stars; therefore wait to the end, that the crown of immortality you may wear. The day begins to dawn among you, therefore put off every work of the night, and walk all in the day; for you are the light of the world, and a city set upon a hill, which cannot be hidden. The Lord prosper you, and preserve you, and be with your spirits, and establish you. Amen.

Edward Burrough

Dublin, the 14th of the Fifth Month, 1655

After they had been about three weeks in Dublin, Francis Howgill felt a concern to travel to the southwest, believing there was religious service for him in that part of Ireland. He writes:

"But now, my beloved yoke fellow and I must part, who have borne the yoke so long togetherthe cross is great, in so strange and barbarous a nation; yet it is not so great, as if any other had parted us :- we are in the will of God. I am moved to go a hundred miles west in the nation towards Cork; there is a service and a people to be gathered that way; and at Kinsale, and Bandon-bridge, at the end of the land. Edward Burrough must stay here, for this city we cannot leave yet; but I am given up to lay down all for Him, who has made me a conqueror; glory to Him for evermore."

In the latter part of the Sixth Month, or the 1st of the Seventh Month, Francis departed from Dublin, being accompanied by Edward Cook, a cornet [an officer of a calvary troop] in the Protector's own troop. Edward was an inhabitant of Bandon, but had been convinced at Dublin, under the ministry of these two Friends, and now he was willing to do what he could towards furthering their gospel labors. Perhaps in going with Francis to the south, he might have had a view of drawing him to his own house at Bandon, in hopes that his beloved wife might also be led thereby to a knowledge of what he now considered the Truth. Whatever his views were, it pleased the Lord, his Savior, to grant that his wife also might have her spiritual eyes anointed to see things as he saw them. Both of them were afterwards faithful sufferers for the Truth.

Edward Burrough remained in Dublin, and soon after his companion left him, he thus wrote to Margaret Fell:

With heaviness of spirit, I write to you, yes, and with my eyes full of tears; for I am separated outwardly from my dear beloved brother Francis Howgill, who was my right-hand man in the war, before whom many Philistines have fallen. And truly when I consider what the Lord has done by us, my heart is rent and broken. Many glorious days we enjoyed, and many pleasant hours we had together, in dividing the spoil of our enemies; for our hand was always strong in battle, and our ensign was lifted up above our enemies, and even thousands have fallen on our right hand, and on our left. But according to the will of God, we are now separated; he into the west of this nation one hundred or six score miles from Dublin, where I must stay a season, for ought I see, and truly under great suffering, for few are here that hunger after God, and blindness and deafness have possessed all. Little Elizabeth Fletcher is at present here, but I do not know how long she will stay; her dear love is to you, and to all the flock of God. Truly I suffer for her, since she is as alone, having no other woman with her in this ravenous nation, where it is very bad traveling every way by foot, and also dangerous; but we are much above all that. If it were the will of the Lord, that any woman were moved to come over to her, it might be serviceable.

I was glad that Francis Howgill had so good an opportunity of passing on his journey; he went with a cornet and some others, who were very loving to us, and came to meetings while they stayed in the city.

Let your prayers be to the everlasting Father for us, that his dread may go along with us, over all. As you can, at opportunity, write to us, it will make me glad; the face of one Friend would rejoice my soul.

Here is a Friend who has come from England since I wrote this, from Oxford, who said he was moved to come, and I believe it. I am refreshed by him.

This Friend from Oxford was without doubt Thomas Loe. Edward Burrough was diligently employed in Dublin, in waiting on his ministry, and writing to his friends and others.

It was, perhaps, toward the Tenth Month before he felt released from that city. He appears first to have gone to the north, and then to the south and west, passing through Dublin, and spending two weeks there on his way down. At Kilkenny he spent sixteen days, laboring among the inhabitants generally, and being twice among the Baptists. He says, "a few in that city received our report." Passing on to Waterford, he writes at that place,

"Our service lies only in great towns and cities; for generally the country is without inhabitants, except bands of murderers and thieves and robbers, which wait for their prey and devour many; from which yet we are preserved. I had great opposition in this city; five times opposed by the rulers who are Baptists, and once was I tried for a vagabond, and once examined by them for a Jesuit; but to this day, out of snares and plots am I preserved, and walk as a bird among fowlers' snares, and as an innocent dove which has no mate; no, none to whom I can open my cause, but the Lord my God only."

On the 5th of the Eleventh Month, writing from Waterford to Margaret Fell, he says,

"Sister beloved, whom I forget not, but do remember with kindness, and of whom I am not forgotten. We are joint heirs of the incorruptible inheritance of the Son, who in us lives and works of his own will; in whom we are what we are, and by whom we do what is done; to Him we give his own, glorifying Him with his own, world without end. Though far distant from one another, yet my love is hereby increased to all the children of light; with tears rejoicing in the unity of the Spirit with you all, who am to you a brother and companion in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, and in labors and sufferings more abundant; but as in suffering with Christ I do abound, so my joy by Him and consolation in Him are increased also.

I have not long heard from my principal companion F. H., whose love in the same measure salutes you with mine. It is now four months since we parted at Dublin, and what I have said in respect of suffering and trials, he can seal the same with me; who have been companions in tribulation and in patience, and are now in joy and rejoicing; hoping to receive the end of our labor, and to see the travail of our souls, that we may bring in the [sheep] with us into the fold, and may return to our camp with victory from our Lord. We have not spared to wound on the right hand and on the left; and victory, victory, has been our word of watch. Though this nation is as a heath [a thicket of heath shrubs] in the desert, yet there is a seed and a remnant, for whose sake we are sent. Seldom have I heard from him since [we parted at Dublin]. He is traveling around Cork and Kinsale and Bandon, sixty or eighty miles from this place; and he has written for me to come that way, if I had freedom for there was service. But yet I have not had freedom to leave these parts, for here is a harvest and but few laborers; and a war is begun in this nation, and but very few on our part to manage it.

Our dear sisters Elizabeth Fletcher and Elizabeth Smith are also in the west, valiant for the Truth; and some from London arrived at Dublin, who are going into the north of this nation. We have a reward into our bosoms for all our work and labor, which has doubled upon us since we parted ; to hear how the war prospers in that nation will increase our joy more. Write and let us know, that we may partake with you in your rejoicing; and assuredly you may praise the living God on our behalf. There is a great lack of books in this nation, which might be very serviceable in spreading forth the Truth."

In the Tenth Month of this year, a company of priests in the south of Ireland, finding that many of their flocks were leaving them, went to Dublin to obtain some remedy from Henry Cromwell and his council. At their suggestion a warrant was issued, ordering the magistrates to send "all that are called Quakers" to Dublin. A copy was sent to the governor of Kinsale, and another to Colonel Phayre, governor of Cork, and it would appear other magistrates besides were furnished with them. Phayre was convinced that Friends were true Christians, and he declared that more good had been done by those who were then there, than "all the priests in the country had done for a hundred years." He had no mind to meddle in persecuting them, and supposing that he would be able to protect them against other magistrates, he sent a letter privately to Francis Howgill, who was at Kinsale, desiring him to come to Cork. The magistrates to whom the warrants were addressed were not desirous of acting, and one called Major Stoding was turned out of his commission for refusing to obey it. Many Friends were now imprisoned in Dublin, and a spirit of persecution seemed spreading through the land. Yet at Cork and Kinsale the men in authority continued generally favorable to Friends, and many officers of the army attended their meetings. In the eleventh month Edward Burrough went to Cork, where he and Francis Howgill once more joined company. From Cork they went to Limerick, accompanied by James Sicklemore and Edward Cook. They reached that place on a seventh-day of the week. The next day they were not permitted to speak in the public places of worship, and on second-day they were expelled from the place. As they rode along on horseback, Edward Burrough preached to the people; and after they were outside of the gates, he had an opportunity of addressing a great multitude. His three companions each spoke a few words, directing the hearers "to Christ Jesus, a measure of whose light was given to everyone to profit withal," and a number of persons were convinced that day. They also visited Kinsale, where among other fruits of their labor, Susanna Worth was convinced, who was the wife of the priest Edward Worth, who was afterward Bishop of that place. For her obedience to her conscientious convictions she suffered much at the hands of her husband, but remained a faithful Friend until her death.

Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill returned to Cork in the twelfth month where they were arrested by the high sheriff of the county under a special order from Henry Cromwell and his council. They were taken by armed men from garrison to garrison until they reached Dublin, having had many opportunities on the way to preach Christ to the soldiers and others. In Dublin they were committed to the care of Mortimer, the sergeant-at-arms, in whose house they had a large chamber allowed them, where none of their friends were hindered from visiting them.

They arrived at Dublin about the 20th of the twelfth month, and being brought before Henry Cromwell and his council, they were examined, but no charges of any kind were brought against them. They answered with freedom the questions put to them, and Edward Burrough says, "Mighty was the power of the Lord with us, to the confounding of our enemies." Although no cause of imprisonment could be proved against them, they were kept in close confinement until forcibly banished from the island. While in confinement, Edward wrote various addresses, one of which entitled, The unjust sufferings of the just declared, and their appeal to the just witnesses of God in all men's consciences, is here introduced, which is as follows:

"To all you colonels and commanders and officers, and to all the honest hearted in the city of Dublin and elsewhere, to whom this may come.

Hereby, we the prisoners of the Lord for the testimony of Jesus and for the exercise of a pure conscience, do lay down our cause before you; and to the light of Jesus Christ, in all your consciences, we appeal in this our cause of righteousness and innocence, to be judged thereby. We are men fearing God, and working righteousness; we are friends to the commonwealth of Israel, exalters of justice and true judgment in the earth, and subject to all just power and every just ordinance of man for conscience sake. We have suffered the loss of all, and have borne part of the burden with you, that we might obtain the freedom of the righteous seed, and the liberty of tender consciences, to serve the Lord in his own way.

We are well known to the Lord, though strangers to you, and are free men in the record of heaven, though now sufferers unjustly under your present authority, who have taken the place of exercising lordship, over our pure consciences, and have imprisoned us and endeavored to give judgment of banishing us, only upon false accusations, and information and slander, without the proof or testimony of any accusation of evil, justly laid to our charge. Hereby be it known to you, that we do not suffer for doing evil for to this present time no man has convicted us of any evil, nor justly proved the transgression of any law, martial or civil, against us, though we stand accused of many grievous things, of which we are clearly innocent in the sight of Him that lives forever, and only desire that if tried, we are tried by the law of equity and righteousness, and judged according to it.

By virtue of command given to us by the eternal spirit of the Lord, we came into this land of Ireland, contrary to the will of man; not to seek ourselves, nor our own glory, nor to prejudice your nation or government, nor to be hurtful to your commonwealth, but with the message of the gospel of Christ Jesus: we came to turn [people] from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to the power of God, and to minister the word of reconciliation and salvation freely, without gift or reward to lost souls. Of this God is our witness, and also we have the seals of our ministry, which to us herein can give testimony by the same spirit, and this are we ready to seal with our blood. These six months and upwards have we labored in travails and sufferings, and reproaches, and have passed through your cities and towns in soberness; and in meekness have we preached the kingdom of God, and have held forth the word of truth, and the testimony of Jesus; and our lives have we not loved until this day, though sometimes dangers on every side have beset us, that we might hold forth the faith of Jesus, the author of our profession, in the exercise of a pure conscience, both by doctrine and conversation. By this we are justified in the sight of God, and so who could possibly condemns us? We call heaven and earth to record, and the light in all men's consciences, who have heard our doctrine and seen our conversation, to witness for us by it. We challenge all your nation of Ireland, our very enemies, to prove the contrary, though otherwise we stand falsely accused, and falsely reputed to be disturbers and makers of disorders, to the breach of public peace, and such like grievous things.

Upon the false information of this, a warrant was issued out from the chief ruler and council of Ireland, and we thereby were apprehended in the city of Cork, and haled by guards as malefactors, before the council in this city, where none of all these false accusations were, or could be proved against us, nor of the transgression of any known law could we be convicted. Though occasions were sought against us, yet none could be found; and though snares were laid for our feet, yet were we not entrapped; but were cleared in the sight of God, witnessed by the light in all their consciences; and were found innocent, and without reproof in the eye of the Lord. By our innocence, were their orders of false accusation made of none effect; and we thus far proved to be guiltless before the throne of true judgment. Yet despite being contrary to the light in their own consciences, and contrary to the just laws of the nation, which afford freedom to the free born and righteous, were we committed to prison without conviction, or any guilt charged upon us, or the least appearance of evil towards any man's person. Though falsely accused, yet no true testimony [was] given against us, by which our boldness in the way of the Lord could be discouraged, as having the testimony of the spirit of God, bearing us witness in the Holy Ghost, that in all good conscience towards God and towards man, we have lived to this day; we are also without reproof in the sight of God and all just men. Though upon search and examination, we have been found guiltless thus far, yet farther has the enemy, the devil, prevailed in cruelty against the innocent, that it is proposed that we be banished under the account of vagabonds. This last accusation is most false and unrighteous; for we challenge this: of whom have we begged; or to whom have we been burdensome; or whose bread have we eaten for nothing; or what evil have we done; where is the testimony of your slanders? But we innocently suffer these things, bearing reproaches, and binding the cruelty done to us as chains about our necks, and as crowns upon our heads; having the assurance that for well doing we suffer these things from the hands of the rulers, through the lies and slanders of the teachers, who are in Cain's way of persecution, until they have fulfilled their measure of wickedness, and are laid waste as the wilderness.

This is our cause, and it comes before you, by the light of Christ in your consciences to be judged, if your hearts are not altogether hardened, and your minds wholly blinded; and we lay it at your door to receive sentence from you, and without respect of persons hold forth our guiltless cause before you, not begging anything from you but to clear our consciences, that you may save yourselves from this untoward generation, whose root is corrupt, and fruit bitterness. While we have breath from the Lord, we shall bear witness against injustice, and all cruelty and oppression, and shall appeal to receive justice from the present power that now rules. In the name of the Lord we challenge our privilege of freedom, as being free born, until we be accused guilty by the just law of equity, to which we are subject for conscience sake, and not to any man's will. By word and writing are we bound by the law of God, to bear witness against the unjust proceedings herein of the heads and rulers of Dublin, and shall seal our witness against them, and against their unrighteous decrees, sealed in their cruelty against the innocent, with our blood if we are called to do this.

Edward Burrough

Dublin, the 26th of the Twelfth Month 1655.

On the 23rd, Edward Burrough sent a general challenge to all the priests in Dublin and its neighborhood, at whose instigation he understood he and his companion were confined, to give them a public meeting in order to debate the doctrines of either, that so the honest inquirers after truth might be satisfied, who were right, and who were wrong. Of this paper no notice was taken, but the council after a few days, issued an order to the mayor of the city, that he should send Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill, with all speed to England. About the last of the year, they were by force placed on board a vessel bound for Chester, at which they arrived the 2nd of First Month, 1656.

During the course of this year, Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill addressed several epistles to their brethren in London, and other parts of England, evidencing much lively concern for their spiritual welfare and preservation in the unchangeable Truth. The excellent counsel and pertinent exhortation they contain render them well worthy of a careful perusal.

To BE READ AT MEETINGS OF FRIENDS IN LONDON.

DEAR FRIENDS of God, called by Him out of the dark world into his marvelous light; to all you who by the power of God are kept faithful, to walk and abide in the measure of the gift of God received; grace, mercy and peace from God the Father of life be multiplied in you and among you, that you all may grow up in the power of God, out of darkness and the shadow of death, in which you have been held captive in a strange land.

Dear Friends, our souls are poured out for you, that you all may abide in what you have received and heard, which is the way and path of life, and righteousness, and peace eternal. Therefore walk worthy of the calling, to which you are called, and wait in the light by which you are enlightened, that all deceit in particular and in the general may be seen and judged. We bear you record, there is a witness of God manifest in you, and true desires which flow to God from you; therefore take heed to the measure of God, that by it you may hear the voice of God, and see his powerful presence; for by what is manifested of God in man, God speaks, moves, and acts, and is known to man.

Those who neglect the measure of God, to walk in it, all their knowledge, experiences, and profession are for condemnation by what does not change. So all dwell in the measure, which is the light, in the cross which keeps under and judges the fleshly man; so the understanding will be kept open to receive the mercies of God, and to walk worthy of the mercies received; but turning aside from the light, you neglect the mercies, and follow lying vanities, and err from the way of righteousness, and bring yourselves under condemnation. For God is no longer enjoyed by man, unless that man abides in his counsel, in his fear, where the secrets of God are manifest and received by the light, which is the first entrance to God, and the fullness of the enjoyment of God. Beware of the world, where all the temptations lie, to draw away your minds into the carnal and visible things, out from the light by which the life is enjoyed; and so death passes over you, and condemnation comes upon you, and the life is lost, and misery is revealed against you.

Large is the love of God to you, in calling you and choosing you, and therefore do not forget this love, but walk in it, up to God, from whom free redemption is manifest to what has laid in death, overcome by the darkness. Do not follow your own wills, nor the voice of the stranger and false prophet, which draws out into visible things here, and there; but have salt and discerning in yourselves, that you may try every motion, and every spirit, and may by what is infallible and errs not, comprehend and judge what is fallible and erring, which flourishes for a time, but comes to an end and is withered. This your own knowledge and consciences will set seal to, who have been scattered upon the mountains in the cloudy and dark day; but now the light is breaking forth, and the day begins to appear; and all you who abide faithful shall see the glory of the Lord, and shall enjoy Him in the land of the living.

We charge you all in the Lord, that you who profess the Truth walk in it; and as you profess a change, let it appear by putting off the works of darkness, which by the light are made manifest to you, and testified against by the witness of God in you. Know this, that whatever lives in you who is contrary to God, witnessed against by the light of Christ, shall be as a prick in the eye, and as a thorn in the side forever. Wrath, is to be revealed upon him that spares the rest, and saves the fat from judgment, for to the slaughter all must come, that life and glory may be made manifest. He that looks back by the way is not fit for the kingdom; and he that returns again to the pollutions, his latter end is worse than his beginning, and the judgment of God cannot be escaped.

Therefore wait in the power of God, and stand in the light, which is the armor against all temptations, by which the darkness and death, and he that has the power of death, is overcome, and all that love the light are guided by it. All dear Friends, who have tasted of the love and power of God, and do witness the rending of the earth, dwell in the power and pure fear of the Lord, that so all deceit may be kept down and under. Take heed of the false prophet's speaking, or allowing your minds to run out in the openings so that you can speak what is opened in the light.

We charge you all in the presence of the dreadful God of life and power, that you all wait in silence, and wait to have salt and savor in yourselves, to know the voice of Christ vs. the voice of the stranger for until that difference is known in yourselves, you are not able to judge. Therefore all wait in the light, which is the eye, which sees into the mysteries of the kingdom; and none to utter a word, but what you are divinely moved to, or else that in everyone's conscience will bear witness against you. Do not be hasty, when you see things open in your minds; dwell in them, and do not run out to speak them, but treasure them up in your hearts, and take heed, and keep low in the fear of the Lord God, that pride and presumption do not get up, nor anything be exalted above what is pure. Dear Friends, you are upon us as a great weight and burden, for fear we should have bestowed our labor in vain, but we hope and trust the Lord will preserve you, if you stand in obedience to that of God made manifest in you, and so you will grow. Take heed of striving and contending, but judge that [spirit], everyone in yourselves, that you may all grow up in the pure life of God. The everlasting power of God bless you all, and keep you in his everlasting love and power, and give the victory over your enemies, that you may come to witness eternal life made manifest in you, from God.

Your brethren in the work of the Lord.

Edward Burrough

Francis Howgill

On landing in England, they heard of a meeting to be held at Preston, in Lancashire, and being desirous to attend it, they left Chester on the 3rd of the First Month for that purpose. The meeting was probably held on the 4th, for Edward Burrough says that they "made haste, much desiring to be there, which also was brought to pass by the hand of our God." At Preston they unexpectedly met John Audland and Alexander Parker, and the meeting was held to the great advantage of Truth. Referring to the recent field of labor which he and Francis had been engaged in, Edward writes:

Truly great service for the Lord we had in Ireland, for near seven months; the particulars would be very large; but in short, there is a precious work begun and seed sown, which shall never die.

We hear that Francis' dear wife has departed this world, which will be a little hindrance to him at present, as to settle his children and the like; but truly he is wholly given up to do our Father's will, through great and many trials, and dangers and sufferings.

From Preston, Edward Burrough and his companion proceeded to Lancaster, and from there to visit Friends in the counties still further north. Here, it appears, they parted for a while, Francis Howgill looking after his children, while Edward Burrough proceeded to London. Besides his labors in the ministry in that great city, he published the Epistles written by him in Ireland, and those prepared jointly with Francis Howgill. On the 6th of the third month he finished and dated a work, entitled, A description of the State and Condition of all Mankind on the face of the earth. Francis Howgill soon joined him, and they continued laboring together in Gospel unity. A letter from Francis Howgill to Margaret Fell, which was probably written early in the Fourth Month of this year, says:

In this city Truth has dominion over all; none will stand now to dispute, but they turn away. We have about twenty meetings in a week; and ten or twenty miles about [there are] great desires; and if we can we go out, but we cannot stay; great is our care. Edward Burrough salutes you; he is almost spent; few know our condition.

From London they went to Bristol, and had a great meeting there on a first-day (fifth month 27th), at which about five thousand persons attended. Soon after Edward returned to London, and it was not long before he was joined by his faithful companion, and for many months they had sore trials and conflicts, in contending with some who had gone out from the Truth, and others who had never attained it. The Ranters, a body of people acknowledged by no religious society, were a disturbance to all. Particularly were they so to Friends, whose places of worship were not in anyway protected by the civil authorities. These Ranters would come into the meetings, screaming or singing with loud voices, interrupting those who were ministering in their solemn services, and at times using very indecent language and actions.

William Caton, who came to London about the 1st of the seventh month of this year, writes of the exercises they had in the city, from some who had left the Truth and gone into extremes, but adds that the faithful had comfort in one another. Although Edward Burrough and Francis Howgill had much suffering to endure in London, they yet felt sympathy for their brethren under suffering in other places. On the 19th of the seventh month they addressed a joint letter to Thomas Aldam and others in Yorkshire, on whom much abuse had been bestowed for their faithfulness. Francis Howgill held the pen. This communication bears witness to the unity and fellowship subsisting among them, They say:

Dear brethren, we are with you in your bonds, in your reproaches and imprisonments, and in your rejoicings; your joy is ours, for we eat with you and drink with you at our Father's table, where there is plenteous nourishment for all those who wait in his counsel, and are obedient to his commands. Dear brethren, our care is great; the harvest is great; who are sufficient for these things? Here are fields white to harvest, and much of the power of God has been with us. Great has been our burden and our work since we came here, and our reward is great. Much have we been drawn out to administer in power and wisdom. We have exceedingly great meetings of all sorts, and we labor and travail until Christ be formed in them. Pray for us that we may be kept in his power, [which] reigns over all; by the power of the Lord the months of lions are stopped, kings are bound in chains; eternal living praises for evermore to Him who rides on conquering in power and great glory! Many are brought under great judgment and true power, and many have learned their own condemnation.

The last first-day, (seventh month 14th), my dear yoke-fellow and I went in the forenoon to two of the highest notionists and the greatest deceivers in the city, at two steeple-houses, where the wise of the city come; and I had great liberty, and spoke toward an hour; all were silent, and some confessed they never heard so much truth in power delivered. Many would have had me come to their houses; but we lay hands on none hastily.

James Lancaster and Miles Halhead were at this time in London, but tarried not long there. The parliament had met on the 17th, but it was no longer a meeting of the free and independent representatives of the nation. Only those of its members who were approved by Cromwell and his council were permitted to enter the House, or to sit in it. This high handed measure of arbitrary power occasioned great excitement throughout the community, particularly among those who were attached to republican principles. In this public agitation Friends took no part. In reference to it, Francis Howgill says: "As for these things, they are nothing to us, we are redeemed from them. Praises to the Lord for evermore, who has made us to reign above the world, and to trample upon it." In a narrative relating to the rise of the Society, prepared by William Crouch, who died in 1710 aged eighty years, he thus speaks of events occurring about this time in and near London.

Being now come to time, in some degree within my own knowledge and remembrance, namely, the year 1656, when I find the two before mentioned Friends, namely, Francis Howgill and Edward Burrough returned from Ireland, and frequenting the meetings in and about the city of London, where their service was very great. They were the apostles of this city in their day, by whom many were gathered, both sons and daughters, and were settled through the grace of God in the faith of the Gospel, by the effectual working of the Word of Life through their ministry, and of others, the servants of the Lord, as before said. The Lord opened the mouths of some of the inhabitants of this city, to bear witness to the Truth now made known. The first of which that had a public testimony to bear, was Ann Downer, before said, who was followed by Richard Greenway, John Giles, Sarah Blackberry, Ann Gold, Rebecca Travers, Richard Davies, William Baily, Mary Booth, and some others.

Those meetings which I found and frequented at my first convincement were at the Bull and Mouth, at Sarah Yates' in Aldersgate Street, at Humphrey Bache's, a goldsmith in Tower Street, held on the first and the sixth-days of the week, both in the afternoon; and at the house of Girard Roberts, in a street called Thomas Apostles, where sometimes resorted traveling Friends, who came out of the country on the service of Truth, and there was also a meeting on the first-day of the week, in the afternoon; and for some time at the house of Samuel Vaus, in Basinghall Street, was a meeting on first-day, in the after part of the day, and at the house of William Woodcock in the Savoy, was a meeting on the first-day, and on the fifth-day of the week, at which place meetings are continued to this day. About this time, also, a meeting was set up at Horsleydown, in the house of a widow there; and with the number of Friends increasing, a piece of ground was procured to build a meeting-house on. Accordingly a meeting-house was built, and since enlarged, and is the same which continues there. There was also a meeting at Stepney, at the house of one called Captain Brock, which continued there until about the year 1665, or 66, in the stead of which a meeting was settled at Ratcliff. A meeting-house was built there, and since enlarged, as it is at this day.

We had also meetings on the first-day of the week at Worcester House in the Strand, where one Nicholas Bond had lodgings, who had some place at or did belong to the court. He afterwards took lodgings at the great house at Greenwich, called the Palace; we had meetings there for some time. We had also some meetings at the house of Gobert Sikes, in Hackney; and for some time we had meetings in the Pall Mall near James, at the house of Elizabeth Trott, a widow. We also had meetings also in the Palace yard, Westminster, at the house of Stephen Hart, both which last mentioned were discontinued, and a house was taken at Westminster for a meeting place, and so continues to this day.

In this year, 1656, or near that time, a meeting was set up in John's Street, called the Peel Meeting, which still continues there, and the meeting in Westbury Street, bearing the name of Wheeler Street Meeting, which first began in the house of John Oakly, in an upper room, and being increased in number, another room was added; but the meeting still increasing, and both rooms being too small, the meeting was sometimes without doors, and afterwards a tent covered with canvas, or sail cloth, was set up in the garden, where the meeting was kept for some small time, until a meeting-house was there erected, which has been since enlarged for the convenience of the meeting.

About this time also, meetings were set up at Hammersmith, Hendon, Kingston, Wansworth, Barking, Ham, since at Plaistow, and at Waltham Abbey.

During which time and season, the Lord in a plentiful manner did shower down his blessings and favors upon his heritage, in and about the city of London, and places adjacent, by sending many of his messengers and servants to visit them, to water and refresh his plantation, that they may grow and flourish, and bring forth fruit to his praise, namely: George Whitehead, William Dewsberry, Stephen Crisp, John Crook, Josiah Coal, Samuel Fisher, John Whitehead, Richard Farnsworth, George Fox the younger, and many others whom he has fit and prepared for his work and service in their day. These published deliverance by and through repentance to poor captive souls enslaved in sin, through the lusts of the flesh reigning in their mortal bodies, through the temptations of satan."

In reference to Edward Burrough, who was a father in spiritual matters to William Crouch, the latter says,

I loved and honored him in the Lord, and for the Truth's sake; I had many times an opportunity of conversing with him, and wrote several things from him, as he dictated them, which were since printed in the collection of his works."

He was a man, though but young, of undaunted courage, whom the Lord set him above the fear of his enemies; and I have beheld him filled with power by the spirit of the Lord; for instance one occurred at the Bull and Mouth, when the room, which was very large, had been filled with people, many of whom have been in an uproar, contending one with another, some exclaiming against the Quakers, accusing and charging them with heresy, blasphemy, sedition, and what not; that they were deceivers, and deluded the people; that they denied the Holy Scriptures and the resurrection. This occurred while others endeavored to vindicate them, and speaking of them more favorably, in the midst of which noise and contention, this servant of the Lord stood upon a bench with his Bible in his hand, (for he generally carried one about with him), speaking to the people with great authority from the words of John 7:12, "There was much murmuring among the people concerning Him, namely, Jesus, for some said He is a good man, others said no, but He deceives the people;" which was so suitable to the present debate among them, that the whole multitude were overcome thereby, and became exceeding calm and attentive, and departed peaceably, and with seeming satisfaction."

CHAPTER VI

EARLY in the year of 1656, Edward Burrough was arrested at Kingston in Surry, and taken with nine of his friends, before the magistrates of that place. Under what pretence they were arrested the account left of the transaction does not show, but the magistrates tendered them the oath of abjuration; and because they refused to take it, committed them to prison. The persecutors knew that Friends conscientiously believed it to be unlawful for a Christian to swear, and the plan they frequently adopted of offering them the oath, was therefore an easy and sure means of furnishing a legal reason for casting them into prison. Edward was not very long in confinement. He appears this year while in prison, and out of prison, to have been diligently employed with his pen in defense of the doctrines and testimonies of Truth.

Many of the clergy of the different denominations were engaged in writing and printing against Friends; some of them out of fondness for religious dispute; some because they deemed their craft in danger; and others possibly sincerely believing that Quakerism was adverse to Christianity. Being in great measure outward in their views, and regarding religion as a system of forms and ceremonies, rather than the dedication of the heart to the Lord, and submission to the cleansing operations of his Holy Spirit, they could not understand the spiritual doctrines so earnestly advocated by our early Friends. They did not call them Christians, who accepted the lawful paying those who preached, and who considered the hire for such service; which was contrary to the commands of the Head of the churchthe giver of all spiritual gifts, and the singular paymaster of his ministers.

Friends' steadfastness in refusing to remove their hats to honor men [particularly judges and magistrates], which mark of worship they believed due only to God, their Creator, was construed into a disregard of authority, and a perverse infraction of the proper courtesies of life. Their plea for the immediate counsel and direction of the "Holy Spirit," the "light of Christ," the" light within," was believed by some, and declared by many, to be from a disbelief in the Scriptures of truth, despite their constant denial of such an unjust inference, and their offers in all controversies with their adversaries, that their faith and practice should be tested by the Scripture's authority; and that anything which could not be sustained by Scripture should be recognized and accounted to a delusion of the devil. Some deemed them Socinians, because they did sufficiently hold forth in their ministry and writings, the benefits derived from the outward offering of our Lord Jesus Christ, as their opponents believed. In reply to this charge, Friends said their accusers were the Socinians, that they steadfastly believed in the divinity, offices, birth, labors of love, propitiatory sufferings and death of the blessed Savior Jesus Christ; and if they did not treat so much on these subjects, as some others did, it was because they were almost universally preached, and professed in Christendom, while the gift of the Holy Spirit, purchased for us by the death of Christ, and universally bestowed upon all mankind as their rule and guide, was scarcely upheld or preached by any; and therefore there was more need to direct the minds of the people, to this Divine and saving light in themselves, that through obedience to its discoveries, they might be led out of sin, and brought into holiness of life and conversation.

Among those who took up the pen against the Quakers, was John Bunyan, who misunderstanding or misrepresenting his antagonists, zealously beat the air in his attack on a fancied unsoundness. Edward Burrough was not slow in replying to him, and having a better opportunity of knowing the truth, he was able to refute Bunyan's unfounded accusations.

On the 23rd of Seventh Month 1656, the Parliament published a proclamation, calling upon the inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland to observe a day of fasting and humiliation, and seeking the face of God, through the mediation of Christ.

When Edward Burrough read this proclamation, he was led to consider the oppressive acts of the government towards tender consciences, and the iniquities which abounded among the people. The recollection of these stirred him up to take his pen in hand, and through the medium of the press, spread among the people his thoughts on the subject. He enumerates various causes of the Divine judgment coming upon them, and then adds:

Many more abominations cry for vengeance against some of you, who have had your hands deeply dipped in such oppression; and therefore this is a warning to you to break off these sins by righteousness and true repentance, for fear your fasts prove only for strife, and to smite with the fist of wickedness. Clear yourselves and wash your hands from these abominations, for fear the fruit of them will be given to you to eat for food. Let this, O you rulers, be acceptable counsel to you, that the day of happiness may appear, and the long expected day of liberty may yet dawn through this dark night of bondage, which overshadows your heads that you cannot behold the glory of the sun. By it you would be established, and we would have cause to bless the Lord for you, and with you; otherwise you shall fail, and evil shall be upon you, and upon the nation for your sakes.

you who fear God, listen well, and keep yourselves pure from the iniquities, which the rest love to drink in; and though your power is shorter, and your voice lower than the uprightness of your hearts' desire, be faithful to God in bearing your testimony for Him, and against all what with the light of Jesus, you see to be contrary to Him. Be awakened to righteousness, judgment, and mercy. The light is springing over your heads, and the day of the Lord is dawning out of darkness; a seed is sown in your dominions which cannot be rooted out, until it has overspread the earth with the precious fruit of it; and though this seed is striven against to be plucked up, yet the branch and root of it shall be renowned for evermore, for the seed is the true Jew, and he that falls before it, shall never rise up again.

Edward Burrough, in the midst of his numerous other engagements, found time to supervise the printing of various writings from the prolific pen of his friend, and father in the Truth, George Fox. To some of these he prefixed or added a few lines. A preface written by him to one of these publications, entitled" A Testimony of the true Light of the world," bears date the 1st of the Eleventh Month, 1656. In this preface he says:

This is truth from the Lord God - there is no other name given for salvation but the name of Jesus; there is no other Christ Jesus but He who lights every man that comes into the world. Unless this Christ Jesus is revealed by the Spirit of the Father within, salvation is not received by him. Therefore all Friends who have received the testimony of the light of the Son of God within you, and have believed the report of the Father, and of the Son, hold fast the word of that testimony and dwell in it, and walk in it. This is the power of God, which will keep you from all unrighteousness, and so from condemnation. If any turn from the light, they run into evil, and backslide from the Truth. Such shall bear their own shame and condemnation, in the sight of God, and all his children; for this is the message which was, and is, "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

John Bunyan was still unable to understand Quakerism, and being stirred up by the reply of Edward Burrough, he came out in print with a Vindication of his former charges against the Society of Friends. Edward was not long in following him through the press with an answer, in a quarto [a sheet folded to make four pages] of 64 pages, entitled, "Truth the strongest of all." This reply set forth the doctrines of the Christian religion in words, which to one who was prepared to understand the language employed, and to give credit to the author for sincerity, would have been sufficient to establish the scriptural soundness of Edward Burrough and his friends. But John Bunyan was not in a condition to perceive it, and it is probable that the closeness of the reproofs administered to him, had a tendency to blunt his appreciation of the force of the argument. Soon after this publication, which was issued from the press, in the twelfth month of this year, Edward Burrough left London to visit the brethren in Essex. Francis Howgill was at this time in Kent, and Edward soon returned to the city, where the difficulties connected with James Naylor and his ranting companions had not subsided. Appreciating the trials to which some of the newly convinced were subjected, because of James Naylor’s fall, Edward wrote two epistles of encouragement to them.

The first contains the following:

To all the called and chosen to faithfulness in Christ Jesus, and to such as are found worthy to suffer:

Let your fellowship be in the life and power of God, and do not know one another only in words, and in outward appearance, but witness one another in the spirit and in the Truth, and have communion there, in breaking the bread of life, that Christ Jesus’ Day be seen to be heard in you, and you members to serve Him, and one another, all receiving wisdom from the head, and virtue from the vine, Christ Jesus, that you may abound in love, mercy and peace, and all the fruits of righteousness to the Father. Dwell in the fear and counsel of God, and be subject to his will, not despising the cross, which is the power of God, which slays the birth that is born of the flesh, which is does not inherit of the promise; but walk in the cross daily, that your understandings may be kept open, to try and discern all spirits, whether they are of God.

Believe not every spirit, for lying spirits may arise among yourselves, and go forth from the light, who are not in the Truth, but in the pretension and hypocrisy, with false visions, and lying imaginations, handling the word of God deceitfully, and corrupting and perverting the pure way of God; having the form, but not the power, having left the power and gone from the light. Such utter the words of Truth without the life, and are but as the chaff to the wheat, and they are to be denied and resisted, and not joined to, for fear that innocence and simplicity is betrayed, and your faith made void, and so you be destroyed from the life of God, and death surprise you, and darkness enter your dwellings, and so unbelief, and doubting and murmuring, and lustings after evil arise in you, and you be perverted from the worship of the true God, and grieve his righteous spirit by bowing to idols, and following of other lovers. So the true God, who has brought you out of Egypt, and made manifest his power in you, would be forgotten, and the faith of his Son made shipwreck of, and your latter end be worse than the beginning, and the name of the Lord be dishonored by you; and then woe to you, his wrath shall suddenly break out against you. Therefore hear and fear, and listen to the word of the Lord. He has caused his light to shine forth, and his voice to be heard. He has proclaimed his name among you, and has caused his marvelous light to approach when you sat in darkness, in the land of the shadow of death. When you were lost, He sought you, and when you were driven away and scattered, He found you, and brought you home. When you were in your blood and no eye pitied you, He had mercy upon you, and bound you up, and healed you. When you were dead, He said to you, live; and it was so. When you were led captive by the devil under the power of death, He broke the chains and set you free; and when there was none to help or save, his own arm brought deliverance and salvation, and the way of life and peace He set before you. Now all this has his own arm accomplished, that you should be a praise to Him for evermore. If you walk in the way which He has set before you, and keep his covenant which He has made with you, and fulfill his will, and walk in righteousness, in love, and unity, in meekness, lowliness, humbleness, and in soberness, and watchfulness, and in fear of his name; then shall his presence never forsake you, nor his outstretched arm cease to defend and preserve you. He shall go before you, and be your reward; and He shall be your God, and you shall be his people; and shall dwell in Him; and He shall be your hiding-place, and He will be to you a father, and you shall be his children, and his blessing and peace shall remain in your habitations forever and ever. Believe not that spirit, neither follow it which ministers to others what it has not learned of the Father, but has the words without the power, and lives not in the power of what it ministers forth in words, nor is in what it declares, but is in outward show, in the hypocrisy and pretension, and reaches not the life of God, but veils and covers it; that spirit is not of the Father, but is to be denied and not received.

Believe not that spirit, neither follow it, which is at liberty in the flesh, and makes the offence of the cross to cease, which is exalted out of the fear of the Lord, in the liberty of the earthly, which crucifies the life, and darkens the eye. That spirit will boast of joy and peace, and experience and knowledge, and speak high words in the airy mind, and would lead you to glory above the cross, until you are past feeling the life; and that spirit produces into the love of the world, which passes away.

Beware of that spirit, for it is not of the Father, but to be condemned.

Believe not that spirit, neither follow it, which is hasty, and forward, and rash; for that goes out of God's counsel and betrays the just, and strives to be greatest, and to be above the weak, and despises Him, and would be master, and not a servant, and would rule, and not be ruled in the meek and lowly government of Christ. That spirit will judge rashly and unsavorily, and condemn another in secret in what itself is guilty of. Beware of that spirit, for it is not of God, but to be judged with the life of God.

Believe not that spirit which draws back into the world, into its lusts and liberty, and fashions which pass away. That spirit forgets God and draws back, for his soul has no pleasure in it, but is vexed with it, where the cross is made of none effect, and the false liberty is walked in, which murders the life. That spirit is of the devil, and is to be condemned.

And now all friends of God everywhere, who know Him, and are known of Him, whom He has gathered out of this untoward generation, be diligent in your callings, and keep your meetings in faithfulness, waiting upon the Lord, that you all may receive of his fullness, and may be nourished up to himself; as trees of righteousness, the planting of his own right hand, to spread forth his name and glory, as a people saved by Him. This know and understand, that spirit is not of the Father, which confesses not the Son to have come in the [his] flesh, which Son destroys the works of the devil, and takes away sin. Believe and follow that spirit, which condemns sin and destroys it, and takes it away, and so gives peace with God in your consciences, and leads you into all truth, and keeps you from all evil. you who witness this, the Son you know, and the Father you know, to dwell with you, and in you; and this is the first and the last. Believe in Him, and follow Him, and look not for any other; and in this the Father of life and glory, whose dominion is without beginning and end, establish you, and preserve you; amen and amen.

Edward Burrough

London the 2nd of the Third Month, 1657

During this same month (3rd), Edward Burrough wrote a paper, which he terms, A measure of the times, in which he takes a view of the glory of the first Christian churches, their subsequent decline, and the final triumph of mystery Babylon, by which the true church was obscured or driven into the wilderness. In this, while describing the introduction of the Christian religion and the glory of the primitive church, he says:

A measure of the times

In the days of Christ and his apostles the power of the Lord was felt, and He got Himself a name and glory. He caused his marvelous light to spring forth, and his day to dawn, which many prophets and wise men had desired to see, but it was not seen by them. In that day his glory was spread abroad, his truth and way were exalted, his glorious gospel was declared through the earth, and the sound of his marvelous works went forth into all the world. Judgment and mercy, righteousness and peace were witnessed among men, and life and immortality were brought to light through the gospel. The word of life, by which all things were created and by which they stand, was handled, seen, felt and tasted, and the Lord God was known to dwell with his people and to walk in them. His covenant was established, and his promises were fulfilled. Redemption, deliverance and salvation were revealed, even Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Prince of peace. Many who saw God's glory, were witnesses of his majesty and dominion, and were gathered to Him in the bond of peace, and were his sons and daughters, led by his spirit in the ways of truth and righteousness. God spoke to them from heaven by his Son, they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with power, and many went forth and declared through the nations the things of God's kingdom, which was come to them. Their weapons were mighty through God; strongholds were subdued, the powers of death and darkness were subjected, and the hearts of thousands were turned to God, and brought out of darkness into light. The mighty and the wise were confounded, the bonds of cruel oppression were broken, and they who set themselves against the Lord and his way, were scattered and brought to nothing.

In that day the Lord was with his people, while his people were with Him. He loved them while they stood in his counsel, and gave them dominion over their enemies. They were a terror to the world, while the churches stood in the dread and terror of the Lord of Hosts. Their feet trod upon the high places of the earth and they were blessed, until they waxed fat and increased in treasures, and thought they had need of nothing. Then they forgot God, and rebelled against Him. They became perverse in their ways, fell into error and idolatry, and left the way of truth, and cast the law of God behind them. The form grew and was exalted more than the power of godliness. As love waxed cold, iniquity abounded, and men became lovers of themselves more than of the Lord. The churches were corrupted, they lost the life and power of godliness, and became worshippers of idols. As Paul predicted that many should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and grievous wolves should enter, not sparing the flock, but seeking to devour it, making merchandize of souls through covetousness and filthy lucre; so it came to pass in that generation, and soon after his decease. Peter and Jude foresaw the entrance of false prophets, and John both in his epistles and the Revelation describes them more fully.

When the baptism of the spirit was lost or never experienced, several sorts of baptism were created; as sprinkling of infants, by which the nations have been deceived by the false prophets. When the gift of the ministry, through the Holy Ghost, was lost and no longer received, men began to make ministers, by colleges and schools of arts and languages and human policy. They began to study from books and writings, what to preach, not having the Holy Ghost, without which none are ministers of Christ. When men lost the knowledge of God, that their bodies were his temple, then they began to build outward temples, and to set up false worships in them. Having lost the sense of God's true worship, which is in spirit and in truth, they began to worship in outward observances, which is not the worship of God, but superstitious and idolatrous. When the word of God was not received immediately from his mouth, nor the Gospel by the revelation of Jesus Christ, as in the apostles days, they used their tongues, though the Lord had not spoken to them, and they said that the letter [Bible] is the word, the letter [Bible] is the Gospel, and it must be received by the Scriptures, and by natural learning and arts; and none can be ministers of Christ, except those who are learned in the languages, [Greek, Hebrew, and Latin]. When singing in the spirit and with the understanding ceased, then people began to introduce the form of singing David's experiences in rhyme and meter; and thus in the apostasy, the form was given as a substitute for what the saints had enjoyed in power. Shadows were set up instead of the substance, and death instead of life.

Thus we see John's prophecy fulfilled, that the holy city was given to be trodden under the feet of the Gentiles; and we also know the time is now approaching that the dominion of the beast is near at an end, and the saints shall possess the holy city. For He also foretold the restoration of the holy city, in which new Jerusalem should be made manifest from heaven, and should be again adorned as a bride for her husband; the tabernacle of God should be with men upon earth, and the Lord would dwell forever with his people. This day is approaching near at the door, for the fig tree has blossomed, and we know it is near at hand; the summer; in which the glory of the Lord shall be revealed to all nations, and they shall know that He is the Lord God Almighty, who will take vengeance on mystery Babylon, that has made all nations drunk with the cup of her abominations.

Edward Burrough

The popular preachers of that day, with an evident desire to stop the spreading of the religious principles of the Society of Friends, stirred up persecution against those who promulgated them. The severity with which justices, judges and juries treated the members of the new society was very great, and was often not only incompatible with the spirit of the Christian religion, but with a just interpretation of the laws of England, and the provisions of Magna Charta. Many of those who now suffered at the hands of bigoted Presbyterians and Independents, unconstitutional outrage and legalized oppression, had actually been previously engaged as Puritans in overturning the legal government, because of its infringements of the rights of the subject. How deeply they were disappointed in finding the great principles of civil and religious liberty no better secured by the government they had labored to set up, than they had been in the days of the Star Chamber and Episcopal domination. A revolution had taken place, but it had brought to the Christian citizen a mere change of masters, a substitute of another code of state divinity, by which to fashion his worship, principles and practice, leaving liberty of conscience as little protected as ever. Many found, and bitter was their disappointment at finding, that the power and the disposition to invade their rights, civil and religious, still continued, although the rulers had been changed. The king had given place to the Parliament, the Parliament to the army, the army to Oliver Cromwell; a succession of power-holders, none of whom seemed disposed to support upon a broad and Christian basis, the principles of religious toleration, or civil liberty. Cromwell, while he was ascending towards the supreme authority, professed great attachment to religious liberty. But when once he had grasped the scepter of rule, in violation of the oath he had taken when inaugurated as Protector, and in violation, we must believe, of the convictions of his own conscience, he connived at, if he did not sometimes prompt the cruel treatment which the members of the Society of Friends were without justice, receiving at the hands of his officers. He knew the principles of the Society, and having expressed his satisfaction with the declaration of George Fox, which showed that they believed it wrong to use the sword in any case, he could have been under no fear of the Quakers injuring his person or unsettling his government.

The hireling preachers had greater cause of apprehension. The influence of the doctrines of the new Society, was felt by them to be great and increasing, and they knew that influence was operating against their monetary interest. The Scripture testimony against preaching for hire, and against paying for preaching, either in money or in tithes of kind, was beginning to be understood by many, and with the powerful ministry of the Quakers, was drawing off numbers every where from the parish places of worship, and the gatherings of other religious societies where hirelings officiated. The shrinking of their flocks, and the bold and truthful denunciations against the immoral conduct which disgraced many of the clergy, stirred them up to acts of hostility and hatred against Friends. These priests appear in many instances, to have been more eager for the loaves and fishes, the recompense pertaining to their office by human law, or by congregational agreement apportioned for hire, than to please Christ.

Oliver Cromwell felt that his government was unstable in its foundation and only to be maintained by vigilant watchfulness, supported by the prompt action of the military force. His policy was to cultivate the good will of those who had the greatest influence to incite opposition to him among the people, and he did not choose to irritate the clergy by protecting the persecuted Quakers from their power. Edward Burrough, who was well acquainted with the history of Oliver Cromwell, and who had closely studied his character, had with his pen called the attention of the Protector, to the vows he had made before he was exalted to power; and how he now permitted grievous oppression and cruelty to be acted in his name, even by those who were his enemies. He told him that he was not ignorant of the merciless proceedings acted against Friends; and because he did not restrain them, the Divine judgments would overtake him unless he repented. The first address presented to Oliver Cromwell by Edward, was written while he was in Ireland in 1655; and as the cruelty practiced against his fellow-members continued to increase, in the year 1657, he again employed his pen in various addresses, laying before the Protector a view of the state of things in England, in a strain of mingled entreaty and warning.

Edward Burrough, who often wrote to Cromwell, having heard of the design of making him king, wrote a letter to him, wherein I find that after having told the Protector, that he had had many warnings from the Lord, he thus speaks to him:

I as one who has obtained mercy from the Lord, and unto whom his word, is committed, being moved of him, do hereby in his presence yet once more warn you, that you fear before him, and diligently hearken to him, and seek him with all your heart, that you may know his will and counsel concerning you, and may do it, and find favor in his sight, and live. Now is the day that his hand is stretched forth unto you, to make you a blessing or to leave you a curse forever; and the days of your visitation are near an end, when God will no more call unto you, nor hear you, when in the day of your trouble you call to him. If you reject the counsel of the Lord, and follow the desires of your own heart, and the wills of men, and will not have the light of the world, Christ Jesus, only to rule you, and to teach you, which condemns all evil, then shall evil surely fall upon you, if you love not the light in you which condemns it; and the judgments of God, nor the day of his last visitation with vengeance, you may not escape. Therefore consider and mark my words, and let this counsel be acceptable unto you; let it move you to meekness, to humbleness, and to fear before the Lord; assuredly knowing that it is he that changes time and things, and that brings down, and sets up whomsoever he will; and how that you were raised from a low estate, and set over all your enemies. In that day when you were raised up, when the fear of the Lord was before your face, and your heart was towards him, and you were but little in your own eyes, then was it well with you, and the Lord blessed you. It was not once thought concerning you, that the hands of the ungodly would have been strengthened against the righteous under you, or that such grievous and cruel hardens and oppressions would ever have been laid upon the just, and acted against them in your name, and under your dominion, as unrighteously have come to pass in these three years: and this your allowing of such things is your transgression, and you have not requited the Lord well for his goodness unto you, nor fulfilled his will in suffering that to be done under you, and in your name, which the Lord raised you against, and to break down, had you been faithful to the end.

Again, consider, and let it move on your heart, not to exalt yourself, nor to be high-minded, but to fear continually, knowing that you stand not by yourself, but by another, and that he is able to abase you, and give you into the will of your enemies whenever he will; and how the Lord has preserved you sometimes wonderfully, and does unto this day, from the murderous plots, and crafty policy of evil men, who seek your evil, and would rejoice in your fall, and in the desolation of your family and countries; how have they, and do they lay snares for your feet, that you may be cut off from amongst men, and die unhappily, and be accounted accursed? And yet to this day he has preserved you, and been near to keep you, though you have hardly known it; and the Lord's end is love to you in all these things, and yet a little longer to try you, that you may give him the glory.

O that your heart were opened to see his hand, that you might live unto him, and die in him, in peace. Beware lest hardness of heart possesses you, if you slight his love and so are shut up in darkness and given to the desires of your enemies, and left to the counsel of treacherous men, who may seek to exalt you by flattery, that they may the better cast you down, and destroy you, and blot out your name in reproach, and make your posterity a people miserable. But now, O consider, and let it enter into your heart, for you have not answered the Lord, but been lacking to him, for all this, and have chosen your own way and glory, rather than his, and not fulfilled his counsel in raising you; for the bonds of cruelty are not loosed by you, and the oppressed are not altogether set free; neither is oppression taken off from the back of the poor, nor the laws regulated, nor the liberty of pure consciences altogether allowed; but these dominions are filled with cruel oppressions, and the poor groan every where under the heavy hand of injustice; the needy are trodden down under foot, and the oppressed cry for deliverance, and are ready to faint for true justice and judgment. The proud exalt themselves against the poor, and the high-minded and rebellious condemn the meek of the earth; the horn of the ungodly is exalted above the Lord's heritage, and those who have departed from iniquity, have become a prey to oppressors; and the cruel-hearted deal cruelly with the innocent in these nations. Many are unjustly, and woefully sufferers, because they cannot swear on this or that occasion, though in all cases they speak the truth and obey Christ's commands; even such are trodden upon, by unjust fines charged upon them; and this is by the corruptness of some that bear rule under you, who rule not for God as they ought, but turn the sword of justice. Some suffer long and tedious imprisonments, and others cruel stripes and abuses, and dangers of life many times, from wicked men, for reproving sin, and crying against the abominations of the times, (which the Scriptures also testily against), in streets, or other places. Some having been sent to prison, taken on the highway, and no evil charged against them; and others committed, being taken out of peaceable meetings, and whipped, and sent to prison, without transgression of any law, just or unjust, wholly through the rage and envy of the devil, and those who have perverted judgment and justice; and some in prisons have suffered super-abundantly from the hands of the cruel jailers and their servants, by beatings and threats, and putting irons on them, and not allowing any of their friends to visit them with necessities; and some have died in the prisons, whose lives were not dear to them, whose blood will be reckoned on account against you one day. Some have suffered hard cruelties because they could not respect persons by bowing with hat or knee; and from these cruelties can you not altogether be excused in the sight of God, being brought forth in your name, and under your power. Consider, friend, and be awakened to true judgment; let the Lord search your heart; and lay these things to mind, that you may be an instrument to remove every burden, and may at last fulfill the will of God.

O be awakened, be awakened, and seek the Lord's glory, and not your own; lest you perish before the Lord and men. No, if men would give you honor, and high titles, and princely thrones, take them not; for that which would exalt and honor you in the world, would betray you to the world, and cast you down in the sight of the world. This is God's word to you: What? Shall the whole nation be perjured men and you the cause of it? Will you transgress by building again that which you have destroyed? Give heed unto my words, and understand my speech; be not exalted by man, lest man betray you. Deal favorably, and relieve the oppressed; boast not yourself, though the Lord has used you in his hand; but know that when he will, he can cast you, as a rod, out of his hand into the fire; for you are in his hand. If you will honor him, he will honor you; otherwise he can, yes, and will confound you, and break and make you weak as water before him. His love through my heart breathes unto you; he desires your happiness, if you willfully condemn it not, by exalting yourself, and seeking your own glory, and hardening your heart against the cry of the poor. This I was moved in bowels of pity to lay before you, who am your friend, not in flattery, but in an upright heart, who wishes well unto you in the Lord.

Edward Burrough

It is said that Cromwell in a public prayer offered up by him when about to attack the Scottish army at Dunbar, declared that if the Lord would give him the victory that day, he would relieve the country from the great oppression of tithes. This promise in the day of his power he had not fulfilled, and the members of the Society of Friends at this time (1657), were enduring great persecution, because they felt conscientiously restrained from paying for the support of a hireling ministry. In the fourth month Edward Burrough had an interview with Cromwell, in which he laid verbally before him the sufferings of Friends. The Protector endeavored to justify himself by saying that all persecutions and cruelty were contrary to his will, and that he was not guilty of the injustice done to the Quakers. On reflecting on this assertion of Cromwell, Edward again wrote to him.

Consider what the cause is, that what you desire not to be done, is still done. Is it not that you may please men; making it appear you are more willing to do the false teachers of this nation and wicked men a pleasure, than to own the people of God, in relieving them, and easing them in their cruel burdens and oppressions, laid upon them by unjust men? For a word of your mouth, or a show of your countenance, in dislike to these cruel and unjust persecutions, would bind the hands of many bloodthirsty men. Therefore consider; you can not be cleared in the sight of the Lord God from them, being acted under you, and in your name; for there seems rather to be in favoring of them in you, by forbearance of the actors of cruelty by which their hands are strengthened, than any dislike showed by you, in hearing your witness, as you ought to do against them. For you know of some in the city and elsewhere, whom we know to be just men, who suffer imprisonment and the loss of their liberties, because for conscience sake they cannot swear; and many others in this nation, suffering cruel things upon the like or same ground, even for doing good and not for evil, which oppression might be removed and their unjust sufferings taken off by you, by a word from your mouth or pen; and this makes is so that you cannot be clear in the sight of God in these things, because you, who had the power to help them, failed to do so.

And as concerning the light of Christ, at which you stumble, by which every man that comes into the world is enlightened, in short, this I say: this light to you is given of God, and you must own it to be your only teacher, to receive by it from the Father, and to be guided by it in all things, if ever you are to inherit God's kingdom.

The kingdom of Christ is setting up by his own power, and all must bow and become subjects thereunto; he needs none of your policy, nor the strength of your arm to advance it; yet would he have you not to prove yourself an open enemy thereof, by doing, or suffering to be done cruelty and injustice against them whom the Lord is redeeming out of this world, into subjection unto that kingdom; lest you be such a one, as will not enter yourself, nor suffer others to enter, and so destruction come upon you. Wherefore arise as out of sleep, and slumber not in this world's glory and honor; be not overcome by the pleasures of this world, nor the flattering titles of men; wink not at the cruelty and oppression acted by some, who shelter under you, and make your name a cloak for mischief against the upright.

Consider, I say, consider, and be you changed in your mind and heart; lest you having forgotten God, and his many deliverances, be shut up, and numbered for destruction. I desire the Lord may give you a more perfect understanding of his ways and judgments, and that the crown immortal you may strive for, by meekness and righteousness through relieving the oppressed, and showing mercy to the poor, and removing every burden which lies upon the innocent; and this is the desire of him who is your friend, and would not have you crowned with dishonor, through suffering the people of God to be oppressed in your name, which will be your overthrow absolutely, if you remove it not, by turning, and easing the oppressed.

Edward Burrough

This letter was delivered to Oliver Cromwell, in the fourth month, and in the month following E. Burrough wrote again to him, that the good name Protector, by the great oppression, acted in his name, was abused and subverted; and that instead of protection by it, great injustice was acted under it, and covered with it. Besides, that several justices of the peace, and other officers, in trust under him, when they had owned the people called Quakers, had been cast out of their places; though they had not denied to serve him and the commonwealth, neither had unfaithfulness to their trust been proved against them.

In the sixth month, as no action appeared to be taken by Cromwell for relieving those oppressed for conscience sake, Edward once more visited him by a letter of remonstrance and warning, in which he told him that the good name Protector which he bore, was abused and subverted, through the great oppressions and injustice acted under it. He says, that several justices of the peace and others had been cast out of places of trust, because they owned the people called Quakers, though they had not refused to serve him and the commonwealth and though no unfaithfulness to their trust had been proved against them.

In September, E. Burrough wrote another letter to Cromwell, wherein be signified to him, that he had many enemies, some of which endeavored to destroy him by any means, without regarding the danger that might be in the attempt. And that he going on in oppressing through tyranny, or allowing it, perhaps the Lord might raise up the wicked to be a plague to wickedness, and allow the oppressors to overthrow oppressions. That there were others, via the Fifth Monarchy men, who, though not so bad as the former, yet secretly murmured against him, and envied him, not being friends to his government, some of them being cast out and rejected, without just cause, as they supposed. As to us, how can we, mention you in our prayers to God, unless it is to be delivered from you, we who are daily unjustly sufferers by you or because of you? Or how can we be friends to that government, under which we daily suffer such hard and cruel things, as the loss of our liberty and estates, and are in danger of life also?

About the beginning of this year, E. Burrough wrote a letter to Oliver Cromwell, and his council, complaining of, and warning them against persecution, as being what would draw down God's anger against them. Several copies of the said letter were delivered to Oliver, and his council; and some months after E. Burrough wrote the following letter to him.

To THE PROTECTOR

Friend,

The salutation of my life wishes well unto you in the Lord, and most especially that your precious soul may be redeemed out of death to God, and live, that you may have a rest and habitation in him when this world is no more.

Now whereas it is a general outcry among the teachers and people of this nation, and also is doubted, and has been sometimes objected by yourself, that the people called Quakers, are deluded and deceived, and in error, and such like; and now, if it is possible, that yourself and others may be resolved concerning us. Put therefore all your objections and doublings into plain positions, or let the wisest of your teachers do it for you; that whatsoever yourself, or any for you, can object against us, or what you doubt of, or stumble at, either in respect of our doctrines or practice, let the matter be stated in plain words, in positions, or queries; and if God permits, a sufficient answer you may receive, to remove all conscientious scruples, and to confound all subtle allegations and evasions; whereby hereafter for ever you may be altogether inexcusable of all doubting, or speaking against us, or suffering evil to be done, or spoken against us upon that account. This I am moved to give forth and send to you, that you may be satisfied; and all things tried and made manifest in the sight of all men; and that all rash judgment, and false supposition, which lodges in the hearts of many, may be confounded and brought to naught; and let it be left off, to cry out deceivers, and heresy, etc. and causing any to suffer on suspicion thereupon; but bring all things to light, and true judgment; that what is proved to be the Truth may be owned and not persecuted any more; for we are willing to be made manifest to all men; and if anything be objected against us, which may not be sufficiently answered, and resolved to sober men, then our enemies are more free, and have whereof to glory in against us; but if all occasion of stumbling be removed by answers, according to the Scriptures, and our principles, practices and doctrines thereby vindicated, then let all the teachers, and all our adversaries, shut their mouths from biting at us, and railing against us, and accusing of us to you; and let your ear be shut from believing lies against the innocent; and let none suffer in your dominion under the cruelty of men, upon such a ground. Hereof I shall be glad to receive an answer, and to join issue in this cause; and in the meantime, and always, am a lover of your soul, but a witness against all oppression.

Edward Burrough

This was delivered to his hands at Hampton Court, in the Fourth Month, 1663.

<Continued>>>>>

This web site's purpose is to show how to become
free from sin
by benefiting from the changing power of God through the cross,
which leads to union with God in his Kingdom.

 


Top | About Us | Home | ©2006 Hall Worthington